Newborn Nursing: Frequent, Lengthy, and Normal


I really wish that all new mothers were told that the majority of newborns want to breastfeed much more frequently than every few hours. And many even want to stay latched on, suckling for extended periods of time. This can understandably shake a new mother’s confidence and make her second guess if she’s producing enough milk to keep her nursling satisfied. Women are usually just told that their baby should nurse 'every 2-3 hours,' but frequent (and lengthy) nursing is a totally normal thing for newborns to do! It helps keep them close to mama while regulating her milk supply.

Often babies won’t have these longer stretches between feeds until they’re a little older. Even then, there are several things that could make them want to nurse more, including (but not limited to) teething, sickness, unfamiliar surroundings, or feeling tired. I can’t imagine how miserable it would be to have a fussy baby in your arms but feel like you shouldn’t breastfeed again because it’s "not time yet." ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

This isn’t discussed often enough and new mothers need to be reassured. If baby is gaining weight, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with breastfeeding more often than what you’ve been told is 'normal.' The postpartum period is all about surrendering, so cozy up with your babe and forget the clock.

--Oh Baby Nutrition

*******

Breastfeeding Community

Peaceful Parenting Community




Monsters

James Blunt performs "Monsters"

James Blunt writes that his new song, Monsters is, "a eulogy to my father - except he’s still alive and kicking. But he’s not been well - his kidneys are functioning at just 11%. And with that realization, I needed to tell him that, to me, he’s more than just a father. He’s my friend too, and that I love him." 

Monsters is a song that deeply captivates, and drenches the heart in tears of anyone who has had death pull them apart from a loved one. The only line we'd change as it is played out in real life is 'no need to forgive...' Rather, forgive now. Forgive often. Forgive over and over and over again. Break the chains. End the cycle. Let it go. Give it to God, and find real, raw, authentic, lasting healing. Don't allow generational pain continue, for the sake of your wellbeing, your children, and their children...



Monsters Lyrics:

Oh, before they turn off all the lights
I won't read you your wrongs or your rights
The time has gone
I'll tell you goodnight, close the door
Tell you I love you once more
The time has gone
So here it is
I'm not your son, you're not my father
We're just two grown men saying goodbye
No need to forgive, no need to forget
I know your mistakes and you know mine
And while you're sleeping, I'll try to make you proud
So daddy, won't you just close your eyes?
Don't be afraid, it's my turn
To chase the monsters away.

Oh, well I'll read a story to you
Only difference is this one is true
The time has gone
I folded your clothes on the chair
I hope you sleep well, don't be scared
The time has gone
So here it is
I'm not your son, you're not my father
We're just two grown men saying goodbye
No need to forgive, no need to forget
I know your mistakes and you know mine
And while you're sleeping, I'll try to make you proud
So daddy, won't you just close your eyes?
Don't be afraid, it's my turn
To chase the monsters away.

Sleep a lifetime.
Yes, and breathe a last word.
You can feel my hand on your arm.
I will be the last one
So I'll leave a light on
Let there be no darkness in your heart.
But I'm not your son, you're not my father
We're just two grown men saying goodbye
No need to forgive, no need to forget
I know your mistakes and you know mine
And while you're sleeping, I'll try to make you proud
So daddy, won't you just close your eyes?
Don't be afraid, it's my turn
To chase the monsters away.


James Blunt sings to his father in "Monsters"

James Blunt and father during the filming of "Monsters" music video.

Altered to being between a daughter and her mom: 

Oh, before they turn off all the lights
I won't read you your wrongs or your rights
The time has gone
I'll tell you goodnight, close the door
Tell you I love you once more
The time has gone
So here it is
I'm not your daughter, you're not my mom
We're just two grown women saying goodbye
No need to forgive, no need to forget
I know your mistakes and you know mine
And while you're sleeping, I'll try to make you proud
So mommy, won't you just close your eyes?
Don't be afraid, it's my turn
To chase the monsters away.

Oh, well I'll read a story to you
Only difference is this one is true
The time has gone
I folded your clothes on the chair
I hope you sleep well, don't be scared
The time has gone
So here it is
I'm not your daughter, you're not my mom
We're just two grown women saying goodbye
No need to forgive, no need to forget
I know your mistakes and you know mine
And while you're sleeping, I'll try to make you proud
So mommy, won't you just close your eyes?
Don't be afraid, it's my turn
To chase the monsters away.

Sleep a lifetime.
Yes, and breathe a last word.
You can feel my hand on your arm.
I will be the last one
So I'll leave a light on
Let there be no darkness in your heart.
But I'm not your daughter, you're not my mom
We're just two grown women saying goodbye
No need to forgive, no need to forget
I know your mistakes and you know mine
And while you're sleeping, I'll try to make you proud
So mommy, won't you just close your eyes?
Don't be afraid, it's my turn
To chase the monsters away.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

U.S. Flags with Intact Info Needed for GIAW, Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival


1500 hand-held U.S. flags are needed to pass out during Genital Integrity Awareness Week in Washington D.C. this year. Each flag has 2 patriotic-themed intact information sticker stapled to it (one per side) for awareness raising during this week. This year we will have "Defend HIS Freedom" on one side and "Watch American Circumcision on Netflix" on the other side of each individual flag.

