Monthly Archives: August 2013

Black Breastfeeding Week & Mocha Manual

Until Next Year…

(Image from https://www.facebook.com/MochaManual)

August has been Breastfeeding Awareness Month in the United States for several years now.  It kicks off with World Breastfeeding Awareness Month on August 1-7th.  This year, a group of concerned lactivists proposed a Black Breastfeeding Week to close out the month.  It has been met with unexpected and vehement opposition.

I would expect anyone who reads about pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding to understand why this is necessary.  Our black citizens have more incidence of lower birth weight and prematurity than other ethnic groups.  The black community has higher prenatal and maternal mortality rates than any other segment of the population.  And, they have lower rates of breastfeeding than any other ethnic groups.  This is not race mongering.  These are cold, hard and pathetic statistics in a day and age when we are supposedly “enlightened”.

We can all agree that breastfeeding offers the best start in life.  Our human milk is made just for our human babies, and it evolves to meet their needs as they grow into toddlerhood.  If there is a group that needs to hear this message loud and clear, then absolutely, dedicate a week out of the month to raise awareness.  End of story.  Start of advocacy.

Instead of arguing whether or not this is necessary, jump in and ask, how can we help?  I don’t care what race, color, creed or orientation, if you say your group needs help with increasing the number of Motherbabys choosing to breastfeed, and then going on to have successful breastfeeding relationships, then help is what they should get.  End of story.  Start of advocacy.

Breastfeeding is not an exclusive club.  The whole point of Breastfeeding Awareness Month is to educate people *everywhere* about the benefits, the struggles, the need for support, and the myriad of options (besides formula) that are available to families who want to feed their babies human milk.  When a group acknowledges that their is a disparity in breastfeeding rates and wants to do something about it, then by all means, give them the time and attention they are asking for.  Breastmilk is free, local and sustainable…what do we lose by ensuring that all mamas have equal access to correct, accurate and inspiring information and support?

We have enjoyed sharing our breastfeeding anecdotes, reflections on our journey as breastfeeding mamas, and pictures of breastfeeding and the lifestyle choices that support breastfeeding with you this month.  Did you see any black MotherBabys?  Me neither.

You can count on this: next year, we will be helping our sisters who want to see all the benefits of breastfeeding to improve outcomes and quality of life for the MotherBabys in the black community.

Now that I am ready to jump off my soapbox, please share with us.  Did you learn anything new this month?  Were you inspired by a mama in your community?  Please let us know – we love reading about your breastfeeding milestones.

Beautiful Breastfeeding

Thoughtful Thursday: On Weaning

What are we going to talk about today?  Weaning!

But it’s Breastfeeding Awareness Month – how does weaning fit?

A couple of ways…BAW is wrapping up, so it’s time to “wean” ourselves off of this topic.  (I couldn’t resist…sorry!!)  Secondly, it fits into Breastfeeding Awareness Month because weaning is part of the breastfeeding journey.  Have you thought about what you are going to give your baby after (s)he is no longer nursing?

Weaning is thought of as the “end” of the breastfeeding relationship.  As stated on the Baby-Led Weaning website, the reality is that the moment we introduce solids, we have started weaning.

How many other mammals continue to drink milk after they are weaned?  Think about that.  We are the only creatures that have figured out how to express milk from a maternal or non-maternal source to continue milk-feeding.  I believe we are the only ones to have found a way for milk to be consumed from something other than directly from a nipple attached to milk ducts.

While this helps make the case for extended breastfeeding (if you want to give them milk, it may as well be your own), it really is something to think about when you consider the age your child stops breastfeeding.  Think about this: milk from other animals is not made to help our human children develop – it’s made to be specific for their species.  Have you ever considered that this may be the reason so many of us are considered “lactose intolerant”?

If weaning happens when your child is under a year of age, you may very well want to supplement with formula.  We do know that scientists are doing the best they can to mimic human milk with that product.  If you are weaning a toddler, you may want to consider just going straight to water and skip alternative milk altogether.

Does your child need to drink milk after they wean?  We are conditioned to believe in the nutritional benefits of milk – how else will they get calcium?!?  I will admit, it’s hard to overcome our indoctrination.  Here is a list of Top 10 Highest-Calcium food sources.  Milk is third on the list.

http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/foods-high-in-calcium.php

Do you have time to read one more?  HERE is an article that talks about the benefits of probiotics.  While our family does not buy cow’s milk anymore, we are big consumers of yogurt products.  I read this article and it gave me peace of mind that we are making the right choice in that aspect:

“Babies whose mothers take probiotics while pregnant and those who are given the so-called “good bacteria” supplements early in life may be at lower risk for allergies but not asthma than other kids.”

This is the choice that worked for our family:  We drink water…a lot of it.  We drink it straight, we flavor the water with fruit and herbs overnight, or sometimes we make fruit-based teas.  If we drink juice, it’s homemade.  I juice fruit for the kiddos before I juice for myself in the morning.  I simply cannot justify store-bought juice anymore.  We will only buy Honest-Tea juice for a party – special occasions merit a little fun and which kid doesn’t like a “juice box”?

