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October, 2008 ~ Issue # 012

Autumn has officially arrived and I'm happy. I have no idea why "the season of death" means so much to me, but I can't tell you how much I love Fall.

Perhaps it has something to do with my addiction to hot coffee (did I mention I write all these newsletters sitting at Caribou?).

Whatever the reason, Autumn is my favorite season - and I'm SO HAPPY it's here! Breathe in the crisp air...take a walk...jump in some leaves...or maybe just go outside for some adorable baby book photos.


Treasures in this Issue...

Get the most out of this month's eZine.

Print it and read it at your leisure throughout the day.


In Case You Missed It...

Here are some of the new articles published recently at The Essential Infant Resource for Moms that you may have missed. As always, sign up for the Infant Blog and be notified instantly of all new or altered pages!

Enter Your Baby in the 2008 Cutest Halloween Baby Contest

If you haven't already, make sure to take a photo of your infant in his/her adorable costume and add it to the list of contenders for the 2008 Halloween Baby Contest! Entering is super easy. Click here to enter your baby into the contest.

Curious about what you win? Check out this year's prize package.

After all, you, as a Merry Mother subscriber, will be choosing the winner in the next issue (November 4th). You could even vote for yourself!


Tea Time with Danielle

EiR would like to welcome the newest contributor, Danielle, for a special segment entitled "Tea Time with Danielle". Danielle will be writing some informative articles regarding breastfeeding, focusing primarily on the new mom.

If you are a new mom and you would like some advice on a particular issue, she is there to help. Click here to visit Danielle's Bio page and see her contributions.

Welcome Danielle!


Buy Costumes

Promotions: If you haven't ordered your baby and family costumes for Halloween yet, it's not too late! Buy Costumes is offering some great deals.

  • Use coupon code "ap10" to get 10% off all Animal Planet Costumes until midnight on October 17th. These exclusive costumes are adorable. Check out the always-popular meerkat costume, the monkey costume, the lemur costume, the sea otter costume, or the white tiger costume.
  • Use coupon code "zombie50" to receive $10 off your order until October 31st, 2008. Click here to shop at
  • Free shipping on orders over $65 until 10/13/08. Order for the whole family from the comfort of your living room without paying a dime in shipping. This is a great deal. If you've procrastinated your Halloween shopping, NOW's the time to hop to it!


Promotions:If you need to upgrade your car seat or consider a new stroller, BabyRide has some savings coupons for you.

Sleepytime Store

Promotions: Sleepytime Store carries the infamous "Little Giraffe" blankets and sleepwear that celebrity babies and children like Suri Cruise are attached to. These blankets are unbelievably soft and cuddly. Use any of the codes below to get your Little Giraffe blankets at sale price!

  • Get free shipping on order over $50
  • Get 10% off with code BABY10

Promotions: This product is FREE. is a free resource that lets you easily design your baby's book online to share with friends and family who live far away (on a private site). It's a FREE baby blog. When you complete your baby's first year blog, you can even order it to be professionally printed and bound in a hard cover book! do the fun part of writing memories, uploading photos, sharing with friends ~ and they do the hard work of putting it into a book! Click here to visit

Promotions: Did you know also has costumes? and infant shoes? and baby food? and about a million other things? Think beyond diapers (cloth or disposable) and start saving some moo-lah with their coupons for October.

One Step Ahead

Promotion: One of my top three favorite online baby stores, they are currently offering 15% off any order over $100. Besides having some of the most innovative baby products available, they also have some stunning infant costumes. This coupon (BABY15P) doesn't expire until 12/31, so feel free to use it again and again! Click here to see the costumes and other great items at One Step Ahead.

My Friache...Natural Soaps and Swizzels

Promotion: Keep your skin BOO-tiful and soft with their luxurious goat's milk bath products. Shop here and save 10% on orders $50 or more (shop for the year!). Use coupon code "halloween" until 10/31/08 for these savings.

Tiny Prints - Holiday Greeting Cards

Promotion: Tiny Prints is offering 5% off when you order this season's Holiday Cards. Get a jump on the busy season and order your family's greeting cards early. I love the beautiful designs and customization options available at Click on the banner below to look around and use coupon code "AFLHOL" for your 5% off.

Give Me Baby Bargains!

Yes! Please notify me of new coupons
and special baby sales.

(Emails are sporadic, as coupons come in,
with a twice a month maximum.)

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.
E-mail Address*


How to Breastfeed: a Step-By-Step Guide

Learning how to breastfeed is often the first challenge a new mom makes after delivery. These useful tips and easy steps on how to breast feed will help you meet that challenge head on...and win!

There are a number of things you can do to help your breastfeeding experience be successful (and less painful!). Wait a may say... isn't breastfeeding is a completely natural activity? Well...yes and no.

There are many activities that our body should naturally do that we still manage to make difficult. Knowing how your body is meant to work is the first step in learning how to breastfeed successfully! We can use that knowledge to ensure we are using our body in the proper way, eliminating much pain and hassle.


Get Ready: Before and After Birth

There are basically two series of steps that you could and should take to help you have a positive breastfeeding experience. The first series includes various steps you can take before your baby arrives. If this is you, click here to see the pre-birth stages of how to breastfeed successfully.

If you are already holding your bundle of joy, click here to jump right into "How to Breastfeed".

Setting Up Before the Big Day


Education, Education, Education

Breastfeeding education on how to breastfeed is essential. Talk to other moms or read through informative articles about breast feeding. A little knowledge will go a long way in setting you up for a good experience.

Connect with Like-Minded Mothers

This is especially important if you do not already have a support network from friends or family, someone you can call in the middle of the night. Local chapters of La Leche League are located all over the world. You can visit their web site to find the chapter nearest you: Finding this system before you start breastfeeding will give you a boost of confidence that you already know where to go if you experience trouble.

Consider a Lactation Consultant

Some hospitals have lactation consultants on staff. Call ahead to find out if the hospital where you will be delivering has this service. If it does - use it! If your hospital doesn't have consultants, contact your closest La Leche League and ask for a recommendation. Remember, that La Leche League wants to see you succeed in this endeavor! They will be careful in their recommendations.

Check Your Nipples

I know this seems like a strange recommendation. However, if you have flat or inverted nipples you can try wearing breast shields during the pregnancy to help draw them out. The breast shells take advantage of the natural elasticity of the skin during pregnancy by applying gentle, but constant pressure to the areola in an effort to break the adhesions under the skin that prevent the nipple from protruding. If you find that your nipples are flat or inverted, you should start wearing the shields for a few hours every day usually starting in the third trimester.

You should also be more careful about avoiding bottles and pacifiers with your baby for a time. Your baby will naturally be drawn to whatever form of eating/sucking is the easiest. Your nipples will be more of a challenge than the bottle will be. Combo-feeding this early may discourage him to breastfeed. Wait until he is comfortable with nursing on your breast (usually several weeks) before introducing him to a bottle (if ever). Click here to see more about combo-feeding.

October's feature article was contributed by our "New Mom Mentor", Danielle. To read more about Danielle or to ask her a question, visit Tea Time with Danielle.

Continuing in our series of The Successful Breastfeeder,
November's Feature Article Will Be:

7 Breastfeeding Challenges You CAN Overcome


Here are the celebrity babies born in the past few months. Any words of wisdom for the new parents? Share your celebrity parent thoughts here.

  • David Spade (Saturday Night Live) a daughter on August 26th.
  • Kali Rocha (Grey's Anatomy) a son, Barlow Aix, on August 4th.
  • Jo-Jo Reyes (Atlanta Braves) a daughter, Payton Brooklyn, on September 3rd.
  • Laura Allen (All My Children) a son, Harper Edward, on September 3rd.
  • Tony Dovolani (Dancing with the Stars) a son, Adrian Driton; and a daughter, Ariana on September 8th.
  • Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting) a son, Henry Story, on September 5th.
  • Alex Borstein (MAD TV) a son, Barnaby on September 8th.
  • Natalie Morales (Today) a son, Luke, on September 9th.
  • Lalia Ali (American Gladiators) a son, Curtis Muhammad, on August 26th.
  • Jeff Corwin (Animal Planet) a daughter, Mariana, on September 11th.
  • Max and Susy Preston (The Biggest Loser 2) a son, Jax Paul, on September 11th.
  • Jason Bay (Boston Red Sox) a daughter, Evelyn Jane, on September 16th.
  • Johnny Damon (New York Yankees) a daughter, Danica, on September 18th.
  • Gordon Moakes (Block Party bassist) a daughter, Scarlet, on August 23rd.
  • Liza Huber (All My Children) a son, Royce Alexander, on August 16th.
  • Jack Cassel (Houston Astros) a daughter, Nellie Ann, on September 22nd.
  • Khary Campbell (Washington Redskins) a son, Shia, on September 28th.
  • Joely Fisher ('Till Death) adopted a daughter, Olivia, on September 29th.
  • Mark Wahlberg (The Italian Job) a son, Brendan Joseph, on September 19th.
  • Marisol Nichols (24) a daughter, Rain India, on September 30th.
  • Dr. Jason Diamond (Dr. 90210) a son, Jake, on September 30th.

infant activities

0-3 Months: Pom Pom Play

Gather together some large brightly colored pom-poms or small stuffed toys. Hold the pom-poms about 12-15 inches from his face to get his attention. Slowly move the toy from side to side, matching your pace to his ability to track the object with his eyes. Move the pom-poms up and down so he can watch it go near and far. Let it tickle his noise or stroke his arms. (Of course, never leave small items around your baby unattended.)

This activity encourages his visual tracking and development. It gives him practice on keeping his eyes coordinated and moving together.

3-6 Months: Babbling Time

At 3-6 months, your baby will be exploring the use of her voice. She will coo, grunt, gurgle, and grunt. You can encourage this exploration by interacting back. As she talks, respond with "really!", "tell me more," or nodding. This obvious reaction to her words will delight her and encourage her to continue. Imitate her sounds back, and encourage her to use different combinations (goo...gah, etc.)

This activity stimulates her language development skills, encourages listening, and promotes good social development.

6-9 Months: Bottle Roll

Is your baby not enthusiastic about crawling? This game will encourage him to get moving. Fill a baby bottle with beans or grains about half full. Make sure the top is safely secured so nothing can fall out. Roll the bottle across the floor in front of him. Still not budging? Show him how to roll it himself. This activity promotes good eye-to-hand coordination and encourages fine and gross motor skill development.

9-12 Months: The Magic Scarves

Hunt up some old scarves (the silky kind) and an empty paper towel roll for this exciting activity. Poke one end of the scarf through the tube and let him pull it out of the other side. Then hide most of the scarf in your fist and let him find the dangling corner. He will be thrilled about his "discovery" as more and more of the scarf appears in the tube. Encourage his excitement by adding your own "Where's the scarf?" "Peekaboo!" comments to lead him along.

This activity teaches eye-to-hand coordination, object permanence (it's there even if he can't see it), and the silky scarf will be an interesting fabric for him to feel ("like water").

12-18 Months: Pouring Practice

Collect some plastic cups, bowls, buckets, or spoons. Using a large shallow tub or basin, show your baby how to fill a cup, spoon, or bowl with water, cornmeal, or sand. Demonstrate to her how to empty the bowl and fill it again, pouring the cornmeal into a new container.

This activity builds up her fine motor skills and builds up eye-to-hand coordination.

Eventually, he may begin to lose interest in playing these games. Don't force anything. If that seems to be the case, simply try out some of the infant activities in previous newsletters.

Most of these activities were adapted from Gymboree Baby Play. This book is available for purchase at the Essential Book Emporium.

heather's hints

Juicy Pear and Prune Puree

  • 4 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 4 dried pitted prunes, chopped
  • 2 Tbs baby rice cereal
Simmer the fruit in a saucepan with a little water for 5 minutes. Puree in a small blender until completely smooth, use as much cooking water as needed for a smooth consistency. If you use fresh prunes, sieve to get rid of tough prune skins. Stir in the cereal while warm.

Ages and Freezer Notes

Your baby should be 8 months old for this recipe. Babies ages 5-8 can eat this recipe without the prunes. To freeze: cook the fruits as directed, pureeing well. Place fruit into an ice-cube tray and freeze. When ready to use, defrost in the microwave (make sure you stir well to eliminate hot spots) and add the cereal.


Does your infant struggle with constipation? This baby food recipe is packed with good fiber to help keep your baby regular. Pears are a also good source of Vitamin C, which is always good this time of year!
This month's recipe was taken from First Meals, an excellent kitchen resource for moms from 5 months to 5 years. Click here to see more about this book.

heather's hints

Become The Stain Master

Are those stubborn baby stains driving you nuts? Here are some quick tips on how to keep those adorable outfits and bibs as clean as new.
  • Keep a spray bottle or stain stick in the diaper bag or by the changing table for quick treatments.
  • Soak clothes in hot/warm water and OxyClean. I fill up the downstairs tub and let them soak overnight. Then I wash them in the morning.
  • For stubborn stains, make a paste of OxyClean and spray stain remover, letting it sit a while before washing.
  • Remove thicker stains by scraping excess food off the clothing with a dull knife before treating.
If the outfit is white, you can treat with bleach. You could also use a bleach pen to target-treat on white outfits. I've used this recipe for years with good results. Do you have a stain-fighting tip? Share it with the rest of us!

There have been 5 recalls since the last Merry Mother was published in September.

Deadly Bassinet Warning Extended

  • Simplicity Bassinet warning includes those sold under "Graco" and "Winnie-the-Pooh" logos

See Recall Report #2: Bassinets and Portable Wooden Cribs

Simplicity Cribs Recalled

  • Drop-Side Cribs by Simplicity

See Recall Report #1: Dangerous Cribs

Toy Items Recalled

  • Regent Sports Soccer Goal Nets ~ death of 20-month-old
  • Toy Police Cars at Dollar Stores
  • Tin Pop Pop Boats at BuzzÂ’s

See the 2008 Toy Recall Report


I hope you've enjoyed reading October's issue of The Merry Mother.

The next issue will be published on November 4th. So watch your Inbox! smiley

Add Your Comments!

I'd love to hear what you thought about this issue. Did your baby enjoy the activity of the month? Did you try out this month's hint? Leave your comments and thoughts for other readers to enjoy.

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Thank You Readers!

Thank you so much for reading and subscribing to this newsletter. It is a labor of love. I'm happy to know others enjoy reading it as much as I do writing it.

My growing subscriber list shows that you have been sharing it with your friends, and for that, I am deeply grateful. After all, this is newsletter is focused on one thing: helping us all become merrier mothers - because merry mothers = merry babies!


P.S. Be sure to check back at The Essential Infant Resource for Moms, your friend-next-door for questions-answered, stories-told, and laughs-had.

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