Our Guest Post is written by Alexandra Spitz, mother of two and Certified Parent Educator and the Founder of OC Mommy and Me, an educational mommy and me program serving hundreds of moms in Orange County, CA. Alex shares a touching journey that many mothers will be able to relate to. I am so thankful and touched by her story. Thank you Alex.

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After my first son was born and put on my bare chest in the hospital, he wiggled down and found my breast just like in the videos on You Tube – just like the lactation consultants told me it happens.  It was beautiful and perfect.  That’s pretty much where he stayed until we went home from the hospital.  We had some minor hiccups in the beginning with his latch and it was horribly painful for the first 6 weeks, but once we got through that period, we had a beautiful exclusive breastfeeding relationship for a year. When he was 11 weeks old I had to go back to work full time.  Devastating.  We had created a beautiful rhythm and I was blessed with an abundant milk supply.  I had quite a bit of milk stocked up before my return to work so I was fortunate that there wasn’t an enormous amount of pressure in that department.  We would nurse in the morning before work, I pumped three times a day at work and then we would cluster feed from the time I got home until he nursed himself to sleep each night.  We did this for a year.

When I was pregnant with my second, one of the things I was most looking forward towas that I was going to get to breastfeed again.  It was as much for me as it was for him.  I had missed it so much.  You can imagine the confusion when my newborn had no interest in waking enough in the hospital to latch properly and start off on the right foot.  There was no wiggling down my chest. There was no desire to latch at all… for the entire time we were there. 

From the moment he was born, he was in discomfort and it still hasn’t been resolved.  He is almost 9 months.  The painful indigestion, acid reflux, gas, grunting, squealing in pain, and not being able to calmly relax while being held was heart wrenching.  I knew my little guy was uncomfortable and I was doing all of the things I have learned about since starting OC Mommy and Me and working with all of my amazing moms and contributing experts.  Why wasn’t it getting better?  We visited the pediatrician often, multiple chiropractors, physical therapists, lactation consultants, GI specialists, naturopaths, homeopathic experts and who even remembers where else we were! 

The plan was always to bring him with me to my groups and if he got fussy or tired, I would just throw him on my boob and we would be all good.  Asher had other plans.  They always do.  There was no calming this little guy with the breast or even by me holding him.  He hated to be held and REALLY hated to be worn.  What newborn doesn’t like to be held?  Apparently mine.  He was so uncomfortable and nothing was helping.  I eliminated so many foods from my diet and I discovered that my whole food prenatal vitamin was a huge culprit so now I was even more depleted because I couldn’t eat anything and I couldn’t take any supplements to help me. 

He never latched properly and still didn’t tolerate my milk, even with his medicine and my restricted diet.  Each day was an internal battle whether I should give up the fight.  Was it me still fighting for what I had been anticipating for 40 weeks?  Was it the voice in a new mom’s head that says “breast is best”?  I am here to tell you that breast is not always best.  Yeah, you heard me.  BREAST IS NOT ALWAYS BEST.  It wasn’t for my baby and it wasn’t for me this time around.  It was heartbreaking to get there but I am so thankful I did.  At 5 months old, I was now making myself crazy exclusively pumping.  I no longer had the quiet private office to pump three times a day and a fully stocked freezer and a baby who loved nursing.  I now had a 3-year old toddler who had to be shuttled to and from school, dozens of other new moms who needed my support and guidance and a baby who no matter what I didn’t eat, still felt unbelievably uncomfortable. 

As my overwhelmed, heartbroken self was dropping my son off at school one day, a mommy friend saw it in my face and put her arm around me as we were walking our kids into class.  She looked right at me and said, “stop giving your baby to someone else to hold and telling Jack you can’t play right now while you pump milk that he isn’t tolerating.”  There it was.  Exactly what I needed someone to say to me so I could see it from an outside perspective that made complete sense.

