Ready For Your Virtual Baby Shower? Your Virtual Baby Shower Planning Guide

by Lavinia Martin-Weber
This post made possible by GooseWaddle

(Join The Leaky Boob’s virtual baby shower here.)

In the midst of the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic, we’re finding our whole world shifting to being online… well, more than it already was before the stay-at-home orders were issued. But just because our physical social lives come to a grinding halt doesn’t mean our way of life does. 

And people are still making and having babies. 

So what now? You’re pregnant (congrats!), during a pandemic (oh crap), and you have to stay at home (*insert big sad face here*). Never fear, oh incredible child-bearing human, you can still have your baby shower and throw a party to introduce your baby to the world!

(Download our quick and easy guide to introducing baby safely with social distancing here.)

“But how?” you may ask.

Introducing: the internet! I may know nothing about being pregnant but I know how the internet works and I love a good party. And even when all this pandemic stuff is over (it will end at some point, right?), so many of us have pocket friends that live all over the world that can’t get together in person for a party that we need to have options. So let’s celebrate you and your little one with the rest of your friends online. 

Bring on the virtual baby shower!

(If you’re short on time and need to simplify even more, WebBabyShower is a website that will do a lot of these steps for you.)

Whether you’re organizing a meet and greet for your own baby (which is absolutely, TOTALLY fine to do- girl, throw yourself a party, appreciate yourself and celebrate your baby!) or throwing a baby shower for a friend, as with any party, you have to figure out the Big Four. The Big Four (I should trademark this) being the main four questions you have to ask yourself in order to plan a party: where, when, what, and who. It can be as casual and simple as you like or it can be a big involved shin-dig. Whatever works for you and your budget.

(Download our Virtual Baby Shower Planning Guide and Checklist here.)

 

Before we get to the boring technical stuff (like what platforms are available), let’s get to the fun part of party planning. The What, if you will, of the Big Four™ (if you want to skip to what video call platforms you can use, then scroll down to the bottom of this article). Themes! If a specific theme for a party isn’t your thing, more power to you, but I personally really enjoy having something to base my party around. My two personal favorite birthday parties were Renaissance knight themed, and Harry Potter Hogwarts feast themed, respectively. 

“But why do themes if it’s going to be virtual?” 

Good question and I’m glad you asked. When there’s nobody coming over to your house to celebrate, what’s the point in picking a theme for them to partake in and appreciate? I get it, and maybe it’s too much of a hassle, but I think it would be fun to decorate the background of your limited screen square or use a border or background theme related to the party theme. It can add variety and once it’s set up, it feels nice to be within the party space. I’d compare it to the same feeling as getting out of pajamas for a video chat or getting dressed up just because. It feels good! It sets the mood. It makes it feel special. It is FUN! It can uplift your spirits, something that definitely comes in handy if you’re trying to celebrate. If you’re blanking on what themes to incorporate into your baby shower, don’t worry, I did a lot of brainstorming. And if these theme ideas don’t work for you hopefully they inspire you to come up with one that does! 

  • Disney and/or Pixar: I love how general and specific with this one you could be. You could choose just Disney in general and theme your party like it’s the Disney parks themselves with an assortment of iconic Disney/Pixar characters. Or you could get super specific! A Toy Story theme, Disney Princess theme, Star Wars, the Marvel universe, Mickey and Friends themed, or any of your favorite Disney/Pixar stories! Dress up inspired by your favorite Disney character, wear Mickey ears, play iconic Disney tunes in the background, the Disney world is open to you! 
  • Studio Ghibli: Man oh man do I love me some Studio Ghibli. It’s another one of those theme ideas where you can do a general theme or hone in on a specific movie. You can pay homage to the general aesthetic of the Studio Ghibli movies (which I LOVE), or if you have a favorite movie you want to represent (like “My Neighbor Totoro”), you can just keep it to that. 
  • Doctor Who: For all you Doctor Who fans! I never actually got into the show (I know, my loss), but it’s still All The Rage™ (and I do love that the new “Doctor” is a woman). Dress up as your favorite doctor and turn your pen into that screwdriver thing one of them holds (I’m sorry, I mean no disrespect to the Doctors please don’t come for me Whovians).
  • Harry Potter: I had a Harry Potter party for my 18th birthday and it was awesome! Hung battery charged candles from my ceiling with fishing wire, dressed up in my Hogwarts House colors (I’m a Slytherin hehehe), and ate food inspired by the Hogwarts feast (which is a lot of boiled food as it turns out). Take a sorting test! Take bets as to which house your friends might be in! Drink firewhiskey and pumpkin juice! Hogwarts spirit!
  • Anime: Another one where you can be general and specific. Anime is a HUGE category. You could celebrate the classics (Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, Naruto, Pokémon, etc) or pick a favorite to base your theme around! Cosplay your favorite character and geek out. And in case anyone was wondering, my favorite anime is Soul Eater, and yes I have cosplayed as the Thomson Sisters thank-you-very-much (Soul Eater is not appropriate for children as it has mature themes). 

Here I am with Earth Baby (top) and Lollie (bottom) when we cosplayed as the Thompson Sisters and Death the Kid at our city’s Comic Con in 2016.

  • Hello Kitty: Oh boy is the Hello Kitty fandom still HUGE. Another franchise I’m not that well-versed in, but I see it EVERYWHERE with its cute kitties, bunnies(?), and colors. Dig out all of your Hello Kitty merchandise and share your love for the cool cat with your friends and family. 
  • Toki Doki: I love Toki Doki. The characters are so adorable and creative! You can order the cute plushies or mystery mini characters for you and your friends to unwrap together. 
  • Astrology: This is less franchise/fandom-ish, but I personally really dig astrology and looking at zodiacs and natal charts. Although I’m not an adamant believer in horoscopes, I still think it’s fun to draw parallels in zodiac personality charts. Look up and read your and your friend’s natal charts, dress up as your zodiac animal and colors, make fun of stereotypes! (I am a flaming hot double Aries cheeto with Libra as my rising). I’m just talking about the zodiacs based off of Babylonian and Hellenistic astronomy because those are what I’m into, but don’t forget Chinese zodiacs and others! 
  • Nintendo: Can be a general theme to show love to all of the classic Nintendo games, or once again you can get specific. Dress up as your favorite Mario Brother character, or if you’re a Legend of Zelda fan like me, Zelda character. Play Super Smash Bros. or Mario Kart online together, reminisce about the good ol’ days when Mario was a 2D scroller game. Oh, and you can play some of the iconic video game soundtracks in the background because let’s be honest, Nintendo games have KILLER original soundtracks. 
  • Classic Hollywood: Have all of your guests show up dressed inspired by their favorite classic hollywood movie. Like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Singin’ in the Rain, Roman Holiday, My Fair Lady, The Wizard of Oz, and more! Another one of those themes where you can play all those nostalgic soundtracks in the background, and maybe try to guess what movies they are from!
  • You can Theme by Era! Dress up as your favorite 20th century fashion era. Whether it be the Roaring 20s’, the Rockin’ 60s’, or the Alternative 90s’ have fun (and maybe pull from your own wardrobe)! Encourage your guests to costume up too. Play the iconic tunes of each era and play 90s’ kid trivia! 
  • Forest/space/beach, etc. Whether you go with a fantasy version or the real thing, transport your virtual gathering to anywhere in the world with a little decorating online and in real life.
  • And lastly, you can base your theme around DND or other RPG’s (Roleplayer Games). I’ve played DND once and honestly? I need a party to join because that one-shot session was all I needed to get HOOKED. Dress up as your character, take on their cannon accent, and play a session of DND with your friends. Don’t know how? Don’t worry, there’s tons of information on the internet on how to campaign (basically how to start a group and build a story). All the information online and HUGE fanbase may look daunting, but you’re likely to find a helpful fan who’ll be more than willing to assist you in your DND endeavors. It might even be someone you know! I had no clue my dad played DND when he was a child until about a year ago. 

 

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Food. Drinks. Gifts. Games. BAM let’s go. 

If I were to list all of the food, gifts, and games specific to each theme that you can easily (and affordably) send to your guests then this would be more of an overwhelming ride down the rabbit hole that is Pinterest and not a helpful article. So instead I’ll fire off some new trendy and standard classic party ideas that can be applied to some, if not all of the themes listed. Otherwise, I’ll leave the Pinterest digging to you. 

FOOD – food is the only real reason I used to go to parties. Well that and I’m an extrovert. If I could get away with it, my guests wouldn’t be allowed at my parties without bringing something to munch on (that was when I could actually throw in-person parties). Humans love food, so how can we incorporate it into our virtual party? May I introduce to you: food delivery services. You may not be able to lay a spread in your party venue but you can have party treats delivered to your guests. It doesn’t have to be a lot but there are a range of options way beyond edible arrangements. Sure, there is DoorDash, UberEats, and Postmates but those are EXPENSIVE. I’m talking companies who are ready to send you a big box of popcorn lollipops (sounds weird, but trust me, they are AH-MAHZING), a box of candy assortments, fruit bouquets, pretzel boxes, a DIY cookie decoration kit, or customized cookies (maybe with your baby’s name on them in the party theme? Just an idea.). I’m just going to list off some of my favorite cookie delivery companies I’ve discovered, because who doesn’t like cookies? (I’m very sorry if you don’t like cookies). 

