Healthy Concepts

Are there any good planets? Seems like one of them is always kicking my butt and the therapy bills are piling up. The easy answer is yes! Jupiter is a good planet! He brings abundance and prosperity, luck and optimism, wine, women, and song! The complicated answer is that none of the planets are strictly good or bad. A lot in astrology depends on you and your free will to decide which side of Jupiter you want to manifest at any given moment.

The dark side of abundance is over indulgence, after all, and it’s one of the reasons I always think of Jupiter as Dionysus: fat and happy with his wine just like so many Sagittarians out there who have Jupiter as their ruling planet. You know who you are! You can also have an abundant ego, which can be healthy and able to withstand the many low blows life will throw at you, or you can be one of those pompous windbag professor types who think they know everything and simply must point it out to you. The ones where you can’t get out of the room fast enough to avoid getting burned by their sphere of smugness.

Ah Jupiter also signifies one’s sense of humor. When well aspected, it makes for the consummate comedian and jokester. When not, it’s the girl who thinks putting peanut butter in all of your socks is funny when it is really just inconvenient and a waste of socks. Of course that could be my sourpuss Saturn talking and just not getting the joke on that one — but I digress.

Jupiter helps to guide and protect us as individuals, just as he protects the Earth from stray asteroids slamming into it. But there can also be a wanderlust to this energy, always looking to the stars and wondering what might be. Jupiter was the “almost star,” a binary twin to our Sun. People with strong Jupiter in their natal charts tend to believe it will all work out for the best, even when they fail to achieve something important to them. I may not be the Sun, but I’m still the biggest planet in the sky.

But as in Greek mythology some of the harder aspects can indicate a crushing and overbearing parent or spouse. In these cases Jupiter can block out some of the other positive aspects from neighboring planets and make it hard for the person to see or hear any other point of view. These are the folks who tend to hang on their parents’ or spouse’s every word and need their permission to do anything.

So if you have one of these harder aspects what do you do about it? You want some guidance, also Jupiter’s domain? Well just knowing about it is half the battle. It takes away the ability to deny what is clearly in front of us, giving us a new perspective. So if your father has had his thumb on you your whole life, not allowing you to be yourself through an opposition to your Ascendant, for example, you can choose to flip that disapproving energy around and understand that it may have been holding you back from embracing your true identity, and that it isn’t OK. Will it come easy? No. Change seldom does, but as they say where there is a will there is a way — and that will starts with knowledge and acknowledgment of the whole issue. In making that choice to call a spade a spade you’ve taken the first step.

Alright, how’d we get so heavy up in here anyway? I feel like I should throw in a joke to send us off:

Knock, knock

Who’s there?

Europa

Europa who?

Europa creek, here’s your paddle

Thank you, folks, I’ll be here all night! Go out there, embrace your Jupiter and spread some smiles. 

More than 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss, which makes it one of the most common health conditions in the nation. However, adults typically wait an average of seven years before seeking help for their hearing loss. If left untreated, hearing loss may lead to other conditions such as depression.

According to a study of more than two thousand participants by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), adults older than 50 were more likely to report they have experienced depression and related symptoms including anxiety, anger, frustration, paranoia and emotional instability. This correlation between hearing loss and depression was further corroborated by a study published in the journal Acta Otorhinolaryngologica Italica completed in Italy that focused on younger patients. Participants were 35 to 54 years old with hearing loss in one or both ears and also reported higher levels of psychological stress including low levels of social functioning.

Since it can be difficult to communicate with untreated hearing loss, people often withdraw from social situations. In fact, those who suffer from hearing loss are less likely to participate in social activities, which leads to isolation and symptoms of depression. Depression can lead to more serious symptoms, and because it affects an estimated one in 12 Americans, it’s important to understand the health risks faced by those with hearing loss and respond effectively.

The answer may be as simple as wearing and using hearing devices. Researchers at the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics found that every single patient who wore hearing devices showed solid improvements in psychosocial and cognitive conditions in just three months. Furthermore, a 25-year study published in 2015 in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society found the brain health of people 65 and older who did not wear hearing devices to correct their hearing loss tested at much lower rates than their counterparts who used devices.

Though patients should discuss any hearing difficulties with their primary care physician during checkups, the signs of hearing loss are often noticed first by friends and family. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has established guidelines for determining when an individual should seek a hearing evaluation. Signs to look for include:

  • Difficulty understanding speech, especially when background noise is present.
  • The individual isolates themselves from social gatherings and public situations.
  • They watch television or listen to music at a much louder volume than normal.
  • They often ask people to repeat themselves.

