Tag Archives: natural parenting

Breastfeeding Blog Hop: Overcoming Obstacles

Hi, friends! This post is my contribution to Week 6 of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop, hosted by Life With Levi(@LifeWithLevi.) This week’s topic is Obstacles. When you’re done reading, please visit the rest of the blogs on the link list and share the BF love! I can’t host the linky myself for technical reasons, but you can find it, along with the instructions for the hop, by clicking on the button here:

Overcoming Obstacles

Is breastfeeding easy, or is it hard?

I often feel like I contradict myself when discussing the topic of breastfeeding. On one hand, I feel like it’s the easiest, most natural thing in the world. Your body is made for it, it doesn’t require any mixing, heating, measuring or sterilizing. You don’t even have to get out of bed at night to nurse if you don’t want to. It’s the biological norm, custom formulated for your baby, always available, and free!

On the other hand, breastfeeding has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced.  No matter how dedicated you are, it can be hard.

But how is that possible if it’s so easy?

Because as a breastfeeding mom, everywhere you turn you will find an obstacle in your way.

My obstacles? I had headaches for months that made it so I couldn’t even hold my baby, and then I had to return to work 65 miles away, which made for long days of pumping on the job. At 15 months, my son still doesn’t sleep through the night, and I’m always exhausted. I don’t know any other breastfeeding moms, so I get questioned (challenged) a LOT and had few places to turn for help until I sought them out.

Common obstacles to breastfeeding are many, including:

  • Interventions during birth that delay the initial breastfeeding experience, making it harder to initiate…
  • A myriad of health issues and physical differences (mom or baby) that can cause difficulties without the specific knowledge of how to accommodate or fix them
  • Sneaky formula samples or propaganda featuring charts on transitioning your baby to formula as though it were just the normal, expected thing to do…
  • Well-meaning but misinformed peers telling you that you can try to breastfeed, but it most likely won’t work (because it “didn’t work” for them) so you should have a backup plan…
  • Workplaces that are not supportive of breastfeeding or do not allow working moms the time and space to pump as needed…
  • A cultural perception of breastfeeding as “weird” or “inappropriate,”  which can cause women to not want to breastfeed, or cause them to feel self-conscious, ashamed, or even fearful of confrontation when they have to feed their babies away from home…
  • That friend or family member who wants you to hide away – even at home – and constantly tells you that it’s time to stop nursing now for one reason or another…

I could go on all day. Obstacles and “booby traps” are around every corner, but I think that trying to take on each one individually would require more time than any of us busy moms have.

In thinking about the topic of “obstacles,” I am reminded of the obstacle courses I used to play on as a child. Even at that age, I knew that an obstacle was something to dodge, climb or hurdle so I could reach my goal of finishing the course. So, my advice after 15 months of nursing is to put your effort into tackling the biggest obstacle of all: self-doubt.

How?

Read books. Research online. Learn, learn, learn. Anticipate common problems, and find out what to do before they arise. Talk to other nursing moms. Find a support system that you can call on at 3am. Get to know your local LLL. Save a Lactation Consultant’s number in your phone. If you are told to supplement or stop nursing, seek another opinion. And then seek another one. When those things sound enticing to you because you are sore, tired and frustrated, ask for help. When you are told that nursing will be hard, know that you are up to the challenge. When you need to nurse in public, ignore those who gawk and know that there is an entire community of moms – generations of moms – standing beside you. Be firm with your employer that time to pump is necessary and non-negotiable, then negotiate how to make it work. Be proud of your milestones. When you are told that you can’t for any reason, know that you CAN, and don’t let anyone plant that seed of self-doubt.

Because once you empower yourself and overcome the obstacle of self-doubt, none of the other ones will have the power to trip you up quite as much.

Jump those hurdles, mamas! Yay boobies! :D

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(note: I fully recognize that there are some rare issues that make breastfeeding impossible, and the intent of this post is not to discount those issues. I am a firm believer, however, that the vast majority of negative or unsuccessful breastfeeding experiences could be remedied with proper support and education.)

