Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pulling Down the Moon Review

Just after hitting my one year mark trying to conceive, I started toying with the idea of talking to a doctor. In moments of weakness, I was willing to do whatever it took to achieve a pregnancy. "Put me on Clomid! I'll do the tests, the treatments, whatever it takes!" When I hit these low points emotionally I would occasionally have these thoughts. My rational mind would eventually take over, calm me down, and help me realize that while there can be medical benefits to these procedures, it's not an option I am ready to explore. I then came across Pulling Down the Moon which is is a holistic approach to improving fertility. This is exactly what I needed. I wasn't emotionally ready to approach a doctor/midwife about trying to conceive. I'm still not ready for testing, diagnosis, or treatment. I'm not trying to be in denial about possible issues that could be preventing me from achieving a pregnancy. I just don't feel like there is a problem. I may feel differently after a while and choose to seek help from medical professionals. Until that time, and even if I make that choice, during that time, I will utilize the amazing resources and products from Pulling Down the Moon.

Pulling Down the Moon was kind enough to send me their Fully Fertile gift package for for review.  In the basket I received: the book Fully Fertile, by Tami Quinn, Beth Heller, and Jeanie Lee Bussell; their DVD Yoga Practices for Fertility: Techniques To Calm Body, Mind and Spirit; as well as Full Fertile ARTeas in Nourish; and tea filters. For more details on this incredible package check out their online store!  Upon receiving the gift basket I went for the tea first.  It smelled wonderful and I new I wanted a cup right away.  White it tastes great on its own my favorite way to drink it was when I added a drop of honey (I have such a sweet tooth). The particular tea I was sent is meant to "..nourish and prepare the body prior to beginning a fertility cycle." This is not a tea you want to drink during a fertility cycle, especially if you are receiving medical treatment for fertility. (I chose to drink this tea at the beginning of my cycle up until I was close to ovulation.) I really loved the tea and the idea that it is nourishing my body to prepare for achieving a pregnancy.

I sat down with my cup of tea and began to look through the Fully Fertile Book.  Reading the personal stores of all three authors made me feel an instant connection to all three inspiring women. The book lays out a Holistic 12 week plan for optimal fertility. This includes yoga, meditation, acupuncture, nutrition, relaxation and spirituality. Trying to conceive is stressful and I was so excited to find a calm and natural approach to encouraging fertility.

The book is broken up into 3 sections: The Physical Practices, A Fertile Mind, and The Esoteric Tools (Spirit). In the Physical Practices section it starts out by introducing a Yoga program for fertility. While I enjoy yoga, I am not very flexible and just not very good at it. My concerns were immediately laid to rest when I read:

"Keep in mind the goal of your hatha yoga practice is not to be the most flexible, strongest or physically adept. Your goal is to learn to calm the body enough to be able to sit quietly for 30 uninterrupted minutes, thinking of nothing. When this becomes enjoyable, your yoga is starting to work. .... We just wanted to point out that the overall goal of true yoga is not physical fitness, it is mental peace and clarity."

OK that sounds like something I can do. I don't think my flexibility is going to change drastically no matter how much yoga I do. It will improve, sure. But when you've never even been able to touch your toes (even when I was a kid) it's just not looking promising. But the mental peace and clarity is exactly what I'm looking for, so I will give it a try. I really love how the book explains each yoga pose and has a picture beside it. When I used the DVD, I referred back to the book often to make sure I was executing each pose correctly. I'll get more into that later.

The book goes on to explain the benefits of acupuncture, which I had been interested in before, but have never tried. I am definitely going to look more into finding an acupuncturist and the costs associated. The benefits of acupuncture regarding fertility are: regulating your period, regulating hormones, increasing uterine lining, improving sperm count and motility, and more.

I am not going to go into detail about each section of this book because I could go on and on! There is just so much great information. From alleviating stress to adequate sleep and how to achieve it, this book really gives a plethora of great information to help optimize fertility naturally. I especially enjoyed the section on identifying and alleviating stress. Stress is something that I didn't think I had trouble with until reading this book. I learned how to identify stress in my life and the best part: get rid of it! I really have come to love meditation and positive affirmations in part because of the things I learned from this book. There are some great ideas and tips to reducing the stress involved in trying to conceive. I am especially excited about the tips I learned to better handle negative comments regarding my fertility.

On to the DVD. Again, I was sent Pulling Down the Moon's own DVD: Yoga Practices for Fertility: Techniques to Calm Body, Mind and Spirit.This was such a god-send! As instructed, the first time I viewed the DVD, I just watched it start to finish. I was immediately hooked. Just the breathing techniques made me feel so peaceful and relaxed. It was as though my entire world was quiet for once! Once I actually tried the yoga poses, I was surprised to find them to be doable for an inflexible girl like me! I certainly didn't look as relaxed or poised as the people featured in the yoga class, but I was able to keep up and with practice, I began to see the positive results yoga had in my life. I experienced reduced neck pain (recurring from a car accident), more energy, a calm, yet positive outlook on life and of coarse, I did improve flexibility (slightly). I loved the yoga poses as well as the quiet meditative visualization exercises. I think the visualization part was my favorite. I loved the Lake of the Mind visualization exercise. It really helped me feel connected to nature, and more importantly, my own mind.

I can't thank Pulling Down the Moon enough for sending me their product to try. I was at an emotional low and this came just when I needed it most. I am happy to say that I have reduced stress in my life and have a renewed interest and energy in trying to conceive. I definitely recommend this product to anyone trying to conceive or even as a gift.

NOTE: I received no compensation for this review and all opinions expressed are my own. Thanks again to Pulling Down the Moon for donating this great fertility package.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review: Circle + Bloom's Happy Mind and Healthy Body

I'm writing the final in the trilogy of our reviews of our sponsor, Circle + Bloom's, programs. Like Kayce and Mandi before me, I was excited by the opportunity to try out the meditation program. However, this was not my first experience with meditation programs. When I was pregnant with my son, I took hypnobirthing classes. I knew from that personal experience the potential for longevity the ideas of meditation programs have. (I STILL find the affirmations about birth and motherhood I heard during those sessions bubbling up in my head from time to time!) So, I was eager to experience what circle + bloom had to offer with their Happy Mind and Healthy Body program and I was not disappointed.

