Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas with a toddler

I think that title speaks for itself doesn't it ?!?

Wow ... just, wow.  Now of course, this wasn't T man's first Christmas, but I'm calling this his first REAL Christmas.  This year we got to do all the fun Christmas-y things.  Lights, presents, Santa, the works.  But what I loved the most was getting to experience all the joys and wonder of the season through the eyes of my son.  Everything was magical to him.  Every house with lights on, every snowflake, every gift wrapped package, every bobble and ornament on our tree.  It was a world full of enchantment and surprises. 

Christmas morning, we woke at 8 and nursed like usual.  Then, after a quick diaper change, daddy and I guided our little sleepy eyed angel down the hallway towards the living room.  Watching his beautiful face change from curious and confused to amazed and delighted was the best Christmas present a parent could ever wish for.  His smiled stretched from ear to ear as he (still a bit cautious) crept over to his gifts.  His Little Tykes car, his mega block building set and his Elmo indoor play tent. :-) "Where did these come from?" his expression seemed to ask.  He was both confused and excited at the same time.  Daddy and I shared a glance, thinking "success!"  One Christmas down, a lifetime to go ;)

That was the fun part of Christmas with a toddler.  But this is a 2 part story and the second part is a bit more ... exhausting.

We celebrated Christmas eve with my family and Christmas day with Hubby's family.  Now, T man does really well with his beloved grandparents and cousins, etc.  But shoving every family member into a 24 hour period, with enormous amounts of food, candy (hey, it's Christmas, don't judge me!) and of course gifts, can become extremely overwhelming for anyone, especially a one year old.  By the time we got to the in laws house, T man was already on Christmas overload.  All I can say, is thank goodness for breastfeeding! :-) halfway through the seemingly endless pile of toys and clothes, T man decided he'd had enough.  He simply walked away from everything and everyone and asked me for a boobie (sign language)  So right there in the middle of the room, amidst the chaos and celebration, we snuggled together and reconnected.  Sometimes T man just needs to recharge his batteries, so to speak.  He gets so overwhelmed with the world around him and he doesn't know how to process everything.  BFing is his way of slowing down and catching his breath.  So, there we sat, while his cousins continued to rip open package after package, oblivious to what was happening 3 feet from them. :-)  (I absolutely love how completely normal BFing has become for our whole extended family.)  When he decided he was ready, T man rejoined his cousins in the carnage of paper and ribbons and bows.   We nursed again several times that day before finally loading up the car and heading home. 

After a whirlwind Christmas we were looking forward to settling down for a peaceful evening.  BUT WAIT! What about all these gifts?  All these toys?  All this new laundry =( sigh .... no rest for the weary!  Time to clean house, rearrange furniture and find places to put ALL this stuff!!! .... sigh ..... no rest


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Life after miscarriage

I probably should have written this post a couple months ago, since October is national Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness month (PAIL)  I'd like to tell you guys that I didn't do it because I was just so busy that I couldn't find the time, but actually, I'm just scared.  I'm scared of having to relive those terrible times in my life.  I'm scared of having to admit all the weakness and pain I experienced, both physical and emotional.  But even more than that, I'm ashamed.  Ashamed of the thoughts and feelings I had.  I cycled through all the "stages of grief" denial, anger, etc., but what I seemed to latch onto the most was the anger.  Anger at myself for losing my baby(s), anger towards other women for getting to have their babies, anger towards my husband for being so damn irritating!  (It was hormones,I know) 

Naturally I blamed myself. 

"What did I do wrong?  How could I have not known that my baby "stopped growing" (the polite, medical term for dead) and mostly, what did I do to deserve this?  I'm being punished aren't I?  I always said I didn't want kids, I always said "we're not having kids".  So this is my punishment, isn't it?!? This is my fault for being selfish, for waiting so long to have kids.  I wasted all those perfectly good, healthy, YOUNG years.  How dare I think that I can just piss away my youth, being selfish and carefree, doing whatever I wanted, then finally decide I want kids.  This is my fault! If I hadn't waited so long, this never would have happened."

That was the sort of journal entries that I wrote during my recovery (both physical and emotional)  I was angry, bitter, resentful.  I couldn't stand to be in the same room with pregnant women or babies.  I hated them.  I wanted to know why they were allowed to have their baby but I wasn't allowed to have mine. 

I'm not proud of myself but at the same time I can accept those thoughts and feelings as a part of my healing.  I slept for days, didn't get off the sofa, didn't eat for almost a week.  I lost 12 lbs in 4 days.  I didn't shower, didn't talk, I avoided eye contact with everyone.  I was ashamed, I was devastated and I was angry.  I cried almost constantly, completely unable to control the gushing flow of tears that seemed to pour out of my eyes every second of every minute. 

Did I mention I was angry?  Everyone wants to help or comfort you.  But at times like this, there really isn't anything that anyone can do for you.  They hug you, they speak softly, they hold your hand.  Mostly, I think that's to make them feel better.  They are uncomfortable with the situation and they feel helpless as a bystander.  I can't count the number of times I was asked "is there anything I can do?" or "let me know if I can do anything for you."  I finally snapped one day.  My wonderful MIL was the unfortunate recipient of my outburst of emotion.  I had attempted to go back to work, thinking that if I did I would start to feel "better".  It didn't work.  I barely lasted until lunch.  My MIL offered to drive me home and asked that damn stupid question again. 

"Is there anything I can do?"

"NO! No God damn it, there isn't ANYTHING that ANYBODY can do!!!  The only thing I need, the only thing I want is my baby.  I want my baby to be alive, I want her to be in my belly.  I don't want her to be gone, to be .... to be dead"

(Silence)

"I wish everyone would stop asking me that.  I don't want anything from anybody.  I just want my baby"

..................................................................................

So, what do you say or do in this kind of situation?  Let me tell you what helped me the most or what I would have appreciated from friends and family.

Cry with me.  Forget about being strong or being my "rock".  I don't need a wall, I need compassion.  I need to know that this loss is affecting you as strongly as it's affecting me.  This one is aimed mostly at the dad's.  Hubby never cried with me during our miscarriages.  Not once.  My MIL told me later of how he came to her, heart broken and in tears, but he never showed me that side of him.  He thought I needed him to be strong, but his lack of emotion only made me feel lonely.  Like I was being overly sensitive about the whole situation.  I wondered how everyone else could just pick up and move on so quickly and easily. 

Hug me.  Just wrap your arms around me and hold me.  Don't say anything, just hold me (and cry with me)

If you feel the need to "help" then just do it.  Don't ask, just do it.  Come over and walk the dog.  Do my laundry.  Bring me groceries.  That's fine, I need and appreciate it, but don't expect me to make these requests willingly.  99% of me just wants to roll over and give up.  But if you keep coming over, maybe, just maybe, I'll get off the sofa one of those days.  Maybe I'll even take a shower.

What do you say to someone who's just found out their little bundle of joy is gone?

"I'm so sorry"
"I can't imagine how you must be feeling, but I love you."
"I know your hurting and I'm so sorry"
"I love you"
"Let me take care of that/do that/get that for you"
"I love you"

.................................................................................

I've never told anyone these things before.  I've talked about my miscarriages before , but I've never been so exposed about my anger, my emotions or my heartache.  I hope this can help someone realize that they're not alone in their feelings and that there really is life after miscarriage.

Phantom cries

I had the strangest experience the other night.  I was sound asleep (well, I was "mom" asleep) and I remember jumping up out of bed because my son was awake and crying.  I stepped into his room though and he was still asleep!  Okay, maybe he called out in his sleep, no biggie.  I go back to bed, fall asleep and a little while later, I scrambled out of bed again because my son "needed to nurse" ... didn't he? Doesn't he? Where is he?

