Breast or bottle feeding

Is it better or easier to breastfeed or bottle feed your baby?  Over the years I don’t think it has ever been disputed that breastfeeding is far healthier, but bottles are certainly very convenient, especially for fathers wanting (or needing) to feed their babies.

The health advantages of breast milk include:

  • contains antibodies that fight viruses and bacteria
  • contains all the essential minerals and vitamins needed in the first 6 months
  • lowers the risk of asthma and allergies in children
  • lowers the chance of diarrhea and ear infections
  • breastfeeding helps moms get back to pre-pregnancy weight faster

When my mother was feeding me and my siblings, (in the late 50’s and early 60’s) breastfeeding was not as popular as it is today.  Why that was I am not sure.  Moms were still predominantly “stay at home” and breastfeeding was (and still is) certainly the more economical way to go.  Maybe because of the larger families and the time commitment involved in breastfeeding.  It would be hard to concentrate on breastfeeding with a few other munchkins running around.  I have heard too that breastfeeding was considered to be an uncultured or low-class practice, an opinion that started in the early 20th century and extended almost to the 21st century.

When I was feeding my own babies (in the 90’s) breastfeeding was the thing to do.  I found it very convenient and relaxing, with no complications.  No sterilizing bottles and no filling bottles in the middle of the night.  I do know several women that had difficulties though, with low milk production or trouble with babies latching on properly.  I always said that was the advantage I had in having large babies; (my first was 10 pounds!) they had no trouble latching on and draining me every feeding.

Today, there appears to be mixed feelings about breastfeeding.  It has been making a comeback due to the increased interest in pursuing healthy, more natural lifestyles.   However, although no one can really dispute the health advantages, some modern women still feel tied down and men feel left out when choosing to breastfeed their babies.

The smart choice (in my opinion) is to do both.  Reap the health benefits for mom and baby, but make it more convenient.  Modern technology has produced very efficient (although the electric ones are costly) breast pumps and bottles with colic reducing nipples shaped like breast nipples so baby does not get confused with different sucking procedures going back and forth.

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I have seen my daughter-in-law pump two 5 ounce bottles in ten minutes, something that would have taken me hours to do by hand years ago.  Below are a few of the newest products out there for breastfeeding moms on the go; they are all greatly admired by this grandma…

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On being a Grandma

I have always claimed that my greatest accomplishments in life are my three sons.  Now that I am a Grandma too, I am discovering that this experience is right up there with being a mom, although I cannot claim it as an accomplishment.

I so envy the current generation having children with their parents willing and able to help with their grandchildren.  And, I admire the grandparents willing to spend the quality time with their grandchildren.  I am also very grateful that my two eldest sons have settled close to home, so any grandchildren they produce will be close by.  In my generation, we went to visit our grandparents once in a while, but always as a family (mine had 8 members) and usually for special occasions where the house was full of cousins and other relatives.

Spending the last few days with my grandson I am reminded of how miraculous a new baby is.  From the moment they are conceived to the time they are full grown, their progress is an amazing accomplishment, one we as humans should be incredibly proud of and grateful for.

It is such a joy to spend quality time with a grandchild, even a tiny one that spends most of the day eating, sleeping, spitting up and pooping with bouts of unexplained wailing.  Even my gardens have taken a back seat this week as I babysit (that’s what the parents call it, I call it bonding with) my grandson.

Home renovations

Now I know what people mean when they say that home renovations always snowball.  You start off planning to renovate one area, but the plan quickly “snowballs” (gains momentum) to include other areas until you are overwhelmed (and broke). If this post sounds familiar it is because a previous post complained about RENOVATIONS at our cottage that had the same snowball effect.

On the home front, we started off by deciding to renovate our main floor powder room. Our eldest son is getting married this summer, so that was our (my) incentive.  By renovating, I mean totally gutting it, removing everything, then painting, then flooring then installing new vanity, toilet, mirror, lighting etc etc.   That was the plan, but…

When ordering flooring for this powder room we decided to add to the order so we would be able to use the same flooring in our front hallway.  This hallway, between our front, side and garage doors is a high traffic area, so we wanted something very resilient, but nice looking.  We chose a glueless “Luxury Vinyl Tile” (LVT) called Allure Ultra Locking Tile that supposedly “clicked together very easily”….

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The flooring arrived before the vanity, granite countertop and toilet for the bathroom, so we decided to start with the hallway before we tackled the bathroom.  The first thing we did in the hallway was remove everything from the hall closet including the shelving there.  The piles of coats, jackets, shoes and boots are now (still) in my living room and dining room….

Then came the fun job of replacing the shelving and repairing the scuffed up paint in the closet area. Repainting the whole house will come later, to match the color I chose for the bathroom walls…

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We used a roll out underlay on top of the subfloor to cushion the tile and prevent any imperfections in the subfloor from showing through.  (mottled gray color in first picture) Sections of this were taped together to ensure they would not shift when installing the tile.  Next, we figured out the pattern we wanted the tile to be in. (you do not want your lines to line up)  For obvious reasons, it is best to do this before you start laying the tile

I love the color, (a taupe and gray pattern) the durability and the comfort of the flooring product we chose, but it sure was a lot harder to install than we were led to believe.  Of course, our hallway is not a perfect square or rectangle (lots of indentations/obstacles) and the walls not perfectly square/straight, which meant we had to measure and cut lots of pieces to fit.  This is where the slogan “measure twice, cut once” comes in.  Fortunately, I am married to a very precise, handy-man…

 

The hallway flooring is installed and the new closet doors have arrived. (leaning against the wall in picture below)   The next step in the hallway project is to install rods and shelving, put the clothes back in and the doors on.  New baseboards, door stops, and ceiling lights will be the finishing touches…

 

On to the bathroom.  The new vanity, granite countertop, back and side splashes, as well as the sink, toilet, mirror and lights are all here, somewhere…

Stay tuned for the progress of their installation.  After that, I hope we can convince ourselves to replace the carpeting with hardwood.  The snowball is still growing and gathering momentum, while our renovation budget is shrinking, fast!

