Small Businesses We Love: Twinkle Twinkle Little Store

Tucked away in a plaza on the Tamiami Trail in Naples is a one-of-a-kind store with a clever name. At Twinkle Twinkle Little Store, you can find just about anything you want or need relating to maternity, baby, and kids; both new product and resale.

What makes this locally owned store so special? It isn’t the 8,000 square feet of store space. No, not even the fact that they have a four-story play area to entertain your kids while you shop (seriously!). My favorite thing about Twinkle Twinkle Little Store is that when you walk in, you are not only greeted by a smiling store associate. Chances are, she is holding a smiling baby that is just as happy to see you!

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Twinkle Twinkle Little Store was started in 2008 when owner Cheryl Courson realized that she shouldn’t have to work so hard to have someone else raise her children. Reliable child care is hard to find and hard to afford for the average family. As she regularly worked 70 hours a week in varying shifts that included nights and weekends, Cheryl knew she needed a change.

A star…uh.. STORE was born!

Twinkle employees bring their babies to work with them! This is the ultimate definition of multi-tasking. You’ll watch a Twinkle mom answer a phone call, nurse a baby, and distract a toddler all in a swift motion. This set up allows these women (and men) to work and earn an income, and also tend to the needs of their young babies and children without sacrificing those special moments that happen in the first months and years of life. Not to mention, they save on all of those day care costs and the headache of securing a sitter for every shift.

Another plus side to having all of those moms and babies in the store: The experience! When you come in with a question, you’ll receive an answer based on real life experience. The employees are familiar with the products because they use them. They can direct you and give advice because chances are they have been there, done that. There is a wide range of families, large and small, from all walks of life.

Let’s get back to that play area. In the back of the resale side of the store there is a towering play area that spans the back wall.

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With two slides and multiple levels, your children can get lost in a game of hide and seek while you shop peacefully.

Speaking of shopping: You’ll find kid sizes ranging from preemie to 16/18. A long row of maternity clothes, both new and resale. Clearance racks with a ton of great deals starting at only a quarter! Yep. Just 25 cents! Not to mention shoes, accessories, and all the toys and books you can ask for. And it is all just a fraction of retail.

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You can also bring your gently used clothes and toys to Twinkle to sell them. You’ll receive an offer for store credit, which is perfect for moving up to the next size. Or, you can choose cash on the spot. You also get a coupon just for bringing items in. For those items that Twinkle can’t accept at the moment, you have the option to donate. Twinkle works with a long list of local charities and has its own Outreach program. The Twinkle Outreach program helps local families in need and hosts special events like the Back to School giveaway.

There is also a Co-op program which allows parents to volunteer in the store (babies in tow!) and earn store credit. This flexible program is perfect for stay at home moms, or families looking to get stuff for their children without shelling out a ton of cash.

Along with all of this, the store also offers baby gear rentals. The rentals are perfect for those vacationing in the SWFL area. You can reserve a crib and all of the essentials and have it delivered to your hotel or rental home. They strive to make your vacation as stress free as possible.

Think that locals don’t need to rent anything? Think again! Locals can rent beach gear like toys, towels, umbrellas, coolers, and so much more. Use it for a day on the water and return it on the way home. Save a little time for yourself by not having to take it all home and wash it out.

If you think that this place sounds great, you should come in and see for yourself!

Visit their website HERE

The store is located at 4172 Tamiami Trail North in Naples.

 

In This Season: A Letter to My Friend

Dear Friend,

I thought about you today. Remember that time we went to lunch and talked so much that we barely touched our food? How we laughed so hard, the tears were streaming down our faces to the point that the table next to us probably thought we had severe problems. And that only made us laugh more. We promised each other we would do it again soon and keep in touch. Growing up sucks. It takes us away from each other.

Sweet friend, although I thought about you today and most days, I am not keeping my end of the promise.

You see, this season in my life is tough. It is loud and crazy and beautiful. I wouldn’t trade it for the world… well except the fact that the toddler pees on the floor so much we call her piddles the puppy. Scratch that. I’ll keep that too because it will be a sweet memory one day. Just as our friendship is.