I checked the video monitor and there he was, sound asleep in his crib.  Hmmm .... Okay mama, go back to bed.  I crawl into bed, fall asleep for and hour or so only to awake again to what I can only assume is "phantom cries" that my brain is creating. 

As if moms don't get little enough sleep, now my brain is creating false baby alerts to wake me up even more?  LOL Thanks brain that's just what I needed.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Cloth diapers (they're not your mothers cloth!)

I know I've already posted about "Diaper Dooty" giving you the basic run down between cloth & disposables.  But now I want to go into a little more detail about cloth diapers.  I am proud to announce that I have officially gone 100% cloth! =)  It took a couple of months for us to get to this point, but we have finally succeeded.  Let me start at the beginning:

After my original diaper post I began having horrible "sposie guilt" every time I changed T mans diaper.  Knowing that I was contributing to the extreme diaper landfill, I was exposing my sweet little man to unknown chemicals, fragrances and toxins AND! I was literally throwing my money in the garbage.  (sigh)  Every diaper change became a moral battle that made my stomach turn.  I decided that I needed to go cloth and I needed to do it NOW!

I came into a chunk of money and decided that was my opportunity to dive into the world of cloth.  Rather than edging into cloth (like a sane person would probably do) I just jumped into the deep end with both feet.  I contacted my good friend at Baby Bunz Diapers and asked her to help me start my stash the right way.  =)  8 pocket diapers and 8 All-in-one diapers and I was hooked. 

I've been poking around the world of cloth, testing and trying different brands, styles and options.  Although my Baby Bunz Diapers are by far my favorites, I want to share with you a few of my findings regarding the "other" diapers currently residing in my stash.

First a few terms to help you translate the cloth language (it gets a bit confusing)

AIO/AI2 = all in one or all in two.  These diapers are all inclusive.  They are waterproof and one piece (in some form or another) that require no (or minimal) assembly on your part.  Simply put on & take off just like a sposie. (<< term used by CD mama's for disposable diapers)

POCKET = a diaper with a water proof outer layer and a stay dry fabric inner layer, an opening at one end or the other allowing you to stuff absorbent inserts in between the layers.  These require you to assemble them after every washing, but you can customize the absorbency however you like.

FITTED =  a fully absorbent diaper with no pocket or waterproof outer.  These diapers require some sort of outer cover for optimum waterproofing.  These are great for overnight use. 

PREFOLD/FLATS =  these are "your mothers cloth" diapers.  Large rectangles of fabric that can be used a variety of ways for customizable fit and absorbency.  These also require some sort of outer cover.  These are very economical and are wonderful for newborns.

COVERS = a waterproof material made specifically for covering the fitted or prefolds. These have no absorbent material in them at all.

PUL = polyurethane laminate.  The material that most AIO and pockets are made from to make them waterproof.

APLIX = term used to describe a hook and loop closure (aka Velcro) that some diapers use instead of snaps.

BumGenius:
I have 2 different styles offered by this company. The pocket diaper called the "4.0" and the AIO called the "freetime". 
I like the 4.0 pocket the best.  This diaper has double flaps to cover the pocket opening which helps to keep any poop from slipping into the pocket.  The inner fabric is soft and does not discolor too easily.
I am not a fan of the Freetime though.  The "AIO" part of this diaper is built in as 2 flaps that you lay on top of each other.  While this makes for a nice enough fit and absorbency, it's terrible for poop!  Each time I tried to clean up the poopy diaper I couldn't prevent the flaps from just falling into the toilet.  The flaps are awkward and inefficient.  I no longer use this diaper.

Fuzzibunz
I have a couple from this brand.  I use the One Size Elite pocket diaper.  I love the fabric, it's very soft and comfy for T man, although the inside of the pocket can be a bit "sticky" while stuffing the inserts.  The pocket opening is nice and large, allowing you plenty of room for both your hand and the inserts your stuffing.  The liner fabric is soft, but it seems to always discolor with every pee or poop that happens.  It washes out okay, but it's never quite "white" enough anymore.  The unique thing about this diaper is the one size adjusting.  All other diapers (that I'm aware of) have snaps for adjusting up the size for little babies.  This diaper though uses pull tabs with buttons (like the insides of children's jeans)  On the inside of the pocket, on both legs and the back waist, you can pull a strap of elastic and fasten on a tighter button.  I both like & dislike this option.  It saves you from accidentally unsnapping the riser snaps (happens often for us) but it also makes it more difficult to adjust the size.  It takes a few tries to get it sized right.

Rumparooz
I really like this diaper for the most part.  It's soft and comfy and doesn't seem to stain easily.  What I like most about this one is the "gussets" on the inside of the pocket liner.  There's a soft ridge that runs down each side of the inside creating a channel to help keep liquid messes inside the diaper.  (Yay!)  What I don't like about this diaper is the pocket opening.  It's placed lower on the liner than other diapers and it hangs open with nothing to cover it or keep it closed.  Because of this, I am constantly worried that poop is going to somehow slip up in there and get the inside of my pocket all poopy (ewww)  Also, the pocket opening is tiny!  It's not the easiest pocket to stuff.

Thirsties
I've got a few different diapers made by this company.  I've got one Cover, three Pockets and six AIOs and one fitted.  The Cover is used with my fitted diapers for overnight wearing.  A distinct feature of the Thirsties brand is a type of leg gusset.  (similar in concept to the RaR ^^ but completely different in design)  I like that this cover has these for my peace of mind overnight.
I also have the Duo Diaper which is their pocket diaper.  These are not a one size (OS) diaper like the BGs, RaRs or FBZ.  These diapers come in 2 sizes (6-18 pounds or 18-35 pounds)  The idea behind this is that a "one size fits all" rarely ever fits "all".  This diaper uses the leg gussets just like the cover and it has a soft inner liner fabric.  The pocket opening for this diaper is wide and easy to stuff, but it opens at both the front and rear of the diaper.  This dual opening pocket allows you to toss the still stuffed, dirty wet dairy on the wash, without having to manually pull out the dirty insert.  The insert will agitate out during the wash cycle.
My absolute favorite (manufactured) diaper is the Thirsties Duo All In One  I have 6 of these (and hope to add more to my stash!)  This is another sized diaper, not an OS.  It does not use the leg gussets because it is a completely different design.  The AIO insert is sewn along the sides and legs but is left open at the front and rear.  This allows for efficient cleaning and the ability to double stuff for added absorbency. The down side is that this design takes quite a while longer to dry than any other AIO I own.  What I like the most about this diaper is how trim it fits between the legs.  This diaper has the least amount of bulk so I feel it is more comfortable for my newly walking toddler.   
The Fab Fitted is the Duo AIO design in a fitted.  Great for overnight use (I stuff it with an extra hemp insert for long term absorbency)

Sustainablebabyish
Made by a company called Sloomb, this is a high quality diaper company.  Not the most economical, but worth every penny.  I use the snapless-multi fitted at night and it is glorious!  It fits wonderfully.  Very trim, minimal bulk, soft and stretchy and completely absorbant.  My little man sleeps so well in this diaper, he is obviously very comfortable.  This diaper has no built in fastner system (snaps, aplix, etc.) so the use of a safety pin, snappi or boingo is necessary.  Covered with a Wool completes this soft, comfy bedtime option.  I have also ordered an overnight bamboo fleece fitted and am anxious to try it.  It has built in snaps, so it should go on faster and have a more consistent fit.