Omega 3 vs omega 6 fatty acids

 

When researching a previous post about healing fats, I learned that the balance between omega 3 fats and omega 6 fats is another health concern.

First of all, you have to know the difference between omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Both are important for maintaining a healthy body and neither are manufactured by our bodies, so must be obtained from our diets. While omega 6s are found in the foods within a common modern daily diet, omega 3s are usually supplemented.

omega 3s:

  • cold water fish (sardines, salmon, herring etc) and fish oil
  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • garlic, flax seeds,  walnuts
  • extra virgin olive oil

pictures from Pixabay and Pexels

 

omega 6s

  • wheat, whole-grain bread, and cereals
  • grain fed chicken and their eggs
  • refined vegetable (soy, corn, sunflower, safflower) and grape seed oils
  • nuts
  • meat from grain fed animals
  • processed and fast foods

 

pictures from Pexels and Pixabay

 

Both omega 3s and omega 6s have health benefits and drawbacks.  While omega 6s are helpful in treating the symptoms of arthritis, diabetic nerve pain, menopause,  high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, eczema, and even allergies, too much omega 6s can cause depression, dyslexia, obesity, hyperactivity, and other health problems.

Omega 3s are crucial for our brain, hormone, and immune function,  good vision and hair, skin, cell and tissue growth.  They are helpful in treating symptoms of lupus, asthma, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, breast and colon cancers and irritable bowel disease.  A deficiency in omega 3s can result in conditions such as depression and mood swings, poor memory, fatigue, poor circulation, dry skin and more.

The problem comes when too much omega 6s, especially from vegetable oils and grain fed (as opposed to grass-fed) meat, outweigh and overtake the benefits of omega 3s.  This happens because the omega 3s and omega 6s compete for the same enzymes to aid in their metabolism.  Although a ratio of 1:1 between omega 6s and omega 3s is the ideal balance to strive for, studies have shown modern diets to be as high as 16:1   This higher proportion of omega 6s is leading to the increase of many disease states within our modern societies including arthritis, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and other inflammatory processes, as well as numerous types of cancer.

Start paying attention to the ratio of omega 6 fatty acids to omega 3 fatty acids in your diet and make some changes before your health takes a turn for the worse!

Healing fats

Have you ever heard of healing fats?  I had not until recently when I came across an article that intrigued me.  It was about healing fats and the Shepherd’s Diet.

The Shepherd’s Diet is based on the theory that the human body is a fat burning machine designed to burn (lose) more fat by eating more fat.  The catch is the fats you consume should be healing, healthy fats (supposedly mentioned in the Bible, hence the name “Shepherd’s Diet) and not the unhealthy, man-made, fake (trans) fats so popular today.

The fact is that obesity has become a bigger problem (pun intended) since fat-free diets became popular and recommended.  Why?  Because most fat-free and low-fat products are loaded with addictive sugar, now known to override the fat burning machine.

Sugar and fake (man-made) fats promote bloating and slow the metabolism.  They also cause brain fog and raise our bad cholesterol levels.  The fast food industry is saturated with these fake fat products, but the most popular one, margarine, is a staple in most of our homes.

What are the healthy, healing fats recommended in the Shepherd’s Diet?  This list names a few to start with:

  •  unrefined sesame, extra virgin olive, walnut, coconut oils
  • flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower seeds
  • hazelnuts, macadamias, peanuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts
  • trout, mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines
  • avocados
  • butter or ghee (clarified butter)

 

Try switching to these healthier healing fats, but remember, they are all high in calories.  Limit your fat intake to 30 percent of your daily calories.

photos from Pixabay

Anger, laughter and your immune system

 

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It has been said that one minute of anger weakens your immune system for four to five hours, while one minute of laughter boosts your immune system for over twenty-four hours.   I’ve read these statements several different places recently; I believe scientists are on to something.

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Think about it for a minute.  When something or someone angers you, your blood pressure rises, your heart races, and you get a sick feeling in your stomach.  I know I do.  But did you realize that the sick feeling you get can manifest into something more sinister if it persists?  The sick feeling spreads throughout your body, causing stress on all of your organs.  It has been scientifically proven that stress has been linked to many health conditions and disease states.

Conversely, after a good laugh, you feel great and stress or tension is relieved, improving your mood, your outlook, and even your physical appearance!  I posted an article about the scientific benefits of laughter a while back.  Yesterday, when chatting with a dear friend,  I was reminded how anger can cause stress; inspiration for today’s post.

If you find yourself in any relationship that evokes prolonged and unresolvable anger, angst, tension, stress, or sadness, move on and let it go before you cause any permanent damage to your health!

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Suspended coffee

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If you like coffee, or even if you don’t like coffee, you will like this.  The suspended coffee idea is perking up all over the world.  A random act of kindness or pay it forward theme always warms the heart and this is no exception… Continue reading