So anyway, I will close with this thought: Cassandra and I have really enjoyed sharing Breastfeeding Awareness Month with you.  We wish you all continued peace and joy as you and your nursling continue to do the breastfeeding dance.  Lead, follow, and when it’s time to exit the floor, may you do so with wonderful memories and the knowledge that whether it was for three minutes, three days, three months, or three years, you did something amazing.

WW: A little of everything

In honor of Breastfeeding Awareness Month, we had the themes: Breastfeeding, Babywearing, Co-sleeping, and Coach Bonding.  Here are a few more pics that show a little of everything that we collected this month.

spfblog WW BrussAngelikaBrussito spfblog WW BW backcarryhappyBW.1 spfblog WW BW gettinghelpLJ.1 blogspf ww comfortnursing blogspf ww CTM I make Milk LLspfblog WW cosleepKA

Next week’s theme:  Exploring – share pictures of your children exploring experiences, places, toys…or your own take on the word “exploring”

Send your submissions to sweetpeafamilies@gmail.com – thank you in advance for your generosity with your photos!

Tuesday Tips: How to Gluten-Free Road Trip

How does a Gluten-Free family pack for a road trip?

Actually, there is a little more…our allergy list looks like this: gluten (wheat, barley, rye, spelt), egg, cane sugar, peanuts, soy, coconut, hazelnut, and watermelon.

People who are not familiar with allergies, or who are new to allergen-aware living look at that list and freak out! What do you eat? How do you manage?  Do you eat out? Can you leave the house?

When I first learned about all the foods that send our two eldest children over the edge, I freaked out, too.  I cried.  I didn’t think we would ever eat out or go on vacation again.

Then I got over it and did what I do best: I got busy.  I read everything I could find.  I scoured the stores for gluten-free (GF) sections.  I got good at reading labels and all the unfamiliar ways those foods are listed (more on that another day).  We tried all the brands at least once and pared down the selection to a few favorites.  (We are so blessed to live in a day and age where there is so much selection…when my brother presented with a gluten-allergy twenty years ago my mom had almost zero to choose from.)

I also came to the realization that our list was only 8 items long.  That left us about 2000 foods that we can eat, and we have barely scratched the surface when I think about what our kiddos eat on a regular basis…we still have a lot of food exploring to do!!

How do we plan for a road trip?

First, we usually try to stay at hotels that have a kitchenette.  With our family our size, the kind of accommodation we need for space usually includes this feature.  This allows me to make pasta for the kiddos to take along if we are eating out.  I can also bake cookies if we are going to visit family or friends who are not familiar with our sensitivities.  When we visit, we usually bring along fruit, cheese and cookies, as well as a bag of pasta to cook there.  This way I know our kiddos are going to at the very least, eat protein, starch, and fruit, and have a “safe” dessert.  I can live with that as a meal on vacation.

In the case where we are staying at a venue without a kitchenette, I call ahead about two weeks before our visit.  I find out what kind of accommodations they make, or are willing to make, for our family.

For the times we are going to eat out (after all, vacation from the kitchen counts, right?) I also scour the Internet to find out where the “safe” restaurants are.  We know we can count on a few of them to be good for families with allergies.  On out list are P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Pei Wei Asian Diner, Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill, and Chick-Fil-A.  I also look for Mexican restaurants – generally safe; as well as Thai and Chinese restaurants…as long as we stay away from the soy sauce, or ask if they have gluten-free soy sauce, we are okay.

The other thing I search for are our top 3 grocery stores: Sprouts, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.  Since we travel to major metropolitan areas for the most part, we can generally find two out of three.  We bring consumables for about 3 days, stop for soft fruits upon arrival, and we plan for a store stock-up on Day 3 or Day 4 of our trip.  On longer trips, we find that we are hitting the grocery stores about every 4 days.

In the days before the trip, there are grocery store runs to all 3 stores in town.  I bake cookies the day before we leave, and I store it in daily rations.  This trip, we also decided to try a recipe from Weelicious…we made some fruit leather that tastes and smells A.Maz.Ing.

Chocolate Chip Cookies using 1-2-3 Gluten-Free Mix and Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Chocolate Chip Cookies using 1-2-3 Gluten-Free Mix and Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

BLOG GFtravel.6

Strawberries + Honey = Amazing
Puma enjoyed the puree, and Otter was looking for more “smoothie” after we gave her a taste of the puree – will definitely be making this again!

We pack in reusable shopping bags and a soft cooler that we can use when we go shopping at our destination.
Dry Goods
GF cereals
A couple of bags of GF pasta
A couple of boxes of GF cookie mix
Hardy fruits: apples, oranges, green bananas (we buy them green to allow them to resist bruising and ripen on the road)
GF Crackers
GF Pretzels
That’s It Fruit Bars (http://www.thatsitfruit.com/)
Pure Brownie Bars & Cherry Bars (http://thepurebar.com/)

Dry foods that travel well enough :)

The way we ensure some fruits get into the kiddos on the road - dry all the way!

The way we ensure some fruits get into the kiddos on the road – plus the token brownie bar :)

Cooler
Cheese
Hummus
Carrot Sticks
GF Chocolate Chips
GF Chocolate Chip Cookies
Flax seed
Yogurt

Liquid vitamins, probiotics, cookies! fruit leather, yogurt, nectarine, cheese and hummus are under the ice pack

Liquid vitamins, probiotics, cookies! fruit leather, yogurt, nectarine, cheese and hummus are under the ice pack

The kiddos snack on the dry cereal in the car.  We can also use it when we hit the breakfast bar at hotels – we have yet to go to a hotel where I feel at ease that they take cross-contamination precautions in the big breakfast bar areas.