Wool:  The use of a lanolized wool cover creates a waterproof diaper system that is more natural and comfortable option for covering your fitted diapers, flats or prefolds.  Wool covers are available as "Longies" (wool pants) "shorties" (wool shorts) and "wool covers" (wool underpants).  By washing these in wool wash then soaking in a lanolin solution, you can create a waterproof barrier that makes your fitted diaper leak proof.  Wool can be quite expensive but I believe they are worth it.

Every day is a learning experience in cloth diaries, but we are happy and excited to complete this journey in T man's life.  He won't be in diapers forever, but add long as he is, I'm going to make sure they are cute, comfy, eco friendly cloth diapers  :-) 

Friday, August 23, 2013

But what does it FEEL like?!?

One of my biggest pet peeves while I was prego, was when I would ask about something and the only answer I got was "oh, don't worry, you'll know"

Hmpf.  Yeah, that's not what I asked!

So here's some honest answers to some of the questions I asked (but were never really answered)

1.What does it feel like when my baby first begins to move?
** I remember the very first time I felt T man move.  I was lying in bed one night, waiting for hubby to get out of the shower.  Suddenly, my lower left abdomen began to "pop" and rumble like a bag of popcorn popping!  I thought I was having a violent case of gas =) I was reading online (don't I always) a few days later when another soon to be mom mentioned the exact same feeling.  Being a 2nd time mom, she knew this was the early feelings of baby movement.  Who knew!! =)  I was expecting a "fluttering" sensation (I was told it felt like butterflies) or some very distinct "punching" feeling.  But instead I got an exploding bag of microwave popcorn =)

2. what do Braxton hicks contractions feel like?
** As my due date got closer and closer people kept asking me if I was having any BH contractions.  No ... I don't think so ... what do they feel like? "oh, you'll know!"  Really?  I'm just gonna know that these random pregnancy pains are contractions?  Well guess what, I was having BH and I had NO IDEA!  I was talking with my SIL one day and she began explaining what her BH felt like & I was like "OH! wait .... That's BH contraction?!? well heck! I've been having that pain for weeks now!"  So, what did they feel like?  Well, for me and my SIL, the contractions came on as a sharp, quick, back spasm.  It would happen suddenly and feel like a hard cramp in my back muscles.  Because I had experienced a variety of back pain during my pregnancy, I never dreamed that this was a contraction.  But that's exactly what it was.

3. what do real contractions feel like?
** On Thursday October 25th at 8:00pm, my BH contractions suddenly became very different, very real!  I was sitting on the sofa, watching TV with hubby, enduring my endless waves of BH when suddenly BAM! I was overwhelmed with a swelling, full body pain that forced me to stop everything and focus.  That's the big difference.  BH are irritating and annoying, but really nothing to cry about.  Real contractions though will stop you in your tracks.  You stop moving, you stop walking, you stop talking.  You just breathe.  My labor contractions (I had back labor) would start in my lower back just like the BH did, but then the pain would swell like a balloon being blown up.  Very quickly, the pain would grow in my back, reaching around my sides, into my abdomen, like 2 strong arms wrapping around my torso.  When the roller coaster of pain finally reached the top, the pain came crashing down through my entire mid-body, stretching out to my knees and pressing out through my pelvis and vagina.  Then, just as quickly as it came, the tide rolled back out and I was pain free again (for a few minutes at least)

4. how will I know when to push?
**Even with the epidural, I still felt quite a lot of sensations "down there".  At one point, just before noon, I told the nurse "...um ... um ... I feel something!  I don't think it hurts, but I can DEFINATELY feeeeeel something!!!!"  She suggested I go ahead and try pushing, and low and behold! the sensation disappeared =)  The feeling that came over me can only be compared to restless leg syndrome.  If you've ever suffered from RLS you know what I mean when I say you have to move.  There is absolutely no ignoring the feeling that is growing in your muscles.  I began to feel this heavy, pressing, swelling sensation from my belly to my thighs that was impossible to ignore.  The only way to relieve this feeling was to push.  I want to give you a tip on pushing.  The urge to push is so intense that I didn't focus my pushing.  Instead, I pushed my whole body.  After several (several!) pushes with no progress, I finally figured out how to visualize my target (baby in the birth canal) and focus my efforts into a productive push.  You need to figure out how to push so that only your "birthing muscles" are activated, instead of just pushing away that RLS feeling.  I know that sounds weird, but once you're in this situation, you will understand.  I promise =)

5. what does breastfeeding feel like?
** "BFing shouldn't hurt.  If it does, check your latch"  >=[  blah blah blah.  I'm sorry ladies, but it hurts!  At least it will for the first 2 weeks or so.  It's going to take a while for your body too get used to this new feeling and "toughen up" a bit.  The best description I can give you for how BFing feels during those early days is this:  imagine taking a wooden clothes pin and clamping it onto your nipple.  Now, imagine tugging, twisting and pulling that clothes pin.  Yep, that's just about what it feels like.  All you can do is curl your toes and breathe thru it.  Give it about 20-30 seconds and the pain will subside, then you can focus on your baby instead of the discomfort.  I promise you, this pain does NOT last forever.  You and your baby will become so comfortable with BFing that you won't even feel it any more :-)

6. what am I going to feel like afterwards?
** Now, I can't tell you a thing about healing from a CS, but I can at least give you some insight into what you can expect from a vaginal birth recovery.  My first "whoa" moment after giving birth was when I decided to go pee by myself. (the nurse assisted me immediately post birth)  The moment that I pulled down those big ole mesh panties, blood just started pouring out of me.  It was like I was peeing blood and couldn't stop it.  That's when I first realized how completely exhausting childbirth is for every part of your body.  My vaginal muscles were as good as dead right then.  As for my physical pain level, that is really a 2 parter. First, you may or may not tear while your LO is coming out, so you might require some stitches.  They don't require any special treatment, except to avoid pulling on them or stretching the skin while it's healing, but naturally, having stitches is going to increase your pain sensitivity down south.  I felt like someone had beat me with a baseball bat between the legs, repeatedly!  I was unable to sit on anything harder than a pillow for at least 4 days.  The second part of my physical pain was my muscles being strained from all that pushing.  It took me a couple of days to figure out why I felt like I had just done 500 push ups LOL It takes your whole body to push out a baby, not just your vagina.  My arms ached from grabbing and bracing myself, my legs ached from being up in the stir ups, my shoulders ached from holding myself up off the bed, etc.  I felt as though I had spent the day at the gym instead of the hospital! :-)

 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Acronyms for maternity & parenting

It came to my attention recently that I speak (or rather type) in acronyms quite often.  So here's a list of common acronyms that you may encounter during your pregnancy & child raising journey.  Most of these will be used on many online forums as well as blogs and other websites.

General use:
DH - dear husband (or darling husband)
DD - dear daughter
DS - dear son
** there are several variations on these such as ODS (oldest dear son) and DSS  (dear stepson) etc.
MIL - mother in law
FIL - father in law
** you get the idea
SO - significant other
LO -little one 

Pregnacy / Maternity
PG - pregnant or pregnancy
PP - post partum
AF - aunt flow (your period)
DTD - do the deed
HPT - home pregnancy test
BFP or BFN - big fat positive or negative (refering to your HPT results)
POAS - pee on a stick
TTC - trying to concieve
IVF - invitro fertilization
MC - miscarriage
US - ultra sound (commonly called sonogram)
NST - non stress test
EDD - estimated due date
FTM -first time mom
BTDTM - been there done that mom 
CS - cesarean section
VBAC - vaginal birth after cesarean
L&D - labor and delivery

Breastfeeding / Babies / Post Partum
BF - breastfeed or breastfed (can add an "ing" to make it BFing)
BM - breastmilk
EBF - exclusivly BF
EP - exclusivly pumping
FF - formula feed or formula fed (add "ing" for FFing)
CD - cloth diaper
PUL - polyurethane liner (used in CDs)
AP - attachment parenting
PPD / PPA - post partum depression or anxiety
SAHM - stay at home mom
WAHM - work at home mom
** and a new one I'm using for myself is BAWM - baby at work mom (T man comes with me to my job everyday) 
Circ - circumcision
ML - maternity leave
CIO - cry it out
STTN - sleep through the night

I'm sure there's lots more our even some variations on what I have here, but this is what I use and how I use them.  So if you catch me using acronyms, this will help you decipher what I'm saying =) 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Support local businesses & SAHM's

I am a big time supporter of local products, family owned & operated  businesses and "craft" businesses.  Hubby & I both work with his family at the family business so we know all too well what it means to have the support of our local community.  I also know a lot of stay at home moms (SAHM's) who depend on their craft business to help put food on the table or gas in the car. 

