The Joy of Giving Holiday Giveaway

 

Joy of Giving Logos

Everyone loves a good giveaway. They’re fun, enticing, and full of hopeful anticipation. Here at TLB we take delight in working with brands that care so much about quality, families, support, and seeing babies well fed. These companies not only see our community as a valuable resource for them, but each brand we work with is carefully vetted, selected for their commitment to value supporting families. With them, TLB gets to regularly experience the joy of giving to families through our giveaways and community support.

 

Which is why this holiday season we are extending the reach of that giving. The Joy of Giving giveaway brings together 20 brands that truly know the meaning of the joy of giving. With three different bundles,  one lucky winner will have the chance to give as well by selecting two of their friends that could use a little holiday cheer, and they will each receive a bundle!

 

But that’s not all. Not only are we offering this giveaway and giving you a chance to give, every item being given away in the Joy of Giving giveaway is also being donated to a nonprofit organization that supports families (that’s over $1900 worth of products!).  And we need your help!  There are so many amazing nonprofits out there that we struggled to select just 5 of them for this opportunity, and it’s up to you to make the final selection.  We are including a short description for each of the 5 organizations with a link to their website in case you would like to learn more about them.  Once you’re ready, cast your vote for your favorite in the poll just under the descriptions!  Our hope is that they will inspire us all to find new ways to give this season.  Even a warm smile can lift a person’s spirits.

 

Happy Holidays, and good luck!

 

Birth Circle Doulas -The Birth Circle is a community-based doula program providing pregnancy support and doula services to underserved women. Doulas visit women at their homes, meet with them at their medical appointments, and provide continous support during labor and delivery. Services are offered free-of-charge to eligible women, including teens, first-time-mothers receiving their prenatal care at selected health care sites, and UPMC for You members. Working with our community to build an integrated circle of care that addresses the needs of the childbearing family.

Elizabeth House- a residential shelter program in the community of Pasadena, CA committed to the health and welfare of adult pregnant women and their children. Elizabeth House is the only 501©(3) non-profit organization in the San Gabriel Valley that specifically addresses the needs of pregnant women who also have small children and who lack adequate shelter and prenatal care. The House can accommodate six women and four children at any one time.  Clients stay 4-6 months after their babies are born. In a year’s time, an average of 15-18 family units are served. The goal of our program is not only to support these women during their time of crisis, but also to challenge them in a way that prevents issues such as financial instability child abuse/neglect, domestic violence, and drug dependency in order to provide a healthy, positive environment for their children. The long-term success of the program lies in the follow-up care and support that is provided to alumni after they transition to independent living.

Grace Initiatives – exists to empower pregnant young women to prepare for their future with their baby. Grace Initiatives offers confidential counseling, life-skills education, job-skills classes and housing options for pregnant young women, 20 and under.  Our home, Grace’s Place is located in Ocean County, New Jersey and is the hub of activity for pregnant young women from all over the region.

Teen Parent Connection – offers long-term assistance to adolescent parents of DuPage County to reach self-sufficiency by providing teen parents with support, information, and resources to help them navigate their lives as parents and as teenagers. Through the power of support teen parent connection helps young moms and dads confront challenges and create opportunities. Including doula services, classes, a parents pantry, support groups, home visits, and more.

Uzazi Village – Swahili for birth, Uzazi Village is a community-based perinatal care model created by community men and women for community women and infants (and their families) who are at higher risk for poor perinatal outcomes in Kansas City, MO. Operating with a model of care that is affordable, accessible, sustainable, high in quality, is culturally appropriate, and respectful of traditional/ancestral knowing, that promotes a high level of wellbeing and improves overall potential for the individual and the community to live in harmony in order to pursue its full purpose for being. Uzazi is exists to decrease infant mortality and racially-based urban perinatal health inequities occurring in Communities of Color.

 

Which non-profit should win the matching bundle of prizes?

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Prize bundle #1:Joy of Giving prize bundle #1

Prize Bundle #1 Total Value : $693

Arm’s ReachToffee Stripe Mini Arc Co-Sleeper, $175 value

Baby Bee Hummingbirds: a gorgeous custom Bead from “Beads of Time Collection,” created with your precious and perfectly preserved breastmilk, placenta, or Baby’s first curl, and perfectly fit on a Pandora or simple chain. $36 value

Cezara: a belly support panty, any size, $49 value

ErgoBaby: a wrap and swaddler,  $105 value

Juno Blu: a gift certificate to use towards a stylish breast pump bag, $85 value

Pebble: a handmade fair trade Nutcracker and Ballerina soft toys, $64 value

Snugabell: a Toni Collection (3/4 sleeve top in Flamepencil skirt in Jett), $122 value

The Vintage Honey Shop: a teething ring necklace, $27 value

Wean Green: a Baby Feeding Starter Set, $30 value

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Prize bundle #2:

Joy of Giving prize bundle #2

Prize Bundle #2 Total Value: $622

Amamante! Nursingwear: a nursing gown, $44 value

Bamboobies: a New Mama Essentials Kit (bratankdisposable padsnipple balm), $125 value

Juno Blu: a gift certificate to use towards a stylish breast pump bag, $85 value

LilleBaby: a Complete All-Season baby carrier in new Black/Camel, $135 value

Nine Naturals: a Natural Belly Oil, $36 value

Nurse Purse: a $50 gift certificate towards any Nurse Purse breast pump bag (includes free 2 day shipping), $50 value

