5 Tips For Your Child’s First Haircut
Mar 25 2008

babytips.gifI babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  To read other great tips, check out the baby tips category

Now here’s a guest tip about kid’s haircuts by Michelle Breyer.  Michelle is the co-founder of NaturallyCurly.com.  NaturallyCurly.com sells hair products for people with curly hair and also provides a place for them to socialize online.  Check out their page for kids with curly hair.

5 Tips for your Child’s First Haircut
by Michelle Breyer of NaturallyCurly.com

curly-hair-1.gifI remember taking my daughter, Emma, for her first haircut. It seemed like no big deal for me. I was more concerned about saving a lock of hair for her baby book than anything else.

But that first haircut turned into a temper tantrum. Since then, I’ve learned there are a number of steps that can make that first trip to the hair salon a good experience rather than one filled with anxiety and tears. If done right, it can set a positive foundation for a child’s feelings about future haircuts, as well as their hair.

“It’s uncharted territory for parents,” says Cozy Friedman, who owns three Cozy’s Cuts for Kids salons/toy stores in New York City.

One of the biggest questions for many parents is when to get the first haircut. Some believe you should wait until their first birthday.

“There are no rules,” says Jody Mackenzie, owner of Banana’s Salon in Fort Myers, Fla. “You should get their hair cut when you think they need that first haircut. If it’s growing horizontal rather than vertical, or getting in their eyes, it’s probably a sign that the time has come.

Then it’s important to find the right place to get that first cut. Kids aren’t necessarily welcome at every hair salon, so make sure the place you choose knows how to work with children, and understands the difference between baby and adult hair.  Many parents – and children – favor children’s salons. In addition to being designed around the needs of children, they usually are chemical free.

At Cozy’s Cuts for Kids, children sit in a jeep, watch a video or play their favorite video game. There are balloons, lollipops, free toys and all the bubbles they can blow. When getting that first cut, the child receives a “First Haircut Certificate” with a keepsake lock of hair.  “My goal was to make it a place to feel really happy,” Friedman says. 

At Yellow Balloon in Studio City, Calif., there is a popcorn machine, a large play area with a mini-arcade and miniature toy boxes at each salon chair.  “Our stylists have had years of experience with children before coming here,” says assistant manager Christina Kirilova. “They curly-hair-2.gifentertain the kids with stories, toys and even magic tricks so they forget why they are here.”  For the baby’s first haircut, the Yellow Balloon includes a framed Polaroid picture commemorating the occasion, a certificate and a lock of the baby’s hair in a special envelope.

Maria Navarro of Classic Kids Hairstyling in Camarillo, Calif., puts colorful gel in little boys’ hair, and does special braids or twists in little girls’ hair.  “You want them to feel special,” Navarro says.

At Houston’s Playhouse Cuts, the stylists sing and dance and play with the kids to make them feel at ease. They also understand the limitations of their young clients.  “You have to have patience,” George says. “A kid’s tolerance isn’t that long. Even though they’re moving and wiggling, you have to keep going or you’ll never finish.”

Before ever getting the first cut, try to take the child by the salon before the day of the actual cut to make them feel more at ease.”Even a walk-through prepares them for it,” Friedman says.  Over time, it’s best to stick with the same stylist. That way, the child will develop a comfort level, and the stylist will understand the needs of the growing child.

When it comes to cutting curls, it’s a good idea to ask for a stylist who is experienced in working with curly or kinky hair. Make sure the stylist understands that curly hair shrinks – as much as three to four inches.  The right cut depends on the texture of the child’s hair.

“There is no one perfect haircut for every child,” Friedman says. Often the stylist will work with the parent on a strategy for their child’s hair, especially if the baby’s hair is just coming in. It may mean cutting the bottom layer over time to let the newer, top layer grow to the same length. “Have a goal, especially for the first time,” Friedman says. “It’s setting the groundwork for years to come.” With curlier or kinky hair, stay away from bangs, says Jami Walker of the Hairy Elephant in Ballwin, Mo. “They just kink up too much,” Walker says. Bangs can be a big commitment, and can be difficult to grow out. Many stylists encourage the parent to work on growing the child’s hair to one length or long layers.

