Five Secrets to Gentle Parenting

Five Secrets to Gentle Parenting

By Guest Blogger: Jenn Morrison

Author Bio: Jenn is a blogger for Mommy Stroller, which focuses on helping parents figure out which stroller and baby gear they should get. The blog was started by Evelyn and her husband, Paul, who both decided to blog about baby gear after the overwhelming feeling they experienced when trying to pick out their first stroller. Both of them enjoy spending time with family and friends, live music, and going on jogs with their kids (in a stroller).

Five Secrets to Gentle Parenting

Many modern parents are turning to gentle parenting as a way to nurture their children and their family. What is gentle parenting? It’s parenting based on a deep connection with your children and building mutual respect with them. Instead of using a more authoritarian or controlling approach, gentle parenting seeks encouragement and parent-child collaboration. While traditional parenting uses punishments and parent-created consequences, gentle parenting uses more positive reinforcement and natural consequences.

Many parents who practice attachment parenting also practice gentle parenting. Gentle parenting is appealing to many but can be difficult to implement if you’ve never seen it. Many of today’s parents grew up in more traditional households with more controlling parenting styles. This makes it hard to know where to start. Here are five ways you can implement gentle parenting practices in your household.

1. Make Time to Connect

Gentle parenting is rooted in connecting with your children. When you and your child are positively attached and have a healthy relationship, you are better able to guide them in positive ways. In order to have that relationship, you need time to connect with your child.

Look at your family’s schedule. Do you have quality time together every day? How much time do you get with your child? Here are some ways to ensure you’re making enough time for the relationship:

  • Have at least one meal as a family every day.
  • Carve out a specific time of the day to have a conversation with your children – whether it’s first thing in the morning, right after school, or right before bed.
  • If your children have too many activities taking them away from home, work with them to reduce their schedule so they can have more family time.
  • Find ways to spend time with your children even if it’s just sitting down with them while they do their homework. It can also be doing something fun like going to a movie or ice skating.
  • If you’re an outdoorsy parent, invest in an all-terrain stroller and explore the outdoors with your kids.

2. Replace Commands with Positive Comments

A large part of gentle parenting is in how parents speak to their children. Instead of making demands or commanding your child to do something, you can positively frame the behavior you’re seeking. Examples of commands include:

  • “Put your toys away.”
  • “Brush your teeth now.”
  • “Put your shoes on.”

Gentle parenting seeks to work with the child to achieve what is needed. You can re-frame commands to help your child see that both of you are on the same team. Here are the same statements made in a gentler, positive way:

  • “Let’s put these toys away so no one trips over them.”
  • “Your teeth probably need a cleaning after all that food you ate! What do you think we could do to get them clean again?”
  • “After you put your shoes on, we can leave the house.”

These statements allow your child to work with you to solve problems and make decisions. Incorporating these kinds of statements into your daily life is a staple to creating a deeper connection with your child.

3. Allow for Natural Consequences

As we mature, we experience natural consequences for behaviors all of the time. If we are rude to someone, they probably won’t want to be our friend. If we eat too much junk food, we won’t feel well. If we don’t go to bed at a reasonable time, we’ll be tired. These are all consequences that directly relate to our actions.

Many parents give their children parent-imposed consequences. If children are rude, they are sent to their room, put in time out, or spanked. These consequences are not inherently related to the behavior. They may teach children to behave better, but they may not help their overall decision-making ability or sense of right and wrong.

In order for natural consequences to work, the child must understand cause and effect. Very young children will not always grasp this. If a toddler stays up too late and is tired the next day, they may not understand why they are so tired. In these cases, you must exercise judgment on when it is best to set parent-imposed boundaries as opposed to letting your child experience a natural consequence.

Here are some examples of natural consequences:

  • Your children leave their toys or personal items around the house instead of putting them away as they should. You clean up the house and take these items while cleaning, as they left them out for anyone to grab. (You can give the items back after a few hours or days. Some parents have a “weekend box” that they collect items in. The child gets them back on the weekend.)
  • Your children are told their clothes will be washed if they are placed in the hamper for dirty clothes. They do not do so, so their clothes are not washed and they must search around for something to wear or do their own laundry.
  • Your children refuse to eat the dinner they are served. They can either go hungry or make their own dinner (and clean it up) from whatever you have in the pantry.
  • Your children are hitting you or yelling at you. You tell them you will no longer play with them and move on to a different activity or space without them.
  • Your children leave their homework at home and lose all of the points on the assignment (as opposed to you bringing it in for them).

Natural consequences can be implemented more and more as a child gets older and makes his or her own decisions. As children make their own decisions and learn from them, they gain more of a sense of responsibility.

4. Give Your Children Choices

Giving your children options helps them learn decision making at an early age and gives them a chance to collaborate with you. Options are particularly helpful for younger children who cannot understand the cause and effect relationship of natural consequences.

As toddlers learn about the world and their preferences, they start to want to take control and make decisions. Instead of stifling this, you can give it an outlet. This will help you avoid standoffs with your child or unnecessary back-and-forth with them. It will also ensure you don’t just command them around all the time, but instead develop a relationship with them.

Here are some examples of ways you can give your child choices:

  • Allow your children to go shopping with you for dinner items. They can pick out the vegetables you will eat that week for dinner. You can let them pick which days you will eat each vegetable.
  • When getting ready for bed, you can frame necessary tasks as a choice, even if all of them need to be done. “What would you like to do first? Brush your teeth or put pajamas on?”
  • You can set up a trade with them. “That paint might stain your clothes. I have markers and crayons you can color with. Which one would you like to use?”
  • When deciding on summer vacation plans, let them have a say on whether they want to explore the great outdoors, or explore a different city.