Like any condition, the cause should be the primary focus of treatment. For many, using a hearing device will greatly improve their depression symptoms. Because mental health affects so many other facets of an otherwise healthy lifestyle, it’s important to encourage loved ones suffering from depression to seek treatment. Even mild forms of hearing loss can lead to an increased risk of negative emotional experiences. The sooner these are discovered, the better the odds of successful treatment. When you notice them, discuss any signs of hearing loss with a physician and ask for a referral to an audiologist who can complete and in-depth hearing evaluation. 

I have always been active. Running, playing basketball, volleyball and soccer in high school were supposed to help with the pain I was experiencing with my periods. When I was about 16 I was diagnosed with endometriosis (a condition resulting from the appearance of endometrial tissue on the outside of the uterus, which was part of the cause of my chronic pain). Along with endometriosis I also had fibrocystic cysts and every few months I would literally pass out with the pain when a cyst burst. This was all extremely painful and caused a lot of other issues growing up, but exercise was a release. Fortunately, not many women have these issues when they are in their teens, it normally shows up in late 20s early 30s so when I would complain about cramps, everyone thought I was exaggerating. Unfortunately for me it began at a very young age and I learned to internalize the pain and struggle through it by myself. I moved around a lot as a kid, and girls aren’t always the nicest to each other.

After ten years of chronic pain, multiple surgeries, being put on about every drug for this condition on the market (some side effects included medical menopause — remember I am only now in my mid-twenties) there were no other options for me but to deal with the pain and have other complications or get a hysterectomy. I put this option off for as long as I could and so at age 26 I agreed to get a full hysterectomy; a tough option knowing that I would never be able to give birth to children of my own.

Leading up to the surgery I wanted to try something new, so in January I started aerial exercise, which included a trial period of pole, hoop and silks, rather than continuing going to a conventional gym in addition to my running. I wanted something different and I had always heard good things about aerial exercise. I had just never imagined that this group would give me the strength I needed to get through the surgery. Aerialists are a community of acceptance and kindness. To this point I had never in my life met a more positive and uplifting group of women that would be there for me every step of the way. There were days where I would be crying to and from class because I was in so much pain but I would still go because I didn’t want to let anyone down by not showing up. I found a place where I was accepted for me with no judgement or criticism, just love.

Six months ago I had my full hysterectomy. It was an emotional roller coaster and I am just starting to get to a point where I am at peace with the decision I had to make. After surgery, I was not able to work out for 6 weeks so getting my endurance back up was key. Some weeks I could barely walk a mile without stopping for a break. Getting back to the studio was extremely hard, I felt like I had missed so much being off that long, but the instructors worked well with me. I had lost a lot of strength and having friends from the studio push me and build me up when I felt like I could do nothing was amazing. In six months I went from barely being able to stand up from the couch by myself to being able to complete a half marathon, hang upside down on a hoop and on a pole and do multiple inverted sit ups.

Someone said to me recently, “I can’t do that” and I remember that was how I used to think. Now I know that aerial exercise was a big reason I got through one of the toughest decisions and times of my life. I will never again tell myself I can’t do something. It’s all about positive thinking, trying to do what you believe is impossible and putting yourself in a situation where you have a support system and people who are positive and supportive. The silver lining in this is now I feel like an example that no matter what happens you have control of your body and with a little bit of drive and determination, anything is possible.

When we go through our path in life there are many times where we feel like we are running into a mountain and looking back I now realize they were only ant hills in the way. Everything is about perspective and having a group of people that brings you up instead of tearing you down.

Find your tribe of positivity.

Living daily with pain and fatigue is dreadful. Knowing that many people think the symptoms are “all in your head” makes the pain that much worse. This is the nightmare of Lyme disease for many sufferers.

Jackie Clapp, 36, has lived that nightmare for almost 30 years. “I woke up one day at eight years old in too much pain to walk,” she said. “They brought me to a rheumatologist and tested me for all kinds of things, including Lyme disease. I tested negative for it several times over the years and learned that typical tests miss about 78 percent of Lyme cases.”

She finally received the correct diagnosis at age 32, after the disease had ravaged much of her body. Taking 96 pills a day, along with shots and other treatments, Jackie said, “The supplements and things I’m supposed to be taking are not covered by insurance and would cost more than $2,000 a month. So I don’t take everything I should.”