Be an active part of your child’s haircut.”You may want a bob, but every stylist has a different interpretation of what a bob is,” Friedman says. “Be very descriptive. Bring pictures.” Make sure you’re realistic about what you want. If your child has tight curls, a pageboy haircut probably isn’t the right cut.

Finally, remember that the first haircut is a chance to make your child feel good about the experience, and about their hair. If the parent is anxious or talks about the hair as if it’s a problem, the baby picks up on it.  “Parents forget that children are sponges,” Friedman says. ”

5 Tips For Your Child’s First Haircut

  1. Always make an appointment. Otherwise, the child may have to wait.
  2. Try to get the first appointment of the day so the child can get in and out.
  3. Stay away from the word “haircut.” That can be scary for children, who associate cuts with pain. Instead, use the word trim.
  4. Bring snacks. A hungry child is unlikely to cooperate.
  5. Take the child at a time when they’re most relaxed. For some it might be after a nap. For others, it might be right before a nap.

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If you like this tip, you might be interested in these too:

5 Potty Training Tips That Will Make You Smile

Ten Tips To Keep Your Toddler Occupied on A Plane by Debbie Dubrow of Delicious Baby

Networking And The Stay At Home Parent by Thom Singer of Some Assembly Required

15 Tips for Traveling with Baby by Maryam Scoble of Maryamie

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby care, baby tips, parenting, toddler tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Networking And The Stay-At-Home Parent – Guest Baby Tip
Feb 21 2008

I babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby!  :-)  To read other great baby tips, check out the baby tips category.

Thom Singer, our very own Austin-based networking guru, bravely accepted my invitation to write a guest baby tip.   Thom Singer is the director of business development for vcfo in Austin, Texas. He is also a professional speaker and the author of two books on the power of business relationships and networking: “Some Assembly Required: How to Make, Grow and Keep Your Business Relationships” and “The ABC’s of Networking.”  He is currently working on “Some Assembly Required for Women” with co-author Marny Lifshen. He also blogs at Some Assembly Required.  And now here is his fabulous baby tip:

Networking And The Stay-At-Home Parent

thom-and-family-crop.jpgHaving children changes everything. It doesn’t matter what kind of life you lived before or how your family handles the arrival of your bundle of joy(s), introducing kids into the equation shakes up all of your priorities.

When my first daughter, Jackie, was born I was thirty years old. I was working in a sales position, making decent money, and building my professional reputation and network of contacts. I was ambitious, and did not think that being a parent would make my life all that different. My wife had planned to quit her job and stay home with our children, and I figured I would continue along my career path un-affected by fatherhood.

While on maternity leave my wife received the word that she was being promoted to the job she had desired for seven years with her employer. While she did not make as much money as I did at the time, the opportunity was too good to pass up, and after much discussion and soul searching, I found myself quitting my job to become a stay-at-home dad for two years.

Being a full-time parent is hard work. Don’t kid yourself unless you have taken on this responsibility for more than a few days. There are no days off, no coffee breaks, no business trips, expense accounts or anything else that is an accepted corporate perk. I had never thought growing up that I would be a stay-at-home dad, as there was no such job description or role models who did such a thing. In the late 1990’s the concept was still even more rare than it is today.

I found this time to be very challenging, but also extremely rewarding. Eleven years later Jackie and I have a very close relationship and we share a wonderful bond from those early days of always being together. However, I also knew that this was a temporary role, as my wife would have preferred to have been at home, and I longed to have a blossoming career. Thus I spent much of the time continuing to network and cultivate relationships that would allow me to one day return to the work world. Although there were some naysayers who warned me that my professional career would never recover from the two years away, the reality was because of the active networking I was able to bounce right back into my career when the time was right.

Whether you are a man or a woman, if you decide to take on the role of stay-at-home parenting while your children are young, you need to keep your professional relationships alive. This will not happen by accident, and it takes time and effort (things in short supply when babies are teething, learning to walk, getting sick, and just being cute as all get out!), but neglecting your network can make it much more difficult to transition back to the workforce when that time arrives.

