Swell Mommy

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● Tackling one parenting challenge at a time ● Discovering kids activities and trips ● Have a question you want to ask? DM! ●

http://www.swellmommy.com/

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Breastfeeding. We are weaning down to bedtime nursing only. 2 babies, over 4 years of my life, through 5 mastitis infections, going back to work and pumping during the day, we are almost at the end. Join us during Breastfeeding Week 2018 and share your breastfeeding stories and advice. Here are a few breastfeeding tips I share with new moms:

1. For the majority of women, breastfeeding is challenging and painful for the first month. You are not doing it wrong, it really is awful in the beginning and then our bodies adapt. Stick it out. It is worth it.

2. Newborns nurse around the clock. You are not underproducing. You are not starving your baby (except in very rare cases of medical conditions which a doctor or lactation consultant can help determine). Just let baby latch and nurse on demand and your supply will increase based on how often baby is nursing.

3. Don’t expect to get anything else but keeping baby fed done for the first month. Everything else can wait. Give yourself some grace.

4. Don’t focus on trying to make it to X number of months or years during the hard parts. Just get through the days and weeks. 
5. Don’t judge other mothers for how they feed their babies. The harder you are on other moms, the harder you are being on yourself. Nurse because you want that for you and your family, not because you think it makes you better than moms who don’t. You’re doing your best. We’ll all doing our best.
#worldbreastfeedingweek
Back to School Checklist. I am a minimalist at heart but when it comes to educational things, I am  totally extra. Trying to keep it in check this year, by making a list.
1. Make and Print First Day of School Sign.
2. Buy backpack, lunch bag, stainless steel food container and water bottle.
3. Buy everything on the school supplies list.
4. Get haircut.
5. Buy first day of school outfit.
6. Buy personalized waterproof labels.
Am I missing anything? This will be my first child going into public school.
Self care. As moms, we often prioritize everyone but ourselves. Personally, when I get too overloaded, my patience runs thin and my effectiveness as a mom dwindles and the only way back to balance is a little “me” time. I mentioned in my stories selfie that I had 5 people ask me this week if I am getting enough sleep. And though I appreciate their concern, I must be looking as tired and rundown as I feel so I thought I’d share a few of my favorite restful respites I am considering this weekend.

1. A beauty treatment of any kind. Whether it’s a new haircut, a facial, or even a mani pedi, taking the time to be pampered and groomed feels like a mini vacation.

2. Glorious uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep. Sleep is one of my first sacrifices when my time gets crunched but lack of sleep has such a profound effect on mood and perspective. Put someone else on night duty and get some ZZZs. 
3. A workout, walk/run or swim. Did I say sleep is the first to go? Exercise is right next to it. From the looks of all the fit mommies in my IG community, it doesn’t look like all of us have this problem but I definitely put exercise aside when overwhelmed with life and getting back to it always boosts my mood with endorphins, clears my head and gives me life. 
4. Pre-Kid Activity. There was a time when a nice cup of fruit tea in a comfy chair engulfed in a good book was a regular experience I took for granted. Now most of my reading is done by Audible, my tea drinking is done in a car while driving and there is little silence. Getting just an hour of this pre-kid life again would be so good for my soul.

5. Meditation. There is a reason so many successful people make meditation part of their daily routines. Meditation is and efficient way to get recentered, relaxed and ready to take on challenges. As little as 10 minutes can make time stretch into a significant mental escape. 
What are some of your favorite self care activities? 
#letterboardquotes #raedunn #anthonybourdain #wholebrainchild #wholefoodslife
Thank you for 3000+ giveaway!! Last week ya’ll voted for several small giveaways instead of one large one. I thought my community of education loving mamas would appreciate these 20 books for their own libraries so one lucky family will win this set.

To enter, drop an emoji or series of emojis that best represents your #momlife. Or tag a friend that might like our IG mom musings. 
Giveaway entry acceptance closes in 48 hours on 7/13/18. Good luck and thank you for making my IG experience so positive!! (More giveaways to follow.)
Encouraging Curiosity. We have a fine balance to strike as parents. Keeping our kids in line enough so they don’t end up in certain danger while giving them enough freedom to pursue their innate drive to learn and understand. And finding enough time to do it all. Here are a few easy ways we foster curiosity in our family.