5. Acknowledge Feelings and Empathize

Another staple to connecting with your child is recognizing their emotional state. Even as adults, we have times where we are happy, sad, and angry. We cry and get frustrated. We yell and have bad days. Children also have bad days and get frustrated. They live in a world they don’t understand sometimes, and they don’t see why they cannot do all the things they want to do. They don’t always want to do what they are asked, just like we do not always want to fulfill obligations.

You cannot change certain things. For instance, you will never allow your child to do something dangerous like run out in the street. You can acknowledge your child’s frustration and empathize with them, though. You can explain why certain boundaries are in place. Instead of just demanding they stop doing something or telling them they are wrong, you can recognize their desires and emotions while laying a firm boundary.

Here are some examples of acknowledging your child’s feelings:

  • “I understand the stove looks fun and that you like to pretend to cook. The stove is really hot, though. You could burn your finger and that would make you sad and hurt. So, we’re going to stay safe and not touch the stove.”
  • “I know you’re mad that you can’t go outside today. It’s ok to be mad. Yelling at me and hitting me will not change that you can’t go outside, so we are not going to do that. If you need to stamp your feet or count to ten to feel better, you can. How about we take a drink of water and relax for a minute?”

Conclusion

Gentle parenting is not easy and takes quite a bit of practice. You may have times where you lose your patience, yell at your children, or get into a fight with them. This is normal and does not mean you are ruining your parenting. Every day is a chance to continue learning with your child and find gentle ways to guide them.

Read more tips from the experts on gentle parenting or learn more specifics about the practice from Attachment Parenting International.

For detailed baby gear guides, stroller reviews and anything and everything stroller related, check out Mommy Stroller! You can also connect with the Mommy Stroller crew on Pinterest and Facebook.

An Insight Into the World of Fostering: Through the Eyes of a Foster Parent

By Guest Blogger: Alice Porter

Author Bio: Alice is a freelance writer who recently interviewed a foster parent to try to get people to to consider fostering as an alternative to traditional parenting and also as an alternative career.

An Insight Into the World of Fostering: Through the Eyes of a Foster Parent

There are lots of uncertainties that circulate around foster parenting. It’s widely believed that marital status, age and personal experience are the deciding factors in whether you are allowed to foster a child. I spoke to Lorraine* to gain a better insight into the world of fostering and to have all of the common myths and truths brought to light.

Can I become a foster parent if I’m single?

There are certain qualities that a foster parent must possess like lots of patience, empathy, supportiveness, and a big heart, but surprisingly having a partner is not included in the list! Foster children are working through what’s called a transition period when they are placed into care – this is a period where they will be waiting to be either reunited with their birth parents, or placed with the right “forever family”, so it is an extremely difficult time for them that will require the utmost sensitivity – if you can provide a stable and loving environment for the child, that will cause them as little trauma as possible, then you could be the perfect candidate. So it doesn’t matter if you’re single, married, male, or female.

I interviewed Lorraine*, is a single mother of 3, who began fostering a little over 7 years ago and hasn’t looked back since.

Can I foster if I have my own children?

One of the most common misconceptions about fostering is that people who have their own children are not suitable foster parent candidates. When speaking to Lorraine, she said,

“I have the experience of being a parent, with 3 sons of my own, and I believed that I had the experience to benefit a child’s needs”.

If you have your own children, it demonstrates that you are able to provide a stable and loving environment that a foster child needs. Also, bringing a child into a home that already has children, whom they can speak to, play with and learn from, can actually help them to acclimate to their new home better.

Am I too old to foster?

If you are 25 years of age or older you can be a suitable candidate to foster. As long as you are of sound health both mentally and physically, then you can foster a child regardless of how old you are. Lorraine* began fostering when she was 48 years old, she is now 55 and is planning to continue to foster.

Do I have to be qualified to become a foster parent?

Before you are allowed to foster a child, there is an extensive process that you have to go through. You will be paired with a social worker who can visit you up to 10 different occasions – in this time they will complete the Form F Report, which is an in depth assessment of your family history, medical records and overall suitability to foster a child. If you pass the initial stages of the fostering process, you will also have to attend a 3-4 day course, which will prepare you for all of the different challenges that being a foster parent will bring. Lorraine* told us that,

“Nothing can fully prepare you for the challenges and difficult times that you will be faced with as a foster parent. I have looked after so many children and teenagers during my time and every experience is different. This is such a rewarding life choice, and as long as you remain patient, open minded and supportive, you can really make an impact on the child’s life”.

*Lorraine’s name has been changed to protect her identity and that of the children in her care. Lorraine* fosters through a private fostering agency called Lorimer Fostering, but you can also foster via your local authority.

Helpful Tips for Exercising While Breastfeeding

Helpful Tips for Exercising While Breastfeeding

By Guest Blogger: Sarah Palmer

Author Bio: Hi! My name is Sarah, founder of SarahsLovelyFamily. I love sharing tips and tricks I learned from raising my own family, helping parents like me raising healthy children while enjoying it. You can follow me on Twitter at @SarahsLovelyFam.

Helpful Tips for Exercising While Breastfeeding

It is a known fact that breastfeeding has a lot of merits, but it is definitely no easy feat, especially for mothers with newborns. Commercial milk is often advertised as the perfect formula for babies, claiming that each bottle of milk is jam-packed with tons of vitamins and minerals. Although that may be true, breast milk actually has the correct balance of nutrients essential for your baby’s health.

Studies show that breast milk is easier to digest compared to the commercial formula. It also includes immune system promoting antibodies which are only present in breast milk. Some professionals even claim that breastfeeding can help mothers shed some extra pounds during the process!