Snacking on the road is usually a smorgasbord.  Everybody picks three things to put in their snack bag, and this is what they snack on until we take a break and re-fill if necessary.

A mix of Vera Bradley, PBKids, and Itsy Ritzy.  Since switching over to reusable containers we hardly ever use plastic baggies - don't miss them at all!

A mix of Vera Bradley, PBKids, and Itsy Ritzy. Since switching over to reusable containers we hardly ever use plastic baggies – don’t miss them at all!

When we get where we are staying, we hit a grocery store and purchase the softer fruits that do not travel well: strawberries, grapes, mangoes and peaches for our family.

Now we have a full compliment of what our family would call “convenience” foods: single serving sizes, or easy to wash and cut when we are ready to prep snacks for the day.

Why go through all this “trouble”…because it is so worth it when we get there and see this…pure, unbridled joy with not a care in the world :)

Puma and Night Owl can barely contain their excitement when we arrive at our destination - best.feeling.ever

Puma and Night Owl can barely contain their excitement when we arrive at our destination – best.feeling.ever

P.S. Hello, Bernice!  We got to meet a SPB/SPF fan out on our shopping trip on Sunday – so lovely to meet you! Thank you for being a devoted reader and an awesome mama yourself :)


Crafty Garden Mama

MEME Monday0826 SPF.1

Extended Breastfeeding

Your baby is already past their first birthday…and the questions from “well-meaning” family and friends have started…

I needed this reminder today…Otter is almost 23 months old…and still nursing, and still very much wanting to nurse as needed…which means out of the home. I am guessing that I am going to grow again. I took heart from THIS article by Dr. Sears and I hope you will, too.

Quick quote from today’s link:
“Science is on your side. I have read many medical journals with articles proving the long-term health benefits of breastfeeding. The incidence of many illnesses, both childhood and adult, are lowered by breastfeeding  — diabetes, heart disease, and central nervous system degenerative disorders (such as multiple sclerosis) to name a few. The most fascinating studies show that the longer and more frequently a mom nurses her baby, the smarter her child is likely to become. The brain grows more during the first two years of life than any other time, nearly tripling in size from birth to two years of age. It’s clearly a crucial time for brain development, and the intellectual advantage breastfed babies enjoy is attributed to the “smart fats” unique to mom’s breast milk (namely, omega-3 fatty acid, also known as DHA). From head to toe, babies who breastfeed for extended periods of time are healthier overall. They tend to have leaner bodies with less risk of obesity. They also have improved vision, since the eye is similar to the brain in regards to nervous tissue. They have better hearing due to a lower incidence of ear infections. Their dental health is generally good, since the natural sucking action of the breastfed infant helps incoming teeth align properly. Intestinal health is also much better than those of non-breastfed babies, as breast milk is easier to digest, reducing spit-up, reflux, and constipation. A toddler’s immune system functions much better since breastmilk contains an immunoglobulin (IGA) which coats the lining of the intestines, which helps prevent germs from penetrating through. Even the skin of these babies is smoother and more supple.”

Need more reasons to stand firm in your decision to continue breastfeeding past your child’s first birthday?  Read the whole article from Dr. Sears HERE

...this is MotherBaby love...

My take on toddler nursing – for today

Toddler nursing…anyone who nurses a toddler has stories.  The crazy positions.  The angry demands.  The moments of stillness.  The immunity boosts.  The crazy positions.  The nipple twiddling!

Twiddling!! Enough to drive a saint crazy!!

Twiddling!! Enough to drive a saint crazy!!

Why do we do it?  Personally, as we have added children, breastfeeding gives the nursling(s) and I a moment to connect.  While I have to think about one-on-one time and plan for it with the older children, the time to breastfeed is spontaneous and it happens without much thought.  It allows me a minute to breathe in the midst of a busy day, and to just hold and enjoy our child.

Here is a sample of what happened within a three-minute span this morning…

Traditional cradle...all is well...

Traditional cradle…all is well…

Wait a minute...let me see what it tastes like on this side...oh, it's the same...

Wait a minute…let me see what it tastes like on this side…oh, it’s the same…

...might as well pause for a picture then...

…might as well pause for a picture then…

Start over on this side...

Start over on this side…

Wait a minute...let me see what it tastes like on this side...oh, it's the same...

Wait a minute…let me see what it tastes like on this side…oh, it’s the same…

What if I sit on the table...can I nurse in this position??  (She was actually nursing a second before I snapped this picture)

What if I sit on the table…can I nurse in this position?? (She was actually nursing a second before I snapped this picture)

…and then she jumped off my lap and was into the next adventure of the day.

Although Otter is a very good eater, I will continue to nurse her until she is ready to stop nursing.  I know she continues to receive immunities – the female body actually makes more for toddlers than it does for infants.  There are days when all she wants to do is nurse: teething, growth spurt, upset tummy…my milk gives her some nutrition on those days.  And there is my favorite reason: connection and comfort.  I love looking down at her sweet face, knowing that for today, I am liquid love.  This is why I put up with the craziness:

This face! Those eyes!!

