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Your baby is using you as a pacifier

 

Let's take a closer look at that statement.

First, pacifiers don't have any milk. They are something to suck. Specifically, an object to suck. A firm object that is in the same category as hard candies, lollipops, popsicles, pens, spoons, and straws to name a few others. Generic, easily lost, easily replaced.

The biggest difference between you and a pacifier is that even when your baby is lazily flutter sucking, they are getting everchanging droplets of milk. Milk specially designed for your baby's age and gender, full of antibodies, hormones, nutrients, and things that we don't even know exist. That, in itself, should encourage you to let your little one suckle.

Why is suckling so important?

Suckling relieves pain.

In an adult, the need to suck is clinically and jokingly called an oral fixation. It's so pervasive that there are thousands and thousands of jokes and beliefs about it. It's a habit that is hard to break because it is not a habit. It is a need. Humans need to suck. It's how we survive as infants with eating as well as soothing. If we suck our thinb, a pacifier or breastfeed until we wean ourselves, the need is integrated and we grow out of it.

Here's another reason to let your baby suckle at the breast.

It's so easy. There are a hundred reasons why your baby or child may need to breastfeed. Hunger and thirst are obvious. But what about being too cold or hot? Overwhelmed? Bored? Tired?

Even when you don't know exactly why your baby is needing to suckle, nursing your baby or child will heal a multitude of woes.

Intertwined with feeding is our need for attention. It is through interacting with other humans, especially our mother that we learn everything we need to know in the early years. Breastfeeding engages all five of the baby's senses at once. There is a constant interaction between mama and baby gazing at each other, talking and listening, touching and stroking. Every single interaction fires neurons in the brain and makes connections. This is one of the reasons breastfed babies have higher IQs.

What it really means.

In its primal way, your baby is saying, "Mama, I need you. I need you, the life giver, the one who nurtures me best. I need you to comfort me. I need you to help me through this time until I feel good again. I need you to nurse me while I feel uncomfortable. Someday I will be able to tell you I'm sad, hungry, lonely, angry, hot, cold, lazy or that I just don't know what's wrong, but I can't do that yet.

"I need your milk. It's made just for me. I need your eyes looking into mine, to know that I am safe. I need to know that you are near. I need to hear your reassuring voice soothing me back into happiness. I need to taste your milk that leads me drip by drip into comfort and contentment. I need to feel your skin, your touch, your grounding presence bringing me back when I fly off into the unknown.

"Most of all, I just need to know that you are with me, human being to human being."

Why it's so hard to do.

The challenge I see in my work with moms is that parents feel overwhelmed at the duration and intensity of caring for newborns. It's easy to breastfeed for a little while, but sometimes, babies cry endlessly. A crying baby can cause you to feel all kinds of horrible feelings. When you are upset, it makes it very hard for your baby to calm down.

When you feel overwhelmed, you will try anything to stop that baby from crying. As a result, you rush through one thing after another trying to solve the unknown problem and upset the baby even more by overwhelming them with even more sensations and processes.

Learning to be still and present with an upset baby is partly instinctual but mostly it's a learned skill. The first step is to understand that humans usually only need to be listened to and comforted when they are upset. They don't always need a problem solved in order to return to happiness. 

Back to the pacifying.

If suckling at your breast works, then use it. What better way to teach your child to connect with other humans than by offering comfort and company of breastfeeding during the challenging life stage of infancy. Offering (or forcing) a baby to use a pacifier teaches them to look for comfort from objects, not humans.

When you hold your baby and let them suckle, they learn empathy and compassion. They learn how to help others in times of suffering. For what is the purpose of being human with our ability to talk and share, if we can not connect with another in our darkest, most painful hours?

My love to you and your family....

Love,
Donna

Toddler Time: Staying Happy, Staying Sane

Once upon a summer afternoon, it was the month of June in the happening town of New Paltz, New York…
 
What to our wondering eyes did appear…?
 
Naked babies of all colors, shapes and sizes playing happily together in a cool pool of shallow water. Is there a more simple pleasure than cooling oneself off on a hot day in a local swimming hole, lake or river?

