5 Benefits of Bed Sharing

With my first child, I became an accidental bed sharer during my first few weeks of breast feeding.  Even after I switched to exclusively pumping, bed sharing just felt right for me.  It worked for our family.

At first I felt guilty.  Bed sharing is bad, right?  Sleeping with your baby leads to suffocation and SIDS, right?

Not exactly.

Safe bed sharing does exist.  There are right and wrong ways, to do it.

And believe it or not, there are actual benefits linked to bed sharing.

All this good information is just buried beneath nay-sayers and Westerners who only support solitary sleep and see it as a child's first step toward independence.

Bed Sharing Benefits
Regardless of what you've heard, bed sharing does have it's benefits!

1. Breathing regulation.

Especially when baby sleeps on mom's torso, bed sharing helps with breathing regulation and breathing patterns!

Mom's own breathing helps regulate baby's.

2. Convenience when breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is natural, right?  So, it must be easy, right?

Okay, well, if you've done it then you know the answer to that is not exactly, lady!

Breastfeeding can be challenging, but is something that many of us find important and strive to do for our children. Therefore, why not make it easier by having your baby sleep with you?  

Bed sharing moms tend to breastfeed twice as much as solitary sleeping moms throughout the night.

3. Babies grow faster and experience less stress

Less stress?  I know I like less stress, so I'm sure baby does too!

4. Bed sharing moms get more sleep.

Okay, so I bet you think I'm joking right?

Especially after I just dropped the bomb about feeding twice as much.

But it's true!

Bed sharing moms don't have to full rouse to feed their infants if they breast feed!

5.  Infants use energy more efficiently & maintain lower blood pressure & more!

Really?  YES, REALLY!

But wait...  There's more!

It also positively affects infant's body temperature, brain-cell connections, calorie absorption, heart rate and sleep-arousal patterns.

Are you a supporter of bed sharing?  Have you ever shared a sleeping space with your child?

Never miss a thing! Subscribe via email today!

Image courtesy of GaborfromHungary on morgueFile.

Shayla Black: Ours to Love | Book Review

I recently read Shayla Black's Ours to Love; an erotic tale self-described as "a wicked lovers novel."  This is the first book I've read by Shayla Black, but definitely not my first delve into erotic novels (Harlequin books, anyone?).

Ours to Love Shayla Black
Ours to Love book cover.
Black wastes no time getting down and dirty; a few sentences in and I'm already wondering Is every erotic novel based on the BDSM scene?  Obviously, I'm referring to the recent fame and success of BDSM erotica Fifty Shades of Grey.

Yes, you've heard of it.  I'm sure.

Starting off strong, I fully expected Black's book to be filled to the max with steamy goodness.  Well, that, it was.

However, when you stripped away all the sexing, there really wasn't much sustenance to the book.  Was there really much of a story in there?  No, I didn't think so.

Ours to Love features a sweet, naive, somewhat sassy female that seems top clique and I was feeling all been there, done that while reading the story.

I'm someone who has to know the ending, so I, of course, finished it.

In my opinion, Black's book was mediocre, at best.  It was thoroughly lacking a story when you stripped away all the sex.  The story that was there seemed to play out too quick, which caused for lack of character development and everyone seemed very bland.

I will probably give Ms. Black another chance sometime in the future, but Ours to Love is not a book I'll ever read again.
Never miss a thing! Subscribe via email today!

Breast Milk Storage Guidelines

For breastfeeding, and especially for exclusively pumping, moms it's essential to be aware of proper breast milk storage rules.  By simply typing breast milk storage into Google search, you'll find a ton of information.
Breast Milk Storage Handling
Widely accepted storage times for breast milk.

I'm sure we can all agree that breast milk is a precious resource.  The last thing you want to do is end up throwing out some of your liquid gold because of improper breast milk storage or be giving your baby old, possibly "expired" breast milk.

I was amazed when I learned that breast milk can be stored in a deep freezer up to 12 months!

My Mistakes

This is my second time exclusively pumping, but when I was a newbie pumper...I had no idea what I was doing!

I had so many unlabeled breast milk storage bags.  I froze my milk in ugly shapes and just tossed in in the freezer carelessly.

It's okay if you're cringing.  I was bad.  It was bad.

I did buckle down though.  I did get informed.