I have briefly mentioned that I do have depression. The truth is that I have been struggling with it a lot since my move. The rough part of depression is that it often becomes harder to fight in times of transition . . .no matter how happy the transition. So, I struggled with it when I finished college, I struggled with it when we got married, I struggled with it after my son is born, and now that we have moved cross country, I've been struggling with it again. It feels like you are treading a powerful current that keeps trying to suck you down. One morning, I found myself crying five times before lunch and it can be difficult to explain to others exactly what is wrong when it literally is all in your head! It can be especially difficult when cognitively, you know that your life is good, but emotionally, you still feel depressed. This has been my life for the last month or so since we moved, although many people I know will be surprised to read this as I have kept my struggle fairly private. So, when offered a chance to review a product that gave a chance at a "Happy mind." I thought, "Yes!"

Happy Mind and Healthy body is a called a "21 day program," but with four "weeks" of sessions and a bonus session, it could be used for a much longer period if you wanted to (and I intend to). Like the programs Kayce and Mandi reviewed, this one tackles a different aspect of health every week and you listen to the same session everyday for a few days or a week period.

Honestly, my favorite sessions were the first and the last of the regular sessions. These were the sessions that dealt directly with the "Happy Mind" portion of the program. The sessions in the middle were focused on the healthy body and involved very, very deep physical relaxation exercises that were difficult for me to completely participate in given that my son (much like his fetal self during my hypnobirthing sessions who used to kick me incessantly and do flips) seemed to have a sixth sense for when I would be attempting to do the program with my headphones and would nearly always wake up/cry/ask to nurse at some point during the session no matter how asleep he should have been during nap or after bedtime.

The first session was an overview that emphasized the power of the mind over the body and what one can accomplish when one engages oneself fully. It also laid the basis for how to adapt the program to whatever health goals you want it to accomplish. The last week was entitled "Positive Thinking/Mindfulness" and I found that after just two days of listening to the program, I felt less like crying and more in charge of my emotions again. It was a little like being able to come home to myself once more instead of constantly fighting with the crazy person who sometimes tries to take charge of my body. I've tried journaling for my depression, going to counseling for my depression, listening to uplifting music for my depression, and changing my diet for my depression, but this is the first time that it's only taken two days for something to make me feel better. It was awesome. I can't say it would work this way for everyone, but it certainly did for me and since I finished that week, I've found I have more energy and am struggling significantly less with my depression!

The mp3 program can be downloaded from their website here and only costs $24.00 with a 100% money-back guarantee. Isn't it worth a try?


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Being A Better Mom

It's amazing how many "disagreements" I get in with my parents about how to parent my child.  I understand that that is what parents do, and that's fine, but sometimes it goes a little overboard.  I'm sure they had it done to them when we were kids, but maybe it is time for a new generation to parent.

I parent very differently than my parents or my in-laws.  It isn't a small difference, and they know it.  The problem is that a lot of parents see you doing different things and think it is a smack on them when the truth is, your parenting style and your life in general isn't a way to judge them for how they raised you.

To me, I should always strive to be a better mom.  I can take things that my parents did when I was a child and refine them or scrap them.  That's the point of parenting.  Stagnancy isn't something I ever want to have with my children.

Being better and changing how I do things that will fit my family isn't a terrible thing.

And so, I came up with ways to be a better mom every day of the week.

1.  Truly listen to my daughter.  Talk to her, understand her needs, and for as long as she needs, make sure she has 100% of my attention.  No phone, no computer, no books, just me and her.

2.  More cuddle time!  I do still bedshare part time, so I get to cuddle then, but some days they just want you close and vice versa.  I never noticed how often that was because I was always doing something.  Now, I make time for her when she needs to feel my arms around her.

3.  Tell her I love her whenever I feel like it.  Even if she gets sick of it or doesn't respond, she hears it.  I don't want her to grow up feeling that something was missing or we didn't say it enough.

4.  Celebrate her accomplishments!  I hate saying "Good Job" when people do things because it just sounds like you weren't paying attention.  Instead, I will actually point out what she did, how she did it, let her know I truly understand and applaud her.

5.  Even if it turns into a mess, have her help with cooking or dishes.  I loved doing that with my mom, it made me feel so important!

6.  Don't say no as often.  This one may seem odd, but some days I seem to say no all day long, and it just turns into more arguments.  I am trying to do other things besides "no", and let her decide things on her own.  And the strange thing is that when she is able to decide, she normally goes with what she is "allowed" to do, and doesn't push her limits or mine.

7.  Let her be her own person.  She isn't my clone.  I don't want her to be.  I want her to make mistakes and learn from them.  I want her to know I am here for her, but I do not want to push her into things she doesn't want.

This week, we tried something new.  And amazingly, just doing a few simple things a day changed our relationship in profound ways.

Monday, June 27, 2011

My First Nurse-In

Oliver nursing while I visit with another supporter. (photo credit: Kim Smith)
Oliver and I attended our first ever nurse-in on Saturday. While it was absolutely appalling to me that such activism was needed in my community I was really quite happy to unite with other local families to defend our babies' right to nurse whenever and wherever they need to.

The story goes like this: last Wednesday a DJ from a local rock radio station posted on the station's Facebook page that one of his Facebook friends had posted images of herself breastfeeding which I guess made him uncomfortable or something. His exact words were "[...]That's a major Facebook Faux Pas! Kind of like breast feeding at the mall, it's just not something you should do." Not surprisingly, as ignorance tends to fester & multiply onto itself like mold, other fans of the station jumped into the attack on women and babies while the small but fierce local breastfeeding community tried tirelessly to educate and put an end to the public shaming of this radio DJ's 'friend'.

The next day, instead of apologizing for his behavior and letting the matter drop, the DJ talked about the incident on air, repeating his thoughts about breastfeeding on Facebook and in malls while adding repeatedly that women should cover up or leave public spaces to breastfeed and allowing callers to add even more negativity while airing only one of the many phone calls, texts, and emails from the many breastfeeding supporters who tuned in to defend nursing in public.

Even more astounding is that even after talks of a nurse-in had started and the outrage grew louder from the parenting community, the station brought up the matter AGAIN online and on air, while I have not heard the third attack, I've been told that the segment is sans apology or admission they are in the wrong.

Seriously. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

The whole thing was awful. Neither the radio DJ nor any of his supporters said anything that I hadn't heard before. Their hateful words were, unfortunately, completely unimaginative and absolutely nothing new. Except the people saying these things aren't in the community of some online friend somewhere else, they live in MY community. They could live in my apartment building, perhaps work at my local grocery. Maybe they ride the same bus or go to the same events as my family and I. The people saying these awful things had maybe seen my son breastfeeding and called me names or thought me disgusting in their heads or to their friends without me ever knowing, and that thought ties my stomach in knots.

