Monday, December 28, 2009

The sickies came to our house!

...And I have no idea where they came from!  Neither Max nor I have been sick, we haven't been around anyone sick.  Baffling I tell you!  Poor Staci is all congested and uncomfortable.  Low grade fever and everything.  After a terrible night last night I took her to the doctor thinking she had an ear infection.  Thank goodness she doesn't.  The physician's assistant says it's either teething or a virus.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed she gets better soon--listening to her caugh in her sleep is doing some serious tugging on my heartstrings! 

Mommy loves you, Staci.  Get better soon!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Beat the Booby Traps!

You might have noticed a new button boldly (and quite beautifully) displaying the female form sitting off to the right, and I wanted to take a couple minutes and talk about the 'Best for Babies' campaign.  I do not consider myself a great writer, and really, not even a good one, so I'll let them say it for themselves as I believe they say it best. "BEST for BABES is the only non-profit dedicated to giving breastfeeding a makeover and to revealing and removing the “booby traps”- the barriers to breastfeeding that keep tripping women up! New moms don’t need more judgment, pressure, or to be discriminated against for nursing, they deserve to be cheered on, coached and celebrated! BFB is giving moms the boost they need to be successful. We are elevating breastfeeding to a world-class cause and harnessing the power of celebrities, corporations, foundations, fashion, advertising, the medical community and the media to break down the barriers." 

As a way to support their campaign, they're asking people to display their adds pro-bono on their blogs and websites and to share their stories of success.  I don't really think my journey to successful breastfeeding is all that interesting or courageous, but I did have my own learning curve and hiccups to overcome.  So here it is, in all its gritty truth.

It would be an understatement to say I wanted to breastfeed.  I NEEDED to breastfeed.  Even before my husband and I started trying to have a baby, I would dream of breastfeeding my babies.  Maybe that's weird, but in my dreams it was the most wonderful feeling.  The amount of love I felt in those dreams could only be surpassed when I gave birth to my little angel and could start nursing her for real. 

With this in mind, I was terrified it wouldn't work.  I had seen friends try to breastfeed and fail, only to have horrid guilt about it not working for them.  (Which by the way, any woman who even TRIES in our society--and many others--should be celebrated.  Not shunned or judged if it doesn't work.  I make it my personal mission to help any friend breastfeed successfully--and if it's possible, I will!)

I was so dedicated to nursing that I studied the Bradley Method and succeeded in having a natural labor and delivery.  This issue is for another post entirely, but to make a long story very short, babies who are born out of a non-medicated delivery have an easier time learning to nurse because they are not drugged.  Even so, many babies born in a medicated delivery nurse just fine and some born naturally still have problems so it's no guarantee, but I wasn't taking any chances. 

So, after the single most momentous occasion of my life in which I became a mother, I set out to nurse my baby.  After many failed attempts to get Staci latched on in the first hours of her life, I had a wonderful nurse come and help.  She was able to help Staci latch on and teach Max how to ensure her bottom lip was folded down to minimize my discomfort. 

Over the ~36 hours I was at the hospital, 5 of which I was in labor, I had to ask for help to get Staci to latch every single time--maybe 13? I can't be sure exactly.  Contrary to popular belief, it is anything but second nature.  Learning to nurse is incredibly foreign to a first time mom and quite difficult!  As my need to leave the hospital drew near (they don't let you sleep there, in case you were wondering) I grew more and more fearful I would get home and not be able to get my baby to eat.  That, to a brand new parent, is a horrifying thought. 

Our original labor and delivery nurse, who I absolutely despised, took one look at my breasts and said,  "You're going to need a nipple sheild."  After all the research I had done, I was determined NOT to use one as I had learned it can be more problematic than the problem it solves.  Also, since I already didn't like her, that made me even more set in my decision that I did not want to use one!  At one point, before attempting to latch Staci at the breast, I was attempting to draw my nipple out.  I had flat nipples to begin with, so it was difficult for Staci as a newborn to find it and latch on.  She actually reached down and tugged and twisted my nipple quite visciously.  It hurt. Bad!  My despise turned to hatred.

Not too long after that, we got a new nurse, who was wonderful, and then a new nurse after that.  Our final nurse, whom I did like very much (as I did all the other nurses I had over my stay) suggested a sheild to me again.  At this point, since we were set to leave in just a few hours, I listened.  I put on the sheild and WAHLA! Instant latch!  It was so exciting.  While nursing was still quite painful (and it continued to be for quite some time) Staci was latching.  I could see the colostrum collecting in the sheild so I knew she was getting nourishment.  I was elated.

