Friday, May 31, 2013

Late Night Advice for Tired New Mommies

My kids are all in their teens and twenties...and I still have some late nights with them. But I remember well the days when I was up in the middle of the night....the days when the baby sleeping next to me wanted to nurse all night long....the days when morning came way too fast and I was just exhausted. So the other night I asked our ANM moms what advice they would give to a tired new mommie at 11:00 at night. We got some terrific responses that should help any new mama struggling with sleep deprivation!

Sleep When You Can

Snatching sleep anywhere you can was a common theme.  K. suggested, "If they are nursing, try to nurse while laying down. I would cat nap while my daughter nursed once I found out she would nurse while we both lay on our sides. Those micronaps saved me!"

R. said, "Take a deep breath - this too shall pass.  Oh, and forget the housework - SLEEP!"  

B. added, "Sleep every time baby sleeps - the laundry can wait!"

M. offered this advice: " Do whatever it takes to get some sleep. Whether that's putting baby in bed with you, in a separate sleep space, or asking dad to tend to baby until baby's ready to eat again. Whatever works. Take a nap tomorrow, too, at least one. Don't worry about the dishes or the laundry or sweeping the floor; it will all still be there when you aren't feeling so tired.

A. said, "Nap when your baby naps, eat when your baby eats (if you can), breathe, get something to drink and think of something relaxing or watch TV." 

S. offered this very practical suggestion:  "Cosleep and read The No Cry Sleep Solution. It helped me to understand sleep better in general...and to be more realistic. Pantley explains it so well!"

L. proferred these words of encouragement:" At some point, they do start sleeping through the night!"  

Use Your Support Network

Several moms pointed out the importance of taking advantage of any help you can get.  E. said, "It's okay to ask for help from a family member or friend!" 

T. added, "This is not forever. you can handle this. Maybe through tears and most likely with some much-appreciated help, but you can handle this. Make sure you've had some food and lots of water, and crawl in bed the moment you can."   

A. had this to say, "If you can, take a mini-break for yourself once a dy. It could be as simple as going to buy a coke BY YOURSELF with no noise and no one to take care of. It could just be taking a bath or shower. Little breaks help you stay sane. And everyone has days where they put baby in Dad's arms and say 'I can't do it any more right now.' Take a break and you can do it again. My first was colicky...sometimes you have to put them down in their bed and walk away for a minute. The best thing to do is surround yourself with positive, encouraging people. It's a hard job, but it's the best job and only you can do it as well as you can, because YOU are MOM!" 

Create a No-Guilt. No-Stress Zone

One of our mantras at A Nurturing Moment is "We don't do guilt!"  S. had this to say: "It's okay if you are frustrated or angry...don't feel guilty -- it doesn't make you a bad mommy or mean you love your baby any less. You will feel better after you get a little bit of rest!"  

Image from
H. offered this advice: "If you or baby can't sleep (particularly if baby is nursing at short intervals all night long), make yourself a little "nest" someplace like the recliner; get comfy, play your favorite movies/tv shows (or load your Kindle with a great book), and hang in there.  Sleep will happen before too long. In the meantime, try not to stress, and know that this too shall pass. Any you'l probably look back and freak out that it's passed so quickly!" 

G. added, "It's really hard to enjoy something when you can barely function. It is worth enjoying; it IS exhausting, and whatever you are feeling is real. If baby is screaming, put her down in a safe place, go pee, get a drink of water, maybe a bite of chocolate, and relax. The go back and be a mommy again." 

E. offered this encouragement: "Trust yourself. You're doing great!"

Treasure These Moments 

Many of our moms talked about how quickly time passes and suggested looking for the good in this situation.  

C. said, "Enjoy the snuggle time and soak it all up because they grow up way too fast." 

G. added,"Time flies by...blink and they grow. You won't be nursing them at 11:00 pm for very long." 

P. suggested a wonderful post from her blog, Adaptive Mom and said, "Enjoy every moment. You will miss these moments someday."  

Darius Rucker with his 4 year old son, Jack
R. had this to say: "Enjoy it!!! It will be over soon and will never happen again; she will be on to a new chapter in her life and will laugh about it one day!"  

