How to lose weight while breastfeeding

Enjoying his banana on a stick!

August 9, 2016 | Posted in Babies and Kids, Deals, Parenting, Pregnancy and Lactation, Weight Management | By

Moms, the struggle is real.  Staying fit is hard enough in the first place, let alone after being pregnant for nine months and THEN the responsibilities of being a mom to a growing family.  Even worse, your fitness takes on a whole new dimension after your baby is born – particularly if you’re breastfeeding!  You probably have a lot of questions, like how to lose weight while breastfeeding, how to get your belly back in shape and more.  I’m a mom of two AND I have a Master’s degree in Exercise Science and I want to answer these questions for you.  Read on!

Do you wonder how to lose weight while breastfeeding? What exercises are safe for your core after having a baby? Check out the New Mom's Guide to Fitness.

Lucky for you guys, I put this all in a short and sweet video course called The New Mom’s Guide to Fitness.

How to lose weight while breastfeeding

For me, I was always scared to lose baby weight because I didn’t want to mess with my milk supply.  Most moms don’t know how to lose weight while breastfeeding – and there’s definitely some important points you don’t want to miss.  You should never eat below a certain number of calories, and it’s important to have a specific mix of nutrients (fat, protein and carbohydrate).  It’s also important to lose fat at a gentle pace.  I talk about the specifics in the New Mom’s Guide to Fitness and include a worksheet that shows you how to calculate our daily calorie intake AND your proportion of fat, protein and carbohydrate.

Are you nervous about trying to lose weight while breastfeeding?  Learn important safety tips for protecting your milk supply!

How to safely train your core

The most common abdominal exercises might actually be dangerous after you’ve had a baby – especially the types of workouts you get on Pinterest and in mainstream fitness DVDs.  Crunches, planks, V-ups and burpees can be too much load on your weakened midsection.  There are some very specific steps you need to take to protect your abdomen postpartum, or you might end up with a hernia.  I talk about what NOT to do, and also include a video with a few sample exercises you can do instead.

Preventing baby wearing injuries

A lot of moms end up with VERY sore backs from carrying or wearing their little ones.  Since your kids always want to be held, this is not good. There are a few tips that can help you head off aches and pains and I’ll cover those in the New Mom’s Guide to Fitness.

The right goals

There’s so much else that goes into staying fit after having a baby. Planning and goal setting are two HUGE components where moms make a lot of mistakes.  My goal is to help you get off on the right foot by having the right plan for you.

In closing

I’m an experienced fitness professional and mom.  I’ve got a short, sweet and affordable video course to help you take ownership of your fitness after having a baby!

Learn how to lose weight while breastfeeding, prevent babywearing injuries and choose the right core exercises after you've had a baby!

Read More →

Healthy Kids Shoes

Healthy Kids Shoes: 6 Things to look for and a list of brands

July 30, 2016 | Posted in Babies and Kids, Footwear & Barefoot | By

Choosing the right footwear for your kids is crucial for promoting optimal development of gait patterns, spinal curves, deep body stabilization, proper alignment of bones and efficient control of the body by the nervous system. There are more than 33 joints in your feet; In the wrong shoes, many of them (sometimes all) can’t move properly. You need healthy kids shoes!

Healthy Kids Shoes: 6 Things to look for and a list of brands

Healthy Kids Shoes

Give your kids as much barefoot time as possible. Even a shoe that fits all of my “shoe rules” can’t replace barefoot time – a shoe threshold between the foot and the ground prevents foot nerves from sensing important information like temperature, ground texture, and other environmental factors. Nerves are meant to feel stuff, so they aren’t as healthy when they’re deprived of information (stimulus). In fact, neurologists often recommend wearing water shoes (on my list of good shoes) year round for kids with developmental delays. If your babies/kids can’t be barefoot then consider a double layer of socks. If that won’t work, then find kids barefoot shoes that fit the following parameters:

1. “Foldable” – you should be able to fold it in half from front to back.
2. Thin soled – as thin as possible. You’l’l notice that thick soles interfere with the “foldable” factor, too.
3. Flush from front to back – no heels!! – the toes should sit on the same level as the heels, with no rising or dipping in the sole at any point.
4. Plenty of room for all the toes – no squishing and regularly check the fit.
5. Attached to the heel and the toe – unlike flip flops, which are just attached the toe. Shoes fixed at the toe cause a pattern of tension throughout the foot and lower leg. Ultimately, they can lead to bunions.
6. Fits snugly without constricting the foot – some shoes can become cast-like when they fit too snugly, preventing proper muscular function.

OPTIONS OF BRANDS/STYLES FOR TODDLERS, KIDS AND YOUTH

Check out our “Store” link for the direct link to the shoes that are available at Amazon.com

Robeez (Baby & Toddler)
My all time favorite. Robeez are a great brand because they combine an exceptional shoe with an unparalleled cute-factor. Unfortunately, they stop making shoes after 24 months. Not all the shoes have rubber soles and are no-slip, so check the description. My favorite style is the Ethan Minishoefollow.

Skidderz
Skidderz are a very mainstream brand – you can find them at Target, Big Lots and Babies R Us. There are a lot of similar brands on the market, sold as non-skid socks or shoe socks. Like the name implies, they’re more like socks with a grippy rubber sole. Sometimes they’re so grippy that they get “stuck” on things and come off of little feet. Occasionally, I do get concerned about the grips holding the foot in one direction while the knee goes another – however, we’ve never experienced any injuries. These are affordable, ranging in price between $6.99 and $12.99 per pair. I’ve seen sizes for older kids at Big Lots, where the prices are also the lowest, but they’re most widely available for babies and toddlers through size 18-24 months.