1. Exposure. Taking a child out of their normal environment into another environment where they can see things in action they wouldn’t normally see. A mountain hike, a stroll down to the beach, a city stroll near construction, even kid museums like the Discovery Cube that put new images in their minds.

2. Questions before bed. As part of our bedtime routine, we ask, “What questions do you have about today?” Specifically, “Did you see something you didn’t understand or want to know more about?” It puts the kids in a mindset to remember their questions for later discussion and research.

3. Follow the child. Our kids are Montessori educated so we do try to reinforce this idea at home. We let them pick the activities we do together, let them try on their own before stepping in to help when they ask, and get excited about the things they like. It gives them the autonomy and reinforcement to pursue their interests.

4. Model Curiosity. We are parents with robust interests of our own and we model the Interest-Question-Research-Answer cycle with our kids. Many times, kids need to see us do as we teach. Verbalizing those steps to the kids is extremely helpful to them as well. 
How do you foster curiosity in your kids?
4th of July Activities! One day in the middle of the week and so many options for the littles! Here are some ideas. 
1. History Lesson. It can be as simple as we’re celebrating America’s birthday or as detailed as talking about the Declaration of Independence being signed. The lesson can get more detailed as they get older.

2. Go to a Parade, Block Party or Carnival. Our city blocks off a couple major roads and sets up a mini carnival, game booths, food trucks and a live band. Very kid friendly and many cities have events like these.

3. Make something red, white and blue. Whether it’s a door wreath craft or triple layer Jello, nothing is more kid friendly or patriotic than making something with our own hands!

4. BBQ of course! Is there anything quite as celebratory as food cooking on a grill over a fire? My kids always love seeing the grill light up!

5. Fireworks! Whether a big fireworks show or just sparklers in the front yard, every kid’s favorite memory of the 4th seems to be the fireworks. 
6. Relax! Don’t try to do it all in a day. Instead focus on doing the things you would really enjoy with your family. #independenceday #4thofjuly #modernparenting
New post up on the blog about extracurricular activities. What activities are your kids participating in? #kidsactivities #preschooler #preschoolmom #kindergartenbound #mamalove16
Parenting Book Idea: Does anyone remember those old Goofus and Gallant comics from Highlights magazine? It was about two brothers, though arguably, it could have been two sides to the same little boy (I know, mind blown right?) that behaves poorly or behaves well in similar situations. I was listening to Kicka$$ with @melrobbinslive on Audible and she hones in on this idea that much of behavior modification can be addressed by giving a name to the person you don’t want to be and a name for the person you want to become. I thought, “What a brilliant way this would be to help children become their best selves. *Lightbulb moment* This is basically Goofus and Gallant!”
Here’s how I’m implementing this concept with my kids:

1. Sit down, talk about and list habits they have. Like, leaving clothes on the floor instead of the hamper or helping with the dishes.

2. Decide whether those are habits they want to keep or habits they want to avoid.

3. Name the person that does those bad behaviors. “What’s the name of a person who doesn’t try to do good things?” I am guessing, my oldest will say “Minecraft Creeper” or something. 
4. Name the person that does the good behaviors. “What do you call someone who tries to do good things?” Probable answer from my oldest, “A superhero.” 5. When faced with bad behaviors, we can then ask, “Do we want to be a Superhero or do we want to be a Minecraft Creeper? What would Superhero BB (my nickname for my@oldest) do?” It’s an amazing way to put the correction behavior in language they understand while labeling it in a way they can identify behaviors as ones to continue or ones to stop. #parentingbooks #audiblebooks #highlightsmagazine #goofusandgallant
Problem: Summer FOMO! Last month, I read this sentence that kicked my Fear of Missing Out into high gear: We only have 18 summers with our kids. It must be something we all end up remembering sometime in the hot months because by the end of summer, I am exhausted from trying to jam pack the fun into every week. It’s like we all turn into homeschooling-cruise ship host-professional photographers for a couple of months trying to make and capture every special moment. Here are a few high value, low maintenance ideas to battle summer FOMO.