As luck would have it, by the time we got home, my milk was already starting to come in.  We nursed for a week successfully, and at 5 days old Staci had already surpassed her birthweight.  I felt like a breastfeeding rockstar! The pain, however, was only getting worse. 

I took my newborn and my 'still can't sit down normally' self to the breastfeeding support group offered through the hospital and learned the sheild was probably too small.  The wonderful lactation consultants provided me with a new sheild and while the pain was still there, it wasn't quite as mind boggling.  Over the next few weeks, the pain lessened to only at latch-on.  It still hurt bad enough that I had to ask my husband to not speak to me during latch on.  Otherwise he would get screamed at.  I'm serious--it hurt THAT BAD.  Even so, it was worth it to me, and I knew if I could just press on the pain would subside. 

Around 4 weeks post partum, I was ready to be done with the sheild--I needed one less thing to remember to bring and to clean.  It took us 4 weeks to get rid of it, and I really just had to wait until Staci was ready.  It happened gradually, and then I had to go through the pain all over again--but it was nothing like it had been at first.  after just a few weeks, we were nursing pain free and sheild free--and have been ever since. 

Breastfeeding has been such a wonderful bonding experience with Staci.  I love that I am able to do this for her.  It's what's best for me, too, as it has helped sheild me from post partum depression and/or psychosis.  I can't believe it's been almost nine months!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Why I Cloth Diaper

First of all, let me tell you that I never saw myself as a cloth diapering sort of girl.  I am ALL about convenience, especially when it comes to kids.  Also, I have very little patience, so the idea of having to launder diapers every other day for at least 2 years (probably 3) out of every child's life we are blessed with wasn't real high on my 'things I'd like to spend my time doing' list.  Even so, last September two Septembers ago I found myself entering my second trimester wondering what on earth to do about diapers.  I really was not interested in contributing quite substantially to the landfills when it could be avoided, but as alluded to above, I'm a tad on the lazy side.  And then, as luck would have it, an online friend introduced me to gdiapers.  It was as if the clouds opened up, and a giant ray of sunshine was shining down on these diapers in my mind.  The main reason I loved them so much? umm, hello, they are CUTE! (see pic to the left!) But then reality set in--those puppies are PRICEY!  like, more than premium disposables pricey.  The search continued.

The more I searched, the more I realized I actually WAS the cloth diapering sort of girl.  I also found myself not just fascinated by becoming more eco-friendly, but actually a crunchy-granola-y attached parent-y nothing artificial for my baby-y mama--and more often than I ever would have imagined.  Other than having to borrow one disposable diaper from a friend in a pinch when Staci filled more diapers than I would have guessed when we were not at home, my baby girl has not worn a disposable diaper since we left the hospital. Here is why:

1) Plain and simple: COST!  Disposable diapers are expensive, my friend. In fact, in just the first year, Max and I will have saved over $700 in diapering alone.  Seven hundred dollars buys a lot of baby toys, clothes, and activities!

2) The cuteness factor. (really, this should take its rightful place at #1) As stated above, it's my dirty little secret as to why I originally walked down the cloth diapering path.  The Cuter Cloth is an excellent example:

Of course, this specific diaper is also pricey, but still cheaper than disposables!

3) Let's talk about toxins. Those yucky things disposable diaper manufacturers would rather you NOT find out about.  Sodium polyacrylate is used in most disposable diapers because of its excellent ability to hold water--up to 300x's its weight.  But have you ever changed a baby's diaper and found an icky gel-like substance coating their most sensitive parts? While no studies have been done (NO STUDIES HAVE BEEN DONE!!!! DOES THIS NOT ALARM ANYONE BUT ME?!?!) on whether or not it's harmful to children when it comes into contact with their skin, I personally can't see it being GOOD for them. 

Perhaps the scariest toxin of all that needs to be noted here is dioxin.  It's a known carcinogen, and it's a biproduct of the bleaching process used to get those diapers white and 'clean'.  I do use chlorine bleach VERY sparingly in household cleaning and occasionally on laundry, but I try to limit it as much as possible.  By and large, Staci is not exposed to this little gem.

There are a myriad of other lovelies found in most disposables which studies have linked to asthma--in both babies and the parents that are around them frequently--and to lowered male fertility later in life.  The Diaper Hyena has a great overview about them here.