It bothers me to say it, but the next time I need to feed my son in public (because there will most certainly be a next time) I will be thinking of this incident. I will be reminded that to do what feels so natural to me and feed my child on demand no matter where we are, is not the norm to everyone else. I will be looking around and wondering which of the people around me are sharing their disapproval of me through social media, and which ones are just calling me indecent in their heads.

But the beauty of the nurse-in, the overwhelming positivity, strength, support and solidarity of the women who came out last Saturday, is that I'll also be looking around for something else:

I'll be watching for the young woman who has never seen anyone breastfeed before. I will hope that when she is finding the confidence to mother in public one day, she will remember me, that woman who so naturally nursed her baby in that coffee shop.

I'll be watching for the worried new mom desperately trying to put off her newborn because she isn't sure if she can 'just whip it out'. I will hope she sees me calmly nursing and know she's not alone, that she has nothing to feel ashamed of.

I will be looking for the proud looks of the women who came before, who worked hard and nursed their babies despite social and cultural sabotage both subtle and overt to keep breastfeeding culture alive (if a little underground). I will hope they know how thankful I am that they helped pave the way for me. I will return the favor by paving even further for the next women.

So even though this relentless public attack on breastfeeding was so very awful and never ever should have been allowed to happen in the first place, I am glad I had the opportunity to reconnect with other breastfeeding mothers, activists, and professionals in my community. It was nice to be reminded that support is out there.
Also as a result of our protest, another DJ from the same station has offered us the chance to have a spokesperson from the community speak on their morning show this coming Monday. A local IBCLC is in the process of gathering every one's thoughts and putting together a statement that represents a good cross section of the mamas in our community. I call that a win. 

For more information on breastfeeding in public and the legal rights of breastfeeding pairs in your area, please see INFACT Canada to search my province, or check out to search by state if you are in the US. 

If any of our readers have resorces for mothers in other parts of the world please link us in the comments and I will add them!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday School: Kids in the Kitchen

PhotobucketWelcome to the Connected Mom Sunday School. No matter what the course of your child's education, be it unschooling, homeschooling, or conventional schooling, The Connected Mom Sunday School aims to provide you with fun and easy activities for children of all ages and stages. (Have an idea for a Connected Mom Sunday School activity or theme? Either comment below or send your idea to connectedmom (dot) julian (at) gmail (dot) com.)

Kids can learn so much from working in the kitchen with you. Besides basic cooking skills, they can learn social skills, math and culture. Try some of these activities on a rainy summer day, or any time you hear "Mom, I'm bored!" Not only can you keep your kids occupied, but you will end up with fun snack too!


As with most subjects, toddlers do not need a structured activity. They do best when simply allowed to explore, and the kitchen is full of sensory experiences! Let them cut soft fruits or cooked vegetables with a butter knife or children's knife. They also love stirring bowls and sprinkling cheese. Claire Battersby of Clever Toddler Activities recommends playing a "your turn, my turn game" while cooking to teach the concept of social give and take.


Sensational Sorter

Use a muffin tin to teach sorting and counting. Set your child up with a 6-cup muffin tin. Have her sort a pile of small items (pennies, buttons, nuts, etc.) into the cups (original author Jean Warren recommends 4-6 of each item). You can also teach counting by lining the cups with paper liners. On each cup, write a number from 1 through 6. Have your child place the corresponding number of items into each cup.

**Bonus idea** To involve more senses, blindfold your child and have her sort different small food items by taste or smell.

School-Aged Child

Sequence Sandwich
This activity will help your child learn critical thinking and the steps in a process (sequencing). Give your child a pencil and paper and have her write down, in order, the instructions for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Have her write them for someone who has never made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before. Remind her not to leave out one step! Then try to make the sandwich following your child's directions to the letter (or have another child try it). Do not do anything that she has not specifically written down. Things can get silly at this point. Did she forget to have you open the peanut butter jar? Act confused. Did she tell you to use a knife to spread the peanut butter? If not, use your fingers. Then, have her change your directions so they are complete.

Older Child (10+)

Family Cookbook

If they have been helping in the kitchen for several years, children will likely have a collection of favorite recipes. Help your child look up his favorite recipes and record them in his own family cookbook. Give him a blank scrapbook, magazines for clipping pictures, glue, scissors, and any other supplies he might need to personalize his cookbook. If you like, you can also re-use an old book and design the family cookbook as an altered book. This is a great way to talk about family traditions. Discuss your family's culture and how the recipes were passed down. Or, take a global perspective and explore recipes and cultures from all around the world.

Kitchen clipart Copyright Lila* Star, The Spiritual Woman Ltd.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

To Homeschool or Public School

As my daughter gets older, the closer we get to the decision everyone seems to be pushing us toward.

When will she be enrolled in Kindergarten?

You can only lead people on for so long without actually deciding.

The choices seem so endless and terrifying.  This isn't just a choice deciding on what's for dinner.  This involves my child's learning.  Her growth, her development, how she sees the world.

And I understand I don't really have that much control in any of that, but the idea that my choice in how to school her or not school her makes me clam up and worry.

I've researched homeschooling and public schooling and unschooling.  I've read everything.  I've tried planning lessons or just letting her do her own thing.  And then my amazing daughter will hit me with a curve ball.

She was watching a cartoon, and I can't even remember which one.  As we are watching, they go to school in a yellow school bus and she got so excited.  She told me that she couldn't wait to ride in one and go to school.

Everything I'd learned, everything I had thought I knew, the decision I was so close to making, all of it went up in smoke.  My daughter doesn't know what she wants, she just sees these shows and hears talk about going to school and that's all she can think about.  I feel unable to breathe.

So do you go with what your child sees on television and wants to do, or do you go with your gut about what would be best for your child?

My husband is severely dyslexic, and I have always been worried our children would have it.  Now, most people have some form of dyslexia, but the idea of my child not being able to read because of a decision on how to school her is daunting.

Sending her to a school that is overcrowded with teachers that can't spend time with her one on one is one of the big reasons I want to homeschool.  But, if she has a great teacher, thrives in the environment with other children, would I be making the wrong choice to keep her home and teach her myself?

