This November, we are going to the Middle East! We'll be exhibiting at the 2nd. Annual Natural Birth & Breastfeeding Conference in Dubai, UAE, from November 2nd to 8th, 2016.
In collaboration with Natures Way International, we created these gorgeous MamAmor Minis that are already in Dubai, getting ready for the big event!
We'll be also attending a few workshops, some of the speakers include: Janet Balaskas, Sara Ockwell-Smith and Nancy Mohrbacher.
For more information about the conference, workshops, retreat and schedule, visit the conference website: http://natureswayint.com/nbbcgcc
Hope to see you there!
We are so excited! Personalize MamAmor dolls are here! You can now create the doll of your dreams in 5 simple steps:
Step 1- Choose your doll's skin color
Step 2- Choose your doll's eye color
Step 3- Choose your doll's hair color
Step 4- Choose your doll's nursing dress color
Step 5- Choose your doll's sling color
Personalize dolls can be Birthing and Breastfeeding, VBAC and/or Breastfeeding/Babywearing Only.
Each doll comes with a matching flower hair clip and a birth certificate with the name of your choice!
Did your preschooler wander into the birth room, say, “Oh what an adorable baby!” and everyone in your family lived happily ever after?
Well, mine didn’t either. Preparing for the birth helped A LOT, but nothing really prepares you for Child #2 and your child to feel replaced. If it doesn’t happen on day 1, it will happen at some point. How can it not? Your child, who is older and has more expectations for better behavior, notices that you don’t pick as much on the new sibling. You also spend a lot of time feeding, cuddling and caring for this baby, taking care of things the older child can do herself. So it’s not hard to see why your child may not be feeling quite so special anymore. How can you positively involve your child with the baby?
While your preschooler should not be your top tier baby-sitter, she can gather things you may need for the baby’s bath or feeding. Se also probably remembers better than you right now and sees where you put the nursing pillow you can’t do without. She can even hold her sibling for short periods of time. Depending on the age and maturity of your older child, and the age of your baby, you’ll know how much supervision to give. Don’t overuse her help, though. Let her be a kid.
Whether it’s the big brother T-Shirt or a picture of the baby, help her to celebrate with the school community or people besides your shared friends and family. Langston was very proud to introduce his brother and his new role as the elder brother during Circle Time, even though the baby himself was too young to attend.
Your child may quickly realize that the younger sibling gets a lot of attention and relatively little criticism. Try to point out occasions when being older is special. For instance, your child gets to eat birthday cake, play on the playground and use toys his baby sibling knows nothing about.
This is the one with which I need the most help. Integrating the activities of my older child with a baby routine seems completely impossible on some days, but wearing the baby does help me to walk around with two children, take train trips and get out of the house.
But isn’t this supposed to be getting your child involved with the baby? Yes and no. Your child does not want to hear all baby all the time. My son hates the well-meant question, “How do you like being a big brother?” and changes the subject, though he’s happy to talk about his brother if others are talking about him.
For me, reading books was a good way to stay connected to my older son. We could talk about topics outside of the baby, and we could also spend time together while my husband got the baby to sleep. We could also go on short outings together without the baby in tow.
As my baby becomes a crawling and then walking toddler, I’m learning that getting used to each other is a lifelong process. My son thought his brother was pretty cute until he tried to put everything into his mouth. But he also enjoys making his brother laugh and helping him to learn new skills. (I never wanted the baby to learn to climb before he learned to walk). Motherhood is an unfolding adventure which I’m learning is best to approach one day at a time!
Kristen Witucki - New Jersey, US
From Monday July 25 through Thursday July 28 ONLY! Get a regular Birthing and Breastfeeding, or VBAC mama doll from our collection and receive 4 awesome gifts!
1- Free sling
2- Free doll bag
3- Free Sibling Preparation eBook
4- Free Shipping (US and Canada only)
No coupon code needed, just get your doll and we'll send her along with all the gifts. Don't miss out!
SEE THE NEW DOLLS!
“The birds and the bees” talk is a shared tale for parents. The moment it arrives is often dreaded, full of embarrassment and involves complicated stories about storks and babies that require unlearning down the line.
It doesn’t have to be this way!
In a recent conversation on our Facebook page, parents shared how their children responded to learning about birth – sometimes by witnessing it firsthand.
“My oldest daughter watched me give birth to her baby sister,” said Amanda Boucher. “I’ve yet to see or hear of any negative consequences of kids seeing birth or having information.”
You may find your child is ready to talk at an age younger than you expected, as children have friends whose parents are pregnant or they hear about babies being born. Let your child lead and tell you when he or she is ready to learn about the body and what happens during birth. She may indicate when she’s receptive to the conversation by doing what so many of us did as kids, influenced by our basic childbirth knowledge: sticking a baby doll up her shirt.