This face! Those eyes!!

and this…

...this is MotherBaby love...

…this is MotherBaby love…

As she nears her second birthday, I am making peace with the fact that my days as a breastfeeding mom are numbered.  Maybe she will nurse as long as Charger has, maybe not.  I am trying not to have expectations.

Here is where I have arrived: When she no longer wants breastmilk, I want to remember that she is not rejecting me and that it is not about me.  Because for me, it is the end of a book, one that I treasure, one that I could probably read forever, although it ended up being much longer than I expected.  To her, it will simply be the day when she is ready to move on to the next chapter.

P.S.  If you need “real” reasons to tell your family about the benefits of toddler nursing…check out THIS page from KellyMom or check out THIS infographic from the Alpha Parent

Little boy (2-3) with bare chest, arms up, portrait

What drives you crazy about toddler nursing?  Why do you nurse your toddler?

Thoughtful Thursday: On Being “That” Mom

me taking the 1,456th pictures of my son & I, can't get enough of him!

me taking the 1,456th pictures of my son & I – can’t get enough of him!

 

 

Happy Thursday! Today I thought I would share some random thoughts about mama-hood that are always bouncing around my head. Specifically about stereotypes and being “that” mom.

The mom that always gets funny looks & sideways glances, at the park, at toddler classes, at the museum, at restaurants. I am definitely “that” mom.

“That” Mom whose child always has snot/drool/etc. on his face

T gets a runny nose with every set of teeth that come in, it has happened every single time since his first set at 5 ½ months. I know it is due to his teeth and sometimes even progresses to a cough. Read more about that here. I know he isn’t “sick” and I follow his cues on if we need to stay home, take it easy, or go about with our normal activities. In addition to that, I try really hard every day to respect my son’s body and space. I allow him to wipe his own face and recently his dad taught him to blow his nose, yes it is not as efficient as me holding him and doing a rough swoop to get everything but when/if it bothers him, he knows how to take care of it himself.

“That” Mom who is always super late

Living on a toddler‘s timetable is a foolproof way to never get anywhere even remotely on time. T likes to take his time: waking up, getting dressed, eating, going to the bathroom, going to sleep, walking, pretty much everything. He needs natural, organic transitions from one activity to the next and we have a much more harmonious relationship when I provide that. Both of us are happier and working together and it makes for much smoother, calmer days. Do I sometimes feel like my entire life is dictated by what a very small human feels or wants right then? Yes. Is it hard to deal with sometimes? Yes. But in reality, that is my life. Right now, my entire days revolve around facilitating my son’s journey; it is a very short period in what I hope to be a very long life for him, so yes, he most often decides when.

“That” Mom who always has stuff on her clothes

Yes, I am a mess everyday. I walk and bike where we need to go and am often sweaty. I always sit on the ground with my son and inevitably get grass, dirt, dew, you name it, on my clothes. My son is also a “nibbler”. He has food out all day long (and snacks when we are out and about) and alternates between playing and eating and checking in with me for a hug, kiss, pick up, nursing and whatever is on his hands always ends up on my shirt, pants, or in my hair. If it’s not that, it’s one of the above that is now a permanent stain. At a point in the future, parenting will be much more hands off, and maybe then I will manage to keep myself clean. I parallel it with the quote by Mary Randolph Carter that “A perfectly kept house is the sign of a misspent life”. My clothes are definitely representative of all the “living” we have done that day.

‘”That” Mom who treats her toddler “like a baby”

I wear my son in a front carry most places we go. I am almost always hugging him, cuddling him, kissing him, or just rubbing his back while he sits in my lap. He sleeps in our family bed for naps and nighttime. I nurse him whenever he wants and if he wants my attention or me close by, I give it to him. He amazes me almost daily with how much he knows, understands, comprehends, and observes for someone so young. He is definitely a little person of his own, and far from having the dependant nature of an infant that only knows being close to mama, breastfeeding, and touch, but he still enjoys those things, and in my opinion, at this point they are nothing but beneficial. He will grow up and be his own, independent being, but as of now he has only been on this earth for 17 months of what will hopefully be 100+ years. In the grand scheme of things, he is still a baby.

“That” Mom who is always talking about her child

Being a mama is my job right now, and I take it very seriously. So yes, I pretty much only talk about my work. And yes, I can tell you are not that interested but it’s my life and it is pretty all consuming for me. I also am just so obsessed with my son; he is the best.

“That” Mom who never tells her child no

I was explaining “gentle hands” to T after he was hitting me the other week and another parent I was talking with commented, “Gentle hands? Does that actually work? Doesn’t he know what ‘no’ means?”

I choose to always explain why or how we do things with T. Regardless of whether or not it is most effective immediately, I believe it is the right way to interact with him and will yield the most positive behavioral results in the long run.

It has been a crazy journey thus far, but as of now I have really embraced what kind of mama I am. I find myself being less and less self conscious about all of the things above as time passes too. Mostly, it has been a lesson for me in not judging, not labeling, and not isolating myself because some people choose to do things differently. No matter what kind of mom I am, I am trying my hardest everyday and that is all that matters. Funny looks, comments, and my own insecurities aside, I try to remind myself of that as often as I can.

