Top 5 dinosaur books for children

Top 5 Dinosaur Books for Children | the Maypop

 

Harrison loves dinosaurs. I’ve talked about how we look for dinosaurs in our neighborhood during our evening walks, about how we need just the right gear to search for fossils, and about how we spend countless hours reading library books on the topic or picking up books from our favorite bookstore.

Today, I want to talk a little bit more about the dinosaur books that Harrison likes the most. Our library has a twenty-five book maximum, and there have been many visits where we filled our basket with almost dinosaur books exclusively. I’d confidently say we’ve read more than one hundred dinosaur books, both fiction and nonfiction. Naturally, several books have risen to the top.

Below are the top five dinosaur books for children that we continue to check out again and again or have even added to our own home library.

Top 5 Dinosaur Books for Children

#1

The Dinosaurs Of Waterhouse Hawkins

Top 5 Dinosaur Books for Children | the Maypop

 

This book is our favorite, and it is one we’ve added to our own personal collection.

Do you listen to the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcasts? Well, I feel like Waterhouse Hawkins should be one of the featured topics.

Seriously – until Harrison picked up this book at the library, I’d not heard of Mr. Waterhouse Hawkins. I did not realize that, in the mid-1800s, he created some of the first true-to-size models of dinosaurs. I was unaware that his dinosaurs were part of the Crystal Palace Exhibition.

And I certainly had no idea that several of his Crystal Palace Dinosaurs survive today.

If you’re intrigued, then you’ll love this book. Part story, part documentary, beautifully told by Barbara Kerley. It’s a longer read, but Harrison (4) sat through the entire book. It helps that is superbly illustrated by Brian Selznick, as is evidenced by the book’s Caldecott Honor distinction.

#2

Dinosaur Named Sue: The World’s Most Complete T. Rex

Top 5 Dinosaur Books for Children | the Maypop

Harrison likes this book primarily because it is about a T Rex, his favorite meat-eating dinosaur. Specifically, it is the story of Sue, the largest, most complete, and best preserved tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found. With the Waterhouse Hawkins book, it’s the story that is so compelling to Harrison. With Sue, it’s the realism told in such detail. I can see his little mind absorbing every detail of Sue Hendrickson’s discovery.

This is the book that makes him want to be a paleontologist. This is the book that has him dragging me around the woods searching for T Rex skeletons.

Me? I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Sue in person at the Field Museum. I’m partial to this book because I’ve seen first-hand how magnificent she is and because knowing her story only makes her that much more astonishing.

#3

Dinomummy

Top 5 Dinosaur Books for Children | the Maypop

 

Similar to Sue above, Dinomummy is the story of a dinosaur fossil discovery, a duck-billed hadrosaur. What makes this fossil unique is that it is the best preserved dinosaur mummy – three-dimensional and complete with some skin and soft tissue!

What makes this story unique is that it is told from the perspective of Tyler Lawson, who was just sixteen at the time of his find and only six when he began hunting for dinosaur bones found his first fossils. The photographs in this story are really amazing too; even I found myself studying the pages, staring at the dinosaur mummy and especially its skin.

As with the book about Sue, Dinomummy has Harrison convinced that he himself can find a dinosaur fossil. In fact, I think he’s even more convinced by this story because he realizes Tyler was so close to his age when he found his first fossils. My challenge is encouraging this passion while also trying to explain that we don’t exactly live in the dinosaur fossil-rich Hell Creek, South Dakota area. We’ve found lots of shark teeth and ray crushing plate fossils, but they unfortunately pale in comparison to a tyrannosaurus rex skeleton or hadrosaur mummy.

 

#4

Inside-Outside Dinosaurs

Top 5 Dinosaur Books for Children | the Maypop

 

This is a simple book, but it is still one of our top picks. Each two-page spread is illustrated with a dinosaur skeleton followed by an illustration of that same dinosaur, with skin and other details, on the next two page spread. The illustrations are fun, neither extremely juvenile nor overly scientific. The only words are the names of the dinosaurs and meanings of the names (ex: BRACHIOSAURUS, “arm lizard”). Harrison really likes “reading” this book independently and studying the pictures.

This book was one of the most helpful for early reading and letter recognition. I didn’t anticipate this when I checked it out at the library, and I was surprised when he wanted to spell every long name, pointing to each letter in every dinosaur’s name.