Flags are *very* popular in Washington D.C. during the Cherry Blossom Festival, National Kite Festival, at the U.S. Capitol lawn, and at the White House where we march to on Saturday. We could pass out far more than 200 flags per day, but this is our goal to raise funding for, along with an extra 100 for the GIAW March (1500 total).

Frequently, chaperoned groups who will not allow students to take other intact materials from GIAW leaders will allow them to accept and take home flags (getting intact info into their hands)! It is very important to have enough of these U.S. flags (with stickers attached to each one) for every day during GIAW, and for use during the march.

At Amazon, flags are approximately $29 per set of 100. If you are able to sponsor one full day ($58), or one 1/2 day ($28) worth of flags OR any number of flags, small or large, we THANK YOU for your involvement and support of these pivotal GIAW items! To chip in here: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=CA3SNG55J4MDU&source=url

Or via mail to:

GIAW / Saving Our Sons
P.O. Box 1302
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

Sponsors will be listed here and at the permanent GIAW site by first name / last initial only, for privacy, or with your business name and link if you'd like to include this. If you would like to cover one specific day, the march, or stickers, please mention this in a note.

GIAW FLAG SPONSORS

MONDAY (GIAW Kick-off, 200 flags):
 πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

TUESDAY (200 flags):
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ 

WEDNESDAY (first day of Child Abuse Prevention Month, 200 flags):
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

THURSDAY (200 flags):
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

FRIDAY (and the Silent Survivors Stand, 200 flags):
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

SATURDAY (and the March to the White House 200 flags):
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

WHITE HOUSE (+100 flags):
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

SUNDAY (and the GA Clothesline, 200 flags):
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

FLAG STICKER SPONSORS
(3,000 vinyl, waterproof stickers for all flags needed)
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

THANK YOU!!
Intact Info Flags for tourists headed to the U.S. Capitol


Virtually ALL passerbys request a flag or two to take home with them -- until we run out of supplies.

GIAW Intact Info Flags

Kids love to hand out flags during GIAW too!

Group of students takes home flags, bracelets, and cards from the U.S. Capitol during Genital Integrity Awareness Week 2019.

Many tourists stop to talk at the U.S. Capitol and take home a flag and information.

U.S. Flags with intact information attached are the perfect item to take home from a visit to the Capitol during Genital Integrity Awareness Week!

During GIAW at the Capitol we repeatedly hear, "I didn't know that..." while sharing information respectfully and providing materials for tourists to take home with them.

Even if someone is too timid to come up and chat, they can grab a flag with intact info to take along and read on their bus...
GIAW Leaders handing out flags at White House

Watch American Circumcision on Netflix stickers

Defend HIS Freedom stickers

Men at GIAW march to the White House: Shane, Brian, Glen, Andrew

CoSleeping and Breastfeeding Go Hand in Hand

Breastfeeding / CoSleeping photo shared from Raising Her Barefoot
Dream feeding (night nursing) makes life easier for mom and happier/healthier for baby.



Cosleeping has made breastfeeding at night SO much easier. When Indie is hungry we both half wake up together, she latches on to feed, and we both fall back to sleep.

No need to get up and walk down the hall.

No need to turn the lights on.

We both stay warm snuggled up in bed together, she has a feed, and we drift back to sleep.

Cosleeping babies consume on average twice as much breastmilk as babies who sleep in a cot at night. Night time breastmilk contains twice as much beneficial growth hormone and significantly more melatonin (a hormone that contributes to normal circadian rhythms).

Breastfeeding and cosleeping go hand in hand. It’s the most natural feeling I’ve ever felt.

-Millie, Raising Her Barefoot
FB.com/RaisingHerBarefoot


Related Reading:

Breastfeeding Made Simple (book)
best book to read before your breastfeeding days begin

Baby Sleep Resource Page

Sweet Sleep (book)

Sleeping With Your Baby: A Parent's Guide to CoSleeping

Safe CoSleeping (Page)

CoSleeping (Group)

Breastfeeding (Group)

CoSleeping and Biological Imperatives: Why Babies Do Not, and Should Not, Sleep Alone

Turn Your Crib into a Cosleeper

International CoSleeping Symbol








Fetal Ejection Reflex


Meme by Christine Murray  

The fetal ejection reflex is real -- and it is amazing! Gloria Lemay writes in her excellent article, Pushing for First Time Moms:

Dr. Michel Odent [repeats] over and over, "Zee most important thing is: do NOT disturb zee birthing woman." We think we know what this means. The more births I attend, the more I realize how much I disturb the birthing woman. Disturbing often comes disguised in the form of "helping." Asking the mother questions, constant verbal coaching, side conversations in the room, clicking cameras—there are so many ways to draw the mother from her ancient brain trance (necessary for a smooth expulsion of the baby) into the present-time world (using the neocortex which interferes with smooth birth). This must be avoided. [...] Recognizing ways in which we can support the mother to enter that deep trance brain wave state that leads to smooth birth is imperative. I find it very helpful to have new language and concepts for explaining the process to practitioners. Dr. Odent has taught me to wait for the "fetus ejection reflex." This is a reflex like a sneeze. Once it is there you can't stop it, but if you don't have it, you can't force it. While waiting for the "fetus ejection reflex," I imagine the mother dilating to "eleven centimeters." This concept reminds me there may be dilation out of the reach of gloved fingers that we don't know about, but that some women have to do in order to begin the ejection of the baby. I also find it valuable to view birth as an "elimination process" like other elimination processes-coughing, pooping, peeing, crying and sweating. All are valuable (like giving birth is) for maintaining the health of the body. They all require removing the thinking mind and changing one's "state." My friend Leilah is fond of saying, "Birth is a no brainer." After all "elimination processes" are finished, we feel a lot better until the next time. Each individual is competent to handle her bodily elimination functions without a lot of input from others. Birth complications, especially in the first-time mother, are often the result of helpful tampering with something that simply needs time and privacy to unfold as intended.

The fetal ejection reflex is one that happens for most birthing women -- when they are fully safe, supported, and allowed to birth in peace. This, unfortunately, rarely happens in today's modern, North American birth world -- and is especially hard to come by in induction/pitocin-filled labor and delivery rooms. However, this primal state of birth still exists, and is waiting for us, as human mammals, to return to it: to make birth better, for babies and for mothers.

Related reading:

Pushing for First Time Moms: https://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/pushing.asp

Do not disturb: The importance of privacy in labor: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595201

What is the Fetal Ejection Reflex? http://www.spiritualbirth.net/what-is-the-fetus-ejection-reflex

Optimal Use of Language for Creating Birth Outcomes: http://wisewomanwayofbirth.com/optimal-use-of-language-for-creating-birth-outcomes

Birth from the baby's perspective: https://midwifethinking.com/2010/08/07/birth-from-the-babys-perspective

Excellent birth books: http://astore.amazon.com/peacefparent-20?_encoding=UTF8&node=3





10 Year Old with Autism Composes "I AM" - Wowing Teachers and Parents


As part of a multi-grade understudy, Benjamin Giroux was given a school assignment to compose a ballad. His specific project was to write the lyrics to a title of "I Am." The initial two words in each sentence were given, and it was up to Benjamin to write the rest. What resulted is a finished product that he poured his heart into.

Benjamin is a 10-year-old child from Plattsburgh, New York, who has been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. He does not express much emotion with others, but was excited for this assignment. At work on the project at home, Benjamin's family said he didn't look up from his paper until he was finished.

When he showed his poem to his parents and his teacher, each adult was overwhelmed with emotion. 

Benjamin had always felt different because of autism, and at times said it made him stand out from the other children. Through his completed poem, the real, raw, reflection of living as himself comes through in a bold and beautiful way.

I Am

I am odd, I am new
I wonder if you are too
I hear voices in the air
I see you don’t, and that’s not fair
I want to not feel blue
I am odd, I am new
I pretend that you are too
I feel like a boy in outer space
I touch the stars and feel out of place
I worry what others might think
I cry when people laugh, it makes me shrink
I am odd, I am new
I understand now that so are you
I say I, “feel like a castaway”
I dream of a day that that’s okay
I try to fit in
I hope that someday I do
I am odd, I am new.

-Benjamin Giroux






Cry It Out: What is the 'It'?

What is the 'it' in cry-it-out?

When we give babies no choice but to 'cry it out' we need to ask ourselves, what is the 'it'?

The 'it' is safety.
The 'it' is connection.
The 'it' is us - their parents.
They are crying for us.

-Tracy Gillett 

Sleep training: a review of research: http://www.DrMomma.org/2009/12/sleep-training-review-of-research.html 

Healthy baby sleep resources: http://www.DrMomma.org/2009/06/truth-about-co-sleeping-how-stats.html

Dangers of Leaving Baby to Cry It Out (CIO)

By Margaret Chuong-Kim
Read more from Chuong-Kim at Dr. Ben Kim's homepage.


Among parents of infants these days, there is constant debate about how to respond to a baby’s cries. On one hand, there are proponents of the “cry it out” method, where the baby is left alone to cry in the hopes that he or she will eventually stop. On the other hand, there are the “attachment parents” who respond immediately to their crying babies and attempt to soothe them using various methods including holding and cuddling. While the cry-it-out method (CIO) has been popular in previous years, attachment parenting (AP) is gaining a foothold among new parents today. Results of studies in psychology indicate the AP approach to crying is most likely to result in an emotionally and physically healthy child.

