Babywearing

Posted: 2344 days ago in Parenting

babywearing


Babywearing is awesome, right?

Of course! But it can be overwhelming if you’re just getting started.  

There are many reasons you might choose babywearing. Maybe you’ve read about the benefits: less crying, more bonding and a happy baby who learns more, while increasing mom or dad’s feeling of competence?  Sounds like a win-win! Or…

  • you like the convenience of not having to deal with a stroller
  • you have a fussy baby who won’t let you put him down
  • you are interested in trying to breastfeed on-the-go (or while making dinner)
  • your baby hates his car seat or stroller, so wearing him makes grocery shopping a lot easier
  • maybe your best friend told you how wonderful it is
  • you simply want to carry your baby while having your hands freewho doesn’t want that?

Whatever the reason that leads you to babywearing, the most important first step is to find a safe, comfortable carrier or wrap.  There are countless options out there so here are reviews on three of my favorites…

divider2

themobywrap2 This piece of stretchy fabric wraps around your body in a number of different configurations to create a pouch, sling or carrier. It can be used from birth and although it technically can be used up to 35 lbs I’ve found once baby is around 15 pounds the fabric stretches too much to wear longer than 30 minutes. This is by far my favorite newborn/infant carrier. It does take some practice but once you master it you’ll be able to do it in your sleep.  It’s very comfortable and you can wear all day long with no pain. At one point I was wearing one of my sons in it for up to 12 hours a day (not in a row, obviously).
 themayawrap2 A type of “ring sling”, this is my overall favorite and most versatile.  I’ve used it at all ages – newborn, infant, older baby, toddler (weight limit is 35 lbs). It is super easy to put on (takes about 10 seconds) and pop baby into, adjust quickly with the ring and off you go.  It is very comfortable as long as it is adjusted correctly and not straining the shoulder.
 ergocarrier2 A “soft structured carrier”, this can be used from 4 months on (you can use it from birth with an infant insert, but I personally didn’t like it for the newborn age).  You can have baby in the front facing you or on your back and it goes up to 45 lbs.  As the name suggests it is very comfortable for both baby/toddler and mom/dad.

divider2Just as important as comfort is safety when babywearing.

Never allow baby to be put in a position where his chin rests on his chest as this can compromise his breathing. (This is why bag-type slings should not be used as this is the main position baby is in in them). And, of course, always take note of:

  1. baby’s body temperature so he/she doesn’t overheat
  2. that baby has proper head support with an open airway
  3. and that baby’s head and face aren’t covered

Also stay away from carriers so affectionately known as “crotch-danglers”. These carriers only have a small strip of fabric between the legs, causing them to dangle. Apart from looking visibly uncomfortable for baby, these do not support the hips properly or safely and put baby at risk for hip dysplasia. Proper babywearing places the baby or child’s hips in a V formation with their knees higher than their bottom.

Another thing I want to mention is realistic use.  As much as I love wearing my little guy, sometimes in certain situations it really is just easier to take a stroller or place him in the shopping cart. And that’s okay!  So don’t get caught up in the all or nothing mentality – that’s the beauty of it – you can choose whatever works best!

Happy babywearing!

Erin Whitlock

About Erin Whitlock

Erin is a busy mom of 4 boys, ages 1-8 who tries to navigate the path of motherhood as naturally as possible. After graduating from the University of Texas, she was a reading specialist before becoming a full-time mom. While on a long journey with her boys due to reflux, multiple food allergies, and other challenges, she turned to more natural solutions with great success. When she's not at the baseball fields watching the oldest 3 boys play ball, Erin enjoys running, trying out new (allergy & kid friendly) recipes, and embracing the crazy life that fills her with happiness.

Dr. Laura: You’ve Got it Going On

Posted: 2350 days ago in Parenting

drlaura

I found this little doozy on Dr. Laura’s site, and posted it to our Facebook page.

“Everyone talks about leaving a better planet for our kids. Let’s try to leave better kids for our planet.”

Wowzers… needless to say, people went crazy for it.

Dr. Laura, you hit a home run with that one. But, OH! What does it mean that we are giving the virtual “Hell Yes!” to this statement? Are we really practicing a global parenting fail as we speak? — Hold me, because I’m scared this may be true.

What the hell is wrong with us???

My take – and I am as guilty as anyone – is that we tell our kids one thing (at least we say we do!) and model a different thing. Do any of these thing sound familiar?

1. “Put down your technology” uttered with no eye contact, as you check your email.
2. “It’s important to have family dinners” as you read or text while you eat.
3. “You don’t need more things” as you unload more bags from your latest mall run.

Are you picking up what I’m putting down? If we are raising a bunch of spoiled brats, it’s because we taught them to act that way! It’s truly no one else’s fault but our own. Sorry, but it’s true. Take a hall pass on the “my kids are perfect” routine and have an honest look at whether or not you are raising a spoiled brat. And truly, some of you are, because there are a ton of them out there.