But despite all this, many mothers still struggle with breastfeeding their babies. A lot of mothers complain about the pain and discomfort, while others say that they become too tired after feeding their baby. And for this reason, it is extra important to take care of your body – especially while breastfeeding.

In this article, I have gathered some tips for exercising while breastfeeding. But first, let’s debunk some of the misconceptions of exercising while breastfeeding.

Myths About Exercising While Breastfeeding

Whether you are starting a healthier lifestyle for you and your baby, or simply trying to get back into fitness, exercise is crucial to your daily routine. Do not be fooled by negative perceptions about exercising while breastfeeding.

On the contrary, exercise is very beneficial for your health, no matter if you are breastfeeding or not. Here are some of the false truths people might say:

1. It Affects Your Milk Supply

Some people believe that because you lose calories while exercising, your milk supply is also being drained at the same time and you may experience a drop in milk supply. While it is true that mothers need about 500 calories a day to produce a sufficient amount of breast milk, this does not mean that mothers should skimp on their exercise.

Milk supply is actually affected by the mother’s diet, not by the amount of exercise she does during the day. By maintaining a healthy diet, rest assured your baby will be able to receive a good amount of breast milk.

2. It Alters the Taste

Has anyone told you that exercise can turn breast milk sour? Turns out this isn’t just some weird belief that was passed down from generation to generation. Studies shows that maximal exercise heightens up breast milk’ lactic acid levels for about 90 minutes, causing it to become sour in taste.

Don’t scratch off exercise from your schedule just yet, studies also shows that moderate activity does not affect lactic acid levels at all. Choosing exercise that will keep activity levels at 80% heart rate or below can solve sour breast milk problems. But of course, you may want to wipe your nipples after exercise or it may taste salty due to sweat.

3. It Loses Its Nutritional Value

For some reason, there are also mothers who believe that exercise makes their breast milk lose nutritional value. Experts say that there is no direct relationship between exercise and the amount of nutrition of a mother’s breast milk.

Simply put, an active mommy’s breast milk is just as nutrient-rich as that of a mother who are more sedentary. Babies of both mothers grow normally and healthily, no matter how often the mother exercises.

4 Exercise Tips To Keep In Mind While Breastfeeding

Now that these misconceptions are out of the way, there is no longer any excuse to avoid exercise. Being a newborn mom is definitely no excuse to skip some exercises but it is obviously not that easy either. Here are some simple tips to keep in mind that may help you out in your journey:

1. Set A Workout Schedule

Exercising while breastfeeding isn’t a one-man decision – it is teamwork between the mother and her baby. Learning your baby’s feeding schedule proves to be quite beneficial in planning your workout routine.

While jogging outdoors may sound more fun than a strength training session on the mat at home, you may have to compromise some time just for preparation. You may need some breaks for nursing which may not be a practical decision as well.

The rule of thumb is to figure out what works best for you and your baby. Choose exercise activities that don’t take up too much effort but are effective at the same time.

2. Track Your Calories

As mentioned above, maintaining a healthy diet is very important as this will determine the amount of milk supply you can produce. It also affects your body’s overall health while breastfeeding.

One great way to stay on track is to record your calorie intake. This does not mean that you need to religiously record everything down in detail, a simple food diary and nutritional value record can go a long way. Remember to also track down your exercise as well so that you can count the number of calories lost.

3. Opt for Low Impact Exercise

Now that we know how high impact exercise affects the taste of breast milk, it may be a good idea to try a lower impact form of exercise. Just because it is low impact does not necessarily mean that it is less effective. Your body can benefit from any type of exercise, no matter how simple you think it may be.

Try your hand at yoga or start attending dance class – if it is non-impact and something that you truly enjoy, you are set for exercising while breastfeeding.

4. Stay Hydrated

Drinking water is mandatory, even if you are breastfeeding or not. Not only is water necessary to keep the energy levels, dehydration can also cause mothers to produce lesser breast milk. With this in mind, it is very important for mothers to stay hydrated throughout the day – especially if they are also exercising.

If drinking water isn’t your thing, try shaking things up a bit by infusing H2O with fruits like lemon or by drinking fresh fruit juices. This should allow you to keep getting additional fluids while breastfeeding.

Conclusion

Exercising will always be a part of a healthy lifestyle and is proven to be very beneficial for mothers who are breast-feeding. Don’t get put off by all the myths that you hear, chances are there are quick fixes to help you ease into an active lifestyle.

Exercising while breastfeeding does not get in the way of your breast milk’s quality but instead, it promotes you and your baby’s health.

Amber Teething Necklaces: Are They Just for Teething Babies?

By Guest Blogger: Jenn Sanders

Author Bio: Jenn Sanders currently works as a marketing assistant at a company dedicated to the health and well-being of infants. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family and outdoor adventures.

Amber Teething Necklaces: Are They Just for Teething Babies?

Baltic amber has had an influence on civilizations long before the dawn of the modern age. Ancient healers and mystics would use the gemstone’s “powers” to, not only heal people of their illnesses, but to also ward off bad energy and negative influences.

The modern world has just recently started to understand the natural healing properties of the stone and how important it can become to help them alleviate a variety of ailments. Through both word of mouth and the internet, people are getting familiar with the fossilized tree resin that can help heal wounds and alleviate chronic pain. It is no wonder our ancestors thought the stone contained metaphysical powers.

Baltic amber is a completely natural remedy that has many health benefits. It consists of a special chemical known as “succinic acid,” which is released into the body when the gem comes into contact with one’s skin. The warmth of the body releases the acid, and allows it to be absorbed through the skin and into our bloodstream where it travels all around the body acting as an analgesic. Furthermore, the  anti-inflammatory properties of the succinic acid in Baltic amber is of particular interest to those researching the medical aspects of amber.