Attachment theory originated in the late 1960s when psychologist John Bowlby postulated that a warm, intimate relationship between caregiver and infant is necessary for optimal health as well as for basic survival. As such, each individual is born well-equipped with reflexes and instincts for interacting with their primary caregiver, which is often times the mother. For example, infants quickly learn to recognize and prefer both their mother’s voice and smell. As babies develop some locomotor control they display their desire to be close to their caregivers by reaching toward their mother or father to be picked up or by crawling toward them. From an evolutionary perspective, these behaviours have survival value. Babies who lack such attachment behaviours will stray from their caregivers and are more likely to get lost, attacked, and perish. An infant’s cry is also intended to increase the likelihood of its survival, as a mother’s instinct is usually to go to her child at the first sign of distress.

We live in an age where we can know that the baby is safe in another room, despite the loudness of his cries. Does this mean we should leave babies to cry on their own? CIO proponents often advise that babies left to cry will eventually stop, and the duration of future crying bouts will decrease. What are the emotional consequences of crying for the infant when she is left unattended? Bowlby and colleagues initiated a series of studies where children between the ages of one and two who had good relationships with their mothers were separated from them and left to cry it out. Results showed a predictable sequence of behaviours: The first phase, labeled “protest”, consists of loud crying and extreme restlessness. The second phase, labeled “despair”, consists of monotonous crying, inactivity, and steady withdrawal. The third phase, labeled “detachment”, consists of a renewed interest in surroundings, albeit a remote, distant kind of interest. Thus, it appears that while leaving babies to cry it out can lead to the eventual dissipation of those cries, it also appears that this occurs due to the gradual development of apathy in the child. The child stops crying because she learns that she can no longer hope for the caregiver to provide comfort, not because her distress has been alleviated.


Do babies cry more when they are attended to? A 1986 study concluded just the opposite: the more a mother holds and carries her baby, the less the baby will cry and fuss. Cross-cultural studies also show that parents in non-Western societies are quicker than parents in Western societies to respond to their crying babies, and babies in non-Western societies cry for shorter spans of time. Caregivers in 78% of the world’s cultures respond quickly to an infant’s cries. For instance, Efe caregivers in Africa respond to a baby’s cries within ten seconds at least 85% of the time when the baby is between three and seven weeks, and 75% of the time when the baby is seventeen weeks. !Kung caregivers respond within ten seconds over 90% of the time during the baby’s first three months, and over 80% of the time at one year. In contrast, American and Dutch caregivers have been found to be deliberately unresponsive to an infant’s cries almost 50% of the time during the baby’s first three months. Infants in non-Western societies have been found to fuss just as frequently as those in Western societies, but due to the prompt response of caregivers in non-Western societies, the overall cumulative duration of crying is less than what occurs in Western societies.

According to attachment theory, many babies are born without the ability to self-regulate emotions. That is, they find the world to be confusing and disorganized, but do not have the coping abilities required to soothe themselves. Thus, during times of distress, they seek out their caregivers because the physical closeness of the caregiver helps to soothe the infant and to re-establish equilibrium. When the caregiver is consistently responsive and sensitive, the child gradually learns and believes that she is worthy of love, and that other people can be trusted to provide it. She learns that the caregiver is a secure base from which she can explore the world, and if she encounters adversity she can return to her base for support and comfort. This trust in the caregiver results in what is known as a secure individual.

Children who do not have consistently responsive and sensitive caregivers often develop into insecure individuals, characterized by anxious, avoidant, and/or ambivalent interactions. Long-term studies have shown that secure individuals, compared to insecure individuals, are more likely to be outgoing, popular, well-adjusted, compassionate, and altruistic. As adults, secure individuals tend to be comfortable depending on others, readily develop close attachments, and trust their partners. Insecure individuals, on the other hand, tend to be unsettled in their relationships, displaying anxiety (manifesting as possessiveness, jealousy, and clinginess) or avoidance (manifesting as mistrust and a reluctance to depend on others). North American parenting practices, including CIO, are often influenced by fears that children will grow up too dependent. However, an abundance of research shows that regular physical contact, reassurance, and prompt responses to distress in infancy and childhood results in secure and confident adults who are better able to form functional relationships.


It has been suggested in the past that CIO is healthy for infants’ physical development, particularly the lungs. A recent study looking at the immediate and long-term physiologic consequences of infant crying suggests otherwise. The following changes due to infant crying have been documented: increased heart rate and blood pressure, reduced oxygen level, elevated cerebral blood pressure, depleted energy reserves and oxygen, interrupted mother-infant interaction, brain injury, and cardiac dysfunction. The study’s researchers suggested that caregivers should answer infant cries swiftly, consistently, and comprehensively, recommendations which are in line with AP principles.