There is also no greater feeling than being surrounding by other mamas who support, uplift, and laugh with you no matter *what* kind of mom you are that day. Finding our tribe in Arizona was invaluable to me that first year, we are still working on finding our perfect place here in California <3

Share your thoughts with us! How do you see yourself in your role as mom? How do other people see you? Has being a mom made you less prone to judging others?? I love hearing other mamas stories and perspectives!

Make faces with baby

Wordless Wednesday: Bonding with Coach

Babywearing on a hike

Babywearing on a hike

Music and dance

Music and dance

Play with your baby - does this look like wrestling to you?

Play with your baby – does this look like wrestling to you?

Make faces with baby

Make faces with baby

Snuggle with baby

Snuggle with nursling

SPB Father's Day 2013

Read to your nursling

Coaches with children

Coaches with children

Steady uncertain legs

Steady uncertain legs

Comfort your nursling

Comfort your nursling

Keep your nursling warm

Keep your nursling warm

To see coaches bonding with younger nurslings, visit Wordless Wednesday over at Sweet Pea Births

 

BLOG WBW13 WW 0807 disney

Tuesday Tip: Traveling with your nursling

As we prepare to take one more trip before we settle back into our homeschool year, I thought I would share some of the things we do to prepare to travel with our children, specifically our youngest.  One of the greatest conveniences of breastfeeding is that your milk is always available, in the right quantity and at the right temperature.  We have enjoyed being very mobile with our little ones.

Here are some things we have learned along the way:

If your nursling was into a rhythm, prepare it to change.  Whether you are changing time zones, or changing the people coming into your circle, or maybe it’s simply a change in the place where you are sleeping, nurslings are usually a little thrown off from their patterns.  Having specific routines in place may help ease their transition through your trip.  Wherever a routine fits into your schedule, keep it: morning routine, nap routine, bedtime routine.  Usually a family has a consistent way of doing things somewhere in their day if they think about it.  Figure out where yours is and keep it consistent when you are away from home.  Keeping it consistent may ease your baby back into their other patterns once they settle in.

Also prepare yourself to be flexible: you may not be able to get back to your sleep space right on time for your nursling’s nap.  Can baby sleep in the car as you drive, sleep in a carrier, sleep in a stroller?  Have a back-up plan just in case so that you can enjoy your trip and the new sights without being tied to your nursling’s schedule which they may not be keeping anyway.

Your nursling may want to nurse more.  This goes back to your baby’s rhythm.  Even the slightest change in their day may send your baby back to the breast more often at home.  Their need to comfort nurse may be heightened in your new surroundings.  Knowing this, plan ahead if you think frequent nursing is going to be uncomfortable in your vacation/trip space.  Call your hosts ahead of time and feel out their comfort level with breastfeeding (if they are not, ask them to think about where you can nurse when you are visiting them), search out family-friendly venues, plan your wardrobe according to ease of nursing.  You can mix fashion and functionality…in fact, one of my favorite lines is Momzelle, which happens to be on sale today!

Your nursling may be happier next to you.  Keeping your baby “on” you may not be feasible through your whole trip.  However, if you are comfortable babywearing or have time to get used to it before your trip, that close proximity has been another way we have found to ease our nurslings anxiety when we travel.

Bring some of your favorite foods with you.  If your nursling has already started solids, bring some of their favorite snack foods with you.  We usually bring along enough for a couple of days of snacking.  With the ease of the internet, you may be able to find a store that sells your nurslings favorite foods at your destination.  Also remember that “food before one is just for fun”.  Friends or family that you are visiting may fret that your baby isn’t eating enough…rest assured that your breastmilk makes all the nutrients your baby needs and they will be getting enough to thrive up until around their first birthday (more HERE).

When you relax and have fun, your nursling will to.  Our nurslings are little energy readers – are yours?  They know when we are feeling off, and likewise when we are at ease.  Do you know how to operate at your best “frequency”?  Make sure that you take care of yourself so that you can be at your best when you are on your trip.

What tips would you share with a family traveling with a nursling?

Did you see last week’s tips on handling breastfeeding when you travel in regards to nursing in public and breastfeeding laws?  You may want to check that out if you are traveling out of state.  Personally, I will be refreshing myself on CA laws this week :)

Blog1 1375

Family Events: August 19-23, 2013

Looking for something to do with your family this week?  Cassandra and I are posting events and classes in our respective geographic areas…look for us…maybe we will see you there!!

Disclaimer: A listing here does not imply endorsement by Sweet Pea Families or our families.

Please call ahead to ensure the event is happening as listed.  We pull our events from many different sources and cannot guarantee accuracy.  Looking for more baby-friendly events or breastfeeding support groups?  Visit our listings at Sweet Pea Births.