B. said, "It won't be like this for long!"  and K. added, "It gets way more fun!"

M. concluded with these words of wisdom: "I would tell her to take advantage of the quiet and alone time with just you and baby when those late night sessions come around. I loved when it was just me and baby up while everyone else was was our alone time to just snuggle. No getting water for the other kids, no expectations from anyone else. Just us. Make the most of it."  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Chubby Babies Lactation Cookies Bring Good Luck AND More Milk!

By Wendy Short Carlton, Guest Blogger

Chubby Babies Cookies from Good Natured Gourmet
I've been desperately trying to find anything that will help increase my milk supply. I had tried the malunggay, fenugreek, reglan, mother's milk tea, increasing water intake... All of which did not produce the results I had hoped for.

The women at ANM even provided me with a recipe for lactation cookies. However, when I started shopping for supplies, I noticed this was going to be quite an investment for something I wasn't even sure was going to work. I was feeling frustrated, defeated, tired, and almost to the point of giving up with exclusively breastfeeding.

Then, I saw ANM advertising a premade mix for lactation cookies. All you have to add is a stick of butter and an egg to the mixture. With preparation and baking, everything takes about 15 minutes. That's it! Although both mixes I purchased were DELICIOUS, I tried cooking the second batch about a minute longer which made the cookies hold together a little better. Both mixes I tried were very moist and tasty and made my house smell heavenly! I think they may have also brought us good luck in selling our house because our house sold the day after I made them!

As far as an increase in milk production, I noticed some difference in how long my 4 month old son stayed full. Typically, he nurses every 2-3 hours during the day. At night, he'd wake up at least once around 2 or 3 am to nurse. The cookies seemed to help extend this time to about 3-4 hours during the day, and he ended up sleeping through the night!

I would definitely recommend this product to moms who need a boost in their milk supply. These cookies disappeared from the plate fast in our house. My husband enjoyed several before realizing what they were! I will be going back for more soon. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Send Some Fluffy Love to Oklahoma Mamas

Showers of Hope has a Diaper Drive!

by Amy Newsome, guest blogger

In Alabama we're all too familiar with tornadoes and their aftermath. I remember the too-warm-for-November day in 1989 when the sky turned green and the surreal weeks that followed, staring at the damage and debris through the window of my parents' car as traffic crawled down Memorial Parkway. The school where I'd attended first grade had been reduced to rubble. My aunt and cousins were at the intersection of Whitesburg and Airport Road, but by the grace of God were relatively unharmed. The sky turned green again in 2011 and funnels of wind traced paths of destruction across our state, part of the largest tornado outbreak ever recorded. I listened to the radio, hearing accounts of the damage in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and - closer to home - in Arab and Harvest. Due to a week without electricity I lost some groceries. Too many others in our community lost everything.
Monday afternoon I logged into FaceBook and my breath caught in my throat as I started to read. It had all happened again, this time in Oklahoma. I'll be honest, with my seven-month-old to care for I haven't had the emotional fortitude to follow the news coverage, but I've been very thankful to learn of a specific need in the area that I can help meet.
Three organizations - Shower of Hope Oklahoma, Fluffy Bums of Tulsa and The Greater Tulsa Area Great Cloth Diaper Change - are organizing a supply drive for families in Moore who lost their homes in the tornado. They're collecting disposable and cloth diapers, wipes, diaper creams and other baby/toddler items (pacifiers, teethers, baby food, toddler snacks, infant formula, bottles, et cetera). Gently used, functional cloth diapers of all varieties (fitteds with covers, flats/pre-folds with covers, pocket diapers and inserts, AIO and AI2 diapers) and accessories/fasteners such as Snappis or Boingos are needed and will be greatly appreciated. New-in-package and loose disposable diapers are also welcome - every diaper will make a difference.
There will be a collection point for diapers and other childcare supplies at A Nurturing Moment through May 31st, at which point we hope to send a gigantic care package to the families affected by this tragedy. Monetary donations toward the shipping cost will be accepted through The MOM Foundation.
Donations and care packages can also be mailed directly to:
BJ Lardizabal/Shower of Hope Oklahoma
C/O McGraw Realtors
308 N. Aspen
Broken Arrow, OK 74012
Additionally, Shower of Hope Oklahoma has established an Wish List from which you can have items shipped directly to them

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Breastfeeding in a Word

From Tips on Breastfeeding
I asked our ANM moms what one word they would use to describe breastfeeding. The response was varied and interesting. They ranged from "awesome" and "empowering" to "nipple-shredding." One male respondent  actually said "gross." I'm guessing he didn't have a wife who gave his baby the amazing gift of mother's milk! I've divided the responses into several categories.