Check out www.Etsy.com  to find a whole community of online crafting businesses.  Also, check your cities local business charter for family owned and operated stores in your area.  Farmers markets are a wonderful place to not only support your community but you can find some of the most delicious and fresh produce grown right here in your home town. 

Here's some wonderful products and services that I can personally recommend.  (FYI some are here in KC but some aren't)

Yarn Creations (crochet & knitting)
I know a LOT of yarners =)

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Photography
Moments in Time Photography : (Jax FL area)
 
 

Sewing
Baby Bunz Diapers : (cloth diapers and misc)
** Baby Bunz Diapers and The Baby Born Lactivist have joined together
 to offer readers/customers a discount on purchases. 
Mention this blog post & receive 20% off your first order at BabyBunzDiapers
 
The Lactating Loon : (cloth diapers and misc)
 
 
 
 
 
Thurman's : (baby quilts, taggie toys, etc.)
 
 



If we don't support each other, we will all suffer financially and economically.
Support local, buy local. Support America, buy American. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

products I use, brands I love

There's so many pregnancy and baby products out there that picking the "right" ones can be nerve wracking.  So here's a few items that I use and which brand I prefer.

FOR MOMMY

prenatal vitamins:  these will vary depending on your tolerance and nutritional needs.  Some women find that the vitamins upset their stomach, but fortunately I didn't experience any discomfort (I still take my prenatal vitamins today) my favorite prenatal is Nature's Bounty "your life multi prenatal" because it has the dha and the vitamin together in one tablet instead of 2 separate tablets. 

nipple ointment: during the early weeks of nursing, you want to keep your nipples lubed up to ease the discomfort and reduce the risk of cracked nipples.  There are lots of options, but really there's 2 main brands out there.  Medela is by far the very best.  It's so smooth, silky and creamy, it goes on like melted butter =) an absolute must when you're nips feel raw and sore.  The other popular brand is Lansinoh.  I won't use this stuff, not even now.  It's very thick and stiff and no matter how much you rub it between your fingers (to warm and soften it) it still pulls at the skin when applying =( ouch!

FOR BABY

diaper rash cream: this will depend on cloth vs disposable diapers

>> cloth diapers:  you can NOT use any creams that contain petroleum, beeswax or cod liver oil.  These ingredients will leave a water resistant barrier on your diapers causing them to no longer absorb your baby's pee and then the diapers will leak.  Creams that are safe for cloth are:

My personal favorite, coconut oil.  Yep, just coconut oil.  Make sure it is organic, virgin, unrefined and preferably cold pressed.  You can add some vitamin E, a little lavender oil, chamomile oil and some tea tree oil if you want to add a little oompfh to it.

Store bought creams include:

Northern Essence Better Butt(er) Cream, Northern Essence Diaper Rash Salve, Grandma El's Diaper Rash Cream, California Baby Diaper Rash Cream or Magic Stick Ointment

>> disposable diapers: there are no restrictions with disposable diapers because you are just throwing it away anyway, so you can use anything you like.  My personal favorites though are:

Bordeaux's Butt Paste - this is a zinc oxide and works to heal the rash quickly.  Smooth creamy texture, pleasant smell and cleans up easily.  * Not all zinc oxides are made the same. The Desitin zinc oxide creams are nasty!  They have a very strong chemical smell and they are a mess to clean up. I avoid these at all cost.  Desitin does make a very nice petroleum ointment though »»

Desitin Multi Purpose Ointment - this is their petroleum based ointment with extra oils and ingredients added to increase the soothing relief.  It is smooth and creamy and glides  onto the skin very easily without pulling or dragging the skin. I call this"petroleum plus" =) *note, I don't care for the Aquafor petroleum plus because it is thicker and stiff, so it drags across the skin when applying. (Remember your nipple cream?)

A&D ointment: this is exactly what it says it is.  An ointment that contains vitamin A & Vitamin D.  I've never used this ointment on T man's diaper area, but I do use it for my tattoos =) I've found that the name brand vs store brand all appear to be the same as far as consistency and odor.

Petroleum Jelly: store brand or name brand, it doesn't much matter.  Fragrances can burn on a diaper rash, so just make sure you buy unscented.  (I didn't even know they made scented until I accidentally bought some)

Diaper pails:  I like the Munchkin by Arm and Hammer.  It has the easiest and cheapest to use refill bags and it does not require a special kind of deoderizor.  Just refill the lid with baking soda. 

Wipe Warmer: this product gets a lot of crap from some mothers, but I love mine. I buy my wipes in bulk, so I have to have some sort of container to put them in, what better than a warmer?  I use the DexBaby space saver.  It holds about 2-3 inches of wipes and has a night light on the front.  I love it.

Play Yard: I have 2 of these, One at home and one at work.  The one at home is an Evenflo while the one at work is a Graco.  The Graco is far superior for newborns and infants.  If you plan on using the play yard while you're baby is still young (naps, diaper changes, etc.) then I definitely recommend the Graco first.  The "bassinet" insert is raised higher for easier access and it has a firm floor.  My Evenflo infant insert was saggy and droopy.  It sagged in the middle so badly that T man was only able to lay in it for a few minutes before crying in frustration.  Now that he's a"big kid" and sits, stands, crawls, etc. either one works just fine because he is on the bottom.

Assisted seating: when you're baby is ready to start learning how to sit upright, you may be interested in a floor seat.  The Bumbo is the original of these seats.  It's a soft foam seat with deep leg pockets and a high back. We started with this seat because T man is very small.  If your baby is a chunker though, I would recommend the Summer Super Seat.  This seat is wider with larger leg openings.  We also liked using this one because it had an activity tray that attaches to it.  T man spent hours and hours playing in his.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Cravings, they can be powerful!

I was sitting on the sofa, flipping thru an old baby magazine, looking for an article I remember reading (I never found it) when I saw an article about pregnancy food cravings.  The article was simple, well written and full of sensible advice.  But when I saw the chart for "craving substitutes" I had to laugh out loud. 

Have you ever tried to convince a pregnant woman to eat something else besides what she wants to eat?  If you have, you are very brave! :-)  I will tell you this.  If someone had suggested to me (this was the exact suggestion in the magazine) that instead of eating my double chocolate fudge brownie ice cream, that I should try a banana, milk and wheat germ smoothie ... oh man, I would have ripped your tongue out through your nose! 