What obstacles have you faced in your breastfeeding journey?

Did you overcome them? How?

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One Whole Year Event Day 2: Inspired by Finn!

It’s Day 2 of my One Whole Year Event! Remember, there are 7 prizes, and one winner takes all! I’ll be announcing one sponsor each day, but you must enter HERE to be eligible for the whole prize package!

Ready to meet today’s One Whole Year sponsor? It’s….

Inspired by Finn!

Inspired by Finn carries baltic amber teething necklaces, and let me tell you, these things are popular!

It is widely believed that baltic amber can be a great help with teething pain.

Why?

According to Inspired by Finn, baltic amber contains analgesic properties and helps take the edge off of many types of discomfort associated with dental issues, headaches, joint pain, etc.

But that’s not all…

Baltic amber is also believed to:

  • strengthen the body’s immune system
  • restore energy
  • maintain wellness
  • break a cycle of chronic inflammation

At first, I wasn’t so sure that I bought into the hype. But then I tried one!

I have to be honest: Little man isn’t teething hella bad right now, so it’s hard to tell how well the necklace works. But, he IS teething, and he’s getting through it pretty well. There hasn’t been a time that he’s cried with the necklace on, and that says something. Plus, it’s just over-the-top cute on him, and he doesn’t even pull or tug on it because he hasn’t yet figured out that it’s on! ;)

We are really loving our necklace because it seems to be the most natural way to combat teething pain, and I dread the appearance of molars. I had planned to team up my necklace with Hyland’s tablets, but now I’m putting my faith in the necklace alone. Judging by the reviews I’ve seen, I’m pretty confident.

A few frequently asked questions:

Do babies chew on the necklaces? No. These necklaces are not teethers, and are not meant to be chewed on. They are meant to be worn to help ease teething pain.

How does I use it? Just put the necklace on your baby. Some people wrap it around baby’s ankle and cover with a sock. For the amber to be effective, it needs to be placed against baby’s skin so that the stones’ healing oils (succinic acid) can be absorbed by the skin.

Are they safe? Each individual stone is double knotted on the cord so that if it does break, the stones will not fly. Please be sure to supervise baby at all times while he or she is wearing a teething necklace. Inspired by Finn does not recommend letting baby sleep with the necklace on.

Have you tried baltic amber yet? Do you want to? Well, you’re in luck!

Inspired by Finn has offered my lucky One Whole Year winner the in-stock item of their choice! (16 inches or smaller)

AND they have also offered a discount code to help us ALL celebrate!

Just by “liking” Inspired by Finn on Facebook, you can take advantage of the following discounts:

  • TO SAVE 20% on an order, click the “Like” button toward the top of the “Wall” tab. (Your mandatory entry into my giveaway will take care of this part!)
  • TO SAVE 25%, click the “Like” button + use the “Suggest to Friends” link near the top left of this “Wall” tab to suggest the page to your Facebook friends.
  • The discount code is entered/applied during checkout, and the discount is given off of prices on the website – www.InspiredByFinn.com

The codes to use once you have completed the criteria above -

To save 20%: FB20
To save 25%: FB25

Happy shopping, and happy teething! :D

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For an extra entry into the One Whole Year event, visit Inspired by Finn’s website and leave a comment on the original One Whole Year giveaway post letting me know which Inspired by Finn item you’d like to try! Please be sure to complete the mandatory entry on that page first! All giveaway details, rules and ways to enter are featured on the original giveaway post.

Good luck, and thanks for celebrating with me! :)

__________________________________________

Sorry, this contest open to US residents only (Please note: My EcoMom giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada!) Entries will be accepted through 11/18. I will choose a winner via Random.org on 11/19. Winner will be contacted via email (please leave your email address!)  and will have 48 hours to respond and claim prize package or a new winner will be chosen.
Disclosure: I received a product sample from Inspired by Finn for review purposes. I was not compensated for my review, and all opinions stated above are my own, based on personal experience with the product.

