Monday, September 17, 2012

That Mama Feeling...Or Not...

When I was pregnant, I had daydreams about having the perfect birth and that insta-connection of feeling like a mama the minute my baby boy was handed to me. I mean, you see in every birth show and movie where a baby is born that the little bundle is placed in mama's arms and she instantly nurses her baby who is eager to find that breast, and the new family has this glow of happiness. Suffice it to say, I didn't have that by a long shot. Birth and being a new first-time mom was pretty complicated due to my fractured ankle (I feel on a messed up piece of sidewalk downtown resulting in the injury) was wearing a giant walking boot that went up to my knee and the traumatizing events of the after-birth. My labor itself was simple, quick, and I stuck to my birth plan of no epidural; that's pretty much the only part that was so simple though. As he crowned, the cord was tight around J's neck and I was yelled at to stop pushing. After delivery, J wasn't crying and didn't for a full five minutes, the scariest time of my life. I had torn in 2 places and the OB was stitching me up as I was craning my neck to try and see what was happening with my eerily quiet baby boy where many nurses and doctors were working on him. Just like in a nightmare I had quite often during my pregnancy, my baby boy was whisked away to the nursery instantly for observation, because his breathing was too shallow and his first APGAR score was only a 6 because of his lack of oxygen at birth. I pleaded with my nurse to let the nursery know that I wanted to nurse my baby and didn't want him getting any artificial nipples, or formula.

As people rushed into the recovery room to visit me, I didn't have my baby with me and visitors told me they saw him in the nursery and that he was beautiful. I truly didn't feel like a mom and life postpartum was not glorious. I was sore, bleeding more so than I should have been so nurses and doctors kept showing up in the room to check me, had extremely high blood pressure, and was so exhausted. I didn't feel like a new mom since I didn't have my beautiful baby in my arms or beside my bed in a bassinet; I felt like someone who had just fought a big battle and lost. I actually missed being pregnant at that time because at least when J was in my belly, I could feel him and he was all mine.

A couple of hours later, a nurse showed up in my room and briskly told me, "You need to feed him now. His blood sugar has dropped dangerously low," as if that wasn't pressure enough for a brand new mom, she roughly pulled my breast out of the gown, jammed it in the baby's mouth and asked, "You know what it sounds like when the baby swallows milk?" I told her I learned in the breastfeeding class that it should sound like a soft "c" and proudly said I thought I heard that. Her response was, "No, you didn't. He didn't swallow a thing and his blood sugar is probably lower." The nurse then asked my husband to step out of the room and informed him that the baby would be hooked up to an IV for glucose unless they gave him a bottle of formula since he got nothing from my breast. Of course, as a new dad, he didn't want the little guy on an IV so he gave the go-ahead. When dh returned and told me this, I burst into tears. I knew that this could cause nipple confusion and that the baby should at least get the formula through a medicine syringe or dropper because I had done my research during pregnancy. At two in the morning, I learned that J was on an IV for hypoglycemia in the Special Care Nursery, and that I was required to supplement with formula after each attempt of nursing in the SCN unless he fed for a full 15 mins per side. I was told that otherwise, my colostrum would not be enough for J as he was a bigger baby (8 lbs 6 oz) with hypogylcemia (low blood sugar). As most would guess, this would be only one of many obstacles with my unsuccessful breastfeeding journey.

For my two day hospital stay, I did hobble to the SCN every 3 hours to attempt nursing J prior to the nurses taking him away and bottle feeding him. I also rented the Medela Symphony pump to try and stimulate my milk to come in sooner rather than later. That walk to the SCN was a lengthy one (ironically it was just down the hallway and around a corner) because of the fact that I had the walking boot, crutches, and a very sore lower end.

Seeing the baby I had carried in the isolettte, hooked up to so many monitors broke my heart and I felt that something I had done during pregnancy must have caused this. It was even worse seeing the nurses prick his little foot with the blood sugar tester before each feeding since he was so small and defenseless, always crying each time.

I was released from the hospital one day before J which was one of the worst parts of new motherhood for me; going home that night without the child I had carried inside of me for 9 months just made me felt empty. My sister told me just to enjoy the very last night of sleep I would get for awhile, but I didn't sleep. I stayed up, pumping every 2 hours and eventually cried myself to sleep.

