Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog

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7 Months!

He’s keenly aware of his brother every move.  He scoots across the room as soon as you turn your back.  He thinks he can walk (he can’t) and insists on standing up (one second).  He pulls himself up on things and then topples over.  He has two bottom teeth, which he likes to grind into my shoulder.  He is DONE with baby toys – only big brother’s toys will do.  He either screams or sleeps in the car, there’s no in-between.  He sucks his thumb when he’s tired (pretty cute).  He’s tried mashed bananas and avocados so far and although he doesn’t appear to get any of it into his mouth (it’s straight into the bath after a feeding) his poops smell like, well, poop.  He’s SEVEN MONTHS!


My favorite things to do with my seven-month old:

Put him in my wrap and go for walks or go to the beach or pool.  (I have a regular wrap and a water wrap).

Roll a ball to him (he’s always amazed when it reaches him).

Try and read a book to him (before he eats it).

Watch him cover himself with mashed bananas (somehow cuter than mashed avocados).

Baby exercises!  (He sits on my stomach or around me for leg lifts, sit-ups, stretches, and squats.)

Introduce new things (primary colors, shapes, textures) in a small wooden tray Montessori-style.  (He usually tries to eat the tray.)

Let him check himself out in the mirror (he’s in love with his reflection – the brother he wishes really he had).

Swing in the baby swings at the playground (or with Daddy on the big swing).

Play peek-a-boo!  (Usually during diaper changes using a small blanket – otherwise he scoots away before we’re done).

Tickle-fest!  (He has the funniest laugh!)

Songs with musical instruments (usually something we can bang – BAM-BAM)!

Chase the cat, dog, or big brother (and grab fistfuls of hair)!

Bite Papa’s toes (the baby does that – not me – but it makes me laugh)!

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Family Trip to Charleston, SC

Just when we thought Spring was REALLY here, Father Winter takes one last blow.  Before the unseasonably cold weather hit, we went on a quick day-trip to Charleston, South Carolina with my parents.  Although I didn’t get pictures, we went on a horse-drawn carriage ride.  Otherwise, we walked and ate good food!  I love visiting Charleston.  It’s a beautiful, historic city with lots of charm.  I can’t wait to go back!  What are you doing for your Spring Break?

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Guest Post on Breastfeeding at Atlantamomofthree

I’m so excited to be guest posting today at Atlantamomofthree.  She has a wonderful blog that covers a full range of interesting mom issues, including breastfeeding!  Breastfeeding is an important issue for me and I really enjoyed writing about my experience.  Click on this: Atlantamomofthree and check it out!

Napping in bed

Napping in bed










Napping - first few weeks

Napping – first few weeks


ToLabor Doula Workshop

I completed my toLabor doula training last weekend!  26 hours of intense training packed into two and a half days.  I spent the weekend with an incredible instructor and an awesome group of women.  For those who don’t know what a “doula” is, the best descriptions I heard during the weekend workshop were educator of birth options, labor assistant, birth activist, advocate for midwifery model of care, and choreographer.  The last one means that doulas help mom and partner do the “dance steps” of labor.  A doula comes to your home to assist with labor before you go to the hospital or birth center and a doula stays with you throughout labor.  They also help the family transition back home.  A doula provides several pre-natal visits focused on education about labor and birth.  Throughout pregnancy and the post-partum transition period, the doula is a resource of information about labor, birth and breastfeeding.

I was trained with an organization called ToLabor, “The Organization of Labor Assistants for Birth Options and Resources.”  Their moto is: “Empowering Families, Honoring Birth, Changing Lives.”  You can read more about their teaching philosophy at the toLabor website.  When asked why I was attending the weekend workshop, I responded that it was the next logical step after having a natural childbirth experience.  Ounce you learn about all the birth options available and the possibilities for women to have the birth experience they deserve you just can’t keep quiet.  Becoming a doula is become a voice for change.  Doulas are the support, the inspiration, and the resource bringing families home.  The workshop I attended was only the beginning.  The more I learn, the more I realize there is so much more out there to learn.  I feel very privileged to be part of the community of professional doulas but it really applies to everyone.  Every family and every baby deserves the chance for their birth experience to be about celebration, transformation, and healing.  Now that I’ve made this a part of my life I will be posting information from my research and about the inspiration from serving women and families in my community.  I look forward to hearing about your birth experiences!



Busy Bag Ideas – Easy to Make Toddler Toys

Last week I attended my first Busy Bag party!  It’s a great idea.  One mom hosted the party at her house and the other moms brought homemade toddler/baby toy for all the other moms.  So, I made 8 puff ball containers – one for each mom at the party.  Each mom presented their toys to the group and then passed them out.  I left the party with 7 new toddler/baby handmade toys.  Pretty cool!  All the moms were REALLY proud of their toys and we all loved sharing what we had made.  We plan to do it again and use new toy ideas.  There are lots of ideas online.  Below are two that we have enjoyed so far.  I made the first one – the puff ball container.  I always save all my yogurt and butter containers, so I actually had 10 of them in the cupboard.  I knew they would come in handy at some point.  Baby B loves it!!  The second one is cut up pool noodles on a rope!  Baby B loves to pull them off but hasn’t figured how to put them back on the rope.  He’s only 14 months 🙂  You should be careful about your baby or toddler eating either the foam noodle or the small puff balls.  They shouldn’t be left alone with the toys.  You can use these toys to teach numbers, colors, and math concepts like adding and subtracting.  Have fun!



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Talk to Your Baby

Image representing New York Times as depicted ...

Image via CrunchBase

Can talking to your baby give him or her the head start necessary to excel later in school?  Apparently so according to a NY Times article that came about earlier this month (April 10, 2013) called The Power of Talking to Your Baby by Tina Rosenburg.  The article discussed research by Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley from the University of Kansas, who published a book entitled “Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children.”  Their study found that children whose families were on welfare heard about 600 words per hour; working-class children heard 1,200 per hour; and children from professional families heard 2,100 words.  Rosenburg noted that, “…by age 3, a poor child would have heard 30 million fewer words in his home environment than a child from a professional family.”  Furthermore, “[t]he disparity mattered: the greater the number of words children heard from their parents or caregivers before they were 3, the higher their IQ and the better they did in school.”  Ironically, talk coming from the TV was found detrimental not helpful to the child.

I found this article fascinating and wonder what other people think.  Does your environment during your first three years of life determine your outcome later on?  If the first years are so important, what about the birth experience?  What about talking in utero?  What about the hundreds of other factors that can influence a child’s learning experience and growth, i.e. food, friends, school, family, teachers?  Don’t challenges actually help you grow and make you who you are if you are able to overcome those challenges?  Or is that unfair?

On a personal note, I can’t help but think about talkative verses quieter parents.  My husband and I are both more on the quiet side.  Okay, I can be REALLY quiet.  Does that make a difference?  My little one year old is not very talkative.  Is that because of me or is that just the way he is?  I know my issue is different from what was addressed as a concern in the article, which was the disparity for children with socioeconomic backgrounds.  I’m still curious.  Our talk may be less than average as far as quantity goes but the quality is very high.  Does that make a difference?  We are generally positive parents but we could probably work on increasing the frequency of conversations.  So should every city start a program like Providence, RI where poorer parents are provided home visitors that teach family conversation?  What about all other post-natal care like breastfeeding or postpartum depression?  Where does it end or even begin?