Use a Reference

Most new moms will get some kind of breast milk storage chart in their hospital goodies, from WIC, or with their breast pump.  If not, I have created a very simply breast milk storage chart to use as a guide.

If you click on it, you'll be taken to the full 4x6" scale, which you could theoretically print out and put on your fridge/freezer/in your diaper bag.
Medela's own Breastmilk Storage Guidelines.

Here is Medela's breast milk storage guide, which I managed to snag as a magnet with my first baby.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a great breast milk storage system, even after I found the proper guidelines.  I lived in an apartment sans deep freezer and was even storing some milk at a relative's home.

When my son weaned, I was left with tons of milk, much of which was not properly labeled.  I didn't really know about the options of selling or donating breast milk.

I ended up throwing out several gallon size freezer bags worth of breast milk because I felt so overwhelmed and disorganized and didn't know what to do with it!

This time I've been careful label everything and to store it in a way that's convenient!

Do you have a breast milk freezer stash?  When do you plan to dip into it?

Never miss a thing! Subscribe via email today!

10 Netflix Must Watch Shows

10 Must Watch Netflix Shows #netflix
If you're one of the many homes with Netlflix (and you should be), then I have compiled a list of some of my favorite television shows you can stream.  Dexter and Switched at Birth are my most recent indulgences, but I can't forget how much we loved Lost or how much I'm anticipating the new season of Sons of Anarchy!

I'm not a channel surfer.  Actually, I can't wait to cancel our cable in August when the contract is up.  It's a total was of money on our part because we all rarely watch it.

When we do, we're turning it on for a specific television show, many of which we can purchase a season pass to on Xbox Live.

Or, if you're like us an love too many shows and can't keep up, we can catch them when they come out on Netflix.  Dexter, for example, we never watched when it was on cable television.  We discovered it on Netflix and we're loving it on Netflix!

If you're wondering, this post is not sponsored by or endorsed by Netflix.  I have not been compensated by Netflix or anyone else for this post or these recommendations.  We pay a monthly subscription fee ($7.99) for Netflix and truly enjoy the service!

What's your favorite TV show to stream?

Never miss a thing! Subscribe via email today!

Two Fantasy Book Series Worth Reading

So I recently connected with Elle in a blogger support group, and I'm super excited to be guest posting for her today (and hopefully again in the future).

For my first guest post on her blog, Elle Ay Ess, I will be sharing my two favorite fantasy book series that you absolutely must read!

We have one PG-13 and one X rated series that each present their own beautiful world, characters, and stories.

If you want to find out what my two must read fantasy book series are, then hop on over to Elle Ay Ess and READ MORE!

Leashing Your Kids Controversy

I'm never let down when searching Facebook, that's for sure. I've been inspired to write several blog posts thanks to the time sucker that is Facebook.

I stumbled across this photo/post on Facebook and was completely surprised by all the negativity around the idea of leashing kids.

Poor Choice of Words

First things first, I think the fact that it's been decided that this is "leashing" children automatically makes people think of dogs. Therefore, they start comparing putting your child in a harness as wrong and treating them like a dog.

But why do we leash dogs?

I was under the impression that we did it for their own safety and our own peace of mind.

We don't want our pets running off, getting hit by a car, stolen by some less-than-reputable-new-owner, and so on. Is it so terrible that we also don't want those things for our children?

Drawing Conclusions Without the Whole Story

Second, this post should not be considered reflective of all parents who leash their children in children's safety harnesses. My first instinct is to comment that it's bad parenting. However, we don't really know what's going on in this photo.

Maybe the boys are doing what they're doing (lying on the floor, that is) to get attention or as retaliation because they wanted that lollipop at the gas station. Many parenting experts would tell you not to acknowledge such attention seeking behavior because then you're giving them what they want.

Who really knows?

Bottom Line

Unfortunately, leashes or anything that looks like a leash is, more often then not, associated with pets, especially dogs.  I think that parents putting their children on leashes is slowly finding its way toward being at least semi-mainstream and mostly accepted by society.  However, there are still going to be people who stare, gawk, glare, sneer, or simply come out and say something rude.

Putting a child or children on a leash might be the only practical option for some parents and/or that parent may just feel that it is the right choice for their family.  

As fellow human beings and parents, I think we should respect the decision, even if we disagree with it.

At least those children are unlikely to put themselves in harms way or be taken by a stranger.