#5

Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo

Top 5 Dinosaur Books for Children | the Maypop

Oh how we adored this story! This is a true work of magical fiction and fun. While on vacation, a safari in Africa to be specific, the Lazardo children stumble upon a dinosaur and the eccentric and wealthy parents agree that they can keep the dino as a pet. They name him Bob, and the hilarious adventures that follow are reminiscent of Emily Elizabeth and her adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Harrison giggled as we read this one, not so secretly wishing that we would stumble upon our own dinosaur pet. I secretly wished our vacations included a safari in Africa, but I’m getting off topic.

The pictures are fantastic; William Joyce is as great an illustrator as he is a story teller. It is a perfect bedtime story, with just enough ups and downs to stay interesting. I’d consider it a modern day classic, in fact.

 

Do you have a junior paleontologist on your hands too? What are your children’s favorite dinosaur books? Please share in the comments!

 

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The Kissing Hand: the Perfect First Day of School Book

The Kissing Hand | First day of school book, easing transitions | the Maypop

When I was working full time, before I had my second baby, Harrison went to school every day. And, Harrison cried every single morning when we dropped him off. Daddy normally did drop offs, mostly to spare me from this agony. I loved his school, and I know Harrison did too, but he hated leaving Mommy and Daddy. He also hated any sort of transition – picking him up from school was just as difficult.

To ease his transitions, I looked to my friend and Conscious Discipline certified expert, Jessica Flowers.

Jessica spent some time teaching me how to prepare him for what we were going to do next. He still struggles with any sort of transition, and I still make a point to try to talk about what we will be doing next. Right now, I start off by singing When we do something new, let’s talk about what we’ll do. Does anyone else think Daniel Tiger is an amazing parenting resource?

And, Jessica introduced me to the sweetest little story, The Kissing Hand.

If you’re not familiar with it, The Kissing Hand tells the story of Chester Raccoon and his first day of school. It tells of Chester’s fears about leaving his mommy and all that is familiar to him. And, in this story, Chester’s mother reveals a secret family tradition, passed to her from her mother, who learned it from hers: The Kissing Hand. (A tradition passed from her grandmother to her mother to her? Of course, sappy, sentimental, lives-for-tradition, memory-maker me adores this book!)

The Kissing Hand | First day of school book, easing transitions | the Maypop

Harrison didn’t just love listening to this story. It resonated with him. He got it. He understood it. It comforted him. He could relate to Chester Raccoon.

So after reading it together, when I would drop Harrison off at school, I would kiss his sweet, chubby, open hand, press his palm to his cheek, and remind him to think, “Mommy loves you.”

My niece is starting kindergarten this year. When they were visiting with us a couple of weeks ago, I selected The Kissing Hand from our growing  library to read to to the cousins at bedtime, in honor of Chloe’s first day of school.

The Kissing Hand | First day of school book, easing transitions, gutter bookshelves | the Maypop

She had never heard the story, and she and her little brother both loved it as much as Harrison. So, I couldn’t resist sending them a copy of their own.

I loved passing along another tradition. I know my sister in law will kiss Chloe’s palm and press it to her cheek on her first day next week, and I hope this sweet gesture provides both of them a little comfort on this big day and on hard days in the future.

What are your favorite back to school stories and traditions? I hope you’ll share in the comments.

PS – Mrs. Raccoon is full of wisdom. I also often quote her when I remind Harrison (and myself), that “Sometimes we all have to do things we don’t want to do.”

 



Love the place you live: A Very Little Bookstore

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend! I guest-posted on Shara’s blog, Palmettos and Pigtails, a couple weeks ago. Just popping in on Sunday to share this post, in case you missed it. 

 

Lately, I’ve written a few posts about loving the place we live, which, to be fair, is not hard to do when you live in Charleston. So today, I thought we’d venture a little farther out of town, to quaint, downtown Summerville. On picturesque Main Street sits one of my own favorite places to go with my boys, and I’d love to share it with you.

But first, indulge me in a little reminiscing. I’m the sappy, sentimental type.

