Home Organizing for Baby Shower Gifts

If you’re expecting a baby soon then there may be a baby shower in your near future. People love to buy baby gifts, all of those cute little outfits and accessories. But, what your friends and family might not be thinking about, is where you’re going to put all that stuff! Lucky for you, Organizing Boston is here to help guide you through the home and nursery organizing process to make room for all your baby shower gifts.

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Early Baby Shower

An early baby shower is usually held two months or more before your due date.  This should give you plenty of time to get your home in order and ready for the arrival of your little one. If your baby’s nursery is not set up yet and you don’t have furniture items, then you might want to start tackling other areas in your home to store baby shower gifts. A lot of Baby gear is big and bulky. Items such as strollers, high chairs, pack ‘n plays, tubs, and boxes of diapers take up a lot of space. It’s important to identify where these items will go in your home before your baby shower and come up with a plan for storing large items.

Your kitchen and closets are the main areas in your home that you’ll want to declutter in order to make room for baby shower gifts. Freeing up space on your kitchen counter is a must if you’ll be using a drying rack for bottles, plates, spoons, sippy cups, etc.  Cabinets and drawers can be used for storing bibs and feeding utensils. Kitchen pantries are great for storing bulky items like boxes of diapers, baby formula, and jars of baby food. You will want to make space in closets for the clothes your baby will grow into. If you don’t have a ton of closet space, use bins or baskets to store clothes that you won’t be using right away. If you have a garage or basement, then most of these items can be stored out of sight and stay in boxes until they are ready to be assembled.

Tip: Create a space for memorabilia gifts such as photo books, keepsakes, Knitted items, jewelry, silver, etc.

Late Baby Shower

 Congratulations! Your baby’s nursery furniture has arrived and you’re ready to start putting away all those adorable baby shower gifts, but before you do you’ll want to make sure to remove tags on clothing and wash all items before neatly folding and putting them away. This includes clothes, blankets, bibs, bedding, and some stuffed toys. We recommend using Dreft- hypoallergenic, baby detergent products. For nursery closet organizing, we recommend kid-sized Huggable Hangers from the Container Store. 

Late baby showers are usually held 4 – 6 weeks before your due date. Creating an inventory list is very helpful to determine what items you have and what items you still need before your little one arrives. Don’t wait until you get home from the hospital (you’ll be exhausted!) to get these baby essentials. Make it easy for yourself and have a plan in place for everything. Store items within easy reach, like keeping snap on onesies and socks in drawers or baskets under the changing table.

Tip: After you’ve assembled furniture and other items get rid of the boxes immediately. Boxes can be broken down and recycled or donated. This will help you reduce clutter in your home.

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Managing Hand-me-downs and Unwanted Items

 Be prepared to receive hand-me-down items from family members and friends and politely say, “thank you, but no thank you” ahead of time. This will save you from an overflow of baby items that you don’t need or want. For items that you’ll be keeping, create an organizing system by labeling bins and baskets by category and size.

If you receive a baby shower gift that you didn’t request on your registry and it doesn’t go with you baby’s nursery theme or is something you consider unsafe for a child (ex. An oversized teddy bear), then snap a photo of it in the nursery and donate it or sell it online. Savers, a local thrift superstore, accepts stuffed animal donations and other kids’ toys.

Tip: A great storage solution for a baby’s room is a bookcase or shelving where you can place bins and baskets for baby clothes, baby books, and photo frames. These items will “grow with” your child and can be used for multiple purposes over time. We recommend shelf units and cube storage from Ikea.

Remember, planning is the key. Just like you need to plan for the arrival of your little-one, you need to plan for the arrival of their stuff, too! If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, or are physically not able to tackle this daunting task, we can help. Our organizing services include space planning, furniture assembly, organizing and pretty much anything else you need to get ready for your baby.

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By Sarah Buckwalter

Sarah Buckwalter is a Certified Professional Organizer® with over 18 years of experience in home, move and office organization. She is the founder of Organizing Boston. Organizing Boston is the largest professional organizing firm in New England and has been awarded Best of Boston Home™, Best Professional Organizer.

Pregnancy Prep Series: 28 weeks

You’re in the final stretch! 

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Here’s arguably the most important thing you can do during your third trimester (outside of having your car seat installed or checked by a professional): Create a “village.”