Sloomb: a bundle of 2 Happy Little Clouds cloth diapers, $58 value

The Dairy Fairy: a Rose handsfree pumping bra, $34 value

Undercover Mama: a Basic Essential nursing shirt, $25 value

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Prize bundle #3:

Joy of Giving prize bundle #3

 

Prize Bundle #3: $600

16 Minute Club: a one month subscription to the 16 minute club, $35 value

Beco: a Soleil baby carrier in Twilight, $140 value

Juno Blu: a gift certificate to use towards a stylish breast pump bag, $85 value

Melinda G: a tee-shirt soft-cup nursing bra, style #2115, nude, any size, $44 value

My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear: a Babyhawk Mei Tai with logo in charcoal gray and an Angel Bear kit, $110 value

Naked Nursing Tank: a luxury bamboo tank, $40 value

Nursing Bra ExpressMolded Seamless Washable Nursing Pads by Baby Nip, $14 value

Snugabell: a Toni Collection (Pencil skirt in Smoketunic in Wink), $132 value

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from December 12, 2014 through December 20, 2014.  A big thanks to all of the sponsors who generously demonstrated their compassion for people by participating in this giveaway.  Their support of TLB, and all breastfeeding women, and beyond, is invaluable; don’t hesitate to visit them on social media and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

This giveaway is restricted to U.S. entries only.
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Twelve Days of Thanks

Today I’m grateful for… you. Friends, community, family.

Beco 12 days of thanks

This Thanksgiving season, our community is focusing on what we all have to be grateful for and paying it forward. Because we know how hard it can be to juggle everything, in having our hands full we sometimes forget it a blessing.

So we’ve teamed up with Beco Baby Carriers for 12 Days of Thanks to hear your gratitude stories from your life and then to pay it forward. Sharing stories every day for the next 12 days, we’ll be drawing 5 winners for a Beco Gemini and sending 5 Beco Soleils to Serenity Infant Care Homes for the foster families caring for newborn babies.

Serenity Infant Care Homes, Inc. was founded by three social workers in response to the need for foster homes and programs. Incorporated in 1990, Serenity serves the children of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties.

Serenity Infant Care Homes, Inc. is a non-profit agency whose mission is to provide quality foster care homes for abused, abandoned and neglected infants, as well as for drug affected infants that require special emphasis. Having served over 1500 children and families since the program was incorporated in June 1990, Serenity’s goal is provide treatment and resources to ensure that the child is ultimately placed in a safe, secure environment. The primary goal of Serenity is family reunification but should those efforts fail, Serenity is committed to seeing the children in their care in a secondary, permanent home.

 Join us in celebrating all we have to give thanks for and supporting other families with their full hands full of children and hearts full of love.

Twelve Days of Thanks

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KoalaKin Fall Giveaway

KoalaKin, with its one-of-a-kind hands-free nursing pouch, loves to support new moms in their journey.  Vivian, founder and creator of KoalaKin, wants to show her support by offering a KoalaKin nursing pouch in a free giveaway.  I’ve asked her to tell us a little about the other ways that she likes to support new moms:

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Vivian, creator and founder of KoalaKin.

 

TLB: For every product created, there is a story behind it, a motivating drive that moved a person to invest their energy, creativity, time, and resources to make that product.  What drove you to create the KoalaKin? 

Vivian: I’m all about making life easier for moms, especially in those first few months with their new baby. That is the most critical time for their breastfeeding relationship and I’ve seen SO many moms give up breastfeeding because it was too hard / complicated / time consuming / painful, etc…

It seems to me that many moms are willing to give BF a try, but if the level of “investment” or sacrifice is too high for them (always such a personal thing), they will give it up.

 

TLB: How can the KoalaKin help with this? 

Vivian: I created the KoalaKin to “decrease” that level of investment and sacrifice, in the hopes that this will help moms stick with it longer – until it gets easier and more manageable.

In other words, the KoalaKin is there to help get moms through the difficult times by perfectly positioning the baby at the breast, freeing up mom’s hands, promoting a healthy, ergonomic posture, and allowing moms to be more mobile. All in the hopes they’ll stick w breastfeeding for as long as they can / want. Because the longer they do it, the better off babies will be.

That’s what the KoalaKin is all about.

 

TLB: Are there other ways that you and KoalaKin are there to support moms? 

Vivian: Yes!  One thing I created for new moms is a guide on what to expect when breastfeeding their newborn (in the first 3 months).  And then there’s social media.  My desire is  to create a non-judgmental space where moms can gather and share information that will help them in their breastfeeding efforts / journey.

And here is where:
Facebook
Twitter
KoalaKin Blog 

KoalaKin_Logo_Fnl_NOshad_newGrn_web2

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Vivian is offering one KoalaKin Hands-Free Nursing Pouch to one lucky Leakie!  
Color and size to be chosen by the winner
Retail Value: $89.99

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Koalakin Hands Free Nursing Pouch (5)

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from November 20, 2014 through December 1, 2014.  A big thanks to Vivian and KoalaKin for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to visit their Facebook page or follow them on twitter and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

This giveaway is restricted to U.S. entries only.