PediPed (Infant, Toddler & Little Kid)
I’ve gotten great shoes from Pediped. Many of them don’t look like they have a flat sole from the outside, but the appearance is actually an illusion meant to make the shoe more fashion-y. The shoes are flat on the inside. We got a great pair of waterproof boots from Pediped – they weren’t as flexible as I would like, but they are the best I have found so far.

See Kai Run (Infant, Toddler & Little Kid)
Similar to my PediPed review, mmany of them don’t look like they have a flat sole from the outside, but the appearance is actually an illusion meant to make the shoe more fashion-y. The shoes are flat on the inside. I’ve only purchased one shoe from See Kai Run, so I’m not sure if all the shoes are the same quality and meet my “shoe rules.”

ShoesZoo (Infant, Toddler & Little Kids)
ShoesZoo is like Robeez in bigger sizes. They are also extraordinarily affordable because they make the shoes themselves and there is no middle man. They are a Canadian company with reasonable shipping charge to the US. However, the don’t make rubber soled or grippy shoes – only soft suede, moccasin-style shoes. The ShoesZoo line has hundreds of adorable patterns.

Soft Star(Toddler & Child)
Soft star makes leather and sheepskin shoes in moccasin and slipper styles. Many people I know love them and they may be a good option for your family. I didn’t like the construction of the shoes because they have a thick lip around the outside of the shoe, beyond the point where the top fabric is sewn into the sole. My son kept tripping when he was wearing them and the lip would get caught on tree roots, etc, when we were in the woods. I contacted SoftStar about it and received great customer service – they believe that a child will adapt their movement to the shape of the shoe and tripping shouldn’t be a problem after they get used to wearing the shoes. They are right, but I prefer a shoe that my child doesn’t have to adapt to – to me, the whole point of a minimalist shoe is “minimizing” adjustments the body must make for the shoe.
Water Shoes (Toddler and Child)
Water shoes make great every day shoes for toddlers and children. However, not all water shoes meet the six roles above – and some tend to wear out quickly because they’re made of fabric. Avoid using them on concrete or gravel if you want to prolong their life. I love them for warm rainy days or morning playground trips when everything is still wet – they’re so easy to wash and dry that I don’t worry about ruining shoes from wet grass.
VivoBarefoot
We’ve yet to try VivoBarefoot, but I hear good things about the brand – however, they’re expensive.
Vibram Five Fingers (Child)
They don’t sell shoes for toddlers, but the famous five finger shoes are available for kids. Smallest size is a toddler 11.5.
Minnetonka (Toddler and Child)
We haven’t used these, personally: Minnetonka makes a variety of moccasin products for kids and toddlers. Not all of them meet my requirements because some have padded insoles or thick soles, but a great many do – includingthe Minnetonka Back Flap Booties follow and Minnetonka Classic Fringe Bootfollowie. I have a more extensive list of Minnetonkas under the shoe section of the store (click on the menu bar).
Rileyroos
Mostly for infants. Sizes stop at 18-24 Months.
See the “Specific Product Links” below for good shoes that come from manufacturers that make traditional shoes, too.

WEB SITES FOR BROWSING BAREFOOT KIDS’ SHOES

1. Happy Little Soles

I just made my first purchase from Happy Little Soles – they are a web site and store that stocks products from several different shoe companies, like Bobux, Vivobarefoot, See Kai Run & Livie and Luca. The company is in the UK, so expect the price to reflect the difference in the American Dollar v. the UK Pound AND the price of shipping via Royal Air Mail. Shamless Plug: Use my name at check out (Lauren Saglimbene) to help me work towards rewards points and free shoes!

SPECIFIC PRODUCT LINKS

Some companies have select shoes that fit my “shoe rules.”
1. Bogs Kids Baby Dots Rain Boot for Toddlers: Girls
2. Bogs Kids Baby Zoo Rain Boot for Toddlers: Boys
follow3. Stonz Rain Bootz
follow3. Barefoot Merrell Trailglove
4. Barefoot Merrell Flux
followI wear the adult version of this shoe and it’s my favorite on the market. I haven’t been able to purchase these shoes for my son because they don’t make his size anymore. Merrell sells some infant shoes and other models on their web site, but I find that they have too much structure in the shoe for my taste – particularly where the arch of the foot is concerned.
5. Haflinger Kids’s Slippers for Toddler/Little Kid: My Star
These are intended to be slippers but they have a rubber sole, so I don’t see why they couldn’t be used as shoes. I don’t believe they have any cushioning or arch support but I can’t guarantee it.
6. New Balance Minimus for Kids

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Kid Equipment

Kid Equipment: What do car seats, strollers and other kid equipment do to little bodies?

July 30, 2016 | Posted in Babies and Kids | By

As a general rule, “kid equipment” can be undesirable in three ways:

1. It forces your child to be sedentary – time spent moving is extremely important for a child’s physical development. Movement is the “miracle grow” of the brain, so it’s also important for learning and cognitive development.
2. It overly supporting the body, so it takes away from the activity of postural muscles.
3. Placing a child’s skeleton into an undesirable position, affecting his muscles, joints and nervous system.

Kid Equipment: What do car seats, strollers and other kid equipment do to little bodies?

