Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Fun Weekend Ideas for the Family

Weekends can be fun for the whole family without spending a lot of money.  With a little preparation, plan games for the kids that are fun to play, research crafts for the kids, take hikes and so much more.  Make the weekend a fun family event and make some memories.

The weekends are time the whole family can spend together, but everything is so expensive and there just doesn't seem to be any money left over after the necessities are paid.  And, yet with nothing to do on the weekend, life can get pretty frazzled in a household.

Of course there are always movies.  But, just to bring the family, plan on it costing at least $10 per person.

Finding less expensive outings may take more effort, expending more creativity and planning, but in the end, those efforts will most likely pay off by providing true quality outings with less money out of your pocket.

Here are some inexpensive suggestions that the family might enjoy.
  • The library has something for everyone in the family. They even carry movies and CD(s).
  • While you are at the library, look up fun craft projects for the children.
  • Rent a couple movies and make some popcorn and have a movie night with the family.
  • There's always plenty to do at the park. Pack a lunch for everyone, bring a frisbee or ball, and go have some fun.
  • Check out your local community theatre. There's usually something interesting playing there. And it would be a different experience the whole family would enjoy.
  • See if there are any local carnivals or circuses in town. Just make sure you get funnel cakes at the carnival! Yummy!
  • Most towns have museums which are usually either free or just a few dollars. It's educational and fun.
  •  Find any local nature trails around town and take a little hike. It's a good workout and the kids seem to love being in the woods.
  • See if there are any local frisbee-golf ranges. They are usually found in community parks or woods and are mostly free. It's a game the whole family will have fun playing, and going through the course can be a bit of adventure, too!  This is a great game for kids to play.
  • Find a local pool or beach.  Kids can always find ways to have fun in the water.
  • There are plenty of different things the family can find to do when camping. Anywhere from hikes, s'mores, telling ghost stories, fishing and swimming. There are usually some state parks that only charge around 10 dollars for a spot overnight, and the whole family will have a blast.  Usually camping grounds have pre-planned kids' activities that you should check into.
  • Mini-golfing is always fun, and you don't even need to go to a real range. If you want, you can have fun making your own obstacles in the backyard or at the park. You might even have more fun making the course than you will playing the real game.
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  • Nothing gets children more excited than when you mention the zoo! Lions, tigers and bears, oh my! 
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  • A local bowling alley offers plenty of fun. It's a very stress-free game everyone can play while socializing and having fun.

There's always something to do on the weekends where the whole family can have fun! Just make sure you plan it a few days in advance and let everyone know that's what they're doing for the day, make your lunches and grab the sunscreen or any other supplies you need, and go have a fun day!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Professionalizing The Family Businessv

Family business expert discusses the difficult and emotionally destructive problems confronted. In the 30 years I have been working as a family business consultant, the most difficult and emotionally destructive problems I confront in the "business" element of a family business occur during the transitional phase where the client company is moving from a founder / owner- managed business environment to a professionally managed business environment.

It should be noted that "professional" management does not equate to "better" management, but more to a change in management "style." It is mainly a contrast between "content" (professional matter expertise) and "process" (interpersonal relationships and interventions).


Evolutionary Process
Professionalization is an evolutionary process that effects every family business. Successful family businesses actively and aggressively manage this transition process. When the transition process is ignored or not carefully managed, it can result in chaos within the business or severe conflict within the family. Or both!
The first step in gaining a better or fundamental understanding of the professionalization process is to examine the stereotypic perceptions between the founder/ owner and the professional manager. While these differences in individual characteristics are generally clear and predictable, they also translate into the culture of the organization and the types of people hired and the way things are done!

In other words, professionalization can not just be accomplished by hiring a high priced executive from outside the organization. The basic philosophy, values, goals / objectives, basic work routines and the expectations of customers, vendors and other business relationships need to be re-evaluated as well.

In fact, without addressing all of these relevant issues, hiring an experienced and successful executive from outside the business, as a strategy to professionalize the business, will almost always end as failed strategy, a very expensive failed strategy.

Because of the complexities, the professionalization process is best accomplished over a protracted period of time, It should be an evolution and not a revolution. Unfortunately for many family businesses, the professionalization process must occur rapidly because it is an "event" triggered by the death or incapacitation of the founder / owner.


Element of Succession Planning

The professionalization of the business should be considered as one of the most crucial elements of a successful succession plan. The sooner the professionalization process is recognized as a strategic objective for the family business, the better the odds are for successful generational transition for the family business.

For example, my personal experience indicates that family business founders / owners are generally much better than professional managers in dealing with the problems associated with risk and growth because they are the stakeholder - it is their money being spent.

The founder/owner also tends to be more intuitive about business decisions because he/ she personally knows the vendors and customers and more humanistic because they tend to personally know the individual employees as well as the personal situations of the employees.

As the business organization grows and matures, the founder/owner typically becomes less visible and less involved in the day to day workings of the business. The usual trend is toward involving more "professional managers" (these can be family members or non family employees) who generally tend to be more bureaucratic and less personal in the management style. As a result, individual members or factions of the management. team functionally polarize between "personal" and "rational" approaches to solving even the most simple management issues.

For the family business owner, these differences can become a crisis issue involving basic family goals and business objectives: Are we a "business first" family or a "family first" business?


Outside Advice Sought

It is generally at this point when the founder/owner seeks the objective advice of an "outsider" because the founder/owner is unable to get resolution of this dilemma from within the family and within the business organization.

Without resolution, management consensus will not he attained, and, as a resultComputer Technology Articles, the business will produce a lot of expensive "commotion" but very little "locomotion" towards the happiness of the family and the growth and prosperity of the business. 


About the Author.

Don A. Schwerzler is the Managing Director of the Family Business Institute - a special resource for family-owned and closely held businesses (http://www.family-business-experts.com).

Saturday, August 6, 2016

How To Plan A Fun And Festive Family Reunion

Summer is a great time for family reunions and you can organize the best reunion ever with lots of fun activities and planning tips that will bring it all together with very little effort on your part. Enjoy your family reunion by reconnecting with loved ones and sharing childhood stories, rather than slaving over details, chores and cooking. Online resources for mementoes and invitations and barbecue catering in Florida are all ways to minimize the effort and increase the fun at the next family reunion.

Summer weather and kids out of school simply beg for family reunions. With high mobility rates and families spread across every corner of the globe, these events are regaining popularity as major summer gatherings of family and friends. Organizing a reunion can be made far easier with simple checklists and tips to make sure everyone gets invited, has a good time, and is well fed. Instead of spending the time cooking, cleaning, or managing details, this pre-planning can provide all the free time needed at the reunion to reconnect with loved ones.

Break Out The Address Book and Log On To Facebook

Starting with your own address book, everyone should be invited and encouraged to reach out to others you may have lost track of over the years. Response tallies are especially useful when groups of this size are coming together from a wide geographical region.
Even though you may be able to connect with many of your family members online to alert them of the upcoming reunion, it's best to send an invitation by mail to formalize the event. To really make things special, send out a custom printed family t-shirt with the invitation. There are plenty of fun online photo greeting card companies that can help you create unique and affordable announcements for the event. Once the tradition is established, everyone will come asking about the date and location!

Food: Barbecue Catering In Florida

Food is the focal point of any party or event and preparation and cleanup can last all day. And when it comes to spending time with precious family that you don't see often, don't book yourself and others solid with cooking chores. Barbecue catering offers that home cooked taste without the work at a surprisingly low price. 