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Nine Naturals Beautiful Giveaway

Nine Naturals group

Nine Naturals just became a sponsor of The Leaky Boob, and to help celebrate we’re offering you this beautiful giveaway opportunity.  Why “beautiful” you may ask?  Because Nine Naturals is all about offering beauty products that are safe for moms – especially expectant mothers.  Natural, organic, simple, smart, and safe: these are the qualities that go into each of their beauty products.  After using them ourselves, we agree!  Luxuriously simple and a list of wholesome ingredients so expertly combined, not only did we feel pampered in our quick shower, we felt safe knowing there was nothing we were putting on our bodies that could harm us or our children. We’ve invited Grace, co-founder and CEO of Nine Naturals, to tell us a little more about their company and products:

Grace Lee_headshot

Grace Lee, Co-Founder and CEO of Nine Naturals

TLB: What was the inspiration that led to the birth of Nine Naturals?

Grace: We were inspired (and continue to be inspired!) by pregnant and breastfeeding women who are choosing safer beauty routines for themselves and their babies.

It’s not easy! When my friends and I were looking for safe beauty products to use during pregnancy, we kept running into two problems –1) most products that claimed to be natural still contained harmful ingredients and 2) many natural products simply didn’t perform well! The shampoos didn’t lather well or the body products didn’t do much for their skin.

When I started developing Nine Naturals products, I focused on using natural, pure ingredients safe for pregnancy while maintaining a high standard for beauty and performance.

 

TLB: Were you surprised by any of the research you discovered when developing your products?

Grace: Yes! I was shocked to learn how prevalent certain toxins are in beauty products, despite research that links these chemicals to negative health effects – particularly on babies.

Have you ever read the ingredient labels of the products you use? The average woman uses 12 beauty products a day –a routine that exposes her to as many about 168 different ingredients! Some of these ingredients, like parabens and phthalates, are toxic and can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Many synthetic chemicals have been associated with diseases and health problems like cancer, endocrine disruption and behavioral disorders.

With pregnancy being the stage when babies are most vulnerable to environmental toxin exposure, it is imperative that we act on the mounting research. Unfortunately, given the prevalence of toxins in commercial products, the onus is on us parents to minimize our babies’ prenatal exposure.

 

TLB: What are the values that go into the products you make?

Grace: We believe that pregnancy and breastfeeding are periods in a woman’s life when she should feel peaceful and safe but also a time she can indulge and feel amazing about herself. We believe that every pregnant and breastfeeding woman deserves to feel pampered.

We believe in the inherent quality and effectiveness of natural ingredients. We believe in handpicking all of our ingredients; diligent research and scrupulous sourcing are critical parts of product development, from ideation to formulation to production.

 

TLB: What is your favorite breastfeeding tip?

Grace: Don’t be afraid to get help. Breastfeeding can be difficult in the beginning. Hire a lactation consultant to come to your house or look for a local meeting of La Leche League to get help from a lactation expert. No woman should feel alone in their breastfeeding journey. That’s why I love the Leaky Boob!

NN_Partnership Logos_030313-01

TLB: If a parent is concerned, what can they do to limit exposure without having to drastically change their lifestyle?

Grace: Synthetic chemicals are found in the everyday products we use in our homes, on our bodies and on our children. Water bottles, beauty products, soap, toothpaste –we are literally inundated.

Limiting exposure might feel overwhelming, but small, simple changes make a difference. Start by switching out the products you use most frequently. Imagine if you substituted the shampoo you use everyday for a toxin-free alternative. With no major effort, expense or sacrifice, you’ve just eliminated one regular source of exposure.

We created Nine Naturals to facilitate these simple, high-impact changes. Our products were developed to be natural, safe replacements for the products you use everyday, and designed with performance as well as purity in mind. All of our formulations are 100% plant-based. We never, ever use sulfates, phthalates, parabens, petrochemicals, BPA, triclosan, DEA, synthetic fragrance or artificial preservatives.

 

TLB : What specific steps would you suggest moms take to reduce toxin exposures?

Grace: First and foremost, make sure your personal care products are safe and natural. Switch out your products that contain harmful chemicals to products that do not.

Do a sweep of your existing personal care products. Read all of the labels and verify that those products that claim to be natural actually are natural! If you don’t understand the label, that’s a good sign that there might be some chemicals in that product you want to avoid. The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) features great, safe alternatives in their Skin Deep Cosmetics Guide.

Avoid salons that are not well-ventilated! At the salon, avoid chemical-heavy hair processes, especially at the roots. At the spa, opt for treatments that use natural and organic products. For manicures, look for polish that is “three-free”, meaning free of dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde and toluene. And last but not lease, use Nine Naturals!

You should also be changing other areas of your life! Nearly all of our tips about detoxifying your beauty care routine apply to your cleaning products! Use glass where possible; avoid plastics, which often contain Bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates, industrial compounds linked with breast cancer and infertility. Eat organic and fresh! And, finally, open a window! Improving ventilation and air circulation will help deter unwanted particles from settling in your furniture, clothes and the rest of your home.

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This Nine Naturals Beautiful Giveaway is offering a Grand Prize and 5 Runner-Up Prizes for a total of 6 lucky Leakies!

Grand Prize: Complete Nine Naturals Product Line! ($285 in value)

5 Runners Up will Get a Nine Naturals Repairing Body Balm! ($15 value!)

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from November 7, 2014 through November 14, 2014.  A big thanks to Grace and Nine Naturals for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to visit their Facebook page or follow them on twitter and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

This giveaway is restricted to U.S. and Canadian residents only.