First thing in the morning the very next day, my husband and I rushed to the hospital so that we could spend the day with J in the parents' room of the SCN. We were told that we could take J home with us that day because J was able to maintain his own blood sugar without the glucose drip over night, which was the happiest moment we had since all that had occurred three days prior to that. I very proudly dressed J in his going home outfit, and got him set up in the carseat so that we could leave the place where I felt all my dreams had been dashed in a few hours time.

I wish I could say that from then on it was all sunshine and roses, but it wasn't. I had a lot of challenges and one of the big ones was postpartum depression, which I talked about here:

It did get much better, though, and I truly do love being a mom. Yes, I do get extremely sad when I think about this time of my life and J's birth, and still wonder what I could have done differently during pregnancy and labor to protect J from everything he went through as a newborn. And yes, I did cry while writing this blog to my readers, but that which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger and I've needed to do this for awhile.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Wool Care

Since I've done a blog about my nighttime diapering, I thought now would be a good time to explain about how to care for wool. I wanted to wait until I actually needed to wash and lanolize my wool so that I could include pics, thus making it easier to understand my explanations.

Trust me, I know that if you've never used wool it is an intimidating idea. Heck, I avoided it for a long time because I was afraid of it! But I promise, once you get the hang of washing and lanolizing your wool it is such a breeze. First you need to gather your supplies:

                                          Wool Wash, Lanolin, and Mild Baby Shampoo             
I do have to confess that I use liquid lanolin. A lot of people buy a tub of the solid one and melt it themselves, but I chose a slightly easy/lazy route. It makes for one less step, and it is made by Sudz N Dudz, which some cloth diaper retailers sell.

Next, you want to rinse the wool. Rather than running it under running water you will want to fill a bucket, tub, or bowl with luke warm water. Water temp is important because if it is too hot, you can shrink the wool. Then add the wool in and just gently push it up and down with your hand like so:

Once the wool is rinsed, it is time to add the wool wash. I remove the soaker from the bowl, dump the water, refill with water, add the soap and suds it up, then add in the soaker. Once again, I gently pump the soaker up and down. Then I let it just sit there in the sudsy water for about 15 minutes.

And after the soaking is done, once again it is time to rinse but this time you will need to empty the bowl, rinse it out a bit, then add in water and move the soaker up and down until you don't see any more bubbles in it. Now you have a nice clean wool soaker, which isn't really waterproof til it has been lanolized!

Don't worry...lanolizing is simple, especially if you use liquid lanolin like I do! You'll want to make sure the bowl still has nice clean warm water in it and squirt a pea size amount of lanolin. You'll find it tends to just float in a few spots in the bowl.

That is where the baby shampoo comes into play; you need to emulsify the lanolin, which means that the shampoo binds to the lanolin and spreads it evenly throughout the water. When you do that, it'll help coat the soaker a little more evenly. You add in some squirts of shampoo and swirl the water until you see it turn a milky white color.

At this point, I turn my soaker inside out in order to get more of a lanolin coating on the inside, which is where it makes more sense to have all the lanolin to prevent leaks. Then all you need to do is add in the wool and if it floats up, you can weigh it down with a heavy mug! 

As far as how long to lanolize, I prefer to do that overnight and find that I don't need to lanolize again for a couple of months. When I did once lanolize for only half an hour, I started getting leaks 2 weeks later. After however long you decide to leave your wool in the lanolin, you need to let the wool dry. Be warned that the wool will take in a lot of liquid so it is best to roll it between a towel and step on it to really press out as much water as possible. I forgot to get pictures of myself doing this but I know that if you google The Gnome's Mom blog, you'll be able to find even more info on wool and pics of how to dry it. Once you have pressed out the excess water, the wool can be left out to air dry and in my experience, that can take a few days. I like to flip it after 12 hours, turn it rightside in after another 12 hours, then flip again after 12 hours so that air gets to all parts of it. 

I really hope that this blog helps anyone considering investing in some wool. Happy diapering!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Early Intervention, here we come!

I've been wanting to blog about early intervention for awhile but kept coming up with other topics that I was posting instead. This is truly important to me, though, as J is in early intervention and other families could benefit with some knowledge of how the system works.