I miss you and how close we used to be. I could call to catch up, but if you have ever been on the phone with someone who has children you know that most of the conversation is you listening to them tell their children to stop fighting or to go watch a movie so they can talk for once. Instead I decide that I will call when I’m in the car by myself next. Knowing good and well that when that happens, I will just be sitting there enjoying the rare silence.

I could send a quick text but then we would be trapped in the awkward chit-chat back and forth.

How are you?

Good. You?

Can’t complain. Anything new?

Nope. Same stuff, different day. We should get together soon.

I agree. It has been too long.

Chances are, I will not make any solid plans with you. And it isn’t you, it’s me. At this time in my life, friendships take a back seat. I have these tiny humans that are competing for my attention and affection every hour of every day. If there happens to be a spare moment in there that those little people are distracted with something else, I have to figure out how to be a good wife and give my husband the love and attention that he deserves. Then, there is self-care. I still have to think about me. You could argue that catching the Wednesday yoga class with you would be a form of self care. And it might. But, honestly the thought of getting everyone ready and out of the house by a certain time makes me anxious beyond words. If I happen to have a free day where we don’t have appointments or other plans, I like to keep it that way. I could meet you for coffee. We could go to a park for a play date. However, right now, today I just can’t. On top of figuring out how to balance being a mom and wife, I also wear the hat of teacher, employee, referee, chef, maid, and so many more.

I always say there will be a day when my children don’t need me so much. A day that I will have energy to wear more than yoga pants and actually brush my hair. There will be a day that I get to focus on friendships again. It will be a glorious day by the beach, perhaps with a margarita. We can waste a whole day reminiscing on the good ol’ days. Until then, I ask for understanding and patience. If you invite me somewhere and I do not accept, please know that it only means not right now instead of not ever.

Good friend, I promise that if you seriously needed me I would be there. Don’t think otherwise. If you wanted to come over and deal with my chaos and sink full of dishes, I would make coffee and talk with you all afternoon. You know, in between getting fruit snacks, restarting Frozen for the 100th time this week, and changing diapers. I just cannot commit to girls’ night out or Thursday mom’s group. Not in this season.

I wish I had the time and energy to put into everything that called for my attention. Everything sounds so fun and moms need a little fun here and there.

I am thankful for social media and a few minutes each day that I can scroll through and see the highlights of your life. I hope you know that you are in my mind often. I can’t wait to pick up where we left off.

Love,

Your friend with kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving Birth Better Than I Found It

The motto among many birth workers is, “We are here to leave birth better than we found it.”

Many of us get in to this type of work as a result of our own birth experiences. Good, bad, or indifferent. If it was good, we want to ‘enlighten’ every one else with what we learned and we sometimes overwhelm them with what they should be doing to achieve the best birth possible. If our experience was bad, we tell them what caused it and how to avoid it. Still pushing our agenda on them to help them achieve the best birth possible.

Who decides what the best birth possible is?

I remember having a conversation many years ago with my best friend. She had witnessed my two home births and had been in the middle of many emotionally charged rants towards women that were doing it ‘wrong’.  When she became pregnant, I assumed she would use the same midwives and have her baby at home, too. When I questioned her about her plans, she simply told me that she didn’t trust her body enough to do that.

This profound statement took a while to set in. I didn’t get it at first. It took years, actually. Years of talking with other women and instead of looking solely at the way they had their baby, I took into account their whole experience and history.

What is best for me, and what is best for you can be two completely different things. And that is okay. You can do it totally  different from your sister or cousin or best friend. It doesn’t matter what the best experience was for them because this is your experience and it is about you.

What happens when the plan changes?

We have convinced ourselves to birth our baby in a specific way because it is what we were told to do, say an unmedicated hospital birth. What happens when after 30 hours of labor you give in to the epidural because you really need sleep? Are you a failure because you got some relief? Absolutely not. What happens if a cesarean becomes necessary? Did you fail or do it wrong? No!

When we put our pre-conceived notions on what is best we are only setting others up for failure. Are you really going to alienate someone because her choice was different from yours, although you both chose what was right for you? I certainly hope not. Instead, vow to love her and show her unconditional support while she makes the transition into motherhood.

What is a better birth?

I used to think that leaving birth better than I found it meant that I was going to educate the hell out of women about interventions and what I thought was the only way to give birth. The best way. I thought that I was going to help reduce the amount of cesarean sections in our community. I was going to change the way we did things!

