I Didn’t Breastfeed: Just a Second Before You Flog Me With Breast Pumps

Google “detriments of formula feeding a baby” and your search will yield tons of information about the benefits of breastfeeding. What you will not find are articles or sites that report the harmful effects of formula. Instead, links will urge you to breastfeed your baby and basically in a few words or a short blurb, tell you that you are a horrible mom if you don’t.

You know who is a horrible mom? A woman who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day while she’s six months pregnant or a woman who downs vodka in her first trimester. A woman who decides to feed her baby formula instead of breastfeeding is not horrible. And she doesn’t need to hide behind an excuse or horrible diagnosis to admit that she is not breastfeeding.

Last week I was horrified to read the story of a woman who suffered from a breast disfigurement and could not breastfeed as a result. No, I was not horrified because she has a rare affliction that affects the appearance and functionality of her breasts, nor was I horrified that she was unable to nurse her baby. I was horrified because she felt the need to justify why she couldn’t breastfeed by explaining her awful medical condition.

I’m not going to say that I’m on a medication that prevents me from nursing. I didn’t try to breastfeed for months before I gave up. Nope. I fed my two daughters baby formula because I didn’t want to breastfeed. Gasp! How could I say such a thing? Should I be flogged in a public square with breast pumps and empty baby formula tins? Admit it; you’re considering this.

Hold on, put down your pitch forks for a moment while I share my point of view. I have no problem with moms who breastfeed. It’s healthy, it’s natural, it’s great! But it isn’t for me. I find the idea of a baby suckling on my breast really unnatural actually. I don’t like the feeling, the sound, the experience or anything about it. That’s it; I don’t have a major sob story or harrowing tale that proves I am still a valid human being even though I formula fed my babies. I’m just a mom who made a different choice.

And guess what? My daughters are not pale, putrid specimens who slink along the hallways of our home like Children of the Corn. They are thriving, healthy, happy, ebullient children who have not been sick more than any of their breastfed peers and who actually like me. Imagine that! They are still bonded to their mother even though I committed the “crime” of bottle feeding them. In fact, I haven’t gone to the bathroom alone in four years we are so bonded. My children cry when I leave the room sometimes. I think we are still connected.

Once again for the record, I must state that I have no problem with moms who breastfeed. It’s fantastic…it’s just not my thing. And I am here to say that my decision to bottle feed my babies does not preclude me from being as good of a mom as anyone else.

I am also not disputing the benefits of breastfeeding; I am simply saying that all you nursing mamas out there shouldn’t vote to send me off to a desert island of crappy moms just because I chose to feed my babies formula. It isn’t child abuse, people even though I know some of you believe that.

I’ll just leave you with these images: pageant moms who push their kids on stage in full makeup and inappropriate attire breastfed; moms who work 14 hours a day and never see their kid breastfed; moms who belittle their kids breastfed; moms who feed their kids nothing but McDonald’s breastfed. Breastfeeding alone doesn’t make you a good mom. Okay, now feel free to bash me until you feel better about what a great mom you are.

13 Creepy Baby Names in Honor of Halloween

In honor of Friday the 13th, consider these 13 creepy baby names:

1. Chucky

2. Freddy

3. Maleficent

4. Jack (The Shining)

5. Willy (as in you give me the…)

6. Jamie Lee (sorry, but you were in Halloween)

7. Spiderman (sorry, a 3-year-old is helping me with this)

8. Hitchcock

9. Amity (as in ville)

10. Blair (as in Witch Project)

11. Haley Joel

12. Stephen (as in King)

13. 13 (in case you’re really trendy)

What baby names would you add to this list?

Here Comes the Bride…and a Baby on Her Train?!?

Here comes the bride…and her baby…on her wedding gown. While this may sound like a joke, it really happened in Ripley, Tennessee during bride Shona Carter-Brooks’ wedding. The new mom attached her daughter Aubrey to the train of her gown, and essentially dragged the baby down the aisle, to marry Johnathon Brooks.