I think not! Small children seem to get it right off the bat! They gravitate toward water: even the nearest puddle will suffice for a wet romp! These days my daughter’s favorite toy is a spray bottle and I couldn’t be happier!
 
As our daughter grows older and simultaneously bolder, it is better to plan activities that will please her, rather than me and her dad. We love to take her everywhere with us, but these days some engagements and activities match her activity level and energy much better than others. We spend our days working to keep the balance between what we the parents enjoy doing and what our toddler enjoys doing!

The happy medium is activities that keep us all happy, engaged (and sane!). I have so many ideas that could occupy my time, I must often remind myself that my daughter is only a baby once and she is well on her way to three years old in August!
 
I do a mental time check and realize that in two years we will be sending her off to school. I have a small panic attack, take a deep breath, look over at her right by my side and smile.

If it means that most days I spend my morning reading her the same favorite books, instead of in the garden and my afternoons singing her to sleep instead of furthering my career, so be it! I will make the best of every moment we share together and remind myself how lucky I am to spend my days with this unbelievable little person.
 
From my home to yours, enjoy the sunshine! Your body craves it, as does your child's little body! Enjoy all the special activities the summer season has to offer babies and small children here in New Paltz: sun-ripened berries picked fresh from the bush, plentiful woodland swim holes, hiking trails, and friendly community story times, parks and pools, just to name a few!
 
Pop hats on your head, fill a bottle of water, put your baby in a carrier or wagon and go out exploring! Who knows where your baby will lead you today!

Mother's of the World, Unite!

This week is Mother’s Day! I wanted to discuss us Mamas!

We come in all different shapes, colors and sizes, yet our emotions all follow the flow of the same river, the timeless flow of motherhood. As women, we come equipped in our mother’s womb with all of our living, giving powers. Just a few months after conception, the female fetus’s eggs develop, meaning that mothers not only carry their children but also their unborn future grandchildren as well!
 
We are born of this world, yet this world is born of us at the same time, and the winding spiral of universal life dances on within each of us!

For each woman, the call to motherhood comes at a different time. Some of us know from the first moments we remember that we are meant to be mothers! Others, like me, hear a silent call as we move through the adult years. A yearning for the unborn. We see a little baby on the street and our hearts skip two beats. We recognize the time has come to embark on the journey of the childbearing. Still others, find themselves pregnant without knowing exactly how it happened.
 
Each minute approximately 251 babies are born worldwide: I suspect that for each of those babies born there is also a unique style of mothering born! It is time for us as mothers to unite; join hearts and minds together for the next generation: our children’s generation!
 
For too long now, mothers have been separated, divided and underestimated! Stay at home moms versus working moms, vaccine friendly versus no vaccine, natural birth versus medicated birth, disposables versus cloth diapers, home schooler's versus public schooler's, the list goes on and on.

For every mother that loves her child, there is a unique way for her to care for her child. There is no one method that will work for all of us nor, is there anyway of knowing what will work until you try it!

Let’s work together as mothers to embrace the many different styles of parenting out there, whether they are aligned with our personal style or not.
 
Brown Mamas, Short Mamas, Big Boob Mamas, Tall Mamas, Skinny Mamas, Rainbow Mamas, UNITE! 

This Mother’s Day, open your heart to the world of universal possibility! Hug your mothers, and hug your daughters: the future mothers of the world!

Always remember, the vital life force that flows from within you out into the universe, feel the life cord which connects you to everything else. Give thanks for your life giving powers. Give thanks to earth, the mother of us all. Give yourself a hand, kick up your feet, (sip a mimosa perhaps) and enjoy your special day, you deserve it!

The river of Motherhood runs deep, May it quench your thirst!
 
Happy Mother’s Day, Mamas, from my heart to yours! 

Till Next Time, Be Well!

Jasmine

Happy Mother's Day! #20

Today marks my 20th Mother's Day! I can't believe it!

Actually, I can believe that. Its been a very full and wonderful 20 years of mothering.