153078895And if you are, do something about it. Please.

Because I have taken a good look in the mirror, and can honestly say that I’m doing my best to leave better kids for this planet – not always successfully – but I’m really, really trying.

I would love for them to have some good company.

Have a Baby? The Years are So Short….but the Days are So. Freaking. Long.

Posted: 2463 days ago in Parenting

Three toddlers in a bathtubeHindsight is 20/20 – blah blah blah.

If I could give one piece of advice to new parents, it would be to truly enjoy each moment with your baby.

That is so generic, right?

Of course you intend to stay present. But then the damn kid won’t stop crying, and you want to throw “it” out the window. — Did I just say that out loud?? — You are not alone if you’ve had those thoughts. Thankfully I did not throw said child out the window, but I did leave her in her crib for an hour while she screamed bloody murder, like someone was disemboweling her. I sat on the front porch, smoking a cigarette (I don’t smoke) and crying to myself that I was never going to survive this.

Did I mention that there was no clean laundry to be found, and my cupboards were bare?

When the heck was it going to get easier???

Well, guess what. It’s over 15 years later, and it’s not easier yet. It’s different, but not easier.

My point? Every day with kids is amazing, lovely, and horrible – often within the same 5 minutes. Do your best to focus and savor the amazing and lovely parts which will certainly help to get you through the horrible parts.

You will one day miss even those, I promise you.

The Circumcision Decision

Posted: 2492 days ago in Health

circumcision_decisionThis is a tough one for me. I don’t have a son, and that’s probably a good thing, since I have strong medical opinions on this controversial issue, and just as strong and yet conflicting, social ones.

You see, I truly don’t believe we were born with “extra parts.”  The foreskin covers and protects the glans – or head – of the penis because it’s extremely sensitive. Wouldn’t it be ludicrous to cut off a baby’s eyelids? How is circumcision any different than that?

The American Academy of Pediatric’s position is that there is no medical need for routine circumcision unless the child’s health is at risk.

It’s a hygiene issue, you say? Don’t some of our parts and pieces need a little more attention in the shower than others? Shall we cut off our kids’ outer ears because you could grow potatoes back there? That is a poor excuse in my opinion. All of the conditions that are potentially more prevalent in boys or men with uncircumcised penises are directly hygiene-related. Doesn’t it make sense that if you don’t wash well, you can harbor funky stuff down there? I don’t need a penis to know that!

Don’t get me started on the fact that this procedure is done without anesthetic. I’ve been witness to quite a few of these procedures, and the screams could shatter a person’s eardrums.

If circumcision is part of your religious beliefs, then I bow to you on this one. Nothing should come between you and your God or Goddess.

Now comes the [social] conflict for me. 

Though I am innately opposed to messing with my kids’ bodies, I would be hard pressed, if I had a baby boy, not to circumcise him.

I know, I know! I can be a walking contradiction but hear me out.

Have you seen one of those things? I have, and even in the dim light of the dashboard (don’t tell my mother!), it scared me to death! Can you imagine a young lady for her first time, encountering an uncircumcised one??

There’s also the fact that since my kids’ Papa is circumcised, I think it might be weird for Baby to look so different. How do you explain that one? Although, I’ve noticed that more and more parents are moving away from routine circumcision, so the locker room jokes are quite likely a thing of the past.

There is a lot of support from both camps, and clearly this is an issue that needs to be well-thought out if you are pregnant and expecting a blue bundle of joy. In the end, it all really comes down to what matters to you, the parents. That’s it. What factors tip the decision one way or the other?

Please, please, don’t let your son be circumcised without making an informed decision. After all, it will affect him for a lifetime. Clearly I am against routine circumcision medically, but okay with it for religious or social reasons.

Call it what you will.

This is just one of the difficult decisions you will have to make as a parent, and I wish you luck!

That’s all I’ve got for you on that one. Check out these resources for more information:

Parents.com     Mayoclinic.com     IntactAmerica.org      NoCirc.org

Twin Skin

Posted: 2510 days ago in Mirror Mirror Parenting

twinskinOne of my favorite radio personalities, Dr. Jenn Bermann referred to the blown-out skin of her belly after she had twins as “twin skin.” Well, I have it also, but without the badge of honor of popping out a two-fer.

There are few mamas out there whose bellies sailed through one or more pregnancies with nary a stretch mark or sag, and I curse you every time I see you.

The rest of us have blown-out skin that most closely resembles a balloon that’s been blown up almost to bursting, then deflated.  Or in the case of our boobs, a pair of old athletic socks that have been worn for a day or two, resulting in a bra size best described as “34 long.”