Why Wear It?

Tree resin is a natural antibiotic that a tree produces to heal itself and ward off infections by sliding down the trunk of said tree, closing off any opening that could allow bad bacteria to enter. Once the tree resin of the now-extinct coniferous trees that amber came from hit the ground it hardened over millions of years. Amber, therefore, resembles a gemstone and can be worn as jewelry that also heals as it is worn. Baltic amber specifically has been known to work wonders on the body’s immune system and many scientific studies suggest that wearing it is a on one’s wrists, neck, ears or even ankles are all great options.

Why is Amber Great for Teething Babies?

Baltic amber is also widely used for pain relief when your child starts his teething. This is also why Baltic amber necklaces are given as gifts at baby showers. The round beads release succinic acid, which makes its way into the bloodstream, providing anti-inflammatory effects, helping the baby sleep comfortably.

Having a child is one of the greatest gifts life can give you. As a parent, you would do anything to protect your child. However, you might feel powerless when your baby begins teething. When your child’s teeth begin to sprout they may experience a lot of pain or discomfort. Having your baby wear an amber necklace is perhaps the best way to ensure that they are pain-free. All you have to do is put the necklace on them while they are under your supervision, and remove it during bath time and bedtime. Fortunately, the effects of the Baltic amber last long after the necklace is removed.

Thousands of people benefit each year from wearing amber necklaces that protect them against inflammatory diseases that normally cause a lot of pain. Here are some of the other benefits:

1. Protection Against Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can last for weeks and the discomfort leads to you not being able to sleep, not being able to properly communicate or worse. This pain occurs normally after serious injuries or disorders. Mothers may face this kind of pain after giving birth to a child, which can become serious if not given proper attention.

Frequent migraines are also probable, which is why amber necklaces are so important. Amber necklaces can both reduce that pain because of its anti-inflammatory properties, as well as replenish your energy. It can be especially beneficial for a mother who has recently given birth.

2. Helps with Arthritis

The Succinic acid that amber beads contain is released into the body as soon as it comes in contact with the warmth of your body. The acid then enters into the bloodstream and travels around the body. Arthritis causes the joins to inflame, which is why wearing the necklace can be advantageous. The necklace can help with joint swelling. Arthritis mainly affects senior citizens, which is why amber jewelry is a necessity in old age.

3. Helps with Anxiety and Depression

The mystical aspects of the amber stone include the effect it has on a person’s energy, namely their chakras. Chakras are described as the gates to the pools of energy inside our body. Amber helps to replenish these pools and allow for more positive emotions and a positive outlook to life. A mother wearing an amber necklace will be better prepared to care for a baby than one without it since her mental state will be continuously rejuvenated by the release of Succinic acid inside her body. Furthermore, some superstitious beliefs also proclaim that the amber crystal helps to “ward off evil spirits.”

4. Amber Oils

Another method of pain alleviation is rubbing or gently massaging amber oil onto the body. Everyday hassles can stress out anyone, which is why you must give your body some time to cope with it. Going to a spa might be the thing to do. A gentle rub against the body can free you of several bone aches and muscle pains. Mothers can use this technique on their babies to help them sleep better at night. They themselves can use the amber oil to reduce joint pains and back pains that many mothers experience.

5. Helps with Eczema

Eczema is a severe skin condition whose symptoms include long term swelling and continuous itching. Many people confuse it with an allergic reaction, which is why they are unaware of the medicinal properties amber has for it. Baltic amber combined with Hazelwood can help heal extremely dry and cracked skin. The amber necklace can then be worn to prevent eczema outbreak from occurring.

Bottom Line

As was with our ancestors, Baltic amber is starting to play a huge role in the medical industry, and there are different products people use to help rid their ailments. Without any side effects, it is quickly becoming the best choice for mothers who are concerned about their baby’s health and well-being. It is a smart purchase to make and the best suited to aid you, your baby, or anyone who is suffering from chronic pain or inflammation.

5 Wild Walking Trips From Around the World

By Guest Blogger: Howard Scalia

5 Wild Walking Trips From Around the World

For me, walking is still the best way to clear my thoughts and just be, without the pressures and the problems that might wait for me at home. At first, I liked walking in the park and around the city, but very soon, my appetite started growing, and I found myself exploring hiking trails all over the world. A bucket list started to form. Very soon, my hobby became my lifestyle, and now I can’t imagine a weekend without getting out in nature and getting at least 10 miles behind me. However, there are some wild walking trips I did over the years and these are my impressions on 5 of them I loved the most.

1.     The Pacific Northwest Trail, USA

I wanted to begin local, so I looked for some of the less known trails around the country and the Pacific Northwest trail got my attention immediately. Not just because there are so many different sceneries to explore, but because along the way there are three national parks – Glacier, Olympic and North Cascades. When it comes to mountain ranges, there’s not a shortage of them either, which doesn’t surprise much, seeing that the trail starts in Montana in the Rockies and ends on the coast of Pacific at Cape Alava. I wanted to explore the coastal section of this wild walk, and I can tell you that I was not disappointed – stunning views from heights and so many amazing sights that I never wanted to leave. Make sure to have some hiking experience before you head out to the Pacific Northwest Trail, there are some parts of it that are quite demanding, but it’s absolutely worth the effort.

