While I assisted a very young new mother to hold and latch her baby — she was struggling to get comfortable and looking more than a little frustrated. She looked at me and said;” My mom told me it was too hard and none of the women in my family has ever breastfed.” I asked her what she wanted to do. She told me that she really wanted to breastfeed; that she knew how healthy it was for her and the baby and how it would save her a lot of money! So I looked her in the eyes and told her to change the family legacy with regards to feeding her baby. “You get to be different, to change the legacy that has been the ‘story’ of the women in your family up until now.” What is your family legacy? What have they told you that you cannot do or what you should do? What new legacy do you have the power to create?
Herban Lifestyle is one of my favorite blogs. It is chock full of tips and recipes. Mary also has a line of the most delicious smelling organic soaps and ointments and salves and more!
If you have a yard, chances are you are growing the ingredients for a skin soothing herbal infusion without even trying! Plantain (Plantago major) is considered a weed, but it also contains natural constituents that are wonderful for your skin. Violet (Viola odorata) leaves are in the same category (not to mention that the flowers are delicious in salads or syrups!).
Violet is moisturizing, toning, healing, and great for sore nipples. Plantain is good for eczema, acne, minor cuts, stings, insect bites, poison ivy itch, and diaper rash.
The basis of a skin-nourishing herbal salve is an herbal oil infusion. Gather about 4 cups of plantain and violet leaves, making sure to choose ones that are fresh and green looking, with no major brown spots, rotten areas, or major insect damage. And make sure that they have not been sprayed with chemicals of any kind.
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I walked into the lounge where I teach infant care classes to new parents — the sound of the television blasting Maury Povich was only the beginning. First things first. TV OFF. As I began to teach the class, a few of the dads were texting, and when I began demonstrating a bath with a sweet new baby, four of the five parents began to record my every move. iPhones, iPads and Droids all poised to capture every detail. These parents, so afraid to miss anything were missing the class! It occurred to me that it was a bit like attending a concert and realizing that you are watching the performer on the big screen instead of seeing the energy of the real person on the stage! This modern day phenomenon of being so concerned with the perfect shot to share or post or tweet, takes you completely out of the moment. I am guilty of this myself, and have tried to catch myself snapping when I should be watching, texting when I should be talking. I have seen new parents miss some incredible firsts in the life of their new baby, simply because they were too busy with technology. Come on people! Put those phones down and watch!
What on earth would a new mom need that Dale Earnhardt has? A pit crew of course! A pit crew is all about support and knowledge and encouragement. They are there when the car needs gas, the driver needs advice or the tires need more air. When working with new moms, I always tell them to assemble their very own “pit crew”. Now you don’t need Tony, the mechanic from the car dealer, but you do need people who are there to support you. While moms-to-be are poised with pens and paper at the prenatal classes I teach, I tell them one of the most important things (other than having lots of diapers on hand!) is to write a list of people who will support them. It should include friends who are supportive, family who will pitch in and really help and experts who can answer questions when you simply do not know the answer . So before you enter the race of new mommy hood, be smart—-assemble the best pit crew you can find. Start your engines!
I have joined the Twitter bandwagon. It’s official. I am in the phase of trying to decipher the ## and the @ and RT….I could go on. It is a new language. Over the last few weeks I find I am beginning to understand this new dialect of English. Experienced Tweeters post with speed and ease and use hashtags like nobody’s business. “Once you get the hang of it, it’s easy!” a seasoned Tweeter told me when I expressed my frustration with learning the lay of the land.
This experience has reminded me, once again, how brand new parents feel when they are learning to take care of their baby. As a teacher and care giver it is sometimes easy to forget what it is like to be at the beginning. To be learning the ropes. It is also easy to say “Don’t worry! You’ll get the hang of it!”
But really, don’t worry! You’ll get the hang of it! The parenting thing, that is. Now if I could only figure out #!#RP@ ……
Much to my delight, a NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE in February called The Breast Whisperer, profiled a lactation consultant from New York, who has a wonderful down to earth philosophy. Unfortunately, many of the posts about the article online turned into a breastfeeding versus formula conversation. For women who do choose to breastfeed, a supportive “coach” can mean the difference between success and throwing in the towel. An important point mentioned in the article is one that comes up very often in my work with new moms. If more women breastfed, or had seen mothers, grandmothers, sisters, neighbors breastfeeding, I would be out of a job. So if you choose to breastfeed, why not seek help? Why not work with a guru? Why does it bother people so much when some women really want it to succeed? My practice has always been one of helping women to make an educated and informed choice about how they would like to feed their baby. Once they have made a choice, it is supported completely. Being a mom can be difficult…as women, we need to support each other in our decisions. No judgements!
Beth Iovinelli, RN