CIO supporters tend to view their infants’ cries as attempts to manipulate caregivers into providing more attention. Holding this view can be detrimental to the immediate and long-term health of the baby. In the field of cognitive psychology there exists the premise that our thoughts underlie our behaviour. Thus, if we think positively about an individual, our behaviours toward them tend to be positive as well. Conversely, if we think negatively about an individual, we will behave correspondingly. Consider people in your own life whom you consider manipulative – how does that perception influence your behaviour toward them? It is unlikely that the interpretation of a manipulative personality will result in the compassionate, empathetic, and loving care of that individual. Infants, quite helpless without the aid of their caregivers, may suffer both emotional and physical consequences of this type of attitude.


When faced with a crying baby, it may be prudent to ask yourself the following questions: Why am I choosing this response? Do I want my baby to stop crying because he feels comforted and safe, or do I want my baby to stop crying for the sake of stopping crying? What is my baby learning about me and the world when I respond in this manner? If I were a baby and was upset, how would I want my caregivers to respond?


For more on 'sleep training,' 'cry it out' (CIO) and 'controlled crying' see resources at:




References
Campos, J., et al. (1983). Socioemotional development. In P. Mussen (Ed.), Carmichael’s Manual of Child Psychology: Vol. 2. Infancy and Developmental Psychobiology. New York: Wiley.
Craig, G., Kermis, M., & Digdon, N. (1998). Children Today. Scarborough, ON: Prentice-Hall.
Dacey, J. & Travers, J. (1996). Human Development Across The Lifespan (4th Ed). Boston: McGraw-Hill.
DeCasper, A., & Fifer, W. (1980). Of human bonding: Newborns prefer their mothers’ voices. Science, 208: 1174-76.
Gleitman, H. (1996). Basic Psychology (4th Ed). New York: W.W. Norton.
Hunziker, U. & Barr, R. (1986). Increased carrying reduces infant crying: A randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics, 77(5): 641-8.
Luddington, Hoe, S. Cong, X., & Hashemi, F. (2002). Infant crying: Nature, physiologic consequences, and select interventions. Neonatal Network, 21(2): 29-36.
Macfarlane, A. (1975). Olfaction in the development of social preferences in the human neonate. Parent-Infant Interaction. Amsterdam: CIBA Foundation Symposium.
Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. (2001). Attachment theory and intergroup bias: evidence that priming the secure base schema attenuates negative reactions to out-groups. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81(1): 97-115.
Miller, R. (2000). Dysfunctional relationships. In R. Kowalski & M. Leary (Eds.), The Social Psychology of Emotional and Behavioral Problems: Interfaces of Social and Clinical Psychology. Washington, DC: APA.
Waters, E., Wippman, J., & Sroufe, L. (1979). Attachment, positive affect, and competence in the peer group: Two studies in construct validation. Child Development, 50: 821-829.





Liberated and Free, Me


Liberated and Free, Me

First things first,

I am not sick. (THANK GOD.)

I am not having a mid-life crisis. nor am I having a mental breakdown, though I have been suffering.

Suffering mostly in silence off and on for almost 30 years.
AND I am finally ready to share my secret.

Deep breath Ricki…. Here goes…..

I have been struggling with hair loss for most of my adult life.

It has been debilitating, embarrassing, painful, scary, depressing, lonely, all the things. There have been a few times where I have even felt suicidal over it. Almost no one in my life knew the level of deep pain and trauma I was experiencing. Not even my therapist/s over the years knew my truth.

I know that by sharing my truth, I will be striking a chord with so so many women and men. I am not alone in this and my goal is to help others while at the same time unshackle myself from this quiet hell I have been living in.

Ever since I played Tracy Turnblad in the original Hairspray back in 1988 and they triple-processed and teased my then healthy virgin hair every 2 weeks during filming, my hair was never the same. (Yes, that was all my own hair in the film.) From Hairspray to Hairless. 😞

In my case, I believe my hair loss was due to many factors, yo-yo dieting, hormonal birth control, radical weight fluctuations over the years, my pregnancies, genetics, stress, and hair dyes and extensions. Working as talent on various shows and movies, whether DWTS or my talk show, also took its toll on my fine hair.

I got used to wearing extensions, really just over the last decade. All different kinds, tried them all, the ones that are glued on, the tape-ins, the clip ins, and then into a total hair system that I hated, and finally to a unique solution that really did work pretty well for me for the last 4 or 5 years. I tried wigs on a few occasions but never could get used to them. It all felt fake and I was super self-conscious and uncomfortable.

I’ve been to many doctors, gotten steroid shots in my head, taking all the supplements and then some. My hair would recover and then shed again. It was maddening.

So of late, after 2 months of bliss ‘working’ in London and after my last extreme diet where I lost 20 lbs in 6 weeks, my hair started shedding again, big time.

This time, I say no more. I have to be set free.

Free of the maintenance every 10-12 days, where my added hair would need to be tightened (sometimes painfully) and my gray hair would need to be colored. I felt like I was a slave to this maintenance schedule. I wouldn’t go out of town longer than 12 days, because of this. I even brought my hair fairy and dear friend, to London during my stint there to do what she needed to do to keep it on my head.