2.     Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru

I’ve always had this irresistible urge to visit Machu Picchu since first I saw it in my school book. I just never thought that I could explore the Inca Trail, but it was an experience I will never forget. Not only was I in the awe of the energy and the beauty of the trail and Machu Picchu itself, but I also learned so much about the culture from the surprisingly friendly locals. I also promised myself I would come back. When it comes to the trail, you will need about 4 days to get to your destination, but the journey itself is breathtaking, especially because there are many ruins along the way and you can’t help but stop and stare. There are some high passes along the way which are not for the fainthearted, and the one almost everyone (including me) dread – Dead Woman’s Pass. However, for the most part, the trail is simply amazing to witness and completely manageable to withhold. One thing you will need is a good guide because you’re not allowed to venture into the ruins on your own.

3.     Faulhornweg, Switzerland

I’ve heard plenty of wonderful impressions about this trail, though I still can’t pronounce its name correctly. I knew I had to do it as soon as I started exploring it on the Internet. It took a while for me to find the time to go to Switzerland for a week, but when I did, Faulhornweg was everything people were telling me about and much more. This is not a long wild walk, only about 16 miles but everything you see reflects perfectly Swiss mentality – the entire route is marked without a fault and the scenery will have you believe you got stuck in a Disney movie. Staggeringly green and vast valleys along with the impossibly clean lakes Brienz and Thun look like someone painted them and somehow you wandered into the picture. This wild walk isn’t innocent though – the ridge top path above the Brienzersee has an amazing view but it’s also challenging. You can either bring your own supply of hiking food or you can take a rest at a rustic lodge that you can find high up in the mountains. The prices are well, Swiss, so if you prefer staying on the trail, it will be better for your wallet. Also, you don’t have to hike back, there’s a cable car that will take you back to Grindelwald while you rest and soak in the beauty of this Swiss wild walk.

4.     South West Coast Path, UK

Whenever I have the chance to enjoy some coastal beauty and the sun, I take it. South West Coast Path has been on my wish list for a couple of years before I got around to it, and I truly loved the experience, though the weather wasn’t always on my side, so to speak. The thing I like the most about this wild walk is that it isn’t strictly marked and actually, following footpaths will lead you to hidden gems of the trail, where you can witness awe-inspiring sunsets and views that will make all your other thoughts less important. You can take a two-hour walk and have a taste of what the trail has to offer, or you can just follow the road for a few days and see where it will take you. Chances are, it will be somewhere marvelous. Just remember to bring your raincoat.

5.     Continental Divide Trail, USA

I’ve left Continental Divide for the last one because though the trail in itself is truly one of a kind, an experience I’ve had there left me with some bitter memories, mainly due to the fact that I rushed into it way before I was ready. The Divide, as I ominously call it, was the first and the only track where I managed to get lost and get hurt in one go, simply because I wasn’t careful enough. I decided to take on The Knife Edge Trail in the Weminuche Wilderness, which is also one of the more difficult trails, but I believed I could pull it off. Very quickly the trail proved me wrong and I managed to wander off the William Creek Trail that lead to the Knife Edge. Since the road posts are rare, I was still a lower intermediate in hiking at the time.

This was the first time this ever happened to me and the panic set in almost momentarily even though I knew I was supposed to remain as calm as possible. I started to walk back, or to be more precise, almost run back to the last place it looked familiar without paying attention to the path in front of me. Of course, I managed to stumble, fall, and roll down the side of the trail, which is not surprising when the path is uneven and full of rocks and you’re panicking and trying to find your way out. It wasn’t a long fall, but it was a nasty one because I twisted my left ankle almost to the point of breaking it, and it started swelling immediately. When I tried to walk, it was a torture and I didn’t know how to make it better. So I had to limp back to the trail and the pain was only getting worse. It was one of those “Why me, god?” moments as I was walking back to the last road post I remember incredibly slowly, having to make stops every couple of minutes because the pain was numbing. It was getting dark when thankfully, Linda and Stephen, two backpackers (who are to this day my good friends), found me just sitting on the trail and resting.

They compressed my ankle on the spot (this was not their first rodeo and they had the first-aid-kit) and the next day helped me back to the trailhead, which was a long and painful journey even though they distributed the weight of my pack among them so that I could walk more easily. When I finally got much the needed medical care, it turned out I had partially torn my ligaments and I had to stay off my feet for four weeks and then take it easy for two weeks after that.

What I did manage to see of the trail was truly remarkable and I intend to get back to it and finish the hike one day, but may this cautionary tale serve as a reminder to take it easy and don’t overestimate yourself – it makes all the difference when you’re alone in the wilderness. I’m still thankful for the experience because since then I’ve invested a lot of time and energy to become as prepared for any survival situation as I can, and it brought to where I am today – helping other people with my writing and in life. So every bad event is a lesson to be learned and as for me, the Divide is one of many trails I have yet to conquer and I advise you to do the same, just be careful.

About the Author: Howard Scalia comes from Austin, Texas, he is 37 years old and has been a military psychologist for about seven years. He’s been learning about human nature his whole life and he loves to share his insights with his readers. Howard is also a survival enthusiast, which gave him the spot among the trusted writers of prosurvivalist.com. When he’s not working in his office or writing, he enjoys taking long walks in the woods with his dogs.

 

15 Road-Tested Tips for Nursing Your Child in Public

By Guest Blogger: Merril Bainbridge

Author Bio: At 16, Merril Bainbridge began her career in the Australian fashion industry. In her early 20s she left to launch a successful pop music career which saw her at the top of the U.S. Music Charts. Retiring to start a family, she found a new purpose helping breastfeeding women with her fashion label, Peachymama.