The Leaky Boob + Nine Naturals

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A Quick Guide to Breast Pumps

By Sarah Wells, CEO & Founder, Sarah Wells Breast Pump Bags  & Megan O’Neill, CLC, Acelleron Maternal Health & Wellness

 

Think you might use a breast pump along your breastfeeding journey? Here is a quick guide for getting a pump and using it effectively:

 

Breast Pumps and Insurance

The Health Reform law (Affordable Care Act or “ACA”) requires most health insurance plans to provide moms with a breast pump. The type of pump (double-electric, manual, etc.) and whether it is a rental or for you to own, is up to the insurance plan.

Insurance plans in place prior to the new law are “grandfathered” in. This means they can follow the old rules. They do not have to provide you a pump free-of-charge. But, do not give up. They may still offer you a pump with a co-pay.

You will need to work with an approved durable medical equipment (“DME”) supplier who can bill insurance (and in some cases, retailers, hospitals or lactation practices can also do this for you). Call your insurance for a list of approved suppliers or do a quick online search for “DME and breast pump” and you will find several websites providing supplier lists by insurance type. These suppliers can be of great assistance to you by communicating with your health plan directly on details such as reimbursement level, timing of when you can get the pump and more. Many even offer free and expedited shipping of your pump.

A special note for military moms: Tricare, the military’s health care program, is exempt from the health reform law mandate for breast pump coverage; Tricare only covers hospital-grade pumps in some cases of premature birth. Legislation to require Tricare to cover breast pumps is working its way through Congress now.

 

Choosing the Right Breast Pump

If you are using insurance coverage to obtain your breast pump, speak with the supplier providing your pump (several have lactation consultants on staff!) to learn which brands and options are available to you.

Good questions to ask yourself in choosing a pump are: how frequently will I pump (a small hand pump might be just what you need if you will pump infrequently, whereas a double-electric pump with effective suction and well-fitting flanges will make a big difference for successful frequent pumping); and do you need portability (if yes, look for lighter weight pumps and buy a battery pack)?

 

Tips for Successful Breast Pumping

In addition to getting a quality breast pump that has the right features for you and fits well, here are a few of our favorite tips for successful breast pumping:

  1. Get spare parts.

As a busy new mom, it can save you time and energy to have spare parts (flanges, bottles, tubing) around for when you need to grab your pump and go, while other parts may still be on the drying rack or waiting to be cleaned. This also can go a long way in avoiding situations where you forget a part and really need to complete a pumping session!

  1. Store your dirty parts in the refrigerator in between pumping sessions, within the same day.

Rather than trying to thoroughly clean your pump parts in an office sink, bathroom or during the middle of the night, store them in a clean container in the fridge. Thoroughly clean the pump parts after a day of use.

  1. Look at a picture of your baby, and listen to baby, while you pump.

Not only will looking at a photo, or listening to your baby (record your little one on your smartphone!) help remind you of all positive reasons you are on your breastfeeding/pumping journey, but it’s proven to help with let down, for faster and more efficient pumping!

  1. Start back at work mid/late week.

If you are headed back to work at a Monday-Friday job, and will be pumping, try scheduling your return date at the middle or end of the week; this will give you a few days of practice for your new pumping routine, with the relief of a weekend break to make any adjustments needed and to be back in touch with your little one.

Please take the time to congratulate yourself on your pumping efforts; for many moms, pumping can be quite the undertaking of time, resources, and energy. Pumping is an awesome thing you are doing for you and your child(ren); for many moms, pumping is an integral part (or the entire experience) of their breastfeeding journey. Finally, seek help if something is not right; if your pump is not working well, contact the manufacturer or supplier who provided it to you. If you are having issues with supply or with the pumping process in general, seek support from certified lactation consultants and from the breastfeeding community.

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To get your pumping journey off to a great start, Sarah Wells and Acelleron are partnering with a few other great companies to offer you a chance to win a bundle of products with a value of over $700 in the following giveaway!  

The Dairy Fairy Logo

mhw-logo2 Milkin Cookies

Sarah Wells Logo

PrintMilk it

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Prizes included are:

Sarah Wells Maddy Breast Pump Bag

Sarah Wells “Maddy” Breast Pump Bag (Value $145)

 

Milkin Cookies Cookies

Milkin’ Cookies Gift Certificate for a 2 week supply of Milkin’ Cookies (14 cookies) (Value $21.99)

1. Black Tank pink bra

Two North American made, Luxury Bamboo or Classic Cotton Naked Nursing Tanks (value $80). Midsection cover-ups for breastfeeding women -worn underneath your regular wardrobe, it transforms every shirt into nursing wear! Winner to choose size & colour from our selection of Naked Tanks.

Milk it Kit and Onesie

Milk It Kit – back to work survival kit for breastfeeding moms; 80 pack of waterproof breast milk labels; a “Will Cry Over Spilled Milk” onesie (Value: $48)

The Dairy Fairy Arden Bra

Arden All In One Nursing and Handsfree Pumping Bra in Blush, winners choice of size. (Value $68)

Acelleron Freestyle or Pump of Choice from Inventory

Medela Freestyle Breast Pump (or other breast pump of winner’s choice from Acelleron’s inventory) (Value $350)

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from November 4, 2014 through November 11, 2014.  A big thanks to Sarah Wells Breast Pump Bags, Acelleron, Milkin’ Cookies, Naked Nursing Tank, Milk It, and The Dairy Fairy for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding and pumping women; please be sure to look them up on your favorite social network platform and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity!