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On my way home that day, I stopped at the store and purchased a can of hypoallergenic formula and it finally gave my baby some relief.  You can imagine how guilty I felt that I hadn’t done it sooner. With a lot of tears and a lot of relief, I made the decision to give up breastfeeding.  It’s a very strange process to dry up your milk and see it literally pouring down the drain in the shower.  My heart was heavy as I thought about all of the women who wished so deeply they had enough milk to feed their babies and here I was wasting it.  In fact, one of the moms in my groups was struggling with the opposite issue.  Her baby loved to nurse, loved her milk but she didn’t have enough no matter what she tried.  And she tried it all.  We commiserated over how ironic our situations were and how maybe we should just trade babies! 

Breastfeeding is a complex system that needs to work for both parties.  If it’s not working for mom AND baby, alternatives should be considered.  New moms have to be the best they can be for their babies even if that means changing a plan you were dead set on prior to giving birth.  Get used to it…it happens all the time, right?  A mom who is tremendously overwhelmed and feeling an enormous amount of stress has much more of a negative effect on her baby than not breastfeeding.  Babies are sponges and react to what we are feeling.  A calm and confident mom is so crucial to our babies’ development and the foundation for building a healthy, secure attachment;the most important thing a baby needs at the beginning of their life.  Whether you are breastfeeding or feeding formula in a bottle, approach each feeding in a relaxed manner and use it as quality time to connect with your baby.  They are only that small for that moment.

Thank you once again Alex for sharing.

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halloween-3

Here at Granola Babies, we love Halloween season. And we have carefully and creatively curated a selection of costume options for all children.  From silks to masks, unicorns, fairy dresses to capes and animal felt masks.

sarah-s-silks-cape

Your child will have the opportunity to have fun before, during and more importantly long after Halloween. We encourage you to create a basket of play clothes at home where these can go. And then enjoy as you watch your child use these pieces for all sorts of creative play.

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Have fun shopping for these at Granola Babies!

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It’s back to school time! Whether it’s back to high school or back to preschool, it’s time to think about easy lunch ideas!

In the busy days of mothering it can be hard to also make time to think about easy lunches. So I’ve done some homework for you to make life just a little bit easier. Here are my top three links for lunch ideas.

5 Minute Lunch Packing

In this blog post, I loved (a) the pictures that make it look oh-so-easy but also (b) that it’s inspirational. As a mother of 4, I need to be able to stay on top of feeding the kids quickly and easily when out and about. Plum Deluxe blogger, plans out the week’s lunches, cooks during the weekend and has it all ready to go each day. I like that very much!

Step-by-Step Veggie Wrap

Call me simple, but I like step-by-step pictorials. In this post by The Queen of Quinoa, she shows how to make a very easy veggie wrap. It gives you the idea of how to make one but it can easily be tweaked for your child’s liking. For us, that would be brown rice tortillas and slightly different vegetables for each child. However, there’s something fun about wraps that once cut into slices are quickly eaten up.

Going Beyond the Sandwich

We’re not paleo, but I do like paleo lunch ideas for going beyond the sandwich for my children’s lunches. In this blog post, you’ll find quite a few ideas for lunches that do not involve any bread at all. From meat wraps to a variation of vegetables, you’ll find at least one that your child will enjoy eating. And while she uses plastic containers for her lunches, I prefer (and recommend) instead one of our stainless steel containers at Granola Babies.

Happy lunch!

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my kids

So this week, I read a parenting tip that said it’s important to teach kids that their needs and wants are not equal to mine. It was about making kids do things you want them to do whether they want to or not. Because my want is above their want.

It kind of stopped me in my tracks.

In my mind, I thought about how this would feel in other scenarios. So, ok let’s imagine the love of your life is just not helping you much around the house lately and so today is the day you’re having that talk about it. You calmly explain that you need more help around the house. Maybe just doing the dishes after dinner or cleaning up the living room after the baby goes to sleep. You want an extra hand to keep the house in order and can he (or she) help you?. And your loved one looks at you in the eye and lovingly, but firmly says to you, “I hear you, but your needs and wants are not equal to mine. And I don’t want to help around the house, so you’re stuck doing it. Ok love, now go about it.”