Has anyone else struggled with this choice?  Any sites or books or even insight to help would be amazing.

This decision is so much harder than I thought it would be.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Review: OvaCue Fertility Monitor and FertilAid

I have charted my cycle for two and a half years.  (For a quick rundown of how to chart your cycle to conceive or avoid, check out my post from last week).  Most the time I don't do my basal body temperature, only because I don't need it.  If I was charting to try to not get pregnant, I would absolutely use it to make sure I was in the clear and had already ovulated before doing the deed again without protection.  Since we are trying, it is much easier to monitor ovulation since I really only need it to tell me when I will either start my period or when to test for pregnancy.

This is where the Ovacue Fertility Monitor becomes so much more than a useful tool for charting and changes into the perfect companion for anyone trying to get pregnant or even those trying not to get pregnant.

Many women have heard about Fertility Microscopes, where you test your saliva every morning to see if you are ferning as another indication of fertility.  (You can find information on that HERE).  But, I have found something better!

The OvaCue Fertility Monitor has an oral sensor that you place on your tongue first thing in the morning and it tests the electrolytes in your saliva.  Depending on the time in your cycle, you have different levels of electrolytes (ie potassium, sodium, etc) which help the OvaCue pinpoint your peak days before you are even fertile.

Each morning, you wake up, then stick the oral sensor on your tongue.  It takes maybe three seconds to get a reading, it records it, and then you shut it off.  That's it!  About a week before you ovulate, the OvaCue will have a higher reading with the oral sensor and then the next day it will drop back down.  This indicates that you will be fertile soon and you should ovulate soon.

The idea that I could know when I might become fertile was huge for me.  Just going by the classic signs of fertility (cervical mucus/cervical position) I only have a couple days before I ovulate.  With the OvaCue, I was able to better plan my fertile days because I had a heads up.

Another fantastic part about the OvaCue is that it uses a color code to let you know your peak fertile days.  On the home screen of the OvaCue, it has your calendar.  Each day is given a color based on the oral/vaginal reading you get.  White is your non-fertile days, light blue is possibly fertile, medium blue is high fertility, dark blue is highest fertility, and pink is the confirmation of ovulation (to get the confirmation, you have to use the optional vaginal sensor, which I will talk about in a second).

Just looking at my chart on the OvaCue, I loved how I could know what my readings were just by the color.  It made my cycle come alive, and I didn't have to worry as much about completely charting my cervix and mucus, though I did anyway.

This cycle I also took FertilAid, a fertility supplement for women also by the same company as the OvaCue.  It contains all of the herbs and vitamins I currently take but in a single pill.  The only things I take in addition to this is a little bit of extra vitamin B6 and D.  I had more energy, I slept better, and with my cycle, and I ovulated earlier!  I haven't had reactions to the supplement like I sometimes do with different herbs, especially vitex, and I absolutely love taking it.  Three pills a day, and it enters my system fairly quickly.

Since I try to live more naturally, I have trouble going to the doctor for simple things I can do myself that have more effect than medications and tests I would get there.  Which is another reason why I absolutely love my OvaCue.  I received the optional Vaginal Sensor, which sounds a bit weird and looks a bit intimidating at first (the black probe looking thing in the picture above), but the information I was able to get with just a three second vaginal reading every day was priceless.

Unlike the oral sensor, with the vaginal sensor you need to be up and about for a few hours before you take a reading, and it needs to be taken at least eight hours after having sex.  You insert the vaginal sensor until you feel it hit your cervix, then you pull back 1/4 to 1/2 an inch and then push the tip of the sensor towards your tailbone, so the handle you are holding is more towards your front than your back.  Here, it sits in a pool of mucus and secretions and is able to get the best readings.

The vaginal sensor can completely confirm ovulation based on the change from estrogen to progesterone that happens the day you ovulate.  A few days before ovulation occurs, your mucus and electrolytes go from progesterone dominance to an estrogen dominance and your numbers on the OvaCue will drop.  As soon as ovulation happens, you will have a spike which will remain higher and level throughout your luteal phase, if your hormones are balanced and your body is working like it should.  This is handy for any woman whether they are trying to get pregnant or trying not to get pregnant.  Knowing when your fertile period ends helps you know if you cycle is balanced, it can help you know if you have any issues with hormones or your luteal phase (from ovulation to your period), and for those avoiding pregnancy, you know exactly when your fertile period ends so you know you can't get pregnant anymore.

The vaginal sensor also does something else that I absolutely fell in love with.  The vaginal sensor can tell how your progesterone levels are doing after ovulation.  For someone like me that has progesterone issues and a luteal phase defect, knowing if my levels were dipping, knowing each day what was going on, gave me peace of mind.  It gave me one more levels of knowledge that I needed to know for not only peace of mind, but information I could take to the doctor when and if I decided to go in for testing.  Being armed with this information has made me even more knowledgeable about my own body and has helped me become more informed on issues surrounding my trouble getting and staying pregnant.

Also, for those that want to chart their OvaCue graphs, they have an amazing service, OvaGraph!  If you want to see sample charts, you can use OvaCue's sample graphs, or you can views my chart here as an example.

For a one month's supply of FertilAid, it is $28.95, but it has a very good balance of vitamins and herbs which are perfect for fertility.  They are able to give your body a supplement that is necessary for a healthy cycle and healthy start to a pregnancy.  Plus, considering how much money a lot of us in the natural community spend on vitamins and herbs, $28.95 for most of what you take in three pills a day can actually cut your budget by a little bit.

Now, the OvaCue is a little bit more pricey.  For just the OvaCue and oral sensor, it is $249 with free shipping.  If you get the bundle with the OvaCue, oral sensor, and vaginal sensor, it is $329 with free shipping.  The price is a bit steep when you first look at it, but think of it this way.  The knowledge gleamed from the OvaCue can help not only with a natural cycle and give you more information on how your body works, but it can help with a medicated cycle too.  Through the course of our three years trying to get and stay pregnant, I have probably spent more than that on vitamins and herbs and tests.  Having the extra bit of information that the OvaCue is able to give you can make you more prepared to take control of your care should you need testing, and can help your provider know what tests you might need more than others.  Paying $250 or $329 now could save you a lot of money on unnecessary testing because you will be armed with even more information about your body.  Plus, if you don't want, you can use the OvaCue to help with your own home care, like I am doing for now.  The more information, the better your chances of understanding your body and getting pregnant.