If I wanted chocolate I ate chocolate, if I wanted veggies I ate veggies, etc.  The thing to try and remember is self control and portion size.  Also, as hard as it is, try to postpone feeding your cravings.  Give it a couple of days and see if you are still craving it 3 days later.  If so, go ahead and have it.  If not, no worries!  With my first pregnancy, I had a strong craving for fried chicken and brownies.  I resisted it as long as I could, but after a week I finally had to admit that this craving was just not going away and I fed that hungry beast! LOL

I experienced some other interesting food cravings and food adversions while I was prego with T man.  I found that I was unable to eat "gummy" foods.  I bought some gummy bunnies right after Easter but no matter how few I ate at a time I got "gummy tummy".  Even if I only ate 5 little gummies, I felt horrible for hours! =( I love gummy candy, so this was very disappointing.  No peach rings, no twizzlers, I couldn't even eat dried apples! *sigh*

For the past 20 (ish) years I have only eaten one kind of pizza.  Pepperoni and black olives.  That's it, nothing else.  I was ordering pizza one day while prego and thought "hmmm .... you know what sounds good?!?"  =) now my favorite pizza is pepperoni, Canadian bacon, normal bacon, pineapple and black olives.  Hey, don't judge me!  Top the whole thing with parmesan cheese and ranch dressing and I am one happy mommy =) 

Something weird I've always eaten but seemed to want more of while prego was cheese sandwiches.  But not just any old cheese sandwich. It had to be cut block cheese, not sliced cheese, made with sandwich spread (remember that stuff?) Sweet pickles, not dill and the most important ingredient?  Fritos corn chips.  Yep!  Crush those chips right on top of the cheese.  That is one helluva good sandwich! LOL 

Although I gained more weight during my pregnancy than I had wanted, (gee I wonder why!) I feel that I did pretty well in controlling most of my cravings, I tried to monitor what I ate and how much I ate.  Surely but surely I am on my way back to my pre pregnancy weight.  I'll let you know when I get there =)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pregnancy tips & ideas

I realize that all my "little things" have been baby related.  So, here's a few "little things" that are pregnancy specific. =) 

* make a "maternity bag" to keep all your paperwork together.  You're going to have a lot of brochures, papers, doctors notes, etc that you will want to keep together and ready at hand.  My bag went with me everywhere, I always had it in the car incase I needed it.  Now that T man is here, I have a "baby bag" with all of his paper work and doctors papers etc.

* Do you kegels!!! Absolutely 100% do them!!! Every day, all the time, do them!  You will regret it if you don't (trust me) Once you push that baby out, you have NO control over your vaginal muscles for a period of time post partum.  The amount of time it takes to recover that muscle controls depends on your kegels.

* Buy a suction cup shaving mirror for the shower.  One day you will look down and realize that you can no longer shave below your belly! =)  A little $5 mirror makes all the difference in the world =)

* speaking of shaving ... once you hit the third trimester you will very likely begin to bleed every time you shave "down south".  It's just superficial bleeding due to the increased blood flow you've got going on down there.  It didn't matter for me if I used shaving cream or not, new blade or old blade, I bled every single time.  It's really just bothersome, not painful at all.

* Some prego's use a body pillow or a special maternity sleeping pillow, but I found those to be bulky and cumbersome.  I preferred to sleep with 5 regular pillows.  That way I could rearrange them differently every night to suit my needs. 

*  Sleep on the outside side of the bed.  Don't sleep against the wall.  You will be getting out of bed frequently and trying to crawl out of bed or (in my bedroom) squeeze out the "skinny" side of bed is just plain impossible.

* Stock up on panty liners.  Even with kegels, there will come a time that every cough, laugh or sneeze makes you pee "just a little".  It eventually goes away, some time after the 4th trimester (sorry!)

* Stretch marks are something every mom-to-be dreads.  There's a few things you can do to try and reduce or delay their appearance, but honestly, if it's in your genes, there's not much you can do to avoid them completely. BUT! here's what I did and my marks didn't appear until 36 weeks and they are small & light (yay!)
  • first & most importantly, gain weight slowly.  I'm not saying to avoid weight gain (you need to gain a healthy amount of weight for the baby's development) but gain it slowly so your body & your skin can adjust to the changes going on.
  • water water water!  Drink loads of water to keep your body hydrated.  Also, you may notice in the early months that you feel dehydrated (I had crazy severe cotton mouth) so drinking a lot of water should come easy to you
  • moisturize your skin as often as possible.  I used baby oil after every shower and a good heavy lotion the rest of the day.  I usually lotioned up at least 3 times a day and I continue to lotion my marks so that they will hopefully fade away ... far far away!
* Take belly profile pictures every couple of weeks even if you never show them to another living soul.  You will want to look back on these months and remember what it was like to carry your darling baby inside your belly.

* And when you take your pictures, pick one shirt to wear at 3 months 6 months and 9 months.  It will be fun to see exactly how your belly grew thru the pregnancy. 

* Create a new email account for all things pregnancy, maternity, medical and eventually, baby related.  It will make keeping all that medical info organized and easy to find.

* Doing prenatal exercises and yoga (with your doctors permission) will help relieve a lot of the pregnancy aches and pains.  My doctor gave me this sheet of simple, basic stretches that proved to  be a life saver for my during my 2nd & 3rd trimesters. 

 

Little Things (part 3)

Apparently  "The little things that make life easier" is going to be an on going series!  =)  I keep stumbling upon things that I think you may appreciate in your day to day life.

* Sick babies or teething babies often wake during the night due to on going pains.  To make MOTN medicine dosing easier, set everything up before bedtime so you can quickly grab what you need (in the dark) without having to turn on the lights or making baby wait too long while you figure out dosage.  I have a small night stand next to T man's glider that I set everything on prior to bedtime.



* A twist on lid container makes travel snacks spill proof and allows you to let baby play "rattle" with the bowl without worrying about exploding snack spillage =)
 
* 30 minutes of house cleaning every night after baby goes to bed may not sound like a lot, but day by day, little by little, you will get everything cleaned up & caught up and you will be able to stay on top of your housework without feeling like your drowning.  Do one "big thing" and two "normal" things that need done each day.  Example: empty the dishwasher & put away one basket of laundry (normal things) and clean the bathroom (big thing).  next night, dishes and laundry again (cause those are never ending right?!?) and mop the kitchen floor.  Save the noisy stuff like vacuuming for a daytime afternoon when baby is awake and occupied.
 
* Keep your empty diaper boxes to use for packing up out grown clothing and toys.  They're convenient, ready on hand and nicely sized.  Plus they almost always have handles.  Keep them for the next baby or give them away, either way they are easy to identify! =)
 
* If you have a baby that sleeps in the car AND you have to give him some yucky medicine (reflux meds?) then give him his dose right before you leave the house.  He'll hate the medicine, of course, but once you're in the car he's gonna fall asleep anyway, so he'll get over it quickly =)


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cry it out (CIO) and Sleeping thru the night (STTN)

I've had this topic on my "to post" list for soooo long =(  I haven't been able to bring myself to talk about it though.  It is such a sensitive topic for me, as I feel incredibly defensive about it.  I know plenty of mom's who do this, but there is just NO way I could ever bring myself to do this to my sweet innocent baby.  You know that I will never condemn another mom or dad for their parenting choices (unless, of course, it's abusive) but whenever I encounter a CIO situation I just ache in my heart for that sad little baby.

I know from all my investigating, reading and researching that babies cry for a reason.  I admit, there comes a time in their development that they will begin to test your responses and their ability to get a reaction from others, but that does not apply to sleep situations.  When a baby wakes from sleep crying or screaming, it is for a reason.  When a baby cries desperately when laid down to sleep, it is for a reason.  When a baby begs and pleads for you to pick him up or hold him, it is for a reason!

The following is a perfectly written (I agree 100%) article explaining some of the most simple and basic of needs a child experiences during night time wakings and why you should not ignore their needs.
 

