Friday, March 15, 2013

15 Tips for Raising an Only Child

for Become a Nanny

Once upon a time, big families were the norm. These days, however, more parents are choosing to raise only children instead of having a large brood. Along with that decision comes the concern about what it means to raise an only child. Many parents have apprehension over the thought of their child becoming spoiled or being lonely. Just as with multiple siblings, you can raise a well-adjusted, responsible, socially engaged child by following a few rather common sense pointers.
  1. Relax – Babies and younger children easily pick up on a parent’s anxiety. Learn to relax and enjoy the wonders of childhood with your little one. It won’t last long, so you don’t want to fill the time you have with your baby with unnecessary angst about things that will most likely never happen anyway. You’re going to make some mistakes, but all parents do. Go easy on yourself and take delight in your child.
  2. Find Other Single-Child Families – You don’t need to join an only child club, but befriending other families like your own will provide socialization for the children and give you some support as you connect with other parents who may share the same or similar concerns you have about raising an only child.
  3. Set Clear Boundaries for Your Child – All children need boundaries. Children who have no siblings are no exception. Even though it may be easier to give in to your child’s various requests all the time, don’t do it. Every child will test the boundaries; some will do so constantly, testing your patience in the process. Be firm in your resolve to hold to the established rules. Some parents lean toward leniency because there are no siblings to pander to, but that sends out the wrong message to kids. Your resolve shows that you can be trusted to stand by your word.
  4. Play With Your Child – Some valuable life lessons that kids would normally learn at the hands of their siblings can be taught through you engaging with your child during playtime. You can teach your child to share as you both decide what you’re going to play. Let her know that she won’t always get to dictate what you play; you get to have a say in what games are played too.
  5. Teach Responsibility – One child is a lot easier to clean up after than two or more children. However, you also need to teach your child how to be part of a greater whole. Let him help clear the table after meals. Give him a list of chores that are age appropriate, and be clear about the consequences of not following through. Show appreciation when he completes his tasks.
  6. Find “The Other Mother” or the “Second Dad” – This person does not usurp your role, but rather acts as a secondary adult confidant and cheerleader for your child. According to Jennifer Powell-Lunder, child psychologist, parents of only children need to be on guard so they don’t become enmeshed with their child. Engaging in relationships with other trusted adults, such as aunts, uncles or close friends for support will help prevent your child from totally taking cues from you.
  7. Let Go of the Lonely-Kid Guilt – It’s okay for your child to have some alone time. You don’t need to fill up every spare moment with activities and play dates to make sure she is socialized properly. Everyone needs time to themselves, and you will find that kids who have time to themselves quickly learn how to fill it creatively with a little guidance from you. This quiet time can teach your child how to be productive and content.
  8. Let Him Be Himself – Some parents begin to live vicariously through their child. This is not healthy. Encourage your child to be the person he was meant to be. Take pride in his accomplishments, but let them be his own and not yours.
  9. Keep it Real – According to Dr. Kevin Leman, author of The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are, only children are prone to perfectionism. Let your child know that it’s all right to not be perfect in every little thing. Indeed, it is impossible to get everything perfectly right all the time.
  10. Monitor Self-Talk – You may need to interrupt negative self-talk from time to time. Only children can set impossibly high standards for themselves, and they need some encouragement to see that failure does not mean the end of the world.
  11. Teach Him to Set His Own Goals – Only children who are prone to perfectionism are also hungry for success in many cases. They strive to be the best at everything, and they can be quite ambitious. Sometimes this can be taken to extremes, so it’s wise to step in and teach your child how to create and manage realistic goals.
  12. Stay Involved – There are so many activities available to kids these days. You can enroll your child in sports, dance, acting, gymnastics, music and just about anything else you can think of. Choose a group activity so your child will have an opportunity to make new friends, but don’t overload her schedule. Involvement in a team will teach valuable lessons about working together and compromise.
  13. Let Her Off the Hook – It’s natural for children to seek their parent’s approval. For only children, this can become an obsession. Especially as she gets older, it’s important for you to let your child know that she doesn’t need to do everything to please you. Autonomy has a place in her life as well.
  14. Live, Laugh, Love – Only children have a tendency to be quite serious and very grown up in their approach to life. You can help your child lighten up and see the humor around him by being a good role model in this department. You need to have discipline, but you also need to see the humor in life.
  15. Volunteer – Teach your child to help others by doing volunteer work. There are many opportunities for families to do service together. There are also other things you can do, like taking your child shopping for Toys for Tots or gathering up things and clothes you aren’t using anymore and taking them to Goodwill and explaining to your child what that organization does.