What I really can't believe, is how much I don't like Mother's Day.  Part of it is embedded in my mom's experience. I don't remember a Mother's Day where she didn't end up in tears. Maybe she was unrealistic or naive? She was an only child and we were three!

Another part is that for me EVERY day is Mother's Day. I have spent a lot of time with my children and I still do a lot for them. They are first in my decisions of what to do. I breastfed for years with them. I opted to try for a homebirth for them. I stayed out of work and I went into debt to be home with them.

Most of it has to do with being with a man who criticized and made fun of me and my mothering.

Of all 20 Mother's Day's, not one came with a card from my kid's Father. No card. No breakfast in bed. No flowers. No appreciation. My Mother and Mother-in-Law showed their love on Mother's Day and I am grateful for them.

I am finally free of him. In hindsight, I don't know what took so long. I compare myself to others who have left the father of their children, others who are starting over in new loving relationships and still others who have only known respect and encouragement from their partners. Sometimes I cry when I think about what happened or wonder what I could have done differently.

What if I left when my kids were preschoolers? What if I paid the divorce lawyer with my credit card and did take my ex to court? What if I understood how Family Court works and how much power I did have at that time? But I didn't. I was married "til death do us part." Divorce was unimaginable and with that belief came abuse.

That's where I get stuck.

How would I have known? I work with lots of families in transition now. They use Google and Facebook to find things. That works really well if you know the search terms. I didn't know the search terms. i didn't even know I had a problem. I thought what I was going through was NORMAL. And, it is NORMAL, for a certain cross section of our society. It's even common... but it's not healthy. And, one can choose not to live that way.

What I needed was for someone to see the red flags and volunteer the information.

The biggest difference between who I am now and who I was 20 years ago is that now, I ask for help. Usually. Old habits die hard.


Happy Mother’s Day, Mamas, from my heart to yours! 

Cheers, Mama! Mother's Day Edition

P034 ZP9322

Hello Mamas!

As this Sunday is Mother’s Day I wanted to take the time out to discuss us Mamas!

We come in all different shapes, colors and sizes; yet are emotions all follow the flow of the same river, the timeless flow of motherhood. As woman we come equipped in our mother’s womb with all of our living giving powers.

From just a few months after conception the female fetus’s eggs develop, meaning that mothers not only carry their children but also their unborn future grandchildren as well! We are born of this world, yet this world is born of us at the same time, and the winding spiral of universal life dances on within each of us!

For every woman the ancient call to motherhood comes at a different time. Some of us know from the first moments we remember we were simply meant to be mothers! Others, like me, hear a silent call as we move through the adult years, a long lost yearning for the unborn.

We see a little baby on the street and our hearts skip two beats, we recognize the time has come to embark on the journey of the childbearing years… Each minute approximately 251 babies are born worldwide: I suspect that for each of those babies born there is also a unique style of mothering born!

It is time for us as mothers to unite; join hearts and minds together for the next generation: our children’s generation! For far too long now mothers have been separated, divided and underestimated! Stay at home moms versus working moms, vaccine friendly versus no vaccine, natural birth versus medicated birth, disposables versus cloth diaperers, home schoolers versus public schoolers, the list goes on and on.

For every mother that loves her child, there is a unique way for her to care for her child. There is no one method that will work for all of us nor, is there anyway of knowing what will work until you try it! Let’s work together as mothers to embrace the many different styles of parenting, whether they are aligned with our personal style or not.

Brown Mamas, Short Mamas, Big Boob Mamas, Tall Mamas, Skinny Mamas, Rainbow Mamas too, UNITE! This mother’s day open your heart to the world of universal possibility! Hug your mothers, and hug your daughters: the future mothers of the world!

Always remember, the vital life force that flows from within you out into the universe, feel the life cord which connects you to everything else. Give thanks for your life giving powers. Give thanks to earth, the mother of us all.

Give yourself a hand, kick up your feet, (sip a mimosa perhaps) and enjoy your special day, you deserve it!

Happy Mother’s Day Mamas, from my heart to yours! The river of motherhood runs deep, May it quench your thirst!

Till Next Time, Be Well!

Jasmine