My mom read to my brother and me when we were younger, and she really encouraged us to read too. She would let me check out piles of books at the library, and she took me to the bookstore, no matter how tight our budget must have been, especially back then. I can even remember visiting a bookstore as early as 3, maybe 4. We lived in Turkey at the time, and were only there for a couple of years, so I can be confident that I was that young. I remember that this bookstore carried the Mr. Men & Little Miss books, a personal favorite. And, I loved Dr. Seuss at this age.

Naturally, reading is one of my most favorite things to do with my own boys. I want them to remember reading with me, just as I remember doing with my own mother.

So, just as my mother did with my brother and me, I take my boys to the library and let them check out the 25 book maximum. I try to select a few books while we’re here, but for the most part, I let Harrison pick the books that he wants. Sometimes, that means that I have to settle for a series of character books I’d rather pass on, but lately, it’s meant that I’m learning new things about dinosaurs. Did you know that the Brontosaurus is now called Apatosaurus? Or, that there is no such thing as a Pterodactyl? There is a Pterodactylus, but technically, it’s a Pterosaur and not a Dinosaur.

And, again as my mom did with us, we go to the bookstore. Here, I do make an effort to guide their selections, but I always let Harrison make the final decision. I’ve enjoyed slowly curating the boys’ library. Right now, we’re in a wonderful stage of picture story books, of books I loved from Reading Rainbow and books I remember my own librarian reading to us from her rocking chair each week in the school library. In the past, and out of convenience, I’ve picked up books at Barnes & Noble or on Amazon. More recently, though, I’ve discovered a little gem in an independent children’s bookshop.

A few weeks ago, Harrison and I made a trip to A Very Little Bookstore. We’ve been several times before, but always with baby Whitt, who has more fun pulling books off the shelf and making a general ruckus than he enjoys reading. I think it’s important to take my little one, but I wanted some one on one time with my oldest.

bookstore1

The owner, Natalie, is  passionate about children’s literature and about children, and her enthusiasm is apparent in every aspect of her shop. She’s incredibly knowledgeable about the various authors and illustrators. So, her recommendations are always exactly what we need. She doesn’t recommend books in a “one size fits all” manner either, meaning she doesn’t simply recommend her own favorites and assume your child will love them too. She gets to know you and your child, and then she suggests books you’ll like. For example, her suggestions for my little boy are always very different than her recommendations for his bestie, Farris, even though they are both four. The more often you venture in, the better her recommendations. And, she hosts a children’s book club for older children. So cool, right?

A Very Little Bookstore | the Maypop

Not only is Natalie wonderful, but the shop itself is a special, magical place too. The walls are lined with individual and unique book shelves that look collected, rather than matching book cases you typically see in chain stores or libraries. And, her own children are often at the shop, which I love. It feels cozy and homey and very family-friendly. It’s the kind of place one can comfortably grab a book of the shelf and read on the carpet or at one of the low kids tables. It’s truly a place a mom can feel comfortable letting her kids be kids and dive into books (sometimes literally). And, that’s what makes this store so unique. It is truly a children’s bookstore – designed for children.

A Very Little Bookstore | the Maypop

This store may be little, but it is the gateway to a big, wide world. If you’re local to Summerville and haven’t been, it’s a must. And, if you’re in Charleston or Mt. Pleasant, it’s worth the drive. I promise. While you’re downtown, I suggest you finish your bookish afternoon off with a root beer float from Guerin’s Pharmacy or a hot cocoa from Single Smile Cafe.

Root beer float at Guerin's Pharmacy, Summerville, SC | the Maypop

 

Hot Cocoa from Single Smile Cafe, Summerville, SC | the Maypop

 

Photos by Gray Benko taken at the quaint A Very Little Bookstore (with the exception of the last two).

PS – Be sure to pop over to Palmettos and Pigtails if you haven’t already. You’ll find lots of craft ideas, great posts on meal planning (freezer meals for Baby G3!), and ideas for things to do with children from Disney World to the Lowcountry Children’s Museum.



Extended Breastfeeding and My Top Ten Breastfeeding Tips

 

I’m guest posting at Palmettos and Pigtails today. If you have a few minutes, I hope you’ll stop by Shara’s blog to see one of my favorite places to go with my boys.

 

I'm watching him wiggle his chubby little foot. Sweet, squirmy baby.