Practical Benefits of Breastfeeding

"Convenient" and "free" are both very practical benefits of breastfeeding. Of course, it is "natural" and "nurturing,"  and leads to an amazing "connection" between mom and baby. But it is also "relaxing." Some moms feel that breastfeeding is "easy, " while others would say it is "difficult." However, only a nursing mom can truly say that the privilege of feeding her baby is all "mine."


First and foremost, breastfeeding is a "choice." The reality is that for some mothers, breastfeeding doesn't get off to an idealistic start; for some it is "challenging." One mother called it "painful," while another described it as "(painful) bonding."  Moms recognize that it requires "commitment," "dedication," and "perseverance." One dad pointed out that it can leave mom "peaked." Then, of course, we have the punny mom who points out that breastfeeding "sucks"!

Sweet Responses

Breastfeeding your baby really is "mothering" at its best; it is truly an act of "love." Baby gets the perfect "entree"! Responses like "contentment," "rewarding," "loving,"  "blessing," "peaceful," "enlightening," "wonderful," "beautiful," "amazing," point out the warm feelings that breastfeeding engenders in many women. It is "comforting - for mom and baby," and leads to an incredible "bond." Another benefit of nursing your baby  is the sweet "snuggles."   

The way our bodies provide milk is a "miracle." One mom asked, "How can I describe it in only word????" Another mom actually made up a new word to describe this "indescribable" experience: "amazeballs"! 

All in all, most of our moms agree that breast is "best"!  

What words would you add to this list??

Friday, May 17, 2013

Memories of Grandfather

John Ward Willson IV
A year ago today I lost the most influential, amazing man I have ever known, my daddy. He worked in the travel industry into his eighties - still traveling around the world, meeting people, coordinating group trips and making connections. He loved people, and they loved him.

Some of my favorite memories of my daddy involve him as a grandfather. He always insisted that the grandkids call him Grandfather, not Grandpa or Granddad...He was "Grandfather!" The name suited him well because he was quite distinguished. Yet he knew how to make an entire room full of people absolutely roll in laughter. And he knew how to delight his grandchildren, all of whom adored him.

When he laid eyes on his first grandchild, my daughter Sarah, he was
My dad surrounded by his kids and grandkids.
He adored his family, and we adored him!
overcome with emotion. He was so happy to be a grandfather. As they grew, he made sure that each grandchild got to come to Dallas for a special visit with Grandfather and Gram - no parents, no rules, just a wonderful one-on-one time with grandparents who would spoil them and love them and make some wonderful memories with them.

Christmas was one of my dad's favorite times of year. He shopped all year long as he traveled to various countries. He experienced more joy than anyone I've ever known when he watched everyone open their gifts. Sometimes the gifts were amazingly insightful, like the pink pearl earrings he gave Anna or the leather-bound books he gave Daniel. Other times, they were downright hilarious, like the statuette of a man with two females (as tasteful as a threesome can be, I suppose) that he gave to a fifteen-year old Sarah. (It made the rounds through several years of regifting and Dirty Santa until it ended up with an aunt who loves it!)

When we think about my dad, our family realizes how incredibly blessed we were to have known this Renaissance man who was truly bigger than life in our eyes. His first great-grandchild was born just two weeks before he died. The juxtaposition of new life and death was very difficult for me. The day my daddy died, I found myself standing by Nicholas' NICU crib telling him what an amazing great-grandfather he had as the tears streamed down my cheeks. He would have adored his great-grandson if he had ever gotten to know him.

So on this one year anniversary of his death, I just wanted to take a moment to honor his memory by telling all of you to cherish your children's grandparents. You don't know how long you will have them. Be sure to make wonderful memories with them so that long after they're gone, your children will carry them in their hearts!

Monday, May 13, 2013


From a terrific article on Public Breastfeeding in The Maneater.
Just the other day a friend of mine, who is also a new grandmother and was once a La Leche League leader when her babies were small, was visiting with me here in the store. Our talk turned to attitudes about breastfeeding - particularly across the generations and here in the Sunny South.