Instead, I have changed the way that I do things. As long as a woman is making what she feels is the best choice for her and her baby, I do not care what that choice is. What I really care about is that she has at least one person that has her back, no matter what. Everyone has an opinion on what you should be doing, and that never changes. You will always be wrong in the eyes of someone.

For my clients, I vow to always provide them with the support they need through any situation. You can plan a cesarean for your first baby. You can squat in a pool in your living room. You can have any mix of anything in between. Myself, and everyone else on the All Mothers team are going to support you and cheer you on while you have your best birth.

Making sure that no one feels wrong, or like a bad mom for making the choices they make– that is how I am going to leave birth better than I found it.

 

 

An Apology to Our Parents

I often look around and think, “Who left me in charge?”

When did I become the adult here? What the hell am I doing making decisions, not only for myself but for my children, too…

I don’t remember the change. I know that I have evolved over the years to care about some things more than others and I have adjusted to life with each day that passes. I’ve been struggling lately with doing it all. How do I parent three children with different needs and personalities, figure out finances and other important adult stuff, keep a clean house, manage friendships and networking, and have a happy marriage, among a thousand other things that are occupying my mind and time?

Oh, yeah. And what is for dinner!?

No one ever taught me how to be the adult. I’ve had advice given to me, but nothing quite prepared me for the job at hand.

Realizing all of this made me have a revelation about something else:

No one taught our parents what to do either.

Think about it for a second. You undoubtedly blame your parents for screwing up along the lines. Somehow, they are responsible for something that went wrong in your life. You may even hate them for it.

No one is perfect, and I am not saying that they should be totally forgiven. But, take a moment and look at yourself. Right now where you are in your parenting journey. What is it like? How do you deal with the hard days? From finance issues to relationship woes, we are all going through some thing. My best advice that I give to clients is that you just wing it to get through. Nothing is going to go the way you think it should and you should take each moment as it happens. Some people are good at this and still keep their kids in their top priorities and unfortunately, some are not.

We are all human and capable of mistakes. Many, many mistakes. No one has it figured out completely.

To this day, I still watch my mom take each day as it comes and deal with the changes. Was it perfect when I was little? Far from it. Can I say that I would be any better had I been put in her shoes? No. I can’t.

My days get so rushed and overwhelming I pray for bed time just for a moment of quiet. Rush through the routine, kids. This day needs to be over. They may hate me for it one day. I didn’t read with them enough. I didn’t make cookies one night when I said I would because I was too tired. I don’t know how they perceive each moment that passes, but damn it I’m doing the best I can! And so was my mom. Yours was, too.

In this season of giving and togetherness, find it inside to forgive them for the little things they may have messed up along the way. You can tell them, or not. Forgiveness is usually about setting your own feelings free, anyways.

Breast Feeding in the First Six Weeks- Part 2

“He’s hungry again!?”

“That baby is too attached to the boob. You’ll never be able to go anywhere.”

“You’d get more sleep if you just gave her formula.”

Comments like this come from friends and family members who may mean well, but they don’t realize how much damage their remarks can do. The first few weeks of the breastfeeding relationship are important. While other cultures consider the first six weeks to be a sacred time for mother and baby bonding, ours focuses on getting mom back to normal as soon as possible so she can get back to work or other responsibilities.

Babies go through growth spurts and have periods when they want to nurse almost constantly. Without proper support and encouragement to get through these tough times, a new mom can begin to feel inadequate. She may wonder if she is making enough milk to keep the baby nourished and happy. She may consider giving up on breast feeding so that other family members can feed the baby, or so she doesn’t have to hear the negative remarks. It is no doubt that there are a lot of thoughts going through a new mom’s head, and most of them make her question every decision she is making.

As a new mom, what can you do?

Educate yourself as much as you can about breast feeding and the trials that come with it.

Surround yourself with others who have been where you are. Joining the local La Leche League or other support group is a good option.

Reach out for help when needed. It can be as simple as asking your partner to help with something, or you can enlist the help of a postpartum doula or lactation consultant. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Be confident in the choices you are making for yourself and your baby. Pretty soon, you’ll be the one giving advice to another new mom.