That’s why her aunt recommended an online fund through Community Benefit Tree, Inc. (CBT). The 501(c)3 nonprofit, dedicated to helping individuals and families struggling with medical crises, vets all applicants before setting up a fund to receive tax-deductible contributions. Jackie’s family decided to call her fund, “Jackie’s Fishin’ for Remission Fund” because, her mother, Sharon Gassen said, “Fishing is Jackie’s passion.”

She still gets out in a kayak whenever she can, Jackie said. But she doesn’t go far and never goes alone, even though she wears a life jacket. “Fishing was also my God time,” she said. “I would go out in the kayak and fish and talk with God.”

Lyme disease often affects memory. “What really hurt,” Jackie said, “was a couple years ago, when springtime came, I couldn’t even remember my knots or what to use my lures for. I couldn’t fish tournaments anymore.”

Lyme sufferers lose a lot and often get little support from others. “They say that people don’t ‘get it’ until they get it themselves,” Jackie said. “If people with Lyme go out of the house, they look pretty normal, and no one who doesn’t know them well would know they’re sick. If I’m out, it means that’s the one day I was able to take a shower and go do errands, and I’m extremely happy because I’m out in the world.

“I’m able to communicate in full sentences that make sense. So I’m talking to everybody, and they have no clue that it took me an entire week of rest to get to that point. I lose my train of thought very easily, so communication, especially if I’m tired, is very hard.”

Because Jackie hasn’t been able to maintain employment, she and her eleven-year-old daughter have had to move in with her mother. They carry BadgerCare insurance, but Jackie’s medications come out of pocket.

“I do whatever I can to keep my spirits up,” Jackie said, “because that’s going to help me heal and get back to work. I want to get back to work so badly.”

One thing that might help her reach that goal by putting her into remission is alternative treatments that have been successful for many people. However, according to Jackie, part of that protocol involves spending several weeks in Germany. For someone who can’t afford all of the medications she’s supposed to take, such treatment is financially out of reach.

Worse yet, most people don’t realize that Lyme is often accompanied by co-infections that affect the heart, bones, brain and nervous system. For many, the disease is fatal. “I lost 10 friends last month and two so far this month,” Jackie said.

Readers wishing to help Jackie reach remission can donate to her fund at www.communitybenefittree.org. Information about Jackie’s fund is near the bottom of the home page. 

Green is the color most associated with St. Patrick’s Day, and green also can be the primary mindset of hosts and hostesses when planning Paddy’s Day revelry. As celebrants prepare to pay homage to Irish culture and the accomplishments of St. Patrick, they can include eco-conscious practices in the festivities.

For many people, St. Patrick’s Day is a day to let loose and have a good time. Parades are abundant, and food and drink often are enjoyed in copious amounts. While this excess can make for a fun and raucous day, those who are conscious of their carbon footprints can scale back in some clever ways.

Enjoy a local brew

While many may prefer a pint of Ireland-brewed Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day, imported beers have larger carbon footprints than local beers thanks to trans-Atlantic shipping and delivery to nearby retailers. Instead of Guinness, consider a locally-brewed beer. Homespun breweries are a growing niche business in communities big and small. If you’re more adventurous, invest in a home-brewing kit and try your luck with your own flavor profile.

Skip the confetti or ticker tape

Attending a parade can be the pinnacle of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. When so many people gather in one place, there’s a greater propensity for waste and litter. Although garbage cannot be avoided, towns and cities can help curtail the mess by avoiding confetti, balloon drops and ticker tape. Birds routinely get snagged by balloon strings, or they may inadvertently swallow popped latex balloons thinking they’re food. Confetti can wash away into storm drains or clog sewers. Bubbles, laser lights and other plastic- or paper-free items can be used instead and are better for the environment.

Invest in reusable products

If yours is the go-to house for St. Patrick’s Day revelry, purchase tablecloths, dishes and cups that can be used again and again. This cuts down on the number of disposable items that get put in the trash and eventually find their way into landfills.

Transform your leftovers

Irish soda bread, corned beef, potatoes and much more are par for the culinary course come St. Patrick’s Day. Rather than discarding leftovers, consider recipes that will put those leftovers to good use. Dice up the corned beef to add to egg dishes or quiches. Post-Paddy’s Day sandwiches also make a delicious treat. Potatoes can be mashed and transformed into croquettes. Or they can be diced to make hash browns to go with those corned beef-enhanced eggs. Spread soda bread with a sweet jam and instantly turn it into a dessert. Or crumble the bread to use in a delicious bread pudding.

