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    Chiropractor Mama Dr. Dolly and professional photographer Elisa B. share about adventures in intentional and natural parenting while living in Virginia's beautiful Blue Ridge.
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Food Groups

Sometimes children can be picky eaters.

It’s just a theory, but I think children tend to favor foods once they’ve had the opportunity to get exposed to them.  It might take two, five, or ten times until they like something new.  They’re not that different from adults who need to cultivate a palate for fine things like wine, cheese, and dark chocolate.

Aside from developing a child’s palate by repetitive re-introduction of new foods, I also think they have a heightened sense of what they’re bodies need (as well as keener sense of smell and taste buds).

More than at any point in his life, I think my son is acutely aware of what his body wants and when he wants it.

  • When he’s hungry…he’s hungry NOW!
  • When he needs to go to the potty, it needs to happen within 30 seconds, or else there will be a mess to clean up.
  • When he wants to sleep, the need is immediate.

The same principle of keen awareness of needs and wants applies to types of food.  I’ve read a couple of blood type diets and found some areas of great interest while I think there’s definitely some areas that aren’t backed up by research nor are they backed by long cultural histories of human diet and health.  However, there is something to be said for a blood type that craves a certain type of food.

To explore this further, I asked my son a few questions:

Me: Calvin, what’s your favorite thing to eat?  What’s your favorite food?

Calvin: Meat.  Meat and cheese.

Me: What’s your favorite fruit?

Calvin: Beef.  Beef and raisins.

Me: Ah. Interesting.  I didn’t know beef was a fruit.  Raisins, though…I’d agree that’s a pretty popular one with you.

Me: What’s your favorite thing to drink?  Milk? Juice? Water?

Calvin: (with a HUGE smile on his face) Mah. Milk. (His word for breastmilk).

There you have it. A two-year-old prefers the most perfect food on earth, breastmilk.  He loves meat (even if he doesn’t finish it from his plate at every meal).  And, he really prefers (asks for them several times a day) raisins.

Notice he didn’t say “cookies”, “macaroni”, or “soda”.  Of course, I don’t really consider those things to be in the same category as “food.”

YOUR TURN:

What are your childrens’ favorite foods?  What were your favorites when you were a child?  Do you still prefer those same foods now?

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For the Expecting Mama: Nursing Clips by Willow Moonspirit

I’ve been thinking about pregnant mamas since Elisa, an author on Traveling with Baby who’s 41 weeks pregnant, is going to meet her son very soon.

Showers are great opportunities to share wonderful blessings with an expectant mom and her little blessing.  However, the holidays are another opportunity to give loving and useful gifts to new parents.

The following are a few of my favorites:

  1. Homemade baby leggings — you can read my tutorial on how to make your own!
  2. A stretchy100% cotton baby wrap carrier – Helps keep baby snuggly close and content while sleeping, nursing, or hanging out with mom.
  3. Nursing clips that convert any blanket or sweater into a breastfeeding cover

I loved the nursing cover that my sister-in-law created for me.  I never left home without it so I could comfortably and modestly nurse in public.

Juliea Paige, owner of Etsy shop Willow Moonspirit, created Gypsy Jewels and Nursing Clips.  Instead of packing a diaper bag full of swaddling cloths, warm blankets, AND a nursing cover, you can lighten your load by just keeping nursing clips with you.

A hand-beaded, 17-inch chain is tipped with silver alligator clips on each end.  With so many color bead options available, it’s hard to choose.  Fortunately, you can customize the colors you or your gift recipient likes.  The beautiful clips are packaged in a beautiful damask-printed draw-string bag–perfect for gift-giving and storing.

These days, I don’t use a nursing cover much with my toddler since breastfeeding is far less frequent during the day.  However, I did try out the clips with a couple of smaller baby blankets while nursing my son.

The necklace part of the chain felt comfortable around my neck with the weight of a blanket.  I could easily change the positioning of the clips on the blanket, as needed.  In it’s storage back, the nursing clips necklace is only a few ounces and easy to find in a diaper bag.

The biggest plus about the nursing clips are that if baby spits up or milk leaks onto a blanket, you can easily throw it in the wash and have another spare blanket or sweater, and you’re ready to go without waiting for a standard nursing cover to come clean in the laundry.  At $13, it’s far more economical than most nursing covers available on the market.

WIN IT!

One winner  will receive a nursing clips by Gypsy Jewels, (retail value $13).

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post prior to Friday, November 27th at 11:59 p.m.  Please follow the contest rules and avoid any generalized comments, or you will be disqualified.

FOR A SECOND ENTRY: complete a quick 10-question reader demographic survey. Then, leave a second comment telling me that you did.