Everyone loves BBQ, which makes it a great choice when organizing an event. The selection is sure to satisfy everyone's appetite, from Junior's love of cornbread, Aunt Sally's craving for cole slaw, and Grand Dad's love of down home smoked brisket. Instead of worrying over what to shop for, how much to buy, juggling recipes and serving platters, and then transporting everything, you can eliminate that trouble with some of the best barbecue catering in Florida. Just sit down and let the caterers do all the cooking, all the serving and organizing, and all the cleaning up afterwards!

Activities & Mementos

If getting together with family over the best barbecue catering in Florida weren't enough, there are many activities and attractions you can provide for surprisingly little that will make the reunion even more special. Some families use a professional photographer to take candid photos throughout the event. Video recording family stories can be plenty of fun and it's a way of preserving first account tales from older relatives. 

A kids' craft table, and plenty of activities like badminton and croquet are great ways to keep the kids busy. Sing-a-longs, capture the flag, and gallons of lemonade on the porch combined with the best barbecue catering in Florida all work together to create a memorable reunion that allows everyone to enjoy the festivities!

Putting together a successful reunion at a local park or the home of a loved one is made even easier with today's online services, merchandising companies, and barbecue catering in Florida. There's no need for you to sweat over a grill when you could be enjoying a cool drink in the shade, or listening to yet another of Grand Dad's amazing stories.


About the Author:

Chris Harmen writes for Sonny's Bar-B-Q, where reunion organizers can find some of the finest barbecue catering in Florida. Sonny's Bar-B-Q offers convenience and high quality food with the best barbecue catering in Florida for your reunion.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Creating a Family Identity

Everyone who has a family has stories to share. Family traditions, quotes and tall tales are valuable tools that can be used to help create a unique family identity. It gives us a sense of where we came from, our values, our sense of humor, our history and sense of belonging to something comfortable, unique and bigger than ourselves. Our family's faith and foundation is transferred to us by other, usually older, family members, and is important to us as we carve out our place in the big world.

The most obvious and sometimes most difficult way to create a family identity is by taking the time to talk to our children, really talk to them, at length, about ourselves, our family growing up, and what their grandparents and great grandparents were like. Why is this so difficult? Because now, more than ever we are shuttling our kids from one activity to another, breathlessly throwing fast food at them and sending them off to bed with no more than, "Brush your teeth," in the way of conversation. We drive here and there listening to talk radio while our kids are plugged into video games and MP3 players with headphones that further distance them from their siblings sitting right next to them.

In order to enhance your ability to create a family identity, you don't need to quit everything and homeschool your children, although that works for some who are called to that lifestyle. Family traditions are important to building the family identity and seem to come naturally with holidays and birthdays. However, so can implementing things as simple as having no electronic entertainment on Mondays in order to enjoy more productive time together.

A half hour, bedtime tuck-in with stories, private talks and prayers will nurture a relationship and deepen the children's sense of belonging to something bigger and more important than themselves.

Working as a team on a project such as gardening for Grandma, volunteering together at a community food bank, or making home made gift wrap can all enhance your family identity and relationships.

Throughout your day you can say things to your children such as, "I'm so glad we live in a family that can talk about anything!" or "I love that my children are each others' best friends!" When correcting your children, gently point out that, "Our family doesn't call each other names," or "We don't spit on the playground," or "Our family likes to be polite, kind, or helpful to others."

Camping as a family is an activity that has stood the test of time when it comes to knitting families together. What better time to share family history and stories than around a campfire while enjoying s'mores and the clean mountain air?

There are countless ways to create your family identity and instill that identity into your children. Use your creativity to think of things that will work for your family members' interests and schedules. Make what you choose an integral part of all of your lives. It will enrich your children's lives, and create an important foundation for your family identity.

Try a few of these ideas or some of your own and you may be surprised at the way it sparks a new depth to the relationships in your family and a deeper understanding of who you; The Smiths, The Coronados, The Demchaks...really are and where you fit into this busy, confusing, big, beautiful world.

Creating a Family Tree

Creating a family tree is a fun and educational pastime that will allow you to delve into the history of your family, your ancestors, and all those people who have branched out into the large collection of people known as your extended family. These easy to read and easy to create charts of your genealogy are engaging ways to begin your studies of your own family. And, by creating a family tree, you can add your own piece to your family's historical record.

When creating a family tree, the easiest place to start is with the person you know best: yourself. Write your name in a rectangle on a sheet of paper. Draw a vertical line from that rectangle. Then draw a horizontal line at the tome of the vertical line such that it forms a T-shape. Draw rectangles on the right and left ends of the cross of the T. In the left rectangle, put your father's name, and in the right, your mother's.

The next step in creating a family tree is to draw a horizontal line extending across the base of the T. Draw as many vertical lines from this horizontal line as you have siblings. At the end of each vertical line, draw a rectangle. In each rectangle, write a sibling's name. The family tree for your immediate family is now complete.

Now you can go further in creating a family tree. From both your father's and mother's rectangles, draw the T-shape and rectangles that you drew above your own rectangle. Put the names of your father's parents on your father's side and your mother's parents on your mother's side. At the base of each T, put horizontal lines with vertical lines extending down for each of your father's siblings and your mother's siblings. Place the required rectangles at the ends of the lines and fill in your aunts and uncles.

Now you can attach various aunts and uncles by marriage to their respective spouses with horizontal lines. Extend vertical lines from each horizontal line and extend them out to include each of your cousins. The format will become clear as you are creating a family tree for your particular family.

The structure and format for these trees should be fairly clear. Horizontal lines mean marriage. Vertical lines illustrate descent. Thus, the various generations of your family will begin to demarcate themselves and you will be able to see how you are connected to all of them.

Creating a family tree is a fun little way to show the depth of your known ancestors and the breadth of your extended family. And as you fill in everyone you know, you can ask for more information from family members to find out new names and new people that will extend your family out that much more. And with each successive generation added from your family's history, you will be able to extend your family tree out to third, fourthArticle Search, fifth cousins and beyond. Just start with who you know and you will soon learn things that you never imagined.

http://www.familytreeshistory.com is a categorized resource directory to help explore the world of genealogy, or family trees, including the history of our ancestors.

Family Party Ideas

Plan a night filled with family fun games with this uniuqe family dinner idea.  This is perfect for a family party that can be repeated on a regular basis and enjoyed by the entire family.

Seasons bring about many changes, not just the weather.  During the winter, it is cold outside. It is dark when we leave our house and dark when we return. The sun abandoned us, or so it seems, and so does our energy.

Summer brings about late nights and busy days.  Extra-curricular activities seem to be at an all time high.  Social obligations, as well as planned family functions, are also squeezed into our schedule.

Even if you are busy or not-so-busy, there is always some down time that requires an activity.  Sometimes a need arises because of the energy level of our children, at other times there is simply a void that parents need to fill.

Regardless of the reason for an outing, when the urge or necessity of an event is present, the question becomes:  what to do?

When kids are young there are only so many things we can do, as families, that doesn't cost a small fortune or are conducive to young children.  Plus, we don't always want to entertain our children by commercial means.  Parents want to instill in children that happiness comes from many sources, but mainly family and friends.

Another issue many of us have:  Too many times we promise to get together with the special people in our lives.  We often put it off until guilt overtakes us.

If you put those two issues together, (the need for an outing and being with family and friends), you have an opportunity to start a tradition that is good for all!

Look at how a lot of us feel in the winter:  How many of us dread getting ready for an event? We really don’t want to go but we have to. Yet when we get there, we actually have a very good time and are quite happy we went. We all go through those feelings, but more often in the winter. We just want to get home, change clothes and plop on the couch. Not surprisingly though, that rarely makes us feel better.