MONDAY, AUGUST 19, 2013
Splash Pad
Kids will love to splash around!
San Tan Village @ 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
2218 E Williams Field Rd
Gilbert, AZ  85295
480-282-9500

Free Baby Dance Class
Fun dance class for walkers through 2.5 years old – No charge.
USA Youth Fitness Center @ 9:00 am to 9:30 am
1530 S Gilbert Rd
Gilbert 85296
480-926-1480

Splash Playground
One-acre splash park as waterfalls that turn into streams.  There is an “ocean”, toy whales, and a “sandy beach”
Cox Splash Playground @ 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Mill Ave & Rio Salado Parkway
Tempe, AZ 85282
480-350-8625

Family Storytime
Bring the family for stories, finger plays, music and rhyming activities
Arabian Library @ 6:30 – 7:00 pm
10215 E. McDowell Mountain Rd
Scottsdale, AZ  85255
480-321-7323

CALIFORNIA
Summer Garden Potluck Picnic
Celebrate the summer with good food and jazz
Community Garden at Adult School @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
http://www.sustainablepg.org/events.php

TUESDAY, AUGUST 20, 2013
Spray Pad Fun
Cool water playground features a spray pad with snake head sprays and ground sprays.
Pecos Park @ 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
17010 S 48th St.
Phoenix (Ahwatukee), AZ 85048
602-262-6111

Tumbleweed Tots

This indoor play area is designed for children 5 years of age and under to play under parental/guardian supervision. This fun, safe and clean area will have plenty of toys, equipment and activities that are sure to keep the kids entertained. There is a maximum of four children per adult. Fee included in all TRC family passes.
Tumbleweed Rec Center @ 9am – 11am
745 E. Germann
Chandler AZ 85286
(480) 782-2900

Smart Play: Older Babies (6 months-12 months old)  
Who knew there was actually a science to the most beneficial techniques to use when interacting with your baby to help their brain develop? In this class, participants will learn how play affects their child’s lifelong brain development, what toys/activities are best for their child at this age, and how to look at a toy and instantly see its developmental benefits. Babies welcome and encouraged!
These are some of the techniques Brie shared on Channel 3’s “Your Life A to Z” on her June 27th appearance! Class costs $10 per person or $12 per couple
Baby Town  @ 9:30am-10:30am
3787 S. Gilbert Rd.
Gilbert, AZ
480-299-1154 or visit www.babybasics4u.com

Smart Play: Toddlers I (1 yr olds)
Who knew there was actually a science to the most beneficial techniques to use when interacting with your toddler to help their brain develop? In this class, participants will learn how play affects their child’s lifelong brain development, what toys/activities are best for their child at this age, and how to look at a toy and instantly see its developmental benefits. Toddlers welcome and encouraged!
These are some of the techniques Brie shared on Channel 3’s “Your Life A to Z” on her June 27th appearance! Class costs $10 per person or $12 per couple
Baby Town  @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
3787 S. Gilbert Rd.
Gilbert, AZ
480-299-1154 or visit www.babybasics4u.com

Pottery Barn Kids Story Time
Kids of all ages are invited to story time every Tuesday at 11:00 am.  Members receive an official book club passport at their first story time, plus a special gift after attending five story times.  To locate a store near you, click HERE
Store Near You @ 11:00 – 11:30 am
Chandler Fashion Center
3111 West Chandler Blvd
Chandler , AZ 85226
(480) 899-7155
Scottsdale Fashion Square
7014 e. Camelback Road
Scottsdale , AZ 85251
(480) 423-3813

Family Play Class
Free Preview of Gymboree’s School Skills Class.  Helps build key social, emotional, and intellectual skills needed for school.  Classes are offered throught the day.  Call to register for one.
Gymboree Play & Music (Scottsdale) @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
7077 E. Bell Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85013

Family Storytime
Families can enjoy stories, songs and rhymes.  For ages birth to five.
Acacia Library @ 11:30 am – 12:00 pm
750 E Townley Ave
Phoenix, AZ  85020
602-534-2468

Open Gym
Kids will enjoy playing and doing gymnastics at open gym.  For ages 18 months to 12 years old.  Cost is $7.00
USA Fitness Center @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
1530 S. Gilbert Rd
Gilbert, AZ 85296
480-926-1480

Free Movie
Kids can get out of the heat and enjoy a family-friendly movie rated PG or G.
Desert Sage Library @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
7602 W. Encanto Blvd.
Phoenix, AZ 85035
602-534-5276

Fish Feeding
Come see an 18,500 gallon freshwater aquarium that offers an up-close view of trophy-sized catfish, bass, striper and blue gill.  Feeding includes an informative presentation about the fish.  Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00 pm and Tuesdays at 6:00 pm.  Also, every day kids can help us feed the trout in our Trout Stream at 1:30pm.
Bass Pro Shop Trout Stream @ 1:30 pm
Bass Pro Shop Aquarium @ 6:00 pm
1133 N Dobson Rd
Mesa 85201
602-606-5600

La Leche League – Chandler
LLL is an international, nonprofit, nonsectarian organization dedicated to providing education, information, support, and encouragement to women who want to breastfeed. All women, especially pregnant and nursing mothers, are welcome to attend our meetings. To find a meeting in your area, visit http://www.lllofaz.org/
**Husbands Welcome**
Whole Foods @ 7:00 pm
2955 West Ray Road
Chandler, AZ 85224
(SE corner of Ray Rd & 101 Freeway)

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2013
Bird Watching
Check out interactive exhibits, an interpretive loop, and a children’s free play area with a water feature and monarch play structure.  Visitors can check out a piar of binoculars and a bird guide and head into the habitat for bird watching.  Free admission.
Rio Salado Audubon Center @ 8:00 am – 1:00 pm
3131 S. Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85040
602-468-6470