 

You are in the middle of what is soon to be a faint memory. In the first few weeks of your baby’s life the hours are long but the days are short. You can do this!

Breastfeeding in the First Six Weeks-Part 1

Breast feeding can be hard. It can be trying to even the best spirits and the moms who read all the books. Nothing can quite prepare you for the first six weeks of motherhood. Although, the more you know, the better prepared you can be. You can be more confident and recognize that what you are going through is normal and you are not failing.

Our society has a tendency to sabotage healthy breast feeding habits before they even get started. We have an obsession with schedules, and with how much the baby is eating. And let’s not forget that we are taught that you shouldn’t hold your baby too much. *Newsflash* You can’t spoil a newborn.

By understanding the way that your breasts make milk, and the way that breast feeding works, you will give yourself an edge.

Again, it is worth repeating: The first six weeks are the hardest. But trust me, there is a trade-off. By six weeks, it is likely that you have resolved any latch issues, you have mastered the art of nursing while lying on your side (a great trick that allows mom to get a little rest!), and you and your baby are in tune with each other and have gotten into your own rhythm. Imagine if you give up on breast feeding before the six weeks is up. After that time, you are still having to get up and prepare bottles, wash them, make sure you have formula on hand, etc. Breast feeding may be harder than formula feeding at first, but I promise it gets easier!

First things first, let’s look at how milk production works.

The hormone oxytocin helps boost milk production. Oxytocin is known as the love hormone. How do we suggest that you boost your oxytocin levels? Skin-to-skin contact and snuggling with your baby as much as possible. Bringing the baby to the breast as often as possible with help with a few things. 1) Baby will learn to latch. 2) Your breasts will get the signal to make milk, especially in the first few days. Many people think that they aren’t making enough for their baby in the first few days so they will supplement with formula, which can actually have an adverse effect on milk production because your baby isn’t stimulating you for milk production. Also, the baby’s stomach can only hold a small amount. It is just about the size of a cherry tomato in those first few days. It is common for babies to feed frequently in those first few days.

Once your milk comes in, typically on days 3-5 (but it can be later) you need to drain your breasts for them to know to make more milk. Full breasts make milk slower and empty breasts make milk faster. When your breasts are full, and the milk is not being used it gives the signal to slow production down. Alternately, when your baby is eating frequently and your breasts are being emptied, they get the signal to boost production. It is a matter of supply and demand. Learning this and following the rules of supply and demand in the first few weeks is essential to setting yourself up for success in the months that will follow. Although it is not impossible to boost production in the later months of nursing, it does become more difficult. The first few weeks are setting the stage for good milk production throughout your nursing relationship.

 

Another important aspect of the breastfeeding relationship that is that each mother and baby pair is different.

It has been said that the size of your breasts will not affect your ability to breastfeed, and this is true. However, your breasts have a certain storage capacity for milk. This amount will determine how often your baby eats and whether you use one or both breasts at each feeding.

It is all too easy to compare ourselves to someone else. You may look at your friend that has a baby around the same age as yours. That baby is nursing from only one breast and eats every four hours, while your baby is nursing from both breasts and eating every two hours. Neither one of you is doing anything wrong. You are feeding your baby on demand and following your instincts. The mother and baby with the higher storage capacity has learned to take a larger amount at one time because that is what is available. The pair with the smaller storage amount eats more often, and often from both breasts at one feeding. The important thing is that no matter how often they are eating through the day, they are still getting the recommended ounces per day.

For example, the recommended amount is 24 ounces in a day. Your baby can eat 2 ounces every two hours (12 feedings X 2 oz = 24 oz/day). Or your baby can eat 4 ounces every 4 hours (6 feedings X 4 oz = 24 oz/day).

It all depends on a wealth of things, so don’t compare yourself to anyone else and where they are in their breastfeeding relationship. Comparing yourself can lead you to feel inadequate, especially if you are running into obstacles and someone else has a seemingly easy journey. More on feeling inadequate and common breastfeeding misconceptions in Part Two!

Guest Post- Remembering Kaeden

You all know that as mothers I truly believe that we are suffering in silence too much. There are many things we deal with and once we start to talk about a situation we are made to feel as if we should be grateful for a blue sky and still waking up in the morning. Sometimes, we don’t want to wake up. Sometimes, we just need a space to talk. We need to vent our feelings and process everything that has happened. We cannot suffer in silence. We are not alone. You are not alone.