It happens, even to the best of parents.  So is it fair to judge?
What is your opinion of leashing children?  Have you done it? 

Never miss a thing! Subscribe via email today!

Tax Break for Breast Feeding Moms

Before finding Modern Mom's article on the subject, I had no idea that breast feeding mothers could have the opportunity to deduct a breast pump and related supplies as medical expenses on their taxes!

While there seemed to be equal outrage and support on the matter based on the comments on Modern Mom's website, the benefit is one that the American Academy of Pediatrics has been pushing for, for years.
Breastfeeding Tax Deduction
You might be able to count your breast pump as a medical expense.
Apparently, this is old news, so maybe you're already aware. The decision was made in 2010 and families whose medical expenses are more than 7.5% of their adjusted gross income can claim breast pumps and related supplies as medical expenses on the tax return.

Of course, this requires itemizing or having an FSA to be taken advantage of.

What is your opinion on the tax break? Do you think it's fair that breast feeding moms get a tax break while formula feeding moms don't?
Never miss a thing! Subscribe via email today!
I don't have an education or professional training or knowledge in tax laws or filing taxes. Please consult your accountant and the IRS website.

Pull & Pray Might Actually Work

So, while stumbling around on the internet searching for resources for making printables, I somehow came across LiveStrong.com's 16 Things You Probably Don't Know About Birth Control and was quite surprised when I came to Fact #16:
The “Pull Out Method” Is Fairly Effective, But Not Foolproof.
Pull Out Withdrawal Method #birthcontrol #contraception
My first reaction is simply to laugh. However, a little Google search informed me that pulling out (AKA: the withdrawal method) is no longer holding the bad rap it used to. Okay, so, I'm still laughing even if there was a study published in Contraception magazine.

I'm on board with Dr. Melissa Gilliam who reportedly told the New York Times:
In terms of a reliable method used over and over again, the risk of failure is quite high.
The biggest concern among medical professionals and especially teachers (and I'm sure parents, too) is that this sort of information and data doesn't translate the message we want to send our youth, especially teenagers. Even if only 4% (4 out of every 100) of couples who do it right every single time will get pregnant, which puts pulling out close the the effectiveness of a condom, it does not protect against STDs and requires great self control and experience.

So, I'm still pegging this birth control method as risky and relatively irresponsible, especially for casual sex.
Do you think this method of birth control is viable? How do you feel about these facts?

Never miss a thing! Subscribe via email today!
Photo courtesy of Wixphoto.com via freerangestock.com.

Jello Cupcakes

I may have missed guest posting at Plucky's Second Thought last month, but I'm back for June with an absolutely scrumptious Jello Cupcake recipe.  Hop on over and check it out and show some love to the blog's other posts.

I also had a fabulous helper!  See how much he loved stabbing the cupcakes!

Gabe Makes Jello Cupcakes #cupcakes #baking

First Month with a New Baby

Oh. My. Gosh. Luna was officially one month old as of Monday.

I just can't believe it. It's so bittersweet. I just want her to stay my cute little cuddle bug forever, but looking at the two children I already have reminds me that she won't be my sweet, wittle baby for long.
First Month Postpartum Tips
It's important not to forget about mom during these first weeks after child birth. 
It's almost enough to make me feel guilty for going back to work this weekend. Almost. But money doesn't grow on trees or something like that.

Anyway, I just wanted to take a minute to savor this beautiful time with my daughter.

To intentionally feel the blessedness.

And to remind others to do the same.

Regardless of how old your children are, each moment is sweet and worth savoring. Worth remembering. Every now and then, we need to stop and take a minute to appreciate who they are at any given stage in their life.

Now that we've gotten all touchy feely, I want to share a few tips for your first month postpartum.

1. Sleep, sleep, and...don't forget you need to SLEEP.

Seriously, I was blessed with both my children being awesome sleepers.  My daughter currently sleeps between 5 and 8 hours in a typical night.  So, yes, I totally understand if you up-every-two-hours-moms are glaring at your screen right now.


Either way, sleep when you can.  You might not be sleeping every single second your baby is, but take advantage of them sleeping when you are sincerely tired.  And if that means you are sleeping every single second they are... Well that's okay, too.

Which brings me to another very good tip!