I was very proactive and made sure I had one breakfast and one lunch meeting each week. I was lucky, as Jackie was a very agreeable baby who was happy to sit quietly on my lap or in her stroller while I talked business with friends and former co-workers. While some people are self-conscious about bringing their kids along to business meetings, I never looked at this as a negative. Caring for Jackie was my job, and it was just as important (or more important!) as being a lawyer, accountant or financial planner. As she got older and was more mobile, I would often need to be more creative on setting up these meetings, working around my wife’s schedule or trading babysitting with a neighbor in order to have such appointments. However, there is always a way when you realize that something is a priority.

When it came time to return to work it was easy to put the word out that I was looking for a job as I was still a visible part of the business community. This was as much a state-of-mind as it was a result of my actions.

Choosing to leave the work world to be home with your kids can be both difficult and rewarding. The isolation of not having other grown-ups around can leave one feeling very disconnected. If you can relate to these feelings, then you need to take charge of your networking efforts and get back out into the world. Your future opportunities will all come from people, so you need to make, grow and keep your business relationships.

Have A Great Day.

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If you like this tip, you might be interested in these great ones too:

15 Tips for Traveling with Baby by Maryam Scoble at Maryamie

Throw A Baby Kegger For Your Buddy by Clay Nichols at DadLabs

Keeping a Baby Food Journal by Neena at A Mom’s Life at NeenMachine.com

Increasing Milk Supply by Carole Hayes at Alias Tex

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby tips, networking, parenting, stay at home dad | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

15 Tips For Traveling With Baby – Guest Baby Tip
Feb 10 2008

I babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and have no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby! :-)   To see other great baby tips, check out the baby tips category.

Maryam Ghaemmaghami Scoble was kind enough to let me re-publish her January 30, 3007 tips on traveling with baby that she said was inspired after I asked her if she would write a guest baby tip for my blog.  She also sent me an adorable picture of her looking at baby Milan.  Maryam has been working as an event planner since 1995 and is now taking time off to be with her newborn son.  Maryam’s husband, Robert Scoble, is none other than the “Scobleizer” a strong presence in the blogging community.  Maryam spends her free time blogging about living, loving, and working with geeks as well as life, love, and everything else.   If you are new to the blogosphere, you might not have heard that she and Robert had a baby, but they did and now she has great tips to share!

Traveling with Baby? Here are fifteen things I’ve learned.

milanandmaryam400x267.jpgI honestly thought that my days of traveling adventure would be over once our baby was born. Not so! Barely four months old, Milan has accompanied us without much fuss to Paris, London and Vegas, traveling via Trains, Planes, and even on a bus. We are headed to Geneva next.

If you are traveling with child I highly recommend checking out My Traveling Buddy website.

Baby Center has a great checklist on things to take with you while traveling with child.

My advice based on my own experience:

1) Don’t pack too many little bags and suitcases. You will leave things behind or else won’t be able to carry all of them together. While it was easier before to have smaller, lighter suitcases, you now need to try and consolidate as much as possible. Remember in addition to the suitcases, you also have to push the stroller and you only have two hands :) I used to pack a suitcase, a carry on and a bag for each of us and it worked perfectly before, but now one of us has to push the stroller while the other carries everything on the cart. My heart goes out to single parents!

2) Don’t forget the baby Bjorn or other form of baby carrier with you. You need to check in your stroller and sometimes have to walk long distances before claiming it back after you get off the plane. You can check in the stroller right where you check in to get on the flight, but you won’t get it back when you land until you walk all the way to baggage claim. In London, we had to walk far and long, and wait quite a while before getting our stroller back. Thank God, I packed a baby carrier with me.

3) Don’t forget the bottle washer and soap. It’s hard to wash bottles without the bottle washer and the soap at the hotels or airports might be too fragrant for the baby. I had to send Robert out to search for a bottle washer in Vegas and I had a hard time finding a perfume free soap in beautiful Paris, home to many famous perfumes.