Friday, January 11, 2013

How to Choose a Godparent That Isn’t a Family Member

While the tradition of choosing godparents for a new baby is typically affiliated with the Roman Catholic faith, there are some parents who are of different religions or no religion at all that are eager to confer the honor upon someone close to them. Choosing godparents for your child can be a difficult task, especially if you are worried about offending members of your family by passing them over. There are a few ways that you can manage the situation with as much grace as possible, however, hopefully staving off any hurt feelings or family feuds. Click here to read entire article

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Why breastfeeding is important |

Why breastfeeding is important

Breastfeeding benefits society
The nation benefits overall when mothers breastfeed. Recent research shows that if 90 percent of families breastfed exclusively for 6 months, nearly 1,000 deaths among infants could be prevented. The United States would also save $13 billion per year — medical care costs are lower for fully breastfed infants than never-breastfed infants. Breastfed infants typically need fewer sick care visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations.
Breastfeeding also contributes to a more productive workforce since mothers miss less work to care for sick infants. Employer medical costs are also lower.
Breastfeeding is also better for the environment. There is less trash and plastic waste compared to that produced by formula cans and bottle supplies.

Monday, January 09, 2012

In the Beginning…There Was Menarche

By Michelle Schnaars

6 January 2012

Menarche is the first menstrual period a girl or young woman gets. The average global age for menarche is anywhere from 10 to 13 years of age.

The beginning of a period can mean different things to different girls. It can be an exciting time in your life, filled with anticipation, expectation, and sometimes fear of the unknown. Some girls think about it a lot, while others don’t think about it at all. Some think there’s something physically wrong with them the first time they get it. With this article, I aim to show that ‘normal’ encompasses a wide range of feelings, experiences, and options. So, whether you slide in to this new chapter in your life easily, or go kicking and screaming, at least you’ll know that this is indeed a healthy time in your life, and that your body is doing what it’s supposed to do.

You might want to know what you can expect from your first period. It might surprise you to know that it might not occur every month, or that you’ll feel sick, and the color of the blood might not be bright red. In her article, I Got My Period and Thought I was Dying, Jessica Gottlieb shares a great point. Gottlieb says, “I went to the restroom and as I took down my pants I saw brown on my underwear.” It’s possible that you too might experience this brown discharge instead of bright red blood.

Maybe you’ve wondered if there’s a way to know you’re period is impending. Well, there sort of is a way to know that it’s about to make it’s appearance. Aside from sore and growing breasts and mood swings, you might also notice a whitish or clear discharge coming from your vagina. This can start about 6 months or so before getting your first period. This discharge is common, there’s no need to worry about it unless it has a strong odor or causes itching. If this happens have your mom take you to see your family doctor, or a gynecologist. Sometimes girls get minor infections, and it doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong. You just might need some help getting over it.

This white discharge will usually appear in the middle of your cycle each month. And, some girls will have this each month before their period starts. You might notice this discharge a few days each month before your period starts. This can be an indication that you’re ovulating. (More about this later).

Now, using a common questions format, I’ll break this down into small pieces. Here’s the lowdown on what to expect from your menstrual period:

When will my period start? As I mentioned earlier, the global range is 10 to 13 years old. But, it can start as early as 8 or as late as 15 years of age. Just because your mom, sister, aunt, or friend got their period at age 11 it doesn't mean you will too. And, just because your friends are getting theirs, doesn't mean you'll get your's anytime soon. Be patient and enjoy this time in your life.