By Tracy G. Cassels

With all the press scrambling to tell parents just to leave their kids to cry-it-out at night (see my response to the latest here), I thought I’d just present a few of the many reasons a baby or toddler may be waking and/or crying in the night.  And why you should respond.
  1. They are hungry.  Especially younger babies need to nurse frequently and expecting them to sleep long stretches without food is actually starving them and messing with their ability to regulate how much they eat at a given time.
  2. They are scared.  Night is freaking scary.  It’s dark and quiet and eerie.  I’ve been scared as an adult when left alone to sleep, is it any wonder our babies and toddlers get scared?  Especially if they’ve had a bad dream?
  3. They need you.  Especially around the time of separation anxiety, babies will fear that you aren’t coming back and need to see you and be reassured by your presence.  This is one of the hypotheses around why so many families see a “sleep regression” between six months and over a year.  But regardless, they are experiencing rather severe anxiety and need to be reassured by your presence.
  4. They are in pain.  For some it’s reflux, for some it’s food intolerance, for some it’s gas, for some it’s teething, for some it’s a growth spurt.  And there are probably other reasons I’m not thinking of now too.  But our babies are growing at an astronomical rate with so much happening to their bodies and it HURTS.  And they need comfort.
  5. They are learning to move in new ways.  One that won’t surprise many parents, but researchers are just figuring out that babies who are learning to crawl tend to wake more at night.  Reason is currently unknown but it wouldn’t surprise me to know that some of it comes from muscle pain.  Have you ever started using muscles you weren’t using before?  Yeah, it hurts.  Most parents I know report a similar rise in wakings when babe starts walking and I imagine it would be for the same or similar reasons as with crawling.
  6. They are, quite simply, awake.  As frustrating as it can be, many children go through a period of waking for an extended period at night and want to play (quite like we used to sleep as adults – 2 periods of shorter sleep with an extended waking in between in the middle of the night).  These often don’t last too long (a few months perhaps), and no one quite knows why, but they are very normal and your child simply won’t go back to sleep, just as you probably wouldn’t at 4pm.
At any point do you look at these reasons and think they are cause to leave a child to scream by themselves?  Would you like it if you were ignored during any of these times or forced to lie in bed not moving without comfort?  I hope that if you’re able to put yourself in the place of your child and imagine what it’s like feeling any of these things and then imagine how your response must seem, you will see there are a lot of things going on that don’t include a child manipulating you or needing to be taught to sleep.  What they need is love and responsiveness so please, give them that instead.

With that being said, I'd like to add a few excerpts from a wonderful book called "The No Cry Sleep Solution" written by Elizabeth Pantley.  I bought and read this book while still on maternity leave.  Even though at that age, T man was way too young to even consider "sleep training" (a practice I don't completely agree with) I learned a lot of helpful information regarding infant sleep patterns.  By educating myself I was able to accept T mans night wakings without feeling resentful towards him. 

>> Cry-it-out advocates make it sound so easy.  A few nights of crying, and your baby will be sleeping all night, every night.  If only it were so simple!  [....] Some babies cry so violently that they vomit.  Some parents find that the nighttime crying affects their baby's daytime personality - making them clingy and fussy.  Many find that any setback (teething, sickness, missing a nap, going on vacation) sends them back to the previous night waking problems, and they must let the child cry it out over and over again.

>> [....] A child cannot comprehend why you are ignoring his cries for help.  Ignoring your baby's cries, even with the best intentions, may lead him to feel that he has been abandoned  Babies are responding to biological needs [....]

>> [....] It is true that a baby whose crying is ignored may eventually fall back asleep, but the problem that caused the night waking in the first place has remain unsolved. [....] the underlying or accompanying emotional stress will remain.

>> A baby's biological clock begins maturing at about six to nine weeks of age and does not work smoothly until about four to five months.  As the biological cycle matures, a baby reaches a point then she is mostly awake during the day and mostly asleep during the night.  At about nine to ten months, a baby's sleep periods consolidate so that she wakes up and goes to sleep at about the same times everyday, and her sleep spans are longer.

>> Babies move through the same sleep cycles as adults do, but their cycles are shorter and more numerous.  Babies also  spend much more time in light sleep than adults do, and they have many more of those in-between stages of brief awakenings.

>> [....] They spend much of their time in lighter sleep.  This is most likely so that they can easily awaken in uncomfortable or threatening situations: hunger, wetness, discomfort, or pain.  [....] Encouraging a baby to sleep too deeply, too soon, may not be in the best survival or developmental interests of the baby.

>> As he matures, so does his sleep cycle; attaining sleep maturity is a biological process.

>> [....] Sleep Specialists [....] agree that up to twelve months of age, some children truly are hungry after sleeping for about four hours.  They recommend that if your child wakes up hungry, you should promptly respond by feeding her.

>> [....] When she cries, she is signaling - in the only way she knows how - that she needs you to be with her.


I could go on and on and on, but what it all comes down to is this.  Baby's can not talk.  They can not tell you what they need or feel or want.  The only method of communication they have is either body language or crying.  We (as parents) have to be alert and responsive to these signals so that our baby's do not have to suffer unnecessarily. 

We are the adults.  We are the parents.  We have the understanding and ability to cope with a lack of sleep, altered schedules and the stress of new parenthood.  We need to be the strong ones and allow our babies to be babies, no matter how erratic their behavior may be.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Homeopathy (natural remedies)

I have never been overly concerned with "natural remedies" until now.  I've always thought "Hey, it's the 20th/21st century.  We've got the technology, use it!"  But while I was pregnant with T man I became increasingly concerned with putting artificial, possibly harmful, medications and toxins in my body.  (This is most likely due to my 2 previous miscarriages)  Even when I came down with a horrible head cold during my 4th month, I all but refused to take anything, for fear of hurting my unborn baby.  That was when I first began considering alternative/homeopathic medicines.

Nothing extreme, nothing too wild or "out there".  More like, herbal supplements (ginger, fennel, fenugreek, etc.) ice packs/heat packs instead of pain killers, etc.  *Note: I did have an epidural during delivery, but only after 10 hours of on my own pain management.  I'm not anti-drugs, I just have a new found confidence in homeopathy & the human body for it's self healing abilities

A few items that I have used or still use are:

Preggie Pops (and drops) are great for upset stomach due to morning sickness.  They also offer Queasy pops for non prego upset tummies and queasy tummies for kids (ages 4+)


Hylands offers a huge selection of products for infants and children.  These are the only products I have found available for babies under 2 years old.  I always keep a variety on hand at all times for T mans aches and pains.
  • Teething Tablets (dissolves instantly)
  • Tiny Cold Tablets (dissolves instantly)
  • Teething gel (does NOT contain benzocaine)
  • Earache drops
  • Cough syrup
We are currently living on a constant supply of Hylands.
T man is teething plus he has caught a cold of some sort so we are rockin both of the tablets
and the gel on an hourly basis (as needed per symptoms).
It keeps him happy and keeps mommy sane =)

 
Breastfeeding herbal supplements.  Some of these I buy anywhere (pharmacy, grocery store, etc.) Some of these I have to get at a specialty herbal store.  You could also check with your local organic grocer.
  • Fenugreek
  • Blessed Thistle
  • Alfalfa
  • Marshmallow Root
  • Fennel
  • Brewers Yeast
  • Flaxseed Oil
Witch Hazel for post delivery discomfort & vaginal stitch healing (I tore naturally, but some deliveries receive an episiotomy)

Non-prego related, I recently discovered that corn starch applied directly to a canker sore is extremely affective at easing the pain.  I don't think it heals or speeds recovery, but it sure lessens the pain =)

Some other products that I have not personally tried but I have heard good reviews on are:

Good Morning Mama (for morning sickness)
 
Hylands Allergies 4 Kids  (what can I say, I love Hyands!)