She commented that many of the young mothers in her church don't breastfeed for very long, and that those who do may be asked to go to the Nursing Mother's Room rather than nurse where anyone can see them. On a recent outing with other mothers and adolescent daughters, the topic of breastfeeding came up, and one of the ladies said something like, "Oh, we really shouldn't talk about things like that with the girls around." Really??? Maybe that's why the young mothers in that church don't breastfeed for very long...perhaps if they were exposed to the normalcy of breasts being used to feed babies, they might actually succeed!

I decided to ask our ANM moms for other examples of breastfeeding being considered taboo, and
got some very interesting responses. In the interest of protecting our moms' privacy, I'm just going to use an initial here, not names.

SHHH...We don't Do That Here!

In some families and cultural groups, breastfeeding is considered something that is either inappropriate or should be kept hidden.

S. had a grandmother with an interesting perspective:
My Nana told me that only poor people breastfed because they couldn't afford formula.

T. has a family where breastfeeding is kept very secretive:
My family keeps breastfeeding a secret! One of my aunts kept it so well hidden that even though she nursed three of my cousins (and our family has ALWAYS gotten together on average 2-3 Sundays a month) it took me having my first baby to find out! She was my biggest (and only related) supporter for all three of my children! Even with her support, I was still banished to a bedroom for feedings. I couldn't imagine nursing in front of my grandfather, anyway. He refers to breasts as "bosoms." I am glad that I was able to bring it up to my younger female cousins; all but two had never known anyone to nurse. Now they are finally comfortable enough to come in and keep me company!

K. was at a baby shower where she had this conversation:
From Mommy Letters to Baby.
One woman was telling the mom-to-be about the private nursing room we have at church. I piped up with a "But don't feel like you *have* to use it!" and explained that I nursed my last 3 children right where I sat during church services (usually less than 5 rows from the front, even). The nursing room mom said, "I was too modest to do that..." As if modestly really has anything to do with it. I certainly didn't disrobe! 

You're Still Doing THAT??

Not too long ago we wrote a tongue-in-cheek blog called "How Long Do You Plan to Nurse That Baby?" Unfortunately, here in the South most women do not nurse even the full year recommended by the AAP
Apparently it's even taboo on Facebook!
A. responded this way:
No one in my family has breastfed longer than the first few weeks to a month. So most of my family asked, many times, "Are you STILL nursing?" after he hit 6 months. My mom won't look at me when I'm nursing, and once told me he was "old enough for formula; there's nothing wrong with it." I finally said, "no. No. NO!" I asked her if she had ever even looked at the ingredients of formula. She was shocked when I told her the first ingredient was corn syrup. My grandmother is more "supportive" and just says she has her opinions about it, but knows I've researched it, and that it's my body and my baby. 

B. had this to offer:
My mother complains that I'm still nursing my 11 month old. She says that's why they cry when she holds them.

P. had a supportive family, but commented about a neighbor:
I did have a neighbor ask me why can't I just pump and put it in a bottle now that she's "so old." (her baby is only 19 months old.) Why would I pull a toddler from the source and introduce a bottle at this age?

Gotta Love Those Great-Grandpas!

It seems that some great-grandfathers tend to be more supportive than the women of their generation. 

C. recalled the interesting reactions of both of her grandparents:
The first time I had to nip (nurse in public) with my ENTIRE family, I thought my grandmother was going to turn beet red. My granddad, noticing what I was doing said very loudly because he's mostly deaf," If anybody doesn't like it, they can just get out of here." I needed his support as a new and nervous mom. I didn't even know how much until he said that...not to mention the comic relief of everyone hearing him!

Finally, this discussion made M. remember her baby's great-grandfather:
This reminds me of a sweet comment made to me by my husband's 90 year old granddad. I was a new mom nervously nursing our first baby under a cover. Granddad told me about when he was a boy with several older sisters. Whenever it was time to feed the babies, all the mommies would sit on the porch together, rocking and chatting while they nursed.

Do you have a "Taboobie" tale to share? Leave it in the comments so we can all enjoy it!

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Foray into Elimination Communication

Kate Pittman, pictured her with husband Jason,
happened upon EC with her 5 month old daughter.