Both of these products are absolutely amazing for those trying to get pregnant (and the OvaCue is amazing for those trying not to!).  Charting can seem like a little bit of a hard thing to do and seems a bit complicated at first, and the OvaCue is a perfect alternative, and even an aid, for those that want to know more about their own bodies.

Fairhaven Health sent me the OvaCue and FertilAid to review, no other compensation was given, and the views expressed are my own.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

How to Like and Other Things I've Learned From My Toddler

The other morning, my husband and I woke up to our son listing off the things he likes: "I like guacamole [he says huacadole]. I like fire truck. I like Finn [our dog]. I like playgroup. I like Oma." And so on.

Later that same day, a friend of ours commented, "You know, when someone sits next to me on the subway or in a meeting, I can instantly think of something I don't like about that person before they even open their mouth. But it's rare for me to instantly think of something I like about someone I don't know. And it's rare for me to even tell my friends the things I like about them."

I agreed with what he said. I too am guilty of finding myself next to someone on the subway and finding something I don't like about them. While I often give compliments, I don't know that I make a point to tell the people in life what I like about them. And I rarely ask the people in my life what they like.

I started to wonder, when it does switch from waking up as a two year old already thinking of the things you like to adulthood when you wake up thinking of the things you don't?

So chalk this up as another lesson I learned from my toddler. As a result, I too started listing the things I like about my life: my marriage, the gift of ease and communication I have with my husband, that my sister lives around the corner from me, that rhubarb is in season and that I know how to make strawberry-rhubarb pie, that every day my toddler son surprises me with the things he says, the things he’s learned to do for himself, or the experiences he remembers, that I’m pregnant with our second child, the library, napping, and oh, once I got started, I had a hard time stopping. Continuing to follow my son’s example, my husband and I started asking the people in our life what they like about their life.

And I started thinking of some of the other things I have learned from my toddler:

- He is growing and changing literally every day, and every day he becomes even more independent and self-sufficient – as long as I grant him the space to do so. It’s when I insist on doing something for him that he wants to do for himself that he gets frustrated and I see the seeds of a potential power struggle, so I back off. When I let him try to do more and more things for himself, and he does, the sense of accomplishment that I see lighten up his face makes me realize that doing too much for one’s child only disempowers them in the end. I realized – not for the first time – that most children are far more capable than we give them credit for.

I also realized though, that while I relate to my fast-growing son as someone who can do something new or who changes each day, I don’t grant the same gift to other people in my life. I assume everyone else stays the same; I forget or I don’t think about that they too are growing, learning, evolving, human beings. My parents, for instance, are getting older and they have different concerns than they did ten or fifteen years ago. Or I assume that some people in my life will always say and complain about the same things, but what if I approached them the way I do my son, like they may have something new to say?

- My son is an adventurous sort. He tries new foods (sushi! calamari!) and he tries to do things at the playground, even things that as a parent I might think still may be above him for a bit. He tries them anyway. And he keeps trying, over and over and over again. Sometimes he gets frustrated; sometimes he doesn’t. But watching him, I realized I don’t keep trying over and over again. My son keeps trying just to try and because he thinks it’s fun, while I give up out of frustration because I’m attached to the outcome I see in my head. But what if I too just kept trying new things just because – and not to achieve a particular outcome?

-I can give my son space, compassion, and patience for a lot of his behavior –or what some other people would call misbehavior – because I know that as a toddler he is driven not by thought and reason, but by emotions and he is just doing what toddlers do at his particular age. For me to expect him to do or be something different or not age appropriate (ie to sit quietly in a fine dining restaurant while my husband and I enjoy a multi course meal) would just be, well, dumb. So I don’t and consequently, I don’t get as frustrated with him.

It occurred to me that other people in my life are very similar, in that they are just doing the thing that they do, that it’s just who they are, and like my son, their behavior actually has very little to do with me. My grandmother giving me unsolicited advice because she gives everyone unsolicited advice? It’s just the thing she does. My neighbor who sits on his stoop and daily tells me the weather and that my son will either be too hot/cold/wet in what I have him dressed in? He does the same thing to everyone and it’s just his thing. I don’t take my son’s behavior personally; why should I take anyone else’s quirks and habits personally? (Do I still struggle with this one? Absofrickinglutely. But when I start to get irritated with my grandmother or other loved ones, I am better able to talk myself off the ledge.)

I’ve learned several other things from my son in my short life as a parent, but what do I learn every day? Be open - to who he is, to what’s next, to what’s possible, to what he needs (vs what I think or when I think his nap should be), to the unexpected, to the day ahead (vs attached to what happened or didn't happen yesterday) to play, to laugh, to life, and to the new things my toddler will teach me.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Circle+Bloom's Energy for Empowerment Program

PhotobucketSeveral days ago, Kayce shared a review of the Circle+Bloom's Natural Cycle for Fertility Program. When I learned of the opportunity to review their Energy for Empowerment Program, I jumped on it. I have three kids under the age of six and another on the way, so energy comes at a premium. Sometimes, I don't think I have enough energy to complete everything that needs to be done. Admittedly, I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to things like this, but what could it hurt? I decided to give it a try. I will do anything to gain some energy!

I was pleasantly surprised. The Energy for Empowerment Program includes four twenty-minute sessions. In each session, Joanne Verkuilen presents a guided visualization that focuses on one element of the body: metabolism, endocrine system, circulation and blissful sleep. She uses a calm, comforting voice. I could literally feel my body relax as I breathed deeply through each visualization.

The relaxation element is nice, but these visualizations offer far more than that. Each session also feels like a mini anatomy lesson. The uplifting, encouraging language is balanced with helpful information about different organs, glands, and hormones and the roles they play in providing energy. Knowing the function and location of these parts helped me to see them in my mind and feel more in touch with my body. I could picture the endorphins flowing from my hypothalamus. Once you have focused your intuition, the sessions encourage you to look inward and contemplate the actions you need to take to maximize your energy.

The people who need this program the most may often be tired, but I'd recommend listening when you're not too exhausted. The program is intended to be used while lying down or reclining. The narrator's voice is so soothing and the visualizations are so relaxing that I accidentally drifted off to sleep during the first session. That being said, helping you sleep well is not far from the mission of the program. In fact, one session focuses on sleep. At the end of each session, listeners who are lying in bed ready to sleep are invited to drift off peacefully. These work great for clearing the mind in preparation for a good night's rest. In the morning, you will wake energized and motivated to take on the day. (If you just need a shot of relaxation during the day, they would work great for that too!)

