I just got back from a family vacation to Naples, Italy!
Oh wait, I mean Naples, FL.
Which is less in Europe.
But it’s super pretty with these killer sunsets.
If you go on the old Naples Pier, you can buy very expensive ice cream and then watch it melts at a rate never before witnessed on this planet while your 4 year old throws a tantrum like a madman because he just realized he doesn’t like ice cream, especially not the melt all over your arm kind.
But you might also see this…
Both my parents were on the vacation too and by the way, if you ever really want to irritate my dad, run to the grocery store, buy him Hazelnut coffee instead of regular and also forget to buy his half and half.
Then say something like, “I thought half and half was the same thing as milk.” Then just enjoy the expression on his face. It’s a fun vacation activity.
We did a lot of cool stuff in Naples – like the beach, the water park and the children’s museum. Here’s Rick at the children’s museum doing what every parent wanted to do…
And we even planned one of those alligator airboat tours. At which point, I had the following conversation with my mother…
My mother: “If we are going on an alligator boat tour, I want to be fully lubricated.”
Me: “Mom, you aren’t going to make love to the alligator. I think you meant to say fully hydrated.”
I mean, OMG.
(At this point in this post, I think both my parents are wishing I had just gotten that law degree and skipped becoming a writer.)
Due to storms, we had to skip the Everglades airboat tour, so instead we drank beer and ate fried alligator. Which is delicious and tastes exactly like alligator.
We were vacationing with my sister and her family and of course, needed to take part in a little Naples, Florida nightlife.
(Rick should totally unbutton one more button on that shirt, don’t you think?)
We found this great bar for dancing (and I mean great because there were people older than Rick and me which is my new criteria for a perfect dancing place). We partied our asses off (AKA danced for 25 minutes) until we went home.
And finally it was time to go home for real.
I always hate saying goodbye to my sister and her family. Because they are awesome and I never stop laughing and because it really seems like they should be living right next door.
I want to start off by showing you some photos of my breasts after nursing 5 kids.
Oh wait, no. This post is about encouraging and supporting your breastfeeding efforts so scrap that. Trust me, my breasts are awesome. Okay, a little stretchy.
If breastfeeding is not for you, don’t worry. Your baby will grow up and be amazing (guaranteed). But if you do want to try breastfeeding, read on! In the beginning, it seems like breastfeeding should be a lot easier than it is. (It gets very easy.)
It takes a village to breastfeed:
You need experts. Probably not your well meaning noisy neighbor whose dog just had puppies so now she’s sure she knows all about nursing. You need people in your life that know stuff.
I had no natural instinct when it came to breastfeeding. I didn’t magically know how to properly get my baby to latch on. I didn’t know what to do when my breasts became the size of two gigantic honeydew melons. And you probably won’t either.
So utilize the lactation nurse at the hospital who can help you position yourself and your baby correctly. A doula can help once you return from the hospital. There are breastfeeding groups. Your OBGYN can assist you with problems that can develop like engorged breasts, sores from a bad latch and a breast infection called mastitis. (Aren’t I making this sound fun?)
Find an experienced mom you can contact day or night with breastfeeding questions or general encouragement. You can email me for gosh sakes. Seriously.
When it comes to pumping (AKA the moment you will feel the most like an actual cow), you also want to have a good posse to turn to with questions and feedback.
Don’t ever be embarrassed to breastfeed in public:
Don’t be ashamed to breastfeed anywhere. Your breasts are powerful. They are gorgeous. They make milk. They feed an infant. You are nourishing your baby and that is an insanely beautiful thing.
I once breastfed my son Cash in a baby carrier while I grocery shopped. I don’t know how I did it exactly. But somehow it worked. You can do this. Anywhere.
Babies know when they are hungry:
Don’t be concerned with whether your baby is getting enough milk (unless your doctor is). Because babies know when they are hungry and when they aren’t. Sometimes they will feed for longer. Sometime it will be shorter. Sometimes they will be hungry right after you just fed them (usually when you are trying to head out the door). I found with all my babies that they were generally hungry two hours after the BEGINNING of the last feeding.
Yes, you are going to spend a lot of time nursing. Thank goodness for iPhones. Don’t feel guilty that you’re not gazing at your baby lovingly the entire time he is nursing. Just be content that your baby is being fed while you read Perez Hilton. That is a win win mama.
Even breasts like it spicy and different:
Your breasts need some variety so make sure you change your feeding positions. You’re going to like one breastfeeding position more than another but it is really important to mix it up because that will keep your milk ducts flowing properly and prevent you from potentially getting very sore nipples.
Your husband and your breasts:
Your husband will stare at you a lot. First of all, because he is in awe of the mother you have become. And second of all, because your breasts are always exposed. He will wonder how your boobs can be so present, yet so unavailable to him. Tell him, “It’s going to be awhile buddy.”
He will also wish that he had breasts himself when you run to the store alone for a quick shopping trip and the baby starts howling like mad at home. I know a man who resorted to seeing if the baby would temporarily suck on his nipple until his wife got home. It didn’t work. But gotta hand it to him for some creative thinking.
Read this when you want to give up:
Breastfeeding can be such a sweet, wonderful thing. It’s healthy, it’s convenient and it makes you feel like a lactating superhero.
And remember, if I can nurse twins on the side of the road than I promise… you got this.
I remember when my oldest daughter was 4 years old, she asked me, “Can I go play in the backyard?”
She was referring to our balcony. In downtown Manhattan. A place where it’s actually illegal to climb trees.
And that’s when I sort of had an epiphany. I adore New York City but I wanted my kids to be able to play outside. You know, without bumping into our illegal balcony grill.