4) If you are using formula, make a bottle ready before going through security screening. They won’t let you carry a bottle of water but they would let you carry the milk through. The bottle would be safe for an hour and two and you are not forced to run around and look for bottled water in the airport. The security officer in the Vegas airport told me that I could get out of line, mix my formula with water and go through again if I wanted to. I didn’t want to wait in line again, but next time, I will just make the formula ahead of time.

5) Check in early for your flight so you can make sure your baby has a bassinet on board. You can’t reserve one on the phone and if too many babies are traveling on board, you may lose out to those who checked in before you. We were late to check in for our flight to London and couldn’t get a bassinet as there were twenty other babies traveling on board. We got smart on the way back and checked in early :)

6) Make sure your baby is sucking on a pacifier or a bottle during take off and landing. The air pressure won’t hurt their ears as much. We were feeding Milan while the plane was taking off and landing and he fell asleep each time without crying.

7) If traveling by train find out where the bathroom with diaper changing table is located and book your cabin close to that. I had to walk through over ten cabins while the train was moving with a baby that badly needed a change, all the while worrying if we were going to reach the station soon.

8)Pack enough formula and diapers. Babies sometimes show allergic reaction to different brands of diapers. It’s also very hard to find the same brand of formula while traveling abroad and babies stomach often react to new brands.We ran out of formula in Paris and I couldn’t even read the instructions on the formula I bought and had to trust the reluctant pharmacist advice. Luckily Milan liked the new formula and it worked fine for us. Next time, I will pack extra formula though.

9) Having a travel system based car seat and stroller (we use Graco) works best because you can use the car seat in the cabs, buses, trains and cars, and then place the seat easily in the stroller when walking around. The stroller folds easily and is light to carry around. You can also use it as a cart to carry stuff around.

10) If you have older children I suggest running them through the airport to let them exert some of that extra energy so that they are good and tired and ready to sleep in flight. Planning travel during their sleep time is also a good idea.

11) With older children taking some cheap new toys and coloring materials helps keep them occupied during flight. When Patrick was younger, I always bought him a bunch of magazines so he could read them during the flight and of course he had his trusty hand held game players.

12) Remember that there are different rules for traveling with babies domestically vs. internationally. For example, babies traveling on your lap can fly for free on United inside the US but you have to purchase a ticket for them while traveling abroad. It usually comes to about 10% of your adult fare plus taxes, etc.

13) You need a valid passport for children traveling abroad with you, even if your child is only four months old like ours.

14) Before traveling make sure to check with your pediatrician about any medical issues you need to be aware of. Traveling with babies under three months is not recommended and some airlines won’t even allow a new born to fly. Depending on the country you are traveling to, your baby may need to get special vaccinations. I packed over the counter  gas-relief medicine and baby Tylenol with us just in case.

15) Last but not least, check the weather and pack accordingly for your child. It was raining hard in London and Paris and we looked around for a long time before we were able to find a waterproof plastic cover for Milan’s stroller.

Bon Voyage and Happy travels!

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If you like this tip, you might be interested in our other recent guest baby tips:

Throw A Baby Kegger For Your Buddy by Clay Nichols at DadLabs

Keeping a Baby Food Journal by Neena at A Mom’s Life at NeenMachine.com

Increasing Milk Supply by Carole Hayes at Alias Tex

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and lotsa link love!

Author: | Filed under: baby tips, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Guest Baby Tip: Throw A Baby Kegger/Shower For Your Buddy
Jan 17 2008

I babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and have no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby! :-)

Today’s guest baby tip is written by one of my favorite dads, Daddy Clay.  Clay is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of DadLabs.  DadLabs creates all sorts of cool, informational, not-so-informational, and downright hilarious videos about being a father in this new era of “let’s share parenting responsibilities, shall we?”  On Monday’s they have a new video in The Lab, on Tuesday’s they are in The Lounge, on Wednesday’s they have Daditude (Daddy Owen is pretending to be pregnant by wearing a pregnancy belly), and on Thursday’s they are all about Gear Daddy.  Check them out!

clay-kids.jpg

Welcome any and all baby showers/keggers!