Overall, I think the Circle+Bloom's Energy for Empowerment Program is worth it. At $24 for an mp3 download or $29 for two CDs, the cost is reasonable. I can see myself using the sessions time and time again when I need a boost of energy. For less about the cost of a pedicure (who has time for that anyway?), you can pamper yourself at home many times over. As a bonus, you can hone your intuition and get in touch with your body as well!

I received the Circle+Bloom Energy for Empowerment Program to review, no other compensation was given, and the views expressed are my own.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pre-Seed Giveaway Winner!

I used to generate a winner. The result is number 1, Andria who learned that a couple only has a 20 % chance of becoming pregnant each month during a woman's fertile time.

Congrats Andria! I will email you with the details on shipping out your pre-seed. Get ready for some seriously fun baby making!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Feeding Mr. Ducky (And My Toddler's Self-Worth)

For the past few weeks, for nearly every mealtime, our evening walks, and on a handful of other important occasions (as determined my my almost two year old), we've had a visitor in our house. Affectionately nicknamed "Mr. Ducky," he has become my son's favorite day time friend. I wouldn't go so far as to claim that Mr. Ducky is a "lovey." Although he sometimes sleeps with us, he is not necessary for naptime or bedtime and when it comes to comfort, my toddler still prefers mama or daddy, but Mr. Ducky is still a very important companion.

It all began one Saturday morning two weeks ago when I was making breakfast and my son was playing with his new stuffed duck (a belated Easter gift from his grandma). When it came time to scoop him up to sit in his chair, he started saying "Ducky! Ducky!" and pointing to the empty booster seat we had sitting on the floor. (At the time, we were in transition between using the high chair and using the booster seat at the table. Since then, he has made the transition to sitting in the big boy booster seat at the table all the time and Mr. Ducky now sits at the high chair.) It took me awhile to figure out what he wanted, but eventually I understood that he wanted his pet duck to eat with us. So, I shrugged and figured it was harmless enough to have a stuffed duck at the table, so I placed the booster seat on the chair and sat him in it. Tenderly, my son found Ducky a bib and before he would eat a morsel of breakfast, insisted that I give some to Mr. Ducky. When my husband came in, he was amused and played along, although later he teased me that now our son would end up taking his stuffed duck to college with him and would not be able to eat in the cafeteria without him. I rolled my eyes. "Ducky" is our opportunity to see how we're doing. If he's gentle, kind, and sharing with Ducky, it means that he feels like that's how we treat him."

And so, life with Ducky had begun. I must admit, Ducky is a character and a welcome addition to our day. Ducky is also pretty handy. When my toddler doesn't want a diaper change or to lay down for nap, Ducky is almost always game (and my son always follows suit). (By the way, while my son prefers yellow or purple diapers, Ducky only wants to wear green at least according to my toddler.)

Ducky also acts as an assessment of my parenting, not just by the way my toddler treats him (which is almost always gentle and loving, I'm proud to say), but also in the way my toddler has him interact with me. He lets me have a glimpse into what my toddler is thinking and feeling about his interactions with me. A few days after Ducky came to join us, I began to notice a pattern. While, my son always asked for breakfast, lunch, and snacks, Ducky asked for dinner. Why was that?

Well, dinner time is not my best "mothering" time of the day. At times, I can be a bit short tempered as I attempt to do the afternoon pick up and cook both my husband and my dinner and our son's dietary safe dinner (although he's been making great strides, he still has quite a few restrictions that mean I essentially cook two dinners every night). Besides, I'm a morning person, being fun after 3:00 pm is rather difficult for me. It turns out, my son had figured that out and rather than risk being brushed off rather haphazardly, he started sending in Ducky to ask instead. (A very adorable action that involved holding Ducky up and saying Ducky and then using the sign for "eat.") It broke my heart that I had made my own baby uncomfortable about asking me to eat when dinner was almost ready. I resolved to be extra sweet to Ducky AND my toddler anytime they asked for dinner a bit early and would always give them a little rice cake or something else to tide them over, even if their last snack was only an hour or so before. (I figure even if that means he doesn't eat much of the dinner I cooked for him . . .at least it means he's not afraid to tell me when he's extra hungry!) The result, after two days, my toddler started asking me to eat during dinner time and I'm happy to say, Ducky hasn't asked for a meal in over a week!

I'm grateful for Ducky in other ways. Ducky gives my son a chance to use his imagination and also to act out his fantasies in a safe way. Ducky is now the one who sneaks past the safety gate in the basement while my son stays safely on the right side. Ducky is the one who keeps jumping on the bed when it's bed time, while my dear, sweet toddler tells him "no, no Ducky! Bed-Mama!" (Meaning, no jumping on the bed, Ducky, no matter how awake you are! It's time to lay in bed with Mama and go to sleep.) When we go for our nightly walk during which my son and Ducky ride in my son's red wagon, Ducky is the one who tries to climb out of his safety belt and climb into the road. My son is the one saying "Oh, no!" and asks me to put him back in his seat. I always try to remember to lovingly reprimand Ducky no matter how ill behaved he is and to show him (and consequently my son) that although I must keep him safe and teach him limits, I do all of it from love. I know that it is how I treat "Ducky" during his most naughty times that will tell my son exactly how deep my love runs. If I manage to treat Ducky with love and respect at those times, my son will know exactly where he stands with me and he will know that even when mama sees him at his worst, he is still worthy of love and respect, after all even a stuffed duck gets that in our home!

I know that, one day, Ducky will not always seem to be my ally. (My mom often tells me of when I was three years old and my own "Ducky," my plastic Inspector Gadget, managed to color with crayons all over my closet and bedroom.) In other words, one day, my son and "Ducky" (whatever his presentation) will probably get into actual trouble. When that day comes, I know it is just as important to welcome that behavior as opportunity as it was to welcome Ducky to our breakfast table. It is an opportunity for both of us to learn and grow and to enrich and further develop our relationship. By feeding Mr. Ducky, I pray I've opened the door to feeding my son's soul, through good and bad times.

Thanks for reading,

Charting Your Cycle - Natural Family Planning

*Sorry in advance for this long post. I didn't realize that it would be this long until I started writing it*

I learned about cycle charting two and a half years ago.  We had been trying to get pregnant for almost six months, and when I was training at work, I started talking about it with the woman I was shadowing.  They had also been trying, and she recently picked up a copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler (INCREDIBLE book, a must have for all women, regardless of whether you are trying to get pregnant).  We talked for the entire shift about this book.  Well, her talking, me taking copious notes.

