Help them help you- new baby sign with ways for visitors to help

Sugarbaby, minutes old. Photo by Debra Parker

For my last 2 babies, my midwife had a piece of paper she taped to my front door before she left after the birth.  Announcing to visitors that there was a new baby in the house, it shared birth facts such as weight, length, name, date, etc.  That part was nice but what I really loved was the part about what visitors could do.  Informing them that a new baby means help is needed and that their visit should be brief, this little piece of paper taped to my front door encouraged those that loved us and wanted to celebrate with us to keep their voices low, limit their time, understand if we needed to be alone, and give them ideas of how to help such as offering to do the dishes, sweep a floor, run the vacuum, or take the bigger kids to the park.  In short, it helped our visitors figure out how to be the best kind of visitors and I discovered that I didn’t mind having people stop by as much as I did with my older kids simply because they helped more and were more understanding of our needs.  Knowing they already saw a notice of sorts on the front door before they came in made it easier for me to respect my own boundaries, excusing myself to rest or not feeling awkward about them asking if they could help with something around the house.

There are far too many expectations on families when they have a new baby.  Respecting the postpartum recovery and the important bonding that needs to happen with the new family member sets up families to continue on well for the long haul.  If you’re breastfeeding, this time is crucial to establishing your breastfeeding relationship and focusing on that will have a long term pay off.  Pushing for too much too soon, other people interfering with the bonding, can leave moms feeling burnt out and unwell months, maybe even years later.  Having true support and help to take the time to really heal leads to endurance in the parenting journey.  That, and knowing we’re not alone along the way.

So my gift to you is my version of this life-saving piece of paper.  Ask your care provider to sign it complete with the appropriate initials behind their name then stick it on your front door when your little one arrives and leave it there for at least 6 weeks (8 if you birth via c-section).  Be a good friend and print it off to give others that are expecting for them to put on their front door.  Don’t hesitate to point out the note, referring to it by asking if they saw how much baby weighed or how long she was and if they didn’t notice, encourage them to go check out the info posted on the front door.  It can be hard to ask for help yet not allowing others to help ends up creating isolation and robbing others of the joy of offering support and encouragement by helping. This little bit of guidance can help not only the new mom and family but the friends and family that want to offer quality support but just aren’t sure what is needed.  Take the guess work out of the picture and everyone wins.

new baby help sign for front door

 new baby sign and help list for front door

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Nestlé Boycott Form Letter

Is your family participating in International Nestlé-free Week: 2010?  Mine is.  I had intended to get a post up today I was working on about why my family boycotts Nestlé but for now you can read this from PhD in Parenting or read about what Nestlé did to deserve a boycott here.  Please understand that while part of the reason for the Nestlé boycott does have to do with the way they market their breastmilk substitutes, the boycott is not because they make formula.  Boycotting Nestlé is in no way a judgment on those that use Nestlé formula or any other formula to feed their baby.

So while my post on boycotting Nestlé isn’t up yet I did want to share with you a sample form letter you can use to express your concern to Nestlé and inform them of your decision to boycott their products and brands.  Please feel free to copy this letter and use it word for word or to modify as you see fit and sign your name on the bottom.  Let’s communicate to Nestlé that the world-wide boycott of their products is in no way over even after 30 years and that it has, in fact, revitalized and will continue to go strong until they make significant changes.

Letters may be printed out and mailed to the address below, e-mailed, or through the contact page on Nestlé’s website.

___________________________________________________________________
Peter Braceck-Letmanthe
Nestlé SA
Avenue Nestlé
1800 Vevey
Switzerland
Dear Mr. Brabeck-Letmanthe,
It is with the utmost concern that I am writing regarding your business practices; specifically the regular violations of the World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, the use of child-labor by your cocoa suppliers and careless manufacturing practices resulting in environmental damage.  As my family can not support such a lack of responsibility, we have chosen to boycott your products and brands and will continue to do so until independent evidence shows that Nestlé complies fully with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.  Furthermore, we will be actively educating our friends and family via word of mouth regarding the questionable practices and why Nestlé is one of the most boycotted companies in the world.
Mr. Brabeck-Letmanthe, I urge you to raise Nestlé to be a leading company of integrity, setting an example of global responsibility by changing the unethical, unhealthy and dangerous practices currently applied.  Follow through with your claims of being a company that promotes nutrition [1], health and wellness; of supporting the United Nations Global Compact’s guiding principles on human rights and labor with an aim to provide an example [2]; of practicing ethical leadership and personal responsibility [3]; of having a commitment to “protect employees, contractors and others involved along the value chain” [4]; of requiring suppliers, agents and subcontractors to demonstrate honesty, integrity and fairness” [5]; of a commitment to environmental sustainability “at all stages of the product life cycle” and “target zero waste” including “responsible management of the world’s resources by all water users” [6]; and adhere to the guidelines of the WHO code of marketing breastmilk substitutes. When these claims can be verified by independent investigations my family and I will happily return as Nestlé customers.  Until that time we will continue our boycott and encourage others to do the same.
Yours sincerely,

References:
[1] Nestlé Nutritional Profiling System via http://www.nestle.com/AllAbout/AllAboutNestle.htm
[2] Nestlé Consumer Communications Principles via http://www.nestle.com/AllAbout/AllAboutNestle.htm
[3] Nestlé Management and Leadership Principles and Nestlé Code of Business Conduct  via http://www.nestle.com/AllAbout/AllAboutNestle.htm
[4] Nestlé Policy on Health and Safety at Work via http://www.nestle.com/AllAbout/AllAboutNestle.htm
[5] Nestlé Supplier Code via http://www.nestle.com/AllAbout/AllAboutNestle.htm
[6] Nestlé Policy on Environmental Sustainability, Nestlé Policy on Environmental Sustainability, and Nestlé Water Report via http://www.nestle.com/AllAbout/AllAboutNestle.htm

___________________________________________________________________

Nestlé tries to deny that the boycott has been going on for 30+ years.  They also assert that they are a responsible company but their track record and independent analysis indicates otherwise.  In an effort to recast their image, Nestlé has filled their website with green, health, and human rights buzz words but don’t be fooled, they talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.  Together we can hold Nestlé accountable.

Tomorrow look for more on the Nestlé boycott and how this will impact my family’s Halloween as well as alternatives to Nestlé products and links with more information and brand lists.

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