During the summer, time slips away and we slide on things that we later feel guilty about.

So, why not just plan a night and start looking forward to creating fun?

Plan a family dinner party!  Pick a group of friends. Or start with one or two friends and ask them to invite a friend or two. Have a get-together night.  Enjoy a cookout or make a big pot of chili, buy some tasty bread, cut up some celery and have dinner. Plan some family fun games to play while enjoying the food and each other’s company. Keep your dinner ideas simple and easy to prepare.  Remember, the trick is to enjoy your company, not wear yourself out.

Ask if anyone would like to host the next family dinner.

Pick a date, right then and there. Then, pat yourself on the back.  You had a great time, your kids had a great timeFree Articles, you made the people most important to you a priority and you taught you kids that friends and family are a source of enjoyment that is priceless without being pricey!


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Preparing For Baby - Part Two

This article provides helpful information about expanded newborn screening blood test, preparing your nest, clothing tips, and designing your baby's nursery.

Expanded Newborn Screening Blood Test

Every newborn gets a blood test twenty-four hours after birth to check for a variety of inherited conditions that could have a significant impact on an infant's health. These include phenylketonuria, or PKU, and hypothroidism. There is, however, an aspect of this testing that you should consider well in advance of your baby's birth. Currently there is no worldwide or even national standard for deciding what conditions a baby should be tested for. Many states test for only three or four conditions, which is only a fraction of the dozens of genetic and metabolic diseases that can be detected by newborn screening. If these conditions are detected and treated early, in many cases their harmful effects can e prevented. Some states are now offering expanded newborn screening tests for dozens of conditions. If you live in a state that does not offer expanded testing, you can order a testing kit from a commercial lab in advance, and the health care provider can collect blood for the expanded testing at the same time the standard test is done. The cost is usually between $50 and $100. Look for advertisements in pregnancy and childbirth magazines. Many of the cord blood stem cell banks also offer expanded newborn screening.

Preparing Your Nest

You've glanced wishfully through those baby magazines for months, admiring the dazzling colors of designer nurseries, the animal-appliqued bedding and matching ensembles. Now, with birth only weeks away, you too can design your nest and outfit your baby as plain or as fancy as your imagination and budget allow. Just the thought of your baby-to-be brings back the doll-dressing instinct and the spendthrift in you. Pocket your credit cards. You will be amazed how few items you absolutely have to buy.

Clothing Tips
By the basics. Purchase only what you will need for the first couple of weeks. As soon as baby arrives, so do the gifts. Grandparents splurge and gifts come pouring in from baby showers.

Plan now -- buy later. Make a list of items you need and items you want. Check off the items that you are given or able to borrow, and purchase the rest as the need arises. Periodically update your list according to baby's developmental needs and your strength to resist the tempting delights in the baby-product catalogs.

Buy large. Plan at least one size ahead. Buy a few three-month-sized outfits, but most of baby's early wardrobe should be size six to nine months. Letting baby live with the baggy look is not only more comfortable but gets more mileage from the clothing.

Buy few. Buy only a few of the clothing basics at each stage of development, as the steady stream of gifts will likely continue. Babies outgrow their clothes long before they outwear them, leaving a closet filled with rows of hanging mementos of a state that passed too soon.

Buy safe and comfortable. The beads and buttons on a tight knit outfit may look irresistible in the catalog, but will it be safe and comfortable on baby? Buttons are out; snaps are in. Baby can choke on buttons -- and besides, who has time for them anymore? Also watch out for loose threads and fringes that could catch and strangle baby's fingers and toes, and avoid strings and ribbons longer than eight inches (twenty centimeter) -- they are strangulation hazards.

Choose easy-access clothing. When examining an irresistible outfit, imagine dressing your baby. Does it have easy access to the diaper area? Is the head opening roomy enough, and does it contain neck snaps to make it easy to slip on?

Think cotton. The most comfortable fabric is 100 percent cotton. Many babies find synthetic clothing irritating, yet in order for sleepwear to comply wih federal fire codes, it must be flame-retardant. The good news is that his becoming available in 100 percent cotton.

Designing Your Baby's Nursery.
The patterns are endless -- so is the fun. Hold on to your credit cards as you journey through nursery fantasyland. There is the heirloom look with a four-poster crib that may have housed decades of family babies. You have the country look -- a collection of wicker and patchwork quilts. For he delicate, there is the marshmallow motif, the elegance of white with he soft and puffy feel. An in your vision of the perfect nursery, there is mother, sitting peacefully crib side in her padded rocking chair reading Mother Goose. As you take your fantasy walk down nursery lane, dad may throw in a few plain and simple hints, "I can fix up ---, I can repaint ..., and remember the garage sales."

Undaunted by your quest for the perfect next, you continue leafing through baby-furniture magazines imagining how your precious babe will look in each setting. You're not only feeling soft, you're thinking pretty. Then along comes a friend of yours, an infant stimulator (alias a mother, hip on things baby)who puts a new twist in your soft designs. "Pastels are out, black and white is in," she informs. Ms. Stimulator extols the mind-building virtues of contrasting stripes and dots (which have geen shown to hold baby's attention longer than pastels). She subscribes to all the right baby magazines. You've become confused as to whether a nursery should help by think or sleep. The zebra or Dalmation look is not what you envisioned.

By the time you've been through the nursery mill, you mind is filled with visions of every dazzling color and imaginable motif. Just as you are about to reach the end of your designer rope, you meet a group of experienced parents who know the nursery scene. There is your pediatrician, who admonishes you to, above all, think safety. Dad runs into a seasoned survivor of the shopping scene who suggest you buy the basics and spend the extra money on the mother. Your psychologist friend warns that the terminal dependency that occurs in babies that sleep with their parents, and your mother reminds you that you were one of those high-need babies who wanted to sleep snuggled next to your mom and dad and who was unwilling to join the crib-and-cradle set. It begins to dawn on your: "What's wrong with these nursery pictures? My baby may not be in any of them. Perhaps we should wait to see what the sleep temperament of our baby is."

By now you're still thinking pretty, but practical. "Perhaps we can borrow a crib and splurge on a king-size bed for us." Finally along comes the fairy godmother to add a happy ending to the nursery tale. She advises, "Have fun with your nursery -- that's what it's for."

Co-Sleepers
A wonderful innovation to joining the crib and cradle selection is a co-sleeper, a bedside bassinette that attaches safely and securely to he side of the parents' bed. A co-sleeper allows you and your baby to have separate sleeping space, yet it keeps baby within arm's reach for easy nursing and comforting.

Preparing for Baby
The following checklists should help you get organized as you prepare to welcome a new member into your family. Don't be overwhelmed by a long shopping list of "things" for baby. Most of what your baby really needs you already have -- warm milk, warm hearts, strong arms, and endless patience -- and these don't cost any money.

Outfitting Baby's Layette and Nursery
First Wardrobe
* Four terry-cloth sleepers
* Three pair of bootees or socks
* Two receiving blankets
* Three undershirts
* Three lightweight tops (kiminos, sacques, and/or gowns)
* Burp cloths (cloth diapers work well - if you can still find them)

As baby grows
* Four rompers (snap-at-the-crotch outfits)
* Two washable bibs
* Outing clothes, according to age and occasion.

