Friday, December 30, 2011

Misconceptions About Breastfeeding

I read a comment on one of my favorite Facebook groups today that was disrespectful, misinformed and condescending towards breastfeeding women. Obviously, the person was trolling the page, most likely in hopes of starting a debate. I wanted to respond, to educate this person on breastfeeding, yet I did not. I do not feel it usually results in any good to engage in a formula versus breast milk debate with certain people. They want to believe that their opinions are right, and there is usually no changing their mind on anything. I do like to help those who are misinformed become better educated about breastfeeding, yet I try not to engage in battles with people who are obviously looking to start a debate. However, the comments this person made are things that I have heard before, so I wanted to address some of them. I am not posting this to say breast is best (breast is natural and normal), but I am hopeful that this helps educate some who have the wrong perceptions regarding breastfeeding.

Here are some common questions or comments I hear regarding breastfeeding, and my response to them.

Formula is just as good as breast milk and formula-fed babies are just as healthy. So, why do you even breastfeed?

My response to this became very long, so I have created a new post on this topic. To summarize, the health benefits, bonding, convenience, and components of breast milk are all reasons why I breastfeed.

Why can't you just schedule outings around feedings? Do you really have to go out when the baby needs to eat?

In reality, there is no set schedule for feeding a baby. Some babies do develop times they like to nurse, but others nurse throughout the day. Babies need to nurse at least 8 to 12 times per day during the early weeks (or about every two hours), which would make it very difficult to only go on outings when the baby has already been fed. Do you schedule outings around when you need to eat? Do you stop and grab a bite to eat or a drink when you are hungry or thirsty? I really see no difference between the two, a baby needs to eat--just like an adult. If we all sat at home, scheduling our outings around when we need to eat, when we would go anywhere? There is also the point that maybe the mother would like to wait until after the baby eats, but maybe she just ran out of diapers or maybe she had an appointment somewhere and had to bring the baby. Really, it does not matter why she is out with her baby, it is her right to go out and run errands or shop anytime she feels like it.

Why can't you just express milk in a bottle? Do you really have to breastfeed in public?

I think some people are unaware how much work it takes to express breast milk. You need to sterilize all of your pump parts and bottles. You then need to set aside time to sit down and pump enough milk, which could take a few minutes or an hour. You need to determine how much milk the baby will really need, and ensure you don't bring too much or too little.

If the mom pumps milk for the baby, she will then be missing a feeding while she is out. Unless she pulls out her pump and starts expressing milk. Or she could just nurse her baby, which will maintain her supply. Milk production works on supply and demand. While one missed feeding probably won't have a big impact on her supply, missing too many feedings could. There is also the point that the mom will become engorged and uncomfortable if she skips too many feedings.

A mom can either do all the work, just to pump milk for a bottle so no one is offended by a baby breastfeeding, or the mom can simply get the baby ready and leave. When the baby needs to eat, she can simply breastfeed with milk that is sterile, full of nutrients, and at the perfect temperature. Convenience is one reason moms choose to breastfed, and pumping is not very convenient for some moms.

Then there is the fact that some moms cannot pump that much breast milk, no matter how hard they try. A baby is much more efficient than a breast pump, which means the baby can remove milk from the breast easier than a mom can remove it with a pump. So, even if a mom wanted to pump milk to give the baby a bottle, she may not be able too.

There are also concerns over nipple confusion and flow preference, which can happen when a breastfed baby is given bottles or artificial nipples. More information: Read myth number 15. http://www.llli.org/nb/lvaprmay98p21nb.html


Only poor women breastfeed, because they cannot afford formula.

While I am not rich, I am also not poor. I do think it is unfair to assume that women only breastfeed because they are poor and cannot afford formula. There are programs, such as WIC, that help pay for formula. Many women could choose formula if they wanted too, but many know the benefits of breastfeeding, and it is an informed, conscience decision they make. But yes, breastfeeding is more cost-effective. It does save money, but that is not the only reason I do it. I do it for the benefits, not only to save a dollar. Even if a woman did it to save money, why should it matter? Perhaps it is wrong to look for items on sale and to clip coupons too. Regardless of why a woman initially choose to breastfeed, most women discover just how beneficial breastfeeding is, which makes them want to continue breastfeeding even longer.

Formula helps you have your life back. When you breastfeed, you are always tied to the baby. You get to go out, work, go to college, etc. if you choose formula.

I would think that most breastfeeding women do feel that they have a life. Becoming a mother changes your life, and for some mothers, their new life becomes focused on their children. Some women are happy to stay at home with their children and not work. Perhaps the woman made a conscience decision to stay at home and not work, and it has nothing to do with the fact that she breastfeeds.

There are also women that do work or go to college while breastfeeding. Maybe they do express breast milk, so they can do other things when they cannot be near their baby. There are also women that work from home or go to college online. Many women that breastfeed are educated, so implying that women who breastfeed are unable to obtain degrees or work is merely an ignorant and incorrect assumption.

There is also a lot of emphasis put on "getting to go out." Where, I am not quite sure. A breastfeeding mother can continue to run errands and go shopping, with or without her baby. If she has a partner or babysitter, maybe she expresses milk and runs errands alone. If her baby is older, maybe she leaves the baby with a caregiver and goes out after the baby eats or during nap times. If she brings the baby out with her, she already has everything she needs, and she doesn't have to worry about packing bottles.

If the going out part is implied as getting to go out to bars, clubs or partying, I have different thoughts. I cannot speak for anyone besides myself, but I thought becoming a mother meant spending time with your children and raising those children. Some women need to work outside the home or go to college, but they are doing those things for the benefit of their family. Going out to clubs or bars is not something I think of as a regular occurrence during motherhood. If there are mothers that think they should be able to go out all the time and party, then that is their own prerogative. I think of going out as a special time, when maybe the mother and her partner go out for a date night or have time to reconnect. I do think it is important for the mom to go out, especially with her partner, to have time together and to reconnect. However, I do not think partying all the time is something that should be expected for any parent, whether she uses formula or breastfeeds.

Regardless, mother's can still "go out" when they breastfeed. It may take some planning to pump milk, pick a day or night, and find a suitable caregiver, but they are able to go out without their babies when they want too.

You can't eat certain foods or drink alcohol when you breastfeed. 

This is another incorrect assumption. There is no list of foods that breastfeeding mothers should avoid. There are no dietary restrictions. She should eat healthy and stay hydrated, but ultimately her body will continue to produce quality milk for her baby. In some cases, babies may develop an intolerance to certain foods in the mother's diet, but that doesn't mean a woman should never try to breastfeed. Some women do have to cut certain things out of their diets, like caffeine or cow's milk, but it is not the same for every woman or for every baby.