15 Road-Tested Tips for Nursing Your Child in Public

Most breastfeeding mothers will agree that despite it being a most natural and incredible experience in many respects, nursing your baby is also not without its trials and tribulations. If you have now successfully established breastfeeding with your newborn, you’ve already overcome many, many difficult obstacles on this steep learning curve and are doing an incredible job. Yet, even so, the prospect of nursing your baby in public for the first time is still a major hurdle to overcome for many women.

The key to successfully nursing your child in public, and enjoying the experience, is 100% down to confidence I believe. In an ideal world, we know that women should never feel uncomfortable about when and where they breastfeed their baby, yet the reality is that for many it is a nerve-wracking prospect. There aren’t many mothers who feel confident about breastfeeding their baby in public from week 1 with their first baby. It is a journey for which most women must take small steps to build confidence.

If you can break down your fears and worries, breastfeeding out and about can be a pleasant experience that allows you to fully enjoy life with your new baby. Whether you are worried about negativity from others, or revealing too much of your postpartum body, or a screaming baby drawing attention to yourself, there is plenty you can do to prepare yourself and feel as comfortable and confident as possible.

1. Do What Comes Naturally, One Step At A Time

A golden rule is to be kind to yourself and take this journey as slowly as necessary. You have just given birth and are adjusting to a whole new world. It is essential that you nurture yourself as well as baby, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get out there immediately.

If you are one of the lucky women who feels confident about feeding their baby out and about any time from day 1, then brilliant: do it. Otherwise take baby steps. Start with feeding your baby in front of friends and family at home, then take short trips to familiar places where you’ll feel most comfortable, preferably with a supportive companion. It won’t take too many feeding sessions to build enough confidence to feel like you can go anywhere, but take it at your own pace.

2. Know Your Rights

To feel confident about feeding in public, you need to be absolutely certain of your rights to be nursing in that place. For this reason it pays to do some research when it comes to your entitlement to when and where you can breastfeed. Some women like to carry a copy of local laws with them for if they were to ever be challenged, as being able to repeat the wording of the laws at a stressful time could be difficult! Note though that relatively few mothers are ever challenged; it’s just good to be prepared.

Almost universally speaking, the laws in most English-speaking countries are very much on the side of breastfeeding mothers. The exact level of protection will depend on where you are reading this: in the US women in 47 states are fully protected by laws allowing them to breastfeed in public, and in two more there is protection from prosecution under indecency laws. There seems to be no known cases of a woman being prosecuted for breastfeeding in public in recent history. UK and Australian citizens are protected by similar laws, and you can find out current legislation through helpful services like the Australian Breastfeeding Association or the La Leche League in the UK.

3. Be Proud and Be Prepared

There are many mind-blowing reasons to choose to breastfeed your baby, for health and otherwise, and you will have already made your choice based on these. Be confident in your choice, and know that nurturing your infant in this way is an incredible thing.

Unfortunately not everybody is as well educated when it comes to breastfeeding. From time to time, breastfeeding mothers are the victims of derogatory comments from members of the public. These incidents are often widely reported on social media, sometimes even through the press. Unsurprisingly, the prospect of an unpleasant experience like this worries many mothers. The risk of it happening generally depends on the cultural norms and the proportion of breastfeeding mothers in the area where you live. Thankfully in most places where lots of women breastfeed it is incredibly rare to encounter any negativity. Yet, it is still a concern for everyone.

You could have a few witty retorts or pointed jokes ready at the back of your mind, but seeing as the only people who are likely to make comments are those who are misinformed, a little education will go a long way. There is very little to argue against when you point out that all respected medical bodies, including the World Health Organisation, recommend long-term breastfeeding.

4. Dress for Success

The last thing you want be doing while trying to soothe a hungry baby in a busy place is to be fumbling around with awkward clothing. Aside from specially designed nursing bras, choose loose fitting tops that are easy to pull up or across, perhaps with a second layer underneath that you can pull down under the breast if you are feeling self-conscious about your tummy. Some moms like to tuck a muslin or cloth into their bra strap while nursing to drape down and over the breast; just be sure baby is not getting too hot. For the most discreet feeding, there are thankfully now plenty of beautifully designed, flattering breastfeeding clothes available with clever access for baby built-in, including dresses. You needn’t feel that breastfeeding requires you to lose your sense of style.

5. Practice, Practice, Practice

The key to self-confidence when breastfeeding is to be sure exactly what you are and are not revealing and be happy with it. After all, we all have different tolerance levels to how much skin we are prepared to reveal while we nurse baby. If necessary, practice at home in front of a mirror, unclipping your bra, latching baby on and clipping your bra back together when baby is finished until you feel comfortable and ready to conquer the outside world.

6. Consider a Cover…

Not everyone feels the need for a specially designed breastfeeding cover, but if you are feeling self-conscious like many new moms, this is one way to be sure you won’t be revealing any skin at all. These clever inventions usually attach around your neck and entirely cover baby and your top-half. You can choose from a wide range of funky fabrics too.

7. …Or a Sling

For the ultimate in convenience, you could get yourself a breastfeeding friendly sling. With some styles you may need to stop, sit down and reposition baby in order to feed, but there are others available where you can breastfeed while standing, depending on the size of your child.

8. Use a Buffer

If you are still feeling nervous and are out with your partner or a companion, you could position them as a screen or buffer to the outside world for a bit of extra confidence.

9. Twist Away

A useful tip if you are concerned about people very close by seeing too more than you want them too, is to turn away and latch your baby onto your breast with your back to people since this is the time you are most likely to inadvertently reveal a nipple. It won’t seem rude since it is just for a moment until baby is happily feeding and shielding your breast with its head.