Seasonal Clothes
* Two hats: sun hat, lightweight with brim; heavier-weight ear-covering hat for cold weather
* Two sweaters, weight according to season
* One bunting with attached mitts for cold weather
* Two blankets, weight according to season

Diapering Needs
* Packages of disposable diapers (three-dozen)
* Cotton balls, cotton swabs
* Pre-moistened disposable baby wipes/washcloths
* Diaper-rash cream (zinc-oxide type)
* Black and white mobile to hang above changing area

Feeding Supplies
Bottlefeeding Items
* Four bottles, four-ounce (120-milliliter)
* Four nipples (there are three types: expandable nubbin, standard bulb-type and orthodontic)
* Utensils: tongs, measuring pitchers, spoons, can opener, bottle brush, sterilizing pot

Breastfeeding Helpers
* Three nursing bras
* Breast pads, no plastic lining
* Nursing blouses and dresses
* Baby sling
* Footstool to prop feet while feeding
* Extra pillows, or a nursing pillow

Bedding Supplies
* Two rubber-backed waterproof pads
* Three crib or bassinet sheets
* Soft comforter
* Bassinet blankets, weight according to season

Bathing Supplies
* Two soft washcloths
* Two terry-cloth towels with hoods
* Baby soap and shampoo
* Baby bathtub
* Baby brush and comb
* Baby nail scissors or clippers

Toiletries and Medical Supplies for First Couple of Months
* Mild laundry soap
* Petroleum jelly
* Rectal thermometer
* Antiseptic for cord care
* Nasal aspirator (an ear syringe may be used)
* Antibacterial ointment
* Cotton balls cotton swabs
* Infant acetaminophen
* Vaporizer, type to be recommended by doctor
* Penlight, tongue depressors for checking mouth (sores, thrush and so on)

Nursery Equipment and Furnishings
* Bassinet or cradle, or
* Crib and accessories, or
* Co-sleeper
* Changing table or padded work area
* Changing-table covers, two quilted mattress pads
* Rocking chair
* Storage chest for clothing
* Car-seat cover
* Car-seat head support
* Diaper bag

On-the-go Accessories
* Baby sling for carrying baby
* Car seat

Packing for Birth
Clothing for Mother
* Two old bathrobes (count on stains)
* Two nightgowns
* Loose-fitting clothes for going home
* Slippers or scuffs, washable
* Two pair of warm socks
* Two nursing bras (if nursing)
* Nursing gown (if nursing)

Labor-saving Devices
* Your favorite pillow
* Watch for timing contractions
* CD player with favorite music
* Massage lotion
* Rubber ball for back rubs
* Snacks, your favorite: lollipops, honey, dried and fresh fruit, juices, granola, sandwiches for father.

Toiletries
* Soap, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner (avoid perfumes; may upset baby)
* Hairbrush, hairdryer
* Toothbrush, toothpaste
* Sanitary napkins (supplied by hospital)
* Cosmetics
* Glasses or contact lenses

Homecoming Clothes for Baby
* One undershirt
* Socks or booties
* Receiving blanket
* One sacque or gown
* Cap
* Bunting and heavy blanket if cold weather
* Infant car seat
* Diapers for going home

Other items
* Video and regular camera
* Insurance forms
* Hospital pre-admittance forms
* Cell phone
* Address book
* Favorite book and magazines
* "Birthday" gift for sibling(s)

There will be more articles on infantsFree Web Content, breast or bottle feeding and other related topics to follow. So please keep an eye out for more of my articles.

 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Preparing For Baby - Part One

This article provides helpful information about choosing the right doctor, whether to breastfeed or circumcise and cord blood stem cell banking. I hope you find this article useful. Be sure to keep and eye out for Preparing For Baby - Part Two.

Today's expectant parents have many options. Because of the wide variety of life-styles and parenting styles, they need them.

Choosing Dr. Right For Your Baby
There are three qualities a parent looks for in choosing a doctor for their baby. The doctor must be able, affable, and available. These three "A's" of doctor choosing haven't changed for a long time. Besides hospitals, other physicians, and medical societies, the best references are given by parents themselves. If you are expecting your first baby or are new to a community, ask friends and neighbors about the qualifications of several doctors and interview them prenatally. Here's how to get the most out of your prenatal interview with the doctor:

* Take a written list of your most important concerns and parenting issues to determine whether your needs are in harmony with your doctor's philosophies.

* If you have a special needs, such as "I want to continue breastfeeding even though I'm returning to work," ask if the doctor can help you with this.

* Avoid negatives openers. Nothing is more nonproductive than opening the interview with an "I don't want" list --for example, "I don't want my baby to have any bottles in the hospital." It is more productive to ask, "What is your policy about giving bottles to breastfeeding babies in the hospital?" Remember, your urpose for the interview is to determine if you and the prospective pediatrician are on the same wavelength. Negative openers close your mind to the possibility that you may learn something from the doctor's response.

* Keep your interview brief and to the point. Most doctors do not charge for prenatal interviews, and five minutes is usually enough to make a doctor assessment. If you honestly feel you need more time, offer to make a regular appointment so you can pay for the time. Rambling about future behavior worries or trying to cover the whole field of pediatrics, from bed-wetting to vitamins, is not the purpose of your visit.

* Are you and the doctor of a similar mindset? For example, if you are committed to breastfeeding and your doctor is a charter member of the bottle feeding set, he or she may be Dr. Wrong for you.

* Ask about the availability of special services in your doctor's practice. For example, if you are planning to breastfeed, does your docotor employ the services of a lactation consultant, and how does he or she use the consultant?

* Browse around the office. Either before or after your time with the doctor, here are some observations to consider as you make your reconnaissance. Sit in the waiting room awhile and observe the spirit of the office. Is there a child-considered atmosphere, orderly but friendly and flexible? Is there child-considered furniture that is practical and safe? Is the staff approachable over what may seem to you the silliest of questions?

* Observe the provision for separating sick, possibly contagious children from those who are well. Separate "sick" and "well" waiting rooms, a favorite question on printed sheets handed out at childbirth classes, are impractical. Nobody wants to use the sick waiting room. A more practical method of separating sick and well patients is to immediately shuttle potentially contagious children into an examining room, leaving the waiting room for children who are there for checkups and children who are not contagious.

* Ask the staff for other information: insurance plans, office hours, medical fees, hospital affiliations, availability and coverage when off call, and credentials of the medical training, Ask how emergencies are handled, how the office handles phone calls, approximate waiting time, and who does what in the office when you have a question.

Choosing Dr. Right -- either a family practitioner or pediatrician -- is an investment. Your baby's doctor becomes like another member of the family, an Uncle Bill or Aunt Jane, who, as your child grows, also grows in the knowledge of your child and your family. This is the doctor who examines your newborn fresh after delivery, gets you through those early feeding problems, turns off the runny nose, eases the pain of the middle-of-the-night ear infection, counsels the bed wetter, helps with school problems, and clears the teenage acne. Choose this long-term partner wisely.


Choosing Whether to Breastfeed or Bottlefeed
Perhaps you have already decided on how you want to feed your baby. But, if you are still not sure about feeding, consider the following decision-helping tips:

* Remember this is a very personal decision involving individual preferences and life-styles. Don't be discouraged by well-meaning friends who confess, "Breastfeeding didn't work for me." In most of these cases it didn't work because they breastfed in a non-supportive atmosphere and without early professional help.

* Attend a series of La Leche Leqgue meetings before the birth of your baby. Ask other breastfeeding mothers what breastfeeding has done for them and their baby. Breastfeeding is a life-style, not just a way of feeding. Surround yourself with like-minded, supportive mothers. Many women are intellectually convinced that breastfeeding is best but are not prepared for the energy commitments of this style of feeding, and there is where the need for support comes in.