Guest Blog by Kate Pittman

Elimination Communication or EC, often colloquially referred to as "potty training your baby" is a potty training method which has been used for centuries and is still commonly practiced in countries throughout the world today.  This blog will take a moment to explain, observe and comment on the practices and practicality of using EC to potty train our babies here in the 21st century  in America.

The Concept

First, let's dive into the concept.  The idea with Elimination Communication is that you can teach a human being to be potty trained from birth.  Some theories state that, in fact, humans are born potty trained, and by the use of diapers we teach our infants to go against their instincts and to eliminate waste on themselves.  By putting a diaper on a child and waiting for him to pee or poop before changing him, in essence his parents are rewiring his brain to do something unsanitary.  Once you succeed in teaching your baby to defecate in a diaper you will then have to go back 2-3 years later and unteach him in a process we call "potty training". So why not start out on the potty from day 1?  

There are varying degrees to which you commit to EC.  The most hard core version goes something like this.  No diapers!  It sounds phenomenal right?  Why would we not all be doing this from the start?  Well, the fact is, there is a lot of work to be done.  If you want start potty training from birth at the hospital, you will need to communicate your plans with your care staff (just like we communicate our desire for breastfeeding vs bottle feeding). Explain to them that you are practicing elimination communication and would prefer for them not to diaper your baby while he is outside of your room.  

If your baby isn't going to be diapered then you will need to be prepared for messes at first.  Every time you give the baby a bottle or nurse him, be prepared with some extra cloth diaper inserts or waterproof bed pads or something to shield you and the baby. It will take some extra work to be prepared.  We will lay out the pros and cons in just a little bit, but if you are still with me here let's look at the logistics of this next.

The Logistics

Photo from
Now that you have a bare back newborn, what's next?  For a while it is going to be a lot of listening and learning and getting pooped on, but hey, how is that different from what we already do with a baby?  From the moment they are born our babies are learning how to rid their bodies of waste materials.  It is no easy task for them to get both urine and solid matter out of their little bodies.  We have all seen the classic "poop face" as it is known around my house.  But what you may not have noticed before is that your baby will also make "pee face" often accompanied by their signature noises.  

It is now your job to learn your babies cues.  Most often they will start these signaling noises or posturings before they get anything out.  If you are paying attention, you will notice what this looks like and how it sounds.  This is where we use our skills as parents to communicate with our babies.  They may not be using words to tell us they need to sit on the potty, but they are communicating with us through crying, gurgling, squirming etc.  

Photo from
Once we learn their language it is rather easy to understand when they tell us they are ready to go to the bathroom. A lot of a newborn's eliminations will revolve around feeding or nursing.  Noticing when your baby is pooping isn't too hard as you can smell and see it.  However, a newborn will pee so very little that it often goes unnoticed in a diaper without that handy color changing streak (if you use disposables) which is why it is recommended that you leave the diaper off.  Let me set an expectation for you.  It will take time to find the pattern and learn your babies language.  They will be pooping and peeing and making messes for a while before they make it to the potty.  Diapering your baby can seem a very easy way to avoid the messes, but know that you will often miss when it was exactly that he peed.  By leaving the diaper off you will be able to immediately tell when he emptied his bladder.  Yes, you will be cleaning up a lot of messes, but you will be able to learn your baby's signals quickly and accurately this way as opposed to guessing and missing a lot of signals when he wears a diaper.  You will want to invest in some water proof pads, and while nursing protect yourself with extra cloth diaper inserts or whatever you are comfortable with.

Photo from
As you start to notice a pee/poo pattern and can better anticipate your child, put him on the potty as soon as he starts giving you the signals, or when you know it is time. This will preempt them from going on you or the floor or wherever.  I would suggest getting a little potty and leaving it in a main room or where you nurse or feed your baby most often.  It will seem strange at first to put a little bitty on the potty, but it won't hurt them.  You are there with them and the potty won't eat them alive. I didn't put my little lady on the potty until she was holding her head up nicely; it just made me feel more comfortable, but you don't have to wait that long.  There are a couple of options as to how to take your baby to the bathroom.  I like the little potty in a common room for the ease of it.  Some prefer using a potty seat on an adult potty and others would suggest using no special apparatus and just holding onto your baby while they "sit" on the large toilet as this is another moment that can be used to bond with the baby and build trust with them.  That particular method is used more in attachment parenting.  You can also modify these rules as you see fit according to whatever works best for you.  I did put diapers on my baby when we would go out and when she was being babysat or something like that.  Some people start from birth, some start at an age that they feel more comfortable with.  My rule of thumb has always been you know best for your baby, and you will know exactly what they need, so just go with your gut.