FOR A THIRD ENTRY: Blog or Tweet about the Holiday Gift Guide (or about this giveaway), then leave a second comment telling me that you tweeted or blogged with a link to your tweet/post.

A gypsy jewel nursing clip was provided for the purpose of this review.  Read Traveling with Baby’s complete disclosure policy.

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Top Photo by Elisa B photography

UPDATE: Congratulations to the winner, #1 Melissa Haynie.

Healthy Mamas and Breastfeeding Back Survival

health happy round-up

Welcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up that  focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.

————————————————————————————————

Hey Moms!

If you’re an expectant or nursing mom living near Charlottesville, there’s not one, but TWO opportunities to attend a free Healthy Mama Workshop taught by moi.

The first Healthy Mama Workshop will include postural considerations for mom and baby in breastfeeding and babywearing at 11:45 AM on Saturday, November 7th at Downtown ACAC located at 111 Monticello Avenue. The event is part of ACAC’s pre-natal and post-natal seminar, and it’s free and open to the general public. Refreshments will be served, and new moms and their children will have the opportunity to socialize and meet with others.  So fun!  Bring your baby carrier and nursing pillow, if you have one.healthy mama small

The second workshop takes place on Friday, November 13th at 4PM at Sugar Snap Consignment located at York Place on the historic Downtown Mall.  This workshop is primarily focused on postural considerations for mom and baby during breastfeeding.  Bring your nursing pillow, if you have one.

Both events are free and open to the general public.

I’m soooo excited to share the Healthy Mama Workshops with Charlottesville mothers. I want to help new moms learn how to take of themselves while nursing, so they’re confident, and comfortable at giving their 100% to baby and continuing a wonderful breastfeeding bonding experience.

I previously taught the Healthy Mama Workshops at Nature’s Child in 2008, and ACAC’s pre-natal seminar in October 2009. For more information on the Healthy Mama Workshops, please visit www.scoliosisdoc.com.

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Health Happy Round-Up: Part II

health happy round-up

Welcome to Health Happy Round-Up.  This week, we’re discussing the benefits of breast feeding for baby, mom, the entire family, and the planet.

When nursing a newborn, it’s wonderful to have a comfortable and great-fitting nursing bra.  I’ve loved the quality of construction, durability, and aesthetics of Medela’s line of intimate apparel since my early nursing days.

medela_logo_300I  enjoyed using Medela’s sleep bra and bamboo nursing camisole.  Now, I’m pleased to review samples of the microfiber wire-free seamless nursing bra that offers optimal everyday support and the jacquard wire-free seamless nursing bra.

jacqwfwhite-02The jacquard wire-free seamless bra has beautiful swirl detail on the outer jacquard fabric.  The inner fabric is lined with Cool-max to keep you from over-heating and feeling comfortable.

Medela thought of everything when they designed these new bras, including a sliding breastfeeding reminder to help you remember which side you last used.

When I wear the jacquard seamless, I feel completely comfortable, supported, and it’s smooth fitting under clothing.  Perfect.  Where was this bra when I first started breastfeeding?microuwmocha-02-002

Medela sent me a mocha microfiber wire-free seamless nursing bra for review.  Super soft interior and beautiful lace detailing on the band is luxuriously feminine without skimping on support.  The microfiber is perfect for a new mom whose milk supply might tend to leak–while keeping outer garments dry.  The fabric is also breathable and agreeable against the skin.

One fabulous feature in these new Medela seamless nursing bras is the tapered straps.  They prevent straps from falling off the shoulders–a nuisance that I cannot stand.  Medela engineered a lovely solution.

freestyle01The next time I’m nursing a newborn, I’ll want to use the Medela Freestyle Hands-Free breast pump that can be used with these new Medela seamless nursing bras.

The size D cup offers a hidden sling for support and side shaping.

Medela Intimates also offers a bra fitting video to help you select the perfect one for you.  Both retail for $39.99, and they’re available in cup sizes A-DD.  The seamless microfiber is also available in cup sizes F, G, and H for $44.99.  You can purchase Medela products online or through a local Medela retailer.

Also, you can enter to win a Freestyle Hands-Free Pump in Medela’s Mom of the Month Program.

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DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: http://cmp.ly/2

Health Happy Round-Up – Breastfeeding Benefits

health happy round-upWelcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up which focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.

Few will argue the benefits of breastfeeding a newborn.  It’s the perfect food with the bionutrients and perfect ratio of fats, protein, and carbohydrates for a newborn to older baby depending on the stage of their development and maturity.  Breast milk fats/protein/carbos ratio actually changes throughout the course of the year to mimic baby’s gut development and digestion needs!