I’m watching him wiggle his chubby little foot. Sweet, squirmy baby.

Before World Breastfeeding Week ends, I want to share a few thoughts with you. I’m currently nursing a 20 month old, while pregnant at 30 weeks, and I nursed my first child until past his 3rd birthday. I suppose that places me squarely in the “extended breastfeeding” category.

I never thought I’d breastfeed for so long. I can remember thinking with my first baby that my goal would simply be to make it to the six month mark. It wasn’t until just recently that I even felt comfortable admitting to nursing a toddler, so writing about it very publicly on the internet is a big deal for me. I am not sure how to describe how I felt. I was confident that my decision was the right thing for me and for my boys, yet publicly I was still somewhat…I don’t know…insecure? I was not embarrassed or ashamed, per say, but I certainly didn’t volunteer the information. I would also often omit or gloss over details, even with close friends or family.

I think partly it was a fear of being either misunderstood, or worse, judged. (The backlash this mother received is enough to scare anyone into silence). When others realized I was still nursing, I would receive “wean him before kindergarten” comments, usually surprisingly from family, and even those were early on, maybe just past the one-year mark. Of course, these comments only made me more hesitant to share my experience.

I also didn’t often share my extended breastfeeding experience because I didn’t want my friends who didn’t or don’t breastfeed to feel that my nursing, especially for so long, was in any way a feeling of superiority. If you’re thinking that contradicts my earlier thoughts on feeling misunderstood or judged, then in a way, you’re right. You see, breastfeeding is a funny thing. As a new mom, I personally felt that I “should” breastfeed. Pro-breastfeeding propaganda met me at every doctor’s visit, in every baby book, and on every baby website. Before having children, I felt that I had to at least attempt to breastfeed, and I think that’s partly where my six month goal originated. I felt society pushed me, as a new mother, to breastfeed. It seemed there were statistics and research everywhere, scaring me further into thinking that if I didn’t breastfeed then my baby would be less intelligent, less secure, that we wouldn’t share a strong bond, and that his immunity would be forever weakened.

However, the same society and propaganda that pushed me to nurse as a new mom made me feel weird as I passed the one year mark and like a complete freak once I was nursing a toddler.

I only know one brave friend who said she didn’t want to breastfeed. Period. Didn’t want to. I admire her so much for knowing what she wanted and for doing what was best for herself, which in turn, is also what’s best for her baby. Every single other one of my mommy friends has said “I tried but didn’t produce enough milk,” or “I did until I had to go back to work, and then I couldn’t pump enough”. I’m sure some of these things are very true, and I know that nursing is a very challenging road for many of us. I know that we work through issue after issue, and that many times, these issues keep us from being able to nurse as long as we had hoped. I am also positive, however, that some of these mothers just did not enjoy breastfeeding but felt guilty or ashamed to admit it because society had made them feel that “breast is best”.

So, I continued to be relatively private about my extended nursing. Since I knew how much it hurt to feel judged, I certainly didn’t want to make my friends, and particularly vulnerable new mommies, feel that I was judging them for not breastfeeding. The truth is I still often wonder at how I ended up doing it for so long myself.

Yet, here I am, almost five years in. The longer I’ve nursed, the more I’ve come across other contradictions in nursing too. For example, everything I initially read made breastfeeding seem like the best diet plan ever. Most of my breastfeeding friends quickly dropped the baby weight and many were even slimmer than before baby; they all chalked it up to the extra calories they were burning while breastfeeding. Me? I can’t seem to shake about ten extra pounds. The baby weight comes off slowly after the first twenty pounds, and I don’t have the same muscle tone I had before, despite being consistent in the gym and eating relatively healthy. Luckily, I was able to read other women’s stories online and learn that I was not alone, that some women hang onto a little bit of “cushion” while breastfeeding.

Another contradiction is this whole idea of breastfeeding being such a sweet time with your baby. I find these stories especially unhelpful when I am asking for help. For example, I mention on Facebook that I am so, so, so tired because my one-year old has regressed and is again waking up almost every hour. In response, another mother, often years removed from breastfeeding, will advise me to just enjoy this sweet and fleeting time.