I find the cookie decorating kits to be especially fun, even more so if you have a little one you want to keep still while you talk to your more mature friends. It’s also a nice set activity you can schedule into your party. If you haven’t noticed already, all of these were found in a quick and easy search on Etsy! I strongly suggest looking on Etsy for your foodie needs to support small businesses. And hopefully you can count on your product to not taste like a factory. 

For DRINKS, unfortunately there isn’t really a drink delivery option so let your guests decide what they’ll have. I’d encourage them to get creative and try to match the party’s theme, or send them a recipe for the drink you’ll be enjoying, or for the non-preggos put together a cocktail kit you send out ahead of time with mini-bottles. Etsy for the win again with these fabulous drinks:

Let’s talk PARTY FAVORS (personally my least favorite party thing to figure out because UGH that’s so many small things to plan and nobody wants a bunch of plastic junk). Once again, I’d recommend Etsy for a quick and easy party favor find that you can send out to your friends but there’s also Amazon and boutiques and you may be able to support a local-to–you business if they have an online store as well. If you’re doing some kind of food delivery then maybe skip the favors completely. Party favors aren’t necessary but if you really want to do something, keep it simple. It doesn’t need to be a lot. Be sure you work this stuff out at least a month in advance since all of it is counting on the mailing services in your area and where you order. You can get baby shower specific, or just search general party favor gifts. As I stated at the beginning of this article, I’ve never been pregnant and thus never have had my own child so the baby shower gifts were a little confusing to me. Scrolling through I was like… huh? But maybe it’ll make sense for you mamas and mamas to be. I did like the bath bomb, tea kits, and scrunchie party favors I found. Also don’t get shy with the DIY! Find bracelet making kits or temporary tattoo kits, those are fun and will keep you and your guests’ hands busy during the call. Still feeling uninspired about party favors? Take a dip into Pinterest. Not only will it give you something to do for an hour or two, but there’s a plethora of ideas in there!

Now GAMES. Personally, I’d count the DIY projects as a game, but if you want to get technical then I have a few other ideas for you and your virtual baby shower. If you don’t like them, that’s ok. Not everyone is as cool as me and gets what I get, Pinterest is your friend in this case. 

  • One word: T-R-I-V-I-A. I love me some good ol’ trivia. It sparks my competitive spirit and love for knowing things. You can make it specific to your theme too! If you’re having your classic baby shower theme, quiz your guests on pregnancy and birth (I’d win because do you even know my mom?), or if you have a theme like Disney, do a Disney trivia. I love how applicable trivia can be to different subjects and let’s be real, who doesn’t love a good trivia? 
  • Bingo is another game that’s pretty diverse in what theme you throw it in. You can make your own bingo, or easily find a bingo template or prepaid printable online.
  • If you’re still pregnant, take guesses on the birth date, first sign of labor, weight of baby, etc. If this is after baby has arrived, go with guesses on anything that hasn’t been shared publicly.
  • The Song Guessing Game. I don’t know if other people do this, but in my house we have this made up game where one person links up with our bluetooth speaker and plays a song (usually a soundtrack, but it can be anything!) and then we all try to guess what it’s from (in the case of a soundtrack, we try to guess the movie title). Whoever guesses it first gets to pick the next song. This game can go on for forever and it’s fairly simple and easy to pick up. You can dish out handicaps to those who seem to have an unfair advantage. Take my older sister for example, she regularly listens to soundtracks, way more than the rest of our family. So normally she has a 10-15 second handicap where she can’t guess the song to give others a chance (she’s a BEAST at this game, often guessing a track correctly by the first note/second). 

To keep your celebration flowing, CREATE AN AGENDA. A common agenda structure would be welcome/greeting, ice breaker game, game, food/gifts (guests eat while gifts are opened), game, remarks/well-wishes/new baby advice, goodbyes. 

Create a memento of the event with a digital guestbook or video with each guest pre-recording a video tribute. With screen sharing options on most platforms you can share the tribute with all the guests as part of the virtual babyshower. There are several apps available for these, I like mydigitalguestbook.com and tribute.co.

Let’s talk about BUDGET real quick (ew, I know). In these “unprecedented” times (I can’t wait for more “precedented” times again), money can be the last thing you want to think about… or spend. Which is totally reasonable. The good news is you CAN do a virtual party completely for free, which is great! You can also pull it off very low cost, or the sky is the limit. I actually think an upside to a virtual baby shower is that you’re spending less than you would for an actual party. I looked it up, and most in-person baby showers range between $300 – $1,000 having to take into account venue, decorations, catering/food, possibly having to Uber your drunk friend home, party favors, cake, drinks, and the like. When it’s all virtual, many of those things are null and void. So, if it’s feasible, allow yourself grace to buy all your friends party favors because in actuality, you’re probably spending less than you would’ve if the party was in-person. 

If you’re feeling in a particularly party throwing mood, you can create a small care package for each guest and ship them out once you have the RSVPs. Be sure to get the invitations out early enough to get responses back and have time to pack up and ship each party-in-a-box care package to your guests. With a care package style you can send homemade goodies too, printable game sheets (like the bingo cards), the fixings for a mocktail/cocktail, theme decorations, and more.

 

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Now we gotta invite people to this special baby shower you’re planning, here comes the Who and the When. We’re combining two of the Big Four™. Obviously, it’s going to be people you actually want there to celebrate this new baby, but how are you going to invite them? Thankfully, you don’t have to burn your hand trying to handwrite cute invitations (did people even do that before the pandemic?) because now it’s all ✨~virtual~✨. Here are three virtual invitation options that I found! 

  • The Evite we all know and love. I’m the most familiar with this one, and it makes things fairly easy and simple! Very user friendly. Also, it’s completely free (aside from upgrades, but meh, they still have a vast array of good options).
  • Paperless Post isn’t free, but its options are adorable. They do things based on coins, which is kinda like a store credit system. When you first sign up, you get 25 coins free. Clicking on the first baby shower invite option, it was 2 coins to use. From then on there are various upgrades to choose from (using coins) that can spruce up your invitation. 
  • Smilebox is free with a basic plan. The basic plan includes unlimited cards to choose from and you can share your invite on Twitter. With Smilebox premium ($2.99 a month) you’re granted the option to share on FaceBook as well as Twitter, sharing by email, adding your own music, unlimited storage and backup for drafts, and removing the watermark. From what I’ve seen, they also have a wide display of cards to choose from. 

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR INVITATION

  1. Details on the date and time of your live event
  2. A link to join the group or meeting
  3. A link to your registry with a ship-to address

Don’t forget to send event reminders closer to the date! 

Let there be PRESENTS!

(Get the softest blankets ever like the one in our images here, sweet plushies, beautiful wood teethers, bibs, and more at goosewaddle.com.)

You can always make your celebration a gift-less party or invite guests to make a donation to your favorite non-profit organization in your honor. But babies need stuff and people LOVE to give baby gifts, so be sure to create a registry or if you’re hosting for someone else, have them create a registry and include that information in the invitations (along with an out so people don’t feel like they HAVE to get you a gift to join the party). Go virtual shopping and build your wishlist of items you want and/or need to prepare for this new baby. Here are a few websites so you can do it all from your couch in your pajamas. 

  • Babylist: from what I’ve briefly explored, this website is super user friendly and pretty much the luxury registry experience! It has easy ready-for-you buttons to different websites to get started on your list including Target, Amazon, Pottery Barn Kids, Walmart, and others. I know my mom has used it and loves it because you can add items from multiple different shops including small businesses, Etsy, and register for things like a doula, prenatal massage, and having meals delivered. 
  • Target: if you look up “Target registry” it’ll pull up a page ready to help you build your wishlist. Also seems super user friendly but you’re limited to, well, Target.
  • BuyBuyBaby: They have a 20% off deal on their product when you register! On top of having their own website of product, you can create your wishlist on their site and add other brands in it to share with your friends and family. 

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Now time for the Where. Obviously, in terms of an actual physical location for your virtual baby shower this may be the best part: HOME! You don’t even have to put on pants if you don’t want to (just be sure to remember that if you’re going to stand up on camera because that could make your party awkward REAL FAST). But what about the where on the internet? We have a plethora of options (and it’s not just Zoom, who else here is tired of Zoom and can’t think of it as a fun thing anymore?). 

Cisco Webex

Personally, Cisco Webex is my favorite platform for a multi-person facetime. For the host, you have to create an account, download a plugin for Cisco Webex, start a meeting with the BIG green button, and invite your friends via email! For the guests, it’s even more simple: click the big green button they get via the host’s email invitation and BOOM, they’re ready to party. No installing any plugins on their end, and it works across any mobile device or video system. With the FREE Webex plan, yes free, you can have meetings with up to 100 participants, HD video, screen sharing, and a personal room, and there’s no point in time where the free plan stops for you. 

