Breastfeeding and Working Mothers

babies in bloom breastfeeding and working mothersIt’s easy to make plans while you are still pregnant, isn’t it? Like breastfeeding for example.  A lot of moms-to-be will have an idea of how long they want to breastfeed for – that is if they want to breastfeed at all of course.

But you know what they say, life is what happens when you are busy making plans. Sometimes life just ‘happens’ to us and not in the way we first imagined it. Your best laid plans may feel impossible once baby arrives, because babies are simply unpredictable bundles of awesomeness.

Breastfeeding is hard work, long hours and can be determined by so many variables –from a mother’s physical discomfort or baby’s tongue tie, to the level of emotional support. Going the distance just isn’t always that easy. Education and preparation can certainly be key for establishing successful breastfeeding in the early days. In fact, one of our most popular classes is the Breastfeeding 101 at our Boutique. This class teaches techniques to help new moms get off to a good start and avoid common problems – latching difficulties, positioning, pain, plus those endless worries about baby ‘getting enough’ milk, are some of the most common reasons for new moms to quit breastfeeding.

But what if you have survived and triumphed the exhausting early days and now have to face a return to work?

What happens beyond maternity leave?

To many working moms, continuing to breastfeed sounds like mission impossible! In fact, research just out this week suggests a direct impact of work on breastfeeding.

An Australian study of over 2,000 mothers showed that breastfeeding after returning to work may depend on how many hours a mother works. The research shows that working mothers are MORE likely to breastfeed their babies for the recommended minimum of at least six months if they can work less than 20 hours a week.

The findings add to a substantial body of evidence linking more time at home with longer periods of breastfeeding, “Breastfeeding is time consuming, often cumbersome for some employed women, and still not intentionally supported in many work sites,” said Melanie Lutenbacher, a researcher at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in Nashville.

60% of mothers in this study, who were working no more than 19 hours a week, were still breastfeeding at six months, where as 39% of women who returned full time were still breastfeeding.

A lot of the reports in the news say ‘just 39%’. JUST!

Well, we say A BIG HATS OFF to that 39% of full time working mothers! Go mamas! You are living proof it CAN be done. Your success will inspire others and see that percentage climb.

Yes, there is a lot to think about, from where and when to pump at work, to transporting and storing breast milk and employer support. Add general work stress to the mix and it can look and sound utterly overwhelming. But it IS possible with the right planning, preparation, determination and support.

In addition to our twice weekly Lactation Lounge support class, we also run Breastfeeding for Working Mothers workshops. It’s a great place to gain confidence and meet likeminded, determined mothers who want to continue breastfeeding beyond maternity. Just keep in mind that 39%, stay positive and check out our event calendar for future dates.

 

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May is Better Sleep Month

BabiesinBloom_KelseySmithPhotography2015(PrintResolution300PPINativeFile)-41“SLEEP?” we hear many of you cry. “What’s that?!”

If you are struggling to get your baby to sleep through the night, don’t worry, you’re not alone. We know it can be HARD. And when you feel like you have tried everything, we know it can feel relentless. You’re exhausted. Defeated. Overwhelmed. You’re just not you.

‘Better Sleep Month’ is all about encouraging people to seek and establish better, healthier sleeping patterns. So what better time is there than now to take a moment and virtually hug, empower and support all our sleep deprived parents out there! It WILL get better, we promise you.

First, stop telling yourself you’ve messed up. That’s just the exhaustion talking, coupled up with the obligatory mom guilt that we all know and hate. Just because your friend’s baby is sleeping 11 hours a night at nine months, doesn’t mean you have done it all wrong. There is no ‘one size fits all’ way to do this. No two babies are wired the same.

Second, it is never too late to fix it. Good sleep habits can be learned at any age says Jen Varela, our wonderful friend and Sleep Coach, be it six months or five years old.

Under the age of six months, we are not talking about sleep training, but sleep shaping. This is all about sleep hygiene and simply identifying the methods used to get baby to sleep. From around three months, small incremental steps can be taken to make adjustments in how your baby sleeps at night – this is because most infants take about 12 weeks to fully produce melatonin, the “sleep hormone.” So for example, instead of nursing him/her to sleep, simply try rocking instead. Don’t worry, baby will let you know if it is too soon to make that change. And if it is, just hit pause on this shift for a little while and then try again.

Sleep training is generally recommended for babies six months or older. This is when you use a specific method, over a period of time, and then start removing ‘sleep crutches’ to enable baby to self sooth and put his/herself to sleep.

Third, let’s be real. There will ALWAYS be tears. There is no getting away from this. But our expert Jen’s goal is always to have as little crying as possible, and to avoid ‘toxic stress.’ She believes there is a big difference between tears in arms and not. If a baby is crying in arms, there is a stress buffer there by way of the nurturing parent, vs. things like the detached ‘cry-it-out’ method. Sleep training needn’t be a battle – it CAN be gentle and successful.

Jen runs regular Gentle Sleep Coaching workshops at our Boutique, so if you feel like you need to get a better idea on methods, or just feel like you need a darn miracle, please register. She may be the Fairy Godmother you have been looking for. We promise you, no question will be a stupid question, and no case is a hopeless one. Stay strong folks – this too shall pass!