When J was 12 months old, I knew that he was not hitting milestones he should be hitting. At that age, he couldn't go up on hands and knees on his belly, couldn't pull himself from sitting to standing, couldn't crawl (although many babies skip that milestone now), couldn't cruise, couldn't go from belly to sitting, from back to sitting, and couldn't roll. For months I was just telling myself that J was focusing on his fine motor skills because he was advanced in terms of fine motor. However, I finally had to accept that he really was not where he should be developmentally. So at his 12 month checkup, I mentioned this to his new pediatrician, Dr.H, and she said that he does appear to be gross motor delayed and that I should have him evaluated. After a thorough exam, Dr H said that J has low trunk tone (meaning he doesn't have developed strength in his trunk that he should and that if the evaluation shows him to be severely delayed in gross motor skills, that he should be entitled to physical therapy through early intervention.

Shortly after that well visit, I did call early intervention and arranged an appointment for an evaluation at my home. Of course there is a waiting list so it was another month before J was evaluated. Because his issue was stated to be a gross motor one, there were both a physical therapist and a special education teacher present. It was an evaluation of J overall: fine motor, gross motor, speech, adaptive (self-feeding, dressing, etc), social, emotional, etc. Basically the entire thing was done in the form of play and imitation. At the end, J was found to be advance socially, emotionally, verbally, and with fine motor (he was listed at the age of 14-15 months for those areas) but at the level of a 7 month old for gross motor development. The physical therapist gave me some exercises to work on with J in order to help him make some progress with his gross motor development: they included exercises to strengthen his trunk and help him learn to side step so that he could start to cruise.

The next step in early intervention is an IFSP meeting which occurred about 2 weeks after the evaluation. During that meeting, there was a coordinator present as well as the two people there who evaluated J, and myself. First, we set goals that we would like to see achieved by the end of 6 month's time. Then, the coordinator looked at mine and hubby's most recent income tax return to determine the cost of services, which for us is nothing because our income is so low. About one month after the IFSP meeting, a physical therapist (in this case it was the same one who evaluated J) called to arrange our dates and times for physical therapy (PT).

It was decided that for the summer months, J would have his PT every Saturday morning at 8 AM. Early intervention occurs in our home so that J is in an environment that he knows. PT always happens in the form of play, although of course J does whine when expected to do things that he doesn't want to. Not to mention, one hour of PT is exhausting for a little one. I must say that since starting PT, J has progressed a lot. A month after I started the exercises with him, J starting cruising with furniture and could hold himself up on his hands and knees for at least 5 minutes at a time (he couldn't do it for that length of time initially). After two months, J progressed from walking holding onto 2 hand of another person to walking holding just one hand of said person. At the age of 15 months, J took his first steps and now, almost 3 weeks later he walks all over the place on his own; at the moment he does it with a wide stance and 2 hands out in front of himself like Frankenstein but these were all things he could not do at the age of 12 months. Recently, J figured out how to roll both ways when on the floor and can also sit himself down from a standing position. If not for the PT, my husband and I know that J would not have progressed like this and we are glad that we called early intervention. Apparently, a lot of parents do not even if their pediatrician recommends it, and we are both at a loss as to why parents would deny their child this opportunity. We are both glad that he will be up to par with his peers by the time he is in preschool.

Early intervention is available in every county from the ages of birth to 3 months. PT is not the only type of early intervention offered. Children may receive speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc., all depending on the child's needs. If you think your child may benefit from early intervention or the pediatrician recommends an evaluation, don't turn your nose at it. Early intervention is a wonderful thing!

An Apology to My Readers

I am truly sorry for going MIA for so long! I ran into a hectic couple of weeks. First off, I was housesitting for people with a very large house and 2 dogs for 10 days. Then, J started walking. Any mama or nanny of a toddler knows what that time to do anything other than chasing the tot around :) Third, school is going to be starting for me this week.

I promise this, though, I will come up with a blogging schedule for myself so that I blog at least 3 days a week rather than just disappearing constantly.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cloth Wipes & Solutions

If you're a cloth diapering mama, it makes sense to use cloth wipes as well. First of all, you can then throw your dirty wipes and diapers into the same place prior to washing rather than needing both a garbage can for wipes and a pail or wetbag for dirty diapers. Secondly, using cloth diapers eliminates chemicals so why use subject your child's bum to chemicals in disposable wipes? I will admit that when I started cloth diapering, the idea of cloth wipes seemed weird so I stuck with sposie wipes at first. Then it got annoying to need to cans in the nursery: one with a garbage bag for wipes and another lined with a pail liner for the diapers. So I bought a sampler pack of cloth wipes and gave it a whirl.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that it only took 2 cloth wipes to clean a poopy tush when it normally took at least 6 sposie wipes for that! I wasn't convinced that just water was enough to clean J's butt though, so I did dabble in making my own wipe solution from a recipe I found online. The recipe called for 2 cups of water, 2 drops of tea tree oil, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of baby soap. Something in that solution caused J to break out in a diaper rash, plus it quickly smelled rancid so I abandoned that and stuck with just water for awhile. I also purchased more cloth wipes made on etsy because I found a pack of 25 for just $10. You can use cheapie baby washcloths for wipes though!

