Jamie's Journal

Monday, November 13, 2006

Weaning Off Breastfeeding

For a lot of mothers, the choice to wean off breastfeeding (whether yours or baby’s) is bittersweet. You have given your baby nourishment and bonded with them like no one else can. However, you feel like you are tied down to your baby. Don’t feel bad. A lot of mothers feel the same way, I know I did. I was fortunate enough to stay home with my daughter and because of that, I was able to breastfeed for the first year of her life, which is also the recommended amount of time.

Once that first birthday came around, I was ready to be finished. Not that I didn’t love having that quiet time with her, but because I felt it was time. Here are some things that helped me to wean off breastfeeding.

1. DO NOT wean if there’s been a big change in your household (new baby, new house, etc.) It will stress out your baby and you will be stressed in return.

2. Start substituting a cup in place of a breastfeeding session one at a time. By the time she was almost one, my daughter was only feeding 3 times a day from me, morning, lunch, and before bed. She took a cup of either milk or juice (it’s recommended not to give more than 4 oz of juice a day at this age) at each other meal/snack. I started giving her milk at lunch to get the process started. Check with your pediatrician if it’s OK to start whole milk before your child’s first birthday. If not, you may want to hold off until after their birthday to wean.

3. Give your child about a week to adjust before eliminating more feedings. Since my daughter was only feeding 3 times a day, eliminating the daytime feeding was pretty easy. The most important feeds to her were in the morning and before bedtime. Leave those feedings that are most important to your baby for last.

4. Once you are ready to start substituting those last feedings, you may get more resistance from your baby. For me, the nighttime feeding went next. I offered my daughter a cup of milk (warmed up slightly) before bed. She took a small sip, and wanted no more. She didn’t tug at me either. I rocked her and she went straight to sleep. I continued with this routine for another week.

5. If your baby and you are ready, you can try to stop that last feeding. This may cause conflict between you and your baby. That last most soothing feeding is the worst to stop, in my opinion. My daughter loved her first morning milk. She was so upset with me that day, I’ll never forget it. She pulled at my shirt and breasts for about an hour that morning, refusing to drink the milk I had offered her instead. The trick is to distract them. Play a game, sing songs, and watch a favorite video. Whatever you do, do not give in. It will just confuse your child and they will think if they fight it, they’ll get what they want.

All in all, it’s best for both you (your breasts) and your baby if you take things slowly. Your baby will get used to the fact that milk no longer comes from Mommy, but from a cup, and your breasts will dry up (and unfortunately get smaller). You will feel like a person again, instead of a milk machine, and you may enjoy motherhood a little more!

If you are still a breastfeeding mother, check out this Guide to Breastfeeding

Choosing a Daycare Provider

For many parents, staying home with their children is not an option. It doesn’t have to be a terrible thing, though. Lots of moms and dads work and their children are just as happy as those who stay home with them. The process of finding a daycare provider that meets your expectations can be very stressful, however.

The cost of daycare is NOT cheap. Most childcare providers charge around $150-200/week for one child. For that amount of money, you better be getting quality daycare with someone you trust.

Things you should ask when searching for a daycare provider.

• Is it a daycare center or home-based?
• How many children are “enrolled”? Are they well behaved
• What do you charge? Are meals included? If so, what types?
• Where do the children sleep, play, eat?
• Is the center certified? Ask to see a copy of the certification. It SHOULD be posted visibly in the home/center.
• What types of activities do the children engage in?
• How much TV is allowed?
• What happens in an emergency? Is there a backup provider?
• What happens if my child is sick? Will they still charge you?

I would recommend going with a certified provider. In my opinion, home-based providers are better. They can give your child more one-on-one interaction, and there is less illness.

Before making a decision, interview the provider in person, and also take your child to the center to play with the children, and do a sort of “trial-run”. If your child is very uncomfortable, or if you notice that the provider is not what you expected, do not send your child there. You need to trust the individual that will be taking care of your child(ren) while you are away.

Get a list of references from the daycare that includes parents of children who have previously enrolled in care and those who are currently enrolled. Check them out! Ask them questions about how their child liked going there, etc.

