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What Would You Say? Sharing Your Experiences and Ideas with Others

shutterstock_80585950-1By Amy Nelson, Yankton, South Dakota

Throughout my years as a breastfeeding mother, I sought support from a variety of resources, most made available thanks to La Leche League. I attended monthly Series meetings, and there was nothing quite like gathering with others to share about our breastfeeding and parenting experiences. Some in attendance cradled their first newborns and worried about sleep and milk supply. Others kept a watchful eye on their energetic toddlers, pondering how to approach weaning. Our conversations spanned LLL philosophy, covering everything from our birth experiences and how they affected our start to breastfeeding, to providing nutritious, whole food meals and snacks for our growing families, to sharing ideas for gently and respectfully disciplining our increasingly independent children.

When I wasn’t face to face with this support group, I would turn to my mailbox and to the bi-monthly editions of New Beginnings magazine. This was nearly as good as being face to face with other parents! I would wait for a few quiet moments, grab a refreshing drink, and sit down to read about others’ experiences in breastfeeding and parenting. My favorite features were the “advice” columns in which a parent would share their situation and ask for input and other parents would share their ideas and what worked for them. These were essentially Series meetings in print. This was before the Internet was as essential to daily life as it is now. I didn’t have blogs or forums or even many websites that I could turn to for breastfeeding or parenting information and ideas. These columns filled such a void in my life during the days between Series meetings.

Even today, it isn’t always possible to speak to other parents face to face or over the telephone. There are, however, many ways to reach out for support and information through the click of a mouse or the touch of a screen. The New Beginnings blog is one of those options, and as a throwback to this blog’s origins as a print magazine, we’d like to reintroduce the “advice” columns to a new generation that were so well-loved by myself and other parents.

As you continue to read, you’ll see we’ve listed each column and included a question sent in from a reader. When you read the situation, you’ll probably find yourself nodding in agreement and understanding as you may have experienced that situation in the past, are currently living it, or know you will most likely find yourself in that place in the future. This is where you, the reader, play such an important role. We want to hear from you. How did you handle that particular issue? You’ll be able to comment on Facebook or share your reply at nbeditor@lllusa.org. We’ll compile the answers and include them in upcoming blog posts. We also want to hear your questions and concerns. Those may also be featured in an upcoming blog for other parents to comment on and share their experiences.

Giving Birth 

In this column, we would like to feature your birth story. We are interested in hearing about all types of birth experiences and your initial breastfeeding experience.

shutterstock_219593770Making It Work

I am returning to full-time work when my son is three months old. My son will be going to an in-home daycare where I’ll be able to stop in at lunch to nurse him. It was often difficult to get out of the house on time in the morning when it was just me preparing for the day, so I’m concerned that now my mornings will be a complete disaster. Could you share your morning routines and tell me what worked well for you?

Staying Home

My days are full as I stay at home to care for my three-year-old and six-month-old children. Now that my youngest is past the newborn stage, I feel as if I’m in a really good place as far as settling into a routine and being able to balance household responsibilities as well as caring for and simply being able to spend time playing with my two children. The problem I’m having is that various friends or neighbors think that, because I am at home during the day with my children, I am free at any time for them to drop by for a visit or to request my babysitting services, etc. Sometimes this works out great, but it also feels like they don’t think I do anything during the day since I don’t leave the house to go to work and therefore can make time for them whenever they call or show up at my doorstep. Has anyone else experienced this? Can you help me think of ideas to politely let others know my day isn’t wide open for always visiting and helping others? I almost want to leave a message on my phone or a sign on my door stating this, but that seems rude.

Toddler Tips

In a couple months, my family, which includes three children ages 11, 7, and 3 are going on vacation to a large resort/amusement park. I’m a little worried about keeping our youngest safe in a new environment, especially one so large and crowded with people. I’m also worried that my three-year-old will become completely overstimulated and have multiple meltdowns throughout our trip that will ruin the time for the rest of the family. Has anyone attempted a similar vacation with a child about the same age? What worked well for you?

Partners in Parenting

Tell us about a time that your partner helped to make parenting, breastfeeding, maintaining the house, etc. easier.

Eating Wisely

My four-year-old twins are fairly enthusiastic eaters and don’t often complain about or reject what I prepare for them. They absolutely love fruit! Vegetables are another story. It doesn’t seem to matter what vegetable I give them because they’ll immediately turn up their noses. I have no idea why they suddenly dislike this particular food group. I’d love to hear some strategies or learn new recipes that incorporate vegetables so I can continue feeding my two girls nutritious, well-balanced meals.