Will I get cramps? Some girls notice cramping in their abdomen or lower back, you might even cramp in your vagina. You’ve probably heard of PMS, premenstrual syndrome, the symptoms include irritability, fatigue, food cravings, nausea, headache, bloating (water retention in your breasts and abdomen), and breast tenderness. Not every one experiences PMS, and not everyone experiences all of these symptoms.

Will it come every month? Your period may be irregular for the first year, and will become regular over time. You might bleed for the first time, and then wait months before it returns. Use a personal calendar to mark when your period comes. You can do this by placing a check mark in the upper right-hand corner, and then mark each day you have your period with this check mark. Over time this record will help you to see when you’re most likely to get it each month, and you can have pads on hand.

How much will I bleed? You will pass about 3 tablespoons of blood during your period, with an average of 6 to 9 tablespoons. It’s important that you know the blood flows out of your uterus and through your vagina.

What will the blood be like? The color of the blood can be bright red, brown, or rusty red. All of these colors are normal. Periods are also described in terms like flow and spotting. This means the amount of blood you pass during your period. Most girls start out with a light flow. And, spotting literally means spotting. It’s when a small amount, like a spot, of blood comes out.

When should I wear a pad? You already know to wear one when you’re bleeding. But, you’ll also wear one when you have the white discharge. Wear one to bed too, because even though you’ve gone to sleep, you won’t stop bleeding. You can also wear one as back-up for a tampon or cup, and on light days when you’re spotting.

Can I get pregnant now? Conception (conceiving a baby) happens when a woman and a man have sex. A woman can become pregnant once she starts ovulating, if you have your period, than you’re ovulating too. Check marking your personal calendar, as we discussed above, will help you to determine your cycle. A cycle is how many days from one period to the next. A cycle can be 28, 30, or even 40 days. To determine your cycle, start counting the days from the start of one period to the start of the next period. If you count 28 days from the first day, to the next day, then you have a 28 day cycle, if 30 days then you have a 30 day cycle, etc. To determine when you’re ovulating cut the number in half. Example, cut 28 in half and you have 14, this means you’re ovulating about 14 days after you’ve started bleeding.

Your period is a time of practice for your body for the time when someday you’ll get pregnant. Every month when you have your period, your uterus is making a place for the baby. Blood and other fluid builds up on the walls of your uterus, since there’s no baby, you shed this lining and have a period.

You’ll also notice other changes taking place, these include:

  • Breast tenderness and growth.

  • Hair growth under your arms, on your legs, and on your pubic area (the space between your legs).

  • Breakouts, also known as pimples or zits.

  • Oily hair

  • And, you may have noticed that you sweat more or even an odor after a long day or exercising.

Taking care of yourself: If you notice body odor or oily hair take a shower every day or every other day. And, you can use the same soap you shower with to wash your face in between showers to help reduce the chances of breakouts occurring, and to help heal existing ones.

Period care: There are many options for period care available to you. These include disposable pads and tampons, and cloth pads, and menstrual cups.

Cups, tampons, and pads come in different sizes to fit different body sizes, and the flow of your period. When starting your period you most likely will use a smaller size cup or tampon, a good pad size for beginning or for lighter days is 6 or 8 inches. This size is also good for young girls and teens.

Period kits are excellent things to have on-hand before your period starts, that will go a long way in helping to feel, as well as to be, prepared for when your period starts. You will find links to websites that tell you about menstrual care products and options right here, feminine hygiene care and information.

A Teen Kit usually includes:

3 pads, to wear during the day and at night.

3 underwear liners, for lighter days or spotting, or as a back-up for tampons or cups.

A carrying bag for when you’re out of the house (to take to school, etc.), and for storing in between use. You can also look into wet/dry bags, and laundry bags.