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Green Parenting

What a weekend!

Right after our Earth day sale, we dove in to the ‘Great Cloth Diaper Change’. Like we need an excuse at Babies in Bloom to spread a little more love for cloth diapering!

In its sixth year, the aim of this super fun global event is to set a world record for the most cloth diapers changed at one time. At 11 am on Saturday, we hosted 19 parents and their little ones for the big change, followed by a colorful cloth diaper garage sale – cuties in cute diapers overload.

Last year there was almost 7,500 GCDC participants globally, we’ll let you know what this year’s global total was – hopefully a new record. A big thank you to everyone who came down to take part at the Boutique.

 

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REDUCING YOUR BABY’S CARBON FOOTPRINT:

We all know and love cloth diapers for their environmental friendliness. It’s one of many ways in which parents can help make a difference to our planet. With this in mind, and in the aftermath of Earth Day, we’re celebrating the green power of parenting.

Here are some other unbelievably simple ways that parents can, and are, reducing their baby’s carbon footprint:

  • BREASTFEEDING: Yet another bonus to breastfeeding: it’s eco-friendly. It requires no formula cartons or containers to dispose of, and far less water due to avoiding all those bottle washes.
  • WIPES: It’s easy to pull handfuls out at a time isn’t it? And then find yourself using them all. The truth is, while there are some situations that will require a few wipes or more, most of the time half will do. Some parents chop their disposable wipes in half. A great idea. Or better still, some make their own washable wipes out of any soft fabric.
  • LAUNDRY: Babies and laundry go hand in hand, it’s unavoidable. BUT, parents can do their best to ensure loads are kept at maximum capacity to reduce the number of washes needed and water used. Washing on a cooler temperature will also save tons of energy, as well as reduce bills.
  • DRYING: When it comes to drying laundry, the sun is every parents’ ally, and cost-free! Air drying clothes, towels, etc. wherever possible, will save on energy. And remember, most stubborn stains on baby clothes just need a day in the sun to fade away.
  • FOOD: When the time comes for introducing solids, making food at home can really make an environmental difference, particularly if food has travelled less and is locally sourced. Homemade saves on using all those disposable food containers and cartons too- just invest in reusable containers instead.
  • OUTSIDE: Many parents opt to ditch the car and go on foot wherever possible. Kids can go in the stroller, on the bike, on the scooter…or if not possible, many parents turn to carpooling to minimize fuel usage.
  • REUSE: It is so easy nowadays to find gently used goods for short term items like bouncers and cribs, as well as toys and clothes. Giving these kind of things a new home can significantly reduce waste. And if you are going through a sea of unloved toys at home right now, don’t forget to donate them – you’ve seen Toy Story right? Well-kept toys can always find love again in a new home.

 

Pretty simple changes that make a big difference, huh? Let’s not forget, as mothers and fathers ourselves, we have our duty to Mother Nature too!

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Boutique Best Sellers: Re-Play

IMG_4357These colorful plates, bowls, cups and utensils from Re-Play are flying off of our shelves at the moment.

They tick so many boxes that it’s no surprise to us that they’re getting rave reviews from parents. Not only are they fun and funky to mix ‘n’ match, they are also incredibly affordable. Best of all, they are so eco-friendly. Made in the USA, Re-Play uses recycled HDPE plastic for their products – that means recycled milk jugs. To date, they’ve saved over 11,000,000 milk jugs from going in to the landfill. Wonderful!

The products are all toddler friendly sized for snacks and meals, and more importantly, are toddler tough to survive all those inevitable bangs, drops and tosses. Our customers have been really impressed with how durable they are for something so lightweight and so low cost. Re-Play claims you can even run over their divided plates with a car without causing damage! Now that’s impressive.

They make a great gift bundle too. All products meet FDA strict purity standards, are BPA free, PVC free, phthalate-free and melamine-free. And, when their time is eventually up in family homes, these products can simply be recycled again. It’s the eco-gift that keeps on giving.

Here’s a couple of facts to add some further perspective on these clever tools:

  • Recycling a 1-gallon milk jug saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for 11 hours
  • One pound of recycled plastic saves enough energy to charge a smartphone for 31 weeks

As well as using smart materials, each product has a smart design with tiny, over excited hands in mind. The deep walls on their divided plates help little ones get to grips with their chunky cutlery, while their deep fill spoon reduces spills. They also have the essential spill proof sippy cup and blunt tips on their forks to avoid nasty pokes. They are all about encouraging independent eating and keeping it simple for mom and dad- as well as keeping it safe.

Available in white, pink, orange, green, red, purple and yellow, these products will stack well at home and are completely dishwasher safe – another bonus.

We currently have in stock:

  • Divided Plates: $3 each
  • Bowls: $2.50 each
  • No Spill Cups $4 each
  • Tumbler Cup: $2.50
  • Utensil Set: $1.50

Kids love them. Parents love them. We love them. Why don’t you come and visit us at the Babies in Bloom Boutique to take a look for yourself.

Hope to see you soon!

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