This giveaway is restricted to U.S. residents only.

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9 Tips to Having More and Better Sex After Baby

by Jeremy Martin-Weber
This post is a partner post to one Jessica wrote, 16 points about sex after baby, on beyondmoi.com and a giveaway for Newport Beach MommyCon on November 1, 2014.  Find the giveaway information and widget to enter at the end of this post.

Running the risk of sounding like Cosmo, or Marie Claire, in honor of Valentine’s Day and all the men out there making strategic plans, hoping that their romantic equations will guarantee that they’ll get lucky, I’d like to offer a list of my own.  I don’t claim to be an expert, but my list is the product of 17 years of trial and error with my wife, and I can personally attest that as long as I stick to it, she simply can’t get enough of me.  Seventeen years and six children, and sex just keeps getting better, and we both want it more than we ever did before.

#LoveBeyondMoi The Leaky Boob Beyond Moi Valentine's Day giveaway

You too can have a better sex life; it’s not over just because you’re parents.  If you’re looking for ways to make her (or him) want to drag you to the bedroom, rip your clothes off, and have hot, steamy, sex with you all night long (that’s how those magazine covers read, right?), then this list is for you.

1. Help around the house… but not for sex Everyone loves a partner who is involved, who takes time to help out with household duties.  Way back when we were first married, I first heard the notion that if I took the trash out, my wife would find that act so sexy she wouldn’t be able to help herself and would have to have me right then and there.  I thought that sounded rather strange and hadn’t noticed that effect on her before, but I really started paying attention the next few times I took the trash out, and here is what I noticed: she appreciated my help, but didn’t think it was anything extraordinary.  And that made sense.  But I also noticed that when we were both paying attention to the ways the other was helping out, we both appreciated the other person for doing so, and we felt closer for noticing, and feeling closer can easily lead to sexual feelings.  See how it works?  But it won’t work if you help around the house just to have sex.  There is no magic there.  My advice: do the dishes, help out with your kids, fold and put away the laundry, by all means take the trash out, and for extra credit, thank your partner for those same things and all the other tasks they do.  They may argue that they don’t do it for you, and don’t need to be thanked, but they’ll still appreciate you noticing.  Noticing is sexy. That first tip isn’t just for parents, I admit, but it may be more relevant to parents because prolonged lack of sleep so effectively scrambles your brains that even very simple relational things can get sucked into that black hole (or driving your children to all of their extracurricular activities – that can scramble your brain too over time).  It’s very much the same for this second tip.

2. Get physical… but not for sex Touch your partner.  Often.  Every day.  We can get so determined to get it on that we forget the thrill of simple touches.  You know how physical relationships are compared to a baseball diamond, each base representing more intimate acts of physical expression, ultimately culminating in sexual intercourse when you get to home base?  We can be so goal-oriented, or sexually frustrated, that all we focus on is getting to that home plate.  When Jessica and I were first dating, even the simplest of touches was thrilling because it carried so much meaning.  Caressing each other’s hands communicated love and care, romantic intention, and sexual desire all rolled into one.  A kiss was a gesture of commitment, a desire to be close, to be real and vulnerable.  Sure, at other times, a kiss was an expression of sexual desire, full of passion and wild abandon. But that’s exactly the point.  Physical expressions weren’t all just a means to a steamy, naked end.  Because of their variety, their commonality was clear: a communication of love.  And when I feel loved by my wife, I feel safe, trusting and sexy.  And I know she feels the same way.  And do you know what that leads to?  Great sex.  My advice: kiss your partner at least every morning and evening, wrap your arms around her, hold hands, maybe even take a few dance steps together, and savor each of those physical moments for their simplicity.  Because touching to communicate love is sexy.

3. Distance makes for sexier reconnection Now that we’re all ready to touch our partners more, I offer a word of caution: it has to be the right moment.  Unfortunately, most of us have to find out through trial and error; that’s for both partners.  Jessica and I have both had to learn about ourselves how and when we like to be touched, let alone what our spouse likes.  If you try to touch your partner and you are rebuffed, don’t jump to the conclusion that they just don’t like your touch or don’t want sex (touching just for that end is already a big libido killer anyway).  Pluck up your courage, control your urge to scream and cry (if you actually have feelings, of course), and ask your partner about it.  The way our schedule works, one of us is often home with children most of the day while the other goes out and works at a coffeeshop.  It doesn’t matter which one of us it is, some days at home leave us wanting to find a dark, quiet, corner where we can hug our own knees and twitch for awhile as our brain tries to reboot, and our body relaxes from being touched all day long.  It’s not that we don’t love being home with our children, it’s that it’s not the easiest job in the world.  If you walk in the door and see a frazzled, bleary-eyed partner with a blank expression on their face, that is probably not the time for dipping your partner and a fervent I-missed-you-so-much-wasn’t-today-great kind of kiss.  If ever you’re unsure, I have the simplest solution: ask.  And follow it up with an offer to give them some space.  Ask how you can help before jumping in.  And then, by all means, jump in!  Find ways to give your partner a break on a regular basis.  Sometimes 20 minutes is all it takes to center ourselves.  Sometimes it may take a whole morning, or an entire day, but trust me on this: sex is way better with a centered partner.  Because getting time away is sexy.