That is pretty much it!  It may take some time to get into the routine, but after a while of practicing this you will find that you have learned your baby's patterns and schedule so well that it will start to become just a routine part of the day.  Just like feeding the baby begins to be habitual so will taking them to the restroom.  After some time has past, the method suggests that your baby will start becoming familiar with this routine as well.  And if the theory is right your infant/baby will learn to hold his pee and poo until his regularly scheduled time to go in the toilet.

My Story

Kate's children are potty training together!
 Let me take a moment and tell you my story.  My children are 20 months apart.  My son is 2 years, 4 months, and we are just now working on potty training.  We tried to use cloth with him for a hot second and it went really poorly for us.  I know it can be a great thing, and we have lots of friends who use cloth diapers; it just wasn't working for us.  But, I really hate spending money on diapers! Who doesn't, right? So we started trying to potty train him when he was about 15 months old.  We sign with him, and he started to sign "potty" when he would pee in his diaper.  So we thought we were golden!  Long story short there, I don't know what we did wrong, but over a year later he still isn't potty trained!  We have taught him many things about the potty though, and one of his favorite things is to say "yuck" about a poopy diaper.  

When our daughter was about five months old he caught her going poo poo in her diaper and told her "yuck" and proceeded to scold her about pooing in her diaper and how she is suppose to go in the potty.  Instead of trying to explain to him how it was okay for her but not okay for him etc etc etc i told him, "you know what you are right buddy! She is suppose to go in the potty just like you!"  Later that night he was in the bath and Maggie and I were playing on the floor when she started to make the face again.  Thomas, my son, saw this and said "Quick! Potty." His potty seat was right there, so I stripped her down really quickly and sat her on the potty.  She was 5 months old.  She pooped and peed and Thomas and I cheered for her.  I felt brilliant!  

Little did I know at the time that I hadn't forged some sort of new potty training frontier.  The concept of EC has been around forever and is still actively practiced in many cultures around the world.  But that is how I first stumbled across the concept of putting a baby on the potty.  I started learning her signals, and it wasn't too long at all before she was going exclusively on the toilet, except for nap times and bed time.  For a while my 5-6 month old was better about using the potty than my 2 year old!  We have, however, fallen off the wagon.  I went back to work for a few months, and we couldn't keep up with it when I wasn't at home with her all the time.  I am not sure if we will try and pick it back up or if that window of opportunity has closed.  It is said that potty training your baby is most effective if started before 6 months of age, but there is not any harm in trying at any point.

Pros and Cons

Now, let us talk about the pros and cons.   


We are going to start out with the cons and get that out of the way.  First, let's talk about the culture of acceptance of this practice.   This is America, and we do not practice Elimination Communication as a society.  I am not commenting on whether this is a good or bad thing, just the fact that it is not a cultural norm.  In my experience, I got some push back.  Some people thought is was kind of cool, but when I did it all the time they looked at me like I might be somehow hurting my child.  It is something that is neither widely understood nor easily accepted in my experience.  Also, to succeed at this you pretty much have to be the sole caregiver of your child, or those who care for your child during the day (relatives, day care workers, etc) must be willing to practice this.  I do not see how EC could be properly practiced at a day care facility for sanity reasons. Furthermore, it is a very one-on-one process as every child is going to have slightly different cues.  Also, it is a huge investment up front in time and supplies.  You will be doing a lot of laundry, more so than just the typical boat load you do with a newborn.  There will be more messes than what is usual with a newborn while you are learning signals and schedules.

Photo from
Keep in mind, too, this is not something you teach your child and they keep up with.  This is a process that will continue until they can use the potty all by themselves.  You will have to keep up with the schedule and notice the signals.  You will be the one taking your baby to the potty and undressing him, and for a while holding him on the potty.  And you will have to clean and redress them when they are done.  That means if you get sick, or go to work, or leave your child with the in-laws for a weekend get away or anything changes with your regularly scheduled routine, it will be rather easy for baby to get out of sync and take steps backwards in the potty department.  This is a commitment.  