Car Seats: Car seats are only good in one way: They are the safest place for your child to be in the event of a motor vehicle accident. For movement, however, they’re bad in all three ways listed above. Time spent in a car seat means time not moving. The child is completely and totally inactive in the seat – since her entire body is supported by the cushions of the seat, there’s no need to use any muscles at all. Lastly, your pelvis is tucked under and your shoulders/upper back are rounded when you sit in a car seat. This is particularly undesirable for infants because they’re still working towards developing the natural curves of their spine – the car seat directly counteracts that. Unfortunately, cars are a real and permanent part of our lives. Here are a few things you can do to help minimize the effect of car seats:

Spend as little time in the car seat as possible. Organize your day to prevent unnecessary trips and time spent in the car. Walk whenever and wherever you can. Don’t take your baby places and leave them in their car seat. Remove your child from the car seat to sleep.
Have an active lifestyle. The only thing that counteracts poor movement/lack of movement is more good movement!
Cloth Diapers & Disposable Diapers: In most cases, all types of diapers force a child’s legs apart and affect their walking gait/leg position in some way. I love cloth diapers because they’re cute and environmentally friendly, but they’re a huge offender when it comes to alignment – they’re so bulky and force little legs apart quite a lot, which impacts your baby’s movement quality and ability. Whether you use cloth or disposable diapers, give your child as much naked time as possible. Make sure you’re choosing the right size diaper for your child so you don’t have too much bulky fabric accumulating between their legs. Change disposable diapers frequently to avoid the “mass” of wet diaper between your baby’s legs. Note: Your pediatrician should check your baby’s pelvis for abnormalities at check ups.

Strollers: Strollers force your child to be sedentary AND often put them in an undesirable body position. Go for baby carrying or baby wearing, instead. Ask your older ones to walk – they’ll learn about how they’re expected to behave as well at the same time they’re getting physical activity.

Wraps & Carriers: I prefer baby carrying (just using your arms) over baby wearing because wraps, slings and carriers often OVER support infants. This takes away from their ability to use the postural muscles of their head, neck and trunk. Still want to use your wrap or carrier? Reevaluate your infant every few weeks and adjust the position of your wrap or carrier according to their abilities . For example, fold your wrap down a little more so your baby is only supported up to the middle back – she has to support her upper back and head herself.

Booster Activity Seats: These are the seats with toys all around them for baby to play with – they only allow a little rotation, so they limit a baby’s movement at an age where what the baby really needs to do is develop functional sitting – the only way to do that is by moving!! They need to be moving via tummy time, being carried (upright stability), rolling and more. The only benefit to a booster activity seat is that it might give mom a brief break to do something that she can’t do while carrying a baby.

Bottle Feeding v. Breastfeeding: The movements of bottle feeding are different than breastfeeding, so the mouth & jaw develop differently. Read more about the implications of oral development here.

Coming soon:
Baby Seats
Swings
The Bumbo Seat

Read More →

Toddler Nutrition, Day 3 of From the Series “Today, my healthy toddler ate”

Toddler Nutrition - Today My Healthy Toddler Ate, Day 3 - A sample of a real day from a toddler and his nutritionist mom.

April 14, 2015 | Posted in Babies and Kids, Eating Well, Parenting | By

Enjoying my posts on toddler nutrition?  Here’s Day 3 of “Today, my healthy toddler ate…”

Real Life Toddler Nutrition

This is an example of a slightly frazzled day for me – we had a lot of hectic things going on.  I forgot to pack his lunch for preschool the night before, so I had to do it quickly in the morning.  Little man didn’t nap, which cut into my food preparation time for dinner.  Daddy went out of town, which meant no help around dinner time and very little motivation for me to put a lot of effort into dinner.  You’ll notice a very heavy reliance on Ezekiel bread and fruit!  Soon, I hope I’ll have a post that shows a day where we go to a birthday party (Pizza!  Cake! Cookies! Cake pops!) or another atypical event.

Toddler Nutrition - Today My Healthy Toddler Ate, Day 3 - A sample of a real day from a toddler and his nutritionist mom.

Toddler Nutrition – Today My Healthy Toddler Ate, Day 3

Daddy and I try to make the first meal of the day his biggest and most nutritious.  We notice he eats the most at breakfast compared to any other meal time, so lately we’ve try to pack it full of protein and vegetables.  That way, we know that he has had a lot of “good stuff” – even if the rest of the day gets derailed.

If you missed Day 1 and Day 2, click on the links!

Today, my healthy toddler ate….

Breakfast:  Made by daddy!  Omelette with 1 grated carrot, 2 eggs , 1/2 tomato and 1 piece bacon. 1/2 piece of ezekiel toast.  Water.

Snack:  Banana with sunbutter on it.

Lunch:  Leftover ~2-3 oz turkey bolognese (Ground turkey in  tomato sauce). 1/2 cup white bean salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, olive oil, himalayan salt and pepper.  1/2 piece of ezekiel toast.

Snack: Raspberries and an apple.

Snack: ~ 1 cup of plain Cheerios provided by another parent at a playdate.  1 clementine.

Dinner:  1 egg made “sweet,” scrambled with Rodelle vanilla extract and a little mashed banana. 1 piece of ezekiel bread french toast, made with unsweetened almond milk and fried in coconut oil.  Topped with 1/2 tsp raw honey, spread around to cover the bread very well.

After dinner snack:  Pecans.

Thanks for reading my post on toddler nutrition!  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Sample Toddler Meal Plan – Day 1 of the Series

Looking for meal plans for toddlers?  This is a sample of what a real 3 year old eats in a day, as told by his nutrition-coach mom!

April 10, 2015 | Posted in Babies and Kids, Eating Well, Parenting | By

Welcome to my Sample Toddler Meal Plan Series!