Well, it is a new year and new decade and a new me. With the love and support of some of my dearest friends, John Bonny, Mandy Ingber, Sarah Havana Prats, and my love, Jeff Scult, I buzzed my hair off and it feels so good!

Huge heartfelt thank you to my dear friend Amanda Demme for photographing and capturing this pivotal moment in my life. ❤️

I am liberated.
I am free.
I am releasing and letting go.
I am brave.
I am beautiful.
I am love.

For 2020 and beyond, I want to be real.

(I will on occasion choose to wear hair, but now it is for fun, not because I am hiding anything. I am so done with hiding.)

Happy New Year and decade to all! πŸ™ŒπŸ™ŒπŸ™ŒπŸ™Œ❤️

-Ricki Lake

FB.com/MsRickiLake
@rickilake on Instagram

*******


Baby Safety 101: Helpful Tips to Keep Your Baby or Toddler Safe and Sound


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 12,000 children die from unintentional injuries every year? In fact, unintentional injury is the leading cause of death among children aged 0-19 in the United States.

It's frightening to think about, but injuries can happen anywhere, anytime. Because of that, it's important to do what you can to ensure your children's safety. Infant and toddler safety is especially important to consider, as they are far less capable of exercising caution on their own behalf.

To help, we've compiled a list of 7 tips to keep in mind when creating a safe environment for your child. Read on to learn more.

1. Supervision Is Key 

The most important part of infant and toddler safety is vigilance. Small children need constant care and attention, taking your eyes off them for even a moment can lead to serious injury, however unintentional.

2. Keep Hazards Out of Reach 

From hot foods and drinks to cleaning chemicals to sharp or small objects, it's imperative that you keep any hazardous items out of reach of little hands. Children learn by touch, which often includes putting things in their mouths. By ensuring that any potential hazards are out of reach, you will lower the odds of choking and poisoning dramatically.

3. Provide the Correct Type of Bed 

Age-appropriate sleeping furniture and bedding is a critical part of infant and toddler safety. Infants, for example, should have very minimal bedding. While toddlers, depending on their age and development, may need a crib or a more traditional bed. Once your child is old enough to pinch their fingers in the bars or attempt to climb from the crib, it's time to upgrade.

4. Give Infant or Toddler Safe Toys 

Most toys will have the age recommendation clearly printed on them, but do your research before purchasing any to ensure that you're buying safe toys for your child's stage of development. As a general rule, infants and toddlers shouldn't be given any toys with small or removable parts, as it poses a choking hazard.

5. Provide a Safe Outdoor Environment 

Getting a little sunshine is always a good thing! Children of all ages can benefit from spending time in the great outdoors, as long as they do so safely. Be aware of the temperature and weather, making sure that your child is in the appropriate attire for the conditions. Also, do a thorough check of your yard before letting your toddler roam to inspect for any potential danger.

6. Give Age-Appropriate Foods 

To prevent choking, you should cut any larger pieces of food into small cubes, no more than 1/2 an inch in size. Do your research and avoid high-risk foods, such as those that are sticky or tough. As long as your toddler can break the food up or swallow it whole easily, you should be in the clear.

7. Never Travel Without a Car Seat

It's all too easy to forget how dangerous cars really are. Putting your child in your lap just to go a mile or two down the road might feel like no big deal, but he or she should be in a car seat at all times, regardless of distance. It's also never a bad idea to place a baby on board sticker or magnet on the back of your car. You never know when it could catch someone's attention and remind them to drive a little more carefully.

Use These Infant and Toddler Safety Tips to Keep Your Child Protected 

Every parent wants to ensure that they're employing the best infant and toddler safety methods possible. By following these tips, your child will be much safer both in and outside of your home. The best thing you can do for your little ones is to keep a close eye on them at all times. Don't be afraid to bring in some help if you need! And if you're looking for more parenting and child safety tips, be sure to check out our blog!

Should You Try Manuka Honey? The Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Medicinal Honey


With the advancement of technology, it’s easy for everyone to get updated with the latest trends in health and wellness. All the information and opinions related to a new craze are in the palm of our hands. And one of these trends that people and experts have been raving about is manuka honey.

You can find this product and purchase it on its own, or it is included in a variety of products. These include creams, lotions, lip balms, lozenges, capsules, to even drinks and wound dressings. Naturally, it can get anybody curious how this type of honey is so versatile that you can drink it, apply it on the skin, and even use it as a wound treatment. But what is manuka honey, and why do people recognize this unique-sounding honey out of the other types of honey?

What is Manuka Honey?

From the name itself, Manuka honey is the honey produced by the bees that pollinate the Manuka plant, Leptospermum scoparium. It originates from Australia, but is also now being cultivated in New Zealand. However, there is still debate about where it indeed originated. You can distinguish manuka honey from other types of honey because it is thicker in consistency. It also has a dark brown color compared to other honey types that are golden yellow. And if you taste manuka, it has an earthy and slightly bitter profile instead of a typical sweet flavor from familiar honey brands.