“I can remember doing this as a kid, putting my doll in a shirt and pretending to have a baby,” Rita Hayes said. “Is there something a child should not know about this? I mean, it’s just having a baby. It’s how they got there. Maybe we should stop treating reproduction like some weird thing.”
With reproduction being the driving force of our population, it’s pivotal that your child learns about it in a calm, loving, matter-of-fact way. Using the proper terms for body parts can make her adult experience more comfortable, since how children learn about birth influences their relationship to it for the rest of their lives.
“Children don’t need to be micro-managed and shielded from life,” Leanne Booth said. “They need to encounter and see life being lived in order to learn how to manage their own.
A child’s curiosity about birth, though, is separate from sexual intercourse.
“My older kids have seen me give birth twice at home, and they still haven’t asked questions about conception,” said Natalie Linden. “These are two separate topics! Making birth a normal topic (and a normal part of life) empowers my daughters to feel like their bodies are pretty awesome!”
To recap, our top tips for a smooth conversation about birth:
1. Be matter-of-fact in your storytelling.
2. Let your child tell you when he or she is ready to talk.
3. Don’t be embarrassed: Having a baby is how we all got here.
4. Use the proper terms for body parts.
It’s what MamAmor Dolls are all about: empowering children through education.
You are pregnant again. Congratulations! But this time, you don’t have time to bask in any glow, rest during the nausea of your first trimester or the fatigue of those final weeks. You have an older child to chase after, entertain and explain about the mysterious miracle occurring each day. Involving my first child in my pregnancy helped me to stay emotionally attached to and excited about this new life. Here are five simple ways to involve your child in life before baby arrives.
Most experts advise waiting until the end of the first trimester when the risk of miscarriage has dropped considerably. While I do not dispute the incredible wisdom of this advice, I felt compelled to tell my son right away, because he wanted me to participate in more physical activities than I felt comfortable doing while pregnant. As a result, my son did get some education about death when one pregnancy turned out to be a very early miscarriage. But he also saw very early ultrasound pictures of the successful pregnancy which followed. In short, be aware of the consequences of early revelation, but do what feels right for you.
Pregnancy appointments were usually times I could focus on the life to come rather than the life that was already there. However, it’s good to bring your child to a few appointments. This way, she can get to know your caregiver, watch a typical belly-measuring exam and hear the baby’s heartbeat.
You may have the urge to think of your first child/about to be older sibling as bigger, more mature, more independent. But I know my son became more enthralled with baby pictures when he realized that he used to be one himself. I think showing the pictures to him also helped to remind me that he is still little and still needs my mothering.
Children love books of all kinds, and books about the birth of a sibling or life with a new sibling are very easy to find. Because we were having a home birth, I found Hello Baby and Mama, Tell Me about When Max Was Born to be the most helpful. In one book, the child saw the entire birth, while in another, the child left with a relative during the birth. This way, my son could talk about what he wanted to do before the time came. But many great books exist to match your birth circumstances.
High-quality educational toys can also help to explain pregnancy, birth and nursing to your child. MamAmor dolls were the first dolls my son actually showed interest in, as he learned about birth, breastfeeding and his new role in the family.
If you are giving birth in a hospital, your child may not be able to attend the birth. If you give birth at home, you can decide how much your child should see of the birth. My son watched me during early labor, left with my sister during the most excruciating part of delivery and ran back in when the baby was born. He still remembers when his brother came out before he was even cleaned up. But he got a very good understanding of how birth worked by participating to a degree that was comfortable.
Allowing my child to participate in my pregnancy gave him a lot of time to prepare for a very big change in his life, but it also gave me a little time to “bask in the glow,” even while I still ran after him.
Kristen Witucki - New Jersey, US
In the years before I became a mother, I barely gave a thought to toys. I remembered fondly the toys of my youth, but I never really spent any time considering the decisions that parents make when it comes to choosing their children’s playthings. However, that changed soon after having had my first child.
In the age of mass production, of companies placing profit before ethics and of children growing up with overwhelming choice, suddenly what I provided to play with really mattered to me. My eldest two children are boys and throughout their first year, we were inundated with loud beeping, flashing, singing plastic objects, many of which I couldn’t even figure out what they were supposed to do. It seemed that the nurturing connection and the value of toys were somehow missing and that the point of these toys seemed to be that they were cheap, eye-catching and their lifespans were fleeting. This worried me, I didn’t want my children to be part of another generation of consumers who place little value on both things and (even worse) on the lives of other human beings. I also wanted to avoid, as far as possible, contributing to landfill sites full of plastic, broken toys, that had long-since been abandoned for the “next big thing”. Most importantly, I wanted my children’s toys to foster connection and understanding, I wanted them to use play to learn about and develop their empathy and relationships with others, not to be moulded from birth into isolated beings, staring at screens and pressing buttons, the effect of this generation being the first to truly grow up plugged into screens is a worry to me and I often think about what the consequences may be in the future.
