“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
After a lot of planning, our MamAmor Subscription Boxes are here!
First box will ship: April 22nd 2016
Boxes ship once per month ONLY, the 25th of each month.
FREE SHIPPING TO USA AND CANADA
INTERNATIONAL shipping is available at an extra cost. Please contact us to find out rates.
We'll be offering 3 different types of boxes:
1) MamAmor Classic ~ $29.99
This box was designed for Birthing and Breastfeeding Classic dolls, and/or VBAC dolls.
The box includes clothes, accessories and other items made exclusively to fit our dolls.
Dress, shoes, hairband, pajamas, scarf, storage bag, apron, pillow, glasses, prints, etc.
The amount of items inside this box will depend on the value of each item.
You'll get a $50 + Value!
2) MamAmor Box Classic Plus ~ $39.99
This box was also designed for Birthing and Breastfeeding Classic dolls and/or VBAC dolls.
The box includes what the Classic Box includes, plus 1 or 2 extra items (depending on the value of each item).
Dress, shoes, hairband, pajamas, scarf, storage bag, apron, pillow, glasses, prints, etc.
You'll get a $70 + Value!
3) MamAmor Box Minis
This box was designed for our MamAmor Minis.
Includes clothes, accessories and specially made items for our Mini dolls and their babies.
The amount of items inside this box will depend on the value of each item.
You'll get a $50 + Value!
For more information about our boxes, subscribe to receive notifications and updates below:
It's giveaway time!
Win this gorgeous MamAmor doll from our collection.
Take advantage of the bonus entries! Share wide.
If you are not able to subscribe to our mailing list using the link provided in the form, please use this option instead. Thank you!
Terms and Conditions:
1- The organizer of this giveaway is MamAmor Dolls – www.mamamordolls.com
2- This competition is open worldwide. Entry age is 18 years old and up.
3- This giveaway includes free shipping of the prize.
4- There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this giveaway.
5- Closing date for entry will be March 1st 2016. After this date the no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
6- No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
7- MamAmor Dolls reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of a catastrophe, war, civil or military disturbance, act of God or any actual or anticipated breach of any applicable law or regulation or any other event outside of the organizer’s control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by MamAmor Dolls.
8- MamAmor Dolls is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition.
9- The prize is as follow: 1 Birthing and Breastfeeding MamAmor Doll named Manuela
10- The prize is as stated and no cash or other alternatives will be offered. The prize is not transferable.
11- Winners will be chosen March 2nd 2016 at random by software, from all entries received and verified by MamAmor Dolls.
12- The winner will be notified by email and/or DM on Twitter/Facebook and/or letter within 1 day of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 3 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
13- MamAmor Dolls will notify the winner when the prize will be shipped.
14- This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Network. You are providing your information to MamAmor Dolls and not to any other party.
15- By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
Meghann has been making hair clips for our dolls since 2011. She combines colors, textures and shapes beautifully, we love them all. Meghann's clips are now a permanent feature, we can't imagine our dolls without them!
Here is a bit more about Meghann.
1) How did you find out about MamAmor dolls?
I stumbled across Mamamor Dolls on Facebook through one of my natural birthing pages, and then happened to see her booth at a local trade show and was surprised to learn they were made in the same city I was living in at the time... Edmonton, Alberta!
2) When did you start making hair clips for MamAmor? What do you like the most about the job?
As I followed Mamamor, and already having a hair accessory business, I began to imagine the dolls wearing cute flower clips in their hair. I messaged Adriana about it and, lo and behold, she had been thinking along the same lines! (I don't know how long we've been working together for.... 3 years I think, almost 4?) I love working for Mamamor Dolls for two reasons. First, I adore the natural birthing process and I love what Mamamor does in educating young ones and others about birth. Secondly, I love the creative process in making my flower creations and Adriana pretty much gives me free reign in designing them. I find it relaxing and fun and a bit of an escape from my stay at home mom role!
3) Can you tell us something about you and about your family?
My husband of 17 years and I and our 3 kids live in St Albert. I absolutely love everything about birth and breastfeeding! I've had 2 water births and one dry birth but all in different environments, a hospital with a doula, a birth center with a midwife and a home birth with a midwife. I'm a busy homeschooling, stay at home/work from home mom. I love cooking (and cooking shows!), crafting, travelling, biking, and learning. I look forward to many more adventures as my kids get older.
4) What do you like the most about MamAmor's brand and products?
I'm crazy about Mamamor Dolls. I have 3...a classic custom made one, a mini, and a toddler. From the moment you hold one in person, you can see the amount of love and care put into each doll. The quality is impeccable and from working with Adriana, I know the process that goes into each doll...the pride of workmanship is obvious. These are dolls to be enjoyed now and be passed on to the next generation. I guess my next goal is to get a Papamor and maybe a puppy!! Haha
Meghann also creates beautiful hair clips for real people, you can see her work here.