We are firm believers in the age-old saying “it takes a village” especially as it relates to being pregnant and having a baby. A good friend once told us to write down on a sticky note the names of the 3 (or more) people who you can turn to for good, sound advice. Create this community now, of people you know and trust, who will be there for you as your sounding board now and after your baby is born. This can be a family member, friend, or team of healthcare professionals like us. Identify who they are now, establish that relationship with them (especially if it is a new relationship) and reach out to them when you need them most. People who thrive have support networks. And the time to work on your support network is before you need it.

People are going to be giving you a lot of advice. Boston NAPS offers a unique perspective: All this advice you receive is likely well-intended, but our mission is to help you find processes that are right for you and your family and to help you feel confident in your parenting decisions. We want you to be so confident, that you can guiltlessly say “No thank you” (either in your head, or out loud) to parenting advice that doesn’t work for you or seems condescending.

Fun Fact: While you are dreaming about your baby, did you know your baby may be dreaming about you too? Research at this gestational age that looked at brain wave activity measured in a developing fetus showed different sleep cycles, including what we call rapid eye movement phase, which is the stage when dreaming occurs.  

Did you know that once your baby is born, they often confuse nights and days because they slept in utero when you were moving around during the day? This is why you probably want to have a night nurse for your baby at least one or two nights a week. Start the process of signing up for a Boston NAPS night nurse now, so when you are in desperate need of Zzzzs… all you need to do is text Boston NAPS and schedule a nurse to come the next night.

We said that having your village is the most important thing you can do, second to having your infant car seat professional installed or checked by a professional. Boston NAPS co-founder Jamie O’Day is nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST). If you live in the greater Boston area, she can come to your home and install your car seat, or verify that you’ve installed it correctly and safely yourself. Also, as mentioned earlier, if you are interested in having a night nurse (a nurse who watches the baby overnight and helps you get as many consecutive hours of sleep as possible), click here to start the application process.

Pregnancy Prep Series: 24 Weeks

At 24 weeks, you have probably been feeling your baby move for the last few weeks. How exciting!

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How are you feeling? Again, whatever you’re feeling, there’s a 99.9% chance it’s normal.

If you’re struggling, here are some pro tips to feel better:

This is normal: Linea nigra or stretch marks

If you start to notice a dark line that runs up the center of your belly, this is called linea nigra (translated, this literally means “black line”) and related to the changing hormones circulating during pregnancy. While there is nothing you can do to prevent this from happening, the good news is that it fades away shortly after the birth of your baby.  Stretch marks are common and may appear as your belly continues to grow. Your second trimester is great time to start using cream on your belly to help potentially prevent stretch marks. Use creams that contain centella, such as Belli Elasticity Belly Oil or a Bio Oil, to help your skin’s elasticity.  

This is normal: Leg cramps or and swollen ankles or feet

There are a few easy (and potentially lovely) solutions for leg cramps: stretch, massage your muscles, or apply heat, like a warm washcloth or heating pad. Try a warm bath before bed to relax your muscles. A little swelling in the feet and ankles is to be expected, especially if you are on your feet all day.  Be sure to elevate your feet at the end of the day, or when you are sitting for long periods of time. If you notice swelling in your face, hands, or in one leg but not the other, or anything that seems out of the ordinary, you should let your OB know right away.

This is normal: Back pain.

Yes, sorry!  This might be getting worse as the baby gets larger inside your growing uterus. Everything is pressing against your spine and pelvis, making your back muscles work extra hard to carry your baby bump around.

Here are a few other tips to make this stretch of your pregnancy easier and more enjoyable:

Pro tip 1: Acupuncture during pregnancy is safe and has many benefits for pregnant women including reduced stress, reduced nausea, and reduced pain and swelling. Acupuncture can even be used to help attempt to turn a baby from the position of feet first, to head first, which is the position needed for a vaginal delivery. Want a great local resource in Boston? Check out Yintuition Wellness

Pro tip 2: Get involved in prenatal yoga, if you haven’t already. There are many benefits of practicing yoga while pregnant, such as improving balance and flexibility.  It also helps you to practice your breath awareness and mindfulness, which can help to manage these common aches and pains that we have been talking about. Tools from your yoga class will also be incredibly useful during your labor and delivery, when it comes to managing contractions and pushing your baby out. We offer prenatal yoga at our South Boston Studio in addition to other prenatal fitness classes