If you’re wondering what a toddler should eat in a day, or what a healthy toddler MIGHT eat, then you’ll enjoy this series that I’m starting.  It’s a series of sample toddler meal plans. It’s called “Today, my healthy toddler ate…” and is a list from a REAL day.  Every child is different and this is NOT meant to be a nutrition plan or meal plan for YOUR child – just a sample of what MY healthy, active little boy eats. Again, this post is simply meant as a sample toddler meal plan – an example that might help you broaden your horizons as a parent or child care provider.

 Missed Day 1?  Check it out here!  Each day has something different to offer, along with some old favorites (IE my son asks for Waffles for breakfast every.single.day.)

There’s also Day 3!  Day 3 is a sample of a hectic day for us, when our food choices were not super-shiny-perfect.

 

Looking for a sample toddler meal plan? This is a sample of what a real 3 year old eats in a day, as told by his nutrition-coach mom!

Looking for a sample toddler meal plan? This is a sample of what a real 3 year old eats in a day, as told by his nutrition-coach mom!

“Today, my healthy toddler ate…”

Breakfast:  Two carrot-oatmeal protein waffles (~2 eggs, 1/3 cup oatmeal, 1 carrot), 1/2 piece of ezekiel bread with sunflower seed butter and mashed banana (stolen from mom’s plate)

Snack 1:  2 small clementines and raw almonds

Lunch:  Pureed spinach omelette (blended completely into the egg so there are no chunks), carrot sticks and brown rice with himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper .

Snack 2:  A LOT of  Supereats’ Kale & Chia Chips in Chili Lime (Tortilla-style kale chips, packed with Vitamin A & C, good protein & fiber)

Dinner:  ~4 oz of Steak, 1/2 cup roasted broccoli and 1/2 cup sweet potato fries.

After dinner snack: Banana & Coconut Milk “Ice Cream”  with Allspice

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What a toddler should eat: a real day in toddler nutrition.

Real Life Samples of What a Toddler Eats - from a Nutrition Coach

March 8, 2015 | Posted in Babies and Kids, Eating Well, Parenting, Toddler Friendly | By

If you’re wondering what a toddler should eat in a day, or what a healthy toddler MIGHT eat, then you’ll enjoy this series that I’m starting.  It’s called “Today, my healthy toddler ate…” and is a list from a REAL day.

Disclaimer

  1. Every child is different and this is NOT meant to be a nutrition plan or meal plan for YOUR child – just a sample of what MY healthy, active little boy eats.  In an attempt to choose good search terms, the title of this page is coming up as “What a toddler SHOULD eat” – which I hate!!  Realistically, there are too many factors – both nutritional and “real-life-ational” – to come up with a definitive SHOULD.  Again, this post is simply meant as an example that might help you broaden your horizons as a parent or child care provider.  
  2. This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com.  That means I get a percentage of the proceeds from any purchases you make through the links.  
What A Toddler Should Eat: Real Life Samples of What a Toddler Eats - from a Nutrition Coach

What a Toddler Should Eat – Real Life Samples of What a Toddler Eats

What A Toddler Should Eat: Today, My Healthy Toddler Ate:

Breakfast:  Homemade “Carrot Cake” Protein Waffles = 2 eggs, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1.5 teaspoons coconut oil, 1 carrot, 2 tablespoons raisin
~ 3-5 oz of whole milk from Homestead creamery.

Snack:  ~15 Raw Almonds, 1 Carrot of Carrot Sticks, 1 Large Apple

Lunch:  ~3 oz of steak, 1/2 sliced red pepper, 2 small “cutie” clementines

Post-nap snack:  Roasted white potato “potato fries” (~ 1/4 potato)

Dinner:  ~3 oz of steak, 1/4 cup sliced cucumbers, 1/4 cup of spinach salad with balsamic dressing

Dessert:  Homemade chocolate-avocado pudding with homemade whipped cream = ~1/2 an avocado, 1/4 cup heavy cream, ~1 tablespoon of sugar, along with seasonings

Interested in seeing more samples of what a toddler shout eat?  Check out Day 2 and Day 3 by clicking on the links!

 

Read More →

How Bottle Feeding Affects Athletic Ability

Bottlefeeding Can Affect Athletic Ability | Total Lifestyle Management

April 22, 2014 | Posted in Babies and Kids, Parenting | By

Did you now bottle feeding affects athletic ability?  Singing ability, too?  So, it could affect their chances of being a world-class opera singer.  Or an internationally competitive athlete.  Or of living with tight muscles and chronic pain –  Regardless of whether the bottle contains formula or breast milk.  The magnitude of impact will vary from person to person, with some experiencing little tangible impact, but the possibility is there.

How Bottle Feeding Affects Athletic Ability

It’s pretty well documented that the activity of a baby’s oral cavity and jaw is completely different for bottle feeding compared to breast feeding (great explanation here).   The height, shape and function of your palate, mandible and maxilla are all developed during the early years – and they’re developed by breastfeeding at the breast, particularly during the first six months of life.

Bottle Feeding Affects Athletic Ability, Risk of Injury & More: REGARDLESS of what's in the bottle (formula or breast milk). Contains tips for ditching bottles, even if you formula feed.

 

Just as rolling, sitting and crawling are the developmental activities of the body, suckling at the breast is the developmental activity of the oral cavity and jaw.  Your jaw and mouth affect the function of your neck, which affects the function of your shoulders and everything beneath them.  This means that poor development of the jaw affects every physical structure down the line. Thus, bottle feeding affects athletic ability, risk of injury and more. 