I realize that there are TONS of toxins and other yuckies that Staci will come into contact with throughout her life.  I am probably exposing her to some of them even through breastfeeding.  This, however, is ONE thing I can control out of all the millions of things I can't.  Hey, I do what I can.

Really, that pretty much did it for me, but let's talk about the eco-friendly issue as well.

4) Cloth diapers ARE better for the environment--I truly believe that.  Over the past 2 decades, there have been a couple of studies bought and paid for by disposable diaper companies 'proving' that there is really no difference between cloth and disposable diaper's impact on the environment when you take into account the water used to launder cloth diapers.  I take issue with this because 1) I find it hard to believe that the creation of disposable diapers with all their toxins described above has the same impact as the creation of cloth diapers--which many are created by work at home moms the old fashioned way-- and 2)--errr hello--water is recyclable!  we may not have figured it all out yet, but I cannot believe we are very far away from figuring out how to clean and re-use the water used to wash diapers with.   Certainly closer than shipping our trash out to space, as we're quickly running out of room here on this rock we call Earth.  Also, as Natural Papa discusses, water conservation is a lifestyle. 

My journey to cloth diapering came on fast and furious, sparking other natural parenting choices and decisions, including my decision to have a natural birth, to breastfeed for at least the first 12 months, and to practice attachment parenting.  I see cloth diapering as part of my identity as a mom, and take pride in my decision.  Plus, it really is the cuter option!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

'Anatomy of a Supermom'

My very good friend over at Time Flies When You're Having Fun is collecting some data and this post is for her!  you can read her explanation of the 'study' she is doing here.  Below are her questions, and I will instert my answers in pink. 

1. How many Children do you have? ( list their ages)

1, 8 months

2. How old are you ?


3. Are you a working Mom or a SAHM?


4. Approximately how many hours of sleep do you get a night?

errr good question!  maybe 5?  7-8 on a good night when DH is home and lets me sleep in (saturday mornings)

5. Do you go to bed right after the kids?

Heck no!  need to decompress and have some 'me' time.

6. Do you cook 4+ times a week?

Yes--we usually have diGiorno 1-2x's per week so those are the nights I don't cook.  we very rarely go out to eat or have takeout, so those just don't factor into the equation.  I love to cook though, so it's nice when dh gets home he takes the baby and I run into the kitchen for some mommy-cooking-alone-time.

7. When do you do your Grocery Shopping? once a week? with/without kids? monthly? as needed?

once a week, with Staci normally--I have just enough time to get my act together and get to the store and back before it's time for nap #2.  I find it used to be easier to carry her in the Ergo, (or sling when she was little) but now she's such a big girl she rides in the cart. (or else I can't reach in nd get things from the bottom when it's time to check out) this may change as she begins to make grabs for things on the shelves, though! 

8. Do you exercise regularly? - if yes, give basic details

used to, it was easy when Staci would sleep in her stroller or was happy to sit in her bouncy but now that she is very demanding of my time I have fallen off the bandwagon.  now that her naps are becoming more consistant I need to get back to it.  Not sure when that will happen...

9. Do you have regular "me time"? If yes, when/ how often and what do you do?

I guess I don't really count the cooking--so I'd say I usually have about an hour of 'me time' computer time in the evenings that I spend on frivolous things and stay updated on my online friends :) I usually take some naptime as 'me' time as well, as I'm doing now.

10. What is one ( or more) Mom thing you feel you do really well- your Mom Forté if you will... don't be shy.

being attentive to Staci's needs.  I feel like I can tell what she wants most of the time--whether it's a change of scenery, a nap, to nurse, a diaper change etc etc

11. What is one( or more) Mom thing you feel you would like to improve on?

1) cooking more healthy meals and meal-planning in advance.  As Staci begins to be able to eat even more of the food we eat I need to make sure it's not pizza 2x's a week and many more fruits and veggies.  gonna be hard though.

2) taking a chill pill and not getting so easily frustrated when things (especially naps) go awry.  I am chalking 87% of it up to sleep deprivation though, so as that gets better....

3) keeping the house clean--especially the upstairs.  We are pretty good with the downstairs but I often neglect the upstairs because guests don't generally go up there.  I am considering starting 'flylady' again as a new year's resolution but need some motivation!