I realize this is meant to be helpful and to provide perspective in the moment. However, and while she is right – this time is sweet and it is fleeting – I already know that. That thought is what sustains me; it is what keeps me nursing until my babies are ready to wean, but it does not help me with the challenge at hand. I can recognize the truth, and there are moments like one earlier this week – Whitt was nursing and rubbing my very pregnant belly with one hand while his other hand was curled around my finger – that are sweet and incredibly tender. There are moments I want to remember always, wishing I could somehow seer them into my mind. But, I also have many moments of wishing he would nurse faster or being irritated that I am the only one that can comfort him sometimes, or just feeling like I don’t want to be touched right now. I remember one friend telling me she nursed her first baby but not her second because she “wanted her body back”. I was pregnant with my first at the time, and I can remember thinking that she meant she wanted to diet and get back in shape and felt that breastfeeding would limit her ability to do so. I’m sure that was partly what she meant, but after nursing two babies, I now know that she probably more meant that she “wanted her body back TO HERSELF”. She did not want to share her body or be physically at the beck and call of another person, no matter how incredibly adorable that little person may be. I understand her feelings, and there are days when I want my body both back in shape and back to myself.

Haley wrote about being “touched out” this week too; again, it is the stories of other mothers that have been so helpful in making me feel like I’m not alone on this breastfeeding journey. After seeing the #normalizeit hashtag on Instagram this week in conjunction with the beautiful #worldbreastfeeding pictures, I realized that I wanted to feel that breastfeeding is “normal”, despite it’s contradictions. So, I asked Eric to snap a (modest; can’t completely change who I am) picture of myself nursing Whitt and started on this post. And, then I sat on it. I was (and still am) nervous about sharing the picture on Instagram or telling my story here on the blog.

Despite my fears, I’m hitting “publish” today. I’m going to share my best tips for breastfeeding here. My hope is that these tips will help another mother who will help another and that, together, we can #normalizeit. I am intentionally not citing any research or statistics. My goal is not to convince you that breastfeeding is best. I’m not convinced myself. Breastfeeding is hard. Breastfeeding is not glamorous.

But, for me, it has been so worth all of the ups and downs and bends in the road. My goal is to support you if it’s the path that you to find yourself on.

One more thing, I’m not a lactation consultant, and I have no medical training. This is simply my advice, based on my nearly five years of breastfeeding.

Top Ten Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms | the Maypop

 1. Seek professional help. My husband and I met with a doula/lactation consultant/infant nurse (she was all of the three) in our home before and after we had our first baby. What I learned from her was incredibly valuable. So, seek out a lactation consultant and ask her a million questions. Let her touch you and show you how to get the baby to latch properly. The touching thing, the stranger-grabbing-your-engorged-breast thing is awkward, I know, so awkward, but I promise it will be helpful.

2. Get the proper latch. I’m not sure why it is difficult to get the right latch, but it is, especially at first. Don’t believe anyone who tells you that this is natural or instinctual for babies. Trust me, they need help. What’s worked best for me is to grab my breast behind the nipple with my hand. I place my thumb on top and fingers on the bottom, with my thumb and index finger facing outward, and then I place my nipple into the baby’s mouth. (Terrible visual, but picture yourself giving someone else a bite of a thick sandwich.) It’s hard to explain, but I  use my breast to gently push the baby’s lower jaw down, before placing my nipple in his mouth. I do this to make sure the baby has a wide open-mouth latch and that my nipple and areola are fully in the baby’s mouth.  My boys have a tendency to fold their lips under while latching. So, once latched, I use my finger to gently pull the baby’s lips open/up. In my experience, a proper latch is important for a couple of reasons; it will help prevent some discomfort for you, and it will help the baby eat more efficiently.

3. Be prepared to nurse often; a baby’s tummy is tiny. One of the most helpful things that our doula did was to bring a baggie of various-sized balls (marble, ping pong ball, etc) with her to show us how large a baby’s stomach is at different ages. Seeing how tiny a baby’s stomach actually is/was helped me through so many sleepless days and nights. When my newborn would want to nurse every hour, I would remind myself visually of those balls. I would imagine how small his tummy was and how little he was able to ingest, in contrast to how many calories he needed to grow and develop. I googled and found a similar image at Babies First Lactation blog; I hope it’s as helpful to you as the baggie of balls was to me in those early weeks.

via

via

4. Have a glass of water and a snack on hand at all times. I am never hungrier or thirstier than I am during my first few weeks postpartum. And, I swear, I get the worst cotton mouth the minute I sit down to nurse. Make sure you have a glass of water or something to drink before you sit down to nurse.