Alcohol is another thing that I have heard mentioned often. A woman can breastfeed and drink alcohol. If the mother has a newborn or her baby is under three months of age, she should avoid drinking alcohol. At this age, a baby's liver is immature and cannot metabolize alcohol as quickly as an older baby or toddler. After this point, the mother can have one or two drinks. If she knows she wants to have a drink or two, she should feed the baby first, and then have a drink. If the baby sleeps through the night, the mother can have a drink after putting the baby to bed.

Alcohol will peak in breast milk approximately 30 minutes to one hour after drinking, but this may vary depending on her size and if she has eaten anything or not. Alcohol passes out of breast milk, just as it does from the blood stream. There is no need to pump and dump, which I often hear recommended. Pumping the milk and throwing it away will not get the alcohol out of the milk faster if the alcohol is still in the mother's system. If a woman feels sober enough to drive, she is usually  sober enough to breastfeed. Still, drinking too much can have a negative affect on the baby, so women should limit their alcohol intake to one or two drinks.

(Reference: Bonyata, Kelly. "Breastfeeding and Alcohol." Kellymom. N.p., 01 Jul 2010. Web. 30 Dec 2011. <http://kellymom.com/health/lifestyle/alcohol.html>)


If you're going to breastfeed in public, why can't you go out to your car, go in a bathroom, or at least use a cover?

It is very inconvenient to leave a store and go out to the car. A mother would have to either rush and pay for everything and run to the car, all with a crying baby that needs to eat, or she would have to put her things down and go out to the car and then come back in later to purchase the items. If she is at a restaurant, she would be leaving her table and food to go feed the baby. Why would a woman bother to leave somewhere and feed in the car, when she could just breastfeed the baby right where she is?

I once read an article that compared breastfeeding to bodily functions that you do in a bathroom, which means that both should be done in private. There is nothing similar about breastfeeding and bodily functions that are done in the bathroom. Things that are done in the bathroom are not sanitary, and hand-washing is usually involved (I hope). Breast milk is sterile and contains antibacterial properties; it is not something unsanitary or something that would require the mother to wash her hands after doing so.

As far as feeding the baby in the bathroom, would you eat in the bathroom? I doubt it, especially a public restroom. A public bathroom is contaminated with bodily fluids and germs from numerous other people. There is no suitable place to feed a baby, and it is simply disgusting.

As far as the cover, many women do use covers to help them breastfeed discretely. However, there are some reasons why a woman may not be able to use a cover. If it is hot in the store or they are out on a hot day, the baby would become overheated under a cover. Some babies dislike covers and refuse to nurse while covered. Some women prefer not using a cover, as they are able to latch their baby on easier or they just dislike using them. I wonder which some people would prefer, hearing a baby cry through the store or catching a glimpse of a quiet, content baby who is breastfeeding?

There are also laws in many states that protect a mother's right to breastfeed in public, so it continues to amaze me when women are told to leave public places or go sit in a bathroom.

Women who breastfeed in public are just flaunting their body.

I often hear the phrases "whipping it out" or "flaunting it." Neither accurately describes breastfeeding in public. I think most women that breastfeed do like to do so discretely, not necessarily to avoid offending anyone, but because of their own personal preference to not accidentally expose any skin in public. Many women wear nursing tops, buttoned shirts or layers to make breastfeeding in public easier. Once a baby is latched on, it is usually hard to tell if the baby is being breastfed or is simply snuggling with his or her mama. There may be a bit of skin shown, but nothing compared to the models on the cover of swimsuit magazines or the girls who wear low-cut tops and short skirts to the mall. To those who think women are exposing too much and it is "disgusting," I wonder if it is OK for women to walk around with cleavage showing, and if it is acceptable for women to wear low-cut tops that reveal even more skin? If a woman truly wanted to show off her body, she would dress that way. Breastfeeding a baby in public is about nourishing and comforting the baby, it is not sexual and it is not an attempt to show off any skin.

Women who breastfeed think they are better than than those who do not.

I think there are some extreme supporters of breastfeeding that may have given the implication that we all think that we are an elite, supreme class of people, and anyone who does not breastfeed is below us. Some women have so much passion for breastfeeding that they make it seem as though it is the ultimate and only way way to feed a baby. Of course, there are other ways to feed a baby, but breastfeeding is the natural way.

I was reading a post on a blog that I recently found, The Alpha Parent, which references a post made by the Analytical Armadillo. (In case you have never read either of these blogs, they are awesome, and I do recommend them).

In the posts made, we are told that "breast isn't best, it is normal." I have often thought about this, but never in the way it was presented in these articles. The entire concept that breast isn't best left me pondering the message that is being sent to women. Most women are bombarded with information during pregnancy; from friends, family members, books, doctors, the media, etc. Each touting that breast is best, so where does that leave formula? Formula is not "best," but it is still safe and generally acceptable. The message is that breast is best, but formula is OK too.

If we look at breast as being best, then it allows others to say that formula is an acceptable alternative. Feeding your baby by breast becomes something on a pedestal, which seems superior and mighty. The message that is sent is that breast is something extra and a bonus--not something necessary. We learn that feeding your baby by breast has advantages and benefits, but formula won't do any harm and it still provides the nutrients a baby needs.

In reality, formula is very different than breast milk, which I addressed in my post about the benefits of breastfeeding.

I don't think that every woman who breastfeeds tries to come off as judgmental, as many are simply knowledgeable about breastfeeding and want to share information. Although there are some women who can be judgmental, I do not think any woman should be insulted, degraded or made to feel guilty for the choices she makes regarding her children or the way she feeds them. I also do not feel that women who breastfeed automatically believe that are superior to everyone else. Breastfeeding women are educated on the benefits of breast milk, and they know that it is the normal and natural way to feed a baby. 

I do find that many people are incorrect about certain things regarding breastfeeding, which is why some breastfeeding moms try to share information, and then they are bashed for being a lactivist and judgmental. Yet, I find that some formula feeding moms are judgmental and insult breastfeeding mothers, which is ironic. How can you accuse another mother of being judgmental, when you are passing judgements yourself, on something you may know little about?

As for me, I am not the one to pass judgements on anyone. I do not look down on other mother's if they do not want to or cannot breastfeed. I will gladly share information, education and resources, but I try to avoid engaging in debates with those who are not open to seeing things a different way. I do look at both sides of an issue, and I know from personal experience why formula may be in the picture. I am also informed and educated about breastfeeding enough to know that it is normal and natural. If that makes me too pro-breastfeeding or a lactivist, then I suppose that is true.


Why Do You Breastfeed?

Formula fed babies are just as healthy as breastfed babies, so why all the breast milk is better hype? 