Pro tip 3: Are you building your registry? Scope out our favorite items to add:

  1. Cloud Island inverted zipper footed PJs

  2. Boppy Lounger

  3. For our bottle feeding mom: Baby Breeza Formula Pro Formula Dispenser

  4. For our breastfeeding mom: Boppy breastfeeding pillow and Haakaa

  5. For our pumping mom: Hands Free Pumping Bra and Kiinde Starter Kit

  6. Little Unicorn blankets, burp cloths, and bibs

  7. Bjorn Bouncer

  8. Pottery Barn Chamois fitted crib sheet

  9. Marpac Dohm Sound Machine

  10. Miracle Blanket and Magic Merlin Sleep Suit

Pregnancy Prep Series: 20 Weeks

When you're at 20 weeks, your body is going through some serious changes. If you’re feeling weird, that’s normal. (You feel weird sometimes, right?) On the bright side, this is a time to marvel at the inherent intelligence of a woman’s body.

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At 20 weeks, you may be feeling back pain, fatigue, and heartburn or indigestion. Whatever you’re feeling, there’s a 99.9% chance it’s normal.

This is normal: Back pain

The physical growth of your uterus and hormonal changes during pregnancy may cause a strain on your back muscles causing back discomfort.  In addition to carrying increased weight in the front of your body, the hormones of pregnancy relax the ligaments of our joints and pelvis, making them more flexible, which can contribute to back pain.  The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends getting regular exercise to strengthen your back and stretch the muscles that support your back.  Watch your posture when you are standing or walking and be sure to wear supportive shoes.  Applying heat or cold therapy to your back is okay – we recommend trying both and doing what feels best.

This is normal: Fatigue

While everyone is different when they are pregnant, many women describe a feeling of exhaustion, especially in their first trimester.  Our bodies are creating more nutrients to carry to our growing baby, and hormonal levels change. Couple this with the physical and emotional changes our bodies are going through, and many women will have decreased energy as a result. (For some women, decreased energy = constantly tired.) This is a normal part of pregnancy, and we recommend getting extra rest when you feel fatigued. Try getting in bed an hour earlier at night and letting yourself drift off. Squeeze a nap in during the day if you feel your body needs it.  You may need to adjust your current schedule or routine to accommodate some extra sleep in your first trimester. Know that this is okay and that this is what your body needs!

This is normal: Heartburn or Indigestion

If you’re experiencing heartburn or indigestion, there’s a pretty fascinating reason why. During pregnancy, our bodies create a hormone called progesterone. Progesterone helps to thicken the lining of the uterus (making a healthy environment for the growing fetus), it helps the placenta to function throughout pregnancy (which is what is bringing the baby healthy oxygen and nutrients), and it stimulates the growth of breast tissue for development of breast milk.

Alas, progesterone also causes the valve between the stomach and esophagus to relax, preventing stomach acid from passing back into the esophagus, which causes irritation and the feeling of heartburn.  Many women experience the most heartburn in their third trimester, when the uterus has grown significantly larger and applies more pressure on the intestines and stomach, pushing what we eat back up into the esophagus.  

To minimize heartburn, eat smaller meals throughout the day, rather than three large meals.  Try to avoid spicy, greasy and fatty foods as these can contribute to heartburn.  After eating, wait an hour to lie flat, so the food you have eaten is well digested; prop yourself up with extra pillows when sleeping.  Some women find yogurt or a glass of milk to be a natural way to relieve symptoms of heartburn.  Always speak with your healthcare provider regarding over the counter medications that you might want to try to relieve heartburn.

Cool fact about pregnancy:

1: When not pregnant, your uterus can hold about 30ml of fluid (a small medicine cup). When you are 40 weeks pregnant, your uterus can hold up to 20 liters of fluid.

2: Your body grows a brand new organ (the placenta) when you are pregnant. The placenta acts as the lifeline between you and your baby, and delivers oxygen, blood, and nutrients to your baby.

3: Your body starts to make breast milk as early as 20 weeks.

Did you know Boston NAPS has a private Facebook group for pregnant women and new moms? Click here to gain access to the group.  Want more hands-on or customized information about your pregnancy? Check out Boston NAPS in-person classes, full-day workshops, and private, in-home prenatal classes.