* See my article, "Breastfeeding: Why and How," and my article to come, "Bottlefeeding with Safety and Love," to learn not only why your milk is best for your baby, but also what's in it for you.

* If you are still undecided by birth time, give breastfeeding a thirty-day trial, using all the right-start tips also discussed in my article, "Breastfeeding: Why and How." It is easy to go from breast to bottle, but the reverse is very difficult. Many breastfeeding mothers find that after they get over the hump of the first few weeks of learning latch-on and establish a routine, they settle down into a comfortable and lasting breastfeeding relationship. If after the trial period you do not joyfully anticipate most feedings, or if you feel pressured to breastfeed but really do not wish to, consider an alternative method of feeding or a combination. It's important to feed your baby in a way that works for both of you.

Circumcised or Intact?
Isn't it amazing that no part of an infant's body has stirred so much international debate as this tiny half inch of skin. Whole cultures and religious groups circumcise as a ritual and as a right; national organizations, come together to protect the foreskin -- and they have appropriate protective titles: Intact, No Circ, and Peaceful Beginnings. Some parents definitely want their son circumcised for religious or cultural reasons, or they just prefer circumcision. Some fathers feel, "I want my son to have a maintenance-free penis." Others are adamant, nearly militant, about leaving the penis intact. Some agonize about this decision, feeling, "I'm going to great lengths to bring my baby into the work as gently as possible. Circumcision just doesn't seem to fit the scene." If you are undecided about your son's foreskin, read on.

Circumcision was once considered routine procedure for most newborn males in the United States, but, as with most routine procedures, many parents question if circumcision is really necessary for their babies. The following are the most common questions asked about circumcision. The answers are intended to help you make an informed choice.

How is circumcision performed?
The baby is placed on a restraining board, and his hands and feet are secured by straps. A local anesthetic is usually injected into the foreskin of the penis. The tight adhesions between the foreskin and the glans (or head) of the penis are separated with a medical instrument. The foreskin is held in place by metal clamps while a vertical cut is made into the foreskin to about one-third of its length. A metal or plastic bell is placed over the head of the penis to protect the glans, and the forekskin is pullled up over the bell and circumferentially cut. Between one-third and one-half of the skin of the penis (which is what the forekskin is) is removed. A protective lubricant is put on to cover the incision area for a few days. The healing of the circumcised area takes approximately one week, during which time you can expect the circumcision, like most cuts, to go through the usual stages of healing.

Is circumcision a safe procedure?
Circumcision is usually a very safe surgical procedure. There are rarely any complications. As with any surgical procedure, however, there are occasional problems such as bleeding, infection, or injury to the penis. If there is a family history of bleeding tendencies or one of your previous newborns bled a lot during circumcision, be sure to inform your doctor of this fact.

Does it hurt?
Yes, it hurts. The skin of the penis of a newborn baby has pain receptors completely sensitive to clamping and cutting. The myth that newborns do not feel pain came from the observation that newborns sometimes withdraw into a deep sleep toward the end of the operation. This does not mean that they do not feel pain. Falling into a deep sleep is a retreat mechanism, a withdrawal reaction as a consequence of overwhelming pain. Not only does circumcision cause pain in the penis, the rest of the newborn's overall physiology is upset. During unanesthetized circumcision, stress hormones rise, the heart rate speeds, and valuable blood oxygen diminishes. Sick babies and premature babies should never subjected to this shock.

A local anesthetic can and should always be used. Painless circumcision should be a birthright. Local anesthesia should be used. It is a safe procedure and it works. Sometimes the anesthetic will not remove all the pain, but it certainly helps. Within a few hours, after the anesthetic wears off, some babies exhibit no discomfort; others will fuss for the next twenty-four hours. The most common and effective method is called a dorsal penile nerve block, in which a few drops of Xylocaine (similar to the anesthetic your dentist uses) is injected into the nerves in the skin on each side of the base of the penis.

Does circumcision make the penis easier to keep clean?
Making hygiene easier is often a reason given for performing circumcision. In the adolescent and adult male the glands of the foreskin secrete a fluid called smegma. These secretions may accumulate beneath the foreskin. Sometimes, though rarealy, the penis becomes infected. Removing the foreskin removes the secretions, makes the care of the penis easier, and lessens the risk of infection. With normal bathing, however, an intact foreskin is quite easy to care for.

What happens if the foreskin is left intact?
Leaving the foreskin intact protects the penis from irritation caused by rubbing on wet and soiled diapers. At birth it is impossible to make a judgment about how tight the foreskin will remain, since almost all boys have tight foreskins for the first year. In about 50 percent of boys the foreskin loosens from the head of the penis and retracts completely by two years. By three years of age, 90 percent of intact boys have fully retractable foreskins. Once the foreskin retracts easily, it becomes a part of normal male hygiene to pull back the foreskin and cleanse beneath it during a bath. While it is true that infections from the secretions beneath the foreskin can more often be a problem in intact males, simple hygiene can prevent this problem.

If the foreskin doesn't retract naturally, will the boy need a circumcision later on?
Circumcision is very rarely necessary for medical reasons, but occasionally the foreskin does not retract, becomes tight and infected, and obstructs the flow of urine. This unusual condition, called phimosis, requires circumcision. If circumcision for phimosis is necessary later on in childhood or adulthood, anesthesia is given, and the boy is involved in the decision.

How do we care for the foreskin if left intact?
Above all, do not forcibly retract the foreskin, but allow it to retract naturally over a number of years. Retracting the foreskin before it is time loosens the protective seal between the foreskin and glans and increases the chance of infection. If you choose to leave your baby's foreskin intact, follow these suggestions for its care. In most babies the foreskin is tightly adhered to the underlying head of the penis during the first year. As your baby begins having normal erections, the foreskin gradually loosens itself, but many not fully retract until the second or third year. Leave the foreskin alone until it retracts easily, which occurs between six months and three years. The age at which the foreskin begins to retract varies considerably from baby to baby. Respect this difference and do not allow anyone to prematurely break the seal between the foreskin and the head of the penis, which may llow secretions to accumulate geneath the foreski and cause infection. As the foreskin naturally retracts (usually around the third year) gently clean out the secretions that may have accumulated between the foreskin and the glans of the penis. This should be done as part of the child's normal bath routine. Usually by three years of age, when more foreskins are fully retracted, your child can be taught to clean beneath his foreskin as part of his normal bath routine.

If he isn't circumcised, won't he feel different from his friends?
You cannot predict how different your son will feel if he is circumcised or intact. Boys generally have a wider acceptance of these individual differences than adults do. Locker-room comparisons are a bit of a myth. It is difficult to know whether the majority of the boys will be circumcised or intact in the future. The number of circumcisions has been steadily declining in recent years as more parents begin to question routine circumcision. In the western United States around 63 percent of the infant males are being left intact, up from 50 percent in the early 1980's.

My husband is circumcised. Shouldn't my son be the same as his father?
Some fathers have strong feelings that if they are circumcised, their sons should be, and this feeling is only natural. But the "like father, like son" complex alone is not a good reason to choose circumcision, as few fathers and sons compare foreskins. It will be many years before the boy looks like the father anyway. Even some of these fathers (usually because of pressure from their wives) are beginning to question the necessity of routine circumcision.

We have a son who is already circumcised. Should brothers be the same?
Since little boys do sometimes compare the styles of their penis, many parents feel that sameness is important among brothers. Just as you lean a lot from your first birth and may choose a different style for the next, not every male in the family must be circumcised. If you choose to leave your next child intact, your problem will most likely be not in explaining to your intact child why he is intact by rather in explaining to your circumcised child why his foreskin is missing.