In today’s post, we are hearing Brandi’s story. October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. While I believe we should be talking about these babies every day,  and the parents and families are thinking about their babies every day, this week provides a space for those who otherwise are dealing with loss in silence.

 

Brandi’s Story: Remembering Kaeden

 

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At the age of 15, I was diagnosed with PCOS, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. This news completely devastated me. All I ever wanted to do was be a mom. After years of trying and a miscarriage with my first husband, I slowly came to terms with and let my dream of being a mom die.

A few years later, I was divorced and finishing college. Thanks to Facebook I reconnected with my high school flame. He was also going through a divorce and after about a month of talking all day, every day, I decided to take a 9.5-hour drive from Georgia to North Carolina where he was stationed. About three weeks after returning from my trip, I started feeling off. I thought maybe I had gotten some sort of STI, STD, or something was up with my PCOS. I went to the doctor and when the nurse asked if I could be pregnant, I said there was no way. Of course it is routine they check anyway. The entire time, I’m sitting there on the table, half naked and palms sweating like crazy. I just knew they were going to tell me I had contracted a STD. I was not prepared for the news she gave me. She said that I had contracted something, but it would take approximately 9 more months to feel better. It took me until about 15 weeks along to realize it was really happening and then I got super excited.

Fast forward to 40 weeks along. We were so excited to meet our son. We had the crib set up, car seat installed, diaper bag ready. All doctor visits had shown him completely normal and healthy. Other than random bleeding, my pregnancy had been smooth.

My miracle was taken away from me.

On February 28th, I took a nap and woke up feeling like something wasn’t right. I tried to get my son to move and nothing was working. I called my friend to come drive me to the hospital since my son’s dad was in the field for a USMC training exercise. It all happened so fast. I couldn’t call anyone and it was so late I figured I’d let them sleep since I figured it was probably nothing.

We got to the hospital and they ran tests, and the normal stuff. They tried to do the Doppler and couldn’t find a heartbeat, so I went for a sonogram. They couldn’t find the heartbeat there either. I was scheduled for a C-section on March 1st. However, I didn’t want surgery. I just wanted my baby, so they started an induction.

All the stuff they had done last week at the prenatal visit had come back normal; strong heartbeat, everything. He had a triple twist in his umbilical cord, and also was missing some of the Wharton’s Jelly that protects the veins in the umbilical cord. I denied them doing a full autopsy, I did NOT want my baby cut open. I also couldn’t bring myself to look at him. I had seen images of stillborn babies before and I refused to accept and see my baby as one of them. To this day I STRONGLY regret that decision. I regret not calling my family when I was headed to the hospital and not pushing for my son’s dad to be pulled from the field.

The few months following my son’s birth, I was lost. I didn’t want to live, eat, or leave my house. I deleted all social media and put my phone on silent until it died. I didn’t leave my bed really except to use the bathroom. I wouldn’t look at or really speak to my son’s dad. Most nights when he would hold me, I would put our son’s blanket between us and just lose it. Between the breaths and while trying to catch my breath, I could smell our son on the blanket. I spent many, many, nights doing this over the first year.  I would go out shopping or see someone pregnant or give birth or just post something funny about their child on social media and I would cry. I would grab his blanket, bury my face in it and cry until I had no tears left.

On his first Birthday in heaven we released blue and white balloons. My son’s dad was part of a semi-pro football team and the head guy surprised me by seeing me at Publix that day and buying the balloons. Pretty much the entire team showed up at the lake as well. My childhood friend drove up about 2 hours to be there with us. She also surprised me with a framed memorial picture of his ultrasound. Which now I also hold with his blanket and ashes when I breakdown. There were so many people, I don’t think I got to speak to them individually. Each year on his birthday, we still release balloons.

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It is still hard some days. The wound never heals but it scabs over. And some days that scab gets ripped off.

His tiny blue urn sits on the shelf above my bed.