 
I'm sure there are a million other non-pharmaceutical remedies out there.  Do a quick Google for whatever is ailing you.  You'll be surprised at the abundance of cure all remedies you probably already have in your cabinets and closets.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Circumcision (WARNING! this post will offend you)

Okay, well, maybe not everyone will be offended by this post, but I know a good amount of people reading this will find at least one sentence that offends them on a personal level.  I just want to say up front ... Oh Well!!  I'm not here to hold your hand, I'm here to share MY personal opinions, even they are different than yours.

There are only a few baby/parenting related topics that I feel extremely defensive about.  Circumcision is one of those topics. 

I was asked recently by one of my BFing mama friends "why are you so anti circ?"  I love that she asked me!  Even though our boys are already born, she still asked.  Like religion & politics, circumcision is one of those topics that most people prefer to avoid.  But, if discussed with an open mind & the understanding that every parent is entitled the their own opinion, I feel that we (as adults) should be able to discuss these delicate matters in a civilized and mature manner. 

So, what was my answer to her question?

Well, I'm not anti-circ as much as I am anti uneducated decision making.  I don't agree with the people who circumcise "just because" or the moms who say "that's daddy's decision.  I don't have a penis, I can't make that decision."  BULL SHIT!  You carried him, you birthed him, you need to make an educated decision like a responsible adult.  Once you have done a thorough study and research on the subject, you will find that it is NOT medically necessary.  

Another circ argument that I don't find to be relevant is "Daddy is circumcised, so we want baby to look like daddy"  or  "I don't want him to be made fun in the locker room for looking different"

I've got 2 main problems with this "logic" (and I use that term loosely here)

1.  why are you basing your parenting decisions on your husbands parents decision?  THEY chose to circ THEIR son (years and years ago) You need to make your own decisions as a parent today.  Are you going to allow your parents & his parents to dictate what & how you raise your baby?  (I hope not) You need to take personal responsibility for the health, wellness and safety of your baby every day of his life, and that begins the minute he is born.

2.  Are you going to raise your son to believe that every single human is exactly the same? (again, I hope not)  We are all different and it is extremely important for children to learn that.  And honestly, do you really think boys are going to be standing around the locker room inspecting each others penises?  According to my husband, no. 

I want to share with you a few facts (not opinions) regarding circumcision.  First though, I want to clarify that "preference" is an opinion, not a fact.  What a man or woman prefers visually, cosmetically or sexually is their opinion, not a fact.  Claims of sensitivity or sexual performance are opinions, not facts.

That being said, here are some facts regarding circumcision around the world.

  • About 80 percent of the world's population do not practice circumcision, nor have they ever done so. Among the non-circumcising nations are Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Scandinavia, the U.S.S.R., China, and Japan.

  • So called "health" circumcision originated in the nineteenth century, when most diseases were of unknown etiology

  • nonreligious male infant circumcision is not "normal" in any culture outside of the United States

  • circumcision is most commonly carried out neonatally or in childhood, with the primary reason being perceived improved penile hygiene, or to fit with the "social norm."

  • People in Europe, Asia and Latin America are often appalled to hear that American doctors and hospitals remove part of a boy's penis shortly after birth. Approximately 75% of the men in the world are not circumcised and remain intact throughout their lives.

  • Over the years, the claims that circumcision prevents various diseases have repeatedly been proven to be exaggerated or outright fabrications. Most men in the United States are circumcised, but our STD rates are as high as or higher than those in countries where circumcision is rare.

  •  the open wound left by the removal of the foreskin will continue to cause the baby pain and discomfort for the 7-10 days it takes to heal.

  • Claims that circumcision prevents HIV have repeatedly been proven to be exaggerated or false. Only abstinence or safe sex, including the use of condoms, can prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

  • No national or international medical association recommends routine circumcision.

  • The immediate complications of circumcision may be classified as hemorrhage, infection, surgical mishap, other miscellaneous complications, and death.

  • The immediate postoperative complications of circumcision may be classified as urinary retention, meatitis, meatal ulceration, meatal stenosis, skin tags, adhesions, skin bridges, concealed penis, phimosis, and miscellaneous complications. These complications are iatrogenic.

Here are the websites I have collected the above information from. 
Doctors Opposing Circumcision
Intact America
World Health Organization
www.Circumcision.org
The Circumcision Reference Library
The Art of Manliness
Urology Web
National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers

Please do NOT just take my word on this matter.  Do you own research!  But beware.  There are a LOT of defensive, opinionated, down right mean people online fighting for which ever decision they feel is the correct one.  Try to stick with medical facts and avoid the opinion websites.

And if you really just can't decide, watch a couple of circumcision videos.  Now imagine allowing that to be done to your baby. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

No more "No"

Over the years, I have learned (the hard way) the right way and the wrong way to respond to a child's questions, inquiries and curiosities.   When phrased correctly, even a negative answer can be turned into a positive.  You need to remember that children have a much more delicate emotional and mental understanding of how you communicate with them than we do as adults.  As adults, we have the ability to process information as a whole, and then dissect that information into relevant pieces so that the answer makes sense according to the question.

Example 1:
(one adult to another)
> "Can I have another serving of dinner?"
> "No.  That was the last of it."
> "Okay, never mind then!"
*** An adult hears the entire answer, 7 words total, then processes those seven words.  The adult understands that the reason the answer is "no" is because there is no more dinner left.

Example 2:
(child to adult)
> "Can I have a cookie?"
> "No.  You have to finish you dinner first"
> " But I want a COOOOOOKIEEEEE!!!!!"
(and a temper tantrum ensues)
***The child hears your answer in the order that you said it.  8 words, but he only heard 1 word.  "No".  Once he hears that word, the rest of what you say just blows away in the wind.  He isn't capable of processing the entire response and dissecting it the way adults can.  He doesn't understand that you want him to eat this dinner first, he just knows that you are NOT going to give him a cookie ... EVER!

You have to stop and think about what the child's meaning is behind what he said.  Just because he asks for a cookie right now does not mean that he wants the cookie right now.  He simply had a thought and voiced it.  Children will typically speak their minds quickly and without filters.  They haven't learned yet how to file away their thoughts and bring them up again at a later (more appropriate) time. 

So how do you respond to a child so that he hears what you mean (and not what you say) 

Replace "No" with "Yes" ... or just eliminate the "no" all together. 

Example 3:
(child to adult)
> "Can I have a cookie?"
> "Yes.  Finish your dinner and then you can pick out a cookie"
> "Okay!  Thank you!"

He isn't asking you if he can stop eating dinner and have a cookie instead.  He wants a cookie, but he doesn't necessarily want it right now.  He just had a thought pop into his brain and he needed to say it out loud before he forgot about it.

Example 4:
(child to adult)
> "Can I have my cookie now?"
> "Lets finish our dinner first okay? Can you clean you plate for me please"
> "But I want my cookie NOW!"
> "Okay.  The faster you eat your dinner the faster you can have your cookie!  Let's eat!  Hurry hurry! Our cookies are waiting for us!"
***Give him a task, challenge him to a game or a race.  Appeal to his competitive side (or what ever personality trait he has) and he will see your response as a positive not a negative.

You're the adult.  You have the ability to process and dissect information, so take a moment to think before you speak.  Phrase your responses in a positive tone, avoid the negatives whenever possible.