Breastfeeding Mom

Breastfeeding benefits to baby:

  • Increases baby’s immune defense for faster recovery from illness since the mother is able to create antibodies and distribute them through breast milk to baby
  • Reduces cavities and need for braces
  • Reduces risk of colic, diarrhea, SIDS, obesity, ear infections, respiratory illness, allergies, diaper rash, osteoporosis, diabetes, infantile cancer, and death
  • Increases IQ up to 20 points
  • Prevents malnutrition
  • Increases social and better psychomotor development of baby
  • Promotes better growth and satisfies baby’s need for sucking
  • Prevents the development of pathogenic germs in the intestines
  • Contains lactoferrin that transports iron and increases immune defense

Breastfeeding Benefits to Mom:

  • Increases the mother-infant bonding relationship
  • Reduces risk of post-partum depression
  • Reduces the reappearance of menstruation, thereby allowing more time until the next pregnancy
  • Decreases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer
  • Reduces puerperal bleeding and fever
  • Promotes the education of others in the family to practice breastfeeding
  • Helps a woman realize her role as mother
  • It’s practical–moms can nurse frequently throughout the night (without washing bottles), when traveling, anytime and anywhere
  • It’s a huge psychological benefit to baby, mom, and the entire family
  • Saves money and time

Breastfeeding Benefits to the Planet:

  • It’s always the perfect temperature and it’s produced it the necessary amount–doesn’t require heating and energy waste
  • Doesn’t require a storage container
  • Reduces the use of medications, medical procedures, and hospitalizations
  • Saves money in health care services
  • Does not leave residue or garbage
  • Doesn’t pollute the environment
  • It’s hygienic and sterile

Sometimes mothers defer to soy-based or dairy-based formula because 1) it’s convenient, 2) although rare, sometimes the baby has a medical condition that prevents the suck reflex, or 3) even rarer, the mother has a glandular deficiency in the breast tissue.

I have dear friends with babies who were born with conditions that prevented nursing at the breast, and I am in awe of them for pumping breast milk around-the-clock to support their babies’ needs.  However, medical conditions in babies are rare.  The inability of mothers to produce enough milk is even rarer.

Often, difficulties with latch-on and sucking enough milk are related to jaw or TMJ or upper neck spinal bone misalignments that can occur through the birth process.   Gentle chiropractic treatment can help babies regain a normal suck reflex by removing nervous system interference.  Read more about how chiropractic care can improve a baby’s suck reflex through the International Chiropractic Pediatrics Association.

For more on breastfeeding, check out Part II, Breastfeeding Support for Moms, and Extended Breastfeeding.

Your Turn:

What are your favorite benefits of breastfeeding?

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Breastfeeding – Support for Moms

Breastfeeding MomI recently wrote a very personal post on extended breastfeeding for “Health Happy Round-Up”.  I loved the feedback I received from other women.  I agree with my sister-in-law, Vicky, that the more we talk about the struggles and joys of breastfeeding (as well as extended breastfeeding), the more that women can take courage from others who are treading that same road.

I was recently quoted about the struggles of breastfeeding by Melissa Chapman.  It’s definitely a personal decision for each mom, but sharing what works and what helps through tough times could help another mom choose to breastfeed longer.  If you thought I was self-revealing in my extended breastfeeding post, wait until you check out what I shared with Melissa…talk about baring the soul.  You can read the full article on Real Moms Guide.

–By Dr. Dolly
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Health Happy Round-Up: Extended Breastfeeding

health happy round-upWelcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up which focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.

I’ll share a secret with you . . .

I’m still nursing my 21-month old.  Twenty-one months ago, I could very easily understand why many moms quit nursing within the first few weeks or months.

Cracked and bleeding nipples and engorgement–ouch!  Initially, I had to prepare my breasts before a feeding in advance with warm washcloth compresses and lanolin–before each feeding, around the clock for almost two weeks.

Seven weeks post-partum, I got mastitis on half of my breast from a clogged duct that never fully worked it’s way clear.  In spite of the searing pain, I nursed my son through a week of mastitis, fevers, and delirium from lack of sleep without the use of anti-biotics.

After those initial nursing experiences, I could easily understand why the majority of moms in America choose to stop nursing by 6 months post-partum.

My initial goal was to make it to 6 months.  I truly hoped my son and I could maintain a nursing relationship for at least a year, but I work better with shorter-term goals.  I wanted his sole form of sustenance to be breastmilk until 6 months of age.

