Posts Tagged breastfeeding

Winter Family Time!

Winter Family Time!

Oh what a wonderful time of year it is?! What a wonderful timeeeeee!

Hello family dinners, cozy socks, snuggle time and chilly weather!

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First, let us disclose a couple of things about the Excellent Nanny Service. We are based in Savannah, Georgia but service different cities all over the United States, so our nannies are accustom to various weather conditions. It is our mission to provide honest, trustworthy nannies that share the same values as the Excellent Nanny Service.

Having fun as a family is vital, but creating an everlasting bond takes importance. Without being able to forge those bonds, winter time activities have no substance. Keeping that in mind, here are a couple of suggestions that will make the winter a memorable one for all of the family members involved.

Christmas movies! Grinch me please! Watching endless Christmas movies, paired with some good food, hot chocolate, blankets, and all the family around the tv is a perfect way to spend some days (and nights!) with the family. Here is a list of Christmas movies on Netflix: https://www.countryliving.com/life/entertainment/g22716075/best-netflix-christmas-movies/

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Christmas lights! Please please please! Haven’t you ever wondered who has the best lights in the city? Drive around and look at all the decorations and don’t forget the car snacks along the way.

Baking! Christmas cookies, gingerbread houses, frosted pretzel rods, and even fruitcakes are the way to go. Instead of buying gifts for people this holiday season, try giving out baked goods to grandma and grandpa.

Create an event calendar! Giving your children something to look forward to every day is a great idea, not only that, but making it together will give you that bonding time you’ve been looking for.

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Visit Santa! Heyyy Saint Nick! Go to your local mall to see when Santa will be there and pose with him to make a great holiday card. There are even local Christmas parades to go and see Santa in all of his glory. Pssttt! He might even have some elves with him.

Host a holiday party! Do I hear ugly Christmas sweater theme? Go ahead and host the holiday party that gives everyone a chance to get together. Have contests, sing, laugh and exchange gifts. It’s the perfect time to see everyone at once and spread that seasonal love.

Volunteer! Don’t forget to give back into the community during this joyous time in the year. Giving back is a great way to be reminded that everyone doesn’t have the same things we sometimes take for granted. Go volunteer at your local soup kitchen, donate clothes, build a house with Habitat for Humanity, register people to vote, organize games and activities for children in hospitals or homeless shelters, and why stop there?! The opportunities are endless!

Make homemade presents! DIY hot-chocolate kit? Yes! Need we say more? Here is the link: http://lovegrowswild.com/2015/11/homemade-hot-chocolate-mix/

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Helping Your Child Recognize Their Feelings

Not too long ago it was thought that the conventional wisdom was that babies were pretty much blobs who didn’t think or feel much before they could speak in words around the age of two.  Such an idea that a six-month-old could feel fear or anger, no less sadness and grief, was preposterous.  But thanks to an explosion in research on infancy in the last 30 years, we now know that babies and toddlers do feel deeply. Starting in the earliest months of life, well before they can use words to express themselves, babies have the capacity to experience peaks of joy, excitement and elation. They also feel fear, grief, sadness, hopelessness and anger—emotions that many adults understandably still find it hard to believe, or accept, that very young children can experience. Research has also shown that children’s ability to effectively manage their full range of emotions—also known as self-regulation—is one of the most important factors for success in school, work and relationships into the long-term.So the critical first step in helping your child learn to cope with her feelings is not to fear the feelings, but embrace them—all of them. Feelings aren’t right or wrong, they just are what they are. Sadness and joy, anger and love, can co-exist and are all part of the collection of emotions children experience. When you help your child understand his feelings, he is better equipped to manage them effectively.

One major obstacle in doing this which I see quite often in my work with parents is that they are operating under the assumption that having a happy child means he needs to be happy all the time. Muscling through difficult experiences, mastering struggles, and coping with sadness and grief builds strength and resilience, and is ultimately what brings children a sense of contentedness and well-being.

What can parents do?

  • Starting in the earliest months, tune in to babies’ cues—their sounds, facial expressions and gestures—and respond sensitively, which lets babies know their feelings are recognized and important. This might mean stopping a tickling game with a four-month-old when she arches her back and looks away, signaling she needs a break. Or taking a nine-month-old to the window to wave good-bye to Mom when he is sad to see her leave for work.
  • Label and help toddlers cope with feelings. Emotions like anger, sadness, frustration and disappointment can be overwhelming for young children. Naming these feelings is the first step in helping children learn to identify them and communicates to children that these feelings are normal. This might mean acknowledging an 18-month-old’s anger at having to leave the playground, validating a two-year-old’s frustration at his block tower repeatedly falling or empathizing with a three-year-old’s sadness that his grandparents are leaving after a long visit.
  • Don’t fear the feelings. Feelings are not the problem. It’s what we do—or don’t do—with them that can be problematic. Listen openly and calmly when your child shares difficult feelings. When you ask about and acknowledge feelings, you are sending the important message that feelings are valued and important. Recognizing and naming feelings is the first step toward learning to manage them in healthy, acceptable ways over time.
  • Avoid minimizing or talking children out of their feelings. This is a natural reaction—we just want to make the bad feelings go away. “Don’t be sad. You’ll see Joey another day.” But feelings don’t go away; they need to be expressed one way or another. Acknowledging a child’s strong feelings opens the door to helping her learn how to cope with them. “You are sad Joey has to leave. You love playing with him.  Let’s go to the window to wave goodbye and make a plan to see him again soon.” When feelings are minimized or ignored, they often get expressed through aggressive words and actions, or by turning them inward, which can ultimately make children anxious or depressed.
  • Teach tools for coping. If your 18-month-old is angry that playtime is over, guide her to stamp her feet as hard as she can or to draw how angry she is with a red crayon. Help a two-year-old who is frustrated at not being able to get the ball into the basket brainstorm other ways to solve the problem. Take a three-year-old who is fearful about starting a new school to visit his classroom beforehand to meet the teachers and play on the playground so that the unfamiliar can become familiar.