4. flirt more… but not for sex I think that every healthy, sexually mature human being likes to feel sexy.  One way to feel sexy is to get a good idea of what real sexy people look like by gazing at magazines, watching music videos, or checking out the latest blockbuster film, then looking in the mirror and saying to yourself: “Damn I look good!”  If I just described you, then this whole post probably isn’t for you at all.  For most of the rest of us, feeling sexy is deeply tied to feeling desired.  When Jessica gives me a sultry “Hey sexy” I feel a boost in confidence, my day gets brighter, and I feel sexy.  Granted, I have to fight off the destructive voice in my head giving me a 5 reasons why you’re not on the sexy list, and just trust that my wife is calling it likes she sees it.  This takes practice, but when I do it regularly, that vile voice in my head gives up and must go into hibernation or something.  I’m sure I don’t have to tell anyone that when you feel sexy, you’re more inclined to have sexy thoughts, and… you know.  So my advice to you is to give your partner a reason to silence that voice in their head.  All the time.  Okay, don’t be obnoxious about it, or you’ll come across as pushy.  Flirt, wink, do the Magnum P.I. eyebrow thing (if you don’t know what that is, well, then, never mind), make subtle suggestive comments; whatever communicates to your partner that they are desired, and desirable.  But don’t have your heart set on sex.  Because flirting is sexy and is an end in and of itself.

5. Spend quality time together… but not for sex.  Developing togetherness has been foundational to our relationship and affects every part of it, including our sex life.  I realize that this concept may definitively put me in the hapless romantic category, but I don’t care, I am an unabashed hapless romantic who has great sex with his wife of 17 years so there.  We have this notion that relationships are living things, and they are constantly evolving, just as each person in the relationship is growing and changing daily.  This means that being static (not changing) is not possible.  You are either growing closer together and developing stronger bonds, or you are slowly drifting apart – unless you are a stone statue of a couple, and even then erosion does take its plodding toll.  So we intentionally find ways that bring us closer together.  There is no reason why you can’t still be as into each other as when you first got together.  Actually, we believe that you should cultivate your relationship keeping being into each other as a worthwhile goal.  Find common interests, and/or try new experiences together.  Play games together.  Make music together.  No, those aren’t references to sexual activities.  Cook together.  Hike or bike together.  Visit museums.  Go out for coffee or a fancy dinner.  Any activity that you will enjoy together, preferably with lots of eye contact, and with no electronic devices or screens (after you’re done reading this you should try it).  Because when you spend time being into each other, you end up wanting to explore all the ways you could be into each other.  (that was a sexual reference, by the way…).

6. Talk more… and I don’t mean about sex (and I don’t mean talk dirty more) Spending time together, being more and more into each other, involves a lot of communication, and most of that will be through actual conversations.  With words and sentences and all that.  If you’re really getting into each other, developing that sense of togetherness that I mentioned in the previous point, then you’re going to want to communicate that you care about your partner’s life, about their day, every day, and that you’re interested in the details, the little experiences that you missed out on.  This may seem obvious, but you’re going to want to communicate that you missed your partner.  Because being missed is sexy.  And giving a damn is really sexy.

7. Help get the kids to bed, and again after midnight.  So finally a practical tip!  I suggest that you don’t gloss over the relational mushy-gushy stuff that I took nearly 2,000 words to write about.  That’s the stuff that really leads to more, and great, sex.  The practical logistics of making sex happen won’t cut it by themselves.  Getting obnoxious distractions (i.e. children- only obnoxious when you’re hoping to make some whoopie) out of the way is essential to hooking up with your partner.  Bed time can be exhausting and time-consuming, and, depending on the age of your children, can burn a parent out and render them huddled in a dark, quiet, corner, hugging their knees, etc.  Or fast asleep before the kids.  It’s much better with two parents.  That way you communicate that you give a damn, that you want to do this together, that you’re willing to help, not to mention demonstrating to your children that you are there for them and their other parent.  Ways to make it more fun: text each other once the bedtime routine is finished but your haven’t extricated yourself from your children’s arms and legs.  A fun texting game we’ve played is where one of us sends the other a random emoticon, and the other has to guess what it’s supposed to mean.  Oops, now everyone knows: we’re dorks.  Dorks that flirt and have great sex.   This may or may not lead to sexting, by the way, which is always fun but possibly awkward and ill-advised if you’re still helping kids settle.  Getting kids to bed once may not be enough.  You may have to commit to moving a sleeping baby, 1 or 2 or even 3 yr old back to their bed after they have sweetly sought out your comforting cuddles around midnight and fallen asleep in the bed where, damn it, you were hoping to have sex (or just cuddle with your partner, or sleep on separate sides of the bed, depending on how grueling the bedtime routine was and how long you each need to huddle by yourselves in the dark, etc.).  Because a kidless bed with just you and your partner is sexy.  (This isn’t to say cosleeping damages sex lives, it doesn’t and we do cosleep, we just also have a “bed” for the cosleepers that they visit for us to have alone time in our bed.  And, if you don’t have teenagers around, there are plenty of other, though less comfortable, places in a house to utilize.)