Free Baby Dance Class
Fun dance class for walkers through 2.5 years old – No charge.
USA Youth Fitness Center @ 9:00 am to 9:30 am
1530 S Gilbert Rd
Gilbert 85296
480-926-1480

National Geographic Kids Club 
The Chandler Fashion Center Kids Club is a great opportunity for your child to learn in a fun, interactive setting.  Meet in the Gap wing near the Food Court now through mid-November!
This week’s theme:  Clap your hands and stomp your feet. Feel the rhythm of the jungle beat.
Chandler Fashion Center @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
3111 W Chandler Blvd
Chandler, AZ 85226
480-812-8488

Music Time
Enjoy singing, simple instruments and movement with your child.  For children 5 and under and their caregivers.
Bookmans Mesa @ 10:00 – 10:30 am
1056 S Country Club Dr
Mesa, AZ 85210
480-835-0505

Family Yoga
Midwives Rising! @ 10:00 am
531 E Lynwood St.
Phoenix, AZ
602-242-4446

Inn Mommies: Explorers Playgroup 
Crawling children to four years old: This playgroup for moms and babies that are exploring their world.  It is open to women that have given birth at home, at Babymoon Inn or in a hospital. Delight and stimulate your baby in this short yet action packed class full of music, movement, and rhymes for baby and mommy. You will be reminded of great songs and rhymes for baby and you may even learn a few new ones. Get to know other families during playtime that follows each class. Younger siblings are welcome in the Explorers group.  For more info visit http://babymooninn.com/community/
Babymoon Inn  @ 10:00 am
202 East Morris Drive
Phoenix, AZ
(602) 314-7755 ‎

Toddler Storytime
Toddlers and parents can enjoy stories, songs and games to help encourage emerging language skills.  For children 24 months to 36 months old.
Burton Barr Library @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
1221 N Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85004
602-262-4636

Open Gym
Kids will enjoy playing and doing gymnastics at open gym.  For ages 18 months to 12 years old.  Cost is $7.00
USA Fitness Center @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
1530 S. Gilbert Rd
Gilbert, AZ 85296
480-926-1480

Stuffington Bear Factory Tour
Come see a working factory where America’s most loveable companion, the teddy bear, is manufactured.  You will learn about the designing of the bears including how they are cut, sewn together, and stuffed with an up-close look at the manufacturing floor.  The mini-tour lasts about 15 – 20 minutes and includes lots o f fun information about the history of Teddy Bears.
Stuffington Bear Factory @ 1:00 pm
2302 E. Thomas Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85016

Art Appreciation
View the art at the Phoenix Art Museum and begin a lifelong appreciation of art with your little one – Free Admission this afternoon.
Phoenix Art Museum @ 3:00 – 9:00 pm
1625 N Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85004
602-256-7539

Agritopia Farmer’s Market
Specialty crops, food trucks, vendors, artisan food products
Agritopia @ 4:00 – 8:00 pm
13000 E Ray Rd
Gilbert, AZ 85296
480-988-1238

Phoenix Public Market
“our Open-Air Market is a natural gathering place that celebrates neighborhoods and the neighbors. It offers an eclectic high-quality mix of: Fresh in-season fruits and vegetables, produce, flowers, jams, baked goods, dried beans, free-range eggs and honey, live plants and unique local arts and crafts, tasty hot foods, music, and more.”

Open Air Market @ 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
721 N Central
Phoenix, AZ

Cloth Diaper 101
Cloth Diaper Show & Tell with Rachel
Midwives Rising! @ 6:30 pm
531 E Lynwood St.
Phoenix, AZ
602-242-4446

THURSDAY, AUGUST 22, 2013
Tumbleweed Tots
This indoor play area is designed for children 5 years of age and under to play under parental/guardian supervision. This fun, safe and clean area will have plenty of toys, equipment and activities that are sure to keep the kids entertained. There is a maximum of four children per adult. Fee included in all TRC family passes.
Tumbleweed Rec Center @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
745 E. Germann
Chandler AZ 85286
(480) 782-2900

Family Storytime
Bring the kids for stories, songs and fingerplays.
Palomino Library @ 10:00 – 10:30 am
12575 E Via Linda
Scottsdale, AZ 85259
480-312-7323

Open Gym
Kids will enjoy playing and doing gymnastics at open gym.  For ages 18 months to 12 years old.  Cost is $7.00
USA Fitness Center @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
1530 S. Gilbert Rd
Gilbert, AZ 85296
480-926-1480

Superstition Farmer’s Market
Dinner, shopping and fun at a working farm.  Local and organic foods, grill for dinner, and a petting zoo.
Superstition Farm @ 4:30 – 7:30 pm
3440 S Hawes Rd
Mesa, AZ 85212
602-432-6865

Flashlight Tour
Sensory adventures where you will see, hear and feel the desert night: birds, tortoises, insects and night-blooming flowers.  Please bring a flashlight and wear comfortable walking shoes – for families and children of all ages.  $18/adult, $10/ 13-18 yo, $8/ 3-12 yo, free for 2 and under.
Desert Botanical Garden @ 7:00 pm
1201 N Galvin Pkwy
Phoenix, AZ 85008
480-941-1225

FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2013
Walk the Trails at Boyce Thompson Arboretum
The arboretum features more than 3,200 different desert plants and most can be seen along the 1.5 mile main trail.  Enjoy the shade and beauty of a wide variety of trees.  Cost is $9 for adults and $4.50 for children ages five to 12; free for kids under 5.
Boyce Thompson Arboretum @ 6:00 am – 3:00 pm
37615 W Highway 60
Superior, AZ 85273
520-689-2811

Aquatic Playground Splash Pad
Kids can cool off at this 8,500 square foot water park featuring ground geysers, cattail and nearly 30 different nozzles and buckets.  Cost is $1.50 for adults, $.50 for ages 3-17; free for 2 and under
Aquatic Playground splash pad @ 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
83rd Ave & Berridge Lane
Glendale 85301
623-930-2820

Mesa Farmers Market
Come meet some great farming people and shop for locally grown fruits and vegetables.
Rendezvous Green @ 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
263 N Center St
Mesa 85201
623-848-1234

Music Together
Class Demo
Midwives Rising! @ 10:00 am
531 E Lynwood St.
Phoenix, AZ
602-242-4446

Babywearing Meeting
     Back for another month at Scottsdale Fashion Square. This time it will be in an empty restaurant space that was formerly Marcella’s at the East end of the mall, near Barney’s. There is a double door facing Camelback Road (facing south) on the outside of the building. You will need to enter through those. :)
Stop by and check out our carrier library, bring a friend and learn how to use one you already have, or just come out to play and chat.
As always you can join BWIP at any meeting for only $30/year and enjoy great benefits such as being able to borrow a carrier from our library for up to a month at a time. One of the last meetings to “Join in June” and be entered into our carrier drawing.
Scottsdale Fashion Square (Barney’s entrance) @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
7014 East Camelback Road
Scottsdale, Arizona 85251

Siblings! Class
Baby number 2 on the way? Don’t sweat it! In this workshop participants will get helpful tips on preparing siblings for a new baby as well as a discussion on how to get sibling to stop fighting and get along better. Class costs $11 per person or $13.50 per couple.
Baby Basics Office @ 10:00 – 11:00 am
5425 E. Bell Rd., Suite 142
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
480-299-1154 or visit www.babybasics4u.com

Storytime: Little Mouse by Alison Murray
Sometime the nickname Little Mouse just doesn’t seem to fit, like when you feel as brave as a lion or as loud as an elephant. Other times, it’s nice to be quiet and cozy, cuddly and dozy, especially when you’re snuggled up on Mommy’s lap.
Barnes & Noble @ 10:30 AM
Chandler Fashion Mall
3111 W. Chandler Blvd #2054
Chandler, AZ 85226
480-792-1312

Food Truck Friday
Phoenix Public Market @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
721 N Central
Phoenix, AZ

Free Outdoor Concert – Tempe
Bring the family out to enjoy great live music performed by a variety of musicians.  Choose from two stages of entertainment.  For more information click HERE
http://tempemarketplace.com/events/live-music/
Tempe Marketplace @ 7:00 pm
2000 E Rio Salado Pkwy
Tempe 85281
480-966-9338

Free Outdoor Concert – N. Phoenix/Scottsdale
Bring the family out to enjoy great live music performed by a variety of musicians.  Choose from two stages of entertainment.  For more information click HERE
Desert Ridge Marketplace @ 7:00 – 9:00 pm
21001 N Tatum Blvd
Phoenix 85050
480-513-7586

Free Concert: Chandler
¡FlaMÉXico! Mariachi Meets Flamenco is a musical reflection of two cultures forming a new vision. Arizona-born composer Chris Burton Jácome charged his project ¡FlaMÉXico! with finding, creating and celebrating the musical confluences of Spain’s Flamenco and México’s Mariachi.
No tickets required, all shows are FREE.  All seating is first come, first served. Doors open at 6:30pm, and seating starts at 7pm. Suggested donations: $5/person, $10/family. More concert information here.
Chandler Center for the Arts @ 7:30 pm
250 N. Arizona Ave.
Chandler, AZ

CALIFORNIA
Celebrate the Outdoors
Throughout the month of August, MY Museum celebrates the outdoors with a special activity every Friday! Starry Night:  Join us August 23rd for an afternoon with the stars!

For more information and admission prices, visit http://www.mymuseum.org/plan/calendar/ 
Monterey County Youth Museum @ 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
425 Washington Street
Monterey, CA 93940

Do you have an event you want to add to our list?  We are happy to list your event in our weekly blog posts.  Any event, class, support group or meeting that fits into our philosophy of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting will be considered for our listing.  We reserve the right to decline requests that do not promote healthy families and peaceful parenting.

To submit your event:
Please follow this format (same as above).  Anything that is not “copy-paste” ready may not be posted – it will depend on how much time I have between homeschooling and loving on four littles.  If I don’t sleep, it seriously impedes my ability to be a peaceful mama, and that is not fun for anybody.  Thank you for understanding!

Submit your event information to:
sweetpeafamilies {at} gmail {dot} com

Information to send me:
Event Name
Description & Cost
Location Name & Time
Address
Contact Phone Number

For more baby-friendly fun or breastfeeding support groups, visit our listing at Sweet Pea Births.

Please leave us a comment – it will be moderated and posted.

Disclaimer:  
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Cassandra Okamoto, Krystyna and Bruss Bowman, and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.