While we don’t know all the details, this doesn’t seem like a very good idea, nor does it seem safe. But Carter-Brooks is defending her unorthodox wedding day decision, saying on her Facebook page, according to People magazine, “Our 1 month old was awake and well secured on my train.”

If you are a new parent who is planning a wedding, there are certainly safer ways to incorporate the baby in your big day. A very personal touch would be to wear a locket with a photo of your little one around your neck. Of course it’s understandable if you want to show off your sweetie to your guests. How about giving the baby a formal role in the ceremony? Check out this adorable mini ring bearer onesie on Pinterest. So cute! You can also dress your darling in a mini version of your wedding gown. Then ave a close family member or bridesmaid carry your baby down the aisle. Or, the baby can be pushed down the aisle in an antique sham.

After the ceremony, involve baby in the photos. One sweet idea is to adorn baby’s toes with the wedding rings, like this picture on Pinterest. You can also incorporate your angel into the wedding decor. Place a piggy bank on each table, and ask guests to contribute a wish for your wee one’s future, written on a small slip of paper. Or frame sweet black and white shots of your baby around the room. 

But maybe dragging the baby down the aisle is a tradition better left as “something old,” as in, it shouldn’t happen again.

How did you incorporate, or do you plan to incorporate, your baby in your wedding?


How a Baby Living in a Shelter Falling on Her Head Showed Me I’m the Same as Her Mom

My five-year-old daughter and I volunteered at a homeless shelter today.

I’m not sure what I expected to see when I got there, but I was a bit surprised/saddened to meet a mom who had a five-month-old baby. I immediately shared with this mom that I too had a five-month-old at home. My announcement was met with silence. Okay. I guess we weren’t going to launch into a discussion about teething and sleep cycles. I accepted that besides having a baby, I probably had little in common with this woman. Ugh, isn’t that awful that I thought that? But I did.

I proceeded to organize a craft for some of the older kids.

About an hour later, I would realize how foolish my assumption that I had nothing in common with this other mom really was.

The heartbreaking moment I would learn how similar we truly are started innocently enough. The mom was getting ready to feed her baby. The little girl was lying next to her mom on a sofa. I was reading through some volunteer information packets in an adjacent chair as my daughter colored nearby with another girl her age. By chance I looked up to see the baby about to roll right off the sofa.

“Your baby is going to fall!” I called out, but it was too late. As her mom watched, the infant tumbled right off the sofa onto the floor, banging her head on a TV table on the way down. She immediately began to wail in pain.

I leaped to my feet just as the horrified mom scooped her baby up and began to wail herself. I found myself frozen in place watching this frightening yet tender exchange playing out in front of me. The mom cradled her daughter, tears of guilt and fear streaming down her face. “Mommy’s here, baby. It’s okay,” she cooed to her distraught baby.

Without even thinking about it, I began to cry. I saw in this mom the kind of love I feel for my baby. I identified with the guilt of “allowing” your baby to get hurt. Indeed, just a few weeks earlier I’d accidentally clipped the tip of my baby’s finger as I was trying to trim her nails. She’d started screaming and I felt like the worst mom in the world.

Now, I saw this this mom living in the shelter was crying over more than just her baby’s bumped head. I sensed that she was crying for all the ways she’d “failed” as a parent. It was both shattering, relatable and beautiful to behold.

I realized how little it mattered that this mom had fallen on hard times and that I was there as a volunteer. We both loved our daughters immeasurably. We were both moms, and that was all that mattered.

I’m pretty sure my fellow mama felt connected to me as a wiped away my own tears and assured her that I’d been there; I too had seen my little ones get hurt right underneath my nose and I knew how she felt. I told her not to be too hard on herself but I could see wasn’t able to forgive herself yet.

I left the shelter a few hours later but I won’t forget that experience.