1. Let your kids be bored. Not every day needs to be magically amazing. Seriously, boredom serves children well by encouraging their imaginative play and allowing them to drive their own interests. My kids come up with the most amazing things on the rare days we are all home doing nothing.

2. Camp in the backyard. Not all activities require running around to new locations. Setting up a tent in the backyard and sleeping under the stars at home means not having to pack anything up or rough it in the wild while still enjoying the unique experience of being outside in the summer all night long. 
3. Plan a sleepover with family. If you’re lucky enough to have family who offer and your trust to take your kids for a sleepover, try it one or two nights. It’ll feel like a vacation for you and them as everyone seems to get a little “cabin fever” being around each other so much in the summer. Plus, sleepovers are hard to manage during the school year between school and weekend activities, make the most of summer flexibility.

4. Cut back on the To Do list to make more time for one unrushed quality activity. Instead of jam packing as much as you can in a day, pick one activity, like baking bread from scratch, and take your time doing it with the kids. Let them take 10 minutes trying to measure out the right weight of flour. Without being rushed, there’s time to develop patience.

5. Pick activities you will enjoy with the kids. During the school year, we rush around doing activities that are good for the kids. In the summer, think about that hobby you love, like yoga, pottery or gardening, and hone it all summer long together.
Problem: Taunting Over Toys! Everything is calm, the kids are playing well together and then I hear, “Look at what I have and you can’t have it!” It’s a vintage set of Legos that belonged to their dad. Tears erupt from the little one who didn’t want the toy until he was told he can’t have it and now they are fighting. 
It’s amazing how the idea that having what other people want develops so early. And that is not what I want my children to learn. 
First, I direct the taunted one to other toys he can play with to calm him down and explain that he will need to wait until it is his turn with the toy. 
Then with the taunting child, talk about how taunting people with what you have is not nice. That If he has something he likes, he needs to focus on enjoying that thing and the only reason he should be showing off what he has is if he intends on sharing it. We should not be getting satisfaction over other people envying it, that kind of extrinsic motivation is empty. We need to focus on enjoying the things we have because we want and need them or it’s a superficial race towards materialism!
Lastly, I tell him because he decided to rub his toy in his brother’s face, his brother, who was not originally going to be able to play with the toy is now getting a turn. We set the timer and little brother gets 5 minutes with the toy. He reluctantly agrees and after 5 minutes, they end up sharing the toy.

How do you handle the taunting?
Problem: My 4 year old seems so unhappy. He whines about everything and constantly focuses on what he does not have. How do I teach my child to choose happiness? Here are things we are trying in our house.

1. Forget the RBF and Smile. I had a friend who had lovely teenage boys. When I asked her her secret, she said she always smiled at them. Whenever she looked at them, from when they were born to this day, she smiled at them. There’s a modeling component to this where children mimic what they see and if they are mimicking a smile, that will release dopamine and serotonin in the brain which will make them feel happy. 
2. Gratitude and Reflection. At the end of everyday, before bed, we do a run down of all the good things that happened. For a while, he would tell me all the things he was upset about and why he had a “bad day” and we worked through those issues but recently he has started to talk about all the happy things, recapping his day as “Really good.” Score.

3. It’s a Choice. A skill that I want my kids to have is to be able to look at things as they are, even if they are not ideal, and muster the positivity to be productive anyway. Now I ask, “Do you want to be happy? How do we get there?” What are some things you do to help your kids take responsibility for their happiness?
Problem: My preschooler is really sensitive to all kinds of perceived offenses. From the words people use to accidental bumps, it often results in whining. How do I teach him how to be more emotionally resilient? 
We recently turned to a physical activity/sport in Tang Soo Do, a form of martial arts. The teacher, when confronted with a child that gets upset during sparring puts things in perspective by asking, “Is it bleeding? Is it broken?” Barring actual injury, he says, “Well then, let’s say ‘ow’ and move onto the next exercise.” Since then, I have adapted my approach from simply acknowledging my child’s feelings to trying to add perspective to the slight. It usually sounds like this:
“I can see how you were feeling <insert emotion> because <insert cause.> What do you think we should do about it?” That leads to a conversation about healthy ways to deal with our own emotions, which often includes the concepts of forgiveness and quickly moving on so we can spend our time having fun.

How do you make your sensitive child more emotionally resilient?