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Filed under Cloth Diapering, Green Living, Parenting & Family, Product & Service Reviews, The Everyday

ONE WHOLE YEAR Prize Package Giveaway!

The presents have been opened…

The cake has been smashed…

You know what that means! Now that the party is over at home, it’s time to start the blog celebration! :D

It’s been ONE WHOLE YEAR!

One whole year of getting to know myself as a mommy, one whole year of getting to know my funny little sidekick, one whole year of not sleeping through the night :( and one whole year of getting to know YOU – my encouraging, supportive, never-let-me-down online community. Without you, I may not have made it to our first Nursiversary! Yup, one whole year of successful breastfeeding…and still going strong!

To show you all how thankful I am for the year’s worth of camaraderie, I’ve assembled a prize package featuring many of my favorite items from our first year!

ONE WINNER TAKES ALL! 8O

…and, without further ado, the sponsors ARE...drumroll please

My sponsors have been WAY generous with their prizes, so please show them some love whenever you can!

My contribution? Well, a little bit of fluff, of course! We fell in love with ours, so the first prize I’d like to announce is a Kawaii Green Baby Minky Bamboo One-Size Pocket Diaper in the gorgeous new olive green color! I love this color for a boy or a girl, it’s super soft and trim, and I’m totally tempted to keep it (but I won’t.) Check out a photo here at Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique. Sweetbottoms is where we get all of our Kawaii diapers, and lots of other fun stuff, too! They have a great selection and offer Free Shipping on all US orders! Woot!

Check back tomorrow for the next prize announcement! Remember, one winner takes all!

Ready for the details?

This is the main entry post. Mandatory entry and ALL subsequent entry comments must be made here. Each day for the next week, I will post a Sponsor Spotlight featuring details about one of our sponsors, and the prize they are offering! Several sponsors are also offering discount codes and special offers for the event, so don’t miss it! Each Sponsor Spotlight will include one easy extra entry opportunity, so be sure to check in each day! (THIS post is sticky, so it will not move. Scroll down my page for each sponsor spotlight!)

MANDATORY ENTRY: “Like” each of my sponsors on Facebook (while you’re there, be sure to thank them for sponsoring!)  then leave me a comment here letting me know that you “liked” them all, and which one you are most excited about! Here are the links to all the Facebook pages:

Inspired by Finn

BabyBond

EcoMom (Don’t forget…I’m hosting an EcoMom giveaway NOW, too! Enter here to win a $25 gift card!)

Hazelnut Kids

Milkin Cookies

HappyBaby

There are 3 other optional ways to enter:

1. Blog about this giveaway, or post it on a public forum. Leave me a comment on this post with a link to your post.

2. Tweet about this giveaway. Tweet must include a link to this post. Leave me a comment on this post with a link to your tweet. (Only one per day, please.) Here’s a sample tweet:

“I entered the One Whole Year #baby prize package #giveaway at ABCGP! Easy entry, ends 11/18. http://wp.me/pTRQh-v1″

3. Grab my One Whole Year button! Put it on your blog, and leave me a link here so I can find it (To those readers who got a bonus entry for grabbing the button early, don’t worry…you’ll get one entry for grabbing and one for grabbing early ;) )

That’s it! Easy peasy, right? There will be more ways to enter in the coming days, so be sure to check back and see what all the prizes are, and get your entries in! Good luck, and thanks for celebrating with us!

Sorry, this contest open to US residents only (Please note: My EcoMom giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada!) Entries will be accepted through 11/18. I will choose a winner via Random.org on 11/19. Winner will be contacted via email (please leave your email address!)  and will have 48 hours to respond and claim prize package or a new winner will be chosen.