Does circumcision prevent any disease?
Circumcision does not prevent cancer of the penis, which is a very rare disease anyway and occurs more frequently in males who do not practice proper hygiene. Cervical cancer, which is not prevented by circumcision, is not more common in sexual partners of intact males who practice proper hygiene. Circumcision also does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

The decision is yours. As you can see from the previous discussion, there is no compelling reason for circumcision. If you are looking to your doctor to be your son's foreskin attorney, you may still be left undecided. In 1999 the American Academy of Pediatrics issued the opinion that current data are "not sufficient to recommend routine circumcision," adding "circumcision is not essential to the child's well-being."

Cord Blood Stem Cell Banking
When a baby is born, stem cells can be collected from the umbilical cord. Stem cells are immature white blood cells that are abundant within the bloodstream of a fetus and newborn. As a baby gets older, these stem cells mature and differentiate into a variety of while blood cell types, which protect the body from infection. Here are some questions you may have about stem cell banking.

What is the purpose of banking, or storing, stem cells?
If a person is diagnosed with leukemia or one of a variety of other cancers of the bloodstream, chemotherapy or radiation is used to kill the cancerous blood cells. Unfortunately this treatment also kills most of the normal blood cells in the bloodstream and bone marrow, leaving the person extremely vulnerable to infection until the bone marrow regenerates enough white blood cells. Certain people in this situation receive a bone marrow transplant, which is an infusion of a large supply of stem cells from a donor. These cells repopulate the bone marrow. Complications can arise if the donated stem cells are not a perfect match with the patient's own immune system and therefore are rejected. Cord blood stem cell banking provides a perfectly matched supply of stem cells that won't be rejected. They can also be used by another family member whose immune system matches.

How are the stem cells collected?
The long portion of umbilical cord that is still attached to the placenta inside the uterus contains a large amount of the baby's blood that was circulating through the umbilical cord and placenta at the time the cord was cut. The labor attendant drains this blood out of the cord (thus the term "cord blood") by either squeezing the blood into a tube or using a needle to withdraw the blood into a syringe. It is painless and only takes five extra minutes. The blood is not taken from the mom or the baby. If it is not collected for banking, it is thrown away.

How are stem cell stored?
The cells are filtered out of the whole cord blood and frozen in liquid nitrogen or by another deep-freeze method.

Are there any drawbacks to this procedure?
The only negative aspect is what it does to your bank account. At this writing, cord blood stem cell banking costs approximately $1,500. There is also a yearly storage fee of around $150. You can find advertisements in pregnancy and childbirth magazines for various cord blood stem cell banks. It's necessary to make arrangements for collecting the blood sample well in advance of your due date.

Note: There is no right or wrong decision about whether or not you should store your baby's cord blood stem cells. The hope is that you will never need the stem cells. Leukemia and other blood cancers are extremely rate. Out of tens of thousands of units of stem cells that have been stored, only a few dozen have been used by donors so far. On the other hand, if the cost is not a hardship, then you may want to consider it. Other medical conditions may be treated with stem cells in the future.

There will be more articles on infantsArticle Submission, breast or bottle feeding and other related topics to follow. So please keep an eye our for more of my articles.
 
Here at ring sling baby carriers we know your baby is precious and worth keeping close. Our ring sling baby carriers help you make the most of life while making the most of your baby's. Please visit our website ring sling baby carriers to see our broad selection of Hotslings adjustable pouch, Rockin Baby pouch, Rockin Baby ring sling and Lil Cub Hub convertible sling baby carriers and find the right print and style for you and your baby.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Protecting The Family Pet

Ever since the beginning of time there has always been the pet and the family, today's pets have become an integral part of the family, and even considered by some to be a part of the family. With this relationship being so vital, protection of the family pet is a major concern of many pet owners.

Each year millions of pets are reported lost or found, but a large majority of these members of the family are never reunited with their owners. The main reason for this is lack of identification is because most pets do not have a pet collar or identification tag to contact the owner if they are found, and the ones that do contain obsolete or outdated contact information. There are many ways to tag a pet, but the pet collar is, and has always been the most recognize method of identifying the pet, and its owner for those who find a lost pet.

The remedy for this dilemma seems simple, just buy them a new pet tag every time you move or change contact information. The problem with this solution is that buying them a new tag with every change can become a bit expensive in an upwardly mobile society. The best alternative is to register with a service that provides a unique tracking number for your pet, and provides free lifetime updating of your contact information.

One company that provides this service is RecoveryPets.Com, and their website is located at http://www.recoverypets.com. The services they offer includes pet registration with a unique identification number, and the register will receive a pet identification tag and pocket card with this identification number on both items. The service is internet based and is accessible from any computer in the world that has internet connection, and they provide unlimited lifetime of contact information, along with a webpage that contains a description of the pet, photograph, and up to ten contact numbers or emails.

Ensuring that our pets are safe is a major concern for many pet owners, and providing a way to recover a lost pet is just as important. With the advent of the internet, recovering pets has become increasingly easierArticle Submission, but it still takes an undertaking on the part of the owner to make sure that their four legged family member is protected.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Getting It Together: Working and Breastfeeding

This article provides information to help a breastfeeding mother continue breastfeeding when she has to return to work.

Are working and breastfeeding compatible? Yes! It boils down to commitment -- how serious you are about giving your baby the best nutritional start.

Basically, you have three challenges to consider: how to feed baby while mother is gone, how to keep up mother's milk supply when she's away from baby, and how to minimize the amount of time mother and baby spend away from each other. Many mothers choose to pump their breasts every two to four hours during the time that they are away from their babies. 

This helps to maintain their milk supply, and the expressed milk can be stored and later given to baby while mother is away at work. When mother and baby are together -- nights, weekends, holidays -- mother encourages baby to nurse often, so that they can continue to enjoy their breastfeeding relationship. As baby gets older and starts to eat a variety of foods, mother may mump less at work by continues to breastfeed her baby when they are together.
Benefits of Continuing To Breastfeed While Working
Once you realize the benefits of extended breastfeeding for baby, mother, and family, you will find a way to do it.

*Mothers miss fewer workdays. Because breastfed babies are healthier, mother (or father) will need to stay home less often with a sick baby.

*Breastfeeding saves money. Even considering the cost of a high-grade breast pump, breastfeeding is cheaper than buying formula. Also, because breastfed babies are healthier, you will need to spend less on medical care.

*Breastfeeding help you feel connected. Pumping and storing your milk helps you feel connected to your baby even while you are apart. This is a special relationship that no other caregiver will have with your baby.

*It's the modern this to do. Years ago breastfeeding while working was considered unusual. Now most mother do it, and workplaces are becoming more breastfeeding friendly.

We have seen mothers come up with the most creative plans for minimizing their time away from their babies while working. They find ways to enjoy longer maternity leaves, work from home, commute with their babies or even bring baby to work. Here are some possibilities to keep in mind as you plan your working and breastfeeding lifestyle.
Plan Ahead - But Not Too Much
It is best not to dwell on "the day I have to go back to work." Don't be concerned with all of the what-ifs: "What if he won't take a bottle?" "What if he won't settle for the babysitter?" "Should I get him used to the bottle and start leaving him right away so he won't get spoiled?" Being preoccupied with leaving baby and dilute your attachment to your newborn. This subconscious detachment does not seem right. Mothers should have the joy of being absorbed into mothering, at least for a few weeks! Focus on your baby for the first few weeks; it will do both of you good.