A great childcare provider will give you a list of their rules and regulations when you meet with them. It should clearly outline their policies and procedures. Go over it with the provider when you meet. Take a look around their house/center and see where your child will be playing, sleeping and eating. If you are at all uncomfortable with anything, don’t sign up. If you send your child somewhere that you are apprehensive about, that’s all you will be thinking about during your work day. I can’t stress enough how much you need to trust and be comfortable with the person taking care of your children. If you can’t be there for them as much as you want, you want someone with the same philosophies as you to do so.

You may also want to consider Starting Your Own Child Daycare

Friday, November 10, 2006

Stress Free Potty Training

Are you frustrated with the fact that your child is still in diapers and refuses to go on the potty? Or maybe your little one is starting to rebel against the potty altogether and soils his diaper in spite of your efforts. Well, it shouldn’t be that hard. Here are some tips that may help you and your child through the potty training process.

Start when your child is ready. Some signs of readiness include:

• Not wanting to be in a dirty diaper

• Asking to go on the potty

• Showing interest when you go to the bathroom

• Hiding, or showing signs that he/she is soiling a diaper.

• He or she stays dry for at least 2 hours at a time

• Telling you just before or just after he has soiled a diaper

• Can follow simple instructions

• Physical readiness (walking, pull pants up/down, can get on/off potty fairly independently)

Do not try to potty train before your child is ready. Pushing things too early can increase the resistance to using the potty and prolong the whole process. Usually children show signs of readiness between the ages of 18 months and 3 years of age. Also, do not try to push training if it is a particularly stressful time for your child (new baby, moving to new house.) You might want to wait until he is accustomed to the new environment.

To commence the potty training process, let your child help you choose a potty chair. He/she will feel involved in the whole process. Let him decorate the chair with stickers. Get him involved in the whole process. Start by letting your little one sit on the potty chair clothed. Explain to him/her what happens on the potty. When you see a sign that your child may be filling his diaper, ask him if he needs to go potty. If he’s telling you he just went, praise him for telling you and encourage him to tell you in advance next time.

Once you get him on the potty chair, only have him on there for a few minutes at a time. Don’t force him to stay there or it could delay training and increase his resistance to the potty altogether. Encourage him to go potty, and praise like hell if he goes! Sometimes it helps to offer a small reward for doing the deed. Start a sticker chart, or offer a small toy for encouragement. Don’t go overboard, though.

The key is not to stress out over potty training. Your child will be ready when he is ready, and pushing it too far will delay the inevitable. Pick up on his readiness and play off of that. If he asks to go on the potty, by all means, put him on there. Let him see you go potty and explain what you are doing (if you are comfortable with that). Explain that big boys and girls go potty on the toilet, and make it a fun experience for them. It will really help everyone in the long run.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Starting a Child Daycare

Many new mothers contemplate going back to work and leaving their child with a daycare provider. Have you ever thought about starting your own child daycare out of your home? It’s a great way to make extra money, especially if you are a stay at home mom!

There are a few things that you need to remember before starting your daycare, however. Check with your state regulations in regards to certifications, insurance requirements, and business licensing. Some states require just a high school degree; others require an early childhood degree. There are limitations to how many children one daycare provider can be responsible for, so take that into consideration when making your business plan. Will you be willing to hire an assistant, or would you rather only have a small number of children to care for?

Do your research on how much childcare providers in your area are charging for a weekly rate. Decide whether or not you are willing to take children part-time or strictly full-time.

Startup costs are generally low; however, you will need to take into account the type of activities you will provide for the children. There must be toys to play with, places for children to take naps, an area outdoors (usually fenced in), etc.

There are downsides to having a daycare out of your home, though. It can be very stressful at times. You need to love working with children, even when they have tantrums or habits that you aren’t accustomed to.

As with any new business venture, you need to ask yourself “is starting a childcare business for me?”

To help answer that question, please check out Starting Your Own Daycare

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Birth Hypnotherapy

Ever thought about having a natural childbirth and then scared yourself with thoughts of how painful it will be? Well, here’s a new concept – Birth Hypnotherapy. The concept of hypnotherapy during labor is to naturally anaesthetize your body into thinking it feels no pain during labor. Utilizing hypno-birthing, more and more mothers are able to have natural childbirths at home, or in the bath tub making it a truly relaxing and wonderful experience.