Poop is sometimes tough to completely clean off with only water, however, so I decided to try some wipe solution that is pre-made. The owner of Mama's Emporium sent me a sample of Punkin Butt wipe spray to try and I must say that it is pretty cool stuff. I dampen a wipe first then spray some of the wipe solution onto it, then wa-la, I have a toddler with a clean fresh-smelling tush. This wipe solution comes in a spray bottle and is pretty convenient for things like going to the park. I just travel with it in my Planet Wise wetbag front zipper and spray it right onto a dry wipe when I need to change J in the park. AND the ingredients in this spray have not caused J to get a rash at all as opposed to when I tried to make my own solution. Will I buy more of this stuff? Absolutely!

Click here to visit Mama's Emporium

Yes, he's still rear-facing...

"You haven't turned J's seat yet? But he'll be happier if he can face forward and know he isn't alone," is something that I hear so often that it drives me crazy! I did my homework and am well aware that both the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) and the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) recommend that children rear-face in their carseats until the age of 2 at a minimum or until they max out the weight limit of the carseat for rear-facing.

                                    Here is the reason for the current recommendations:

Nowadays, most carseats have higher weight limits for both rear-facing and for using the harness in general. Most carseats have a rear-facing limit of 35-40 lbs and a harness limit of 65-80 lbs. J's carseat is the Evenflo Triumph Advance which has a weight limit of 40 lbs for rear-facing and 65 lbs for usage of      the seat forward-facing. Here's how I see things...

The whole point of a carseat is to protect a child's life in the event of a car accident. No, the reason for the current recommendations is not some crazy conspiracy of carseat manufacturers to keep people spending money as many like to believe. That said, why not do everything in your power to make sure the seat is used the best way possible in order to protect your child? No matter how safely you drive, there are always crazy people on the road and accidents do happen. So yes, I will keep J rear-facing at least until he is 2 unless he maxes out the height or weight limit of his seat to do so much to the annoyance or chagrin of others. And yes, I will keep J in a harness for a long time too rather than move him to a booster seat the minute he turns 3 as some of my friends do. 

So here are a few important things to also keep in mind when it comes to carseat safety:
  • Carseats have expiration dates! Over time, the plastic does break down which will eventually inhibit the ability of the seat to protect your child. Generally the expiration date is 5-6 years after manufacturing date and it is now printed somewhere on the seat (usually on bottom).
  • Heavy winter coats should not be used with a carseat. It causes compression in the case of an accident and your child can fly right out of the harness.
  • Carseats are supposed to be replaced if you get into a car accident because unseen damage can occur that will cause the carseat to not do its job in any other accidents.
  • And as I already blogged about, rear-facing til at least 2 is no recommended. BTW, I give J some toys and play his music in the car and he's perfectly happy RF because he has no idea that there is another way :)
My little man is perfectly content to be RF in the carseat :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

All About Toddler Shoes

Generally, it is not recommended to put shoes on babies' feet because it can hamper their development. Further, they're best off in bare feet so that their feet can feel the ground as they learn to cruise then walk. If you really want shoes because you're worried about your little one having cold feed, then the Robeez are a good choice because they're soft :)

 If you are outside a lot in public places like parks and what-have-you, you want a shoe for your new walker. I will preface this by saying that toddler shoes are pretty darn expensive, and toddlers' feet grow fast; I'm talking needing a new pair of shoes about every three months. Ever since J turned 1, he has had shoes for moments like going to the park, the doctor's office, etc. When we are at home in the backyard, J is barefoot.

I will say that it is such a good thing that I have a boy and not a girl! If I had a girl, I would have bought 2-3 pairs of shoes for each season because they make such adorable girl shoes: girly sneakers, mary janes, sandals, etc. Since I have a boy, I just get one pair of shoes. His first pair of shoes were Stride Rites at 12 months; he always fought me putting them on him, and walked awkwardly in them. He only walked holding 2 hands and never out at the park so if I could do it again, I would've gotten just Robeez at that point in time.