Some doctors worry that it can cause urinary tract infections and constipation.  This fear comes from the fact that if a baby starts to hold his urine or poop for an extended period of time --  and for a little baby that can be a matter of 10-20 minutes -- that his bowels may slow down and become impacted if this process is repeated every day for days on end.  There has been the concern expressed by some doctors that with tiny bladders and such close proximity within their tiny bodies that holding urine can cause inflammation and infection.  From my research it seems these concerns are easily addressed by taking your child frequently to the potty and making sure you keep him and his surroundings clean. 

Now you might be thinking that this sounds like a lot of time and work.  You are right.  I would ask that you also remember how much time, effort and money you put into buying diapers, changing diapers, cleaning up a poopy baby and inevitable accidents they will still have and weigh that against the effort of practicing EC.


Photo from
Okay, now that we have the negative out of the way let's look at the positive stuff.  One of the greatest positives is you don't have to buy diapers!  Whether you buy cloth or disposable diapers there is no question it is expensive!  And for what?  Diapers are made to be pooped in, thrown away, and abused.  the average American household spends anywhere from $600
-2600 on diapers alone (cloth and disposable respectively).  Potty training your baby is free!  You will only have to train your baby once, and you won't have to change a thing as he gets older and all his little friends are starting to go through potty training.  Anyone who has ever potty trained a toddler knows it can be a nightmare. They are opinionated; they will fight you verbally and physically at some point or another, and you have no clue how long it will take for them to completely potty train.  We, for example, have been working on it for a whole year now!

"My Carry Potty," available at A Nurturing Moment,
provides a very convenient way to have a
potty available everywhere you go!
The good news with EC is, if your newborn has an older sibling you won't have to worry about the big kids "regressing." I have had so many friends tell me that their pediatricians said not even to bother potty training their toddlers if they had another baby on the way.  They say it would be pointless to potty train the soon-to-be big brother or big sister because they would inevitably start going in their diaper again when they see baby do it.  With a potty trained baby this is never an issue, and it is actually a pretty good example.  For a while we were all in a routine together.  If one of us went, we would all have a turn on the potty.  Plus, by and large, a baby will not fight you about where they go, so it actually is easier to potty train a baby.  The last good reason I can think of might not be universally applicable, but it was for me and one of my best girl friends.  For whatever reason, both of our daughters, born 5 days apart and both breast fed, struggled with pooping.  We are not sure why, but their stools would be more compact and hard.  They both would kick their legs, tighten up and cry when it came time to go.  I found as soon as I started putting ours on the potty, pooping was a lot easier for her.  I don't know if it was the sitting position or the fact that she had open space under her rather than sitting in a chair and having the poop squish right back on her, or what it was exactly, but pooping in the potty eliminated her struggles and her crying. Out of all the reasons previously listed that one was enough for me.

I hope this has been educational and helpful for anyone who was curious about it.  I would be more than happy to continue a one-on-one conversation for anyone who has questions or wants to talk further about Elimination Communication.  I am no expert, but I am a Mom with experience, and often  that is more than enough qualification!

Kate Pittman is the mother of two children, a two year old boy and a nine month old girl.  She encourages moms to follow their instincts in parenting.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Grandma Rules

Nicholas turned one today!
by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC
One year ago today my oldest daughter gave me the most amazing gift ever, my first grandchild! I've thought a lot about this marvelous first year of Nicholas' life. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching my daughter be a mother. I love hearing the little voice she saves just for Nicholas. Her face lights up just talking about him. This year has given me a wonderful new appreciation and respect for her.

Here at A Nurturing Moment I work with a lot of young moms - some younger than my daughter and some older. I see many amazing grandmothers come in with their daughters and grandbabies. Most of the time, the grandmother is incredibly supportive of the daughter.

Sometimes, however, I will see a mom who is truly upset because her mother (or perhaps it's her mother-in-law) doesn't think she's doing a good-enough job. I decided to address this issue with a few "Grandma Rules" because it is heartbreaking for the new mother. She really longs for her own mother's approval. Sometimes it's so bad that the new mother feels she has to put some distance between herself and her mother (or mother-in-law.) That just leads to more hurt feelings, misunderstandings and perhaps ugly words.