I know many women say that their formula-fed babies are just as healthy as breastfed babies, so what is the difference? I am not against formula feeding. I did formula feed two of my children, one fully and one with supplements. There are certain situations when breastfeeding does not work, and formula becomes necessary. And then there are those who figure it is just as good as breast milk or they don't even want to try breastfeeding. We can all make that choice for our babies, but I find that a lot of the choices made come from being misinformed.

Here are just a few reasons why women may choose to breastfeed. 

Components of Breast Milk

I could expand more on each component of breast milk, but I may do that later in a future post. For the time being, I will briefly explain the differences.

Breast milk is made up of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, white blood cells, immunoglobulins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and hormones. The proteins (whey and casein) in breast milk are easily digestible for a newborn baby. The greater percentage of whey in breast milk allows the baby to digest the milk more easily, which means less spitting up, burping, and reflux, and no constipation. Some babies can get reflux, even if they are breastfed, but it is less common in breastfed babies.

Many brands of formula attempt to recreate what breast milk can offer by adding DHA (omega-3 fatty acid) and other vitamins. While some nutrients are artificially recreated, there are some things that formula just cannot provide. Formula cannot supply a baby with the immunological benefits of breast milk, as breast milk contains live white blood cells. This means that the baby is receiving vital immunities to things in the environment. Formula is made from "dead" materials; hence, there can be no live cells to offer immunological benefits.

Breast milk contains natural antibiotic properties, which make breast milk sterile, whereas formula is not. There is no sure way to ensure that formula is kept sterile. From the time it is manufactured to the time when it is brought home and opened; it cannot be kept fully sterile. This introduces the possibility of bacteria growing in the formula.

Breast milk is also continuously changing to meet the individual needs of the baby, whereas formula remains the same.

Health Benefits

I could create an exhaustive list of studies done on the benefits of breastfeeding, but for now, I will link to a few studies and resources for more information.

One study, titled "The Benefits of Breastfeeding Across the Early Years of Childhood," found that
babies who are breastfed have improved cognitive outcomes and a less chance of obesity at 2 and 4.5 years of age. Babies that were breastfed for at least six months had increased motor scores at nine months of age. (Belfield, and Rashad Kelly)

In 2006, a study published in Pediatrics found that babies who were breastfed exclusively for six months had a decreased risk of pneumonia and respiratory infections. (Chantry, Howard, and Auinger 425-432)

There are also maternal benefits to breastfeeding, such as reduced risk of ovarian and breast cancer.

Here is an extensive list of studies on the benefits of breastfeeding.

Why breastfeeding is important-- infant and maternal benefits

Bonding 

Of course there are ways to bond with a baby without breastfeeding. You can hold or rock your baby, and you can play with and talk to the baby. Yet, a mother who has breastfed knows what the breastfeeding bond is like. There is nothing that can really describe the feeling of seeing your baby content and satisfied after nursing, knowing that you provided your baby with everything he or she needed. You can take a fussy baby and immediately calm him or her by nursing. There is something special about the breastfeeding bond, but perhaps only a breastfeeding mom would understand.

Convenience

Breast milk is continuously being produced, as long as the milk is being removed from the breast. The amount of breast milk a woman has depends on supply and demand. If the baby removes milk from the breast, more will replace it. This means that there is always milk for the baby. There is no mixing formula, heating it up, washing and sterilizing bottles, or anything that goes along with formula feeding. Breast milk is at the perfect temperature and ready to serve, anytime of the day or night.

Cost 

Breast milk is definitely cheaper, since it does not have to be purchased. The mom does need to eat well and keep herself hydrated, but that is something she needs to do anyway. If a woman does not receive financial assistance for purchasing formula, she may spend anywhere from one to two thousand dollars per year on it.



References:

 Belfield, Clive, and Inas Rashad Kelly. "The Benefits of Breastfeeding Across the Early Years of Childhood." National Bureau of Economic Research. (2011): n. page. Web. 30 Dec. 2011. <http://www.nber.org/papers/w16496>. 

 Chantry, Caroline, Cynthia Howard, and Peggy Auinger. "Full Breastfeeding Duration and Associated Decrease in Respiratory Tract Infection in US Children." Pediatrics. 117.2 (2006): 425-432. Web. 30 Dec. 2011. <http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/117/2/425.full?hits=10&FIRSTINDEX=0&FULLTEXT=full+duration&SEARCHID=1&gca=pediatrics%253B117%252F2%252F425&#content-block>.

Sears, . "Comparison of Human Milk and Formula." Dr. Sears. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Dec 2011. <http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/breastfeeding/why-breast-best/comparison-human-milk-and-formula>. 

 "What's In Breast Milk?." American Pregnancy. N.p., Oct 2011. Web. 30 Dec 2011. <http://www.americanpregnancy.org/firstyearoflife/whatsinbreastmilk.html>.



Thursday, December 29, 2011

Free Blog Backgrounds

I decided to update the look of my blog today with something different. I am still adjusting the colors, but I like the blue color and pretty snowflake design. I would love to have my blog done by a professional, perhaps with a unique cartoon or vector style header. For now, I have been searching the Internet for free templates and backgrounds. I found quite a few different sites that offer free designs, so I decided to share them.

The Cutest Blog on the Block- This is the site where I found my butterfly background and the snowflake header I am using now. They have so many beautiful styles to choose from, from simple and classic to fancy and elegant. They also offer easy to follow instructions for adding backgrounds and banners to your blog.

Leelou Blogs and Butterflygirlms Rambles On: I found Butterflygirlms and she mentions that she designs some of the free templates that are on Leelou Blogs. I like how they offer complete templates for your blog, and there are plenty of cute choices. I like all of the seasonal ones they offer, so you can change the look of your blog anytime of the year.

The Graphics Fairy: She has plenty of beautiful and artistic choices for blog backgrounds. I really like the vintage look to her work, it is simply stunning.

Shabby Blogs: She offers very pretty layouts for blogs that look like art from a scrapbook. There are backgrounds, headers, buttons and plenty more at this site.

I also tried to create my own background this time around, but I am still working on it. I used images from Scrapbookscrapbook.com and The Graphics Fairy. 


What is your favorite site for free blog backgrounds?

The Co-Sleeping Controversy

This is a final I completed for my one of my college courses. We had to present an argumentative essay on a topic that related to sleep, and I chose co-sleeping. I know it is very long, but I did a lot of research for this paper. I am happy with how it turned out, and I did receive an A on the paper. If you have time, read through the essay and let me know your thoughts on co-sleeping.



