How grandma can be an awesome breastfeeding support

I remember how exciting it was for my husband and me when we had our first newborn! However, I also recall feeling overwhelmed by the exhaustion, breastfeeding challenges, caring for the baby and household chores! Breastfeeding and bonding with my baby were so important to me – but how could I do it all??

ENTER: my mom!

Happy Asian family at home

Grandmas (or another family member) can be a huge help. They can lower the stress by allowing you and your baby to spend plenty of time together, and by being supportive and encouraging with breastfeeding. On the other hand, you may feel that your mom/mother-in-law breastfed so long ago or didn’t breastfeed at all, so how could she be a support? Her beliefs and experiences may be very different. My mom had limited breastfeeding experience with my sister and me.  But,  whether or not grandma has experience with, or knowledge of breastfeeding, she can be an important influence in the success of breastfeeding and in building your confidence.

If you’d like your mother/mother-in-law to be your breastfeeding advocate, help her out by discussing these 7 tips. Chat with her about this before you’ve had the baby. It’s important to share what you feel would be most helpful to you ….

  1. Help her to understand why you value breastfeeding: Talk to her about why breastfeeding is important to you. Include grandma in conversations about breastfeeding practices and provide her with reputable resources such as Breastfeeding Matters and halton.ca to expand her knowledge and ultimately, her support of breastfeeding.
  2. Share your goals: Let grandma know how long you’d like to breastfeed. This will help her to understand your intentions and your commitment to breastfeeding.
  3. Ask for loving encouragement: A listening ear and the words, “I’m proud of you” Grandma kissing babycan go a long way. Let her know that there will be benefits for you and your baby that will last a lifetime. If breastfeeding is what you want to do, then ask her for 100% support despite any challenges you may encounter.
  4. Ask grandma to help limit guests: She can encourage you to rest and concentrate on breastfeeding in the early days after delivery.
  5. Invite her to accompany you: Ask her to come along when you go for breastfeeding support (if your partner can’t go). She can help you to remember the information you are given and help once you get home.
  6. She can help with the baby: Have grandma cuddle the baby while you shower, eat a meal, or get some much-needed sleep. If you are comfortable with it, have grandma change baby’s diaper and bring her to you for breastfeeding.
  7. Accept offers to help with household chores: She could prepare meals, grocery shop, do dishes, wash and fold laundry, clean the house, or take care of older siblings giving them attention and praise and lots of hugs and kisses. This will free up time for you to focus on breastfeeding and bonding with your newborn.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that children be exclusively breastfed for the first six months, and then along with solids, breastfeeding should continue to two years old or longer. There are many local breastfeeding supports available in Halton. Keep this information handy for any challenges you might experience.

Despite my mother’s limited personal experience with breastfeeding, she turned out to be a phenomenal support to me as I breastfed my children. And, as a bonus, it helped to create a strong bond between her and my children.

How has your mother or mother-in-law (or anyone else in your life) positively affected your breastfeeding experience?  Share with us!

For parenting information or to speak with a public health nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

Posted in Babies, Before Pregnancy, Breastfeeding Your Baby, Parenting, Parenting Your Baby, Preparing to Breastfeed | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

All you need to know about vaping

Vaping is gaining popularity with youth. My teens claim everyone’s doing it and the statistics are showing a rise in use. In 2017, more Ontario students in grades 7-12 had used e-cigarettes compared to tobacco cigarettes. About one-in-ten students (around 80,800 in Ontario), report using more than just a few puffs of vape, with or without nicotine, in the past year.

Two women vaping outdoor. The evening sunset over the city. Toned image

Vapes also known as e-cigarettes , vape pens, mods and tank systems are battery operated devices that change a liquid into an aerosol that is inhaled.

An important question to ask ourselves is “should we be worried about vaping?”

Continue reading

Posted in Alcohol, Tobacco & Drugs, Children & Tweens, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Child/Tween, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Teen, Parenting, Parenting Your Child/Tween, Parenting Your Teen, Teen Brain, Transition to High School | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Keeping calm and carrying on for mental health

Woman sitting alone, deep in thought, having coffee and holding her mobile phoneAt work, in our kitchen, is a poster with words of inspiration – apparently. I however, have tried to purposefully avoid reading it, until the other day when I sat down for a meeting and it was right in front of me.