And, a booklet of information about menarche and periods.

The thing to remember is that this is your own experience. It’s all about you and the wonderful changes that are taking place; although, it might not always feel wonderful. At least now you know what to expect and what options are available to you.

If you still have questions, talk with your mom, sister, or a trusted woman in your life. You’re also welcome to email me at

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mother of the Medicine Wheel

Molly Remer shared the following poem written by Sharon Blessum via her Talk Birth website, and I found it timely for the season and wanted to share it with you all.

Mother of the Medicine Wheel
By Sharon Blessum

In the womb of the East Lodge

She gives birth in the morning.

She mothers us with smiles and songs.

In the strong sun of the South

She offers food from Her garden,

Enchantment for the mid-day of life.

In the benediction of the West

She colors evening with sunset

Wraps us in reflections of day.

In the old age of the North Lodge,

She will hold us in sweetness

Cross with us into the Land of the Ancestors.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ages and Stages: Speech Development in Infants and Toddlers

Children acquire language gradually through interaction with people and their environment. During the first year, babies start to develop skills they will use for the rest of their lives. The following developmental time-line was shared with Childbirth and… by Sonali Shivlani, CLE, CCCE (see her byline below)

Speech Development in Infants and Toddlers:

0-2 months listens to voices and can produce vowel sounds.

3-4months coos and gurgles and can also produce some other consonant type sounds like ba da ga, etc.

5-6 months can recognize names and familiar sounds. Starts smacking lips and also will talk to self in mirror.

7-9 months tries to imitate more sounds. Can recognize the meaning of ‘no’. Will start enjoying listening to simple reading from story books. Recognizes own name.

10-12 months says mama and dada, and other simple words like ‘bye-bye’ or ‘hi’. Can follow one step instructions like ‘give’ or ‘go to mama’, etc.

• If your child has not met these milestones then it makes sense to visit a specialist.

About Sonali Shivlani
Sonali Shivlani, CLE, CCCE, is an Internationally Certified Child Birth and Lactation Educator. She completed her certification from CAPPA – U.S.A. in April 2004. Training covered all birth related aspects beginning with Diet and Nutrition during Pregnancy, to the Common Concerns to Ante-Natal Exercise. Various methods of child birth such as Vaginal, Assisted Births and C Sections were also covered. Comfort and Pain relief measures both pharmacological and non – pharmacological were encompassed. Post Partum issues such as Child Care, Breast Feeding and Recovery of Mom were a part and parcel of the training program.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Do you Breastfeed!

By Michelle Schnaars

Breastfeeding is important because it protects the baby, benefits mothers and society, and lowers healthcare costs. Children receive the most complete and optimal mix of nutrients & antibodies when breastfed. Breastfeeding plays an important role in the emotional development of babies, and babies enjoy a special warm bonding and relationship with their mothers.

Often we hear "breast is best". But, how is it best? What sets breastfeeding apart from formula feeding?

The following are just a fraction of the many wonderful benefits of breastfeeding:

• The varying composition of breastmilk keeps pace with the infant's individual growth and changing nutritional needs

• Have fewer incidences of vomiting and diarrhea in the US (20-35 million episodes of diarrhea occur in children under the age of 5, resulting in over 200,000 hospitalizations and 400-500 deaths in the U.S.)

• Protection against gastroenteritis, necrotizing entercolitis

• Reduced risk of chronic constipation, colic, and other stomach upsets

• Reduced risk of childhood diabetes

• Increased bone density

• Average cost of formula to feed a baby in the first year $1, 733.75.

Do you breastfeed? And if so, do you feel you have support from your family or peers? And, what are your thoughts on extended breastfeeding?


Tuesday, August 02, 2011

APPPAH Hosting an International Congress Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology

APPPAH (Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health) will be hosting an international congress November 17-20, 2011 in beautiful San Francisco at the Kabuki Hotel in Japan Town.