The Co-sleeping Controversy and a Parent’s Ability to Receive a Good Night’s Sleep

A controversial anti-co-sleeping campaign was recently started in Milwaukee. As part of the campaign, a set of ads were released that depict two babies, one white and one black, each baby laying on a bed surrounded by fluffy blankets, peacefully sleeping. However, the ads take a sinister turn when you notice the butcher knife lying beside each baby. The headline reads, “Your baby sleeping with you can be just as dangerous.” (Herzog and Stephenson) The ads have caused quite a commotion among parents and health officials; with people on both sides arguing their points. The high rate of deaths associated with co-sleeping in Milwaukee are a cause for concern, yet these ads approach the subject by putting fear into parents. Stating that co-sleeping should never be done is closing the door on the possibility for new parents being able to receive more sleep. There is a difference between accidental or dangerous co-sleeping and intentional co-sleeping done by informed parents. Instead of focusing on the dangers of co-sleeping, new parents should be educated on both the benefits and the risks, as well as how to co-sleep safely, so they are able to make an informed decision that will help them achieve a better nights rest with a new baby. 
 
Co-sleeping is not a new practice, as it has been widely used by parents for years. However, the rates of co-sleeping declined when the “Back to Sleep” campaign began. The “Back to Sleep” campaign encouraged parents to never sleep with their infant, and to only lay their child flat on his or her back in a crib. The information that has been supplied to the general public is that any type of co-sleeping is unsafe, and that it raises the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). While there are reasons to be cautious about the way a person chooses to co-sleep, there is no reason to conclude that intentional, safe co-sleeping poses a risk to the baby’s health. In fact, some research suggests that co-sleeping actually has both emotional and physical benefits for the baby, as well as the mother. 

With encouragement from pediatricians, nurses and health officials, many parents give up on the idea of co-sleeping and adopt other ways to attempt to obtain more sleep. One of the most widely used practices is to “sleep train” an infant, which means the parent basically leaves the child alone in the crib and comes back to check on the baby frequently, but usually does not pick the baby up.  This method of training a baby to sleep may be useful for some parents, but for others it does not help them receive a better nights rest. Although some sleep training methods do not specifically promote letting a baby cry, there are instances during the course of most sleep training programs when the infant is left to cry, which some believe helps the infant learn to self soothe. 

A study published in Neonatal Network found that letting a baby cry for prolonged periods of time can have significant physiological consequences. The study found that infants who cried experienced “increased heart rate and blood pressure, reduced oxygen level, elevated cerebral blood pressure, initiation of the stress response, depleted energy reserves and oxygen, interrupted mother-infant interaction, brain injury, and cardiac dysfunction.”  (Ludington-Hoe, Cong, and Hashemi 29-36) Some parents may be unaware of the physiological responses that infants have to crying; however, they may become distressed when their infant cries and becomes too upset. Even parents who adopt the sleep training method may find it hard to stick to it, especially when the baby cries profusely or when the baby awakes in the middle of the night to eat. Parents that are unhappy with the “sleep training” method may attempt co-sleeping, yet they are often warned against it and even reprimanded for trying it. 

When the “Back to Sleep” campaign was launched in 1994, parents across the country began placing their babies to sleep on their backs and no longer co-slept. ("NICHD") The campaign has been reignited several times over the last 17 years as new studies have been released that show the number of SIDS related deaths each year. Most new parents are sent home from the hospital with pamphlets from the “Back to Sleep” campaign, which does not address co-sleeping at all, except to dissuade parents from ever doing it. 

While the number of SIDS deaths every year is startling, the focus is far too often put on co-sleeping. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a statement that said there were over 100 deaths related to co-sleeping between the years of 1999 and 2001. ("CPSC") The Juvenile Products Manufactures Association (JVMA) teamed up with the CPSC to further the “Back to Sleep” campaign after this report was released. This presented a large conflict of interest, as the JVMA is actually a manufacturer of cribs. The report further ignited the anti-co-sleeping messages that were being sent to parents. In addition, the report did not address the total number of crib related deaths for the years between 1999 and 2001. Babies can be at risk for suffocation from soft bedding and pillows in a crib or in an adult bed, so focusing solely on the deaths that occurred in adult beds makes it seem as though most deaths are related to co-sleeping. During the years of 1999 – 2001, there were about 2600 total deaths per year related to SIDS, which is a large number when compared to the deaths associated with co-sleeping. (Sears)

While the “Back to Sleep” campaign has been valuable, as it has taught parents safety measures that are important, it has also caused many people to believe co-sleeping is never an option. In their list of top 10 safe sleep practices, the campaign writers state that a baby should never sleep in the bed with his or her parents, as it is dangerous and increases the risk of SIDS. ("Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development") 

However, studies have been done on this very topic to discover if co-sleeping does increase the risk for SIDS. One such study, published in the British Medical Journal, did find that babies who co-slept appeared to have an increased risk of SIDS. Yet, when underlying factors were investigated, it seemed that the babies who did have a higher risk for SIDS were in a home that was overcrowded, the parents had been consuming alcohol, the parents were extremely tired, or the baby became trapped underneath a large blanket. (Blair, Fleming, and et al) Although it does not state this in the paper, these cases were most likely due to accidental co-sleeping. This is why it is highly important that parents learn the difference between accidental co-sleeping and intentional co-sleeping. 

In cases where the parents intentionally co-sleep, there is actually a decrease in the risk for SIDS. Although more studies need to be done to conclusively determine why infants have died during co-sleeping; from SIDS or suffocation, several early studies show promising findings for the benefits of co-sleeping. A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that mother arousals are heightened during co-sleeping. When paired with an earlier article that studied the stages of sleep during co-sleeping, the researchers suggested that “the observed changes in stage 3-4 sleep and arousals associated with bed sharing might be protective to infants at risk for SIDS because of a hypothesized arousal deficit. The responsivity of the mother to infant arousals during bed sharing might also be protective.” (Mosko, Richard, and McKenna 841-49) The researchers did note the importance of safe sleeping arrangements, yet they concluded that co-sleeping may decrease the risk for SIDS. Another study, published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, found that the mother’s breathing during co-sleeping could raise levels of CO2 to non-lethal levels, which could potentially stimulate the baby’s breathing. (Mosko, Richard, and et al 315-28) Although more research needs done, there is evidence that supports the claim that co-sleeping can decrease the risk for SIDS, if done safely. 

 New parents may be overwhelmed and exhausted during those first early weeks at home, which can make it easy for the parents to accidently fall asleep while holding the baby. These cases are most likely what leads to an increased risk of SIDS, whereas intentional and safe co-sleeping does not. While the risk of SIDS is the main danger that physicians and health agencies warn parents against when it comes to co-sleeping, what they fail to explain is the benefits of co-sleeping and how it can actually help both the parent and the infant receive a better night’s sleep. 