2. Don't wake up your baby.

I don't know why we used to think this was necessary.  And by 'we' I mean those meany nurses and doctors who insisted we wake our newborn to feed if we so happened to luck into a baby who slept more than two hours between feedings.

Yeah, I had a nurse like that the first time around.  I learned quickly (and most medical personnel will agree) that it wasn't necessary to wake my infant to feed.  
He would wake up when he was hungry.

My daughter has slept long stretches since day one and is perfectly healthy.  Obviously, if there are health concerns or your baby is not gaining weight you should consult your doctor.

3. Sleep close to baby.

There are many known benefits of sleeping near your baby.  The AAP recommends room sharing because evidence suggests it can reduce the chance of SIDS up to 50%.  They don't support bed sharing; claiming that the evidence is not substantial enough or is mixed.

However, research such as that of James J. McKenna's and his Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory seem to indicate that bed sharing can be and is a viable sleeping arrangement for babies and is challenging so-called authorities who reject it as such.

4. Take some mommy alone time.

It might be hard to pry yourself away from your new baby, whether because you feel guilty, don't really want to, or have no one to assist you in your quest for alone time.  However, you will greatly appreciate taking some quality time for yourself, even if it's just a few hours to read a book or take a nap or (like me) go get a pedicure.

Plus, you'll probably miss that baby so much that every two hour feedings doesn't sound so bad.

5. Don't get overwhelmed.

Doing #4 should help you with this, but I feel it deserves its own spot.

So you just added a new baby to your family?  Maybe she's your first.  Or fifth.  Does it really matter?  Nope.  The family dynamic changes with each person added.

Plus, mom still needs recoop time.

You might have a weeks worth of dishes or still be wearing the same yoga pants from three days ago because you haven't done laundry.  Seriously, who cares?  Don't sweat it.

If it can wait, it can wait.  If you're tired, take a nap and know that you can sweep your kitchen tomorrow.

Prioritize yourself and your baby.  And remember that baby feeds off mom.  So if you're stressed, she's going to feel that and react accordingly.

And if it's a screaming, inconsolable, possibly colicky baby that's got you ready to throw in the towel..... Well, know that it's okay to put her in her crib/swing/bouncer/whatever and walk outside or in the other room for five minutes.

Yes, she's going to keep crying and probably still be crying when you come back.  But you need to recognize when you need to walk away.  Frustration with your baby can lead to horrible things, like shaken baby syndrome.
It's okay to take five minutes!

6. Don't be afraid to seek support, help, and guidance.

Especially if you're feeling overwhelmed, you should ask for help. Obviously, friends, family, spouse or your significant other are ideal. However, some people just might not have this option.

If that is the case, seek other help. Look for your local La Leche League or ask your local WIC agency about support groups.  You could also look to see if there's a local MOPS group or start your own!

If you're feeling depressed, considering suicide, or simply feel you need to...you should consult your doctor ASAP.

Never be ashamed of how you feel or to ask for help.

Never miss a thing! Subscribe via email today!

Fixing Blogger's Reply & Threaded Comments

Ugh. So I just wanted to take a quick minute to throw a mini fit about the complete and utter torture Blogger was putting me through the other day by not letting me reply to comments. BAH! It was so frustrating and I had no idea what was going on.

I just figured my javascript was broken or something.

Which it was, I'm guessing, since I had to replace all the threaded comment related scripts to get it to work again.

If you're having any issues with replying to comments on your blogger blog, hop on over to THIS TUTORIAL which offers three different solutions.

Good luck and check out my blogging resources page, where I've added this useful link, and my blogging & business pinterest board.

Never miss a thing! Subscribe via email today!

Pinterest Marketing Strategy Resources

If you haven't yet stumbled across my Blogging Resources List page, please check it out now! Instead of periodically posting useful links for my fellow bloggers, I've decided to keep a single updated list. Awesome, right?
Pinterest Marketing
Recently, I've been lucky enough to get ViralTag and I'm ready to ramp up my Pinterest marketing strategy. I want to reach more people, gain more followers, and bring more people to the blog. However, I had no clue how to do that.

I'm using these awesome and informative links to get me started.

What's your Pinterest marketing strategy? What's your favorite type of pins to discover via Pinterest?

If you're not already, I'd love for you to check out my Pinterest account and my Blogging & Business board..

Never miss a thing! Subscribe via email today!