You may be thinking “will I be asleep during labor?” The answer is no. Normally you would associate hypnosis with being in a sedative state, not knowing what’s happening around you, but with the hypno-birthing techniques, you are in complete control of your surroundings, and are experiencing little or no pain.

Each pregnancy and deliver is different. There’s no way to anticipate exactly what will happen. There is, however a way to prepare your body to be calm and relaxed. While under self-hypnosis, you allow your body to naturally bring your baby down the birth canal. Being in a relaxed state during pregnancy will help reduce fatigue so you can be fully involved in the delivery process.

You should start preparing yourself for birth hypnosis somewhere around the 5th to 7th month of pregnancy. Listening to tapes and reading hypnosis scripts will help in preparation. Your body will become aware of “cues” that will allow a quick transition into the hypnotic state when you need it during labor.

Check into some home-study hypno-birth courses as well as classes you can attend with your birthing partner.

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For more information on achieving a pain-free pregnancy as well, check out Pain Free Preganacy

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

How to Create Your Own Wedding Album

You’ve probably realized that planning a wedding isn’t cheap. When it’s all over, you think you’re done spending money, but are you? As a matter of fact, most people are so wrapped up in being newlyweds that they forget about the wedding pictures. Now, some photographers include a wedding album in their packages, but there are some that don’t. I have first hand experience with creating a wedding album, as one was NOT included in our photography package.

Now, even though you are designing and building your album yourself, you still need to keep in mind that you have to buy the photos you are putting in the album from your photographer. Unless you have the rights to the negatives, which almost no photographer is willing to grant, you are stuck. However, this is not anything to worry about. Choose your favorite photos and get started. Here are some easy ways to create a wedding album that will showcase your wedding photos as good as a professional album.

1. Go online and find some websites that sell wedding album accessories. I used
JoAnn Fabrics to find all of the accessories I needed. They have a multitude of
albums and accessories to choose from.

2. Choose the photos from your wedding that you’d like to use.

3. Draw out a layout on paper. Use one sheet of paper that will represent each page of your album. It’s more professional if use the pictures in the same order that they happened on your wedding day. Start with pictures from getting ready and end with pictures of you leaving the reception. If you have the negatives from your photographer, lay those on the paper and arrange them in different ways.

4. Once you have everything laid out like you want, then go and purchase all of your supplies including your photos. Make sure that you have a non-acidic album that will not damage your photos, and also 2-sided photo tape to affix the pictures to the album with a clean-look. Put it all together and enjoy your wedding photos.

Designing your own wedding album is quite simple. When you use the right tools and lay everything out beforehand, its smooth sailing. Putting your album together will also help you to bring back all of the memories from your wedding.

If you’re interested in creating your own album,
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Monday, November 06, 2006

How to Care for Your Jewelry

There are a lot of different types of jewelry out there, diamonds, gold, silver, pearls, etc. Each needs to be taken care off accordingly. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts on cleaning and caring for your jewelry.

  • DO clean your jewelry often. Rings particularly build up with dust and soap. Warm soapy water works well for transparent crystalline gemstones such as diamonds. Use a SOFT toothbrush if necessary. Pearls should be wiped clean with a moist cloth.

  • DON’T ever use toothpaste to clean your jewelry. Its abrasiveness can scratch softer gems and metals.

  • DO have your jeweler check your items regularly to make sure there are no loose stones.

  • DON’T store your jewelry on top of each other. Put them in a jewelry box and keep pearls away from harder stones as they can scratch easily.

  • DON’T wear your jewelry during strenuous activity, such as sports or while cleaning. Household solvents can damage both the metal and stone of your jewelry.

  • DO use a soft 100% cotton cloth to clean your sterling silver. Be careful not to rub too briskly.

  • DO check the clasps, mountings, prongs and posts before cleaning your jewelry.

  • DO avoid getting hairspray or makeup on your jewelry.

  • DO store your jewelry in a Ziploc bag to decrease the tarnish.

Taking care of your precious gems will make them last longer. Clean them and check the workmanship regularly. When in doubt, take the jewelry to your jeweler and have it professionally cleaned or checked out. Most jewelers will clean it for free.

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