Research has been done to investigate what the benefits are for a mother and child that sleep together, and there have been interesting conclusions from the studies. One study, published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, examined women during the fourth week after giving birth. The researchers examined the sleeping patterns of the women, as well as the way the women fed their infants. Conclusions from the study showed that women who breastfed and co-slept received more hours per sleep each night, while mothers that bottle fed received less overall sleep, no matter what sleeping arrangement they had. (Quillin, and Glenn 580-88) This study shows that not only is co-sleeping beneficial in helping the new mother sleep more, but breastfeeding can also help new mothers receive a better nights rest. 

Professor James McKenna is a biological anthropologist who is the director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame. He has conducted numerous studies on the risks and benefits of co-sleeping. Through his research, he has found that there are benefits for both the mother and the infant. His research has shown that babies who co-sleep have regular heart rhythms and fewer instances of pauses between breaths. (Gettler, and McKenna 42-51) This means that babies who co-sleep are generally sleeping physiologically safer, which decreases the risk of SIDS. Professor McKenna also conducted studies to find out if the mother continues to receive the same quality of sleep if she co-sleeps or sleeps alone. His study did find that the mothers who co-slept and breastfed their infants did wake more often throughout the night; however, the women also reported that they enjoyed the sleep they received, and they also received the same amount of sleep as breastfeeding mothers that slept alone. His overall conclusions from the study stated that 94 percent of co-sleeping mothers felt that they received enough sleep each night, while only 80 percent of mothers that slept alone were happy with the overall amount of sleep they received. (McKenna, and McDade 134-52)

Sleep is highly important for everyone, and new parents are especially affected by a lack of sleep. Many people believe that co-sleeping can inhibit the amount of time that the parents will actually be able to sleep. Some concerns have been expressed that state that new mothers may be too aware of the baby, and will not sleep well. While others are concerned that the mother will not be aware enough, and will become too used to the baby sleeping with her. Professor McKenna’s study, titled “Maternal Sleep and Arousals During Bedsharing With Infants,” found that women who co-slept had shorter durations of stages 1-2 and stages 3-4 sleep, yet they continued to receive the same amount of REM sleep as mothers who did not co-sleep. (Mosko, Richard, and McKenna 142-50) His overall conclusions from the study state that mothers do become more aware of their infants presence, and will be able to stay alert enough to monitor the infant’s status. Yet, the study also found that the rate for overall wakefulness at night was not increased in co-sleeping mothers, which dispels the myth that co-sleeping mothers will not receive a good night’s rest. While further research will help explain more about SIDS and co-sleeping, Professor McKenna’s research proves that health officials and agencies should not completely dismiss co-sleeping as an alternative way for parents to sleep. 

While Professor McKenna is an advocate of co-sleeping, he also explains that it is highly important to practice safe co-sleeping techniques. If new parents are educated on how to co-sleep safely, they will be able to receive a better night’s rest with their infant. However, if parents are not instructed how to co-sleep safely, it may result in the parents accidentally sleeping with the infant, which can be dangerous. A study published in the British Medical Journal, titled “Hazardous cosleeping environments and risk factors amenable to change: case-control study of SIDS in south west England,” found that many infants who died from SIDS were co-sleeping in an unsafe environment. The study found that most of the co-sleeping related deaths they analyzed could be attributed to parental use of drugs and alcohol, maternal cigarette use during pregnancy, a pillow used near the infant, or co-sleeping on a sofa. The researchers concluded that, “…specific advice needs to be given, particularly on use of alcohol and drugs before cosleeping and cosleeping on a sofa.” (Blair, Sidebotham, and et al) The message that needs to be sent to parents is how to co-sleep safely, and not to simply condemn co-sleeping completely. When parents are misinformed or not informed at all, it leads to an unsafe co-sleeping environment that can increase the risk for an accidental death occurring. 

Professor McKenna shares information on how to co-sleep safely through his articles and published studies. McKenna explains that to co-sleep safely, the parents should both agree on co-sleeping and both partners must be committed to following safety measures while co-sleeping. (McKenna) Parents should avoid having large blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals on the bed near the baby. Blankets that are used on the bed should be lightweight and never cover the baby’s head. The baby should be laid down on his or her back to sleep, and a baby should never be allowed to sleep on a waterbed. There are also other factors that can cause unsafe co-sleeping conditions, which include the parents smoking, or using alcohol and drugs. Parents should also not co-sleep if they are extremely fatigued or taking medications that could make them overly drowsy. If co-sleeping in the same bed is not an option, the mother can still remain as close as possible to the baby by using a co-sleeper that attaches to the side of the adult bed. Professor McKenna’s safe co-sleeping guidelines are the information that should be distributed to new parents, versus the pamphlets that simply state to never co-sleep with a baby. 
 
While the high rate of SIDS and suffocation related deaths are a cause for concern, the message being sent to parents is that they should never attempt to co-sleep, under any circumstances. This leaves parents without vital information that could not only help protect their baby, but also help them receive a better night’s rest. Instead of focusing on the dangers of co-sleeping and not supplying parents with information; health officials, agencies, physicians, and nurses should be educating parents on both the risks and benefits of co-sleeping. If new parents leave the hospital better informed about how to co-sleep safely, they will be less likely to accidentally fall asleep with their baby, which will decrease the likelihood of an accidental death occurring. If parents are educated and informed, they can make the decision that is best for their family, which will help everyone in the home achieve a better night’s sleep.  






Works Cited
Blair, Peter, Peter Fleming, et al. "Babies sleeping with parents: case-control study of factors influencing the risk for sudden infant death syndrome." British Medical Journal. 319. (1999): n. page. Web. 1 Dec. 2011. <http://www.bmj.com/content/319/7223/1457.short>.

Blair, Peter, Peter Sidebotham, et al. "Hazardous cosleeping environments and risk factors amenable to change: case-control study of SIDS in south west England." British Medical Journal. n. page. Web. 12 Dec. 2011.

Chuong-Kim, Margaret. "Cry It Out: The Potential Dangers of Leaving Your Baby to Cry." Dr. Ben Kim.N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec 2011. <http://drbenkim.com/articles-attachment-parenting.html>.

"CPSC Cautions Caregivers about Hidden Hazards for Babies on Adult Beds." CPSC. CPSC, n.d. Web. 5 Dec 2011. <http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/5091.html>. 

Gettler, Lee, and James McKenna. "The Science of Sharing Sleep." Mothering. Jan./Feb. 2009: 42-51. Web. 4 Dec. 2011.

Herzog, Karen, and Crocker Stephenson. "Ad Campaign Unveiled as Another Co-sleeping Death is
Announced." JS Online. Journal Sentinel, 9 Nov. 2011. Web. 5 Dec 2011. <http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/ad-campaign-unveiled-as-another-cosleeping-death-is-announceds030073-133552808.html>.