5. Only offer one breast/side per feeding. I got conflicting advice here, even from the lactation consultants at the hospital. But, the doula/lactation consultant I trusted most told me to offer one side, so this is the advice I went with. Again, I’m not a medical professional and have no training, I am only sharing what works for me. And, what works for me is to only offer one side at a time. Once I started pumping, I could understand why this was true for my own body. I have a second let-down around the 18-20 minute mark of pumping. This second let-down is the rich, nutrient-dense hindmilk, as opposed to the more watery thirst-quenching foremilk. If I switch sides, then my babies are not satisfied because they’ve not received the rich hindmilk. I also think, for me personally, that the longer I let them nurse on a side, the more I was able to produce on each side. Again I received conflicting advice, but after doing more research, I think the general consensus is to offer one side per feeding.

6. Trust your own body and let it be your guide. I know one friend who had one breast that produced more milk than the other breast; my advice to not switch sides would not be best for her. In her case, it may make sense to always start with the less productive breast and then switch to the more productive one. I have another friend who always switches sides and has nursed two babies successfully. So, listen and learn from other mothers, but in the end, do what works best for you and your body.

6.5 Trust your baby’s body too. Pay attention to your baby’s bowel movements and general comfort when you’re nursing. There is conflicting information regarding the extent to which a mother’s diet affects the baby, but in my experience, my diet affected their comfort. Both of my boys reacted when I ate/drank dairy. Harrison’s stools changed in consistency and became almost like silly string, and Whitt was very gassy. If I didn’t eat dairy, they immediately seemed better. Neither of my boys was “allergic” to dairy, and they both outgrew these symptoms after a while, but they were clearly sensitive to dairy early on. Again, I’m glad I trusted my gut (no pun intended) and eliminated dairy despite the conflicting medical information. (This was torture when my friends lovingly brought over the most decadent lasagnas and cheesy casseroles.)

7. Record feedings (and bowel movements and nap times). In the early days and weeks (and often months, if we’re being honest), I am too tired to remember when I fed the baby last or on which side. So, I recommend that you write this stuff down at first. It is helpful if your husband/mother/friend is helping with some bottle feedings too. And, it is great to take this record to the pediatrician visits as a reference too. I tried to “wing it” with my second baby, to go with the flow, but I’m buying a notebook specifically to record this stuff with baby number three. I’m old fashioned and prefer paper and pen, but you could use a phone app, or something like an Itzbeen too.

8. Learn to nurse lying down. It took me several attempts and another visit from the doula to master nursing while lying down, but what a lifesaver it was. Seriously, there were times I felt too tired to hold the baby or times I would catch myself falling asleep while nursing in the chair. Nursing while lying down meant that, if I did fall asleep, at least the baby would not fall from my arms to the ground. (If you’re reading this, please don’t share any thoughts on co-sleeping. I’m simply saying this is what worked for us. We can debate the safety and merits of cosleeping in another post.)

This is how I do it: Place the baby in the center of the bed. Lie down so that the front of your body faces the middle of the bed. Put a pillow behind your back. This will allow you to lean slightly back, to relax a little, and to slightly elevate your bottom breast. When my babies are super tiny, I need to elevate my breast even further, so I tuck a hand towel, burp cloth, or clean diaper under it. As my babies get larger, I find I don’t need to do this. Use the “sandwich” method I described in step 2 to latch the baby. Finally, find a comfortable spot for your bottom arm. I tend to extend my arm straight out, and I find that this stabilizes me even further and keeps me from feeling like I will roll towards the baby.

9. Don’t supplement with formula. As a general rule, if your baby is healthy and is growing at each doctor’s visit and is peeing and pooping regularly, then I would personally not supplement. I don’t think formula is bad. I’ve given both of my boys formula (this is my favorite), and I think the formula/breastmilk balance is something that’s helped me nurse for so long. I’ll talk more about this in another post, but in those early weeks of trying to establish a solid supply, do not supplement with formula. (If formula is medically necessary for the baby to grow and thrive, then of course I don’t recommend against supplementing.)

