Breast milk is one of the greatest gifts you can give your baby. It’s packed with nutrients and antibodies that boost your newborn’s immunity, aid digestion, and promote brain development! But as a new mom you probably have some questions and anxiety about it, so we have come up with 8 things you should know before breastfeeding your baby.
- Breastfeeding may hurt initially. We’re not going to lie. Those first days, you might feel what experts call extreme tenderness – and what some moms call pain. But once your baby is properly latched, discomfort should fade during each nursing session and go away completely with time. Your nipples need to adapt, push through the pain and within 2 -3 weeks your body will adjust.
- The best position for breastfeeding. Actually there’s no correct position for breastfeeding. But probably while you’re still learning, you may find it easier to use the same hand for both breasts. This means you will hold your baby across your lap to feed on one breast, and then to feed from the other breast, you’ll hold your baby under your arm. *If your baby is having reflux, it’s best to choose an upright position.
- Can I eat fish? You may hear that fish contains mercury, a common pollutant that’s a known neurotoxin, which affects your baby’s brain. But don’t worry, most of the time the health benefits outweigh the risk! The exceptions are shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel. These fish contain the highest levels of mercury, so eliminate those foods from your diet completely.
- How about alcohol? You would probably like to have an occasional beer or a glass of wine, after all you haven’t for nine months! It’s okay to have a glass, but if you have a bit too much wait until the alcohol has cleared your body before breastfeeding.
- Can I drink coffee? Caffeine is okay too, in moderate doses. So go ahead and enjoy your morning coffee, an afternoon tea or even the occasional soda. As long as you limit your caffeine intake to no more than two or three cups of a caffeinated beverage a day, you and baby will be just fine!
- A nursing pillow is essential. Once your baby is latched onto your breast and nursing you won’t want stop because your back hurts or your arms are tired. A nursing pillow may save you from the pain! It will help you position your baby correctly and stay comfy.
- How long do I have to breastfeed? The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, with continued breastfeeding along with complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond. But ultimately you’ll have the last say. It’ll all depend on how you feel emotionally, as well as your personal circumstances. Discuss with your doctor and partner how long you want to breastfeed for.
- Perfect for bonding time! Breastfeeding will not only provide your baby with good nutrition, it will also give you a chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy a bonding moment with him or her. Try talking, singing or even reading a book. Even when your baby is just a newborn, he or she will still be absorbing language skills every time you speak or sing.
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There are tons of things you can do to make the adjustment process easier for everyone. Here are just a few:
- Tell your older child about your pregnancy when you tell your friends. It’s important that he/she hears this from you, and not someone else!
- If any (other) big changes are coming up in your toddler’s life, like moving to a new bed or bedroom, toilet training, or starting preschool, plan to get through them before the baby arrives.
- Constantly talk to your baby about the baby arriving, giving him or her a realistic idea of what to expect. For example, let him or her know that the baby will take up a lot of your time and that the baby will not be able to do much at first!
- Sit down with your toddler and look at pictures and videos of his or her birth and baby days. This will give a better picture of what to expect.
- If it’s possible, visit friends with a new baby.
- Let your older child participate in the preparations as much as possible. For example, you can let him or her decide the new baby’s first outfit between two choices.
Although toys, such as puzzles and blocks, may not be as flashy as video games or electric toys, there is evidence suggesting that children who play with them may gain a whole lot of cognitive benefits. In fact, research shows that specific types of play are actually associated with the development of certain cognitive skills, meaning there may be some toys you should be paying attention to!
According to a study done by researchers from Rhodes College, data from 847 children were examined and the results indicated that children who played frequently (about 6 times per week) with puzzles, blocks, and board games tended to have better spatial reasoning ability. Interestingly, other types of play such as drawing, riding a bike, or playing math games were not associated with the development of such ability. Another study conducted by psychologist Susan Levine from the University of Chicago, a leading expert on mathematics development in young children, further confirmed that children who played with puzzles early on, develop better spatial skills.
But in what way does having better spatial skills help your child?
Looking for fun ways to teach and encourage your little one to go potty? Here are a few fun activities that will help you teach your toddler to go potty in an exiting and new way!
My potty chart
Create a chart of the week, like a calendar. Each time your toddler uses the potty successfully let him paste a sticker on the chart. At the end of the day his chart will (hopefully) be filled with stickers and he will see how successful he has been. This simple activity can help you reinforce good potty habits and will encourage your toddler to use the potty.
Be creative when making your toddler’s chart, you can use some of his favorite TV or book characters to decorate it, remember that the idea is to get him engaged in the activity. You can even go together to the store to buy the stickers and the material to decorate the chart. Don’t forget to place it where your toddler can see it, so he is motivated to use the potty every time he sees it.
This activity is really helpful to teach boys how to go pee-pee. First dye the toilet water with red or blue food coloring. Then when your boy goes pee-pee he will see that the water changes to orange or green. This fun activity will motivate your boy to learn how to aim!
When dying the toilet water, make sure you use colors that you know will change of color when your toddler uses the bathroom. Red and blue works perfect!
The road to potty
Design a fun path that takes your toddler from his room to the potty or to the bathroom. Every time your little one feels like going, he will see the path and remember to go potty!
Creating a fun path is key! You can try putting footsteps so that he can follow them or decorating the path with his favorite TV or book characters. Try making the path out of bright colors so that at night he can also follow it.
Pimp my Potty!
Personalize your toddler’s potty with fun stickers and glitter. This can be a fun activity before starting potty training. Since day one your toddler will love his potty and will be very exited to train!
Personalization is key when decorating his potty! So try using his favorite things to decorate it like stickers form his favorite TV or book characters, colors or you can even write his name on it.
Read All About It
Books can motivate your toddler to start potty training. So it’s good to read books like “Toilet Learning” by Alison Mack or “Once Upon a Potty’ by Alona Frankel to help him understand the process. Using books can really make the process of potty training go much smoother, plus it’s more entertaining for him!
Make a trip to the bookstore and have your little one pick out new books, but let him read the special potty books only when going to the bathroom. You can even make a little shelf in the bathroom for his special books!