Pregnancy Prep Series from Boston NAPS

Did you recently learn that you're pregnant? Have you had your first official trip to the doctor to confirm the news? If so, well, Hello, glowing pregnant woman! We’re so happy for you. Pregnancy is an exciting and fascinating period of life--that’s why we’ve built a practice dedicated to supporting pregnant women and new mothers.

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We’re a team of nurses based in Boston, Massachusetts, led by Jamie and Emily, two Boston moms who met while working as labor and delivery nurses.

When we (Emily and Jamie) were on the labor and delivery unit and giving care to new moms in the hospital, we were inspired to create a service that helps mothers and newborns transition to the home setting. In the hospital, you have so much support, and you should have that support, during your first days, weeks, and months at home with your new baby, too.

As mothers ourselves, we feel privileged and blessed each day to share in the most memorable moments of our clients' lives.

Whether you need assistance during the day with feedings and diaper care, help with breastfeeding, advice during “SOS!” moments, or just a good night's sleep, we will be at your side to help along the way. We want you to feel comfortable and safe caring for the newest addition to your family. Thus, we invite you to periodically check back at our blog for our Pregnancy Prep Series, where we walk you through the various stages of pregnancy and dish on what's normal, veteran tips, and the fascinating science behind pregnancy. 

We’re looking forward to getting to know you over the course of your pregnancy, and we invite you to get to know us!  

1. Take a look around our web-site, BostonNAPS.com. We offer a variety of services for pregnant women, from prenatal classes, to infant CPR classes, to car seat checks and installations (because how, exactly, do you install a car seat?).  

2. Sign up for our monthly newsletter, and Follow Us on Instagram.  

3. “Like” us on Facebook and ask to join our Facebook community: we share tips, stories, and frequent laughs with women from around the country who look to Boston NAPS for advice, support, and encouragement as they navigate pregnancy and life with babies and small children. 

 

We are looking forward to supporting you throughout your pregnancy and sharing in your excitement as the countdown continues!

How Do I Potty Train?

Getting ready to potty train is a big step for both parents and kids!  Make sure your child is showing interest in potty training and follow signs that your child is ready to potty train, rather than focusing on the right age for potty training. While many kids show interest in potty training around age 2, it could be up to 3 years old until they are truly ready. Signs that a child is ready for potty training are:

- showing interest in the potty
- wanting to wear underwear
- telling you through words or gestures that they need to go to the bathroom
- complaining about being in a wet or dirty diaper
- trying to remove a wet or dirty diaper themselves

Consider if your child can follow basic directions from you and if they are able to stay dry for long periods of time during the day (2-3 hours, or more, at a time).

OK - so you’re ready to potty train! Here is some guidance to get you started:

1. Get The Right Equipment

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Purchase a potty for your bathroom and make it fun.  Summer Infant has a potty that flushes, or you can let your child decorate their potty with stickers to make it exciting.  Show them where the potty is and encourage them to sit on it without a diaper.  Purchase books about using the potty, such as Everyone Poops or sing fun songs, like the Potty Song. Make it exciting by purchasing cool, new underwear with your child’s favorite character on it and to make wearing it special. Veteran tip: get a toilet seat cover than you can put on a large toilet for poops (you do NOT want to be cleaning out a kid's toilet basin full of poop) and that also is easy to pack up and travel with for when you leave the house and/or go on trips.

2. Start A Potty Schedule

Throughout the day, have your child sit on the potty for several minutes without a diaper. You can keep them on the potty for these several minutes by reading a book, or singing a song. Stay with them while they are sitting on the potty.  During the day, when you notice them showing signs that they need to use the toilet, such as squirming, squatting or holding their diaper area, get them to their potty quickly and praise them for letting you know they had to go.

3. Try Naked Time During The Day

Most kids who are ready to be potty trained are more aware when they need to use the bathroom when they are naked. In most cases, kids will have one accident while naked, and then use the potty without issue when they are naked from then on. In fact, there are many resources that suggest starting potty training by having one entire day to being in the house naked so that your child can learn what it feels like when they need to use the bathroom but don't have anything to catch the pee (i.e. diaper or underwear). Also, try putting tinkle targets in the potty, such as Fruit Loop, Cherrios, or Toilet Targets for your child to aim at when peeing.  

4. Offer Praise or Rewards

Sing a song that is fun and upbeat to celebrate after your child has used the potty. Consider incentives such as stickers to reward your child after using the potty. Veteran tip: Don't let offering sweets be beneath you, this works like a charm! But only offer these types of incentives for pooping in the potty, as your child will ask for a sweet after every time they pee in the potty (which could be A LOT) if you start these types of rewards from the get-go.