At the same time, you might be surprised with the price difference of manuka compared to other types of honey in the markets. It is going to be pricier because of the different factors involved in its production. For example, the manuka flowers themselves are very rare and bloom only once a year. Not to mention, they grow in places that require access via helicopter.

What Makes Manuka Honey Special?

If you look at the best certified brands of manuka honey, you’ll be familiar with the term UMF. UMF stands for Unique Manuka Factor, which is a grading system used for the manuka honey brands in the market.

Manuka honey differs from other types of honey, not just in its color and consistency, but because it is dubbed as the “healthy” or “medicinal honey.” Honey is already known for providing antibiotic benefits because of its hydrogen peroxide content. But on the contrary, manuka honey is raved and bought by people specifically for this benefit.

The UMF factor is what consumers can look for when buying manuka honey for its antibiotic benefit. This is because the rating of the honey’s UMF tells you about its antibacterial strength. The scale ranges from 5 to 20, and the higher it is, the stronger is the antibiotic property of the honey.

What is the Unique Manuka Factor?

The UMF Honey Association is the one responsible for grading the UMF of manuka honey brands. To give you an idea, you want something with a UMF content of 12 or even higher if you need to use it for treating wounds. This is because these products are considered medical-grade with compounds like methylglyoxal, which is a natural antibacterial component found in manuka honey.

Should You Try Manuka Honey?

This is an easy answer simply because if you think about it, you can get multiple health benefits whether you eat it raw, use it as a sweetener, face mask, or for your wound bandages. According to DiligentChef, Manuka honey is expensive compared to regular honey, but the health benefits are worth the price.

Let’s talk about the most popular advantage of using manuka honey, which is for its antibiotic effects. Manuka honey can fasten the healing and prevent infection of cuts and scrapes. You can also use it to clear infections such as sore throat and stomach problems without even worrying about bacterial resistance.

If you’re still skeptical, the healing benefits of manuka honey are actually supported by science. As a matter of fact, the US Federal Drug Administration even approved the use of manuka honey in bandages for treating wounds in 2007.

Manuka honey promotes healing because it is also protecting the wounds by preventing the growth of bacteria. And as you are familiar with now, the substance methylglyoxal unique to manuka honey is antibacterial and attacks the microbes as well.

Speaking of healing properties, there is also scientific evidence on how manuka honey can prevent oral diseases like gingivitis. This is because the honey attacks the bacteria responsible for plaque buildup. And truth be told, it’s quite impressive to use something sweet like honey to treat gum disease.

You might even find relief in consuming manuka honey if you have a sore throat. The honey soothes the inflammation and discomfort because it coats the inner lining of your throat while also attacking the bacteria.

Your digestive health can also benefit from this tasty treat because it can help with indigestion, as well as reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome such as diarrhea and constipation. And if you want to reap the benefits of manuka honey topically, you can make a homemade face mask to kill the bacteria and reduce inflammation related to acne.

Are There Disadvantages in Using Manuka Honey?

Disadvantages are not the right term for them, but rather, like with any product; there are risks in using manuka honey. Manuka honey is safe for consumption and topical usage, but every person varies on how they will react to it.

For example, you might be allergic to other types of honey, which can imply that you might also have an allergic reaction with manuka honey. At the same time, honey has high sugar content. Those with conditions that require monitoring of blood sugar levels have to be extra careful in consuming manuka.

Nonetheless, it is still best to consult your doctor, whether you want to add manuka honey on your diet, use it for wound treatment, or as a topical solution. And at the end of the day, manuka honey still needs to go a long way, including a lot of clinical trials before it can enter mainstream medicine like any other type of treatment.

Baby Strains on Your Veins


Graphic created by USA Vein Clinics, a provider of sclerotherapy for spider veins.

How to support an expectant partner

So you found out your partner is expecting, and boy are you excited! Your life is about to change, but first, you have to go through the nine months of pregnancy with your partner. The period of pregnancy is always most successful when it involves both partners. This means that you can be an active participant in supporting your pregnant partner. Trust us when we say, it’s more fun this way too! If you can demonstrate during the pregnancy that you can be a reliable partner, this will give her confidence that you will also be a reliable partner after your child is born.


Here are some ways in which you can support your expectant partner:

Research on what she is going through

You will never be able to understand what she is going through. The cramps, the cravings and the mood swings. But what you can do is to research what she is going through on sites like BabyTalk so that you can be better prepared to support her throughout this nine month journey.

Be the “heavy lifter”

Carrying a baby in your womb takes a heavy toil on the body. As the baby gets bigger and heavier, the physical strain on the woman’s body also increase. What you can do as a supportive partner is to do the “heavy lifting” for her and that includes doing the housework or even carrying things when needed. If she has something in the house that she wants to move, you should be the one doing it. Ensure that all she focuses on during this period is to ensure she carries a healthy baby.