Ludington-Hoe, SM, X Cong, and F Hashemi. "Infant crying: nature, physiologic consequences, and select interventions.." Neonatal Network. 21.2 (2002): 29-36. Web. 12 Dec. 2011.

McKenna , James, and Thomas McDade . "Why Babies Should Never Sleep Alone: A Review of the
Cosleeping Controversy in Relationship to SIDS, Breastfeeding and Bedsharing." Pediatric Respiratory Reviews. 6. (2005): 134-52. Web. 5 Dec. 2011. 

McKenna, James. "Safe Cosleeping Guidelines." University of Notre Dame Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory. University of Notre Dame Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory, n.d. Web. 5 Dec 2011.<http://cosleeping.nd.edu/safe-co-sleeping-guidelines/>.

Mosko, Sarah, Christopher Richard, and James McKenna. "Infant arousals during mother-infant bed
sharing: implications for infant sleep and sudden infant death syndrome research.." Pediatrics. 100.5 (1997): 841-49. Web. 12 Dec. 2011.

Mosko, S, C Richard, et al. "Maternal proximity and infant CO2 environment during bedsharing and
possible implications for SIDS research." American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 103.3 (1997): 315-28. Web. 12 Dec. 2011.

Mosko, Sarah, Christopher Richard, and James McKenna. "Maternal Sleep and Arousals With Bedsharing Infants." Sleep. 201.2 (1997): 142-50. Web. 5 Dec. 2011. 

"NICHD Back to Sleep Campaign." NICHD. NICHD, 18 Oct. 2011. Web. 5 Dec 2011 

Quillin, Stephanie, and L Glenn. "Interaction Between Feeding Method and Co-sleeping on Maternal-
Newborn Sleep." Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing. 33.5 (2004): 580-88. Web. 5 Dec. 2011. 

"Safe Sleep for Your Baby: Reduce the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)--General Outreach." Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development,. NICHD, 2005. Web. 5 Dec 2011.

Sears, William. "SIDS: the Latest Research on How Sleeping With your Baby is Safe." Ask Dr.Sears. N.p n.d. Web. 1 Dec 2011.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Twas The Night Before Christmas-My Version


'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.


The underwear was hung by the chimney with care,
Even the Spiderman ones were there.


The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
Except for the little one who coslept and breastfed.


And I sat down to rest,
As I thought about tackling the large mess.


When from somewhere in the house there arouse such a clatter,
I ran to the living room and saw the tree all a splatter.


Ornaments and trinkets lay all in a jumble,
But no one was there, so I began to mutter and mumble. 


Away to the bedrooms I flew like a flash,
I tore open the doors as I heard another crash.


The toys and the clothes lay strewn in a pile,
And gave the appearance of a mountain as high as a mile. 
 

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a tiny baby and three sets of eyes that shed not a single tear.


With mischievous grins and giggling so loud,
I knew in a moment it must be my children, not very proud. 


Louder than an avalanche, we heard the pounding of feet,
As my husband’s footsteps came quickly, having leapt from his seat.


And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Ayden! now, Regan! now, Nora and Oliver!


To bed with you now or Santa will not come to call!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"


As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So into the bed, the children they flew,
With their arms full of toys and a drink of water too. 


And then, I retreated, back to the living room,
Knowing too well that I needed more than a broom.


As I stood there and grumbled to myself,
My husband approached and began replacing items to the shelf.


As we tackled the mess, we heard a new sound,
And the pitter patter of little feet was abound. 


They stood there, just staring, 
While I looked back, still glaring. 


Their clothes were mismatched and appeared with a stain,
I yelled at them to stop being such a pain. 


They looked solemn and sad,
Yet I still felt too mad. 


Their eyes—full of tears! Their smiles—now frowns!
They no longer looked like jovial clowns.


With a turn of their heads and a step in their pace,
They quickly began working, as if completing a race. 


They spoke not a word, and went quickly to work,
Picking up the clutter with not one smirk. 


After surveying the damage and completing the task,
I looked at my children, with a question to ask. 


The words slipped my mind, as I watched them sit and stare,
At the twinkling of lights on the tree, as if they were diamonds so rare. 


My husband and I ushered them back to bed,
And I gently patted them each on the head. 


I sat down beside them and told them good night,
And I turned away to shut off the light.


We said “I love you” and closed the door,
And I felt a bit less annoyed than I had before.


But I heard them exclaim as we left their rooms, “we love you”
And I knew that yes, they truly do.


Despite all the messes and the chaos that surrounds us,
They don’t really mean to make such a fuss. 
I stopped to look back at the bedroom door,
And counted my blessings once more. 

It had been a very long night, 
But I knew everything was now all right. 

There was still wrapping to do and gifts to set out,
but I knew nothing could compare to their joy, without a doubt.


As I walked down the stairs and knew I was out of sight,
I said “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Despite everything, I feel very blessed to have my children and truly feel that they are miracles, even if my days are sometimes chaotic and crazy. I found a few other good versions of Twas the Night Before Christmas too.




Our New Christmas Tradition

My husband set up a place for the Christmas tree, and we finally started decorating a few nights ago. As we looked through the box of ornaments, we found something peculiar. A brand new pair of Spiderman underwear. Apparently, it had accidentally been packed up after gifts were opened last year, with the Christmas stuff.

So, my son, being the little comedian that he is, hung the underwear from the tree and proudly exclaimed, "Merry Christmas."

I told him I will hang his underwear from the tree every year now, which he thought was hilarious. He asked if I was joking, and I told him no, I will do it every year now. I think it will be especially funny when he brings home people in the future and they see his undies on display.





I cannot remember where I read it now, but I think another blogger has this same tradition in her home. What traditions do you have during the holidays?




My Little One

My youngest little man has become the new monster and destroyer in our house. He loves to get into everything and anything, but he also likes to "help." He is super cute and the sweetest little baby, but watch out, because he will have an entire bulk package of toilet paper or paper towels unraveled faster than it takes you to switch out the laundry.

Last night I swept the kitchen floor, and apparently my little man wanted to find something to help with. Well, the floor must have been too clean, so he decided to do something about it. A package of Goldfish crackers made the perfect item to use for the job. He proceeded to dump all of his crackers on the floor, and then smash them into the floor. He then retrieved the broom and dust pan, so he could clean up this mess.

I wish it wasn't so blurry, but he was moving quickly, there was a lot of work to be done.