5. Be Consistent And Let Caregivers Know You Are Potty Training

Make sure school, daycare, and/or your nanny is aware that you are potty training, so everyone is kept in the loop. These people are also usually great resources as they have likely potty trained or helped potty trained many other children.

6. Stay Consistent When Out Of The House/Traveling

You can purchase a potty for your car that is easily transported. (Here is an example.) Be sure to always go out with an extra pair of underwear and pants. Try not to get frustrated and fall back into using diapers/pull ups as this is more confusing for your child.

7. Limit Drinks Before Bedtime

Your child will be very good at using the potty daytime hours after a few weeks. However, learning to use the potty or stay dry for naps and nighttime takes much longer, sometimes months to years. Make sure you have disposable training underwear for naps and overnight, and waterproof mattress protectors. Veteran tip: We all have more than one crib/bed sheet, but not everyone has more than one waterproof mattress cover. Be sure to invest in at least two of these so you don't have to worry about washing the one you have before the next use. If you have a child that wets the bed frequently, put a clean sheet under the waterproof mattress pad, so if there is an accident in the middle of the night, you can just pull off the wet sheet and waterproof mattress cover and have another clean, dry sheet already there and ready to use.

8. Talk To Your Pediatrician About Potty Training

They can help you assess your child’s readiness and offer support and tips. If your child is resisting using the potty, or not getting the hang of it after a few weeks of trying, just call it quits and wait a few months to try again. Potty training is a big step, and it is important that your child is physically, mentally, and emotionally ready to train. Timing and patience is key.

 

For more information about potty training, and other essential topics related to babies and small children, join our Boston NAPS community on Facebook. 

 

How to Choose Your Pediatrician

Choosing a pediatrician for your baby may feel like a bigger decision-- raises your anxiety--more than finding your own health care provider. Your pediatrician will be one of the first people to see your baby. Your pediatrician will also be the healthcare provider you see the most over the course of your baby's first year (or really, the next 18 years!). Here are things to consider when choosing a pediatrician.

1. Trust Your Gut

Your experience can and will be very different than someone else's. If something doesn't feel right then listen and consider looking elsewhere. If you click with your pediatrician and he/she "gets" you, then continue forward and feel confident in your choice!

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2. Proximity To Home

You want someone that is easy enough to get to when you have a sick kid at 5PM on a Friday (because, let's face it, this is inevitably when your child will get sick)!

3. Office Hours

Does the practice have evening and weekend hours for sick visits? And are those visits done at their office or a satellite office? Naturally, you want to avoid going to urgent care or the emergency room with your baby.

4. Calling About A Sick Kid

Speaking of sick visits, do you speak directly with a nurse or do you have to leave a message and wait for the nurse to call you back?

5. Personal Preference

a. Consider your personal preference between a male or female pediatrician. Does the gender depend on if you have a boy or a girl? You might have a male doctor and a female nurse practitioner depending on the office. This can be a nice balance.

b. Does the potential care provider have children? Is this something that is important to you? Before you even make a phone call to an office, check out the practice's website and you can usually find biographies of the team.

c. What is the doctor's experience with your feeding choices (i.e. Breastfeeding, bottle feeding, donor breastmilk, etc.). As moms who have breastfed, we have found it nice to have someone, either a doctor or an NP, who has personal experience with breastfeeding and can give you professional as well as real life advice. You can also have someone like us on speed dial for any breastfeeding concerns, questions, or issues and we will be at your house within 24-48 hours for a lactation visit.  

d. What are their views on important parenting points such as, feeding choice, sleep advice, screen time, potty training, school/classroom related issues? You want to find someone that is either open-minded or whose views are in line with the type of parents you plan to be.

6. Admitting Privileges: Lastly, check to see where their admitting privileges are. Boston Children's Hospital, Mass General Hospital, elsewhere? Since we live in an area with the most prestigious hospitals in the world, take advantage of this luxury!

We know some of these points are so far ahead to think about. But it's good to consider all of these things now because your pediatrician is the healthcare provider you will see the most, for the next 18 years! You want to make sure you choose a pediatrician who is someone you connect with, trust, and who understands you and where you are coming from.