This was challenging for me, especially with my first baby. He was very jaundiced, and one of the pediatricians in our group pressured me to supplement with formula to help speed the elimination of bilirubin from this system. But, I trusted my gut, and I knew that the baby was nursing frequently and that he was peeing and pooping often too. I spent some time on reputable breastfeeding and medical sites doing research (not WebMD or babycenter, thankyouverymuch). So, I disregarded what the doctor said and kept nursing exclusively. Instead, I made a few follow up appointments so that we could monitor the baby and immediately catch any issues. And, with each pediatrician visit, the baby and the jaundice improved. Another pediatrician in that same group said that because breastfed babies are often more jaundiced than non-breastfeed babies, he can’t help but wonder if bilirubin has some sort of protective prophylactic property that is not yet understood.

 10. Find a support system. I suppose nursing comes easily and naturally to some of us. But for the rest of us, breastfeeding is hard. Breastfeeding is not convenient. Breastfeeding is hardly instinctive. I used to wonder why it was so hard for me, yet mothers in third world countries were able to do it without the help of doulas or lactation consultants or books or kellymom.com. Then, I realized it’s because they have a “tribe” (I don’t necessarily mean this literally, although it is in some cases). What I’m saying is that in other cultures, more so than in America, women are surrounded and supported by the help and wisdom of other mothers. They watch and learn from each other. They help each other. Breastfeeding (and breasts for that matter) are not socially taboo. Before I had children, I don’t remember seeing another woman breastfeed. That’s right, I don’t think I had even seen anyone breastfeed in person. Never. Ever. So, find someone you can ask questions. I had a friend from work that I knew I could ask a million random questions, and I am so thankful for her friendship and support and wisdom (Bonnie, thank you). It was such a relief to know she was just a quick text or email away when I needed something.

Fellow mothers – How can we encourage each other? How can we make sure that new moms feel empowered and educated to make the right feeding decisions for their babies, whether that be bottle or breast? What bottle feeding tips do you have? What breastfeeding tips would you share? Please add them in the comments below. And, please let me know if you have any questions. I will try to address them in the comments or in a follow up post. Also, I’m working on a follow up post for tips on pumping and extended breastfeeding. What questions do you have regarding pumping or for nursing toddlers?

 



Babiators Rocket Packs

My last post on learning to love where we live and getting outside with our boys made me think of the new Babiators back packs. Have you seen them?

When I think of a children’s brand that embraces the idea of getting outside and exploring, it is Babiators. Their “living the Babiators life” philosophy is spot on, and their products are legit too. (You may remember this post about their Submariners Goggles).

If you’re looking for a bag for your own little explorer, look no further than the Rocket Pack.

Babiators Rocket Pack | the Maypop

I’ve mentioned it before, but Harrison is really into dinosaurs. I’ve also explained that he takes his passions very seriously. And, his latest passion is finding a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. Last week, he decided that we were going to find one in the neighborhood. He was convinced we would find a skeleton, and he knew we had to do it asap, before the construction trucks in the neighborhood moved the dirt he had his eye on.

We didn’t find a skeleton that day in the neighborhood, but we did have a great time making memories together. We were outside. We were dirty. We were happy. And, our lack of success was certainly not due to a lack of preparation on the part of my junior paleontologist.

Harrison packed up his bag with the necessary tools – specifically something to hammer the bones from the hard dirt and a paint brush to sweep away the loose sand. These tools were both from a science kit I’d bought him, and I’ll tell you more about that later, but the point is he packed his essentials in his backpack. I love how he obsesses over the right gear, over making sure the tools are real and not toys, and I adore how seriously he takes himself. He has the sweetest little seersucker monogrammed book bag now. It is perfect for taking his toys to Mimi’s house, but it is not exactly right for hunting for dinosaur bones. And that’s why I am so excited about the new Babiators bags – they are exactly the right bags for exploring outside. Perfect for toting dinosaur bones, pirate treasure maps, ropes, rocks, and other adventurer essentials!

Babiators Rocket Packs

After an evening of modeling, Harrison cried when he had to give his pre-production Rocket Pack back. That is how much he loved this bag. In his mind, it looked just like an explorer’s pack should look. He told me how he’d fill each pocket and strap with his tools and important things.