Good thing Daddy took over and cleaned up the crackers, as my little ones method of cleaning was causing more of a mess, but at least he tried.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Questioning Santa Claus

We sat down to dinner one night and my daughter and son were excitedly whispering about Christmas. My daughter said something about Santa, to which my son replied, "You know, some people believe in Santa, but other people do not." He then proceeded to talk about Santa not being real.

My heart sank for a moment, as I think he is way too early to question the reality of Santa. I know parents that tell their children from the start that Santa is not real, but we do allow our children to believe. My daughter, the princess, believes with all of her heart. She is innocent and precious, and she does not question what is said to her. My son, the inquisitive one, questions everything and anything. He will often engage in hour long conversations about something, and will have no less than one hundred questions about a particular topic.

I wondered if he heard this from other kids or saw it on TV. When I asked him about it, he told me he just thought it up on his own, which seems true to his character. I asked others for their advice, should I let him in on the secret of Santa or try to keep the belief alive? I opted to try and keep the belief alive, at least for another year. I questioned him on why Santa was not real, and I asked him how he thought children received presents on Christmas. After some thinking, he decided that maybe he could continue to believe Santa was real. I think he was still harboring some lingering doubts, but I told him we will see on Christmas if any presents appear.

Last night, I used one of those calls from a Santa website to have "Santa" call the children. I put the phone on speaker, so both of the older children could hear the call. Santa told them to keep being good, and to make sure they leave carrots out for his reindeer. My children stood, staring in amazement and awe, as Santa spoke to them on the phone.

My son came and sat with me in the kitchen after the call, questioning how I knew Santa's phone number and seemed a bit dubious about the reality of the call. He then sat and considered the reality of Santa again, before deciding that we needed to get carrots right way, because Santa told him too. So, I think the belief is still alive in my son, even if he remains a bit skeptical.

How old were your children when you told them the truth about Santa? We believe in letting the children have that special thing to believe in, but we also convey the importance of giving to others and letting them share in the joy of giving presents too.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

$10 Paypal Giveaway for my Followers

To thank all of my new followers, I wanted to do a little something special. I am having a giveaway for $10 Paypal, sponsored by me. If I receive over 100 entries, I will pick two winners. Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form and you will be entered to win.

Good luck and thank you to my readers!


Things You Hear When You Have a Large Family (and cool tees that will speak for you)

I know some people may consider us as having a large family, while others may not think it is that big. Even though my family is not as large as some, we do have four little ones that are all close in age, which always brings about plenty of comments when I am out places with the children.

Wow, you have your hands full. Yes, I do. Like I haven't heard that one before. I think this shirt is awesome for those responses.

Are they all yours? No, actually I just found them lined up outside and figured, "what the heck?" So, I brought them all to the store with me. Here is a shirt for these responses or this one.

You know what causes that don't you? Wait, I thought the stork just brought these kids here and dropped them off. You mean something causes this? Good overall shirt for this. 

Wow, you must be busy. Yes, I am. I am actually too busy to stop and talk, although I would love to chat. Aren't we all busy?

Are you guys done yet? Well, we figured we would have a few more, maybe we can start our own empire or baseball team.


You guys must be like rabbits. Well, I thought my personal life was not open for discussion, but apparently it is. Yes, we are, we actually just can't keep our hands off of each other. No matter that we have a bunch of little ones running around and barely speak to each other half the time, but yes, we are so like rabbits.

Here is a funny post about what to say back to those remarks.

I am very blessed with four children, and so thankful for my little ones. The things people say are crazy, and it is amazing the comments people will make when I am out. All in all, I really don't mind the comments and just go with it. Sometimes, people are generally trying to be nice, while other times...well you know what mom always used to say, "If you have nothing nice to say, better to keep it to yourself." For times when I get those comments, I think I will let my T-shirt speak for me.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Things You Thought You Knew About OCD

Living with OCD is very different than knowing someone who has it or even living with someone who has it. While it is true that OCD has an effect on everyone around the person with it, there are things that people generally assume about OCD are wrong.

People with OCD know the thoughts they have are crazy. I find that a lot of people simply assume that someone with OCD must be completely out of it, and have no clue how ludicrous his or her behavior is. This is not true. People with OCD usually do know the thoughts they have are crazy; they are simply powerless to stop it. They know that washing their hands for twenty minutes is not going to make them any cleaner, but they cannot escape the thought that maybe they missed a spot or that maybe they didn't clean their hands good enough. They know that circling the parking lot fifteen times to make sure they didn't hit someone is silly, but they simply cannot stop thinking "what if?" They know switching the lights on and off several hundred times per day is nuts, but they simply cannot stop doing it because they feel that something bad may happen if they do not do it.

You probably don't have OCD. I hear the term OCD thrown around very loosely. It is common to hear someone say, "I am so OCD," or something along those lines all the time. It is actually a bit unfair to assume you know what OCD is like, because you have no idea what it is like to really live with OCD. Even thought the OCD Foundation estimates that one in 100 adults have OCD, you probably do not have it. So, you like your socks lined up just right in the drawers? You get mad if the laundry isn't separated correctly? You only eat Rice Krispies everyday, because that is what you like? When someone leaves a dirty towel on the floor, you go nuts? You sometimes worry that you left the stove on at home? These thing are normal, they do not mean you have OCD. Some people like things a certain way, and some people like things neat and orderly. That does not mean you have OCD. Now, if you are sitting at your desk at work and cannot stop thinking about whether those socks are in the drawer right, then it may be different. If the thought of not having Rice Krispies makes you want to hyperventilate and pass out, then it may be more than just a preference. If you are so worried about the stove that you leave the store just to go home and check (and then you check it again), then it may be more than just worrying. If you see something when you are out that looks like it may be blood and you become so overwhelmed that you run home to change your clothes and take a shower, because you may have touched the substance, then it may be more than a simple worry. This is not to say that you shouldn't get help if you think you have OCD. I think a lot of people go undiagnosed, so it is important to find a reputable counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist if you are having overly anxious thoughts and obsessions.

It is not all about cleanliness. I find that many people simply assume if you have OCD then you must wash your hands a million times a day, and you probably sanitize everything in your home so much that it resembles the inside of an operating room. There are actually many different types of OCD, and it can show different symptoms in each person. Some people are focused on cleanliness and do keep everything completely clean. Others are focused on contamination, and they may feel that the outside world (or even themselves) is contaminated. You may be surprised to find that some people with OCD do not live in a completely clean home, and there may be toys all over the house or piles of laundry on the floor. Some people are checkers, and they will constantly check things. This can range from the stove being on to circling the parking lot to make sure they didn't hit someone or something. Some people are more obsessive than compulsive, and they may not have any outward symptoms you can notice. Some people are obsessed with food, and may have difficulty eating certain things or eating at all. Some are obsessed with body image and others their hair. Hair pulling is actually common with people who have Trichotillomania, which can be a form of OCD. Some people obsess over death, religion or even have sexual thoughts.