Work and Wear
Mothers the world over blend their mothering and working, and we are attempting to popularize this wonderful custom in the Western world. If you have the kind of job that allows you to take your baby with you, get a sling-type carrier and wear your baby to work. Many mothers do this.

Your Schedule, Baby's Schedule
Enjoy a happy departure and a happy reunion. Breastfeed your baby at the caregiver's before leaving for work and as soon as you return. Instruct your caregiver not to feed your baby within an hour before you leave work. An eager baby and a full mother make for a happy reunion. It depends on your work hours, but you can usually get in an early morning feeding at home, one at the caregiver's, a late-afternoon feeding after work, a couple of evening feedings, and a before-bed feeding. An alternative if you live close to your workplace is for your caregiver to bring baby to you for a feeding once or twice during the day or for you to return to the baby during your lunch break. With work-based day care, some mothers are able to totally breastfeed their baby during lunch and coffee breaks. Return to full-time breastfeeding on weekends, holidays, and days off, as periodic full breastfeeding days are necessary to keep up your milk production. Your breasts will be fuller than usual on Monday if you have been full-time breastfeeding over the weekend.

Expect baby to wake up and want to breastfeed more often at night after you return to work. Experienced mothers who have successfully managed breastfeeding while working accept this nighttime attachment as a natural part of working and mothering. They simply take their baby to bed and enjoy nighttime breastfeeding. Fairly quickly, mother and baby learn to sleep while breastfeeding. Nestling together and breastfeeding at night give baby and mother the touch time they both miss during the day and help compensate for the time apart. Many mothers who have achieved nighttime harmony with their baby report they sleep better, possibly due to the relaxing effects of breastfeeding helping mothers unwind from a busy day. As an added family benefit, this nighttime arrangement gives daytime working fathers extra touch time with baby, too.

Store Up a Milk Supply
Some babies either refuse to take formula or are allergic to all the commercial formulas and only thrive on your breast milk. To avoid being caught empty-handed, you will need to express and stockpile a supply of your mil before returning to work. See Expressing Milk below.

Introducing the Bottle
Present the bottle around two weeks before going back to work. After baby has had his first bottle, he doesn't need one every day. Two bottles a week should be enough practice to prevent a cold turkey experience for baby. Encourage dad or your substitute caregiver to offer your baby the bottle. Baby may be more willing to experiment if he is not desperately hungry -- try when he is happy and alert. It is usual for babies to be rather selective in their eating behavior and refuse to accept a bottle from mother. This is not in their nutritional mind-set.

Bottle-feeding the Breastfed Baby
When part-time breastfeeding is necessary or desired, expect the mostly breastfed baby to be less than enthusiastic about the new container and its contents. Try these suggestions on your little connoisseur.

* If baby is a confirmed breast feeder, enlist an experienced bottle feeder such as grandmother or another bottle-feeding mother. A breastfeeding mother normally feels a bit awkward in offering her baby a bottle, and the baby may smell his mother's milk and sense her ambivalence. After baby has learned to accept the bottle from an experienced feeder, father is next in line to bottle-feed his baby.
* Don't confuse your little gourmet. Some babies accept a bottle while being held in the breastfeeding position; others reject the bottle if given in the situation or position that reminds them of breastfeeding. If baby is baffled by the cradle hold, expecting the bosom to mean more than a cushion, try holding baby at a less suggestive angle, sitting in places different from the ones used during breastfeeding, or putting baby in a sling carrier and walking around while offering the bottle

* Use nipples that resemble the real thing. Choose a nipple that has a wide, areola like reservoir beyond the tip. Avoid nipples that offer only a nubbin to latch on to. The slow-flow nipple that baby really has to suck on is less likely to be rejected than the quick-gush type that overwhelms the eager feeder, causing choking.

* Encourage baby to latch on to the artificial nipple using the same techniques employed with his favorite nipples: mouth wide open, lips everted, and gum pressure at least an inch beyond the tip of the nipple. If baby learns lazy latch-on habits on the rubber sub, making daily transitions to your nipples may be a confusing and painful experience.

* To further entice the discerning feeder, warm the bottle nipple in warm water, making it more supple, like the breast. Try changing the temperature of the nipple for the changing needs of the baby. A chilled nipple may be more inviting to a baby who is teething.

* Instruct the caregiver to interact with your baby during bottle-feeding much the way you do when breastfeeding. Advise the caregiver to undress baby and wear a short-sleeved blouse to promote skin-to-skin contact. Maintaining eye contact during the feeding is important; feeding is not only giving milk but enjoying social interaction.

* Show your caregiver how to let baby suck on her finger between feedings. This helps satisfy baby's sucking needs and will warm baby up to a substitute caregiver.

* Avoid bottle propping. It is unsafe to leave baby unattended in a crib or infant seat to take his own bottle.

Expressing Milk
At some time in your breastfeeding career you will almost certainly encounter medical or life-style circumstances for which you need to express milk. Whether by hand, by pump, or a combination of both, the methods of expressing milk are a matter of personal choice. Experiment with the following techniques, modifying them in ways that work for you.

How to Hand Express Your Milk
The advantages of using a manual technique rather than a mechanical pump include the following.

* Some mothers find pumps uncomfortable or ineffective.

* Mothers often feel put off by the gadgetry and prefer the natural approach.

* Skin-to-skin stimulation can actually produce the milk-ejection reflex better.

* Your hands are "handy" - convenient, portable, always available, and free!

Choosing and Using a Breast Pump
Breast pumps are convenient and often necessary for expressing milk to relieve engorgement, to preserve a mother's milk supply when baby cannot nurse, and to collect milk when mother and baby are separated because of the mother's employment. Here are some general considerations for choosing the right breast pump for you, as well as some ideas for more efficient and comfortable pumping.

* Unless you must frequently pump n an area that does not have an electrical outlet, consider a high-quality electric pump. These are best at mimicking a baby's natural sucking pattern. You can pump both breasts at once, which saves time. Some electric pumps can also be used as manual pumps.

* If you are pumping to keep up your milk supply because your baby is premature or ill and is not nursing, use a hospital-grade electric pump. These are the most effective pumps and the most convenient to use, which really makes a difference if you are pumping six to ten times a day. Studies have shown that pumping both breasts at the same time with a hospital-grade electric pump produces higher prolactin levels than pumping with a manual or battery-operated pump. Maintaining your milk supply for the day when your baby can breastfeed is an important job. It takes good tools to do it well.

* Cost varies widely. Hand pumps are the least expensive, and hospital-grade electric pumps (usually rented) are the most expensive. Some insurance companies reimburse the cost of renting an electric pump, provided you submit a doctor's prescription (with baby's name on it, not yours).

* If your nipples become sore during pumping, massage an emollient, such as Lansinoh, on your nipples prior to pumping.

* Before pumping, look at a picture and think motherly thoughts of your baby. In some mothers, just anticipating breastfeeding or pumping may stimulate the milk-producing hormones to flow.

* There are many breast pumps for different occasions and life-styles. The list of breast pumps (shown in table below) is a useful guide, but because breast-pump technology is rapidly improving to meet the varying demands of today's mothers, we recommend contacting your lactation consultant for the most up-to-date information on selecting the right breast pump and accessories for you.



Practical Pointers for Pumping
* Buy or rent your pump from a lactation consultant who can instruct you in how to use it and can answer your questions about pumping. If you're not sure about how to assemble and use the pump, or if you are not able to pump much milk, talk to your lactation consultant. There may be a problem with the pump that is easily solved, or you may need to use a better pump.