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Filed under Cloth Diapering, Green Living, Parenting & Family, Product & Service Reviews, The Everyday

Your Guide to November Events…

Call me a worry wart, but as much as I love featuring my favorite products and offering giveaways, I always fear that I may be making things confusing or difficult for you, my dear readers, and I certainly want to avoid that when I can. So today’s post is dedicated to providing a little clarity on November’s events! :)

Here’s a roundup:

  • Now: Enter to win a $25 gift card from EcoMom here. Note: EcoMom is NOT just for moms! They carry cool eco-friendly stuff for foodies too! ;)
  • Nov. 1 – 10: I’m participating in the Blogmania Dream Team’s Holiday Open House! Check my blog on those dates for some healthy holiday recipes and a few of my favorite gift ideas. Just stop by and read, or link up your own holiday post (just write one one any topic you’d like), and you could win some great prizes! (See the button on my sidebar…)
  • Nov 11 – 18 – My One Whole Year Event! Baby boy is turning one and we’ve hit the one year breastfeeding milestone! To thank my readers and online friends for all the help and support I’ve received over the past year, I’ve put together a prize package worth over $120. Entries will be easy, and one lucky winner takes all! My sponsors have been very generous with some great prizes, along with discounts and other offers, so you don’t want to miss these 7 days of Sponsor Spotlights! For now, grab the button on my sidebar and put it on your blog for an extra entry! If you do, let me know here.
  • Nov. 18: I will choose and announce winner of the One Whole Year giveaway!
  • Nov. 25: I will choose and announce winner of the EcoMom giveaway!

As you can see, there’s a lot going on over here at ABCGP, and I know I’ve been a little light on the posts lately. But that’s about to change! November’s going to be a fun, FULL month, so I hope you’ll join me!

(But for today, first things first. We’re off to little man’s first Halloween party! :D ) Happy Halloween, everyone!!!


If you have any blog events going on – or questions about mine – be sure to let me know!

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Filed under Cloth Diapering, Green Living, Parenting & Family, Product & Service Reviews, The Everyday

A few comfort foods…

What’s on the breakfast menu this fine, fall Sunday morning?

Grilled almond butter and banana sammitches, with a drizzle of honey! :Dbrushed with a touch of coconut oil for a crispy outside!

Mmmmmmmm……comfort food!

Admittedly, this is not what we usually eat for breakfast. But I came home on Friday to find a large box waiting for me, and when I opened it? 2 loaves of Nature’s Pride bread! (Thanks, Foodbuzz Featured Publisher Program!)

One loaf of oatmeal and one loaf of honey wheat with fiber:

Yeah, it’s kind of weird to get bread in the mail. We don’t eat a lot of bread, and when I do buy it I usually end up giving half a loaf to the birds. But, I found myself determined not to waste my special delivery “Bread-O-Gram!” So, grilled sammies it was.

Nature’s Pride bread has no trans fat, no artificial colors or flavors, and no HFCS. BO-nus! The oatmeal has 1g fiber per serving, the whole wheat, 2g.

In a perfect world, I’d choose an organic bread with tons of fiber, but you know how that goes. I’d say Nature’s Promise makes a darn good loaf.

So, since I had leftover pumpkin from my little punkin pancake recipe, and quite a bit of bread to utilize, I felt inspired to make some Pumpkin Butter! I love the feeling of making use of what’s already in my kitchen. (Makes me feel so thrifty!)

I combined 3 cups pureed pumpkin, 1/2 cup apple cider, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg and 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, brought it to a boil, then reduced heat and simmered, stirring frequently, until it reached the desired thickness.

And there you have it! Easy peasy Nature’s Pride bread with homemade pumpkin butter. Good for mommy and daddy, and good for baby! I think warm toast with spicy pumpkin qualifies as comfort food, too.

Actually, after last year’s food restrictions with my gestational diabetes, just being able to enjoy the pumpkin harvest this year is pretty darned comforting! Enjoying it along with my boy is about as good as it gets.

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What’s your favorite comfort food?

….and here’s a simple but loaded question: Do you eat much bread?

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Filed under Product & Service Reviews, Recipes & Food