Angelcare Baby Monitor Recall

Over half a million Angelcare Baby Monitors are being recalled after two infants tragically died from strangulation. Two more babies became entangled with the cords attached to sensor pads that are placed under the crib mattress as part of the monitoring system but thankfully they are okay.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, if you own a Movement and Sound Baby Monitor made by Angelcare, you should stop using it immediately and contact the company for a repair kit. The kit will include a cord cover that prevents a baby from pulling the 11 foot cord connecting the sensor pad to the monitor into his crib.

Check the back of your baby monitor for the following model numbers: AC1100, AC201, AC300, AC401 AC601 and 49255. You would have purchased the monitor between October of 1999 and September of 2013. The Angelcare baby monitors were sold for between $100 and $300 by major retailers like Babies R Us/Toys R Us, Burlington Coat Factory, Meijer, Sears and Walmart and online on sites such as Amazon.com, Target.com and Overstock.com.

If you have further questions about this recall or to contact Angelcare, call (855) 355-2643 or send them an email at Consumers@angelcare.ca. You can also visit the company’s website for more information.

This recall is scary plain and simple. As a mom of a four-month-old I feel heartbroken for the parents of the two infants who died. Obviously they are living every parent’s worst, worst nightmare.

For me, this recall also underscores the importance of crib safety. Let’s take this as an opportunity to review our child’s sleep environment.

It’s essential to keep a baby’s crib free of any and all hazards. Simply placing a crib near a window with a blind cord can be a serious danger. Placing a stuffed animal in the crib can pose a suffocation risk.

Tonight look at your baby’s crib. Make sure it is safe. And spread the word about this dangerous baby monitor recall.

Do you or someone you know own one of these monitors?

Photo credit: CPSC

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Aggravation Challenge: Update

So here’s where I am with my aggravation experiment: I’m working on just being more mellow and truly it is working. As long as I’m consciously thinking about my level of irritation, I do okay.

As a result, my kiddos have been more mellow too. All around things in our house are more enjoyable.

But it’s a daily challenge; don’t get me wrong! Still, having an actionable goal for myself has really worked. I’m not letting the little things get to me and I’m managing my stress level better.

I feel good. Deep breath. Onward.

Motor and Cognitive Developmental Milestones Birth to School Age

Motor development refers to a child’s abilities with movement while cognitive development is how a child’s learns. Some kids will develop faster in one area than the other. So don’t fret if your neighbor’s toddler is climbing and jumping while your little one has just started walking. And relax if your tot seems puzzled by a toy your friend’s baby has mastered. Every child develops at his own rate.

Baby Business

Baby’s motor development starts at birth according to KidsHealth.org. From the time your tyke starts rolling over, sitting up and crawling, she is on the fast track to moving and grooving just like a big kid. In her first year of life, she’ll also learn to hold and grip toys, among many other exciting physical developments. As the reputable parenting site notes, baby’s curiosity is also growing at a rapid pace. Your wee one will want to explore the world around her with increasing interest. Age appropriate toys will help her fine tune both her motor and cognitive skills. Also, give her plenty of opportunities to get down and move around safely so she can work to become independent and strong.

Toddler Transformations

A toddler’s play reflects his cognitive growth according to HealthyChildren.org. You will notice a two-year-old imitating adult activities through games of pretend shopping, cooking and driving. A toddler’s understanding of the world around him is expanding rapidly too, but as the reputable parenting site notes, he may still be difficult to reason with. “You are going to bump your head if you jump on that!” Reading to your little one is one of the best ways to help his cognitive development at this stage. As KidsHealth.org points out, tots gain early literacy and problem solving skills as you turn the pages of their favorite stories. Meanwhile, a two-year-old is learning to run, kick a ball and climb, among other motor developments. HealthyChildren.org notes that taking your tot outside to play is all that’s needed to encourage him to go, go, go.

