Your Metro DC resource for Natural Living, Holistic Parenting and Family Wellness

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1
Holistic Moms Network to host Natural Living Conference
2
How to find balance during fall, the Ayurvedic vata season
3
Simplicity Parenting author coming to DC this weekend
4
Inspiration abounds at first National Kids Yoga Conference
5
Resources for Children’s Yoga
6
First Kids Yoga Conference Comes to DC September 27
7
A Hidden Gem: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
8
Four easy strategies for de-stressing and filling your cup
9
Healing emotions with Accunect
10
Gearing up for World Breastfeeding Week

Holistic Moms Network to host Natural Living Conference

Holistic Moms Network is a cool enough group for local and online support for living holistically, but it’s even more fun when you get to meet people in person from different chapters around the country. The non-profit organization is holding its annual Natural Living Conference on Saturday, October 25 in New Jersey at Montclair State University just outside of New York City.

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Okay, it’s not in DC, Maryland or Virginia, but it’s only about four hours away. By car. Last year I got to meet some of the leaders from California chapters. They had to be on a plane for more than four hours!

This year’s event is featuring a keynote with Dr. Laura Markham of Aha! Parenting and a screening of the documentary Unacceptable Levels and a Q&A with the film’s director, Ed BrownUnacceptableLevels

 

Breakout sessions include:

At just $55 for the whole day or $40 for a half, the event is a great deal for all the information it will impart as well as the goodie bag treats and all the other samples you’re likely to find in the exhibit hall.  There, parents can learn about wonderful products — food, skin care, and more – and services like Well Amy. One could really spend the entire day in the exhibit hall (and you can do just that for a reduced rate of $20).

The conference is an adult-focused event where babes in arms are welcome. Children may come into the exhibit hall for a reduced price ticket ($10) but need to pay the full rate if they require a seat in the sessions and workshops. The keynote is in the morning and the film screening and Q&A is in the afternoon. Lunch can be purchased separately.

For more information, see annualconference.holisticmoms.organd register at register.holisticmoms.org/

And if you’re looking to make a trip of it, I’m told there is plenty of fall fun to be had in New Jersey, including pumpkin and apple picking. Budding artists might enjoy the Montclair Art Museum, future naturalists will want to explore Brookdale Park and Verona Park, and animal lovers will get a kick out of Turtle Back ZooTripBuzz has a list of Things to Do With Kids in Montclair, NJ, and the New Jersey Mommy Poppins site also has a list of 15 Fun Things to do in Montclair, NJ along with plenty of additional ideas for exploring the area and for weekend happenings.

So take the family up with you if you have a partner, friend or family member who can treat the kiddos to some New Jersey (or even New York City) adventures while you learn lots of wellness tips to nourish your family and connect with other like-minded parents.

Holistic Moms Network has over 100 chapters around the country. In the DC area, there are HMN chapters in Arlington/Alexandria, Northern Virginia (Fairfax) and Loudoun County. The Burke/Springfield chapter will be relaunched soon. Anyone can start a chapter, too. There’s an awesome leader meeting on Sunday, October 26, the day after the conference, so if you’ve been thinking about starting a chapter, now might be a great time to see what that’s like!

 

How to find balance during fall, the Ayurvedic vata season

If you’ve noticed a challenge feeling balanced during these busy back-to-school fall months, the wisdom of the ancient healing science of Ayurveda might shed some light on the cause.

Today’s guest post about fall, the vata season, comes from Ileana Gonzalez of Apurva Ayurveda Healing in Vienna, Virginia.

Although the seasonal change is subtle, it can have a big impact on the mind and body.

As the seasons transition, our mind and our body also experience a transition, as they adjust to the inevitable changes that nature brings with it. This adjustment period is normal, and vital, but it can also lead to certain imbalances if we don’t manage and ease into the transition.

Autumn is known for the decreasing temperatures, the increasing winds, and the overall instability of the weather. Vata, the air and space energy (or dosha), intensifies during this time, leaving our mind and body dry, cold, and unstable.

In our culture, it is normal to start the bulk of our activities during these months. The kids go back to school, they have more activities (sports, schoolwork, and hobbies).

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Your job becomes more demanding with deadlines and objectives. But if you observe nature, you will see that animals actually prepare to wind down and hibernate during the cold months. This anti-nature behavior we adopt actually leads to a lot of imbalances in our mind and body.

Perhaps you have the beginnings of a cold, or maybe you get more frequent headaches and are more moody during this time. Your skin becomes drier, your hand and toes are more sensitive to the cold. All of these things are just a way for your mind/body to adjust to the changing season. Even our cravings change. We crave “comfort” foods like soups, stews, and sweets.

The good news is that our mind and body were designed to adjust to these changes. We just need to “tune in” and manage the adjustment so that it is easy, smooth and hot tealeads to balance. In ayurveda, this management is easy if you apply the simple rule of “like increases like.”

Because vata is cold, dry, light and mobile (unpredictable, unstable), we have to add warmth/heat, oily/unctuous, and predictable/stability to our lifestyles and diets. If you master this principle, your transition from one season to the next will be a lot easier!

Keep this principle in mind when you prepare the kids’ meals/snacks. Choose grounding foods that are heavy, warm, and sweet like rice, sweet potato, and dairy; avoid raw, cold and dry foods. Download this great vata shopping list.

A great way to cut down/prevent on the colds and sniffles kids get this time of year: dab a Q-tip in warm sesame oil and place in the ears and nostrils daily after their bath. This will not only help to keep the area germ-free, it will also lubricate and nourish the area. If your child is prone to vata-like imbalances (dry cough, change in sleep pattern, constipation), try giving him an oil massage using warm sesame oil; the more often you do this, the better. A few minutes before a bath is best, but you can also do it at bedtime.

Something the whole family can practice during this time of year is savasana, or corpse or dead man’s pose. Lie flat on your back, legs and feet apart, palms up at your side. Breathe and surrender for at least 5 minutes. Guaranteed calm! Drink warm milk with a sprinkle of nutmeg, and enjoy a little quiet time before bed. This will help everyone get a good night’s sleep.

As for the grownups in the house, it is normal to feel less concentration, insomnia, and chronic fatigue with the increase in vata energy. For them, I recommend a wonderful vata-pacifying therapy called shirodhara. It is designed to directly activate the ajna chakra, thereby affecting the mind in a profound way. It provides mental clarity, decreases heart rate, decreases blood pressure, and an overall sense of calm and rest. Most people fall asleep during the treatment!

shirodhara

This treatment, as well as other vata-pacifying techniques, is available at Apurva Ayurveda Healing in Vienna, Virginia.

Lastly, don’t forget to increase seasonal fruits veggies—nature’s way of helping us through this transition. Look to squash and root veggies such as sweet potato. Mmmmm. So grounding and nourishing. Try Monica B.’s recipe from Hey Monica B: A Blooming Resource on Ayurveda for Roasted Root Veggies with Garlic & Rosemary.

  • Any mix of root vegetables like butternut squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic cloves
  • Rosemary sprigs
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Chop the root veggies into bite size chunks and place in a pan.
  • Drizzle with plenty of olive oil because when cooked it will caramelize and turn extra yummy.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes uncovered

Thanks to Ileana for this guest post!

Updated in October 2017 with Apurva’s new location

For more tips on balancing during vata season, check out these articles at Chopra Centered Lifestyle or Yoganonymous.

Simplicity Parenting author coming to DC this weekend

Simplicity Parenting is one of the books I had out last week at the Holistic Moms Arlington/Alexandria daytime meeting on “Supporting Children’s Emotional Health,” and I was excited when a member told me the book’s author, Kim John Payne, was coming to speak on October 11 at a daylong event organized by Acorn Hill Waldorf Kindergarten and Nursery, which is celebrating its 50th year serving families in Takoma Park.

kim john payneThe flyer for the Saturday event reads: “Looking for ways to support children in being calmer and happier, more focused at school, finding it easier to comply with family rules and become less picky eaters?” The school elaborates: “In this lecture and workshop, Kim explains why less is more and presents four simplicity pathways you can take to help your child feel calmer, happier and more secure. This is the work and the workshop which provided the inspiration for Kim’s book by the same name (published in August 2009). It presents not only the four simple steps, but examples of how to bring “the power of less” into your home on a daily basis.”

The event runs 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 11, and is taking place not at the school (which has one of the most amazing natural play areas I’ve ever seen!) but rather at Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (GPS: use 8525 Fenton Street), three blocks from the Silver Spring Metro Transit Station. Click here for parking information. Payne will lecture 9-11 a.m. Lunch follows 11-12 and is provided in the $60 fee (or $55 per person if coming as a couple or pair); vegetarian options and some gluten-free options are available. Then, from 12 to 3 p.m. will be the workshop portion of the day. Register at www.acornhill.org.

There are a lot of Simplicity Parenting pieces I have tried to incorporate into our family life, including scheduling in quiet time and do-nothing days and limiting media. So far this school year we’ve stuck to no weekday screen time. Well, not counting Nationals baseball highlights. I expected my daughter would attend a Waldorf preschool like her brother, but when she was offered a spot in the Montessori class at my son’s public magnet school, we saw how much simpler it would be for the family to have them in the same place with the same daily schedule. If I hadn’t had chronic health issues, we might have still done the two-school shuffle, but in the absence of perfect, consistent and streamlined will have to do!

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Inspiration abounds at first National Kids Yoga Conference

YogaKids DVD was the first television I allowed my son some seven years ago.  Since then, he and his little sister have been to a handful of kids and family yoga classes, and a day of yoga camp. This summer, my daughter had a delightful yoga birthday party at which her older brother showed off his knowledge of poses and Sanskrit phrases. They are not without some yoga knowledge.

But truth be told, though I try to practice daily on my own, yoga has remained something of an extra rather than an integral part of my parenting. It’s always there in the background in theory, but in practice, when I’m working so hard just to stay well by cooking all the time and am also staying involved in volunteer efforts whose higher goal is health and well-being for families, I don’t always ooze groundedness at home. I never have, anywhere. This really is a lifetime journey.

Enter the first National Kids Yoga Conference conference this past weekend! As if it weren’t inspiring enough just to interview the organizers, I emerged from the conference in awe of the many benefits of yoga for children and bowled over by the numerous strategies out there to make yoga accessible to young ones. It was truly transformative. I hope and believe that my parenting – my life – will never be the same.

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Resources for Children’s Yoga

At the first National Kids Yoga Conference on September 27, we learned about many wonderful recording artists, authors and others providing support for yoga with children and providing training.

Check out this list of Resources for Children’s Yoga taken from the conference exhibitors, sponsors and speakers and organizations mentioned by speakers and exhibitors.

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First Kids Yoga Conference Comes to DC September 27

The organizers of the first National Kids Yoga Conference are moms who putting their mindfulness skills in practice with every step of planning toward the Saturday, September 27 event at George Washington University’s School of Public Health.

I’ve long admired the work and commitment of lil omm yoga studio owner Pleasance Silicki and Michelle Kelsey Mitchell, co-founder of the Alexandria-based non-profit organization YoKid. When I spoke with them about how they’ve managed to pull off such a huge endeavor, I got even more inspired.

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A Hidden Gem: Annmarie Sculpture Garden

Even with school already here for those in much of Maryland and DC or just around the corner for many Northern Virginians, the late summer weather is crying out for day trips. Once older children get back into the swing of school, their need for imaginative play grows even bigger.

Before soccer and fall festivals get into full swing, there’s a place I’m dying to take my kids. Alexandria mom of two Pallavi Raviprakash told me about Annmarie Sculpture Garden in Maryland, whose 5th annual Fairies in the Garden outdoor exhibit closes on September 1. I can’t wait for my children to pretend up a storm there! Thanks to Pallavi for this lovely guest post!

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Four easy strategies for de-stressing and filling your cup

What mom couldn’t use some suggestions on how to feel more grounded, calm and peaceful? Craniosacral therapist Sally DiCesare of Your Blissful Journey recently presented a “Create Your Own Personal Oasis” talk to the Arlington/Alexandria Chapter of Holistic Moms Network, and this Thursday, August 21, she’ll be at the group’s August meeting on a panel about Supporting Children’s Emotional Health. Sally will share how craniosacral therapy can be used with children. But she also wants to remind moms that taking care of their own health is paramount in paving the way for family health.

Here’s a guest post by Sally:

“As Moms, we don’t often ask for help. Many times when we do it’s because we are drowning in overwhelm.

But who has time for a break. And kids’ camps, enrichment and sports aren’t getting any cheaper.

How do you get what you need? Because remember, if the well is empty there is nothing to give.

How do you fill yourself, support yourself, so you have something left to give your family?

HELP!

Fortunately, I’m here with some simple tips to squeeze into your day. Oh, and have your kids join you. They are stressed, too!

Simple Tips from Your Blissful Journey

1. Feeling overwhelmed? Give yourself a hug; an occipital hug.

Remember in the old movies when the man is sitting with his feet propped up on his desk and hands clasped behind his head? Gently place your hands, with fingers intertwined, behind the base of your head, behind your ears, at your occiput. Now just hold your head.

Notice anything? You may feel a pulse. Or take a deep breath or sigh.

This balances your Central Nervous System and is calming and centering.

If I wake in the middle of the night and my mind is working on something so I can’t fall back to sleep, this is my go-to exercise.

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2. Home Reflexology while you multitask

Why does a foot massage feel so good? It is known that certain areas of the foot can stimulate organs of the body. So massaging the foot can actually massage and support the organs and systems in the body. When done in a systematic way, this is called Reflexology. How do you multitask while massaging your feet? Use a tennis or racket ball. When you sit down for dinner, take off your shoes and roll the ball under your foot. If an area is tender, continue there till it feels better. Within a few weeks you will notice subtle improvements in the way you feel as your organs and systems respond to the stimulation and support.

reflexology

3. Bridge to calm

Wake up your internal organs by massaging all the nerves along the spine. This supports all of your body as the nerves innervate all of your organs. Lay on your back on a hard surface such as the floor. Bend your knees so your feet are comfortably close to your buttocks. Slowly curl your back off the floor starting with a pelvic tilt and curl your back off the ground from your pelvis up to your shoulders, one vertebra at a time. Slowly lower your spine from your shoulders to your tailbone. Repeat as often as is comfortable.

 

4. Instant mood lifter: SMILE.woman smiling

Yes, I mean it. Just smile. For better results, try laughing.

I took a Laughing Yoga class at Yogaville. What fun! I never knew there were so many ways to laugh or ways laughter expresses emotion.

Like the laughter of surprise at seeing a friend you haven’t seen in years on the street. Or the chuckle over seeing puppies play.

Practice belly laughs will your kids. See if you can come up with a secret family laugh. Imagine how a giraffe would laugh.

Whatever, have fun with it.

 

Bonus: Close your eyes!

Recover more quickly from illness by resting your eyes as often as possible. Seventy percent of our energy is used by our eyes. Conserve your energy for healing by resting your eyes when home sick by listening to books on tape instead of reading or watching TV.”

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Healing emotions with Accunect

The first time I learned about Accunect, one of the healing modalities that Centreville mother of four Laura Freix uses in her practice, was at the Everyday Health & Wellness Conference this past February. Laura made what seemed like some funny motions around my head, and I tell you, I felt calmer right away and tremendous through the day and beyond!

Accunect Self Care (072614) 040 (1)

Just last week, my children’s doctor told me Accunect would be helpful for me to learn for my children to help them ground and calm.

Two great opportunities are coming up to learn about Accunect. On Thursday, August 21, Laura will be part of a panel at the August evening meeting of the Arlington/Alexandria chapter of Holistic Moms Network on the topic of “Supporting Children’s Emotional Health.”

The following Sunday, August 24, Laura will be teaching a self-care workshop in Centreville, Virginia, 11:30-3:30 p.m.

I asked Laura to explain a little bit more about her work, and here’s what she had to share:

“Accunect is a wonderful healing modality that is based on ancient Chinese medicine and modern neuroscience.  The beauty lies in its simplicity.  In essence, the Accunect system leverages the body’s ability to heal itself by restoring balance.  Unlike most energy healing modalities, which are purely intuitive, the Accunect practitioner uses muscle-checking and a Health Map to guide their intuition, which is a more powerful way to refine intuition.  By looking for areas in the body/mind that are ready to shift for better balance, the balances are generally powerful and long lasting.  Simple tapping is then used to create the shift.  Accunect is great for individuals, families and even pets!

Imagine the following real-life scenarios.  What would you do…

  • if your child was in a state of overwhelm?
  • if you sliced your finger almost to the bone?
  • if something popped in your shoulder as you grabbed your suitcase on your way to the airport and you can’t move your arm more than about five degrees before a knife-like pain radiates down your tendon?
  • if your child came home from practice with a goose egg the size of a tennis ball on her forehead and is leaving for camp the next morning?
  • if you have your first-ever colonoscopy scheduled and don’t want to use anesthesia?
  • if you are out running and your knee locks up, nearly sending you to the ground?
  • if your father had a minor car accident and went into a state of shock?

In all of the above scenarios above, the tools taught in the Accunect SelfCare workshop were used to address the situation without any additional medical intervention. Although that is not always the case, I hope that you now understand why I believe that Accunect® SelfCare is a tool every family should have in their toolbox.

After taking the SelfCare workshop, one mother reported that she has successfully taught her four young children Accunect® SelfCare, empowering the next generation in their own healthcare.

If you want to take it to the next level and learn the system, Accunect Connect is the foundational course.  In Connect, you will build on the principles taught in the SelfCare workshop and be able to do full Accunect healing sessions.  For me, the gift of Connect is learning to tap into your inner guidance system.  As a math major and former senior math analyst with GE Aerospace, I was definitely not in touch with my intuitive brain. Although you are taught to use this in the context of a session, I have found it to be useful in everyday life.  Listening to your body and trusting your internal guidance system are wonderful skills to model for your children.

The other gift of this work is empowerment.  Everyone leaves the workshop with the ability to do the work immediately; it is that simple.  I was able to teach my 10-year old nephew who began doing sessions on his cat (who had recently had a stroke.)  The founder’s son is now six, and he receives some of his best balances from his son.  Kids are great because they don’t have to “un-learn” anything; it simply becomes part of their world.  One girl of nine reported “I don’t know what you do here, but it is like a massage for the mind.”

I originally wanted to learn this work to support my family, but eventually I decided that this work was just too good not to share. I now have my own home business, and a vision for my life after kids, as all but one have left for college and beyond.

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My son will call from the university and ask for distance sessions when he feels the need.  My daughter has a lot of anxiety and did not like talk-therapy; the psychotherapist recommended medication. With Accunect we are able to address underlying belief systems without her having to verbalize or even consciously know what is bothering her.  Another mom did a session on her teenaged daughter, where the belief “People will like me if I am nice,” came up.  A great heart-to-heart talk ensued about “who was she if she wasn’t ‘nice’?” and the difference between being nice so people like you versus being authentic.  Truly a wonderful tool.

I share in the vision of Future Medicine Today to make Accunect a household name.  I hope you will consider attending one of my upcoming SelfCare workshops.  You will find the current workshop schedule under the SelfCare tab of my website www.iEmbraceWellness.com

For more information you can refer to the following links:

www.FutureMedicineToday.com

www.Accunect.com (relatively new; still under development)

Empower yourself; empower your children.  Learn Accunect!”

 

And whenever you do check out a practitioner or a workshop you heard about here, be sure tell them Mindful Healthy Life sent you!

 

Gearing up for World Breastfeeding Week

With World Breastfeeding Week upon us, there are events aplenty here in the DC area to show your support for breastfeeding, to learn, and to win some great prizes as well!

The Breastfeeding Center of Greater Washington is hosting four events, described in detail at http://breastfeedingcenter.org/support-us/wbw2014/. They include the second annual Breastfival Friday, August 1, 2-6 p.m., The Big Latch-On Saturday at 10:30 a.m. (arrive at 10:00) and a screening of the new film, The Milky Way at 11:00

Be sure to register ahead for Friday’s Breastival Festival, sponsored by Lansinoh. I was amazed at the turnout last year with over 100 mamas enjoying delicious snacks and soaking up the positive vibe of the renovated space, which, since I took my first child there, has dramatically expanded its store, upgraded its downstairs facilities and added another room upstairs, which is now hosting regular yoga classes.

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The action will mostly be in the Center at 2141 K St NW, Washington, DC 20037. There will be food and fun, including baby footprints and handprints. Additionally, the waiting room at Children’s Pediatrics will be used as a toddler playroom, and in nearby Washington Circle Park, participants can enjoy babywearing demos and Q&A with the Center’s babywearing instructore Clare Branson between 3:00 and 5:00, prenatal yoga with Manisha Tare of Falling Leaf 2:30-3:30 and Mommy & Baby yoga with Alleah Clark of Embrace DC.

Raffle tickets are 3 for $5, 10 for $10 and 25 for $20. There are some amazing items including lots of nursing gear and clothing, photography sessions, massages and bodywork, and food. It’s enough to make you want to get pregnant all over again if you’re not already! Check the complete list of raffle items here. The drawing will happen at 5:30.

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All the proceeds from the event will be used to create new free classes including a new support group and additional classes in other areas in the Metro DC area. They Center would like to duplicate the very popular Tuesday class for moms with babies 0-4 months, a class that has saved many a mama (including this one!) and spawned longtime friendships.

The Center was founded in 1997 by lactation consultant Pat Shelley. It moved to its current location in 2003 and expanded in 2012. Parking in the building garage is likely to fill, so, if you don’t take Metro or find a metered spot on the street, consider the lot on L Street at 22nd (cash only) or the lot on 21st between K and Pennsylvania.

This is the Center’s first year doing a Latch-On, during which moms will nurse for one minute at precisely 10:30 a.m. in locations around the world and be counted. Register for the event ahead and get your tickets for the 11:00 screening of new documentary The Milky Way at the nearby West End Cinemas. (If you miss the film this time, there’s another screening in Alexandria the evening of August 14).

On Tuesday, August 5, head over (after the conclusion of 1:00 support group if you want to walk en masse) to a celebration 1:30-3:30 at the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization and enjoy snacks and swag!

If you’re across the river in Virginia and further south, the second annual Big Latch-On in Woodbridge will also be on Saturday, August 2 at 10:30 (arrive at 10:00). The event is being organized by Anna Burmeister Rademaker, founder of Little Green Cabbages, a support community for “greenish” parents in Woodbridge. A lactation consultant and childbirth educator, Anna is passionate about sharing information, empowering parents, and spreading the word about breastfeeding.

There are several great vendors lined up for this event, taking place at Lake Ridge Park Marina, including The Farm Table, Whim Pops natural popsicles, BirthCare and Women’s Health, and more. Proceeds from the vendor tables will benefit ACTS Emergency Shelter, and proceeds from raffle tickets will go to Gar-Field High School for its program that allows teen moms to complete their education with the help of an on-site nursery.

big latch on woodbridge

Preceding the official Latch-On on Saturday will be a “flash mob” Latch On Friday morning at 10:30 (arrive at 10:00) in the Potomac Mills Mall playground (in neighborhood 2, near TJ Maxx). For details on both events, see the event Facebook page and click “See More.”

And if you’re looking for a from-a-distance way to connect with your inner nursing goddess, or if you want a good laugh about other moms trials and tribulations with breastfeeding, enter the Goodreads giveaway for the anthology Have Milk, Will Travel: Adventures in Breastfeeding. I’ve got an essay in the collection about what my nearly three-year-old had to say about my breasts after jogging and another about my first (somewhat thwarted) attempt to for a retreat of just a few hours when he was a baby.

I’m so grateful to the Breastfeeding Center of Greater Washington for helping me get through those early nursing challenges so that I could go on to breastfeed my son for three years (see us illustrating the word “Toddler” on the wonderful “Nursing Our Future” video from Holistic Moms Network) and to then confidently nurse my daughter when she came along a year after that.

Copyright © 2015 Mindful Healthy Life. Created by MtoM Consulting.

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