Over the summer, I got a pair of Teva sandals for J. They are great shoes because they're so easy to put on and are versatile because of the fact that they can be wet or dry. One thing I did not think about, however, is that open-toed sandals are not the greatest shoes for going to the park because woodchips get into them and hurt little feet. Again, they were great, though, because I could un-velcro both velcro straps and lay them flat against J's feet rather then shoving his feet into a closed-toe shoe. I do think that next sumer I will be buying both Tevas and a good closed-toe sandal. 

A few weeks ago, J went through a massive growth spurt during which he outgrew the Tevas, so I went back to my local kids' shoestore to get his feet measured for sneakers. I figured that since summer is almost over, sneakers were our best bet. J has very wide feet so the shoe saleswoman brought out three types of sneakers for him to try that work best for new walkers with wide feet. There is one pair that I did not put on J because they were higher in the ankle and I didn't think it was worth the effort to put them onto J's feet. The two that we did try were StrideRite SRT's and Pediped Grip and Go. I do need to say that I love the StrideRite brand and really wanted to get that brand for J; yet I found he walked quite awkwardly in them as they are a little less flexible than the Pedipeds. So we did go with the Pediped shoes. While I liked the look of the StrideRites better, I needed to choose the shoe that J could walk comfortably in. A  benefit to these sneakers aside from their flexibility is that they only have one piece of velcro which makes putting them on fast.

I happen to always buy J's shoes at a mom & pop shoestore downtown that always runs amazing sales. I do think that with the high cost for toddler shoes that sales are a fabulous thing. Any tips from my readers on buying toddler shoes for a decent price? Any other favorite toddler shoes you want to talk about?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Periods and Instead Softcup

OK, so this is clearly a blog that is for the mamas out there. I need to start this with a disclaimer. My period grosses me out. I can handle nasty poop, vomit and spit-up, coxsackie virus blisters, and what-have-you, but when it comes to my own cycle all I can say is ick. I hate that I bleed: the odor, the sight, the's just freakin nasty. Not to mention, my cycle has never been my friend. Without some form of hormonal birth control, I'm so irregular that it isn't funny and I bleed heavily. I could soak through a box of pads or tampons in a day, that's how bad it is. Then I could go many months without a period. When it comes to birth control pills, I forget to take it and get myself more irregular. When it comes to birth control like nuvaring or the patch, I get migraines. So after becoming a mommy, I got Mirena put in so that I don't even have to think about it and it is localized to my "down there region" and I don't get migraines. It is a wonderful thing.

Anyway, all that aside, let's talk feminine products. I may be a cloth diapering mama, but mama cloth grosses me out. As I said, I cannot handle my period, so I cannot handle dealing with and washing cloth pads....big EWWWWWW! For those who can use mama cloth, that's awesome. What can I say? I'm weird. But I do have an issue with pads and tampons. OK here is the deal with pads. Only Always brand works for me with no leaks, but I get nasty rashes. They chafe me and I get itchy red dots everywhere the darn pads touch. The more natural disposable pads fall apart when I wear them because I forget to change them often enough. There is a problem with tampons too. When I put them in, I itch down below, always get a yeast infection, and after awhile they slip out so I leak. I've ruined many a nice pair of underwear while wearing tampons. Not only that, but I have a confession. I can be a moron when it comes to tampons. On more than one occasion, I've forgotten that I have one in and inserted a second one. Then I've been in pain from having in 2 and needed to get them a professional.

This month, I decided to try something new. I wanted to try a menstrual cup which sits near the cervix and collects the blood in it, rather than absorbing the way a tampon does. A big plus to a menstrual cup is that there is no risk of TSS as there is with tampons! There are reusables on the market, such as a Diva Cup but my period may eventually go away with Mirena, plus I don't want to wash one because that's just not for me. So after recommendations from @youarelovedTSS on twitter, I found a store near me that sells the Instead Softcup and ran there to buy it.

                                                      Here is what the softcup looks like: 

Basically, you insert it the way that you insert nuvaring, by squeezing it in half between to fingers and inserting it up high in yourself, then you hook it under the pubic bone. It's very easy to do.

                                                   This is how to sqeeze it for insertion: 

 Then it lasts for up to 12 hours! I wore one for the first time last night, didn't feel it at all (no itching) and didn't leak at all in bed!!! That is a first.  Taking it out was more of a challenge, because I clenched when I went to pull it out but I know it isn't hard to remove because you do it just like you do the nuvaring, which I did use years ago. I did change it a second time with no difficulty removing the softcup. Basically it is important to relax so that it slides right out. I was scared of spilling both times, but no such thing occurred.