Hm.

Yeah, I don’t think that would fly all that well, right? But to the little people of the world, we’re supposed to as parents pretty much say that to them.  Oh and at the same time also major lessons like teaching self-esteem and empathy for others.

Oh I get it. I totally know that it’s not like whatever our kids want, they get. But, does it have to be, what you want is not equal to what I want? It’s really two very different lessons.

Remember how I said that it stopped me in my tracks? It did because I looked at my kids (three of them pictured above…4th one was being worn when I took this picture) and thought, could I really tell them this? Could I look at them and say firmly — “What you want is not equal to what I want so do what I tell you.” No, I couldn’t. Their trust and security in me would be damaged by statements in this. They know I care about their wants. That I respect their needs. And they know that when they can’t get what they want, we talk it out, we work it out. We try to compromise and when we can’t get it, they know why. But it’s nothing like — what you want is not equal to what I want.

I think in parenting in general, it’s important to think about how you’d want to be treated. What words you’d want to be told. How you’d want to be let down about something you really wanted. And then approach your children in that way…because most of us would want to be respected and heard. And nobody’s needs are above that.

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tantrum

With four kids, I’ve seen my fair share of tantrums. In fact, I can bet you the winning lottery ticket that there will be one this week. And I’m sure that if you have a toddler, you have seen one or you’ve seen another toddler having a tantrum at one point. And side note to mothers — when another child is having a tantrum, aren’t you usually soooo glad that it’s not your kid? In fact when it’s another kid, I kind of smile and find it cute.  Not so much when it’s mine!

How should we handle a tantrum? Should we punish the toddler and put him in time out for having a tantrum? Should we ignore the tantrum and hope it goes away soon? Should bribe the toddler with some candy if they stop right now?

Here are some tips for parenting through a tantrum.

1) Realize that a child having a tantrum is a distraught and frustrated child.

Have you ever felt so frustrated and aggravated and can’t seem to get the right words to express yourself? That pretty much sums up what a toddler feels like when having a tantrum. But, even worse because they simply don’t have the words to explain all those emotions. Basically tantrums are a release of frustration, confusion, anger and sadness all balled up into one. And no words to tell others exactly what you’re feeling.

2) Validate your toddler’s feelings.

A tantrum can be really scary for a toddler. They are expressing so much emotions and often times feel at a loss. It’s during these times that your toddler needs you to make him feel secure and that you’re there even if he’s mad at you. Some children respond well to a hug or touch during a tantrum and some children don’t want to be touched at all. Follow your child’s cue, you know your child best. Validate her feelings by voicing them for her. For example, you can emphatically say, “You’re so mad because you couldn’t have a have that spoon. You really wanted that back, I know. And now you’re mad that you don’t have it.” If you’re finding that your toddler is getting more upset by your presence, you can simply step away and allow her to have her tantrum until she’s calmed down.

3) Give your toddler alternatives to a tantrum.

After your child is calmed down, you can teach her how to use words when frustrated. Since  a toddler’s vocabulary is limited, you’ll want to keep it simple. One example is to teach her how to say “I’m MAD! I’m so MAD!” and perhaps even stomp when you say it. Teach her how she can use words when she’s mad or upset about something. Do it together so she can model the behavior.

Notice how in neither suggestion are you giving in to the tantrum? It’s with the assumption that your “No” meant “No”  And that you have saved those “No” situations for when you really are not able to say “Yes”. Many unnecessary tantrums can be prevented by saying “Yes” more and saving your ‘No” for when you really cannot say “Yes”.

I hope this helps the next time your toddler has  tantrum. And wouldn’t you know it…it’s pretty much what we’d want done to us at times of frustrations – understanding, validation and support.

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Why I’m not a Holistic Entrepreneur

  I recently saw this picture on facebook. It was posted and shared a gazillion times and said, “I’m a holistic entrepreneur”. It’s meaning is that in being a holistic entrepreneur, my life + love + work + spiritually are not separate but are one. And I thought hard about that. Really really hard. Because […]

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