Most things have a limitation of matter, and our skin is one of them. If we grow and expand s-l-o-w-l-y, our skin can adapt, staying smooth and supple. But pregnancy or other rapid weight gain can push the limits of what our skin can handle, and the result is stretch marks. If and when the pressure is released (i.e. we have the baby or lose the weight), we are left with saggy skin.

C’est la vie…

In a perfect world, we embrace the battle scars that our lives have left behind and invest in some good foundation garments (i.e. Spanx!). If you just can’t get past it, plastic surgery can definitely help to tighten things up, but with the obvious downsides of scarring, not to mention the risks that all surgeries bring.

Love it or loathe it, it’s a fact of life for most of us. To those of you dealing with it – just know you’re not alone.

Much love!

Please Don’t Go! But Oh No Really, Go.

Posted: 2531 days ago in Parenting

leavenowYou want to talk about difficult transitions? Then let’s talk about my 16-year-old daughter Francesca; a high schooler who just finished her college applications.

Let the record show, she is my heart. I love her so much, as we all do our children, but she is very much her own person as children are, and we don’t often see eye to eye or speak the same language.

You feel me?

So it may come off as shocking, or perhaps not so shocking for those parents who can relate to my conflicting and sometimes schizophrenic thoughts of  not wanting her to leave vs. really wanting her to be gone yesterday. And it’s all because of the decisions like the one she made this past Sunday night.

After being gone all day with friends, she comes into my room at 10:00 at night, sits on my bed, and continues to inform me that she still has to do her homework. At 10:00 PM on a Sunday night! Now, don’t get me started about how important sleep is to a teenager, but beyond that I find myself frustrated by her lack of responsible decision making.

But instead of taking the opportunity for a potential bonding moment, I simply yelled at her.

The point in writing this piece is that I have sincerely started to question, “what is more important?” I can remember a time when she was nine and I found myself thinking, “she’s halfway grown. I only have her for another nine years.” I made those kind of mental measurements all throughout her life, calculating how much time we had left, and now I’m down to just 1/18th.

So, I’ve had almost 17 years of making her breakfast, and washing her clothes, which by the way no longer include ‘day of the week’ undies but instead Victoria’s Secret delicates. I have to face it – she has grown into a young woman, and I can’t expect to be around for every decision she makes and ultimately they are her decisions and her consequences.

I have to accept the fact that my work is essentially done, and it’s time to savor our last year together.

What’s the take away here? I find myself being a kinder and more gentle mom; making a point to not let my buttons get pushed because I want to carpe diem the moments we have left instead of just arguing them away.

My struggle now is not with, nor should it be with her.fulldisclosure My struggle is with me.

So, what if we may not see eye to eye on everything? She is her own person who has grown from that little steel grey-eyed baby girl into a young woman. Besides, I think life has a funny way of preparing us for these kinds of difficult transitions: arguments that make us like each other less… for the moment.

The Birds & The Bees

Posted: 2560 days ago in Parenting

birdsandthebeesBefore we get into details here, I want to make one thing very clear: the “birds and the bees” isn’t just one talk – it’s an ongoing conversation with an evolutionary twist.

What do I mean by that?

Well, you obviously don’t want to talk to a three-year-old about oral sex, but there are things you can say to get the conversation going so that one “weird,” “awkward,” talk doesn’t feel so strange and embarrassing.

The main point being – never let the conversation stop.

I started the conversation with each of my girls when they were about two. While I was giving them a bath they’d say, “Ooh, Mommy it tickles down there!” to which I’d say, “Yeah, isn’t it wonderful? God made parts of your body to feel good when they’re touched.”

Of course, I waited until they were older to tell them that one day their husbands would be the one to touch down there – but you get my gist. It’s my opinion that honest, open conversations lend themselves to more of the same, and I believe that a healthy relationship with sex starts with themselves and their own anatomy.

As they get older, you teach them about masturbation. And finally, once they’re old enough you teach them about expressing their sexuality in a relationship with a partner. It’s a natural part of being human, and nothing to be ashamed about!

One day when they were both older, I asked my husband Braden (who is in medical sales) to bring home a gynecological speculum. Like clockwork, my girls asked, “What’s that?” Now, if any of you have been to the OBGYN recently, then you know what a speculum does. If you still don’t know, let me paint a picture for you… Cold. Metal. Crank!

Needless to say, I told my girls, “a speculum is what doctors use to examine you when you start being sexually active because they need to make sure that you’re healthy going into being sexually active, and that you stay healthy.” To which, they both cringed.

The point isn’t to scare them; it’s to make them realize how much responsibility comes with having sex. If they’re armed and ready with information about their own sexuality, fertility, and reproduction – they can make responsible decisions.

They will ultimately be in control; comfortable with themselves, and comfortable setting boundaries until they’re prepared to take the next step.