What I really wanted from a toy was for it to be tactile, open-ended, encourage creativity and for it to reflect real-life. Alongside this, I wanted to avoid contributing to child labour and other morally suspect business practices, I wanted longevity and for the product to be sustainable and made with natural materials. Over time I gathered a collection of toys that I believed fitted the bill; chunky wooden animals, a play kitchen, and building blocks dyed with safe, natural colours. We also started a small collection of soft-bodied dolls, babies that my children enjoyed carrying around and cuddling up with.
My discovery of MamAmor Dolls had me pouring over the website and yearning for one for my children (and in all honesty myself). At this time I was also training to be a childbirth educator and I was beginning to realise the importance of speaking openly to our children about birth, particularly if we were to change the birth conversation for future generations and make it an accessible and easy subject for our own daughters. The dolls ticked so many boxes for me. They are made by a small team of women who are known personally to Adriana, the creator of MamAmor. These are not mass-market, each one is handmade with love, using the finest quality materials, no hidden nasties or chemicals and no workers being exploited and paid a pittance or sleeping on workshop floors. On top of this, the dolls are representative of real women, there are no unattainable body shapes or sexualisation, they are resolutely dolls of women, of mothers. What’s more, the dolls are made in a variety of skin tones, unlike the majority of toys which represent only a small section of society. These dolls are truly inclusive.
The added bonus to MamAmor dolls is that they are absolutely beautiful and call out to be touched and picked up. They appeal to adults as well as children and I often have one sat at the centre of my women’s circles, representing the Mother in all of us. Many of the women I work with, find them irresistible and they have been the starting point for many wonderful conversations about childbirth, as they seem to open up the channels of communication through their easy handling and touch.
The dolls are investment pieces, ours have been played with daily for over two years, by three children and are still in perfect order. They have opened up conversations and allowed my children and me to process their births. They bring me joy and remind me of a piece of advice a friend’s parent once gave me. “In looking for a toy, ask not what the toy can do for the child, but what can the child do with the toy.”
Victoria Machin - UK
Remember those early months with your firstborn? Aside from the nerve-shredding fear that you had absolutely no idea what you were doing and the huge weight of responsibility weighing down on you, they were blissful days really. I remember with absolute clarity the instant that the fog lifted and I suddenly, all at once, felt like a mother and not some imposter winging it day-to-day, pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes. It was a beautiful spring morning, still chill, but blue skies with a glaring sun. I was pushing my son in his pushchair across the road on our way back from a visit to the village library. He slept and I was planning on a quiet cup of tea in the sunlit window, gazing upon his tiny baby face. In that moment I felt newly calm and as if I was finally at home in this new skin, I felt, for the first time, in control and capable. We spent the next few months in a rhythm of walks and baby groups, sleeping when the baby slept, long naps and hours spent holding my son whilst I watched films and read magazines.
And then, number two arrived and I was back there on the rocks, trying to cling on each day and get the three of us through until their daddy came home, with as few tears as possible. It seemed a momentous task, here were two little people, both needing me, both with entirely contrary needs and wants. The days spent quietly succumbing to the rhythm of a newborn were gone. Sleepless nights couldn’t so easily be recovered from when a toddler is there each morning raring to go, a ball of boundless energy and intrepid fearlessness, ready to scale anything and launch himself from the top. There is no gazing over a sleeping baby in your arms, watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s when a toddler wants you to sing and dance with them. And you can’t so easily park yourself on the sofa and breastfeed for hours on end, with baby bobbing on and off the boob, when there is another child going stir crazy and writing on the walls and attempting to empty the potty all over the floor.
But somehow we got through, we survived, the three of us, well enough to go on and have another baby and not to feel like I was drowning the next time. So here are some tips for surviving the early days with a newborn and a toddler. Good luck out there!
Victoria Machin - UK
MamAmor’s subscription boxes launch April 15th, and we’ve been sewing like crazy to fill them with new clothes and accessories for our handmade dolls. Here’s a before picture of Becka
And here’s how she looks in her new threads:
By clicking here to buy a subscription for yourself or a friend, you’ll soon receive dresses, tops, pants, skirts, flower hair clips, scarves, pajamas, bedding, bags, shoes, sandals, jewelry, aprons, blankets, hats, glasses, ponchos, storage bags … The list of new product options continues, and we only use the best possible materials for our dolls and accessories. We’re so excited to deliver these boxes as a monthly reminder to check in with your child about what’s being learned.
The important details:
If you don’t already have a doll, this is a perfect time to purchase one and start teaching your child or children about the most natural of life’s events.