Splurge on an experience

Rather than material goods, if you want to set your party apart, invest in an experience that produces no waste. Contract with Uilleann pipers who can add a Celtic flair to the festivities. Although bagpipes are more widely associated with the Scottish, they have become synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day as well. 


Source: MetroCreative Connection.

When I was younger, I remember that the common wisdom was that eating carrots was good for your eyes. That was about it. The opinion of the medical community was that nutrition, diet and/or supplementation was not beneficial for eye health and was in fact a waste of money. Of course, this was no different than the general medical wisdom of 45 years ago, which said to just eat the standard American diet and you would be fine. We know now that that advice was simplistic and ill-informed. Science is finally revealing the benefits of nutrition throughout the human system including the eyes. Doesn’t it just make sense that tissues that are well nourished will do better than those that are not? People will do better when they are well nourished.

When it comes to vision and eye health, people are very concerned, especially as we age. Fear of losing one’s sight is a common anxiety for many people, especially seniors. This becomes critical when one is facing issues such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The question is, “Can nutrition (diet and/or supplementation) have a positive effect on AMD?” I need to reemphasize that nutrition does not treat or cure any eye disease including AMD. What food and supplements do is deliver nutrients to the body. It is the body that uses nutrients to maintain and normalize cellular and tissue function. Let the doctors treat your disease. You should focus on nourishing your body with the specific nutrients that have been shown to provide the benefits you seek. Drugs do not nourish the body and nutrients are not drugs. Please don’t confuse the two. You will have more success when you understand this distinction.

There have been numerous scientific and clinical studies that have revealed the benefits of certain nutrients for eye health, and specifically AMD and the history of some of these studies. The studies that most experts refer to is called AREDS and AREDS-2 (Age-Related Eye Disease Study). These two studies were sponsored by the National Eye Institute (NEI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). So these are serious studies. In a nutshell the studies revealed “taking the formulation reduced the rate of advanced AMD in people at high risk by about 25 percent over a 6-year period.”

Here is a quote from the American Optometric Association:

“Adding powerful antioxidants to your diet can improve your eye health. There’s no substitute for the quality of life good vision offers. Adding certain nutrients to your daily diet — either through foods or supplements — can help preserve your vision. Researchers have linked eye-friendly nutrients, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc, to reducing the risk of certain eye diseases.”

Lutein and Zeaxanthin – Lutein and zeaxanthin are important nutrients found in green leafy vegetables, as well as other foods, such as eggs. Many studies show that lutein and zeaxanthin reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Vitamin C – Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables. Scientific evidence suggests vitamin C lowers the risk of developing cataracts. Also, when taken in combination with other essential nutrients, it can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration and visual acuity loss.

Vitamin E – Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant found in nuts, fortified cereals and sweet potatoes. Research indicates it protects cells in the eyes from unstable molecules called free radicals, which break down healthy tissue.

Essential Fatty Acids – Fats are a necessary part of the human diet. They maintain the integrity of the nervous system, fuel cells and boost the immune system. Research shows omega-3 fatty acids are important for proper visual development and retinal function.

Zinc – Zinc is an essential trace mineral or “helper molecule.” It plays a vital role in bringing vitamin A from the liver to the retina in order to produce melanin, a protective pigment in the eyes. Zinc is highly concentrated in the eye, mostly in the retina and choroid, the vascular tissue layer lying under the retina.

Pay attention to the health of your eyes. Take action at the first sign of trouble. These nutrients are critical if you seek to stabilize your eyes and/or slow any progression. You will do better if your eyes are well nourished.

I have a passion for nutrition and helping you stay healthy. I have written many articles about my passion for health over the last two years. But I have another passion, which started 40 years ago: helping poor and low-income working families put clothes on their backs. I got the idea to collect clothing from the community and give it away to needy families free of charge. I gave birth to the Community Clothes Closet (CCC) — then Christian Clothes Closet — on March 1, 1976. Over the past 40 years, volunteers have a passion to keep the Community Clothes Closet up and running without my help. Current director, Diane MacDonald, and her volunteers pictured to the right in the accompanying photo, do a fine job collecting clothing and giving it to needy families free of charge.

The Community Clothes Closet has grown over the years and needed more space. Space does not come cheap! The CCC does not receive government money and must make its own way. Here is a way you can help us help each other and yourself.