Jitsi Meet

Jitsi Meet is another video meeting platform (duh) known for its exceptional security (way more than Zoom’s). Fully secure, very easy, and once again: your friends don’t need to register to get into the room! Just send them the link and they are IN, baby! Jitsi Meet also has an audio feature where you can recognize who’s talking and blow up their feed so they are featured in the meeting/party. There is a session recording option as well if you really want to keep the meeting for later reminiscing. After the meeting is over, the recording will be downloaded into Dropbox just for you. Jitsi Meet can integrate with Slack, Google Calendar, and Office 365 (I have no clue what Slack or Office 365 are, but if you’re more tech savvy than I am, which is 100% possible, this may mean something to you). With up to 75 possible guests (though 35 is the recommended amount for quality), the host can kick out anyone who’s annoying them or they accidentally invited because they forgot they were ghosting that one guest. Only downside that I can tell is that you CAN’T set up the room beforehand, unlike Zoom where you can schedule a room to be up at a specific time. With Jitsi Meet, the host has to make the room live themselves at their preferred time and then invite their guests. And oh, did I mention it’s free?

Skype 

Another option is Skype, but even compared to Zoom it wouldn’t be my go-to choice. Recently, in light of the coronavirus lockdown, Skype has released a new feature called Meet Now that allows hosts to set up and share free meetings without having the Skype app downloaded for all parties involved. The host just has to go through the Skype website to set it up. Similar to a few other platforms we’ve been looking at, Skype also has an option to record and download sessions after they are ended. It’s totally free to host video conferences (or if you’re a gamer like me: parties), more secure than Zoom, and you can have up to 50 people in a party. Which depending on your social circle, can seem small or just enough. My favorite feature of Skype? I like it’s “incoming call” jingle. Not sure why, but it can keep me groovin’ for a while. 

Zoom

And lastly, we have Zoom. I know, I know, I was trying to give you other options in substitution of Zoom, but hear me out. It’s boring, and bland, and everyone’s sick of it BUT it does have a wait room, a feature I actually really appreciate. There were calls of concern about Zoom’s security after hackers figured out how to get into activated parties and drop less-than-savory videos into the feed, but Zoom has since then made their platform more secure. Complete with passwords to get in and wait rooms. Before someone can join a Zoom call, the host has to approve of them dropping in. While they are waiting for approval, the guest is put in a virtual wait room where they can test their microphone, speaker, and video feed. This is another video conference app that allows the host to record and download the session for the archives if they want to. If the session is being recorded, any guest who hops into the meeting will hear a small announcement that the session is being recorded, just to give them a heads up. Zoom has a basic free plan where you can have up to 100 guests in a meeting with the basic features we all know and love. But with a few paid upgrades, you can have a party with up to 1,000 participants (why you’d want that, I don’t know. Sounds absolutely chaotic). Honestly, I actually like Zoom. I use it weekly for my telehealth therapy session, which is something that I personally need during this pandemic (I could write a whole other article about why I advocate for therapy as a 19 year old). 

If you’re going with Zoom, check out these virtual baby shower bundles from Babylist that includes digital invite event header, custom Zoom backgrounds, themed printable games, and thank you cards. They even have 10 free fun virtual backgrounds with a step-by-step guide to install and use them.

That’s all I have for you today! It’s been a pleasure and honor to start you on your path to your virtual baby shower. I hope I’ve inspired you to make the most of your virtual baby shower. Once again, CONGRATS to the new little human! I hope you and your child are healthy and the birthing process goes smoothly. I may not be a mother, but I know new life is beautiful and I love babies. The possibilities are endless for you and your virtual baby shower and I wish you all the best. 

 

Yours truly, 

Lavinia (AKA Storyteller, AKA the second oldest, AKA Jessica The Leaky Boob’s daughter)

Night Weaning Gently FAQ’s and Night Weaning Week 2020 with Giveaway

Night Weaning Week 2020 is made possible thanks to the generous support of Naturepedic and the Night Weaning Gently Workshop.

 

Learn more about all the brands sponsoring Night Weaning Week below, including Naturepedic organic mattressesArdo, Crane USA, Olababy, the “Night Weaning, gently” workshop, and the upcoming “Sex, Interrupted” e-book.

But first, we’re answering some common questions related to Night Weaning.___________________

Night Weaning Gently FAQs

by Jessica Martin-Weber

 

What is respectful, gentle night weaning?

Respectful, gentle night weaning is a mindful process of ending night feeds that considers the needs of the entire family with awareness of development and the importance of the parent/caregiver – child bond. This process cares for the whole family and can be done with any sleep arrangement in respect for the family’s values, priorities, and needs. While it may be with some tears, it won’t be traumatizing or isolating and there will be comfort for those tears, which teaches your child that they can be upset and still have care and support from you even when they can’t have what they want. It does not involve leaving your child to cry alone.

Ready to night wean but want more help in doing so? Take our Night Weaning Gently Workshop e-course.

 

When is a good time to start thinking about night weaning and does it have to mean moving baby into their own room? How do you know if they’re ready?

(Want to determine your family’s readiness for a respectful, gentle night weaning experience? Start with this free downloadable night weaning readiness checklist.)

I really think the answer to this is very unique to each family and each baby. Night weaning doesn’t have to mean moving the child into their own room if that is not what is desired by the family. It is important to remember that every child is different and their unique temperament may greatly influence their night weaning readiness. While some infants naturally give up their night feeds at a young age, more commonly night feeds remain an important part of an infant’s routine until 10-12 months of age or beyond for both nutrition and comforting reasons. Under 6 months night feeds for the breastfed baby are important in establishing and protecting milk supply and night weaning too early can lead to low milk supply. If your child is under 10 months, they may not be ready to night wean. Both child and parental readiness are important – if you are not ready to night wean your child, you do not have to. Your child’s level of readiness for night weaning is the most important consideration and we do not encourage attempting to night wean if your child’s readiness score is not optimal. 

(Points to keep in mind for your child’s sleep space.)

 

Will night weaning gently end all night wakeups?

Maybe, maybe not. It usually will help but we all wake for a wide variety of reasons, including babies, toddlers, and young children. Night weaning gently will end night wakings to feed while respectfully preserving the parent/caregiver-child bond.

 

How long does it take to night wean gently?

It is very unique and individual, every child and family is different but typically somewhere between 7-10 nights. However, sometimes it is a very smooth and easy-going transition, particularly if your child is very ready for the process and it may be complete in 3 nights. Other times it is a more drawn out process with additional steps, particularly if there are any set-backs such as illness or travel. 

Wondering if your child is really ready? See this checklist.

 

What are some cues that your baby may be ready for night time weaning?

Studies have shown that babies under 12 months still need to wake often to eat both for nutrition and for safety in their sleep cycle.  So I don’t look for any signs of readiness before 10-12 months. After the one year mark, though, any combination of these may be a sign of readiness to night wean:

  • Seems tired and grumpy during the day.
  • Eats well (solids and breast milk) during the day.
  • Has moved through some of the major milestones such as walking.
  • Does NOT have intense separation anxiety.
  • Is not actively teething or sick.
  • Seems frustrated and restless at night at the breast
  • Wakes to nurse but falls quickly back to sleep without really eating.
  • Shows basic understanding of phrases like “all done.”
  • Shows interest and awareness in bed time routines and daytime vs. nighttime.
  • May play putting toys to bed.
  • Responds to soothing other than breastfeeding (i.e. rocking, singing, back rubs, etc.)
  • For a more complete list of signs of night weaning readiness, download your free night weaning readiness checklist here.

I think night weaning is most successful if the child is truly ready for it, please don’t expect that just because your child is over a year old they will be ready to night wean.  If it is a giant struggle or at any time the parents feel this is all wrong and not what they want to be doing then they should stop. It is possible that a child won’t be ready one month but will be the next. Remaining flexible is perhaps the most important key to night weaning. Maybe for all of parenting actually.

 

What’s really involved in respectful, gentle night weaning?

It will depend on your child’s personality, your sleep arrangements, the support you have, and your primary goals in night weaning, but in general you set a kind of time frame that you won’t breastfeed during (your most valuable sleep hours) and soothe without the breast when they wake instead. Go over the night weaning readiness checklist and if it looks like you’re ready, you start with a block of time you don’t feed during the night, say 10pm – 4am and instead offer cuddles, back rubs, soft sounds, empathy for their upset with comforting words, and maybe a sippy cup of water. You may want to do more to prepare and it is likely you will want to more specifically customize the process to be mindful of your child’s personal sleep temperament.

Learn more about your child’s sleep temperament and night weaning gently in this do-at-you-own-pace e-workshop.

 

Can you respectfully and gently night wean a child without the help of a partner?

Absolutely. 

 

Are there options in how to night wean?

There are several and any method should be customizable to your family’s needs.