Help her with her emotions

During her pregnancy, her hormones will fluctuate. This means that she will experience extreme mood swings, from moments of extreme happiness to extreme sadness. This is normal and is to be expected, so ensure that you are patient with her during this time. Support her when she needs support, hold her when she needs holding, and listen to her when she needs a listening ear.

Be there for prenatal visits

When your partner visits her practitioner to check on the baby, ensure that you are there with her. Be involved, ask questions during the visit if there is anything you are unsure about. There are some things that your partner may not have thought of to ask, so show your presence by being there.

Get ready for the baby

There are many things to consider before the arrival of the baby. For one, you will need to do up your baby nursery. This means you will need to buy the baby crib, diapers, car seats, pram, pillow, baby clothes etc. There are literally a thousand things to consider before the arrival of the baby. Go shopping with your partner to prepare for the arrival. Also, do talk with your partner the expectations that each of you expect and strive to fulfil them.

It’s a fun time to be in this journey together. This is the start of your beautiful family journey and the pregnancy journey will only make your relationship stronger. This will bode well especially when the baby arrives, for both of you will grow your family together in happy times!


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Top 100 Baby Names This Year


Expecting? Congratulations! 

The fun is only just beginning as you search for the best name for your new little sweetheart.

Some parents adore using popular names of the time; others desire a unique name of their own creation. But no matter which direction you go with a name, your beautiful little baby will soon fill your life with wonder and delight - and your heart will never again be the same.

Below are the 100 most popular names for babies born in the United States this year, based on the Social Security Administration's latest statistics.

Does your little one's name make the Top 100? We'd love to hear from you, see a snapshot of your cutie, and know what name you choose. Drop a comment below, or join in the conversation any time in any of these groups:







Most popular baby names of the past year for babies born in the United States.
RankMale nameFemale name
1LiamEmma
2NoahOlivia
3WilliamAva
4JamesIsabella
5OliverSophia
6BenjaminCharlotte
7ElijahMia
8LucasAmelia
9MasonHarper
10LoganEvelyn
11AlexanderAbigail
12EthanEmily
13JacobElizabeth
14MichaelMila
15DanielElla
16HenryAvery
17JacksonSofia
18SebastianCamila
19AidenAria
20MatthewScarlett
21SamuelVictoria
22DavidMadison
23JosephLuna
24CarterGrace
25OwenChloe
26WyattPenelope
27JohnLayla
28JackRiley
29LukeZoey
30JaydenNora
31DylanLily
32GraysonEleanor
33LeviHannah
34IsaacLillian
35GabrielAddison
36JulianAubrey
37MateoEllie
38AnthonyStella
39JaxonNatalie
40LincolnZoe
41JoshuaLeah
42ChristopherHazel
43AndrewViolet
44TheodoreAurora
45CalebSavannah
46RyanAudrey
47AsherBrooklyn
48NathanBella
49ThomasClaire
50LeoSkylar
51IsaiahLucy
52CharlesPaisley
53JosiahEverly
54HudsonAnna
55ChristianCaroline
56HunterNova
57ConnorGenesis
58EliEmilia
59EzraKennedy
60AaronSamantha
61LandonMaya
62AdrianWillow
63JonathanKinsley
64NolanNaomi
65JeremiahAaliyah
66EastonElena
67EliasSarah
68ColtonAriana
69CameronAllison
70CarsonGabriella
71RobertAlice
72AngelMadelyn
73MaverickCora
74NicholasRuby
75DominicEva
76JaxsonSerenity
77GreysonAutumn
78AdamAdeline
79IanHailey
80AustinGianna
81SantiagoValentina
82JordanIsla
83CooperEliana
84BraydenQuinn
85RomanNevaeh
86EvanIvy
87EzekielSadie
88XavierPiper
89JoseLydia
90JaceAlexa
91JamesonJosephine
92LeonardoEmery
93BrysonJulia
94AxelDelilah
95EverettArianna
96ParkerVivian
97KaydenKaylee
98MilesSophie
99SawyerBrielle
100JasonMadeline

The above data was compiled throughout the 12 months leading up to January 2019 by the Social Security Administration (babies born in the United States).


New Baby Visitor Guide for Friends & Family
Also available as oversized postcards for sharing with clients at Etsy.

It's a BOY?

Be sure to swing by IntactBaby.org/research and SavingSons.org for useful materials before your little one's arrival. Forced retraction is an epidemic in the United States today, and your sweetheart will be counting on you to keep him safe.
Foreskin Facts to be aware of before a baby boy's arrival.
Oversized postcards at Etsy for sharing with clients.
All babies arrive into the world intact - find intact care materials at DrMomma.org, SavingSons.org, or IntactHealth.org
Vinyl stickers for use on diapers, wipes, and baby's chart at Etsy.




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