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Kaeden Branden
February 28 2012
5lbs 13oz 18in
~Mommy’s Miracle & Daddy’s Mini Marine~

Here is a journal excerpt Brandi was kind enough to share:

“We still have our moments where we break down and cry. Kaeden is brought up more often now. Family & Friends have picked up that’s it OK to acknowledge and bring up Kaeden’s name now. Best way I can describe it is Kaeden’s purpose was to bring Joe & I back together after 7 years. Everything we’ve been through has taught us a lot. It’s like losing him made a deep wound in our bond that can never be healed. While the skin is scabbing over there will always be a scar. One we are proud of having; the chance to feel him move, hear his heartbeat, knowing him.

They say if your marriage can last through raising a child, it can last through anything. I say if your marriage can last through losing one then nothing else will ever compare.”

Brandi is a Marketing Representative for a Commercial Restoration company. After her two angels, she finally had her Rainbow baby Daxton Liam on 10-11-14. When she is not at work, or spending time with Daxton she is usually on Netflix or working on orders for her own business of custom home decor.

 

I cannot thank Brandi enough for sharing her story. I am truly honored to help give it a voice and share the memory of Kaeden. If you have a story to share, please do. Help us let others know they are not alone and do not have to deal with pregnancy and infant loss in silence. Send your story to contact@allmothersdoulacare.com

Doulas Only Attend Home Births… And Other Myths

In my profession, I’ve heard a lot of myths about what I do. When I meet someone and say that I am a doula, I often get the, “Oh, so you deliver babies!?” response. I usually take it as an opportunity to set the record straight and explain what I do. So let’s take a look at the common myths and misconceptions about what doulas do and explore the truths behind them.

Doulas deliver babies.

No. I don’t deliver babies. That is what midwives and obstetricians do. Doulas don’t do anything clinical during labor and birth. Doulas are there to provide emotional, physical, and moral support. They are also a great source of education and information regarding options during labor, birth, and the postpartum period.

Doulas only support home birth.

This myth could not be farther from the truth. Your doula should support you no matter where you chose to have your baby. Home, birth center, hospital- it is your choice and you should find a doula that supports that choice.

Doulas only support un-medicated, natural birth.

Again, not true. Doulas may be most associated with natural birth, but the truth is the doula you choose should give you unwavering support no matter what your birth plan includes. A doula can be a powerful addition to any birth; Inductions, cesarean births, and even the birth that includes no plan or the option to change the plan. She is there for you and you family, no matter what.

Doulas are just chasing a dream or hobby and may be unreliable.

Unfortunately, most people run in to a hobby doula that doesn’t return calls or show up to consultations. This can be damaging to the reputations for those of us that take this job seriously. One bad interaction can label the way you feel about the group as a whole. This is my dream and my passion, but this is also my business and the way I feed my family. Professional, confidential services are my top priority. The same can be said for many other successful doulas and agencies across the country.

Doulas are advocates and will fight for your wishes.

I’m not an advocate. I can’t protect you from evil or a particular birth outcome. I’m not going to fight with doctors and nurses about their decisions for your care. I can explain things to you, or give you an unbiased sound board so you can think the decisions through before things happen, but I can not and will not make those decisions for you. I will not force my opinions of birth and parenting on you or make you feel wrong for what you want. I am here to act as a communication bridge between patient and provider, not a barrier to stand in the way.

 

I most certainly can not speak for all doulas in this profession. I can only attest to the level of care you will receive from All Mothers Doula Care. Do you have any other myths to add? Any questions now that you know a little more about what we do? Post them in the comments section or send them to contact@allmothersdoulacare.com.

Better yet, schedule a consultation today to see the difference!

 

 

What New Mothers Really Want

 

So you know someone who just had a baby? Lucky you! I bet you are on your way over right now to get some new baby snuggles. Yes, they are glorious! But, before you do that, hear me out: What if, instead of rushing over to hold the baby, you spent a little time making life a bit easier for the new mom?

I’ve put together a list of things you can do when you go to visit a family with a new baby. Do at least one of these things and I promise they will ask you to come back and you can double, or even triple your baby snuggle time.

Bring Something for Mom

Most people will show up with a gift for the baby. I know, it is so hard to resist those tiny clothes or cute accessories. But, think about it. The mom is the one that carried the child for months and went through the pains of pregnancy and childbirth. Why not honor her and make her feel good?