Be inspired by individuals who are making a difference in the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology. We will have new and exciting speakers including:

Bruce Lipton, internationally acclaimed author and speaker who connects the biology and the psychology of the brain, the cells and the psychology of human development. Bruce will also offer a one-day pre-congress workshop on Thursday, the 17th of November.

Annie Murphy Paul, author of the popular book on fetal life ORIGINS: How The Nine Months Before Birth Shape The Rest of Your Life

Jeanne Ohm, founder and executive editor of Pathways to Family Wellness

Gabor Mate, author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts other books

Michael Trout, founding president of the International Association for Infant Mental Health.

Raylene Phillips, attending neonatologist at Loma Linda University Children's Hospital in Loma Linda, CA

Marcy Axness, author of the forthcoming book, Parenting for Peace

In addition to these keynote speakers, we will have 20 breakout sessions with additional experts in the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology and medicine, focus groups, a book store, and many opportunities for networking.

Visit to register for this important event.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Nutrition and Over-40 Pregnancy

by Michelle Schnaars

A nutritionally sound diet is important to over 40 expectant women. What we eat during pregnancy is not only crucial for us but also for the development of the baby. A prime example of the importance is folic acid. Folic acid, or folate is a B vitamin and extremely important in the first few weeks of pregnancy for the development of baby’s spinal cord and brain.

During pregnancy we have to consume a whopping 300 more calories a day, and more if expecting twins. We can do this by choosing a variety of healthy foods and avoiding junk foods. Variety is important as it helps ensure you’re getting the daily amounts of recommended vitamins and minerals every day from the foods you eat. Foods like, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole wheat and grains, and dairy. Our goal is to get a balance of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, B complex, C, D, and E, and calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Keep the food pyramid in mind when choosing foods at the grocery store. And, check out for meal planning during pregnancy.

With each of my three pregnancies I developed sneaky ways of getting a healthy balance. I incorporated a wider variety of vegetables, eating dark leafy greens, and a colorful variety of other veggies like bell peppers. I also learned about ones that I had never heard of before like Jack Fruit and Jicama; and I ate some that I hadn’t eaten in probably years. It became fun trying to figure out what new meals I would prepare that week.

Here are the sneaky things I did to get those nutrients: For extra protein eat mixed nuts. Make your own milk shakes, fruit drinks, and veggie drinks. Add Wheat Germ to pancakes, veganaise, vegan ‘cheese’, and salads for calcium (4%), iron (40%), dietary fiber (15%), and protein (27g). And, snack on fresh vegetables, fruit and cheese in between meals for extra nutrients. But also keep in mind during pregnancy it is better to ‘graze’ than trying to eat three meals as you did before pregnancy.

You’ll also want to avoid those foods that bring on pregnancy discomforts: gassy, acidic, high sugar and white flower, for example. And, remember to keep well hydrated drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

Related sources:

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Are You A Flower Power Mom?

If you're having a baby after 40 then yes you are! You might want to tap into the leading online support community at A Child After 40, and connect with other over-40 women on the same journey. is the source of a growing “movement” to empower the rising number of women having children after 40. It launched as a blog in 2009, featuring commentary, real mom stories and expert advice on the hardcore realities of midlife motherhood.

In May, 2011, launched A CHILD AFTER 40 (ACA40)—the first free, private online community to empower all women on the journey of motherhood after 40—from fertility, pregnancy and birth or adoption, to parenting, menopause and ageing.

The A Child After 40 community now has a dedicated Weekly News Brief and is currently featuring a 2011 Summer Series of free online “Ask Our Experts & Authors” Forums. Experts range from the fields of reproductive endocrinology, clinical child psychology and Traditional Chinese Medicine, while Authors include journalists from some of the top newspapers in the USA and the BBC in Britain. has been widely featured in the media on key issues related to midlife motherhood, including several live broadcasts on CNN and a broad range of radio programs and newspapers across the country since 2009. is the leading resource for the fastest growing population of moms in the USA—midlife moms!