Night weaning gently method overviews:

The Feed To Sleep Method– For toddlers. If continuing to breastfeed to sleep for bedtime is something you want to continue, this method allows for gently ending middle of the night feeds while allowing for breastfeeding to continue to be the last step in the bedtime routine. With responsive comfort given for wake-ups during a set time frame of your most valuable sleep hours, the Feed to Sleep Method gradually reduces feed times during those hours over the course of several days but does not interfere with breastfeeding to sleep at bedtime.

The Gentle Weaning Method– For older babies and toddlers. This method involves including breastfeeding as part of the bedtime routine but gently weaning off breastfeeding to get to sleep at bedtime and through the night. A respectful, tuned-in approach that ends the connection between breastfeeding and nighttime sleep by observing how suckling changes and gradually reducing the time at the breast for each feed before laying baby back down.

The Time Block Method– For older toddlers and preschoolers. Involves the older child in the process with conversation that breastfeeding (or whatever your family calls it) will only happen when the sun shines or in a specific spot and not during sleep time any more. Selecting one feed to start with and using the light outside, the time on the clock, a color changing clock, or some other signal, the child knows that breastfeeding will not be available until that time but that comfort is still offered.

 

Do you have to night wean or will they eventually stop on their own?

Night weaning is completely optional. All children will stop feeding through the night on their own, often between the ages of 2-4 but sometimes later. However, no child has been breastfeeding through the night by the time they have gone off to college, they all stop at some point. If you don’t want to night wean, you don’t have to.

I can’t stress enough that being flexible and figuring out what works for your family, not following a set schedule of what someone has predetermined your child should be doing at what age is crucial for the night weaning experience to be free from trauma.

For more in-depth support in planning your respectful, gentle night weaning journey and for less than the cost of a night at a hotel, take the Night Weaning Gently Workshop with Jessica Martin-Weber and no-cry Children’s Sleep Consultant, Rebecca Michi. Register here.

___________________

Night Weaning Week Giveaway

 

Many thanks to the brands that are participating in Night Weaning Week. They believe that parents should have easy access to the information they need to make the best decisions they can. Their products reflect that belief, and we’re excited to share a bit about the ones featured in this giveaway.

To enter the giveaway, please use the widget at the end of this post. 

 

Our Title Sponsor, Naturepedic, is all about sleep. Their mission is to provide everyone from babies to adults with a fuller, healthier night’s sleep on a quality organic mattress. Their handcrafted organic mattresses and accessories are a dream to sleep on. You can sleep soundly knowing that you are completely safe from unhealthy materials and chemicals.

Naturepedic Crib Mattress
Retail Value: $349 

The Organic Breathable 2-Stage Baby Crib Mattress combines breathability and waterproofing for a safe, healthy and hygienic crib mattress design. The mattress starts with a firm, flat waterproof surface made from non-GMO sugarcane that is so pure, it actually meets food contact standards and easily wipes clean.

 

 

 

 

A free registration for the “Night Weaning, gently” workshop
$295 Value

Learn how to gently end night feeds thanks to the Night Weaning Gentlyworkshop, with Jessica Martin-Weber, founder of The Leaky Boob and Rebecca Michi, children’s sleep consultant.

 

 

Ardo: Calypso-To-Go breast pump
Retail Value: $300

The Calypso-To-Go is a Swiss-made, closed system breast pump that features: 64 settings, 3 power options (battery, AC adapter, car adapter), less than a pound, piston pump (gentler than membrane pump), 250mmHg (same as most pumps), insurance covered. It goes where you go!

 

 

 

 

Crane: Elephant Humidifier
Retail Value: $55

Meet Elliot the Elephant! No matter the humidity level you would like to achieve we’ve got you covered. The Crane Adorable cool mist humidifiers offer variable output settings and an adjustable 360 degree mist lid making it easy to send the mist in any direction. Plus, our humidifiers are whisper quiet which makes it the perfect option for light sleepers, kids, and especially babies.


Olababy: a transitional feeding set, or a spoon + bowl feeding set
Retail Value: $25

Baby-led weaning training spoons and silicone bottles

 

 

 

 

12 free copies of the upcoming “Sex, Interrupted” e-book
Retail value: $17.99
Coming out April, 2020

What if intimacy and sex could actually be BETTER after baby?

Jessica and Jeremy Martin-Weber, together for over 20 years and still “doin’ it” in spite of having 7 kids, share their stories and thoughts on how they’ve kept their connection – and their groove – alive all this time. Straightforward and honest, they share the good, the bad – the ugly – the challenges and the beauty in maintaining a relationship when babies enter the picture – and stay there FOREVER. 

 

Enter the giveaway here:

 

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Kid safety: at home, on the road, while they eat, and while they sleep

This campaign made possible by Title Sponsor: Naturepedic

Let’s talk about the responsibility of keeping our kids safe.

I bet that most of us never thought as much about kid safety as when we had our own kids to look after. All of a sudden we have the responsibility of keeping our kids alive, and not just that, but to keep them safe and healthy! A lot of that is outside of our control, which is daunting, but there are a number of factors we have to manage in our efforts to keep our children safe. That can also be daunting.

There’s a whole lot of pressure that we experience as parents, from outside as well as from within ourselves, to make sure that no harm comes to our little ones. The good news is that kids are extremely resilient. Most of us are going to mess up a few times without any lasting damage to our offspring. But we all want to keep our kids from experiencing any pain or discomfort that we have within our power to prevent.

However, as there’s no one guidebook for child safety and well-being, it can be overwhelming to figure these things out, especially when some of us still have parents who remember a time before car seats. They can only help so much in the safety department as the world’s understanding of child development and safety have steadily grown since they were new parents. What’s outdated advise? What are the latest recommendations? What new or newish products are really helpful? Which ones can you trust? What do you really need?

The Leaky Boob is here to help.

We are launching a 4 week campaign focused entirely on child safety, and we have 4 trusted brands coming alongside that each represent an area of expertise with child development and safety standards: Naturepedic with sleep, Qdos with home safety, Olábaby with infant feeding, and Britax with car safety.

From now through December 15 TLB will be focused on discussing safety that include and go beyond these areas of expertise.

Join us as we all seek to make our world a little safer for our kids. Look for posts with the hashtag #TLBsafekids2019, tune in to the 3 campaign livestreams on TLB FB, and enter to win some wonderful child safety products from our campaign sponsors below.

 

 

Thanks so much to these brands who invest time, creativity, technology, and funds to support new parents with products to help keep our precious children safe. The following products are featured in the #TLBsafekids2019 giveaway. Enter for your chance to win after the info about the campaign!

Naturepedic: MC46 Organic and Breathable 2-Stage Crib Mattress
Retail Value: $349
This mattress starts with a firm, flat crib mattress made from food-grade polyethylene for easy crib changing, and then we add the most hygienic breathable cover to maximize airflow. The waterproofing the back of the cover protects the mattress and the 2-stage design allows it to grow with your child.

_______________________________

Qdos: a variety of wonderfully designed child safety products for your home- winner’s choice!
Retail Value: $100
Modern, innovative, easy-to-use, and made to complement your home’s style, Qdos designs products to make your home safer for your children, from outlet covers, to anti-tip furniture kits, finger slam guards, and more!

_______________________________

Olábaby: GentleBottle, Steambowl, Training Spoon, and Toddler Spoon
Retail Value: $42
Made of 100% non-toxic silicone, the GentleBottle’s soft texture and shape allow baby and parents a safe and comfortable grip. Use the clever Steambowl both to prepare steamed baby food puree AND as a serving bowl. And the Training and Feeding Spoons are the perfect tools to get your baby started on solid food. The flexible material allows for easy scooping, cutting, or even slicing, and doubles as a teether!

_______________________________

Britax: One4Life all-in-one Car Seat
Winner’s choice of color
Retail Value: $375
The Britax One$Life all-in-one car seat grows with your child for 10 years (from rear-facing infant to forward-facing 5-point harness, to high-back belt-positioning booster) and it’s the only all-in-one with ClickTight. It goes from 5 to 120 lbs.

_______________________________

Meet our Campaign Ambassadors!

Here to test out these wonderful products is a group of moms that will be posting about #TLBsafekids2019 on their own social accounts.

Here’s a little info on this campaign’s ambassadors, listed in the order of the above picture, left to right, top to bottom: 

 

I’m Lissette. A stay at home momma from NYC. Have two little ladies, ages 4, and 3 months. Been breastfeeding nearly continuously for 5 yrs with the support of my husband as well as online spaces like The Leaky Boob. When I’m not on Instagram, I’m rewatching The Office, crocheting, or helping out at our local Community garden.

Follow Lissette on Instagram!

 

I’m Chinenye, mostly called “Chi” or “Nenye” by my friends and family. I’m a finance analyst but left my job to take care of my little munchkin Jidenna who is almost 13 months old and still grabs on to my boobs like his life depends on it. Lol. When I’m not chasing my little one and preventing him from putting the tiniest things only his eyes can see into his mouth, I’m making scented soy candles and other natural products or testing out new fragrances to include in my candle line. I’ve also recently picked up photography as a hobby.

Follow Chinenye on Instagram!