What if you want to change pediatricians? If you find you are not loving your pediatrician, it is ok to switch doctors! This may seem more daunting than just sticking it out, but it is worth the search to find the right provider for you, your child, and your family. Your relationship with your pediatrician is important and can impact the choices you make in those first few weeks, months, and years of your child's life. You owe it to yourself and your child(ren) to ensure this is a positive relationship.

Many pediatricians’ offices offer an "open house" once a month where you can go and meet the practitioners in the office. This may be a good place to start.

Do you want to read about other mothers’ experiences of choosing a pediatrician and navigating their first year with a newborn? “Like” the Boston NAPS Facebook page to join our community and meet other mothers in the greater Boston area and beyond.

When Is It Time To Stop Breastfeeding?

When to stop breastfeeding, or to start weaning from breastfeeding, is up to you and your baby, and is very different for every mother.

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The current recommendations from the World Health Organization are to exclusively breastfed for six months, then to continue to breastfeed, or offer breast milk for two years while offering complementary foods. While it is great to achieve this recommendation, remember it is a recommendation. Mothers’ experience varies greatly: some women breastfeed from a few weeks, to a few years. Milk supply varies from mother to mother and the ability to maintain supply when you have periods of separation from your baby, such as going back to work, is a considerable factor. Having a plan to pump when going back to work can help, and we offer consulting on this very topic.  

Our motto at Boston NAPS is "Fed is Best" and we support our mothers and babies in how they choose to feed for what works best for their family, whether it be breastfeeding, pumping, and/or using formula or donor breast milk.

What does “Fed is Best” mean in our approach to helping mothers? No matter how you choose to feed your baby, we will support you. There is a huge stigma with not breastfeeding or not breastfeeding exclusively (such as never giving baby any amount of formula). We want mothers to know that as long as their babies are happy, healthy, and growing, we don't judge mothers for how they choose to feed their babies.

Our philosophy on breastfeeding--that you need to do what’s feels right for you--echoes our overall approach to working with new parents: you’ll get a sea of advice on how to care for your baby from well-meaning friends, family, or even strangers in the grocery store. You create your parenting style by doing what feels right for you, and Boston NAPS is here to help you develop your confidence in making parenting decisions that uniquely fit your family.

Any breastfeeding or breast milk, for any amount of time is a wonderful gift you can give to your baby. At some point, though, you’ll start to see and feel cues that it may be time to stop breastfeeding...

The baby might subtly tell you when she’s ready to wean.

You might sense that your baby is losing interest in breastfeeding. Consider these signs of your baby starting to self-wean are:
1. Your baby has become more interested in solid foods rather than breastmilk, 
2. Your baby is fussy or impatient during breastfeeding sessions, 
3. Your baby seems distracted during feeding sessions. 

Most babies start to self-wean around 12 months. If your baby is demonstrating these cues, but is younger than 12 months, consider other factors as to why your baby may not be as interested in breastfeeding. Is your baby teething, sick, or experiencing a life change, like mom going back to work or a new caregiver? Are there any changes in your hormone levels that could be affecting the taste of your breastmilk or the overall supply (i.e. do you have your period or are you pregnant?). This is called a “nursing strike” and usually it’s temporary. If you aren’t ready to give up breastfeeding, give it a few days and see if your baby resumes interest. If you are still struggling to breastfeed your baby after a few days but you want to continue, you can contact Boston NAPS for a consultation.

You personally may feel ready to wean your baby.

Perhaps you are returning to work soon or you have a time where you’ll have a period of long separation from your baby, such as work travel. Or, it may just feel like the right time for you to stop breastfeeding. Consider your daily schedule and work/life balance and decide what makes the most sense for you and your baby. This is a personal decision for you and your family, and does not require the approval of any family members (besides input from your partner), friends, and healthcare professionals. Go with your gut. Make this decision based on what is right for you and your family, not what you think other people think is "right,"  Again, our position on this can be traced back to the Boston NAPS philosophy: new parents get so much input and advice from their friends, family, community, and society--most of it well-meaning--but you should feel empowered to make decisions about your baby’s care based on what feels right for you and your family.

Sometimes for Mom and baby, it’s mutual.