*EDIT on 4/14/2015:  This post has received a LOT of traffic lately, and I’m amazed at the comments by people who have clearly NOT read the article.  I’m happy to host all opinions in my comments and will not delete comments, but please do me the courtesy of actually reading the article and remember this major point before you comment:

This article is NOT about breastfeeding versus formula feeding.  It’s about the impact of using a bottle compared to the breast.  A bottle has the same impact whether it has formula OR breast milk in it!  This is not a pro breast milk post – this is a pro-feeding-at-the-breast post!  Formula CAN be fed at the breast and delivering it at the breast is a better choice than delivering it from a bottle.  If you are a formula-feeding mom, please use this information to make choices about how you deliver formula to your infant.

 

 

Physical therapists, paleo living advocates  and exercise scientists like Dr. Patrick Davidson and Katy Bowman believe that poor development of the oral cavity & jaw can change the way your core muscles work.  It can also change the resting tightness of your muscles and your overall nervous system function.  This isn’t a huge deal for everyday folk and general sport competition, but what if your child wants to be more than average?

They’ll probably be OK if they dream of becoming an engineer or a writer (although they may not be safe from the possibility of chronic pain from muscle tension or misalignment of the neck).  But what if they dream of becoming a world-class athlete, like a power lifting  Olympic champion?  Or they want to set a world record for the deadlift?  Maybe your son will try to sprint his way to a gold medal at the Olympics?   The difference between a gold and silver medal can be a tenth of a second – as small of a difference as breast milk from a bottle or breast milk from the breast, formula from a bottle versus formula delivered at the breast.

Maybe your small daughter dreams of being a pop star or singing on stage at Carnegie Hall?  An oral cavity of a certain shape  is important for having a beautiful singing voice. The tone and quality of a voice is manipulated by moving the palate, the jaw and the bones of the face.  Some aspiring singers go through therapies like craniosacral therapy and Feldenkrais to recover normal tension and rearrange their oral cavities.  Some orthodontics can help change the shape of the oral cavity, teeth and jaw.

Overall, the capacity for physical and technical greatness is really determined by overall genetics and a human’s ability to compensate for their inherent weaknesses (Ref: Athletic Body In Balance)  – so, a “great adapter” can overcome their genetics and physical disposition to do just about everything.  That’s why some top-level runners appear to have bizarre running form yet still succeed at their sport.   (AFTER NOTE: It seems like a lot of people skimmed this part before they made comments.  This is fancy talk for just-because-you-bottlefed-doesn’t-mean-your-kid-is-going-to-be-a-troll.  They might even be an athlete or a musician).

Again, I’m really talking about international-level competition here – you likely won’t see the impact of oral mechanics at your seven year olds soccer practice, so if you’re saying “I formula fed and my child is a great athlete” you’re probably right – it’s the context that’s different.

But it’s not really about the bottle.  Or the thought that bottle feeding affects athletic ability.

While I find this topic fascinating, it’s really about a bigger picture.  We need to stop assuming we’re smarter than nature.  You don’t need to know about all the technicalities of dental occlusion, a vaulted palate, the angle of spee… I mean you could research all that if you really want to, but do you have time for all that?  Do you have the passion for all that?  Would you ever think about palate mechanics & breast feeding on your own??  Probably not.

So make it a point to live your life according to nature.  Make a bumper sticker, a sign in your house, write a song about it, whatever:  I will be guided by nature in all decisions about my body and my health.    You don’t need tons of knowledge to do right by your kids’ and their bodies – just look at the activity of human beings in nature and mimic it.  If you’re a middle class American then you probably know that babies naturally get their nourishment from breast milk, which comes from the breast.  We all want the very best for our children, but it can be intimidating to figure out exactly what the best is.  You’ll always choose the best, however, if you’ve made a point to live your life as a reflection of nature.  Can’t breastfeed?  Find an option that mimics breastfeeding as closely as possible (some options are listed at the end of this post).

Note:  I guess I need to say it again. I honor all mothers, whether they choose to breast feed or bottle feed.  This article is not a judgment of the value of a mother based on which way she chooses to feed her child.  However, it’s important to acknowledge that decisions DO have repercussions, some small and some large.  It’s also important to acknowledge that THAT’S OK!  It’s impossible to take perfect action all the time, whether because of inability or lack of knowledge.  I may breastfeed my kids, but I do a lot of other things poorly.  A mom who breastfeeds her child exclusively at the breast might not provide other advantages for her child and vice versa.  Do the best with where you are and what you’ve been given.  Accept imperfection instead of fighting it.

SOLUTIONS

Here are some things you can do to minimize these drawbacks in an infant, whether they’re drinking breast milk or formula – all of them emphasize less (or no) time on a bottle and more time on a breast (even if there’s no milk in it!).

1.  My favorite option: Consider syringe feeding your baby at your breast – they can suckle at the breast and work towards the same developmental motion, all while receiving their formula/breastmilk through the syringe that’s held close to the nipple.  You don’t need to have any milk in your breasts for this. It takes a few feedings to get used to the mechanics of holding the syringe, injecting the milk, etc., but this is a very doable option for mothers and babies – even in the long term.  Medela makes a great supplemental nursing system that’s also easy to use – you can attach a small tube to your breast, with the outlet by your nipple, so the liquid is fed to baby while he sucks.

2.  Consider using a wet nurse part time or full time, so your baby still has the opportunity to suck at the breast.  This option isn’t necessarily limited by socioeconomic factors, as I’ve met moms in La Leche League groups who would happily do it for free.  I’ve heard of female family members (aunts, for example) “relactating” and nursing as a favor to mom.  If some family members donate kidneys or act as surrogate mothers and egg donors, why not for breastfeeding?  The biggest barrier to using a wet nurse is mom’s reservations about it – which are certainly reasonable.