 

My name is Rachel! I am mother to 4 living children, 1 angel baby, former foster mother to 4 different children, and current foster mom to a teenager and her baby (yes, I’m a grandma at 33!) and wife to Milkman. I can be found stealing kisses from my husband in the kitchen, munching on baby cheeks, nursing a kid or two, chasing chickens around the farm we live on, juggling social workers, and sending memes to my besties. I blog over at SheRocksTheCradle.com, where I talk about parenting, babies, fostering, breastfeeding, and marriage. I am so excited to be back on a TLB Campaign, because it gives me the opportunity to build community with other mothers.

Follow Rachel on Instagram!

 

Hi, I’m Katie! I am a stay at home mom and Coast Guard wife. I have one beautiful daughter who is almost one and a nine year old chocolate lab who still demands as much attention as a real kid. I am one week away from my breastfeeding goal of one year with no intention or desire to wean any time soon. This is my third campaign with The Leaky boob and I am so happy to be back. When I’m not chasing around a baby you can find me in the woods hiking, camping, or exploring.

Follow Katie on Instagram and Facebook!

 

I’m Kimberly – mom of four, married 15 years, coming out of the fog of PPD and learning to fall in love with our big surprise baby and how different this stage looks than I expected. I love baking, binge watching, anything outside, and being right – just ask my husband 😂

Follow Kimberly on Instagram!

 

Hi! I’m Amanda. I am a wife to a hilarious and hardworking man and mama to 4 earth-side kiddos ages 7, 5, 3, and 3 months, and one precious angel baby. I’ve got a Masters in Clinical Psychology and had grand plans to become a Marriage and Family Therapist, but the pull of motherhood was strong within me and I’ve been a Domestic Engineer for 6 amazing years! I thrive in the crazy that is motherhood! I get my kicks hoarding books, singing, drinking coffee and wine, backing, and playing Sims.

Follow Amanda on Instagram and Facebook!

 

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For the mom who feels invisible – #TLBMomsMatter

by Jessica Martin-Weber

In all the needs we put before our own,

It can feel like in the equation of our life, we don’t matter.

In always being available to meet other’s need for sustenance, connection, guidance, and care…

It can feel like our own needs for rest and space are no longer allowed.

In all the spinning plates we juggle and all the work that always STILL needs to be done…

It can feel like we are dropping everything and can’t cope.

In helping instill a sense of self in the ones that call us “mom” or “mama” or “mommy” by encouraging their character and personal growth…

It can feel like who we are isn’t important and our own personal growth is forgotten.

In the pursuit of what is best for our children and cheering them on in their adventures…

It can feel like nobody cares about doing the same for us and we can only watch the adventures of others.

In supporting the ones we love in their opportunities to follow their dreams…

It can feel like we are unsupported and our own opportunities and goals are discarded.

In providing community and camaraderie for the most precious people in our lives…

It can feel like we are left-overs, unwanted, invisible, and alone.

In managing our feelings to tend to the big and small emotions of the developing ones we care for…

It can feel like our own emotions are a nuisance and insignificant.

In the nurturing of those who need us most…

It can feel like we are emptying ourselves so completely but that it will never be enough.

 

You matter. 

Moms matter.

TLBmomsMatter

 

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

You aren’t perfect and you never will be, whatever perfect means.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Your highs and your lows.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

The flab, the stretch marks, the skin and bones, or the extra padding.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

The moments of pride, the moments of shame.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Your hurt and your joy.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Your vagina, your scars, your breasts, and your bottles.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

And you matter.

#MomsMatter

 

The oxygen mask theory is that if you don’t have your own mask on, you’ll become incapacitated and unable to help those who need assistance. In other words, we all matter.

Moms, this campaign is for you and we want you to know that you matter. And when moms matter, it is good for the whole family.

*****************************

 

Thanks to NOONI’S, Simple Wishes, TWELVElittle, and Wilde Brands.

 

Our friends at NOONI’S, Simple Wishes, TWELVElittle, and Wilde Brands believe so much in moms that they decided to sponsor the very first #TLBMomsMatter and you have a chance to win some of their products! A bundle of products for 2 winners, plus a few runner-up prizes.

Each of the 2 bundles includes:

A NOONI’S Leak-Resistant Nursing Sleep Bra, retail value $50
No nursing pads needed in NOONI’S sleep bra, the first all-in-one full-coverage bra designed to wick away, absorb, and prevent breast milk from leaking through. NOONI’S relaxed fit straps and waistband allow for effortless nursing access. And, our baby-soft fleece interior is not only incredibly cozy, but also stays warm when wet and won’t stick to healing chapped nipples. Use Code MomsMatter for 10% off your purchase HERE!

Simple Wishes, winner’s choice of nursing and pumping bras, with matching panties, retail value $75
Comfort, support, adjustability, and a touch of sexy – why shouldn’t moms have all of that in one bra? Simple Wishes wants all moms to feel confident, and a comfortable sexy bra is a great place to start! Use code SUPERMOM25 for 25% off your purchase HERE!

Wilde Brands brings you the very first chips made from 100% chicken! A 4 pack is yours for the winning. A $20 value. 
These chips have the satisfying crunch you crave and they are a total protein snack. Perfect for moms-to-be, new moms, and seasoned moms too. And speaking of seasoning, the Wilde Chicken and Waffles flavor is amazing! Use code LEAKYBOOB for 20% off your purchase HERE!

TWELVElittle is offering winner’s choice of anything on their website, a $75-179 value
Adorable and fashionable, these baby bags are for all moms and dads. Each bag is thoroughly designed with individual style, and engineered with every practicality. Made of high quality water resistant fabrics and genuine leather, these bags continue to be the perfect accessory long after you graduate from the baby stage. Use code TLB20 for 20% off your purchase HERE!

4 other winners will each receive a 4-pack of Wilde Brands chips! That’s 6 chances to win in this giveaway. 

Enter the giveaway with the widget at the bottom of this post! 

 

Meet our #TLBMomsMatter campaign ambassadors:

Hey y’all! I’m Ashley- wifey to my college sweetheart Nelson and mama of 3 under 3.

I work full time at a university as a program coordinator. Aside from work, I adore family time and going on adventures.

My goal with blogging is to encourage mamas to live their best and most healthy lives!

Follow Ashley on Instagram and don’t miss her blog.

 

I’m Kimberly! Mom of unexpectedly four, aged 10, 7, 5, and 1. Married 15 years this summer (a child bride, OBVIOUSLY ; )  ).

I love baking, mom dates, Netflix, research, all day shopping trips, being outside, making lists, and being right. I’m passionate about motherhood and not losing your personhood within it, and the spirit of The Leaky Boob’s message. I’m also typing this as I nurse the baby back to sleep, because #whateverworks, right?

Find Kimberly on Instagram.

 

 

I’m Lissette. Often loud New Yorker but mostly exhausted pigeon. 😀  Married to a pretty tall guy named Ralph and together we have 2 kids, aged 4 and 2 months, and 2 cats, Nintendo and Sony.

I’m a nerdy momma who also loves crafting. My 4th trimester has just been breastfeeding, changing cloth diapers, trying to fid new volunteers for our community garden, and maybe too much Instagram… lol. Excited to be a part of this! 🙂

Look for Lissette on Instagram!

 

 

My name is Nayeli, I am a mom of two!

I am a small business owner, my husband and I are videographers. I’m mostly at home with my little ones, and when I am out at work our families help us with the kids.

I felt that with my first pregnancy/parenthood journey I didn’t have all the knowledge/research available to me, so that’s what I’trying to do on my page- help parents-to-be/new parents be aware of all the options they have!

Follow Nayeli on Instagram.

 

 

My name is Rachel! I am mother to 4 living children, 1 angel baby, former foster mother to 4 different children, and current foster mom to a teenager and her baby (yes, I’m a grandma at 33!), and wife to Milkman.

I can be found stealing kisses from my husband in the kitchen, munching on baby cheeks, nursing a kid or two, chasing chickens around the farm we live on, juggling social workers, and sending memes to my bestie.

I blog over at SheRocksTheCradle.com, where I talk about parenting, babies, fostering, breastfeeding, and marriage. I am so excite to be back on a TLB Campaign because it gives me the opportunity to build a community with other mothers.

Follow Rachel on Instagram and Facebook!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For the mom who feels invisible – When #TLBMomsMatter, it’s good for the whole family

by Jessica Martin-Weber

In all the needs we put before our own,

It can feel like in the equation of our life, we don’t matter.

In always being available to meet other’s need for sustenance, connection, guidance, and care…

It can feel like our own needs for rest and space are no longer allowed.

In all the spinning plates we juggle and all the work that always STILL needs to be done…

It can feel like we are dropping everything and can’t cope.

In helping instill a sense of self in the ones that call us “mom” or “mama” or “mommy” by encouraging their character and personal growth…

It can feel like who we are isn’t important and our own personal growth is forgotten.

In the pursuit of what is best for our children and cheering them on in their adventures…

It can feel like nobody cares about doing the same for us and we can only watch the adventures of others.

In supporting the ones we love in their opportunities to follow their dreams…

It can feel like we are unsupported and our own opportunities and goals are discarded.