10. Entertain Older Babies

The older your baby gets, generally the more fidgety it gets. If your baby is getting to this stage consider a few tactile things it can play with while feeding, such a silky scarf around your neck or a necklace. Whatever you choose make sure it is super safe for baby and keep a super close eye on them while they are playing to make sure nothing is blocking their airway.

11. Do Your Research

You need comfy places to nurse baby and this is something you can research before baby even arrives. Make a list of places where you envisage spending time once baby is here, even places like the supermarket. Suss them out for a spot you’ll be happy to nurse in for each place; just remember that you may be there a while so it needs to be comfy and pleasant. You will also need room for your bags and pram and support for your back. Some of the more family-friendly places provided designated rooms for more privacy if you feel you need it. Just remember the car is a better last resort than the bathroom; no one needs to eat lunch in there and definitely not a baby!

12. Don’t Leave it Too Late

If you are keen to avoid attracting attention to yourself, and for a happy baby too, avoid baby getting too hungry and grumpy before you find a spot to settle and nurse. Gradually you’ll get more eagle-eyed to baby’s hunger cues so you can move quickly to a better space while they are still relatively calm. However, if your baby has suddenly woken up ravenous (think growth spurt!) then it’s best just to stop and feed baby as soon as you possibly can, even if it isn’t an ideal location; after all no one can rightfully criticize you for satisfying a hungry child.

13. If All Else Fails, Look Down!

This might seem like surprising advice and at all other times I’d be saying hold your head up high, but if you do find yourself having an attack of nerves a magic remedy is to look down at baby. A happily feeding baby is one of the calmest images you can bring to mind, especially that of your own baby. Remember too that baby is oblivious to whatever fuss is bothering you, all they care about is being well-nourished which is exactly what you are doing for them. Look at baby and remember how amazing they think you are right now!

14. Keep On Going

The more you nurse when out and about, the more natural it is going to feel, trust me. Hang in there!

15. Remember How Amazing You Are

Finally, for a last confidence boost, remember the more women that breastfeed in public the easier it will get for future mothers. Research tells us that a factor in low breastfeeding rates is how breastfeeding mothers feel they are perceived while feeding out and about. Every feed you do out of the house helps normalize breastfeeding and can only boost future breastfeeding figures. You are a hero!

5 Creative Ideas for Making Photo Albums of Your Kids

5 Creative Ideas for Making Photo Albums of Your Kids

By Guest Blogger: Alex Gomez

Author Bio: Alex Gomez is a social media professional who dabbles as a freelance tech writer and photographer. This gadget and car enthusiast also plays video games and keeps himself updated on technology news in his spare time.

5 Creative Ideas for Making Photo Albums of Your Kids

Back in the early days, we documented our best memories through compact cameras with disposable film rolls that could be developed into photo prints. As years have gone by, printed photos began to go out of style, and soon we switched to the digital way of photographing kids.

With the advent of digital photography, the photos we’ve taken remain stored in our computers and storage devices until who knows when. Are you going to just let the memories that come with your children’s photos become forgotten?

If you want to preserve beautiful memories that your kids can look back on when they grow up, print your digital photos and create beautiful photo albums with them.

Time to get crafty! Here are five creative ideas for making photo albums of your kids:

1. Alphabet Photo Album

letter-j-for-jump

Image Credit: flickr.com

While there are different alphabet learning resources that can help you teach your kids their ABCs, a photo album can also be a great one! Snap photos of meaningful things, people, activities, and places whose names start with a letter in the alphabet. Your choice of photos has to mean something to them, so they can recognize it easily and learn their first ABCs fast.

2. Poem-Filled Photo Books

End a fun-filled day with your kids by reading them poems that you’ve personally written just for them. If you can’t find the right words, you can search for meaningful poems and quotations of mothers and fathers to their children. Include photos of you interacting with your children, whether it’s giving them piggyback rides or just having a hearty laugh with them.

3. Book of Firsts

book-of-firsts

Image Credit: flickr.com

Your kids’ first year is the most exciting time because that’s when they experience things for the first time. Document their first haircut, first step, or their adorable first smile. Better get your camera ready so that you won’t miss out on those precious, unexpected moments and have something to add to your children’s books of firsts.

 4. Travel Photo Book

travel-photo-book

Image Credit: flickr.com

 

If your family loves to travel, preserve your vacation memories by making themed photo books. Instead of stacking your photos in your closet and hard drive, make exciting and adventurous stories out of them. If you want to get creative and make one on your own, make a DIY travel scrapbook instead.

4. Birthday Memories

Compile photos of your kids’ birthday parties in one album. Start from the very first birthday to the most recent ones. This kind of photo album will be a sentimental way to keep track of how much your kids have grown through the years.

In Conclusion

You kids’ photos don’t deserve to be tucked away in a shoebox and buried deep in your computer’s hard drive or storage device. They should be displayed and preserved so that when your kids grow up, they have physical mementos that will tell wonderful stories of their childhood.

10 Things You Need to Know About Natural and Induced Labor

By Guest Blogger: Regina Due

Author Bio: A parenting writer, Regina empowers women through her writing and parenting tips. If she’s not writing, you can catch her surfing the web for what’s new at Fertile Mind.

10 Things You Need to Know About Natural and Induced Labor

Every birthing experience is different. Not only from one woman to another but even from your first born to your second. While controlling every aspect of the labor process is out of the question, arming yourself with knowledge about what you can expect is something that you should work on, as much as you work on preparing all of the physical things for when your newborn arrives.

There are two ways labor can be initiated — naturally and through inducement and the following are ten things you need to know about these two processes so that you can feel more prepared.

Definition of the Two

Natural labor comes about organically with your body starting the process on its own while with induced labor, the pain in started artificially by medication in the cervix, through a drip or via other methods.