Our children’s emotional reactions trigger our own emotional reactions, which can lead to a knee-jerk need to rescue or “fix” whatever is causing our child distress. But it’s important that we manage our own feelings and avoid this temptation, as it creates a missed opportunity to help children learn strong coping skills. Instead, see these experiences as teachable moments to help your child learn to name and manage the emotions—positive and negative—that add depth and color to our lives.  Show your child that a full, rich life means experiencing both the ups and the downs. Feelings are not “good” or “bad”—they just are. You are your child’s guide in sharing the joys and coping with the challenges. And it starts on day one.

The Ticking and Tocking of My Biological Clock

When is it the right time to change your focus from new mom to second-time mom-to-be? What to Expect’s Lifestyle Editor, Emma Bing shares the ups and downs and the I-don’t-know-wheres of deciding whether or not to have another baby.

I’ve been an official mom for just more than a year now.

And as you may know, I am obsessed with my Lennox. Like crazy town, over board, no-lifeguard-on-duty obsessed. I want to shout my love from the roof tops. The kid even has his own Instagram feed.

So what could be more fun than another one, right? Or maybe not? That’s where I am right now, deciding whether to get pregnant and look forward to years of fun with another little one, or stand pat and enjoy all my waking (and many sleeping hours) with my one and only.

My biological clock has sounded a little something like this over the past two years:

Tick: I’m pregnant! I can’t wait to do this again and again!

Tock: I’m pregnant—I’m nauseous—never again!

Tick: My baby is kicking! I’m doing this again!

Tock: I’m in labor! Never again!

Tick: I’m holding my baby; I can’t wait to give him a sibling!

Tock: I haven’t slept in 3 months, never again!

Tick: My baby smiled at me for the first time! I can’t wait to do this again!

Tock: My baby puked in his bed in the middle of the night! Never again!

Tick: My baby took his first steps, I miss having an infant, let’s get pregnant!

You get the picture. Maybe you even know what I am talking about. I think most moms of one find themselves here. (And even if you aren’t a mom yet, you may go back and forth on whether you want to give one a go. But the trade-offs are a little different.)

Every day I change my mind on this. Am I ready?

Yes!

No!

Who knows!?

Even on those “tock” days when I swear Lennox will be my one-and-only, I don’t actually mean it. It’s like when I said I wanted to get rid of my bangs and then pictured my life bang-less (not a good look). In fact I always have a pregnancy test and ovulation test box in my bathroom cabinet… Just in case.

Now that my baby is a toddler and I hear the pitter-patter of little feet running through the house, I am missing the baby days. You know, when I could carry Lennox without him wanting me to put him down after .2 seconds. The thing is this, like puppies, babies grow up… as much as you want them to stay cuddly and sweet forever, teenage years happen.

While we are on the subject of “biological clock”, there is also the “age” factor. My mom was pregnant at 23, and in my “life vision” I would have expected (no pun intended) to have about three kids by now. With that being said it is also the age of the Halle Berrys of the world having babes in their 40s. (Granted, she does look 21 and I’m sure her uterus does too).

Also, I am not going to lie, I am strongly concerned about being pregnant with a toddler at my feet. In what land is that going to be easy? My first pregnancy I could be a lady of leisure, nap when I wanted, lay in bed all day like the queen of the house “requesting” what I needed (OK, that never happened).

With a hyper toddler running all over the place, and me expecting, things are going to get real. And by real I mean Mommy is going to have a breakdown at some point. And by some point I mean every day.

With that being said, I still do want to do this… Having Lennox was the best thing I have ever done. Let me say it again: The best thing I have ever done.

Now that I am a mom, I can’t remember what it was like B.B. (Before Boo), and honestly I don’t really want to. Being a mommy is like joining a special club. Initiation was getting fat, nausea, and hemorrhoids (I can’t be the only one here!) but the payoff is love, cuddles, those sticky little hands pulling at your leg to pick them up, and that smile that can stop time — or at least you wish it could.

Okay, question: Is it irrational to think that I won’t be able to love my next child as much as I love my lil’ boo? Probably. Even saying that out loud sounds crazy.

The fact is that I love Lennox so much I can’t even describe my love. I genuinely worry that I may eat him. It’s teetering on stalker status. I watch him sleep and save his early attempts at, uh, art. It’s infinite. He has my heart. But with that said, I would like to think that my heart is big enough for two… or three…

Next stop…baby-making? Or just getting the usual supplies at the baby store? I’ll be weighing these thoughts and more for a little while (I think). Stay tuned!

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff

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