I want to add a footnote here.  I do say "no" when necessary.  I'm not advising you to give in to your child's every whim.  My nephew and twin niece/nephew (9 & 7 respectively) know that when I say "no" that is exactly what I mean.  Since I do not use the word "no" during normal ... negotiations? ... they realize that NO means NO

Example:
>"Can I play a game on your phone?"
>"No you may not"
>"pleeeease????"
> (stop what I'm doing, look him straight in the eye) "What did I say?"
> "No"
> "and what does the mean?"
> "No"
> "thank you" (return to what I was doing.  Discussion over)

I am not being mean or cruel, I just do not allow begging or pleading.  It was a slow, gentle process, but over the years they have come to understand that I only say "no" when I mean it.  It is a final decision, not an opening for further negotiations.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Baby Massage & Growing Pains

When T man was very tiny & newborn, he would have these thrashing fits of arms and legs, so I would swaddle him and he would quickly and easily calm down.  >>  Fast forward several months. 

I realized one night, that it appeared T man was having (what I could only assume was) restless leg syndrome.  He would begin kicking and pumping his legs, rather violently, after bedtime nursing, when I placed him in his crib to fall asleep.  This of course would keep him awake so that he was unable to fall asleep.  It first seemed like he was having a fit, but he wasn't.  Then I thought maybe he was just learning different techniques to keep himself awake, but that wasn't it either.  I finally realized that when this would happen, T man was neither angry (having a fit) or content (playfully keeping himself awake) He was distraught and agitated.  This seemed to be something that was happening too him, seemingly against his will. 

Just like those early times, he needed help to calm his body, as he was obviously NOT in control of his own limbs.  So ... What do you do with a thrashing baby who won't be swaddled?

Massage!

I know, I know.  Massage? On a baby?!? Yeah ... okay crazy lady.

Hey, I've said it before.  Being a baby is hard work!  Seriously!  Not only do they have to learn how to do everything but they are also growing at a crazy fast rate. 

Growing pains are a very real condition that many children suffer through painfully.  I can't even begin to imagine (or remember) what it would feel like to have your bones growing, your muscles growing, your ligaments growing, everything is growing!  My nephew is 9 years old and for years now he will tell us, very specifically, "my knees hurt".  My little brother would tell my mom "I hurt".  Nothing exact, he just ached.  I feel so bad for these poor sweet children!

Now imagine what your infant is going through.  He's growing too, same as the bigger kids, but he can't tell you about it.  He can't specify what body part aches, he can only whimper and cry.  At a certain age, he'll begin learning how to roll, crawl, sit up, pull up, stand up, walk, etc.  Add this intense cardio workout on top of the natural occurring growing pains and you've got yourself one sore, achy baby.

When I finally understood what was happening to T man during those bedtime thrashings, I began giving him a gentle leg massage while he laid in his crib.  The look of relief on his face told me everything he was unable to say with words.  Since that night, T man & I have had several personal massage session at bedtime, much to his relief. 

I can tell very quickly at bedtime if T man is in need of a massage, just by the way he twitches his legs and squirms his back.  Usually it's after a long hard day of crawling and playing, when he's over tired or during his stormy phase of a wonder week. 

How do you massage a baby?  Well, it's definitely not a deep tissue massage!  A baby massage is less about pressure and more about circulation.  I like to massage T man over his jammies to reduce skin to skin friction, but you could also massage during your after bath moisture routine. 

Start with the legs.  Lay baby on his back.  Cup his foot or leg in your hand while using your thumb to lightly massage in a slow circular motion.  Move up from the ankle to baby's hip then back down again to the ankle.  If baby is crawling, give a little extra attention to his knees and shins.  (did you know, that humans don't grow actual knee caps until 2 years old.) Next, roll baby onto his tummy.  Massage his calves and thighs in long, easy, up and down strokes, from ankle to butt, with the palm of your hand.

While on his tummy, move up to his back.  Using your thumbs again, make slow gentle circles from waist to shoulders, making sure to not press to hard.  You can go ahead and give his arms a quick little squeeze while he laying on his tummy.  I found that massaging T mans arms is more difficult though as he usually wants to reach & grab for things or hold my hands while massaging, so I just follow his cues on a night by night basis.

I finish T mans massage by flipping him onto his back again and giving his legs one more rub down.  This usually leaves him in a limp, dreamy, relaxed state perfect for drifting off to a sweet nights sleep.  We have had much easier nights and T man is very appreciative of all my efforts. 

** I recommend avoiding the tummy and chest area.  Massaging on a baby's immature digestive system (especially the intestinal area) can be very irritating for baby, not to mention the pressure on his full tummy.  Do you want someone to massage your belly after you eat a full meal?  Yeah, me neither.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Nursing bras: The good The bad The uncomfortable

Here's a few examples of the bras and tanks that I've personally bought and worn.  Some I love, some I like, some I hate.
 
Bras # 1-4 are the bras I like and I wear everyday.  I have several of each of these in different colors.
 
# 1.  This is a "sleep" bra in a wrap style.  You'll want to avoid these during engorgement, but once you're past the engorgement phase you'll come to love these.  They are offered in a loose, soft, jersey cotton that is very comfy for sleeping.  I also have 2 in a tighter, spandex style material.  These remind me of a sports bra and offer more security than the loose cotton ones.
 
# 2. I found this polka dot bra at Wal-Mart and was amazed at how very very comfortable they are.  (I don't normally shop at Wal-Mart, but it's kinda hard to find nursing bras in stores to try on)  These come in a 2 pack and are very reasonable priced.  They are so comfortable I have no problem sleeping in this bra.
 
# 3 & # 4  Motherhood Maternity offers a variety of nursing bras, but they don't have a good selection of wireless.  These are the only 2 wireless (non sleeping) bras that I have from Motherhood.  I like them both and have no real complaints about them.  They have foam cups, smooth seams and are comfy all day long.  Motherhood bras are at the higher end, so I would save these for after your milk regulates.
 
(not pictured is a brand called Bravado.  I haven't found this brand carried in any of my stores locally, but you can order them online.  They make a wonderful nursing bra and their size chart is very accurate.  This is one you'll want to wait on till after your milk regulates)
 

 
I bought all my nursing tanks at Target (they had the largest selection in store at the time).  You can find them in a variety of styles, buttons, lace, gathers, plain, etc. Most nursing tanks are designed so that they can be worn alone, as your regular shirt, so you don't feel under dressed while in public.  
 
Make sure to check the clasps on these.  I have found a few tanks with tiny, hard to latch clasps that are difficult to close with 2 hands, let alone 1 hand. 
  
 
 
Bra's # 5-7 are not my favorites at all. 
 
# 5.  This was my first and only nursing bra when I brought T man home from the hospital.  I had bought 2 of these from Target and I had the same trouble with both bras.  The lace was extremely rough & scratchy (although that may just have been my engorgement) and the vertical "ribbing" (see red circle) on the sides was constantly poking me and eventually worked its way out of the bra & began stabbing me violently in the arm pit  =(
 
# 6.  This bra is actually very comfortable & I continue to wear it often.  My complaint with this one is the material.  It is a very thin, soft (comfortable) satin type material that shows absolutely EVERYTHING!  Every nursing pad shows and you can forget about having any nipple discretion.  Wear this kind of bra material with caution and be very aware of what kind of shirt you wear, anything too clingy and you'll have full boob visibility.
 
# 7.  This bra came from Wal-Mart and although I liked it at first, it quickly lost its support and hold.  Even on the tightest hooks, the bottom was just loose & ill fitting and I felt like I was going to fall out the bottom.  The next size smaller though was too small. 
 
I eventually cut slits in the cups of bras # 5 & 7 to make them into pumping bras, so at least I'm still getting some good use out of them.
 
 
I hope this helps give you some insight into the great wide world of nursing bras.  Try them all on, buy slowly and wash carefully.  These bras are going to be your best friend during your BFing journey.  Treat them well& they will return the favor =)