* Don't select a pump based on cost alone. Good pumps are expensive, but if you are pumping several times a day at work or pumping at home to maintain a milk supply for a baby in a hospital, the ease and convenience of a better-quality pump are well worth the money. Renting a pump is cheaper than buying formula.

* Pump parts do wear out. If you are not able to pump as much milk as you once did, the problem may be the pump, not you. Talk to your lactation consultant or contact the pump manufacturer. Note that all but the hospital-grade pumps are made to be single-user products. A used pump may not work as well as a new one.

* Follow a set routine. As often as possible, pump in the same place, in the same chair, with the same "get ready, relax, and pump" routine. This conditions your milk-ejection reflex and you'll be able to pump more milk.
' * Use breast massage before and during pumping to help you relax and bring more milk down to the nipple. (See the "Assisting the Milk Ejection Relax section in the Marmet Technique chart.")

* Take some slow, deep breaths and let go of the day's worries. Visualize flowing water, fountains of milk -- whatever helps to get your milk moving down into the pump. Picture yourself nursing your baby in a quiet, comfortable place.

* Use a portable stereo with headphones to enjoy your favorite music or background sounds from nature.

* Pumping should not make your nipples sore. Be careful that the nipple doesn't rub against the side of the breast shield when the pump is operating. Adjust the suction level if your nipples are hurting.

* Pumping calls for clothing that makes it easy to get at your breasts. Dresses and blouses designed for discreet breastfeeding also make pumping more convenient. Some of the companies the make and marker nursing fashions specialize in sophisticated clothes for breastfeeding working moms.

* Network with other breastfeeding mothers at your workplace. Perhaps you can pump at the same time and enjoy each other's company. If you are the only breastfeeding mother at your workplace, you may have to educate co-workers about breastfeeding and why you are pumping. Be patient and tolerant of others' opinions, while remaining confident that you are doing what's best for your baby and yourself.


What It's Like When You Begin Collecting Milk at Work
When you begin pumping your milk, don't be discouraged if you initially obtain only a small amount. With practice most mothers are able to pump at least several ounces within ten to fifteen minutes. It is normal for you to experience high-production and low-production days. Don't expect your relationship with the mechanical pump to be love at first sight. It will take time to warm up to the metal and plastic when you'd rather be holding your soft baby. While pumping your milk, think baby and look at a picture of your baby. This stimulates your milk-producing hormones and activates your milk-ejection reflex, which gets your milk flowing. Pump as much milk as you can at least every three hours and store it in a refrigerator or use a portable cooler. If you are unable to take time off during your regular schedule to pump your milk, collect your milk during coffee breaks, lunch breaks, or more frequent bathroom breaks. Choosing an electric pump that uses a double (both breasts at once) pumping system should cut your pumping time in half.

At first your breasts my leak milk, perhaps when you think about your baby or during usual feeding times. To deal with this tug from your hormones, nonchalantly fold your arms across your chest, applying pressure directly to your nipples for a minute or two. Also during the first week after going from full-time to part-time breastfeeding, expect your breasts to fill up periodically at feeding times as a reminder to pump. After the first two weeks your body will naturally make biological adjustments to adapt to this change in routine.



Storing and Transporting This Liquid Gold
Stockpiling a supply of nature's most valuable nutrient is an investment in the future nutrition and health of your baby, especially as a reserve when you return to work, during a major illness, or in any other situation that may temporarily separate mother and baby. Here's how to take care of this valuable product.

Storing Expressed Milk
Reusable items involved in the collection and storage of breast milk need to be cleaned and sterilized. Rinse all milk containers, bottles, and accessories with cool water, then wash them well with soap and hot water. A dishwasher with a water temperature of at least 180 degrees F/82 degrees C adequately sterilize these items. (For an alternative approach, follow these Tips For Quick and Easy Sterilizing and Formula Preparation. 1. Use disposable pre-sterilized nurser bags to hold the formula in a plastic holder; this is convenient and minimizes air swallowing, as the bag collapses during the feeding. 2. Use a dishwasher to sterilize bottles and nipples, and use ready-to-feed liquid formula. No water to boil, no extra sterilizing or measuring needed.)

To safely store the milk, follow these suggestions:

* Wash your hands well before collecting your milk.
* Use hard plastic or glass containers.
* If you find disposable plastic storage bags the easiest to store and transport, be sure to double bag in case the outside bag tears.
* Use four- to six-ounce containers, a few of them filled with only two ounces (one ounce equals approximately thirty milliliters). This makes thawing easier and wastes less.
* Freezer bags sold through the La Leche League catalog are especially designed for freezing and storing breast milk (self-sealing and pre-sterilized).
* Leave space in the container at the top of the milk, allowing for expansion as it freezes.
* Date each serving, placing the oldest in front, and note anything that you've recently ingested that is not routine -- for example, any unusual food, medication, even aspirin.
* You can add to milk that is already frozen, but be sure to chill the new milk first in the refrigerator, as adding warm milk can defrost the top layer of the frozen milk.
* Breast milk may be safely kept unrefrigerated in a clean container or six to ten hours. However, we advise refrigerating milk as soon as possible after it is expressed.
* Breast milk may be stored in a refrigerator for up to eight days before use, after which it should be frozen. Fresh breast milk is better for baby than frozen, so if you know you will be using it within a few days, store it in the refrigerator.
* Milk can be stored in:
* the freezer section of a one-door refrigerator for two weeks.
* the freezer of a two-door refrigerator/freezer for three to four months.
* a deep freeze at constant 0 degree F (-18 degrees C) for six months or longer.

Using Stored Milk
Freshly expressed breast milk may be given to baby within several hours without any special storage. Milk that has been stored, however, requires special care.

* To defrost milk, place the container of frozen milk upright in a bowl of warm water.
* As you warm the milk, turn the container around and around to mix the separated cream and milk, and swirl the bottle of milk again before feeding. Don't heat beyond body temperature, as heat destroys enzymes and immune properties.
* If you do not use all of the milk in the container, you can refrigerate the remaining milk and use it again within the same day. Don't refreeze thawed milk.
* Do not:
*Thaw frozen milk on top of the stove; overheating may result.
* Heat breast milk or formula in a microwave oven. The uneven heat may cause hot spots and valuable nutrients may b destroyed; also, microwaving weakens the infection-fighting factors in breast milk.
* Refreeze thawed breast milk; this may allow bacterial growth.

Be proud of your milk bank. A dual-career mother and committed breast feeder, reserves a shelf in her freezer for at least a dozen neatly stacked and dated bottles of her expressed milk. She proudly refers to her collection as "the bank."

Transporting Expressed Milk
In making the milk run from work to home, take great care to protect your precious cargo. An insulated bag filled with ice packs is best for transporting milk. Special insulated milk-transport tote bags and containers are available from lactation consultants and La Leche League.

What's In It For You?
Is all this paraphernalia, pumping, leaking, storing, and making the milk run really worth it? A resounding yes! Mothers who are juggling breastfeeding and working have seen their investment pay off. There have even been several flight attendants who are away from their babies two or three days at a time, but have managed to continue part-time breastfeeding for two years. Their testimony: "We feel closer and more sensitive toward our babies." As an added benefit, working mothers notice the relaxing effects of breastfeeding. One mother, who has an executive sales job, reports, "I have a very stressful job and I'm very tense when I return home. I settle down and breastfeed my baby. She feels better and I feel better. What a happy reunion."

There will be more articles on breastfeedingFree Articles, raising baby and other related topics so be sure to keep an eye out for my articles.