I can’t wait to surprise him with a new Babiators Rocket Pack now that they are available.

Of course, they’re perfect for back-to-school too.

Babiators Rocket Pack | the Maypop | Gray Benko photography
Babiators Rocket Pack | the Maypop | Gray Benko photography

Babiators Rocket Pack | the Maypop | Gray Benko photography

Finally, and speaking of loving the place we live, the last photos were shot at the historic Timrod Library, which opened in 1915. I had driven by this charming building several times and had been curious about it, but I hadn’t made a point to stop in yet. When Gray and Molly with Babiators were looking for a “bookish” location for these photos, I knew the quaint, historic library would be the ideal setting. I’m so thankful we had time to check it out (no pun intended) and capture these sweet photos of the kids.

What gear have you found to be essential for exploring with your children? Tell me in the comments.

Photos courtesy of Babiators; shot by Gray Benko.



Babiators Submariners Goggles

Babiators Submariners Goggles | the Maypop

Harrison did a little modeling a few weeks ago for Babiators. You know, the awesome bright-colored sunglasses that all the cool celebrity kids are wearing these days? You know, the ones that are so durable you can bend backwards and they won’t snap? Yep, I’m talking about the ones that they will replace if you lose them or break them in the first year. The glasses that are designed for kids…for kids to actually wear and not just look cute. Not that there is anything wrong with simply looking cute. But, Babiators nailed both practical and stylish.

They just released a new line of Submariners Goggles and let me tell you, they are the real deal. He loved them so much, that I wanted to be sure to share them with you. In fact, he was so busy jumping in the water at the beach and the pool that it was nearly impossible for Gray to get him to pause long enough to look at the camera.

Babiators Submariners Goggles | the Maypop

Harrison loves his gear. If you know him, then you know exactly what I mean. In case you haven’t met my oldest, let me tell you a little more. When he was around 18 months old, firefighters visited his school as part of Fire Safety week. From that day forward, he spent the better part of two years obsessed with firemen. We visited the fire station almost daily, and the more he learned about the firemen, the more he was convinced that he was a firefighter. I got him a costume, but that wasn’t enough. He wanted “real” gear, and luckily, the firefighters at that station indulged him like he was their little mascot. They gave us an old helmet and a real flash hood. And, I somehow found a tank online, boots, other essential pieces of gear, and because we couldn’t find one for kids, Mr. Maypop made him a respirator from a two liter coke bottle. When I tell you that he wore the full costume, flash hood and all, almost every single day for two years, I am not exaggerating.

Before we invested in "real" firefighter gear.

Before we invested in “real” firefighter gear.

When he was interested in golf, he wanted a set of “real” clubs. He has “real” tools. He wanted a dirt bike for his birthday, so we bought him a pedal bike that looks exactly like a dirt bike. And, he laments every time he rides it that it is NOT a real dirt bike, and that it does not have a “puffer” (exhaust). I’ve mentioned this before, but when he rides his bike, he almost always has to wear his dirt bike gear – riding pants, jersey, chest protector, shin guards, elbow pads, and full face helmet.

Luckily for our wallets, he tends to have few passions. But, he is relentless in his pursuit of these passions, so Mr. Maypop and I indulge him once we can see he is legitimately interested in something. Unfortunately, we’ve learned the hard way that kids’ gear is often, well, not designed with active children in mind. They are mere “toys” for “pretending”.

Harrison loves to swim and has been diving under water since he was just a baby. And, as he did with his other passions, he wanted the swimming gear. We have a snorkel and flippers and goggles, all manufactured by a reputable swim company, and we’ve been nothing but disappointed with the quality of these items. Goggles, in particular, have been one example of gear that is subpar. In our experience with half a dozen or so pairs of kids’ goggles, they leak and let water seep in, or they are hard to put on, or they mold quickly.

Enter the Babiators photo shoot and cue the chorus of angels. He was literally obsessed with these goggles. And, mommy loves them too. Friends, if you’re kids love to swim, then do yourself a favor and pick up a pair of these Babiators’ submariners immediately.

Babiators Submariners Goggles | the Maypop

Babiators Submariners Goggles | the Maypop

 

 

 

 

 Photos by Gray Benko