Did you really think that your baby was ready to be out in the world after birth? If you did, … welcome to the Fourth Trimester! In New Jersey, where I live, employees are entitled to just twelve weeks of paid leave, and we have one of the better maternity leave policies in the United States. In other words, your baby is medically ready but maybe not totally ready; she would much rather snuggle against your body than anywhere else in the world. Her world is you. Skin to skin contact, or kangaroo care if you have a preemie, will save your baby’s and your sanity. Here are ten tidbits about skin-to-skin contact which may convince you to give it a try.
Skin to skin contact starts you off on the right foot.
Anyone familiar with livestock or birth in general knows about the golden hour, the hour after birth when a baby checks out home base, her mother, and begins to breastfeed. If your doctor or midwife can keep that golden hour sacred, allowing you to cuddle the baby on your chest rather than removing her for tests, you can often establish a very good beginning to breastfeeding while the baby is alert and receptive. If the baby does need to be removed for critical care, though, don’t fear. Skin to skin contact can make up for that lost golden hour.
Or it can regain the baby’s equilibrium.
When my four-month-old recovered from his first stomach bug, (second children seem to get diseases more quickly), he didn’t drink much milk for a few days. Besides general recovery, skin-to-skin contact got him reacquainted and reinterested in breastfeeding again. After a small or big setback in your baby’s life, cuddling can give him the gentle, instinctive reminder that you’re here for him.
Skin to skin contact promotes breastfeeding.
Whether the baby has the golden hour immediately after birth or catches up on bonding later, increased skin to skin contact relaxes both the baby and the mother, laying important groundwork for future breastfeeding success.
Skin to skin contact regulates everything.
Regulation is no joke in the case of a baby, whose first weeks, apart from a few fleeting smiles, are remarkably devoid of humor. Life for a baby out here is tough, but keeping him snuggled close to you can help him to regulate his breathing, heart rate and even his temperature.
Skin to skin contact promotes gut health and immunity.
This fact blew my mind, but apparently skin to skin contact helps the baby’s digestive system to mature by stimulating the vagal nerve, which increases the surface area for absorbing nutrients. A baby’s immunity is also increased as your milk creates antibodies to fight bacteria on your skin, turning a possible drawback into a positive.
Skin to skin contact promotes happiness.
Studies have shown that babies who remain in close proximity of their mothers cry less than babies who do not. Not only is this contact great for the baby, but it also helps to stave off post-partum depression in mothers as well.
Any contact provides benefits to the baby.
To provide what is termed kangaroo care, hold the infant with his bare chest against your own bare chest for at least an hour. Use a diaper and a light blanket over the baby’s back for comfort if you wish. The full hour provides the baby with the proper hormone cycles.
However, as a busy mother of the second child, I’d still argue that any skin to skin contact will benefit both you and the baby. I only suggest that, not to argue with the World Health Organization or any medical officials, but simply to encourage you not to read the clock and to just enjoy snuggling your baby. If your first child interrupts you 58 minutes into your contact session, all is not lost. Babies don’t care about clocks anyway.
Skin to skin contact can occur any time, almost anywhere.
One day, a few months after my first son was born, I emailed Sheila, an adult friend, and said, “I still hate giving the baby a bath. I don’t have enough hands, and I can’t relax and make him relax.” Her answer? “Just take him in the tub with you.”
Um, really? But I tried bathing him by sitting in the tub in just my underwear, and it worked. I could support the baby with my body, leaving my hands free to clean him up, which was automatically more relaxing for me. But I was even more surprised to realize how much the baby preferred this method of bathing. He would lean against my stomach and enjoy himself.
So skin to skin contact can occur during times other than breastfeeding, though the official kangaroo care position is still chest to chest for a full hour.
Skin to skin contact leads to better sleep.
The beautiful crib you bought for your baby most likely does not seem quite so wonderful to your little one, who would prefer to sleep on or near you whenever possible. Keeping your baby close to you allows the baby to sleep more deeply for a longer period of time. If you happen to be sitting, reclining or lying in a comfortable place with your baby, this same closeness can promote sleep for the mother as well. And a relatively well-rested mother is better for everyone!
Skin to skin contact promotes bonding.
Maybe you are a mother who has chosen not to breastfeed or are unable to do so. Or maybe you’re a father, grandparent, sibling or friend trying to give Mom a break. Skin to skin contact is for everyone. Even very young children can cuddle their baby siblings against their chests for short periods of time under your supervision. Young children can practice by cuddling their MamAmor dolls and by observing the way the mother doll cradles her baby before trying it out with their siblings.
I am indebted to the article, “Seven Benefits of Skin to Skin Contact,”
and to “About KMC,”
Kristen Witucki - New Jersey, US