I actually attended a pool party today wearing the Instead Softcup. Yes, I was a little nervous without knowing what would happen but it did the same thing that it did before: collected the blood with no leakage. I did laps in the pool, played with J both in and out of the water, and had a great time. It was nice not having to worry about a tampon falling out of my special place while in the water and causing a blood ring around myself in the pool (yes, it has happened in the past).

Will I keep using this for every single period? Absolutely!

A pack of 12 is $10 at the local store; not cheap but a pack should last for my entire period and the pay-off for me is no chafing, rash, yeast infection, or leaking.

 If you want to look for Instead Softcup in a store, this is what to look for!
For more information on insertion and removal of the Instead Softcup, check out the official video at :

Thursday, August 2, 2012

TV Time

I have to warn my readers that this post goes against the grain of thinking when it comes to toddlers and TV time. The AAP and other professionals recommend no screen time for children under the age of two because of risk for delays. Before I was even a mom, I swore that I would stick to that recommendation and did really well with keeping the TV off whenever J was in the room during his first year of life. However, once he hit 1 that became harder.

J has always fought having his nails clipped and while lots of people suggest I do it when he sleeps, my son wakes up the minute I enter his bedroom, so that wouldn't work for me. Unfortunately, I need to clip J's nails every other day because #1 they grow fast and #2 he digs in his ears to the point where he'll scratch himself so deeply that it causes a lot of bloodshed. That said, it is not fun to clip a child's nails when said child is trying to throw himself out of your arms and screaming and flailing about! So yes, when J was 12 months old, I started to put on PBS Sprout for 5 minutes in order to trim his nails. J gets nice and quiet, and "in the zone" so that clipping his nails is easy to do and hell, it works to do it this way!

When J didn't suddenly become a dumb child, I started to let him watch TV a tad bit more. Now I'm not saying I use the TV as a virtual babysitter by any means; I actually do believe that too much TV creates dumb people (sorry but it's true) so I still limit the viewing time to no more than 30 minutes a day, and that time is not in one consolidated chunk. Every morning when J wakes up, I change his diaper then he comes into my bedroom and watches 5 minutes of PBS Sprout while we wait for my husband to come up from his shower. Then after breakfast, J watches another 5-10 minutes while I drink my coffee. After that, there is no more TV unless J needs his nails clipped...until late afternoon. If J starts to get antsy waiting for my husband to get home from work (usually around 4:30), we will snuggle and watch a few minutes of TV til he calms down then we go back to playing. We still read a lot of books together and play outside for the majority of each day.

I do not keep the TV on at all times; it is only on for a few minutes here and there. J has not suddenly stopped developing; he was actually found to be 2 months above his chronological age in terms of his social, emotional, and verbal development. Yes, J was evaluated and that was for something completely unrelated :)

With all this said, I do want to stress that what you choose in terms of TV is entirely up to you as a parent. If you want to wait until your child is 2 to get screen time, then by all means do, and if you show TV sooner then that's your prerogative. I will say that it helps you know what your child is watching. I have found that with all the channels for little ones that I like PBS Sprout the most. There is a variety of shows on it, most of which are educational, and I can tolerate the shows...OK I like some of them. The channel itself promotes physical activity with the Super Sproutlet afternoon, and J likes most of the shows in the lineup.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sippy Cup Obsessions

When J was nearing the 6 month mark, I started to obsess over sippy cups. In my head, if I didn't pick the perfect cup, I could ruin the entire experience for the both of us. God forbid, I completely traumatize my child and cause him to become anti-cup! No, I'm not joking at all - I really did feel that way. After talking to other mommy friends of mine, I decided on the Nuk Learner cup as his first cup because of the silicone or latex spouts making it so similar to a bottle:
J instantly took to that cup and it was fantastic. It never spilled and all I had to do was put in the travel disk and it could be thrown right into the diaper bag for easy travel. I did try a Dr Brown's training cup that a company rep sent me free of charge, but J could not figure out how to use that cup; for about 2 months he was only able to use the Nuk one. .The cup was fantastic up til J got his first tooth, at which point he started chewing the spouts and destroying them. Initially, I bought replacement spouts on, but it got pricey after awhile at $7/spout. Once J had a few teeth and I had dropped a lot of money on spouts that I was constantly having to replace, I opted to try some different sippy cups.