A little thing can make a new mother feel so good. Bring her favorite coffee drink or a meal from her favorite restaurant. A gift card to get out and buy herself something new to compliment her new postpartum body. Nursing bras and tank tops, among other things, can be a great addition to her wardrobe and she will be happy to have an opportunity to leave the house. *Bonus points if you offer to tag along and help with the baby*

It really doesn’t have to be anything big or glamorous. In a time when all the attention is on the new addition to the family, the smallest gesture to let mom know that you are thinking of her will mean so much.

Help Around the House

Most women want their house in pristine condition when visitors arrive. They may be apologetic and embarrassingly say, “Excuse the mess!” when you arrive. The last thing on a new mother’s mind should be the state of her house. Even if you aren’t comfortable enough to dive in and do her laundry, you can do simple things. Take out the trash, sweep, pick up a few things, do any dishes that might be in the sink. She will tell you not to bother with it, but when it is done she will be thankful to have had the extra help.

Bring a Meal/ Make a Meal

I don’t know anyone that would turn down a good, home-cooked meal. You can make something before hand and bring it for the family to heat up, or go to their house and whip something up. Not having to worry about at least one meal will take a little weight off of the new parent’s shoulders. They are already sleep deprived and still trying to process life with a new baby so not having to plan dinner will be a great help.

Not good in the kitchen? You can always organize a meal train with friends and family so the new parents could potentially have weeks of food that they don’t have to cook. Gift cards to their favorite restaurants or grocery stores with prepared food sections are also a great idea.

Entertain the Older Children

There has been a change in the family dynamic. If there are older siblings, they may be ready for some attention. Sitting down with them to color or read a book can be a good idea to give them the stimulation they need. Taking them outside to play can also be a big help.

Remind Mom to Take Care of Herself

When you finally get to sit down with that baby in your arms, remind the new mother that now is her chance to get a shower, eat a warm meal with both hands free, take a few moments to get one-on-one time with her other children, or whatever it is that she would like to do. Also, listen to her without judgement or interjections as she processes through her birth story or tells you how everything is so far. She may just need to vent or talk through it all, and likely isn’t asking for advice.

Before you leave, remind the family that you are only a phone call away and that you would love to come help out whenever they need you. Call and touch base regularly and let them know you are thinking of them. A little support can go a long way for new parents.

Have any tips to add? Comment below and let us know!

5 Things I Know About Switching From Breast to Bottle- Guest Post

At some point most parents want their baby to be able to take a bottle. This can be for various reasons- a night out, having someone else take over night feedings, switching to exclusively pumping, or switching to formula. For whatever reason, switching from breast to bottle can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be.

1. Begin by having someone else introduce baby to the bottle in between feedings.

 

If baby is with you, they will smell breastmilk and will prefer that over the offering of the bottle. By having someone else offer it in between feedings it increases the likelihood that baby will be willing to check out this new contraption.

2. Try giving the baby the bottle several times before committing to a feeding.

By giving the baby several opportunities to get used to the bottle it increases the chance that baby will be ready to take the bottle during a feeding without a fuss.

3. The first feeding should be one during which baby is least fussy.

Every baby’s schedule is different so choose a time when baby is the calmest and have someone other than mom offer the bottle for the feeding. After baby has taken as much as they will from the bottle, give them to mom to top off with the breast.

4. Be prepared to ease baby from breast to bottle over the course of a few days.

By easing the transition over a few days it gives the baby and your breasts a chance to get acclimated to the new feeding schedule/routine. It will also make engorgement less of an issue if the reason for weaning is not lack of supply.

5. Find a support group for mental and emotional support as you transition from breast to bottle and afterwards.

Choosing to switch from breast to bottle can be emotionally and mentally draining. It is helpful to have a support network. Individuals who have already been there or are going through it at the same time can help you and your family make the same transition.

As you are moving from breast to bottle feel free to seek out support from your local hospital’s lactation department, La Leche League, and even your doula. They can help you address any cares or concerns that may come up along the way.

sbc_pinksaint247_1895    Christine Santos is the owner of Sun State Doulas, LLC. They work with families in central Florida. She has been doing work in the birth world for four years. She has three wonderful kids and a husband of ten years. Want to know more? Visit the Sun State Doula website today!