I am not sure what to think about this wall art.  Honestly, I find these messages unrealistic.  I also think they create pressure for us to be perfect. Continue reading

Posted in Babies, Depression & Anxiety After Birth, Depression & Anxiety During Pregnancy, Parenting, Parenting Your Child/Tween, Parenting Your Teen, Parenting Your Toddler & Preschooler, Pregnancy | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What you need to know for school zone safety

displeased stressed female car driver

I am a rule follower. Ask anyone who knows me. Rules bring order to life. When everyone follows the rules then things run more smoothly. Simple, right?

This is probably why my attempts to drop my children off in the designated school drop off zone result in feelings of anger, frustration and sky-rocketing blood pressure all before my day has really begun. The rules are not being followed. Continue reading

Posted in Keeping Your Child/Tween Safe, Keeping Your Teen Safe, Parenting, Parenting Your Child/Tween | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Teens and screens: the science you need to know

Teen girl on bed, looking at cell phone with headphones on while doing homeworkOver the last few decades, devices have become such a large part of our lives and one thing we can be sure of – they’re not going away.  64% of Ontario youth “spend three hours or more per day of screen time in their free time”.

There’s a lot of talk in the media about screen-time changing our children’s brains and affecting their health. So is there really any basis to screen-time being harmful?  I decided to investigate the science behind what happens in our kids’ brains and bodies when they try to meet the high demands of their devices. Continue reading

Posted in Children & Tweens, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Child/Tween, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Teen, Keeping Your Child/Tween Safe, Keeping Your Teen Safe, Parenting, Parenting Your Child/Tween, Parenting Your Teen, Teen Brain, Teens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

How to get your teens moving: Hoodwink or clever parenting?

Think about how much you and your kids are active in relation to how much you sit.  Humans were not made to sit, they were made to move. Muscles need to be worked, blood needs to be circulated, lungs challenged and bones to bear weight.

Girl walking with dog in nature.

Being active is the single best prescription a doctor could give.  It guards against chronic disease, elevates mood and keeps the body operating like a finely tuned machine. Continue reading

Posted in Children & Tweens, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Child/Tween, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Teen, Keeping Your Child/Tween Safe, Keeping Your Teen Safe, Parenting, Parenting Your Child/Tween, Parenting Your Teen, Teens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 awesome things I discovered about being a divorced parent

Mother, daughter and dog relaxed at homeQuite often we hear about how hard it is to be a divorced parent, and it can be, but there are perks too!

When I think back to when my daughter and I were on our own, I have very fond memories.  This is before I married my current husband, so she was between 18 months to seven years old.

Here are 5 AWESOME things I discovered along the way:

  1. I remember enjoying her all to myself, just the two of us, for several days in a row.
  2. I made all the decisions in the house. No one else to check-in with (except of course, my daughter) about what we wanted to do or where we wanted to go.
  3. After a long work week, she and I started a Friday tradition of pizza and movie night. We would spend time in the movie-rental store (I’m dating myself now!) looking for the right movie to rent.  I was able to watch the entire collection of Disney princess movies while snuggled up with her.
  4. Every night, in the middle of the night, she would make her way into my room and crawl into my bed. I pretended to be asleep, but she would fill the empty space beside me and wrap her small arm around my side.
  5. In an effort to help her with learning the joys of reading, I read the entire Spiderwick Chronicles to her, in an English accent (just to add effect). We had a goal of finishing the book before the movie was in theatres. She and I then went to the movie and talked about whether it was true to the book. She still has the book in her collection, despite the shedding of many other childhood books.

These precious moments allowed me to create love and security for my daughter. Today, she is a teenager and it is hard to get her attention. This is normal and what I would expect. But the strong and loving relationship which was built in her childhood, created a young lady who feels comfortable in her own skin, yet knows she can always find support without judgement from her mom.  I will always cherish these memories of just the two of us alone, but always together.

Share with us some of the awesome things you’ve discovered about being a divorced parent!

For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

About this guest blogger:

Jennifer Jenkins-Scott: I have been a health professional for 34 years, but more importantly a mother for the last 16. When I am not ‘on-the-job’, I can be found at Mohawk College working towards my certificate in Interior Decorating, on the bike trails, in the gym, skiing, crafting, entertaining or at home either reading a good book or binge watching Netflix.

Posted in Babies, Children & Tweens, Parenting, Parenting Your Baby, Parenting Your Child/Tween, Parenting Your Teen, Parenting Your Toddler & Preschooler, Teens, Toddlers & Preschoolers | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment