The relationship between a mother and a daughter generates a wide spectrum of emotions – sweet, wonderful, intense and sometimes overwhelming and a bit chaotic. But whatever that may come out of it, it will always be a mutually beneficial and special relationship.

Because the mother-and-daughter relationship usually holds the strongest bond, it is almost inevitable that they will share a lot of things in common – likes, dislikes, some habits and even a few eccentricities. But every mother-and-daughter relationship is different: some have been best friends for long, while others have survived the roller-coaster ride only to realize they have become closer than before.

It’s important to set aside a schedule for the mother-and-daughter bonding time . It will help you slow things down a bit and allow the two of you to listen to each other, to get each other even better, and enjoy each other’s company. Even simple activities done at home can improve and enhance their relationship, and bring out those precious moments that will be forever etched into your memory. The following activities can work regardless of the various stages of a mother and daughter’s life.

1) Treat yourselves to a “royal spa day”.
Whether your daughter still has Cinderella dreams or has grown too old for them, it doesn’t matter much – she still wants to be treated like a princess, even just for a day. Plan for an all-girls spa day where mother and daughter deserve to be pampered royally. It should come complete with facials, hand and foot spa, manicure and pedicure and make-up application.

If you cannot afford a fancy spa treatment, you can easily create that at home where you can experiment with DIY spa treatments, eat wholesome snacks (no chips for now) and take turns pampering each other.

2) Take a hike
Even the simplest activities can bring a profound experience. Taking a hike together will boost mother-and-daughter bonding. Spending alone together with nature may open your eyes to a lot of things along your path. Plus, this activity can help in reducing emotional and mental stress. It also allows you to get to know each other a little better and deeper that will further cement your relationship. Not to mention you’ll be getting some good amount of exercise as well.

3) Have a rainy-day movie marathon
Gloomy days can be boring and can bring one into a foul mood. In order to stave that negativity off, why don’t you launch a movie marathon? Whip it up with a hot cocoa and a bag of chips, and then settle yourselves on a warm, comfy couch before turning the TV on. Your movie selections may consist of Disney favorites, beloved chick flicks or even action-fantasy films if you both of are into that sort of thing. Or have a good round of Netflix.

4) Go on dates
If your daughter has siblings, she’s probably wishing to spend some time alone with you. At least once or twice a month, plan for a mother-and-daughter date and pick out the most fun things that both of you would love to do together. These things may include a day at a spa (mentioned in no. 1), visiting an oceanarium or a marine park, going to a baseball game together or signing up for a comprehensive two-day cake and cupcake-making class or a pottery class. It helps to be creative when you plan your own mother-and-daughter outing to keep the fun and interest factor going.

6) Cook meals together
Whether it’s on special occasions such as Christmas or Thanksgiving or on ordinary days, it’s always special when mother and daughter cook meals together. Mothers and daughters who cook and eat together, spend quality time together. The sense of accomplishment by preparing and cooking food is rewarding, much more when you do it together. If your daughter doesn’t have any cooking skills yet, then it’s the best time to bond with her by teaching her basic cooking techniques, because cooking is a survival skill and an adventure at the same time. You may also teach her family heirloom recipes or your own piece de resistance. It’s also a good way to introduce her into eating healthily by preparing meals out of fresh and wholesome ingredients.

5) Volunteer to help others
As a parent, it is important that you should instill a charitable spirit and a commitment to help others in your children. Volunteering together will not only tighten your mom-and-daughter bond, but it will also bring you closer to the community. Helping other people and supporting the good causes that you believe will allow you to feel the joy and satisfaction of making a difference, even in just a small way. There’s no greater feeling in the world than bringing light to other people and making them smile, and spending quality time with each other at the same time.

Hi everyone. I wanted to be more active on my blog this year. I really do enjoy writing when I get the chance to sit down and type out my thoughts or what’s been happening. Last year I never seemed to have the time although now my kids, especially my youngest, is now that bit older I’m hoping to improve. Not that I’ve done so well so far this year.

I’m a big advocate of breastfeeding and have spoken a lot about it before on my blog. Its something that I enjoy and advocate. It isn’t for everyone – I don’t like to be one of those people who are so strongly pro-breastfeeding that I’ll criticise anyone  who doesn’t breastfeed. It’s an individual thing.

Bu t that’s not what I am writing about today. I wrote in my last post about how well feeding solids was going. That was some time ago and in the passing weeks and months things are only going better.

What The End of Breastfeeding Means

So it means that my youngest has petty much stopped drinking milk, or at least my milk. My breastfeeding days  are pretty much over.

This isn’t a bad thing but I am surprised how sad it makes me feel when I stop and reflect on the fact I don’t need to breastfeed any more. It’s like a little bit of the bond between me and my daughter has gone. It’s silly I know but that’s how I feel.

I thought maybe it wasn’t just me – and it isn’t – but I’m not sure if post breastfeeding termination sadness is a thing or not. Some research on the internet and the library hasn’t turned anything up, but if it is a real thing (or rather something somebody’s researched) then I’m not surprised.

child-waving-goodbye

Breastfeeding is a special act involving mother and child, making you close as you can be (physically anyway) and helping forge the loving bonds that are so important. I wasn’t ready for it to end, even though the end was clearly coming (and has to come) so now the end is here I have been surprised by the depths of feeling I have. It’s almost a nostalgia.

I miss the special time of sitting on the couch with my “baby” and having it feel it  like we were the only two in the world. If only for that small slice of time. And maybe, to be honest, I miss having that special bond. Now I’m no longer my baby’s food source. Anyone can feed her!

Not every mom will go through this. In fact many moms are more than happy for breastfeeding to end as it means an end to the many aspects of it that are not nice or enjoyable (breastfeeding isn’t all roses, I know). And that’s okay.

One person who is happier is my husband! He is now able to take a greater role in feeding and loves his “special time” of having all his little girl’s attention and goofballing around, making planes fly or boats sail into her mouth.

First of all, Happy Halloween!

Like I talked about in my last post, I’ve been feeling a bit tired and overwhelmed at times lately. It’s only more recently that I’ve began to think maybe its just not all the work around the house and with the kids that’s made me feel this way. I’ve began to take some steps to try and improve things – and I’ll talk, or write anyway, a bit more about it all soon – but one of the things I’ve really enjoyed doing is getting out for a walk with my youngest child early in the mornings.

Getting Active

My young daughter gives me plenty of opportunities to wake up early. Often, she is hungry early on and after a feed, if everything goes smoothly, we’ll go for a walk. If we don’t get up early enough, or things take too long then I’ll still try and go for a walk, but instead of first thing it waits until after my other kids have gone to daycare and school.

Around dawn is a great time to go for a walk.

Around dawn is a great time to go for a walk.

At this time of year sometimes it is too dark when my daughter gets up to go. Or the weather isn’t good enough for it. But even if its cold (but the weather is otherwise fine) I’ll make an effort to go out and have a walk.

It’s something I’m fast coming to love, our walks together. Early in the morning, especially if the sun is still rising in the sky, everything is calm and peaceful and it’s just my daughter and I. I can tell she loves being out and about and watching all the little things that go on. Maybe a garbage truck, or a delivery truck, out and about on their morning rounds. Or maybe its a jogger, or the birds singing as they wake up. There’s not too much going on to be able for us to notice and talk about the little things we see.

Not only is it relaxing but it is some special time between just my daughter. My middle child, who goes to daycare but still gets up early, often wants to come too.

The Best Double Jogging Stroller for me

At first I tried to use our smaller umbrella stroller for our walks. It works fine, but it didn’t feel right.

I’d noticed – for a while – a lot of moms using bigger, three wheeled, strollers for walking their kids around. It often struck me as unnecessary, these large strollers. Now that I am using a stroller just for walking, without needing to go somewhere or get something done, I’m looking into this new world of larger strollers.

It turns out they are “Jogging Strollers” – strollers designed to make walking or jogging or running with a kid a lot easier. I borrowed one from a friend to give it a try. Her stroller certainly make it a lot easier to walk – which the handlebar at a good height and little resistance. It feels like it glides along.

So I have decided to get one myself. Given my son’s interest I’m looking at getting a double stroller so I can take two kids. I’m still looking at what is the best double jogging stroller for me – there are several good choices available. If you have any options then feel free to send them to me.

I haven’t used the stroller I’m borrowing for jogging yet, just walking. I’d like to build up to it though. At the moment though, just going for a walk helps me wake up and feel energized for the day ahead.

 

Given my last two posts there has been a lot of feedback from people about what might be wrong. Lots of people suggested there might be an underlying health problem, like a thyroid issue. I didn’t think so, but went to see a doctor anyway. After some visits, some tests and a couple of bills it seems there is nothing out of the ordinary. I was relieved there was no serious medical issue as the cause.

The other major suggestion was that I should stop breastfeeding, as this was a likely contributor to my fatigue. It was a suggestion that was hard to take. I’ve written before about how I love to breastfeed my child – it is something that makes me feel closer to her, and I am sure makes her feel loved and closer to me. However, after some thought I noticed that part of my “energy recovery” was coinciding with a reduction in how much breastfeeding I was doing.

With my youngest daughter becoming old enough to ween there has been a reduction in the amount of breast feeding that has been needed. In fact it is actually zero, now I think about it – I express a little but that is about it.

So maybe there is something to the idea that my tiredness is linked to breastfeeding. I had to do some research.

sleepybaby

Breastfeeding = Sharing Your Calories

It seems obvious now, but a simple web search reveals the answer. You only get so much energy from the food you eat. If you use that energy to produce milk and then give that milk to your baby then that means less for you! Like a chocolate bar, you’re dividing up your nutrients between two people. As a result you get less, which in turn makes you feel less energetic.

That does not mean you should simply eat more, but you should try and eat better. Even if that does mean increasing the amount of food you eat, eating better foods like foods with a low glycemic index. Snacks of the right type of foods is okay, too.

Feeling Drowsy Right After Feeding

One of the more interesting things I discovered as I was doing my research was that breast feeding itself makes you sleepy. According to this page there is an gastrointestinal hormone called cholecystokinine (CCK) that increases in both mother and baby during breast feeding. The effect that CCK has is to induce a state of relaxation and sleepiness as well as feelings of satisfaction.

There is a second hormone, prolactin, sometimes known as the mothering hormone, that is released as a result of breast feeding. Like CCK, prolactin helps make a mother feel relaxed as she feeds.

Between the CCK and the prolactin hormones, breast feeding moms can feel very sleepy as the feed. CCK will make babies feel sleepy and full once they have had enough milk. Roughly 30 minutes after feeding the CCK in an infant peaks and it is an ideal time to get them to to go sleep.

Should I Stop Breastfeeding?

No, feeling tired alone is not a good reason to stop – not if you wouldn’t stop otherwise. As previously discussed, tiredness can be addressed in other ways. If you feel that breast feeding is making you so tired you are unable to function then it is fine to consider stopping but all other possible causes ruled out and any other courses of action should be  considered first.

You can also read what I have to say about saying goodbye to breastfeeding here.

It’s been a little while again since I’ve written anything. Quite a few people have contacted me through the contact form with advice and opinions on my energy levels and what I should do about it. I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to write to me and offer an opinion or advice. I appreciate the time everyone took.

First an update on how I have been feeling. I’ve been feeling better since I last wrote about my problems. I’ve been feeling  better of late. More energy to do things and feeling less tired.

I still don’t have the time to do things that I’d like but there’s probably a whole different set of issues behind that.

I’ve been doing my best to follow the tips I gave in the last article. Preparing and eating better food has been a challenge, especially when cooking for a family, but I’ve been making improvements where I can. I have had better luck implementing my other suggestions, especially on exercise. In addition to ping pong I’ve now made it part of my routine to either go or a walk early if my young daughter wake me up (we go together). If she doesn’t get me up early we go instead after my other children head off for school.

It’s something I’ve really come to enjoy, even given the colder time of year. It has helped me feel fresher in the morning, getting off to a good start.

I’ve also been making a real effort to have more me time. At least one night a week we’ll get take out or dinner will be something quick to make or prepared in advance. And then I’ll try and take the night “off” and treat myself to some time doing nothing. I’ve noticed I’ve felt really recharged the day after.

With my daughter being older, she has started to sleep better. This has helped with getting more sleep, which must make a big difference to how I feel.

So overall I am feeling better. I am still not getting more done, but that’s okay. I feel less tired and have more energy for my kids and husband, which is really important for me. I am not sure how much of my energy has been from following my tips or simply things improving as my daughter gets older and I get more sleep. It is probably both but I do feel better when I take deliberate action to improve things. I feel more in control.

I haven’t been writing much recently. I’ve been quite tired, and have simply not had the energy to make sure that I can write as often as you like. Now I’ve larger family people keep telling me that I can’t expect to get everything done that I want to do, and it’ll be hard enough to focus on getting the essential things done.

Perhaps everyone else is right, and there’s things I need to let go. I love being a parent, no doubt about that, and I love spending time with my newest daughter, but when she’s asleep I still feel the drive to try and get as much as I can done.

energy

However, even with getting more help with things around the home, I’ve still been struggling with energy, and getting my energy levels have been all over the place. This is common for people with modern lives, and doubly so for people adjusting to the arrival of new addition to their family.

So I’ve resolved to fix this. I’ve been doing some research into what anyone, but particularly new mothers like myself, can do to try and boos their energy levels. Here’s some of the better advice I’ve read:

1. Get a good night’s sleep

Easier said than done? Sure. It can be hard to get any sleep with a young child. But it is still important to try. Even just a good block of four or five hours of uninterrupted sleep can lift energy levels considerably.

2. Eating the right foods

Diet. So many of these things come down to the diet. But what you put into your body is a massive factor in what energy you have. There’s lots of information about this already on the internet, so I won’t go into it too much, but limiting processed foods, eating three decent meals a day and concentrating on foods with a lower glycemic index will help you feel more energetic.

3. Exercise

This is starting to seem more and more like a list of things for losing weight. That said, moderate exercise can increase energy levels. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout with the aim of burning fat, instead something as simple as going for a good walk early in the morning can increase serotonin levels in the brain and energy levels everywhere else. It’s something I’ve already been trying to do.

4. Get rid of tasks you don’t need to do

This is good advice for anyone at any time. But for people who are stretched thin it’s doubly so. Are you doing things that are both unnecessary and  not enjoyable? Then stop. Reflect on what takes up your time and see if it is something you neither like nor need.

For things you don’t like but need to get done, see if you can get help. Like I discussed in my last article.

5. Take some time out for yourself

Lots of information I’ve read talks about meditation and quiet time. Maybe that’s not for you, but carving out some time to focus on yourself – even if it is something as simple as having a nice bath and watching your favorite TV should in an hour of “you time” – is important in relaxing and letting go of stress and tension. Stress and tension both impact on energy, so reducing them will raise your energy levels.

Hopefully you’ll be able to use these tips in your own life if you are in the same position as me. It is much easier said than done, but I am determined to try. Hopefully, I’ll post again soon with an update of how I’ve been going.

Despite now being a parent of three, things with a newborn feel a bit different this time around. I don’t know if it is because I am older or because I’ve two other young kids in addition to my beautiful daughter but being a stay at home mom of a newborn is making me feel a lot more tired than it did the first two times around. Coping with disrupted sleep is seeming harder than ever. And breast feeding seems to be taking more energy than it did previously.

There’s no easy way to fix it, sadly. All I can do is try and save as much energy for the things that are really important.

Doing Less

One way of saving myself for the things that really need doing is of course doing less. Despite never being that big on housework in the first place I’m trying to do less than I ever have! The ironing has stopped almost completely. When I cook I try and make use of as much pre-prepared ingredients as I can while still trying to be as healthy as possible. And dishes don’t make it out of the dishwasher straight away any more. I’m encouraging the family to use them straight from there and only unpacking when we need to put another load on.

Sharing the Load

One of the big savers, though, has been getting help from my family. My sons, despite being young, have been keen to help where they can. It might be something as simple as carrying things for me (obviously not very big things) or putting plates and cups into the sink. And they know to put their toys and things away if they don’t want their ever so slightly mobile sister to get them!

The biggest energy saver for me, though, is my husband. He’s been amazing. Despite working longer hours at work he still does as much of the housework as he can. One area he has really tried to take over is cooking. It’s a good thing for him to do as he can do it after work when everyone else is in bed, freezing it or putting it in the refrigerator for heating up later. He’s been trying to cook in bulk, and had to buy some new kitchen equipment off the internet to help out. Its saving me a lot of time and, more importantly, energy.

He’s also been trying to take as much of the non-feeding night wakeup time as possible. I don’t know how he has energy for work, really. There’s no way I could do all this without him.

Other Sources of Assistance

We could get more people to help out. And our families have been really good in this regard. My mom is around all the time helping out – even when I don’t ask her to! But it is so nice not to have to get the vacuum out because she’s already done it.

My husband’s parents love taking out our kids, and their grandsons have received a lot of attention from them. This has had the added bonus of helping them cope with all the changes.

If we had more money, another option is hiring some sort of help, like a house keeper or nanny. Or even simple (cheaper) things like getting a cleaning service, like Homejoy or something similar to help. Or even getting the laundry done. It’d be worth the cost for the extra time it’d free up.

Even after doing all your research, reading all those parenting and breastfeeding blogs, reading all the latest lactation studies, there will always be those lingering questions in every new mom’s head about breastfeeding — especially those questions that can be embarrassing to ask or seem too absurd, selfish or vain to be a valid question. For this post, I’d like to share some of the questions and the answers I’ve learned about breastfeeding (through personal experience and / or obsessive research and blog-trolling), that you may be too ashamed or afraid to ask:

breastfeeding

1. I’d really like to get my hair colored / highlighted / permed /rebonded / treated, etc. but I’m breastfeeding! Is that ok?

Yes it is okay to get your hair done even while breastfeeding. While many discourage chemical hair treatments or applications for breastfeeding mothers, studies have shown that even if these chemicals gets passed on to your baby through your breast milk, they are in quantities too negligible to have any effect on your little one. Go ahead and get that perm. Just make sure of course you aren’t actually breastfeeding while you get your hair done.

2. I really want to enjoy a glass of wine (or bottle of beer) at my friend’s party, but I’m breastfeeding, is that ok?

Go ahead and unwind with that glass of wine (or bottle of beer, or shot of vodka for that matter). The point is to unwind and relax (but not get drunk) and it is okay to take alcohol in moderation even when breastfeeding. Studies have shown that the trace amount of alcohol that gets passed on to baby are also in negligible quantities. To be on the extra safe side, nurse baby before you go out to have a drink (or have pre-expressed milk in the fridge for him), or wait for 2-3 hours after your drink before latching again. Again, moderation is key.

3. Breastfeeding will cause my breasts to sag! Is that true?

No, breastfeeding does NOT cause your breasts to sag. Stretching which happens during pregnancy may contribute to sagging breasts post partum, whether you breastfeed or not. Other factors like smoking, aging and genetics also play a role in sagging breasts. So unless you have really good genes and wear really good bras all the time, you’re breasts will sag eventually, WHETHER YOU BREASTFEED OR NOT. Such is the law of gravity.

4. My nipples are inverted, can I breastfeed?

Yes you can breastfeed with flat or even inverted nipples. A baby’s latch is enough to pull-out inverted nipples. In the first days though, while you and baby are still learning how to nurse, it could help to use nipple shells or even a big cut-off syringe to “pull-out” the nipple in preparation for latch. But based on experience, flat or inverted nipples usually pop out on their own as you and baby both get your breastfeeding rhythm and routine down pat.

Here are some other myths of breastfeeding.

As absurd or as vain as some of these questions may seem, they are valid questions that deserve informed and reliable answers. After all, the less doubts and insecurities a new mother has, the more she is able to be for her new baby.

Read why I love breastfeeding.

The first time I became a mother, the very thought of even leaving the house petrified me. My sleep-deprived paranoid brain kept up a constant barrage of scenarios from having to breastfeed in public to the germs floating around in open spaces to having to lug around all our baby paraphernalia. Any sort of traveling with baby was out of the question. And then, as the first weeks of my “baby moon” phase waned and I slowly began to long for a glimpse of the world beyond our bedroom door, it dawned on me that both baby and I could use the fresh air and the stimulation of the outside world. Let me say the first time seemed like it was a disaster, but in hindsight it has become a funny anecdote in my parenting journey. And as I slowly gained my confidence in my mothering ability, I learned my lessons as I went along and can now confidently say that I look forward to adventures out with the little one. With a few tricks up my sleeve, allow me to share my list on essential items to take when traveling with babies.

It's crazy the amount of items a baby needs

It’s crazy the amount of items a baby needs

The essentials

No matter where it is your going, to the grocery or the mall or to the other side of the world, I strongly suggest the first thing you think about is how to carry baby around. Number one essential in my book is a stroller. This contraption serves multiple purposes from the obvious one of having somewhere to put baby in, to doubling as a mobile carrier for all other essentials, to having something to lean on when your back needs a moment of relief. If you’re the type who gets intimidated by contraptions then you may opt for ring slings or baby wraps or a pouch.

The point I’m driving at is have something with you that allows you moments of being hands-free. Once you’ve got this covered, then the obvious list follows: your baby bag and everything in it – diapers and extra clothes (enough to cover your trip), baby wipes, hand sanitizers, diaper cream, bug spray, enough formula and bottles (if you choose the formula route) baby food and water (if baby is already eating). If your trip involves sleeping away from the familiarity of home, take along a travel crib or your baby’s favorite sleeping mat or blanket to help give baby a sense of comfort in a strange environment.

Stuff that could help

Once you’ve got the basics covered, think of things that could come in handy for your trip. Any gadget or accessory that makes baby more comfortable and potentially help keep your stress levels to a minimum counts. I once brought along a portable fan to a picnic; I highly recommend that if you’re going for an outdoor excursion. Depending on your itinerary, plan ahead, I’m pretty sure there’s a gadget or gizmo that would come in handy.

In case of emergency

A basic first aid kit, baby’s medication if there are any, and your health care provider’s number on hand ensures you’re ready for every possible complication.

Any trip with baby is an adventure. With a little planning and wise preparation, yes, it is possible to enjoy time with your bundle of joy away from the comforts of home.

family

One of the best things I love about being a parent is the fact that I have someone in my life that I can love unconditionally and who will love me the same way. I love the fact that my child looks to me to keep him safe, provide guidance that he needs to be a responsible person, and to hear him when he is troubled about life.

Another great thing about being a parent is that I learn lessons about myself through child rearing. For example, I learned that I will need to remain humble when parenting because I don’t know everything and sometimes I need help in steering my child in the right direction.

family

Worst Things About Being A Parent

One of the worst things about being a parent is the many dangers that my child faces these days and I sometimes fear that I cannot always protect him from those dangers which include sexual predators, bullies in school or even environmental dangers. Another bad thing about parenthood is when my child becomes rebellious to the point of being disrespectful and I struggle with finding the best way to discipline them without abusing them.

A Less Superficial Life

Before I became a parent, I lived only for myself and in fact I told myself that I could never be a parent because I generally did not have patience with children in general or with younger siblings as a teenager. However, I now know that the best blessings in life are not just about fulfilling my own dreams, but about giving of myself to others, especially my children. They make life worthwhile.

More Humor in The Home

Kids do so many fun things and one of the best things about parenthood is that I can laugh all the time. Just the other day my daughter put on a homemade fairy outfit that my dad helped her make and she did a series of comedy routines in her outfit. On another day my daughter took it upon herself to comb her hair and while it looked odd, I loved the fact that she tried.

Judgmental Comments From Others

Throughout my life as a parent some of the worst experiences were in situations in which my in-laws, my parents or even best friends made all kinds of judgmental comments towards me, and they tend to be critical of how I raise the children. At one point I had to let them know that while I appreciate their efforts, I know what is best for my children.

 

There are benefits and downsides in parenting, but I wouldn’t trade this for anything because as a parent, I’m developing my character and I now know the importance of selflessness and gratitude. When I am with my children I develop a sense of renewed purpose everyday and they keep me energized. Finally, parenthood brings me a lot of joy and I want to do everything I can to be there for them.