In providing community and camaraderie for the most precious people in our lives…

It can feel like we are left-overs, unwanted, invisible, and alone.

In managing our feelings to tend to the big and small emotions of the developing ones we care for…

It can feel like our own emotions are a nuisance and insignificant.

In the nurturing of those who need us most…

It can feel like we are emptying ourselves so completely but that it will never be enough.

 

You matter. 

Moms matter.

TLBmomsMatter

 

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

You aren’t perfect and you never will be, whatever perfect means.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Your highs and your lows.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

The flab, the stretch marks, the skin and bones, or the extra padding.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

The moments of pride, the moments of shame.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Your hurt and your joy.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Your vagina, your scars, your breasts, and your bottles.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

And you matter.

#MomsMatter

 

The oxygen mask theory is that if you don’t have your own mask on, you’ll become incapacitated and unable to help those who need assistance. In other words, we all matter.

Moms, this campaign is for you and we want you to know that you matter. And when moms matter, it is good for the whole family.

*****************************

 

Thanks to NOONI’S, Simple Wishes, TWELVElittle, and Wilde Brands.

 

Our friends at NOONI’S, Simple Wishes, TWELVElittle, and Wilde Brands believe so much in moms that they decided to sponsor the very first #TLBMomsMatter and you have a chance to win some of their products! A bundle of products for 2 winners, plus a few runner-up prizes.

Each of the 2 bundles includes:

A NOONI’S Leak-Resistant Nursing Sleep Bra, retail value $50
No nursing pads needed in NOONI’S sleep bra, the first all-in-one full-coverage bra designed to wick away, absorb, and prevent breast milk from leaking through. NOONI’S relaxed fit straps and waistband allow for effortless nursing access. And, our baby-soft fleece interior is not only incredibly cozy, but also stays warm when wet and won’t stick to healing chapped nipples. Use Code MomsMatter for 10% off your purchase HERE!

Simple Wishes, winner’s choice of nursing and pumping bras, with matching panties, retail value $75
Comfort, support, adjustability, and a touch of sexy – why shouldn’t moms have all of that in one bra? Simple Wishes wants all moms to feel confident, and a comfortable sexy bra is a great place to start! Use code SUPERMOM25 for 25% off your purchase HERE!

Wilde Brands brings you the very first chips made from 100% chicken! A 4 pack is yours for the winning. A $20 value. 
These chips have the satisfying crunch you crave and they are a total protein snack. Perfect for moms-to-be, new moms, and seasoned moms too. And speaking of seasoning, the Wilde Chicken and Waffles flavor is amazing! Use code LEAKYBOOB for 20% off your purchase HERE!

TWELVElittle is offering winner’s choice of anything on their website, a $75-179 value
Adorable and fashionable, these baby bags are for all moms and dads. Each bag is thoroughly designed with individual style, and engineered with every practicality. Made of high quality water resistant fabrics and genuine leather, these bags continue to be the perfect accessory long after you graduate from the baby stage. Use code TLB20 for 20% off your purchase HERE!

4 other winners will each receive a 4-pack of Wilde Brands chips! That’s 6 chances to win in this giveaway. 

Enter the giveaway with the widget at the bottom of this post! 

 

Meet our #TLBMomsMatter campaign ambassadors:

Hey y’all! I’m Ashley- wifey to my college sweetheart Nelson and mama of 3 under 3.

I work full time at a university as a program coordinator. Aside from work, I adore family time and going on adventures.

My goal with blogging is to encourage mamas to live their best and most healthy lives!

Follow Ashley on Instagram and don’t miss her blog.

 

I’m Kimberly! Mom of unexpectedly four, aged 10, 7, 5, and 1. Married 15 years this summer (a child bride, OBVIOUSLY ; )  ).

I love baking, mom dates, Netflix, research, all day shopping trips, being outside, making lists, and being right. I’m passionate about motherhood and not losing your personhood within it, and the spirit of The Leaky Boob’s message. I’m also typing this as I nurse the baby back to sleep, because #whateverworks, right?

Find Kimberly on Instagram.

 

 

I’m Lissette. Often loud New Yorker but mostly exhausted pigeon. 😀  Married to a pretty tall guy named Ralph and together we have 2 kids, aged 4 and 2 months, and 2 cats, Nintendo and Sony.

I’m a nerdy momma who also loves crafting. My 4th trimester has just been breastfeeding, changing cloth diapers, trying to fid new volunteers for our community garden, and maybe too much Instagram… lol. Excited to be a part of this! 🙂

Look for Lissette on Instagram!

 

 

My name is Nayeli, I am a mom of two!

I am a small business owner, my husband and I are videographers. I’m mostly at home with my little ones, and when I am out at work our families help us with the kids.

I felt that with my first pregnancy/parenthood journey I didn’t have all the knowledge/research available to me, so that’s what I’trying to do on my page- help parents-to-be/new parents be aware of all the options they have!

Follow Nayeli on Instagram.

 

 

My name is Rachel! I am mother to 4 living children, 1 angel baby, former foster mother to 4 different children, and current foster mom to a teenager and her baby (yes, I’m a grandma at 33!), and wife to Milkman.

I can be found stealing kisses from my husband in the kitchen, munching on baby cheeks, nursing a kid or two, chasing chickens around the farm we live on, juggling social workers, and sending memes to my bestie.

I blog over at SheRocksTheCradle.com, where I talk about parenting, babies, fostering, breastfeeding, and marriage. I am so excite to be back on a TLB Campaign because it gives me the opportunity to build a community with other mothers.

Follow Rachel on Instagram and Facebook!

 

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Tips For Hiking With Baby- The Family Hike

by Jessica Martin-Weber
This article made possible by the generous support of We Made Me Baby Carriers.

 

Whether it is out in nature in a park or an urban hike, venturing out for walks together with your family can become a regular part of your family routine. Though it can seem overwhelming to get out of the house and tackle even the most mundane activities with a baby and young children, with a little bit of planning and having realistic expectations, hiking with babies and young children can easily become a favorite activity for the whole family. 

I initially started family hikes because I needed to get moving and never could find the time without kids to get in any kind of effective workout. My only goal was to get my own body moving while still taking care of my children. Walking around our neighborhood was fine but got boring and I wanted some diversity, so I started looking for hiking trails in our area. It didn’t take long for me to realize there were a number of other benefits to hiking for my whole family. 

Family hikes are an opportunity for shared family fun experiences, expose your children to the world around them, normalize physical activity for your children, give you the chance to be physically active while being with your family, and connect your family more deeply with nature and/or your community. Hiking with my children has helped me find energy by getting moving and helped my kids burn energy by getting out of the house. Sleep has improved with regular hikes, our knowledge of our community has grown, and as our screen time has been reduced, our communication with each other has grown. I love the conversations that flow during hikes with my older children and I treasure the exploration that feeds my younger children’s curiosity, and there’s nothing like my baby’s calm happiness being close to me as she observes the world around her on our walks. There is something in particular about being out in nature, walking and soaking in fresh air away from the expectations of house keeping and other responsibilities that is like a deep cleansing breath that helps me tune in more and be the parent I want to be. Whether it is a new hike we’re trying for the first time or an old favorite, venturing out with the family has brought us closer together and been a centering part of our week.

In the years I’ve been hiking with my family, there are a few things I’ve learned to help make it easier and more enjoyable for all of us. If it is overly complicated or isn’t fun, it isn’t going to happen. Here are my tips for getting hiking with baby and small children.