Choosing between the Two

There isn’t really an option to choosing between natural or induced labor. You have no control over natural labor and when it comes to induced labor, only certain factors will impel the medical team to start labor pains such as you being two weeks past your due date, having an infection in your uterus; having high blood pressure or diabetes are some of the most common reasons.

Encouraging Natural Labor

You may not have control over your body but you can stimulate it into going into labor naturally with a few things. Exercise is always a good option, especially in those last few weeks of your pregnancy. Sex is another good way of helping your body go into labor naturally. Other things like spicy food, acupressure and even a bumpy car ride have been pointed out as helping to encourage the body to start labor naturally.

Movement

With natural labor you are more likely to be able to move around in your hospital room, sit on the ball and try certain exercises or stretching but with induced labor you are more likely to be bed bound, attached to the drip and being monitored while you endure the labor pains.

Induction Risks

While there aren’t any risks other than the usual ones that come with child birth when it is a natural labor, with an induced labor there are some added risks such as that of having a higher chance of giving birth through a C-section, especially if your cervix is not ready for birth. Other risks like “fetal distress,” infections and umbilical cord problems could also be caused by induced labor.

Timespan

Induced labor means your body has been given the push it needs to set itself into labor mode but that doesn’t mean you will give birth more quickly than those with a natural labor. Regardless of how your labor starts, this process will last depending on other factors.

Different Labor Hormones

When you go into labor naturally it means your body is ready for it and there are the hormones geared to pulse their way with your every contraction. With induced labor, your body is not ready yet and so artificial hormones are used during the labor process.

Not Eating Much

Since induced labor comes with an increased risk of you giving birth via C-section, you won’t be allowed to eat as much as you feel like during labor because of this possible surgical procedure.

Different Contractions

While all women can vouch for the pain felt during labor, women who have gone through both natural and an induced labor have said that with the latter the contractions feel “more intense,” they last longer and “they’re harder because they aren’t as productive” as those from a natural labor where the body is naturally wanting to gear up for the baby.

Adapt to the Restrictions

With induced labor forcing you to stay in bed more than natural labor, preparing yourself mentally is key to not allowing the experience to stress you too much. Practicing mindfulness throughout your pregnancy, doing proper breathing exercises and most importantly meditation, are all things that will help you to overcome the pain and the frustration of being bed bound, so that even though the experience will be hard, you will have as much control over your state of mind as possible, and create a great environment to welcome your baby in.

10 Ways To Build Your Child’s Confidence

10 Ways To Build Your Child’s Confidence

By Guest Blogger Regina Due

Author Bio: A parenting writer, Regina empowers women through her writing and parenting tips. If she’s not writing, you can catch her surfing the web for what’s new at Fertile Mind.

Building a child’s confidence is a job that starts at a very young age, but is as crucial as picking the right school system for him. If you want to make sure that your child will be a confident, happy kid, these top ten tips will help.

  • Establish a physical bond with your child early on. A close physical bond can help your child feel safe in the world during their formative years. Using something along the line of a baby carrier that supports skin-to-skin contact can help with this once youre past the newborn age.
  • Allow them to fall down and fail occasionally. Believe it or not, kids will learn that failure isnt the end of the world if you let them make mistakes. In fact, showing them that its important to try again will make them realize that failing is a part of life. They will feel more comfortable with taking risks, which in turn will make them more confident in their ability to recover easily.
  • Teach them to stand up to bullies. By explaining to them that its okay to stand up for themselves, youre teaching them that its okay to rely on themselves to do the harder things in life. Many parents have noted positive changes in confidence after they enrolled their children in self-defense classes, too.
  • Be responsive to your child during your child’s early years. When a child cries out for food or milk, its because they need you. Being responsive to your childs needs and cries shows your child that you view them as precious, and as a priority. What can be more confidence-boosting than that?
  • Be positive. Kids thrive under positivity, and parents that are regularly healthy and happy will make children feel happier, too. Its hard to deny that seeing happy people also happens to be confidence-boosting for adults, too.
  • Call your child by his name. Oh, what an amazing impact just saying someones name can have! Children who hear their names on a regular basis often have a better sense of identity, and also have a tendency of feeling like they matter. You can never go wrong with saying your childs name. After all, dont you like it when your parents called you by name instead of Here, kid!
  • Encourage your child to discover his or her own talents. A child who sees that they can do great things is a child who will always be a bit more confident than his or her peers. It doesnt matter if his talent is art, sports, or even video games, either. By encouraging your childs exploration and praising their good work, youre showing them that theyve got value in their talents, and that will build their confidence more than anything else.
  • Praise your child whenever he accomplishes something difficult. Tossing empty praise at a child can do more harm than good, but that doesnt mean that you should never compliment your kid when he actually achieves something difficult to do. When your child actually has to work for praise, that praise will mean a lot more. It also will give them a more realistic outlook on life, too.
  • Teach your child to accept other people from different backgrounds. If you want your child to feel confident in a world that may or may not accept her due to circumstances out of control, make an effort to show them that you and those around you accept and appreciate people of different backgrounds. Teaching them to accept others will make them feel more confident around people of other backgrounds, regardless of how old they are.
  • Keep an eye out for bad influences. Whether its just the possibility of hanging with the wrong crowd in school, or something much worse, a childs exposure to bad influences can definitely eat away at his or her self-esteem. Curbing negative people and lessons in your childs life can be difficult, but it can seriously help them mature in a confident, healthy manner.

It’s important to realize that confidence is something that is built up over time. Be patient with your child, and also make a point of it to reinforce their confidence every single day. With hope and hard work, it will pay off in the end.