8. Change the sheets! Those of you who have known us for a little while know what this means, so feel free to skip this tip.  For those of you who don’t, I’ll let you in on our little secret: clean sheets are sexy.  Clean sheets are so sexy that my wife has this irresistible urge to sleep naked in them.  If it weren’t for the sheer logistics of children seeking cuddles, 8 of us in a house with one washing machine, and having to work and feed our family, I would probably wash our sheets every day.  Quick disclaimer: I have learned that just because my wife is naked in bed does not guarantee that we will have sex, or that she is logically interested in having sex.  You would do well to heed these words.  That being said, clean sheets may increase your odds; they certainly increase mine!  Also, mind-blowing as this may sound: sleeping naked together is sexy, and an end in and of itself. And finally, if you’re still with me, the #1 thing you can do to have more sex as parents:

9. Stop asking for it.   There is nothing quite like a whiner to kill a mood, or destroy any chance of there even being a mood to get into in the first place.  Asking for sex, or demanding it, damages your relationship with your partner.  Asking for it communicates only one thing: you think you have to have sex, that you deserve it, or that it is some kind of need.  It is not a form of flirting, it is not flattering, it is not sexy, it doesn’t communicate that your partner is desirable, it does not bring you closer together, it does not communicate that you care, or give a damn about anyone but yourself, and most of all, it communicates a lack of love and respect.  It is gross.  Even if the sheets are clean.  And if you helped around the house, and you flirted, and did your part in getting kids to bed, and spent time listening to every little detail of your partner’s day, and watched whatever stupid movie they wanted to, and this somehow means that you deserve sex, that they owe you sex, then you know nothing about what a healthy relationship looks like, and I would further venture to say that this is exactly the kind of thinking that leads to an abusive relationship.  Talk about it but in a carefully, respectful, and concerned conversation.  “I miss having sex with you” means a lot more than “We never have sex any more.”  And if you mention your sexual needs, like it’s some kind of basic human need, you should be slapped.  A basic human need is one where the human is at risk of dying if that need isn’t met.  Like eating, or drinking water.  Are you at risk of dying if you can’t have sex?  No.  And if you’re that horny and you feel like you just can’t keep it together without a release, then I’m sure your partner would appreciate you using your capable hands, rather than pressuring them or guilting them into letting you use their body for your own pleasurable end.  Because guilting your partner into sex is NOT sexy.  And pressuring your partner into sex will not lead to more and better sex, before or after baby.  Also, consider getting therapy.  Therapy can be sexy too.

There is one thing that effectively sums up my 8 tips to having more sex after baby (because that last one wasn’t really a tip, was it?): focus on your relationship with your partner.  All the rest will take care of itself.  And no, that’s not a sexual reference.

~ The Piano Man (aka: Jeremy from BeyondMoi)

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Join us at MommyCon Newport Beach on November 1, 2014 where Jessica is talking about Breastfeeding and Healing sponsored by Motherlove Herbal Company, and Jeremy and Jessica are leading a workshop on Sex After Baby sponsored by our friends at Arm’s Reach Cosleeper. For a chance to win a pair of tickets, use the widget below: a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Motherlove Giveaway: Organic or non-GMO?

Motherlove is dedicated to providing the healthiest products to the world, their standard of quality being such that only the purest ingredients are acceptable in their formulations.  What does this mean?  How is this achieved?

By using only USDA Certified Organic ingredients, and wild crafted herbs when those aren’t available.  Sounds pretty earthy, doesn’t it?  And this means that Motherlove products possess the richness of dirt itself (dirt from the wild in a place like Colorado, not the dirt in your urban backyard).

You may be wondering if this means that their ingredients are also non GMO (Generically Modified Organisms).  The answer is simple: according to the USDA definition of “organic,” if the product is USDA Certified Organic, it is non GMO, by definition (more details from USDA here).  A product cannot bear the label “USDA Certified Organic” if it is GMO or has been in contact with GMOs or has anyone in their family tree with a history of GMOs; and all this, from seed to full-grown plant, to the grocery store, and to your kitchen (or at least check-out at the store).  And since Motherlove only uses USDA Certified Organic ingredients or wild crafted herbs (which means that they are organic, but so wild that they don’t bear the rubber-stamp of certification), then all of Motherlove’s products are non-GMO (to read more about this, click here).

Here is a simple way to visualize it:

USDA Certified Organic = non-GMO (absolutely)
non-organic = could contain GMO

Just how wholesome are Motherlove products?  Here is a list of NOs:

NO GMOs
NO synthetic ingredients
NO artificial ingredients
NO toxins

And when you think of applying something to your skin, isn’t that the way it should be?

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Motherlove is giving away a Pregnant Belly Salve to 3 lucky Leakies.  

Pregnant or not, this salve is good for your skin, especially in this season of dry skin.  

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from October 23, 2014 through October 30, 2014.  A big thanks to Motherlove for their ongoing support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to visit their Facebook page or follow them on twitter and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

This giveaway is restricted to U.S. residents only.

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Get Comfortable Breastfeeding- Bebe au Lait Giveaway!

A big part of reaching your breastfeeding goals may actually be about how comfortable you are breastfeeding. Physical comfort (back ache or nipple pain is going to put a big damper on things!), emotional comfort, social comfort, you name it, feeling comfortable can be key to the whole breastfeeding experience. Which is why we are talking about comfortable breastfeeding with our friends at Bebe au Lait and Katy Linda, IBCLC from The Breastfeeding Den and give away 2 breastfeeding covers and 2 breastfeeding pillows to help you get comfortable in your own breastfeeding journey, whatever that means for you.

 

Breastfeeding in public with a breastfeeding cover. When you're a model family at an adorable cafe. Thanks to Bebe au Lait for this image.