I, Grandma Rose, owner of Natural Expressions will personally give you one hour of information about healthy diet, weight loss, blood sugar control, healthy aging and more for just $10. The entire $10 will be given to the Community Clothes Closet. No other purchase is required. You can buy a ticket for yourself or a friend. Church groups or other groups can buy a ticket at $10 each and come to Natural Expressions for your class as a group. I have room for up to 30.

As a diabetic myself for 25 years, I invite diabetics and those who are pre-diabetic to purchase a ticket. That $10 ticket could save your life and the misery that comes from uncontrolled blood sugar. If sugar addiction or weight is your issue, I have help for you too. I will work with your schedule to make it possible for you.

To order a ticket, visit www.naturalexpessions1.com, click on ticket and pay the $10 online. When I get your order, I will contact you to set up a time for your class. If you prefer, you can call me at 920-954-9727 to order your class and pay for your ticket at the time of the class. Thank you for helping us help each other. 

“Doing the right thing” is often a phrase tossed around without giving much thought to what it means or how it’s accomplished. Even writing about what it means to do the right thing has proven to be difficult, but it’s worth the effort.

Winston Churchill once wrote, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing after they’ve tried everything else.” While I disagree with his generalization, I do agree that we are in a time when we are more willing to sacrifice the benefits of the greater good for the benefits of ourselves. Is that doing the right thing?

Are we doing the right thing if it only benefits us or our family? Are we doing the right thing if we increased business by providing inferior products and/or services? Are we doing the right thing only when we think others are noticing?

I believe doing the right thing is much like a muscle training exercise that requires a routine that develops a habit that creates strength. Occasionally or often we will run into situations that test the strength of that muscle and force us to make a choice, and it’s our integrity that will take us down the right path. If we recognize the need to do the right thing and remain conscious of always trying to do the right thing, our integrity becomes the strength of our character. These moments happen often and continuously throughout each and every day, and some people are paying attention.

As the father of a 7 year old and an observer of human habits, I often see both the positive and negative effects parents have over children. If we as parents are not doing the right thing or are making choices without integrity, what are we teaching the next generation? I recently recalled a brief conversation I had with my parents as a child. It was a simple conversation but one I remember vividly and one that impacted many of my adult choices. Certainly many of us can recall simple moments like this with big lessons. Children hear and see everything, far more than our myopic adult eyes can focus on. We need to consider what we want them to learn from us — as parents, as neighbors, as community members. When we see our children interacting with other children, do we not want to see them sharing? When we hear our children expressing frustration, do we not want them to speak with honesty and respect? When we watch our children interacting with the earth, do we not want them to treat all of nature’s creatures with gentleness and awe?

This impact doesn’t need to end when the training wheels come off. I’d like to think we can positively impact and guide young people as long as they’re willing to listen. In fact, I recently had the opportunity to speak to a group of environmental studies students about my business in general, but more so about finding passion and purpose in what we do. Sharing some of my unique personal and professional life experiences and my regrets about not finding purpose earlier informed the perspective I offered these young people. Impressively, I found that the students were eager to hear how doing the right thing can work in their professional and personal life. Ultimately, these experiences teach me far more than my guidance probably offers them, but I’d like to think all of us are better for these chances to reflect, consider and teach.

Because I deal with natural ecosystems, my business has taught me that perhaps the answer to what it means to do the right thing might be found in nature itself. Nothing can survive on its own. Plants require an entire ecosystem to survive, and we require a village to raise a family. Until we recognize that doing the right thing means doing what’s right for the greater good, we will all struggle with finding our purpose and determining the “right” path to take.

Maybe it’s as simple as the answer my daughter gave me when asked, “What does it mean to do the right thing?” to which she replied “be nice.” It’s certainly a great start.

The mission of Life’s Journey Wellness is to serve the whole person: mind, body and soul. We do this by providing clients with high quality, evidence-based integrative services delivered by our collaborative team of committed, professional practitioners.

The vision of Life’s Journey Wellness is to empower people to heal and grow as they build their authentic lives. We are a group of healing professionals that includes counseling services, one-on-one therapeutic yoga, acupuncture sessions, community (group) acupuncture, qi gong private sessions, reiki, integrative body massage, Hatha yoga classes, qi gong classes and mindfulness offerings.

