Sunday, May 29, 2016

This weekend's hike: Vallon obscur du Donaréo

Scroll down for directions on how to find the trailhead.

Our across-the-street neighbors recommended hiking the vallon obscur du Donaréo, a hidden valley just outside of Nice. I'm writing up about our hike because we had the hardest time finding the trail head! It's not even a proper trail, except there is one sign at the beginning. Unless you know where to go, you'd never find it.

As we began the hike, the canyon walls lengthened and narrowed, cutting off the sunlight and casting us into a cool gloom. We had entered a magical world. We hopped over a small stream running through the bottom, occasionally dipping our feet in the cool water. The canyon walls were covered with moss, ferns, and sub-tropical vegetation. Mist and water droplets falling from above kept us cool--not that we needed to cool off any more!

Also lots of frogs, tadpoles, and lizards.

Back to reality--how do you get there? I visited many French sites describing the hike (here, here, and here, for example, but they weren't helpful enough to get us to the right place. We finally found it thanks to flagging down an old Niçois hiker.

Directions to the vallon obscur du Donaréo:
The valley can be hiked from the top (from Castagniers) or from the bottom, which is where we started.

1. Drive to the crematorium of Nice (Chemin du Roguez, 06670 Colomars). Take the road towards the crematorium, not to the Nécropole. Drive past the crematorium gates. 20 meters after the gates, park alongside the road or pull into a little gravel parking area on your right.

2. On your left, you'll see a chained-off road. Walk over the chain towards the concrete structures at the end.

3. Once you get to the end, slip through the little area on the right.

4. Walk along the wood planks, following the canal. Soon you'll cross over the canal and see a sign with information about the hike.

5. Go onto the little stream bed and start hiking up the valley. You can go as far as you wish. Near the top you will see an aqueduct; we didn't go this far as our kids were getting tired. The hike isn't strenuous, but there is some climbing over boulders and scrambling up and down steep slopes. Be sure to wear shoes that can get wet!

A short preview...

A longer look...

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Monday, May 23, 2016

New version of "Breastfeeding With Comfort and Joy"

A recent doula client and friend stopped by before I left for France to borrow some birth and breastfeeding books for the summer. She picked up Laura Keegan's Breastfeeding With Comfort and Joy and said, "I love this book! It was the most helpful breastfeeding book I read before I had my baby."

I reviewed Breastfeeding With Comfort and Joy back in 2009. I am excited to announced that Laura has released an revised e-book edition with updated information (particularly regarding skin-to-skin care and laid-back breastfeeding), more photos, and nine videos. Some e-book formats play the videos directly (Kindle Fire, Apple Books), while other e-book platforms will include a password-secured link to the videos.

The videos show babies of various ages taking the breast and feeding, some in upright positions and others laid-back. You'll also see 1-week-old twins taking the breast, a mother hand-expressing milk, and a mother doing breast compression to help her sleepy baby finish nursing. Another mom talks about nursing her baby right after the birth by putting her baby skin-to-skin and letting him scoot up to her breasts and latch on by himself. Finally, you'll see a UNICEF breast crawl video and watch a short documentary of a premature baby whose life was saved by skin-to-skin care after the birth.

Of particular importance are the new photos showing laid-back breastfeeding, with moms comfortably reclined and babies laying belly-down on top of their mothers. Laid-back breastfeeding enables babies' hardwired instincts to breastfeed, helps babies latch more deeply and effectively, and lets mothers nurse without having to actively "hold" their babies--a huge plus when you are nursing round-the-clock!

Laura wrote to me about this new version of Breastfeeding With Comfort and Joy:

When women see breastfeeding work, are confident to get comfortable, and fall in love with breastfeeding without the distractions and information overload, breastfeeding will become part of our culture.

I really want the new release pushed because it is an excellent resource for women to advocate for skin-to-skin at birth and other things. The information is not an update but a richer resource because of the shared experiences and practices that have come out since the first edition both in my practice and online. I now have more images to support the timeless concepts.

For the practice of women to have their babies at birth to reach a tipping point, women need an all-in-one-place resource when they demand this from their birth practitioners. Otherwise the scattered internet searches overwhelm them and the message is lost.

Please consider this book for yourself, for an expecting friend or family member, or for your medical/midwifery/lactation consulting practice.

The new electronic edition of Breastfeeding With Comfort and Joy is available from Amazon, Kobo, and iBookstore.
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Saturday, May 07, 2016

Off to France again

We're spending the summer in Nice. We left last weekend with only 6 suitcases this time.

We pulled the kids out of school back home and put them in the French public school. All four children are in school this year, with Ivy in the "toute petite section" that starts at age 2.5. She did amazingly her first day, but the second day she clung to us and sobbed. She goes only in the morning. I love having school right around the corner and 2-hour lunch breaks!

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