The Nursing Cover, $36-$38 value

Bebe au Lait introduced the Nursing Cover, 10 years ago as a solution for nursing in public. The stylish and comfortable covers are adjustable, and are made with a patented open neckline that holds the cover away from the baby, allowing mom and baby to make eye contact. They come in a variety of designs and colors, and are made of either 100% cotton, organic cotton or muslin.

 Bebe au Lait breastfeeding pillow

The Nursing Pillow, $55 value

Bebe au Lait launched for the first time this year, The Nursing Pillow. Created by a nursing mom, The Nursing Pillow puts baby at the optimum height to promote a better latch. The features include a reversible, dual sided surface (soft or flat), convenient two-sided pocket to keep essentials within easy reach and an adjustable, tuck-away strap. The Nursing Pillow is designed with an open shape for a better fit and is foam-free. Both pillow and removable slip cover are 100% cotton and machine washable. Please note that this item is not yet available and will be shipping mid December with the lucky winners being some of the very first to get their hands on one of these beautiful new pillows.

 To be entered for a chance to win one of these prizes, follow the directions on the widget below. Please note, this giveaway is open to those in the USA.

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My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear “Save the Midwives” Giveaway

My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear is there for all parents who want a special way to preserve that precious baby heartbeat captured before birth.  Those cute and cuddly keepsakes now have a new friend: the “I <3 My Midwife” bear, inspired by their creator’s own birthing experience last year.  In honor of midwives and to support them in her creative way, Purusha has added a “Save the Midwives” BabyHawk Mei Tai carrier and the “I <3 My Midwife” heartbeat bear to her online store.  Check out what she has to say about these new products and enter for your chance to win them in the giveaway below.

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TLB:  Followers of The Leaky Boob know My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear as a sponsor that cares about moms, and the beautiful bond that they have with their babies.  Could you remind our Leakies about the furry products you carry? 

Purusha: Yes! We carry Heartbeat Animal kits for expectant mothers to record their baby’s heartbeat and create a unique pregnancy keepsake. Each kit comes with an adorable stuffed animal and heart shaped recorder.

TLB:  You now carry a couple of new items in your store in support of midwives.  Could you tell us about those? 

Purusha:  We just added our exclusive “SAVE the Midwives” Babyhawk Mei Tai and “I <3 My Midwife” Heartbeat Bear kit!

TLB:  What inspired you to start carrying the “Save the Midwives” Mei Tai and T-shirt wearing bear? 

Purusha:  Last year I had a homebirth. Except it wasn’t in my own home. Where I live midwives are not legally allowed to accompany a woman giving birth in her home. So I was forced to find a place out of state to have my baby.  In fact, this is happening all over the country. I was lucky enough to have an amazing Midwife that offered her home to me and she is the reason I created these products.

TLB:  What was your experience like working with a midwife? 

Purusha:  It was a wonderful experience. She gave me the emotional, physical, and spiritual support I needed during my pregnancy and the birth of my 10 lb. baby boy!

TLB:  Is there anything else that you would like our Leakies to know about My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear or your “Save the Midwives” products? 

Purusha:  A portion of every sale is donated to the Save the Midwife legal fund. We all deserve the right to choose how and where we give birth. It’s time we help SAVE the Midwives.

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Purusha is giving away a Save the Midwives Mei Tai, and an “I <3 My Midwife” Heartbeat Bear to 1 lucky Leaky.

  1. Raise awareness and benefit from the convenience of babywearing with this swanky Babyhawk Mei Tai.  Retail Value: $115.00

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  1. The I Love My Midwife Bear kit comes with an adorable 15″ stuffed tan bear dressed in our “I <3 My Midwife” t-shirt, and red heart recordable sound module to record your baby’s heartbeat. Retail Value: $35.00

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Currently Leakies can find these and other cute and furry items at mybabysheartbeatbear.com.  

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from October 14, 2014 through October 21, 2014.  A big thanks to Purusha and My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear for their ongoing support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to visit their Facebook page or follow them on twitter and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.  You can also find My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear on Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube!

This giveaway is restricted to U.S. residents only.

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Heart to Heart Breast Care Bamboobies Giveaway

Breasts are amazing. They can feed babies, they can tell a woman where she is in her fertility cycle, breasts can adjust the milk they make according to the specific needs of the baby (or babies) they are feeding. Breasts can comfort, have fun, and look stunning. Breasts can also get sick and even become deadly. Breast cancer impacts about 1 in 8 women. Taking care of our health and of our breasts is one of the ways we can do our part to be present with our children for as long as possible.

Which is why we have teamed up with Bamboobies to remind moms that even while they are breastfeeding, it is important to be educated and to take action steps in breast cancer prevention, detection, and treatment. You can read the sponsored article here. While we can’t come feel your boobs for you (do it!), we can at least send some of the soft care options Bamboobies has for moms. You matter moms, we love you, take care of your boobs!

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Bamboobies is giving away an assortment of their comfy products to one lucky Leakie.
Total prize value: $105

 

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Bamboobies Organic Nipple Balm, a gift set of 4 pair of Bamboobies nursing pads in a cute washing bag, and a pair of Boob-ease Therapy Pillows. A $72 value.

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Bamboobies Chic Nursing Shawl – Flower Accent. A $33 value

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from October 9, 2014 through October 16, 2014.  A big thanks to Bamboobies for their ongoing support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to visit their Facebook page or follow them on twitter and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

This giveaway is restricted to U.S. residents only.

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