Ever since, I have been completely hooked.  Hormonal birth control made me a little crazy, though I was only on it for six months before my daughter, and then only had the mini-pill for 9 months after her birth, I felt like a crazy person.  Now that I know there is a better option out there than birth control, I have grabbed on with both hands and I won't ever turn back!

There are three main components to charting your cycle.  1. Taking your temperature every morning. 2. Checking your cervical mucus and 3. Checking your cervix.

1. Taking Your Temperature Daily

This is one of the most important ways to check for ovulation.  It is easy, there are no tests involved besides sticking a thermometer in your mouth every morning and noting down your temperature. The best thermometer to have is one that goes to 98.67 rather than just 98.6, but it is all up to you.  You will be better able to see a temperature shift if you have the first kind, but you will see a shift with either one.

When your body ovulations, your internal temperatures rises.  It isn't much, maybe an entire degree, but when you are taking your temperature every day, the shift is very obvious.

When you are taking your basal body temperature, pick a time when you normally wake up.  To have it be correct and not have false shifts, you need to take your temperature the same time every day.  And every day, it needs to be taken before you get out of bed, after at least 3 hours of solid sleep.  If you get out of bed then take your temperature, it will be different.  If you don't get 3 hours of sleep, it will be different.  If you wake up at a different time to take your temperature, it will be different.  I know it sounds like more work than it should be, but once you get the hang of taking your temperature, it becomes automatic.  Even if you need to set your alarm for a couple hours before you normally get up then go back to sleep, that's fine.  All you need is consistency and your temperature will tell you things you didn't even know about your own body.

Here is a sample chart with temperatures taken.  This is one of my charts from last year, and I was always a really bad temperature taker.  I have only done it a handful of times, but here is one of mine from my pregnancy last year.

The red cross-hairs show ovulation day and my temperature coverline.  When you take your temperature, especially if you use charting software or websites like Fertility Friend (the one shown), and input it into the graph, when your temperature rises and stays risen for 3 days, the software will automatically create crosshairs for you.  When I ovulate, my temperature goes up an entire degree, so it is really easy to see.

When you are taking your temperature, have seen the rise and find your crosshairs, what this means is that for your luteal phase, or from ovulation until your period, your temperature won't drop below the crosshair.  When your period is due, unless you're pregnant, your temperature will start to drop, and once it is below the horizontal line, your period will start.  Now, there are some exceptions, like if you took your temperature at a different time of day, or if you didn't sleep very well, but most of the time, your temperature will stay above that line.

Now, as on this chart, there is such a thing as a second rise in temperature after the rise for ovulation.  It is called a triphasic pattern, which is an addition rise after implantation and normally means you are pregnant.  It doesn't happen to everyone, but it is a really cool thing to see on your own chart.

There isn't much research on this, but one of the best things about charting your cycle is you can truly see if you are ovulating, how long your luteal phase is, and if there are any abnormalities.  If you aren't ovulating, you can still have a regular period.  You just won't see the temperature shift on your chart, and normally those with anovulatory cycles start their period at about 40 days, though it is different for every woman.  And just because you have one cycle without ovulation, doesn't mean all will be that way.  Sometimes it could be stress or sickness or something just isn't right, and you don't ovulate.  Which is why it is important to chart for more than one cycle.

As for the luteal phase, books say that you need a luteal phase at least 10 days long to successfully carry a child.  Shorter than that, and even if your body is pregnant, it will expel the baby because your hormone levels aren't high enough to keep the baby implanted.  Personally, I think that any luteal phase less than 12 has that issue.  You need a luteal phase long enough to get that baby firmly attached, and to show that your hormone levels are okay.  Most women that have shorter luteal phases have progesterone issues, but not all.

As for abnormalities, your temperature can tell you a lot.  Temperatures for healthy women should be in the 97's and 98's before and after ovulation.  If it is lower than that, it could mean an adrenal issue or a thyroid issue.  For people like me, I just run colder.  My temperature is in the 96's before ovulation and the 97's after, even though my thyroid checks out, and my adrenal gland is okay for the moment.  Even though it doesn't for sure mean there is a problem, it could show that there might be one just by taking your temperature every day.

2.  Checking Your Cervical Mucus

This may sound really gross to quite a few people, but you actually don't have to touch any mucus, and if you don't want to, you don't have to reach inside your vagina.

Depending on the time in your cycle, your water intake, and if you are sexually stimulated, the quality of the mucus your vagina secretes is different.  It feels different, it looks different, and it reacts differently to air.  When I was first married, I thought for sure I had a yeast infection every month because my mucus was thick and that is what I heard marked a yeast infection.

Early in a woman's cycle, normally right after her period ends, everything dries up.  There is very little mucus and sometimes sex during this time if you aren't completely stimulated can hurt a little bit, though that is true any time in a woman's cycle.

Slowly as a woman gets closer to ovulation, her cervical mucus goes from dry to sticky to creamy and then finally to an egg-white quality, though some women don't have one or any of the different types of mucus.  Learning how your body works is much better than trying to stick to a graph or what the average woman has since every woman is different.

Each mucus has different qualities, and though it may take a few tries to learn the difference between them, all you have to do is check it when you wipe every time you go to the bathroom.  The closer you are to ovulation, the wetter and slicker your vulva will feel, and that is also the time where a lot of women end up rushing to the bathroom because they feel a surge of wetness that is mistaken for their period.

Sticky cervical mucus is just like how it sounds.  It feels like the paste you used in Elementary School or as a child.  It can feel slightly springy, but in essence, this cervical mucus does *not* feel wet.

Creamy cervical mucus which feels and looks a bit like lotion.  It tends to feel cool at your vaginal opening, and sometimes it is hard to handle because it is so wet or watery.  The big key with creamy mucus is that you will feel wet, almost like your period has started, but when you check, it isn't there.  This isn't the most fertile mucus, but this is about the time you start noticing your fertility is increasing and to start doing the deed in preparation.  This mucus will be more opaque, just like lotion.

Eggwhite cervical mucus is just how it sounds, and I know that sounds a little gross.  Eggwhite mucus is extremely slippery and can stretch 1 to 10 inches.  This is when you feel your most wet, and when you go to the bathroom, some might drop into the water and instead of stringing and falling to the bottom of the water, it will ball up and float for a minute before it falls.  This mucus will look like eggwhites, and might have streaks of white, but is mainly clear and stretchy.