3.  If you’re feeding both at the breast and at the bottle, make an effort to spend as much time at the breast as possible during the course of a week.  The more time at the breast the more chances to use the mouth & jaw adequately.

4.  If possible, switch from a bottle to a cup when mom isn’t around.  Many babies can learn to drink from a cup at a young age and it will help prevent them from developing a preference for the bottle.

5.  Consider regular appointments with a craniosacral therapist or other bodyworker who specializes in lactation, infants, the mouth & the jaw.  Some craniosacral therapists are very skilled at manual therapy for the palate and jaw.

6.  If you’re well past the breastfeeding years, find a very experienced orthodontist who can assess your child’s jaw and mouth from a functional perspective.  Most orthodontists only focus on aesthetics.  The right orthodontist can help reshape the relationship between the jaw, oral cavity and mandible.

RESOURCES FOR HOW BOTTLE FEEDING AFFECTS ATHLETIC ABILITY

Dentistry for babies – “Breastfeeding”

REFERENCES FOR HOW BOTTLE FEEDING AFFECTS ATHLETIC ABILITY

1) Breastfeeding and non-nutritive sucking patterns related to the prevalence of anterior open bite in primary dentition, CC Romero et al. (2001), SciElo Brasil.

2) Relationship between breastfeeding duration and prevalence of posterior crossbite in the deciduous dentition, Kobayashki et al. (2010), Elsevier

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Carozoo Kids’ Shoe Review & Giveaway

Carazoo Kids Shoe Review

November 18, 2013 | Posted in Footwear & Barefoot, Giveaways | By

Welcome to my Carozoo Kids’ Shoe Review.  If you’ve been following me for a while then you know that I am obsessed with finding the healthiest footwear for my son – learn more about my criteria and available brands at this link.  Buying healthy shoes is not cheap, though.  Most of the brands I like were priced at $35 or higher per pair.   Even worse, my (previously) favorite brand stops making shoes after the 12-24 month size range, so I found myself scrambling to find a new shoe brand when my son outgrew them.  And then I found these shoes.

 

Carozoo Kids' Shoe Review

Awesome.  Absolutely awesome.  They are leather shoes with suede soles… so soft, so simple, so supple and they fit all of my “healthy shoe rules.”  They come with adorable designs on them – my son has a pair with trains on them and always says “choo choo” while he points to his feet.

Carozoo Kids’ Shoe Review

Carozoo is a Canadian brand.  All of the shoes have suede soles, so Carozoo representatives say that they don’t recommend them for outdoor use.  However, we have found them to be just fine for outdoor use if you don’t mind feet getting a little wet.  We have even waterproofed the soles ourselves, or used them underneath Stonz waterproof booties (an absolute must have, if you don’t have them already). .

The second best part?  Most shoes are priced around $12, with some specialty boots going up to $16.  I paid $5.75 for shipping from Canada and it is only $1 extra for each additional pair of shoes.  They even have a 10% off promotional code on the front page of their web site.   You can buy them from the web site, or from Amazon.com

And now the best part:  You can win these Elephant moccasins in size 2-3 years old –  just by liking us on facebook, following us on twitter or tweeting about the giveaway!! And you can enter daily!!  Use the buttons below to enter.  Giveaway entries will end on Sunday, November 24 and the winner will be chosen randomly.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

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Frozen Bananas on a Stick

Frozen Bananas on a Stick: A healthy treat for teething, summertime or just because. From TotalLifestyleManagement.com

October 9, 2013 | Posted in Babies and Kids, Eating Well, Kid Friendly, Nutritious Recipes, Toddler Friendly | By

So, how did I decide to make frozen bananas on a stick? True story: Picky toddlers will eat anything you put on a stick. Well, at least mine will. Sometimes it’s just switching up the presentation.  And I needed to make a particular sad, fussy boy happy.

Another True Story: Teething is a terrible thing. It’s always been bad.  But the “I” Teeth really suck. My son has never been so miserable and drooly.  I have spent hours looking for magic cures and teething tips.

My answer?

Banana pops. AKA frozen bananas on a stick.  They are easy (yay for mom), a great shape for little teeth to gnaw on AND the stick keeps little hands from getting too cold (mine is very sensitive to holding cold things).

Frozen Bananas on a Stick: A healthy treat for teething, summertime or just because. From TotalLifestyleManagement.com

These are also a great way to cool off during hot summer months!

Making Frozen Bananas on a Stick

All you’ll need are bananas and popsicle sticks.  I like to cut my banana into thirds and put each third on a popsicle stick.  Then, I lay them on a piece of wax paper or parchment paper in the freezer, or stand them upright in a tall glass with the banana outside the glass (the banana will freeze to whatever it’s touching).  You can even try dipping them in melted coconut oil or plain yogurt, then rolling them in chopped nuts, wheat germ or other favorite toppings.  I’ve even heard of folks dipping them in melted dark chocolate!  That sounds like a luxurious treat, too.

 

Enjoying his banana on a stick!

Enjoying his banana on a stick!

Depending on the ability level of the eater, the bananas may need to thaw and soften a bit before serving.  Gnawing may not be easy for some tiny teeth.

Frozen bananas on a stick – a nutritious treat, great way to cool off during the hot summer months and a tasty teething remedy!  Try it out and let me know what you think.

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Healthy Snack List for Preschool and Daycare

Healthy Preschool Snack List for Classwide snacks. Great for daycares as well. Built to be simple for parents/teachers and age-appropriate for toddlers and young preschoolers.

