Monthly Archives: March 2015
For those of you with toddlers and young kids – do you cook with them? If the answer is no – well, you really should!
Cooking helps young ones learn and practice some basic math concepts and build language skills. The experience of preparing meals with you helps build their self-confidence and lays the foundation for healthy eating habits.
Sure, it makes it messier, and take longer, and it’s not something that you can do for each and every meal. It may take flexibility and extra simple prep work, but with the right expectations and a little patience, your time in the kitchen with your little ones can be an adventure you’ll all enjoy.
- Build basic skills. Cooking is math! Cooking is science! Cooking is language arts! You can help your child practice basic math skills by doing something as simple as counting eggs or pouring water into a measuring cup. You can ask what comes first, second, and third or count together as you spoon dough onto a cookie sheet. When you read a recipe together, you’re introducing new words to your child’s vocabulary and promoting literacy. Following steps in the recipe can work on listening skills.
- Encourage new tastes. We all know young children can be picky eaters, bringing them into the kitchen to cook can help get them to open up to new tastes. Encourage kids to taste new ingredients you’re working with and talk about what they like and how healthy foods make a body grow. I find that pride of what they created will often make my 2 try new and surprising things. Sure, they may just taste it and not want more, but, at least they tried! Have to start somewhere!
- Help young kids explore with their senses. Kids learn by exploring with their senses and the kitchen is an ideal place to do that. Invite them to listen to the whir of the mixer, pound dough and watch it rise, smell it baking in the oven, and finally taste the warm bread fresh from the oven. If it smells good, looks appealing, and is easy to eat they may just be willing to try it!
- Boost confidence. Young children love to show what they can do and working in the kitchen provides opportunities to gain a sense of accomplishment. If they helped assemble the pizza, let them know that their help was important. When the boys have helped create a meal we always talk about it at the dinner table – reminding them how their efforts and teamwork helped make our delicious meal.
And get this – among the recommendations in a recent American Heart Association report on overweight children and teens were:
- Reducing the number of meals eaten outside the home.
- Having structured times for family meals.
- Offering healthier, low-calorie foods.
- Involving children in meal planning, shopping, and food preparation.
My boys love to help with anything and everything. They are Kings of the juicer, can’t stay away when they see the mixer come out, and if there are eggs to be cracked they’re your men. Sure, we’ve had our share of disasters and messes, but, it’s all part of the process.
But, all those fantastic reasons aside, it’s time spent with your little ones. Time that is all too fleeting. Time that you’ll never have again. Cherish it. Embrace it. Rejoice in it.
What’s a few broken eggs on the floor at the end of the day? That’s what mops (or overzealous dogs) were made for, right?
Informed Consent – permission granted in the knowledge of the possible consequences, typically that which is given by a patient to a doctor for treatment with full knowledge of the possible risks and benefits.
While surveying a group of non birth worker friends informed consent was a BIG topic. Comments ranged from, “I wish I had known I could have said no”, “I didn’t like feeling like things were just being done to me”, “I wish I had known I could have asked questions”, to, “I didn’t even know where they had taken my child”
Whenever a medical procedure, drug, test, or other treatment is offered to you, you have the legal right to “informed consent.” This means that your doctor, midwife or nurse is responsible for explaining to you:
- why this type of care is being offered
- what it would involve
- the harms and benefits that are associated with this type of care
- alternatives to this care, and their respective harms and benefits, including the possibility of doing nothing at the present time (“watchful waiting”)
As a doula, I see so many excellent care providers, who very clearly explain what is going on, and why. And, sometimes I see people walk in and in the words of one person who answered my informal survey, “just do things”.
You have the right, and the responsibility to ask questions. You have the right to ask for a second opinion. You have the right to say no.
While it can feel overwhelming to speak up, and ask questions in the midst of labor, it is so important. Important for you and your baby’s physical well being, but, also for helping to achieve the birth you have planned.
Hiring a doula is an excellent way to help you along this path. As a doula, I am not allowed to speak for you. I am not allowed to tell you what to say. But, what I can do is make sure you understand what is happening. Remind you of your preferences. Ask you if you need things explained more clearly. I can help you ask for more time, and help you formulate the questions you want to ask.
Your birth is your journey, and the first of many as a parent, but, a doula can help be your guide through the process.
Last week I took a little informal survey of my non doula, non birth worker friends on my personal facebook, as well as a San Fernando Valley community group, and asked mothers and partners to name something that surprised them about birth and that they wished someone had told them about beforehand.
One common theme was support. The great need for continuous support. From comments stating that the partner just didn’t know what to do, or, that it was just too much for them to deal with, to, they just weren’t at all supportive. No matter how amazing your partner is, they too need someone to reassure them, this is normal, birth is normal, fear is normal, you’re doing great. Doulas are trained, of course, to take care of the birthing woman, but, I firmly feel that taking care of the partner is also a huge part of taking care of the birthing woman. If your partner is calm, focused, and directed, they can help you remain calm, focused and directed. Sometimes I think of myself as a labor translator…or, as this great Pam England quote says – a sherpa –
“Asking your husband to be your sole guide through labor is like asking him to lead the way on a climb of Mt Everest. He may be smart and trustworthy, you may love him, but in the Himalayas you’d both be a lot better off with a Sherpa!” – Pam England
Every labor is different. Every birth is different. Some are slow and calm, some are fast and frantic. Why not have a calm, caring voice at your side?
Whether it’s your first birth, or your fifth, the calm, nonjudgmental support of a labor and birth doula makes for a more satisfying birth experience!
~Heather Mayer – Birth and Postpartum Doula
*Part 2 will address informed consent and your right to speak up and ask questions!
It is natural for baby to be close to his mother/primary caregiver. Babies are happiest when being held.. Babywearing is a great practice for keeping baby happy and to help build a stronger bond. The benefits of babywearing are many!
When we wear a baby in a carrier, we can walk around freely and not have to worry about negotiating steps, crowds or narrow aisles with a stroller. A carrier can also be great to help block out excess stimuli when breastfeeding a distractible baby.
When a baby rides in a carrier attached to his mother, he is in tune with the rhythm of her breathing, the sound of her heartbeat, and the movements his mother makes.. This stimulation helps him to regulate his own physical responses, and exercises his vestibular system, which controls balance. The carrier becomes in essence a “transitional womb” for the new baby, who has not yet learned to control his bodily functions and movements. Research has shown that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not.
Studies have shown that the more babies are held, the less they cry and fuss. Crying is exhausting for both the baby and his parents, and may cause long-term damage as the baby’s developing brain is continually flooded with stress hormones. Babies who do not need to spend their energy on crying are calmly observing and actively learning about their environment. Baby-wearing is especially useful for colicky babies, who are far happier being worn, but placid, content babies and children will also benefit greatly from the warmth and security of being held close.
Carriers are a useful tool for every adult in a baby’s life. I love seeing baby wearing dads/partners going for a walk with their baby in a sling! The baby is becoming used to their voice, heartbeat, movements and facial expressions, and the two are forging a strong attachment of their own. Partners don’t have the automatic head-start on bonding that comes with gestation, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make up for this once their baby is born. The same goes for babysitters, grandparents and all other caregivers. Holding baby safe and close in a carrier is a wonderful way to get to know the baby in your life, and for the baby to get to know you!
As a postpartum doula I love spreading the babywearing love and helping new families figure out the perfect carrier for them! There’s so many resources out there for help – from facebook babywearing groups, to certified babywearing instructors located here in the San Fernando Valley .