For lots of guys, as soon as the excitement of a positive pregnancy test wears off, the first concern is about money – well maybe the second concern – the first concern we’ll deal with in another post.  But money is definitely a big worry.  This concern hits an early peak on the first visit to the baby Mega-store – usually a scouting mission.  There, a guy silently tallies up the expenses of all the items on the “necessities” list while trying to seem enthusiastic to the expecting mother.   How are you gong to afford all the baby gear?

Women long ago figured this whole deal out. Need to outfit the nursery? They gather the gals for a baby shower to play cute little games and open gifts with nifty wrapping. They giggle and gossip. Sound like fun, fellas?

Get over it.  Go along if you are invited, and tap into the power of community.  Actively encourage your wife to land as many showers as possible.clay-son.jpg

And here’s a radical idea.  Throw a dad shower.  But we can’t call it a shower.  Not gonna happen.  Let’s adapt.  How about having a Baby Kegger instead?!

You provide the beer. If you don’t like the idea of setting up a gift registry, host an auction. Ask your funniest buddy to MC and offer various goods and services up for sale to the highest bidder. Any bids on the last round of golf with the expecting dad before his life changes forever? Got to let the motorcycle or the season tickets go? All proceeds go to the stroller fund – – or the 529 plan.

Let your guy friends in on the action of supporting your new life as a parent. 

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If you like this tip, you might be interested in our other recent guest baby tips:

Keeping a Baby Food Journal by Neena at A Mom’s Life at NeenMachine.com

Increasing Milk Supply by Carole Hayes at Alias Tex

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com for possible inclusion.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and a link back to their site!

Author: | Filed under: baby tips, entrepreneurship, father, parenting, working dad, working father | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Guest Baby Tip: Keeping a Baby Food Journal
Dec 19 2007

I babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and have no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby! :-)

The last baby tip was by Carole Hayes on wonderful, well-researched ways to increase milk supply and now we bring you…

Keeping a Baby Food Journal
by Neena of A Mom’s Life at NeenMachine.com

baby-hippo.jpgI am honored that Aruni has asked me to do a guest post here on entrepreMusings.  As a “seasoned” mother of four the Baby Tips category is right up my alley and a hard one to pare down (I have accumulated a lot of advice over the years – 11 to be exact!).  In later years, when our other children were ready to start solid foods, we were much better prepared. By being slow and meticulous we were finally able to have fun with the introduction of solid foods.The key to our success is what we called a Baby Food Journal. 

 

When our babies were around six months of age, and we made the decision to start the solid food phase, the journaling would begin.

Everyday, I would record the time of feeding, the amount, and the babies reaction to the taste (this one was for fun).

After the feeding, I would make notes of any unusual observations and the time they occurred. These would include skin rashes, health issues, upset stomach, gassiness, or general fussiness.  babybeingfed.jpg

The next day the process would be repeated. If the food seemed to agree with the baby then it was time to increase the amount and again record my observations. If I saw an unusual reaction a call the pediatrician would be in order. And if I was unsure whether the reaction was indeed caused by the food, something like fussiness for example, then I would feed the baby a small quantity of the same food and watch for a repeat reaction.

Only introducing one new food per week in the first few months of starting solids was my rule. If things were going well I would reduce the time between new foods to three or four days.

Keeping a Baby Food Journal took a lot of stress and uncertainty out of the feeding process. And it was good documentation to give the pediatrician if things weren’t going well.

*photos used in this post by belgianchocolate and joeltelling, respectively

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Check out Neena’s blog.  She has a lot of great things to share…with 4 kids she knows more than most of us about raising kids! :-)  Since her kids are older she never had the opportunity to use Babble Soft applications and she told me that when she was writing this guest tip, it crossed her mind that Baby Insights might help people keep track of solid feeding.  We will be adding that feature in the future but  interestingly our families often use the Medicine Dose pages to keep track of baby’s and/or mom’s food intake to discern patterns in baby’s reaction to foods or breast milk.  Go figure.  Our families are so awesome and so creative!

Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com for possible inclusion.  Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and a link back to their site!