  • Know where you’re going. Paved path? Woodsy trail? Shade? Full sun? Waterfalls? Water? Buggy area? Steep incline? Bathrooms available? How long is the trail (double or triple the time if you have toddlers or small children walking too)? Look up as much information as you can on any designated hike and hiking area. If it is a public park most have information on their website and Yelp reviews can be helpful in knowing what to expect including difficulty level, terrain, and amenities. Dress appropriately (if you’re breastfeeding, be sure your clothes make that cool and easy with babywearing!) and select the right type of footwear. Higher elevation may be cooler, be prepared with sunblock (if you need it, put it on before leaving the house), hats, insect repellent, change of clothes, etc.
  • Babywear/Toddlerwear. Maybe even preschoolerwear. Select a carrier you are comfortable using, can adjust, is breathable, lightweight, and supportive. If you’re not sure what kind of carrier that is for you, see if you can visit a local babywearing group and if they have a library, try several options. Join social media groups to learn more about options. Keep in mind that one person’s favorite carrier may not work for you, and your favorite may be considered “undesirable” by someone else. Baby carrier preference can be very individual.
  • Comfortable shoes. Typically sneakers with thick breathable socks for everyone are a safe bet but some hikes will be better with hiking boots or hiking sandals depending on the terrain. When it is hot, hiking sandals on a paved path are a great option for breathable comfort and support.
  • Share the load. Pick a carrier that works for you and your hiking partner if applicable so you take turns babywearing. My partner, my teens, and I can all use the We Made Me Venture carrier so instead of us bringing different carriers along or having just one person wear her, we take turns with her in the Venture. Be sure the one being worn is comfy too, knee to knee support in the seat of the carrier will help their legs be more comfortable, avoid irritating their sensitive skin, and make it a smoother ride for your baby or toddler.
  • Hydrate! This is important for everyone, any time but particularly for young children and if you are breastfeeding and when it is very hot. Water bottles that fit in back-pack pockets or hip holsters, camel-back systems, and fresh fruit can help your crew stay hydrated.
  • Fuel. Have easy snacks you know are favorites. A hangry toddler out in the woods will be misery for everyone so be prepared. Remember there may not be good places to stop on nature hikes, and leave the place in the same condition you found it in.
  • Community. For inspiration/ideas, join a local hiking group such as Hike It Baby.
  • Be in the moment. Family hikes are less about exercise and more about taking in the setting and spending time together. Enjoy it for what it is. Babywearing can certainly make it more of a workout, though be sure you are aware of your posture and engage your core to help you avoid straining or injuring yourself. With toddlers and young children, play games such as I Spy or a nature scavenger hunt can help hold their interest.
  • Know your limits. Even a short hike is worthwhile. Get started with something that isn’t going to physically push or stretch anyone in your party, including you. Pick a time of day that is already an energetic time and won’t interrupt a nap. Be realistic and flexible. Take breaks as needed and keep the rest of the schedule that day open. If it doesn’t go well once, don’t give up, try a different type of hike at a different time another day and see if that helps. Respecting your limits is key to having fun!
Drawing from a diverse background in the performing arts and midwifery, Jessica Martin-Weber supports women and families, creating spaces for open dialogue. Writer and speaker, Jessica is the creator of TheLeakyBoob.com, co-creator of BeyondMoi.com, freelance writer, and co-founder of Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference. Jessica lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest and co-parents her 7 daughters with her husband of 21 years.

9 Months On, 9 Months Off- This is not a weight loss story

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This article made possible thanks to We Made Me, dedicated to enhancing and supporting the wellbeing, comfort, and the bond, of parents and their babies. Thanks also to Mama Strut, Bamboobies, and Britax.

 

I am enough just exactly how I am.

That doesn’t mean I can’t want to change somethings.

Like I’d like to not feel winded going up a set of stairs.

Enter the postpartum weight loss plan!

Just kidding. We’re not doing that.

They say it is 9 months on, 9 months off when it comes to shedding pregnancy pounds but in my experience, it isn’t just the pounds our mombods are dealing with. It’s the lack of sleep, the aching hip joints, the lack of sleep, struggling to find time, and the lack of sleep.

Did I mention lack of sleep?

Which is ok, really. It’s fine. I mean, no big.

Except it kind of is.

Lucky is 9 months old now and I feel like my body is still sorting things out. Expectations are constantly fluctuating, much like my breasts are depending on when Lucky fed last.

I’m working on getting moving more because the truth is, I just FEEL better when I do. But this time around I’m looking at what it means to be moving towards better health over all. Because as a whole, that’s what I want. Figuring out what that means for me right now has been a bit of a journey. It isn’t as simple as just getting in shape because everything is connected in my life. I want to move towards better health in my relationships, in my work life balance, in my personal growth, in my physical health including sleep and physical activity and my relationship with food.

Getting moving, having forward motion in my life looks different at all different stages. Last year, in the midst of an HG pregnancy, getting moving looked WAY different than it does this year. And next year it will look different again with an active toddler in the picture. In immediate postpartum, getting moving looks different than it does at 6 months postpartum. That’s ok. Realistic goals and expectations along with a perspective that there’s a lot that matters in my life that deserves movement helps me stay inspired to keep moving.

So I’m keeping it real and sharing on The Leaky Boob Instagram and Facebook page. Right now, most of my physical movement is done with the cutest companion which means it is low impact and, well, sporadic. I’m hardly #fitspiration. But I’m making movement, slowly but surely. That’s not all, either, I’ve started some intentional steps to make movement in the other areas that are important to me; my relationships (including my partner, children, and friends), my creative expression, my personal growth and healing (yay therapy!), and my sleep.

I don’t know if you have goals to get moving or what areas of your life need movement but I hope you’ll share them with us.

The team that has come together as our #TLBmoves2018 ambassadors are some incredible people. They are bravely sharing their experiences and journeys and what “getting moving” means for them. From the immediate postpartum to due in a few weeks or a month or so, from first time parents to experienced veterans, from fitness guru to not-exactly-fit, from disabled to able-body, our #TLBmoves team for 2018 are each inspiring. They encourage me to move in my life in new and brave ways.

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Meet our Campaign Ambassadors

These hand-picked, fearless #TLBmoves 2018 Campaign Ambassadors are moms just like you and me, overwhelmed with joy, and just overwhelmed, needing both sleep and coffee, and trying to figure out how they can keep looking out for their own health while tending to the wellbeing of someone(s) completely dependent on them. They are us. We are them. Follow their Instagram accounts to keep up with their #TLBmoves experience, to get their first-hand impressions of the products featured in this campaign giveaway, and be sure to follow The Leaky Boob’s Instagram as I will be featuring their best content there too.

Alicia: mom of 2 (ages 10 and 3), and expecting #3! Activities that keep her moving: chasing 3 yo everywhere and dancing with her while cooking.

Alyssa: 5 kids, 3 cats. Keeps moving by lifting weights, aerial, and running. Huge weight watchers advocate!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alicia’s Instagram ~ Alyssa’s #TLBmoves posts will be on TLB’s Instagram

 

Destiny: 2 kids (2, and 2 weeks old). Gets moving by going for walks and letting her 2 yr old run himself to sleep.

Kita: 4 kids, babywearing educator. Always out and about with her kids. Wear all the babies!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Destiny’s Instagram ~ Kita’s Instagram

 

Nikki: 2 kids and one on the way. Currently working hard at keeping that baby in!

Rachel: 4 kids, and foster mom. Recovering from PSD, so her husband Noah will be helping out with the “Getting Moving” category

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nikki’s Instagram ~ Rachel’s Instagram

Follow Nikki on her blog, AprilandOctober.com, and Facebook

You can also follow Rachel on her blog, SheRockstheCradle.com, and Facebook

 

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Meet #TLBmove’s Sponsoring Brands
And the Products They’re Giving Away!

 

We Made Me
featuring the Flow active wrap.

Flow is our life active wrap – soft, light and breathable. Flow has a flexible fabric, which shapes to the contours of your body, echoing the beauty in both you and your baby, but only stretching in one direction, providing comfort, room to move, combined with vertical lift. Made to fit around you and the day ahead, Flow is suitable from birth, and a versatile and intimate experience for you and your newborn. Retail value: $79.99

We Made Me was born out of a simple passion: to create thoughtful products, dedicated to enhancing and supporting you, and your baby’s wellbeing, comfort and opportunity to bond.

Our product collections are all made with good conscience and an unflinching commitment to style, functionality, and above all: safety.

 

Mama Strut

Mama Strut is a wearable soft brace that is uniquely engineered to deliver heat/ice therapy to reduce birth pain, swelling and cramping from vaginal deliveries, c-sections, and vaginal prolapse, while also supporting the back and abdomen with multi-directional adjustable compression. Designed by a Mom of three to offer women increased relief and mobility after childbirth. Retail Value: $129.99

Get a free accessory pack with the purchase of a Mama Strut using the code: tlb2018 @ mamastrut.com (add the pack to your basket).

Mama Strut brings clinically proven Sports Medicine Technology to mama care. It was specifically designed for mamas by a mama and has been validated by medical professionals as well as many mama users.

 

Bamboobies
featuring the Yoga Nursing Brahhh

The NEW, award-winning Bamboobies Yoga Nursing Brahhh is designed to keep new moms comfortable, fashionable, and feeling great throughout the day. You can rock your yoga class or just feel good walking around the park! This bra is so comfortable, we hear a lot of moms-to-be and new moms sleep in it for light support throughout the night too.

The bamboobies Yoga Brahhh is made with super-soft, eco-friendly bamboo rayon fabric, making it breathable and moisture-wicking for active moms. Retail Value: $29.99

Bamboobies’ mission is to ensure that new mothers and babies are happier and healthier, and so is their world. Their nursing pads and other SOFT Style solutions have been created with love from one mom to many others. For this campaign Bamboobies has offered a 20% off discount code for their website, just enter TLBmoves20 at checkout on any products excluding bundles and the Kelly Bra.

 

Britax
featuring the Britax Pathway Stroller

Pave your own path with this fashionable, lightweight, one-hand quick-fold stroller. Bold, colorful patterns peek out from below the large UV 50+ canopy, so your personality can be on display. Four wheel design gives baby a smooth and steady ride. Baby’s seat can recline fully for nap time on-the-go, and an extra-large storage basket plus a zippered pocket makes it easy to bring along everything you need. Click & Go adapters are included, so it can easily be made into a travel system if needed. Retail Value: $229.99

Britax believes that family life should be lived without limit – a world where parents and children are free to make the most of every moment together.