To check your cervical mucus, you don't ever really have to touch it if you don't want to.  All you need to do is every time you go to the bathroom, when you wipe, see how it feels.  Do you feel wet and slippery?  Or do you feel dry and sticky?  You can check the color of the mucus, see how much there is, and if you flip it over and sometimes it will stretch down before breaking if it is eggwhite mucus.

If you want to check it by hand, you just need a tiny bit in between two fingers, and rub them together.  The wetter they are, ie the more fertile the mucus, the longer it will stay on your fingers.  When you pull your fingers apart, eggwhite will stretch as far as 1 to 10 inches.

Your mucus is one of the biggest things when trying to get pregnant.  Without the fertile quality of eggwhite mucus, the sperm will have a very hard time traveling to the uterus and actually reaching the egg.  There are things you can take to increase the quality of your mucus, but mainly, lots of water will increase it to a normal consistency and quality for the majority of women.

3.  Checking Your Cervix

This one is optional, even more so than the other two.  Most books will look over this since checking your cervix is very sensory based and you do need to practice a little bit before you will ever be able to feel any difference between the days in your cervix.

Your cervix changes depending on your fertility.  It changes lengths, it opens, and it softens.  When you aren't fertile, your cervix will be long, firm, and the opening will be closed.  As you become more fertile, your cervix will rise up, becoming shorter, becoming softer, and the opening will become more open.  Once you ovulate, your cervix will lower and close within a few hours to up to a day.

When your cervix is firm, it will feel like the tip of your nose.  When your cervix is soft, it will feel like your lips when they pucker.  It is indistinct, but the more you check, the more proficient you will become.

Your cervix changes depending on the time of day also, so if you are checking your cervix, it is best checking around the same time every day.

To check your cervix, it is best to get in a position that will open your pelvis, like squatting or one leg higher than the other.  Personally, I like to put one foot on the toilet and lean slightly over.  You only need one finger to check, and your cervix will normally be the length of your middle finger from the vaginal opening, though every woman is different.

Really, the best way to do this is practice, practice, practice.  And again, this one is totally optional.

This is just a summary of the ways to chart your cycle, and I really do highly suggest the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility because it truly is a wealth of information.

And the best part is next week I will give you another option on how to chart your cycle, though it is a little pricey, it can really be a much less confusing way to track your fertility.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Comfort Nursing = Eating Disorder!?

There is this really persistent opinion about comfort nursing that keeps popping up everywhere I go which basically boils down to the notion that nursing your baby or toddler for comfort will teach them bad habits & set them up for life-long obesity.

The logic, as I've heard and understood it from people who hold this opinion, goes something like this:

  • Childhood obesity is on the rise. 
  • Eating disorders and unhealthy relationships with food are prevalent in our society. 
  • Emotional eating, or eating for comfort, (or even enjoying food at all it would seem) are 'bad habits' that will make you fat. 
  • To prevent obesity we must strictly control our children's food intake to build 'healthy habits'. 
  • Comfort nursing is emotional eating and therefore teaching 'unhealthy habits'.

On a whole this kind of logic doesn't really surprise me. Our culture has some pretty screwed up perceptions about food. Unfortunately, those perceptions get projected onto our children and drive us to do some weird things to the way we feed them.

Kind of like the way some parents feel they need or want to force their children into emotional independence before they are ready. They perceive dependence as bad and their infants to be 'needy' or 'whiny' because their own relationships & experiences with trust, reliance and independence are negative or unhealthy.

When it comes to attachment style parenting every parent does things differently, but there are a few very basic roots that apply to all attached parent/child relationships. Mainly that reliably anticipating and meeting the basic needs of our children is essential to a secure attachment. So let's use this as a jumping off point for my logic regarding comfort nursing:

  • Needs that are met go away, and needs that go unmet persist, are internalized, then eventually show themselves in other ways. 
  • Comfort is a basic need. 
  • Breastfeeding is the biological norm for human beings, and left to their own devices, mothers will instinctively put their babies to breast on demand. 
  • As a breastfeeding mother, I know that babies and toddlers are pretty demanding and make it very clear when they would like to nurse. They are often most insistent when they are in need of immediate comfort. 
  • I would therefore conclude that nursing for comfort is an instinctual and natural coping method for young children in stressful situations.

That's basically my end point. Nursing for comfort is natural. It is what we were meant to do.

Are there other ways to comfort a child? Of coarse there are, and I don't judge anyone who chooses them over comfort nursing in any given moment, but there is also nothing wrong with relying on what is likely the easiest and most effective comfort tool available to breastfeeding mothers. When weaning does happen, the parent child relationship evolves and other forms of comfort are developed. naturally.

With all this in mind, I think it is safe to say that comfort nursing your baby or toddler will not give them an eating disorder any more then rocking them to sleep every night will give them insomnia, or wearing them in a carrier will limit their ability to walk.

What's more, I can think of at least 10 very important and practical reasons to go ahead and let your child nurse for comfort and ignore anyone who tries to tell you you're doing something wrong.

1) As mentioned above, nursing for comfort is the natural way for human children to cope with stress.

2) The act of breastfeeding releases hormones that help YOU relax in a stressful situation.

3) Nursing on demand whether for food or comfort helps to maintain adequate milk supply for your child's growing needs.

4) Comfort nursing gives you a moment or so of quiet to determine possible causes and solutions to the problem that needs comforting (especially handy when tantrum-y toddlers have you at your wits end!)

5) Frequent nursing for food or for comfort helps to prevent and alleviate issues such as: leaking, engorgement, plugged ducts, and mastitis.

6) frequent on demand nursing for food or comfort helps strengthen parent child attachment. Which has been shown to have many benefits for the child's health and well being.

7) Nursing for comfort is sometimes the only chance you'll have in a day to snuggle a busy on the go baby or toddler.

8) Comfort nursing reduces the likelihood of further tantrums or melt downs by giving your child a shot of nutrient dense milk to take the edge off their thirst or hunger and maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

9) Frequent on demand nursing for food or comfort lowers your child's risk of dehydration. Particularly in hot seasons/climates, during illness, or during a long and busy day when it's easy to forget to rehydrate often.

10) Frequent on demand nursing for food or comfort can delay the return of your menstrual cycle!!