So we forged ahead to the suburbs where food is much less desirable but climbing trees is aplenty. As long as we give our kids time to actually do it. The truth is – it’s easy to get sucked into an array of organized activities like Mandarin Basketball and Knitting Hats for Polar Bears with Recycled Materials. (I think those are real activities.)
But children can’t just knit hats for polar bears. Obviously. They need time to just play.
Like the ole days when hair was feathered, we all drank Tab and thick gold chains were super hot. (That’s the 70′s in case you’re still super young with smooth, porcelain skin.)
Studies show play is an essential part of early childhood development. But the average amount of time that kids spend outside is down. Way down. Our recesses have been shortened (my own daughters’ have a 15 minute school recess!) and fewer kids have access to outdoor play spaces.
And summer is the perfect time to get children off the iTechnology, send them outside and let them explore their world. They can move, climb, build, skip, laugh, make up games, play in the mud, insist they are bored, realize you don’t care and then do more climbing, building and laughing.
Even if you aren’t comfortable sending them off on their bikes for 6 hours like the Lewis & Clark of the suburbs, you can still let them do this in your backyard or neighborhood playground.
Kids are ridiculously creative if we just let them… be.
I mean, I left my daughters upstairs for 6 minutes the other day and they had rearranged the furniture, gathered every doll and stuffed animal they could find and set up an entire imaginary school. My gosh, can you imagine if I left them for 7 minutes?
So here are some super great reasons to let your children get out and play…
– You don’t have to yell — “FOR THE LAST TIME, PUT ON YOUR CLEATS. WE ARE LATE FOR SOCCER TO SALSA MUSIC CLASS AGAIN!!!!!”
– Not nearly as messy as playing indoors (like no heavy furniture rearranging).
– When you tell them to go outside and play, you can crack open a Fresca, kick your feet up and feel confident that you are a parenting rock star.
Still not convinced? Well, take a look at this compelling video put together by Playworld Systems about the importance of unstructured play…
This post is sponsored by Playworld Systems. All ideas are my own. See you outside.
Hey! It’s Cash. I wanted to let you guys know that I took my first few steps! For realz. That’s how I talk now, “For Realz.” Yesterday I was a baby and now I have this street lingo. The kids grow up so fast, don’t they?
Basically my mom totally shamed me into my first few steps. The woman literally said to me, “Prince George is already walking!”
I was like, “Yes, but the kid also has a castle. So I’m not sure we are comparing apples to apples here.”
But then I saw a big spread in People magazine on Prince George while I was grocery shopping with my mother (which she likes to refer to as our special quality time). At check-out, I tend to peruse the magazines which some people might describe as destroying the magazines but we all enjoy literature in our own ways.
Anyway, there he was – Prince George and his fancy shmancy toddling.
And I was mad. Like madder than when Daddy told me I had had enough blueberries even though I had only one carton and I knew there were more in that fridge. It’s not like it’s crack dad. It’s fruit. You are supposed to have 6 to 8 servings a day.
So like any 14 month old, I turned my anger into healthy motivation and took my first few steps. And you should have seen my parents. They went crazy for it. Whoa guys. I’m your 5th kid. Easy does it. I didn’t just complete an Iron Man. It was a couple steps from the couch to your arms. But I could not calm them down. Here’s one of 57 videos they took…
My mom was probably just excited because my Memphis cousins are always outdoing us in the developmental milestones and we are seeing them next week. My mother said by then I should be Irish step dancing but I think she is being highly optimistic.
Plus with all her energy focused on the devastating news of the Ryan Gosling/ Eva Mendes baby, she has no time to teach me any step dancing routines.
I’ve been a little depressed about it myself because I honestly always envisioned Eva and I together. I cried about it for three straight nights which my mom attributed to teething but it was all Eva. We obviously can’t be together now due to the age difference but when I’m older. Like when I’m 20 and she’s…. 60. Oh wait, never mind. That might not work.
Anyway, I’m turning into a real wild monkey these days. Mom put in all these baby locks and gates but my pursuit of a nice bowl of toilet water can not be stopped. Getting into the recycle bin is pretty high on my bucket list too.
I gotta run. I hear my mom and she just said something like, “Who was playing with dirt on the white rug?”
I’m totally blaming it on my brother Chase.
P.S. If you missed my first guest post, here it is.
2. Wondering why someone just created the word’s fastest hot tub (like you can actually drive it) but no one has created a machine for children that applies sunscreen and removes lice at the same time.
3. That I will be forced to hold my pee for 3 hours (despite taking others to the bathroom) because it seems too overwhelming and exhausting to figure out how to put my baby down and pee too.
4. That I will deeply long for naps.
5. That I will be asked a lot of questions about how things are built. I finally had to explain to my kid that I am not an engineer. He now has a lot of questions about engineers.
6. That my child will ask if I am still pregnant. I’m not.
7. That my child will ask me why I am wearing pajamas at the grocery store. I will explain they are formal yoga pants. I will swear my kid just said, “If that’s what you want to tell yourself” under her breath but I can’t confirm this.
8. That my baby can cry all night long and in the morning I will rush him to the pediatrician’s office and the doctor will confirm that it is absolutely nothing. Probably a gas bubble. Maybe teething.
9. That I will pay for entire season of soccer and my daughter will not place one cleat on the field.
10. That I will pay for entire session of swimming and another daughter will not place one foot in the pool.
11. That siblings can argue about absolutely anything. Like who gets to go first, even though they can’t remember first for what.
12. That I will be willing to pay almost any amount of money for direct flights to avoid a layover with 5 children.
13. That Junie B. Jones would get herself into so much dang trouble.
14. That I will yell at my children to stop yelling.
15. That people will keep telling me that I will blink and my kids will be grown. I know this is true but I also have not yet developed my Stop Time Super Powers so I don’t know what they want me do about it.