September 23, 2013 | Posted in Babies and Kids, Eating Well, Nutritious Recipes | By

Are you looking for a healthy snack list for preschool or daycare? My son started going to a 2 day/week preschool that we absolutely love.  Like many programs, the kids eat snack together and the snack is provided by the school.   A parent brings the class’s assigned snack in every day and the snack is assigned off of a mandatory, master list created by the school.

I cringed when I saw the master class.  It contained items like mini muffins, cheez its and cinnamon bread.  Overall, there were many processed foods and refined grains in the list, along with fruits, vegetables and cheese.

Healthy Preschool Snack List for Classwide Snacks. Great for daycares as well. Built to be simple for parents/teachers and age-appropriate for toddlers and young preschoolers.

Healthy Preschool Snack List for Classwide snacks. Great for daycares as well. Built to be simple for parents/teachers and age-appropriate for toddlers and young preschoolers.

I quickly volunteered my services to help remake the snack list into a Healthy Preschool Snack List.  My goal was to decrease the amount of processed foods on the list.  I’m really happy with what we came up with.  I’ve had many friends and parents ask me for a copy of the list, so here it is.

The school had the following requirements:

1.  All foods must be store bought and require little to no preparation.
2.  No peanut products or nut products of any kind.
3.  No choking hazards, as defined by rules governing child care centers  and preschools in Virginia.  So, you will see that some of my favorite finger foods are missing (IE, baby carrots and popcorn).

The snack list below is a compromise between health and practicality.  It will not meet everyone’s nutritional perspective (i.e. gluten free, dairy free, only raw dairy, paleo, etc.) but nothing ever will in a school environment.  This snack list is not meant to treat or address any medical condition.  I initially had some snacks with Ezekiel bread, but Ezekiel bread is best served warmed and the school did not have the resources to do that.

You’ll find I don’t include bagels, english muffins or bread products.  The variabilkty in bread quality is too high to make it an easy choice.  Many brands have high fructose corn syrup, atificial preservatives and more.  I didn’t want parents to have to go picking through nutrition labels to find acceptable bread products.  Plus, I believe most children have bread products for breakfast before school.

Some items may repeat on this list and the quantities are meant to reflect the size of the class at our particular school.

Healthy Snack List for Preschool and Daycare

Many notes contain information about gluten – our school has a few students who are severely gluten intolerant, so I provided the information to assist their parents.