They really can't just get over it.  I have heard this before, "Just stop thinking that way." Well, it really is not that simple. There is no way to just stop thinking that way. The worry takes over the person's mind, and the only way that person can "get over it" is by acing out compulsions. It is a never-ending cycle, that revolves around each next obsession.

References:

How many people have OCD?. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ocfoundation.org/prevalence.aspx

Phillipson, S., & Gibson, C. (n.d.). Trichotillomania. Retrieved from http://www.ocdonline.com/articlephillipson8.php



Friday Blog Hop

I am joining in on another fun blog hop this week!
Stalk Hop Friday

Start to Finish DVD Review and Giveaway

I was thrilled to be asked to review a new DVD called Start to Finish. This DVD is both educational and entertaining, so I was excited to see how my children would like it.



We are introduced to two funny puppet characters in the beginning of the movie, Whoops and Bubbs. These two little guys pop in throughout the DVD and help keep the children entertained, while also sharing information, asking questions, and helping children learn how something is completed--from "start to finish."

We begin at the farm and learn where milk comes from. My children have asked me before where milk comes from and how it gets from the cow to the grocery store, and this DVD helped show them exactly how it happens.

Next, we move on to applesauce. What kid doesn't love a bowl of applesauce? Ever wonder just how it gets from the orchard to those little cups at the store? This part of the movie explains it completely. We get to see the apples at the factory and learn exactly how an apple turns into applesauce, and how they are able to fill so many little packages.

Next up is pizza. I am not sure about you, but pizza is definitely a favorite in our home. The children each have toppings they love, and they enjoy when they get to make their own. We get to see Whoops and Bubbs attempt to make a pizza on their own, which is definitely entertaining. My children laughed out loud as Whoops and Bubbs tried to flip the pizza dough in the air. We move on to watch an expert create yummy pizza in different shapes.

The last segment of the DVD is all about firefighters. This is particularly special for my children, as my husband is a volunteer firefighter in our community. We watched as the firefighters opened the firehouse and gave us a peek inside. We got to see the men and women do chores, cook and do duties around the firehouse. When the alarm went off, the firefighters quickly jumped into action. We were able to see the firefighters fight a real fire, and then return back to the firehouse to clean up and get ready for the next emergency.

Throughout the entire DVD, Whoops and Bubbs are "encouraging children to explore the world around them." The movie definitely does that, as it helps explain exactly how things are made and what people do, from start to finish. Questions are posed and answered, so children understand how things work. The characters are entertaining and will make your little ones giggle. Mine laughed so much throughout the movie, and I have not seen them sit and watch something like this in a long time.

During normal educational shows and even some cartoons, my little ones do not sit still. This movie kept them intrigued, and they were not only watching something "fun," but they were learning, as well. They were genuinely fascinated learning about different things, and this is definitely a DVD I will recommend to other parents. My daughter said the movie was "really great and really awesome." My son said it was, "Cool and double super duper awesome."

Buy It

Created by Beth Harvey, this DVD helps teach children about how things work from "start to finish." Children are kept entertained with two fun characters, while also learning. You can purchase the DVD through the Start to Finish website.

The Giveaway

Start to Finish is offering you the chance to win a copy of this DVD. Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below to be entered. Thank you!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Amazon Deals for the Holidays

I am a huge fan of Amazon. I have been shopping through Amazon for quite some time, mostly for diapers and wipes. I have found a few extra items that were good deals over the last year, as well.

Here are a few items that caught my eye recently.

One thing I have learned is to buy the items quickly if the price is great, because it may go back up quickly. I signed up for Amazon Mom. I think the discount has dropped for new signups, but it is still worth it. When you sign up, you get 20% off diapers and wipes, plus discounts on other items. Subscribe and save items will ship for free. You can set items to ship from every month to every six months. You can also cancel at anytime.

Matchbox Smokey the Fire Truck $29.86

We saw this truck on display at the store, and my son thought it was awesome. It retails for $59.99 at Toys R Us.












Fisher Price Topzy Tumblers Drop 'n Surprise Funhouse $11.99

This is usually $19.99.












Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Learning Kitchen $22.83

This is usually $44.99.














I will add more as I come across them! I also recommend the blog, A Frugal Friend, there are always plenty of Amazon deals posted there too.

Not my Finest Mommy Moment

Last night was not one of my finest "mommy moments." I put the dishes in the dishwasher pretty late, and I was waiting for it to finish so I could make dinner. I know I could wash the dishes by hand and that would be a lot quicker, but I have a thing about washing by hand and feeling like it isn't clean enough. So, anyway, dishes are in the dishwasher and it is getting late. By the time I started dinner it was really late, and I know everyone was hungry.

The children filled the kitchen and every minute I heard, "Is dinner ready yet?" Between the constant questions, the little ones were tearing the kitchen apart. A stack of bowls was ripped from the counter and flew across the kitchen. Papers and other items were tossed from the tables. The box of rice that was going to go with dinner ended up in the trash, since something had leaked into the box from another package. "Is dinner ready yet?"

The children were hungry and frustrated, as was I. I muttered to myself, mad at myself for not getting dinner done earlier. They questions persisted, and I finally lost it. I yelled for them all to "get away from me" and "get out of the kitchen."

My daughter screamed and wailed as if being tortured, "Nooo, mommy. I will not leave. Where is my food? I am soo hungry! Is dinner ready yet?"

My husband finally decided to see what all the commotion was about. He demanded the children go to bed without dinner. When they protested he told them that your mommy said no dinner for you and they had to go to bed. (He misheard what I had said--I would never send my children to bed without dinner!)I yelled at him too, annoyed that he only half listened to me and tried to send the kids to bed without dinner. He had a tantrum of his own and left the kitchen to return to the TV.

I tried to finish dinner as the kids slowly reentered the kitchen.

"Is dinner ready yet?"

I did not say anything, I just tried to keep going, as quickly as possible.

"Is dinner ready yet?"

Finally, my daughter said, "I am leaving, it is too boring in here."

And then dinner was ready and everyone was gone.

I did apologize for my outburst later and for the yelling. I pray I do better today.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Welcome Wednesday Blog Hop

I have been on the look out for blog hops to join, and I recently came across the blog hop from Take It From Me. I think this blog is awesome, and they have plenty of wonderful reviews and giveaways. The Welcome Wednesday Blog Hop seems like a great way to gain new followers and meet other bloggers. I hope you all will join me in this fun blog hop!




The cool thing about this blog hop is that you can add the list to your blog, so you will have all the blog links, and every time someone new enters, it will automatically update to all the lists.
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