Preschool Progress

A preschooler is exploring the world with wide eyed wonder. According to HealthyChildren.org, a child this age is consuming information with voracious hunger. The noted parenting site recommends fostering your kiddo’s interests at this stage to nurture her development. When it comes to motor development, HealthyChildren.org points out that your preschooler is still fine tuning some skills. Important movements to master now are catching a ball, balancing and bike riding.

School Age Advances

Once your sweetie hits school age, she will likely astound you with her cognitive development. From reading and writing to math skills, there is no limit to how much your kiddo is learning. Continue to read with your child and be involved with his schoolwork to support his advancement. Meanwhile, HealthyChildren.org notes that between the ages of 6 and 9, children are still learning how to follow directions. That is why signing your sweetie up for sports can be beneficial for his cognitive and motor development. Indeed, encouraging exercise is key to continued motor development and a healthy lifestyle for all school age kids.

Key Concepts

  • movement and coordination
  • reading to learn
  • kids development



Aggravation Project: Derailed by Outside Stimuli

So the rest of the week with my kiddos went fine. I truly felt better about managing my level of frustration over little things. Then my husband came home for the weekend…

I find that by the time I’ve dealt with the children all week, my fuse for my spouse is short. It may not be fair, but it’s reality. I definitely fell of the wagon and got snippy with the hubs.

Then, I felt the following unfortunate emotions: guilt, regret, disappointment. Luckily the husband I’d just yelled at told me not to be so hard on myself, despite the challenge I’ve put myself up to. What a nice guy…who is also aggravating.

I’m not sure how to avoid getting aggravated when everyone – my kids, my husband, my dog – needs something from me all the time.

Indeed, I’m learning I can keep my aggravation at bay when it’s just my daughters; but add anyone or anything else – the phone, an email, really ANYTHING – and my aggravation level goes off the charts.

So that’s where I am at about a week into my aggravation project. I clearly need to find a way to cope with outside stimuli, be it the man I married or a bad driver. Grr.

6 Gifts for my Kid That Will Prove You Hate Me

Okay, I get it; you hate me. Why else would you give my kid one of these clearly ill intentioned birthday gifts:

1. Play-doh. This sticky, icky goo should come with the following greeting: “Ha, ha good luck getting this out of your rug!” Here’s an idea: why don’t you just wrap up a carton of eggs, stick a bow on it and bring it to my little one’s party?

2. Anything glittery. My hubby especially thanks you for the fact that he couldn’t get the glitter from that princess costume out of his beard before work this morning. He’s sure his new look will go over real well during his big presentation later.

3. Anything alive.  What leads you to believe I need another living thing to care for?

4. Clothes. Face it, we don’t have the same taste in mini fashion. I tend to stay away from clothes that make my daughter resemble a teenage slut.

5. Play makeup. That bright blue eye shadow will undoubtedly look just as pretty on my daughter as it will on the couch, but I’d rather imagine this nightmare scenario instead of live it.
6. Toy weapons. My child will cry, beg and plead with me to let him have that super realistic looking gun you so thoughtfully chose, but I really don’t want my neighbor ducking behind her car the next time he plays outside. So, please don’t turn me into the bad guy and skip gifting my tot with a toy weapon of any kind.

Of course any gift for my child is greatly appreciated as I know you did not have to spend your money on yet another birthday present for someone you only causally know. That being said, can you be sure to include a gift receipt next year?

Aggravation Project: Day 2

So I had someone say to me, “Wow. I couldn’t keep myself from getting irritated at everything for one day let alone 30.” Well, that is kind of the point. Anyone can take a proverbial deep breath for 24 hours. But 30 days? That will be a challenge.

Meanwhile, my kids seemed pretty chilled out yesterday on day one as I tried to set a new tone for our home.

Although last night’s ballet class frenzy lead to the typical feelings of aggravation as I battled dirty diapers, slow dinner eaters and kids who feel the need to bring 82 toys with them for a short car ride.

Certain triggers that never fail to tick me off are tough to avoid. Not sure how to keep from getting frazzled and fed up during particularly challenging times of the day.

Any suggestions?