12. Do you have a group of other Moms in your area that you talk to/ get advice from/ have playdates with?

Yes! I'm lucky that many of my good friends from highschool and college live nearby, so I have the benefit of enjoying a girl's night once a month and mommy groups as well.  I'm sure playdates will come, but right now we're pretty focused on getting Staci to nap, so leaving the house isn't really on my priority list.

13. Do you have "date night"? Paid Babysitter/Relative/Friend? How often?

hardly ever.  Since Staci was born, 3 times.  A wedding, our anniversary, and recently a Christmas party.  so, that's about every 2.5 months. would like to do it more!  so far it's only been family--one of both of the Grandma's being generous with their time. :)

14. What is your WORST

a) Poop

b) Snot

c) Bedtimes

d) 5pm witching hour - making dinner meltdowns

e) Teeth Brushing

f) Other... please elaborate!

f) other--middle of the nights--Staci is still, many nights except for a couple recently, waking every 2-3 hours at night.  the phrase 'I'm exhausted' doesn't even begin to cover it.  I get so frustrated I've been known to slam doors, stomp my feet, scream at my husband, all out of shear frustration and exhaustion.  I just become a 2 year old and have a melt down of my own.  It's just so hard to not let the stress of not sleeping get to you!

15. Tips and Tricks or anything extra you'd like to share:

I feel like I"m still pretty new at this mom thing, but my best tips would be: nursing cuz it's so easy/convenient once you get the hang of it (and free), babywearing cuz it's--again--convenient and WAY easier than strollering--who needs a stroller when you have a sling?--

Monday, December 7, 2009

Not Me/my child Monday!

Not me, nope. I would never....

Who heard her daughter wake up at 6:30AM and listened to her talk and fuss for 30 minutes and then fall back to sleep, only to wake her up at 7:30 so they wouldn't get 'off schedule'?  NOT ME!

Who, even though she's committed to baby led weaning and agrees whole heartedly with Gill Rapley's thoughts on the subject, has been spoon feeding their child even though it never goes well just to try to get better sleep? (to no avail...) NOT ME!

"All babies should be sleeping through the night by 5 months old"--(BS!!) Who at eight months old is still waking every 1-3 hours at night to nurse? NOT MY CHILD......

hmmm anyone notice a theme here?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy 8 months old sweet girl!

Dear Anastasia,

Today you are 8 months and 1 day old.  I am so excited to watch you grow!  It's amazing to see how smart you are.  Today you, your Grandma Ellen and I went to Costco to pick up a few things.  They always have snacks and I picked up some pretzels with peanut butter in them.  You aren't old enough for peanut butter yet, but you don't know that!  The way you watched me eat them was intense, and then, when I wasn't looking, you made a grab for them.  It was so cute and I wished I could have given you some. Don't fret, I'm sure peanut butter will be one of your favorite things to eat after you turn one and can have it!

You are getting bigger and bigger each day! I think you will be in the 9-12 month sleepers before we know it because your little legs are so long! (you get that from me!)

-You are wearing 6-9mo and 9mo clothing
-You are still in the middle snap of your one size cloth diaper, but at nighttime we super stuff it and have to unsnap it all the way
-You are still waking up at night quite frequently to nurse, I hope to cut down on this soon so I can get a bit more rest, though, I know I will miss it when you no longer wake in the night and need me and only me.
-You have started dragging yourself about in an army crawl and it is SO adorable.  I put your toys far away from you just so I can watch you slide across the carpet!
-Your absolute favorite toy is paper. Plain paper, ad paper, envelopes, newspaper--it doesn't matter.  you love to crinkle it and rip pieces off and of course, stick it in your mouth. 
-You are not too keen on being spoonfed, though mommy tries every day at least once.  You prefer to feed yourself so you can control what goes in and when.  You love carrots, avacado, bananas, and applesauce. Cheerios are a favorite and you're finally figuring out how to get them in your mouth--where as before you'd get 3-4 in your little fist and then just suck on your fist. Silly girl!
-You still love your jumper.  I think it will be a sad day for you when you learn to walk and can no longer jump in it!
-You absolutely love to dance with Mommy and Daddy.  Lately we've been listening and singing along to Christmas music--and of course dancing, too.  You can't stop smiling and have become quite the giggle box whenever we spin.  Be still my heart!

Always remember that I love you with every fiber of my being and I will always, always, always be here for you.  You and your Daddy are my whole world, and I'm so blessed to have you both.