Dr. Tania on the Childbirth Summit!

Posted: 2574 days ago in Health

Some Questions for You:

  • Do you often wear high heels?
  • Were you or your baby delivered at the hospital using invasive procedures like forceps or a vacuum?
  • Do you really know why a woman should never give birth while lying on her back?
  • Dr. Tania Howard is a genius who sheds some amazing light on these birth issues from the perspective of a chiropractor.

Find out these answers and more in my Childbirth Summit interview!

drtania_summit
And if you like what you see, I encourage all of you to sign up for the Childbirth Summit. There’s still 10-days of expert testimonial to go on childbirth!

You Make Me Want To Puke (Part Two)

Posted: 2576 days ago in Parenting

pukept2Until I figured out that taking prenatal vitamins in the morning was making me puke, I was miserable with my pregnancy. (If you haven’t read part one to this saga, you just might want to.) Taking it with dinner made a huge difference for me, but not for my infant, nursing daughter. Jules screamed a lot in those first few months. I did everything I could to make her more comfortable, but it wasn’t until I ran out of my vitamins (again!) that she morphed from a baby who was clearly uncomfortable after feedings to one who was sweetly milk-drunk and calm.

Hmmm. If the vitamin bothered my stomach so much, could it be bothering her stomach, too? Surely there was some vitamin in my breast milk. Wasn’t I taking it while nursing to pump up my nutrient levels?

Could A + B = Colic for Jules?

I did a little experiment (come on, we all know that parenthood is an 18 year-long experiment!) and found that taking my vitamin seemed to have a direct relationship to her tummy distress. I didn’t need a double-blind study for validation; my baby was happy!

I made sure to eat really well, and only took supplements that I knew I might be lacking on a given day, like Fish Oil or Vitamin D. Individual vitamins like those didn’t bother her, but those high-octane prenatal vitamins clearly didn’t set well with either of us.

There are many reasons why babies cry, but if your baby’s discomfort seems tied to his or her feeding schedule, and particularly your vitamin schedule, you may need to rethink when and if you take them. If you experiment and find that it’s not the vitamins, then I would take a closer look at what you’re eating to find the source of your baby’s distress.

Stay tuned for more on that!

The Natural Childbirth Summit

Posted: 2584 days ago in Parenting

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]TheSummitAd[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_tabs][vc_tab title=”The Summit Starts Oct. 1″ tab_id=”1380584076306-4-1″][vc_column_text]

The National Center for Wellness presents:

The Childbirth Summit

Childbirth is one of the few, critical conversations that affects everyone and one of the most important conversations that I believe needs to be discussed.

And today, I would like to invite you to be an important part of this conversation.

Everyday, I see or hear about women wanting to give birth naturally, but are not sure where to seek advice. They have been bombarded with misinformation that only tells them every possible thing that could go wrong during pregnancy and delivery.  I have been working to provide valuable information and relate meaningful real-life experiences capable of changing their lives and the lives of their families.

I am very excited to share with you that I have recently collaborated with some of the top doctors, authors and childbirth specialists from around the world on a special project called The Childbirth Summit!

This unique event was sponsored by The National Center for Wellness, 501(c)3 to help inspire and empower women and childbirth. Because you are very important to me and are equally passionate about childbirth, I am excited to share with you this once-in-a-lifetime gift that can transform how you view childbirth and can give you (and the women you care about most) greater confidence in the innate ability to give birth with less fear and less pain.

We cant promise that an event like this will ever happen again, so make sure to take advantage of it right away![/vc_column_text][/vc_tab][vc_tab title=”What You Can Expect” tab_id=”1380582593-2-43″][vc_column_text]

This special virtual event will specifically help you to:

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  • Learn about the benefits of natural childbirth
  • Understand the difference between homebirths and hospital births
  • Make informed choices regarding c-sections versus natural deliveries
  • Learn how to improve your chances of becoming pregnant
  • Learn about pregnancy health and nutrition
  • Learn how to find the right midwife
  • Feel confident in your body’s ability to deliver a healthy baby
  • and so much more…
Click here to reserve your seat now!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tab][vc_tab title=”Summit Speakers” tab_id=”1380583993312-2-3″][vc_column_text]

We have an amazing array of over 20 international speakers in the childbirth field including:

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During the Summit, two lucky participants will be chosen to receive either:

 

An exercise ball.An exercise ball

One winner will receive an exercise ball. We all know how much I like balls…

 

 

interview2A chance to be featured in an article on DrTania.com!

Winner will be interviewed by Dr. Tania about her favorite pregnancy, birth, or parenthood moment to be featured in an article on Drtania.com….great for posterity![/vc_column_text][/vc_tab][/vc_tabs][/vc_column][/vc_row]