Grandma's Role

Whether you like it or not, if you're the grandmother, then your job is to support and encourage the mother. Maybe she isn't doing things the way you would do them. SO WHAT??? This is her baby! You had your turn at being a mother, now it's her turn. She is the expert on her baby, not you! Your job is to support and encourage her. If you disagree with something she's doing, it's fine to gently make a suggestion, but then leave her alone. You raised her to be the woman she is, so have some confidence in her abilities!

After 24 hours of labor, Sarah got her epidural and felt great!
I love my daughter very much, but she certainly is not my clone! We have very different views in several areas:
  • Childbirth: I am a huge advocate of natural, unmedicated birth. I had a bad epidural experience and three amazing natural births.  Sarah, on the other hand, was all about getting that epidural. She woke up in labor at 3:00 am on May 1 and had progressively stronger contractions throughout the day. We headed to the hospital around midnight. After a horrible night of labor (with her mother who was there to support her snoring loudly on the pull-out bed next to her), she really needed the relaxation the epidural afforded her. It was her choice, and she had the birth she wanted. I was thrilled for her!
  • Breastfeeding: I'm a IBCLC and nursed all my kids at least two years. Sarah wanted very much to breastfeed, but because Nicholas  was 7 weeks premature, they didn't get off to a good start. But boy could she pump! She pumped religiously for him for 4 months. At that point she was just ready to be done. I told her how proud I was of her for giving Nicholas 4 months worth of liquid gold. 
  • Nicholas was just 3lb. 6oz. when he was born
    and spent 5 weeks in the NICU.
  • Nighttime Parenting: From the time Sarah was 6 months old (and we discovered Dr. Sears) we co-slept. All of our babies were in our bed and we loved it. Nicholas slept in his parents' room for the first few months after he came home, but then they moved him upstairs to his crib where he slept through the night quite well. There were certainly nights when he was in their room, but he seems to really like being in his crib. My daughter is the expert on her baby and knows what he needs.
Nourish Your Relationships

Grandmothers have several very important relationships to nurture.

Spouse:  The first and most important is with grandpa, if he's in the picture. Those who are blessed enough to have made it 25+ years in their marriage need to continue cherishing and building that relationship.

Child: The next critical relationship is the one with your own child. If your daughter is the new mother, she is probably really longing for your support and affirmation. She needs to know that you think she's doing a good job. Remember when mothering was brand new for you? Remember how uncertain you were? Even when she's grown the most important thing you can give your daughter is unconditional love and affirmation.

I love being with my daughter and grandson!
Maybe you didn't breastfeed, but you can still support her in her decision to nurse her baby. If you feel like she's making lifestyle choices that are truly dangerous (drug use, ignoring her baby, etc.) then you absolutely need to confront her and intervene if necessary. But feeding method and parenting style are NOT in the category of dangerous lifestyle choices.

If your son is the new dad, you need to recognize that your daughter-in-law probably has a special bond with her own mother. Allow her to invite you in; don't push your way in. Be there to support and encourage, but don't try to manage their lives. If you do, you may find that you cause serious damage to your relationship with your son.

Grandchild: This is the fun, wonderful relationship where you get to indulge, love and maybe even
spoil your precious grandchild just a little bit. However, be mindful of the boundaries his parents have set. If his mom doesn't want to start solids until he's at least 6 months, then don't try to sneak in a little rice cereal just because you think he's ready for it. If she doesn't want him to have sugar, then don't give him a cookie when he's at your house. If you make an effort to do things her way and respect her parenting method, it will make things much easier on your grandchild. He won't be confused as he gets older.

Grandbaby snuggles rock!
Don't ever say anything negative about either of his parents - even if they're not together any more. Growing up as a child of divorce is hard enough without having a grandparent spouting venom about one of your parents! Your job as a grandparent is to love your grandchild, give him a safe home away from home, and support his parents in all you say and do!

If you follow these simple "Grandma Rules," you'll find yourself surrounded by children who really appreciate you and grandchildren who absolutely adore you! After all, Grandma Rules!!