When my son began solids, the breastmilk feedings reduced slightly over time.  He began to increase the amount of solids, and eventually cut back to  4-6 nursing sessions per day.  Those maintained unless he got a cold or cut teeth.  During those times, breastmilk became his sole form of nutrition, and he boycotted any other forms of food.  I felt like I was nursing a newborn again.

Once we hit 12 months, I realized I was in new territory: extended breastfeeding. At least, that’s the term that’s applied to it in America.  I only knew a handful of moms who’d continued to nurse past 1 year: 3 of whom were family members.  They were wonderful and encouraging for my son and I to continue our breastfeeding relationship as long as we were both comfortable with it.

I set my sights on a new goal: 18 months.

But something strange happened.  As my son grew larger, his feedings demanded a lot more from my body.  By 13 months, I was absolutely drained from fatigue and lack of iron due to breastfeeding.

Some health care providers told me to look out for number one and to quit nursing.  Many friends and family were incredulous that I was still nursing, especially when it affected my ability to care for my family and my patients at work.

Instead of quitting nursing cold turkey, I resolved to limit feedings to three times a day.  Also, I beefed up my iron and other supplement intake (since my pre-natal vitamins alone weren’t enough).

Nursing toddlerTwo months ago, I considered actively weaning my son.  The physical drain wasn’t getting any better.  I failed to see the benefit.  Close friends and family even said things to me like “If I were you, I wouldn’t tell anyone that you’re still nursing your son.”

When did nursing a child who’s not even two years old become taboo?

Years before I was “ready” to have children, I spoke with many moms who were comfortable with nursing up to 24 months.

Somehow that became frowned upon in the time-frame that I had my son.

I needed to provide him with an alternative that would keep him feeling content without sapping me of all my iron and nutrients.  I was open to using raw milk, but it’s difficult to purchase in Virginia, and it’s unrealistically expensive with a cow share program.  I’m not about to pay $11 for a gallon of raw milk (the cost when you add in initial buy-in and weekly fees).

So, we decided to use a colostrum/protein/omega-3/greens supplement powders that were completely safe for babies and adults.  My son loves it.  It’s green.  It’s thick.  It’s sweetened with stevia.  He calls it his juice.  As soon as we got him on it, breastfeedings dropped down to 1-2 times per day.

Last week, Calvin and I went on a road trip to visit family in the Midwest.  While we were there, I thought my milk had dried up in the evening feedings, and my son was only nursing for comfort.  I was okay with this, but yet there was a small pang of loss. This relationship where I could provide sustenance from my own body . . . was suddenly gone?  I was sad about this unexpected loss.

Meanwhile, I had just read the July-August issue of Mothering magazine with an incredibly eye-opening article on a Canadian mom’s breastfeeding experience among the Mongolian culture where the average weaning occurs in ages 4-6, a far cry older than the 6 – 12 months average in North America.

Suddenly, I was filled with huge regret.  I could have done something else to continue to nurse my son longer.  I felt like I had failed him.  I had sold him short of something so significant and important to him.  I wasn’t triumphant about the 21 months that he had received breastmilk, instead, I was downtrodden that I could have allowed the relationship to continue longer.

I continued to ruminate over the many articles I had read about extended breastfeeding or nursing toddlers.  I remembered the very supportive La Leche League group in northeastern Pennsylvania where nursing toddlers was the norm, not the exception. Even though I hadn’t been physically surrounded with close friends or family that supported my decision to nurse Calvin to 21 months, I knew that there was a sisterhood of mothers who shared my beliefs.  Most importantly, I knew my son wanted to continue to nurse.

So, instead of the before-bedtime nursing (where milk supply is at its lowest), I began offering him milk again in the mornings.  He no longer shook his head as if the milk was no longer present.  He was able to nurse.  Milk was still flowing.

I recognize that breastfeeding is a special and fleeting gift from a mother to a child.  Instead of worrying about the extra few pounds that I can’t seem to shake off, like Steph mentions in her breastfeeding post on Adventures in Babywearing. . . I’m happy to savor this relationship with my son.  It may only last a few more weeks, or a few more months, but I’m glad to be able to continue to snuggle and share a beautiful relationship with my sweet boy.

Breastfeeding my son for 21 months . . . and counting.

WABA_Circle_LogoIt’s world breastfeeding week!  If you’re interested in more articles on extended breastfeeding, read Kyla’s article on the benefits of nursing a toddler (for toddler and mom).  Also, check out Elizabeth’s article on 10 good reasons to nurse a toddler.  There’s a wealth of archived articles and links on extended breastfeeding and FAQs on La Leche League International’s site.

–By Dr. Dolly
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