At Life’s Journey Wellness, we believe in a multi-disciplinary team approach to foster optimal healing. Clients have the option of utilizing a team approach in which a comprehensive intake is scheduled. After the intake, our team meets to staff each case to determine which specific services may help that client each step of the way. In developing the integrative treatment plan, we take into consideration therapies that are most effective on the journey to healing. We then present the suggestions to the client as we believe in a client-centered approach. The client’s input, along with our professional recommendations, make up the comprehensive integrative treatment plan.

Clients may also choose to participate in any of our services ala carte:

Counseling services

  • Safe and neutral place to process the emotions cancer can bring
  • Develop skills to manage difficult emotions
  • Improve and build upon relationships
  • Develop tools to manage each moment by connecting the mind and body through relaxation, guided imagery and mindfulness — particularly useful pre-op as well as during cancer treatments

Acupuncture

  • Reduce pain (acute and chronic)
  • Decrease nausea, headaches, hot flashes and fatigue
  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Reduce stress, increase relaxation response

Mindfulness

  • Learn skills to quiet the mind
  • Develop tools to stay in the present moment instead of getting stuck in the past or worrying about the future
  • Reduce feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Decrease over-identifying with thoughts and emotions

Qi gong

  • Experience a moving meditation safe for every age and physical ability
  • Reduce pain by reducing stress in the body
  • Learn to use slow, regulated movements to guide the body
  • Balance energy in the body instead of taxing energy — effective during and after medical treatments

Therapeutic yoga

  • Private sessions allow for a custom sequence built to detox and strengthen the body, mind and spirit
  • Strengthen the immune system before, during and after any type of medical treatment
  • Learn poses and phrases to manage pain and fear while building feelings of empowerment
  • Learn the art of Viniyoga: placing the student as the most important piece of the puzzle

Yoga classes

  • Connect in a supportive environment
  • Experience slow, meditative Hatha style yoga classes
  • Deepen self-awareness
  • Connect the mind and body

integrative therapeutic massage

  • Offering Integrative Therapeutic Massage, a style incorporating techniques from multiple modalities
  • Deep tissue, therapeutic, Swedish, neuromuscular, relaxation and body energy healing
  • Each session customized toward individual needs and concerns

To schedule an intake or session with any of the practitioners, please call 920-205-8780.

To register for classes, please visit www.lifesjourneywellness.org/upcoming-offerings


Life’s Journey Wellness

3925 N Gateway Drive, Appleton

920-475-0246

www.lifesjourneywellness.org

After the new baby comes home partners tend to not only feel neglected, but can often feel as though they don’t know how to bond with baby. Other than feeding a bottle to the new baby, there are a lot of ways partners can bond.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Hold the baby anytime mom needs a break. Holding your baby skin to skin against your chest can stimulate an oxytocin release, which is a bonding hormone and has many benefits for both you and the baby.
  • Sing and talk to the baby. Believe it or not, they heard your voice while they were in the womb as well! Listening to your voice can be very soothing.
  • Read stories to your baby. Make a routine to read them a bedtime story every night. It can do wonders for their verbal development as they get older.
  • Listen to music and rock, or slow dance with your baby. They probably aren’t ready for the heavy metal hair bands yet, but something soothing. It doesn’t have to be Mozart, just make sure you don’t have it cranked up terribly loud.
  • Give baby sponge baths. Make sure the water is warm and talk to them while you do. Make it a calm and enjoyable experience for you both. Be sure to have a towel nearby to wrap up baby as soon as you’ve finished.
  • Burp baby after feedings. Even if mom is breastfeeding you can be a part of it.
  • Wear your baby in a baby carrier. They love being held and listening to your heartbeat. This frees up your hands too, so you can get things done!
  • Change their diaper. It doesn’t sound like the most exciting, but it’s filling one of their basic needs and it equals a lot of quality time.
  • Dress the baby. They tend to go through a lot of clothes those first few months. Describe to the baby what you’re doing as you dress them. Make it a fun routine.
  • Find a special ritual for just the two of you, whether it’s the bedtime story every night, singing a song to baby every day, wearing them while you take an evening walk — whatever it is, make it something the two of you can always share.
  • Get creative. Only you know your family and your routines. Find the areas where you can sneak in special time with the baby. Ask around and get ideas of what other parents have learned to do to bond with their little ones.

Just putting in the effort to bond with them is a big step in establishing your relationship. Don’t feel bad if they seem to prefer mom for a while. They did just spend 9 months getting to know her voice, her smell and the sound of her heartbeat. Before you know it, they grow and change. 

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