 

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The Giveaway

A huge thank you to the sponsors of #TLBmoves 2018 and this giveaway – brands that believe in supporting moms and their babies. This giveaway is made possible by them. It includes a grand prize featuring all of the products above, and 4 other winners will receive one of the Yoga Nursing Brahhhs. Please use the widget below to participate.

By participating in this giveaway, you are granting permission for The Leaky Boob to share your name and email address with the sponsors of this giveaway. Please be honest in your participation – we will be checking! Good luck, everyone! 

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The Mother’s Day of Your Choice

If you could have the perfect day for Mothers Day, what would your perfect day look like?

For me the answer to this question changes depending on life stage, circumstances, age of my children, and more.

But even more than that, it can depend on whether or not I think I’m worthy of having a day of my dreams.

Understanding this for me personally, I hope you can hear this:

You matter. You are enough. You are important.

You are worth celebrating.

You are worth celebrating on Mother’s Day.

With that in mind, what would your perfect day celebrating you as a mother look like?

Mother’s Day can be weird for many of us. It can feel contrived, a fake holiday to guilt people into spending more money. Maybe it brings up complicated feelings about our own mothers or complicated feelings about our mothering. Sometimes we feel MORE invisible on Mother’s Day when those around us seem not to notice us or the day. It may raise questions about what we do that’s worth a whole day set aside to celebrate or maybe it highlights how inadequate we feel. It may even lead to questioning what makes one a mother. For some Mother’s Day reveals how desperately we want a break from being a mom. For some it reveals how desperately we want to be a mom. For some it reveals how much they have a mothering spirit while others may feel it reveals they don’t. And many of us may wonder why we need a special day set aside to appreciate mothers- shouldn’t that be every day?

Some lucky ones experience Mother’s Day as a special time to honor their own mother and celebrate their own motherhood.

It’s a day fraught with clichés and complexity.

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, it’s time for us to realize once again that we’ve just about heard it all:

  • Yes, we all have a mother.
  • Mothers are amazing.
  • Mothers are underappreciated.
  • Flowers and homemade cards are the best way to celebrate mothers.
  • Wine and time away from our children are the gift all honest mothers crave.

How do we celebrate moms without clichés?

By embracing where we are in our journey without guilt or shame. Sure, be aware of where you need to grow and change but shame doesn’t help that journey so let’s all agree to just skip that.

This Mother’s Day, if you haven’t already, prepare by sharing with those close to you what you’d like to do, how you enjoy celebrating, and what you’d really love to receive. If that’s a nap, tell them! If that’s a mimosa by the pool, tell them! If that’s spending the day child-free doing whatever you’d like to do, tell them that too. If you’d prefer to spend the day at the park with your family and receive a card and a special necklace, share that with them.

I hope you get to experience the Mother’s Day that will mean the most to you with respect to your personal journey. Whatever that looks like.

Most of all though, I hope you grow in your understanding that you matter, you are enough, you are important, and you are worth celebrating.

To help with that, we’re focusing on celebrating you and the mother-spirit this week with a campaign #TLBmom and a giveaway to go with it featuring brands that value mothers every day, celebrating you like every day is Mother’s day.

The support that The Leaky Boob is able to offer every day is made possible thanks to brands such as these. Not only do they believe in you and me they exist to make the world a better and more beautiful place. I hope you’ll love them as much as I do. Take a moment to follow them all on social media, see what they’re about, and check out what products might make your life better and more beautiful.

The giveaway:

Alter Eco – Fair Trade chocolates, Baby K’Tan – Active Wrap, Cake Maternity – Cotton Candy Seamless Nursing Bra, Indigo Willow breast milk jewelry – Clair de Lune ring, Natracare – cloth shoulder bag full of earth-friendly feminine/baby products, Latched Mama – Drawstring T-Shirt Dress in Black Vintage Rose, Glamourmom – nursing long top

 

One winner gets all of the product above, and 10 others will win some Natracare products in a small cloth bag. That’s 11 lucky Leakies!

Please use the following widget to enter the giveaway. Good luck, and Happy Mother’s Day!

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Happy Sex Life – Happy Family, Good Clean Love

by Wendy Strgar

 

goodcleanlove.com

(Facebook livestream on The Leaky Boob with Jessica and Jeremy, parents of 7, featuring Loveologist, Wendy Strgar.)

It has been almost two decades since the birth of my fourth and last baby and yet, even 20 years later, I still remember the cold snap that overtook my marriage in the months that followed her birth. It wasn’t like the previous three kids hadn’t taken a cumulative toll on our sex life. But it was also easy to blame our degenerating intimate life on the overwhelming demands and exhaustion of raising four kids. Over time, it became clear that there were actually many other more important factors contributing to the sexless state of our marriage, and more importantly, that the lack of intimacy we shared was creating deep fissures in the foundation of our loving connection.

It was mind boggling for me, as I suspect it is for most every new parent, just how much of our attention is consumed by the fragility and wonder of a new life – often more than we think it is. In ways that I didn’t expect, a powerful internal conflict grew with each child I had, and worse still, lived at the epicenter of the ongoing and escalating conflicts I had with my partner. Who got to do their own thing, whether occupationally or personally, became our ground of competition. With each new baby the challenges of meeting my own needs and knowing my own desires left me feeling lonely and often angry at my husband. Our experience of growing a family was so different. His inability to understand my ambivalence about full-time mothering and my longing for myself isolated us from each other. And not surprisingly, it was our sex life that was held hostage by our ongoing estrangement in our relationship.

 

Wendy Strgar

 

This loss of a sex life is so common to new parents that it’s cliché. In fact, of all life transitions having a baby tops the list for the disruption of a woman’s libido and a couple’s sex life – sometimes for years. Of course there are many factors at play here – everything from hormones to how couples communicate and show up for each other after the birth of a new baby plays a big role. But even more important than many people realize is how a lack of sexual education and communication skills weighs on our ability to adapt and grow together intimately.

Initially, our sex life falls apart innocently with the many challenging circumstances of growing a family.   But often what becomes clear is just how our limited sexual education manifests and undermines our ability to both identify and express our sexual needs. Without realizing it, our deficit of sexual know-how degenerates into low sexual self-esteem and turns into a battleground of hurt feelings. I remember early in my marriage how little I understood about my own arousal mechanism and how uncomfortable we both were when it came to using words to describe our sexual preferences. Erroneously, I believed that my partner should just know what kinds of touch felt best or which positions worked for me – which was strange, because I didn’t know them myself.

The truth is that what we have no language for is often not available to us. And it is not surprising that so many relationships suffer from ongoing sexual dysfunction issues issues like pain with sex, the inability to orgasm, ongoing vaginal dryness or for men, premature ejaculation and the inability to maintain erections. In fact the sexual health issues are shared almost equally between male and female partners.

We struggled with this combination of sexual inexperience for more years than I would like to admit, which often created more frustration than our fledgling relationship could hold. We often degenerated into hurtful sexual blaming that made both of us feel impotent and afraid to engage. Living with persistent sexual frustration often evolves into an approach-avoidance game where everyone loses and one, or both, partners starts putting one foot out the door.

As our sex life starts to slip away, we don’t realize the impact it is having on the cohesion in the whole relationship. We forget how much emotional release that our physical intimacy brings. I often call it the glue that keeps all the rest of the mess intact, but we know that not engaging sexually undermines the health and longevity of the relationship in so many other ways.

Finding your way out of this downward sexual spiral is possible and deserves your attention. What helped us was both recognizing how much we didn’t want to lose the intimate space we had taken for granted, and developing the curiosity to learn more about our own sexual response. The more confident I became in my own ability to express my sexual needs, the more I could bring to our intimacy and stop blaming him when it didn’t work.

As he saw my willingness grow, and wasn’t worried about my wrath, he had time and space to figure out what helped for him to last longer. With practice, I also got better at finding ways to wake up my arousal which made it possible to throw out the entire idea of needing to “be in the mood.” The more I trusted my capacity to generate a sexual mood, the more we were able to synch up our sexual desires.

During all the baby years I usually had to think my way into desire. It never just came to me, but it became easier and easier to remember how much softer life was for everyone when we took care of our sexual needs first.

 

Wendy Strgar is an award-winning entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, a pioneer in the organic personal care product industry. She is a popular blogger and author of two books. Sex That Works: An Intimate Guide To Awakening Your Erotic Life, published by Sounds True Publishing in June 2017, is the companion to her first popular book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy. Wendy has been featured in many publications including The New York Times Book Review. For more information about Wendy’s relationship help books, visit her author website.

Belly Painting- Celebrating and Commemorating Pregnancy With Your Children

By Jessica Martin-Weber with Squiggle Bug, Smunchie, Sugarbaby, and Jeremy Martin-Weber

Each person deserves to be celebrated. A theme that is common in our family. Most often , the ways we find to celebrate are small and simple but very special.

We’re going to show one way we enjoy celebrating a coming baby. Belly painting! Together we cooperate to celebrate and commemorate the new person joining our family with creative expression.

Today we already agreed on a seasonal theme but it could be anything! Comment telling us what you’ve done to celebrate a pregnancy and the new family member joining your family.