Often, over time, mothers and babies begin scaling back. You will notice that without much thought or planning, you are naturally scaling back by having a gradual decrease in the length and frequency of your breastfeeding sessions. This often happens when your child is eating solid meals during the day, and drinking regularly from a cup. This transition starts to occur around 6 months, and is usually in full force at about 12 months as your child is then able to obtain their nutritional needs from other sources, thus requiring less breastmilk or nursing sessions. At 12 months, your child can start to drink milk from other sources (think, cow’s milk) in addition to, or in place of, breastmilk or formula.

Do you have further questions about when to stop breastfeeding or how to wean, but you’re hesitant to fall into the blackhole of online message boards and mommy blogs? (Smart woman). Schedule a consultation with Boston NAPS on the phone, or in person if you are a mom in the greater Boston area.

How Do I Start breastfeeding?

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The short answer: the best time to start breastfeeding is right in the delivery room or recovery room after giving birth.

The long answer: Glad you asked! Breastfeeding is a way to feed your baby, and it’s also a clear sign of our bodies’ intelligence.

Whether you have had a vaginal delivery or a cesarean section, a mother can prepare for her first time breastfeeding her baby by having skin to skin contact for an hour after delivery.  Skin to skin contact is when the baby is placed naked (or only in a diaper) on mom’s bare chest. There are many benefits of skin to skin contact for all moms and babies that go far beyond the benefits associated with only breastfeeding mothers and babies. Skin to skin contact is used to initiate bonding between mom and baby, initiate breastfeeding, and is also a means to naturally soothe baby, as well as regulate baby’s temperature, heart rate, breathing, and blood sugar levels.

After an hour of skin to skin contact, you will notice your baby beginning to show cues of wanting to eat, such as becoming more alert and awake, moving their head and body towards your breast, and demonstrating a newborn reflex called “rooting” which is when a baby opens their mouth, making sucking noises, and turns their head toward the breast.. To latch your baby to the breast, turn your baby’s body towards you so you are both chest to chest.  Touch the baby’s nose to your nipple (remember: “nose to nip”), which will cause your baby to open their mouth wide (because of the “rooting” reflex). Bring the baby up and over your breast so they take a large mouthful of your breast, including the nipple and areola. Once their mouth is around the breast, covering the nipple and as much areola as possible, you will see the baby’s lips fanned out like “fish lips.”  As the baby sucks, you will see that the baby’s cheek is nice and rounded.  

A mother's body is quite smart, and has begun to make milk during pregnancy. After the delivery of the placenta, the body revs up creation of hormones that tell your body to make more milk. The first milk that a mother will see, right after delivery, is called colostrum, which is thick and yellow and full of antibodies that help protect your baby from illness and provide immunity. When a baby is born, their stomach is about the size of a marble, and the small amounts of colostrum are exactly what the baby needs for their feedings during their first few days. Once your milk comes in (usually between days 3-5 after delivery), you will not only see your baby suckling, but you will be able to hear them swallowing milk.

Your labor and delivery nurses and postpartum nurses will help and support you after delivery in teaching you to breastfeed. As well as assist you with becoming more comfortable with latching your baby, different positions for feeding and troubleshooting when problems or concerns arise. However, once you go home from the hospital, it is very important to find support near you, such as a lactation consultant or breastfeeding support group, so you can continue to work on breastfeeding and get reliable support if you have any questions or encounter any issues.

Boston NAPS runs a regular breastfeeding support group for new moms in the greater Boston area; learn more at our Facebook page. If you’re looking for one-on-one support, you can schedule a lactation consultation with a Boston NAPS lactation specialist.

5 Must Have Items For Your Baby/Toddler This Summer!

1. JJ Cole Outdoor Mat: it's big, it's waterproof, it's easy to wash, you can shake the sand right off of it, and it folds up into a convenient pouch and has a shoulder strap!

2. Snapperrock Bathing Suits: These bathing suits haveUV50+ protection, and come in many adorable designs and styles. They have suits in sizes for newborns through childhood! 

3. iplay Flap Sun Protection Hat: This hat has UPF 50+ protection, an adjustable draw string and chin tie to secure the hate in place, as well as a neck flap for added protection. It also can get wet and dries very quickly!

4. Native Jefferson Shoes: These shoes are a MUST for the beach! They are rubber, easy to clean, comfortable, and can be worn on the hot sand or in the water. 

5. Babiators: These stylish shades are 100% UV protection, and are flexible and durable. The added bonus? They will replace them FOR FREE if you lose or break them within the first year!