Item Recommended/Preferred Brands Cost Per Item (based off local
grocery store)
Total Cost Serving Suggestions/Notes
12 Pears and 36 Whole Milk Cheese Sticks Cheese Sticks Available at Kroger:
-Horizon Organic Cheese Sticks
– Sargento Sharp Cheddar Cheese Sticks
– Sargento Colby Jack Cheese Sticks
PLEASE: NO LOW FAT OR REDUCED FAT PRODUCTS
Pears: $1.50/lb –approximately 6 lbs.
Cheese Sticks:Horizon Organic: 4.99/8 sticks
Sargento: 3.99/12 Sticks
$12-$16 This is A Gluten Free Snack if Horizon Organic Brand is Purchased, although Horizon says their products are safe for consumption by most people with gluten allergies.
36 Plain Rice Cakes and 6 Avocados Rice Cakes Available at Kroger:
– Lundberg Family Farms Organic Rice Cakes, Lightly Salted: Original or Wild Rice.
– Quaker Original Flavor Rice Cakes
PLEASE: NO FLAVORED RICE CAKES
Rice Cakes:
Lunderberg Family Farms: $3.99Avocados: Organic $.99/Each
Regular Pack of 4 – $3.99
~$10 Mash avocado with a fork and spread on rice cakes, or allow children to dip.This is a gluten free snack if the Lundberg Family Farms Organic Rice Cakes are served.
2 Large Containers of Plain, Whole Milk Yogurt
and
2 Large Containers of Grapes, Cut Into Halves
Yogurts Available at Kroger:
– Dannon All Natural Plain Whole Milk Yogurt
– Mountain High All Natural Plain Whole Milk Yogurt- Greek Gods Plain Whole Milk Greek Yogurt
– Stonyfield Organic Plain Whole Milk Yogurt
Yogurts:
Dannon: $3.99/Container
Greek Gods:
Stonyfield: $4.99/ContainerGrapes:
$1.69/lb at approximately 6 lbs.
$10-$12 Mix grapes into yogurt or serve separately.This is a gluten free snack.
12 Oranges and 2 Containers of Cottage Cheese Cottage Cheeses Available at Kroger
  Horizon Organic Cottage Cheese
– Kroger Brand Cottage Cheese, 4% Milk Fat
– Daisy Brand Cottage Cheese, 4% Milkfat
PLEASE: NO COTTAGE CHEESE WITH FRUIT ADDED
Cottage Cheeses:
Kroger Brand: $3.99/Container Horizon Organic
2.79/Container
Daisy Brand: $3.39/ContainerOranges
Organic:
$5.29/3 lb Bag (~12 small oranges)Nonorganic:
$4.49/3 lb Bag (~8 large oranges)
$12-$14 Mix oranges into cottage cheese or serve separately.
1 Large Container Plain Hummus and 2 lbs Baby Carrots Sabra Classic Hummus Hummus: ~$3.99Carrots:
1 lb Bag Organic Carrots by Simple Truth – $1.69/each2 lb bag by BunnyLuv: $3.19
~$8 This is gluten free snack.  Sabra hummus contains <20 ppm gluten.
1 Loaf of Whole Grain Bread and 1 Jar of Sun Butter Sunbutter Brands Available at Kroger:
-Sunbutter Brand Organic Unsweetened Sun Butter
Sunbutter Brands Available at Kroger:
Organic SunbutterAvailable at Amazon.com:
Swanson Health Products 100% SunbutterPLEASE: NO SUN BUTTER WITH ADDED SUGAR, CANE SUGAR, CANE SYRUP, GRANULATED SUGAR, HONEY, AGAVE OR OTHER SWEETENERS.
Ezekiel Bread: $5.99/LoafSun Butter: $6.49/jar ~$13 Sun butter is made from sunflower seeds.  It can be found in the natural section at Kroger.  Please do not purchase the natural kind of sun butter, as it contains added sugar.
2 Medium Size ripe Cantaloupes OR sub whole grain chex mix cereal
2 Large Containers of Plain, Whole Milk Yogurt
Yogurts Available at Kroger:
– Dannon All Natural Plain Whole Milk Yogurt
– Mountain High All Natural Plain Whole Milk Yogurt- Greek Gods Plain Whole Milk Greek Yogurt
– Stonyfield Organic Plain Whole Milk Yogurt
Cantaloupes:
~$2.50 – ~3 each.Yogurts:
Dannon: $3.99/Container
Greek Gods:
Stonyfield: $4.99/ContainerGrapes:
$1.69/lb at approximately 6 lbs.
$13-$15 This is a gluten free snack.
2 Large Containers of Strawberries
and 2 Containers of Plain Cottage Cheese
COTTAGE CHEESE BRANDS AVAILABLE AT KROGER:
– Horizon Organic Cottage Cheese
– Kroger Brand Cottage Cheese, 4% Milk Fat
– Daisy Brand Cottage Cheese, 4% Milkfat
PLEASE: NO COTTAGE CHEESE WITH FRUIT ADDED
Cottage Cheese:  Kroger Brand: $3.99/Container Horizon Organic
2.79/Container
Daisy Brand: $3.39/Container
Strawberries:  Regular Strawberries: $2.99/Container
Organic Strawberries:
$3.99/Container
This is a Gluten Free Snack if Horizon Organic Brand is Purchased, although Horizon says their products are safe for consumption by most people with gluten allergies.
12 Bananas and 1 Jar of Sun Butter Sunbutter Brands Available at Kroger:
-Sunbutter Brand Organic Unsweetened Sun Butter
Sunbutter Brands Available at Amazon.com:
Swanson Health Products 100% SunbutterPLEASE: NO SUN BUTTER WITH ADDED SUGAR, CANE SUGAR, CANE SYRUP, GRANULATED SUGAR, HONEY, AGAVE OR OTHER SWEETENERS.
Bananas:  $.69/each at 6 lbsSun Butter: $6.49/Jar ~$11 Sun butter is made from sunflower seeds.  It can be found in the natural section at Kroger.Serve the sunbutter spread on the bananas.This is A gluten free snack.
12 Apples and 2 Large Blocks of Whole Milk Cheddar Cheese No specifically recommended brands. Apples:
Organic 3 lb Bag $5.49/bagNonorganic 3 lb bag: $3.57Cheddar Cheese:  ~3.99/Block
$11-$13
6 Cucumbers and 1 Container of Plain Hummus Sabra Classic Hummus

Hummus: $3.99/eachCucumbers:  .75/each ~$11 This is a gluten free snack.  Sabra hummus contains <20 ppm gluten.
1 Box Plain Shredded Wheat and 2 Containers Whole Milk Yogurt -Mom’s Best Cereals’ Toasted Wheat-Fuls- Post Shredded Wheat Shredded Wheat:  Mom’s Best, $3.09/Package
Post Shredded Wheat,
$3.99/BoxYogurt:
Dannon: $3.99/Container
Greek Gods:
Stonyfield: $4.99/Container
$11-$14 Eat separately or use yogurt as a dip.Soak shredded wheat in yogurt for a few minutes to soften it.
2 Containers Cottage Cheese and 2 Packages Celery Sticks. 1 small pack raisins. COTTAGE CHEESE BRANDS AVAILABLE AT KROGER:
– Horizon Organic Cottage Cheese
– Kroger Brand Cottage Cheese, 4% Milk Fat
– Daisy Brand Cottage Cheese, 4% Milkfat
PLEASE: NO COTTAGE CHEESE WITH FRUIT ADDED
Cottage Cheese:
Kroger Brand: $3.99/Container Horizon Organic
2.79/Container
Daisy Brand: $3.39/ContainerCelery:
Celery Hearts $2.49/bag
~$10-$13
1 Can Chickpeas and 12 Bananas CHICKPEA BRANDS AVAILABLE AT KROGER:
– Simple Truth
Chickpeas:
Simple Truth
$1.29/CanBananas:  $.69/each at 6 lbs
~$6 Served chickpeas and bananas separately, or stack the chickpeas on slices of banana.This is a gluten free snack
2 Containers Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, Chopped in Half and 12 Cheese Sticks Cheese Sticks Available at Kroger:
-Horizon Organic Cheese Sticks
– Sargento Sharp Cheddar Cheese Sticks
– Sargento Colby Jack Cheese Sticks
PLEASE: NO NON FAT, LOW FAT OR 2% CHEESE
Cheese Sticks:Horizon Organic:
Sargento: 3.99/12 SticksTomatoes:
10 oz grape, $2.99
20 oz grape, $3.99
10.5 Oz Cherry, $3.49Organic Cherry, $3.99
~$10 This is a gluten free snack.

Healthy Snack List for Preschool and Daycare

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