Author: | Filed under: baby, baby care, baby tips, breast milk, food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Guest Baby Tip: Increasing Breast Milk Supply
Nov 11 2007

I babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and have no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby! :-)


Since there were so many views of my first baby tip on Increasing Milk Supply post, and I saw on Carole’s blog recently that she was dealing with the exact same issue, I asked her to write up a baby tip based on her experience for my readers.  Carole is one my faithful blog readers and a Baby Insights user.  She has 3 kids at home and blogs at Alias Tex.  She is an amazing person and an awesome Mom!  Thank you Carole for a great baby tip!

carole-and-christina-headshot-medium.JPG

I’ve nursed three babies and have had supply issues with all three.  I was not able to correct the issue with the first two, so I ended up supplementing with formula both times.  When I discovered that my supply was low the third time around, I decided to work with a lactation consultant.  I ended up supplementing with formula for about a month; in total, I think Christina ended up having about 2 1/2 cans of formula before my supply was enough to make it unnecessary.  Here are the things we tried, in the order in which we tried them:

– Pumping.  I pumped as often as I could, but at least 5 or 6 times a day, for at least 10 – 15 minutes each time. (The pumping was in conjunction with all of the other things I was doing — I’ve heard that for some women, pumping alone can help, but I wasn’t one of them.)

– Herbs.  I took fenugreek, blessed thistle, and alfalfa — the highest dose of each that I could find at Whole Foods — two or three of each, three times a day.  (This did increase my supply some, but not enough that I could stop supplementing.)

– Domperidone* — I take 20mg capsules.  I started out taking five of them a day, then — once my supply was established — dropped down to four.  I tried cutting back to three and discovered that that was too low to maintain my supply, so I rented a pump for a week and jumped back up to five pills a day again.  Now, I’m down to four capsules a day, and I have enough milk that Christina only nurses one side at a time — and doesn’t usually even empty that one!  (I don’t like having quite that much extra milk, so now every couple of days I’ll take only three capsules — it seems to be working out….)

– Oxytocin nasal spray** — 1OU/ML.  (1 spray in each nostril, 2 – 3 minutes before nursing.)  In addition to my supply issues, I’ve had problems with my letdown reflex.  Sometimes it worked just fine, but it was not uncommon for me to nurse her for 45 minutes or more without having a letdown!  I also tended to have them at random times throughout the day/night, and then I couldn’t have another one for at least an hour, so I had to try to nurse her whether she seemed hungry or not!  The nasal spray has changed all of that:  if I don’t have a letdown when Christina starts nursing, I use my nasal spray and I have a letdown within a couple of minutes.  The only times it hasn’t worked are when I was experimenting, trying to see if I could do just one nostril, or use a drop instead of a spray.  (It does work as drops, but I have to do a couple in each side, not just one.)

Now that I have it all under control, my days of sobbing in frustration seem like a bad dream — it almost makes me want to have another, just so I can see what it’s like to get it right from the start!  Imagine:  me, with a baby who has never tasted formula….  It could happen!  : )

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*Some of you may know that the FDA issued a warning about Domperidone several years ago. (On the same day that the National Breastfeeding Campaign was to begin!)  It’s actually a stomach medicine, and was prescribed off-label for breastfeeding mothers.  Because of the FDA’s warning, it’s no longer possible to just walk into a pharmacy and get a prescription for Domperidone; you have to go to a compounding pharmacy to get it, and even some of those are afraid of FDA reprisals if they fill the prescriptions.  Fortunately, for those of us who need it to maintain a normal milk supply, there are still doctors and midwives willing to prescribe it for us, and some compounding pharmacies who will still make it.

Domperidone is widely considered a safe drug when administered orally, and is approved by the AAP for use in breastfeeding mothers.  Many were outraged when the FDA issued its warning — especially since the cases it cites in the warning were decades old. 

Official statements from prominent physicians can be found here.

A very good summary of the controversy can be found here, and many more links here.

Side effects of Domperidone.

Side effects of Reglan, another stomach medication that can increase milk supply, which has no warnings issued against it — even though it is NOT approved by the AAP for use in breastfeeding mothers!

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**I also get my Oxytocin nasal spray from a compounding pharmacy.

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