I cannot lie; I went crazy with buying sippy cups so I have lots to say. I will only include pics of my favorites so as not to overwhelm my readers and drive you lovely people crazy. First I went back to the Dr. Brown's cup. It is great because unlike others, it has oz markings on the side which is helpful in instances where I need to know exactly how much of what I am giving to J. He wasn't totally crazy about this cup and did at times refuse to drink from it altogether, and J loves his water, so I needed to try something else that he would accept more readily. It is also a bit of a pain to put together because there are so many parts (just like the bottles); that said, it is 100% spill proof and has a soft silicone spout that you can interchange with a harder plastic spout.

Some of my fellow May mommies on suggested a Nuby soft spout cup which is only about $2 at Walmart so I thought, I would give it a shot. J did accept that cup but destroyed the spout, rendering it a cup that leaked often so I didn't stick with it for long.

After J turned 1, I decided to try some hard-spout sippy cups, knowing that I wouldn't know if he would accept them if I never tried them. I picked up a 2-pack of Nuk Gerber Giggle & Grin sippy cups that was on sale for half price at the super market and they were great! I could easily toss them into my purse or the diaper bag with no risk of leaking or spilling. Plus they had a pretty cool shape to them that made it easy for J to hold them since that was the first non-handle cup I had purchased for him.

With only a couple of other cups in rotation and needing more sippy cups for milk and water, I went to Target for more sippy cups. I picked up a bunch: Munchkin Mighty Grip, a Disney insulated no-valve cup and Playtex Insulators. I honestly am not a fan of the Munchkin Mighty Grip. The spout is soft and there is no valve, which is a plus; however, it is a pain in the rear to put the thing together. The notches on the side of the spout need to be aligned perfectly with tabs in the ring that the spout is pulled through, otherwise it'll leak. Not only that, but the cup will leak from the spout if it isn't upright. The Disney cup is nice in that it actually changes color when there is a cold drink in it, and changes back to a different color when the drink becomes warm. It is also so simple to put together than anyone can do it since there is no valve. One problem is that it will leak if not upright in the diaper bag; I'm not a fan of finding milk or water all over the inside of my purse. The Playtex Insulator is a fabulous cup because it keeps drinks cold, does not spill at all (with the exception of when J throws it), and has a locking feature so that you turn the lid until you hear it click and you know it is on securely. I've actually invested in 2 more of the Playtex Insulator cups.

Out of all the brands that I have tried, I now stick with hard spouted Nuk cups and hard spouted Playtex cups. The benefit to my sippy cup obsession is that I have lots of info on so many types of them for anyone who wants to know :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Fun With Food

From the time he was a baby on solids, J was destined to be a gourmet baby. J was blessed with me as a mama, a true foodie :) I was always big on giving him a good base of healthy solids and didn't introduce him to any kind of junk for a long time. Once he started on finger food, I steamed all his veggies in the Aroma food steamer that I own, or would microwave some stream fresh frozen veggies from the supermarket. And he got some other exciting foods like diced leg of lamb and cubes of fun cheeses such as Havarti and Wisconsin cheddar.

After J hit the 1 year mark, I got a little more brave with cooking. Rather than just steaming everything, I started to experiment: first with sauteing, then sauteing and adding simple spices, then roasting, then marinating and grilling veggies. Yes, both J and I are veggie lovers. J was never that big on fruit or sweets but give the boy some zucchini and he will love you forever. Of course he does love his meats too and I leave the cooking of meats to J's grandpa and daddy, although I do marinate and steam, bake or  broil fish for us.

I know I am lucky because J is not a very picky toddler. Right now he is anti-cheese, unless it is on melted in a sandwich like wholewheat grilled cheese, and anti-chocolate which I am totally fine with. I thought it'd be fun to share some of his favorite foods. If you have other foods that your little ones love, please share; I love finding new ideas for meals and/or sides!

  • whole wheat french toast 
  • whole wheat grilled cheese
  • sauteed spinach with fresh garlic
  • grilled eggplant
  • yogurt with fresh fruit
  • sweet potato fries
  • baked sweet potato
  • pan-fried zucchini breaded with whole wheat bread crumbs
  • cubed watermelon
  • cubed cantaloupe
  • cheerios
  • avocado
  • broiled salmon
  • lamb in any way, shape or form

Cloth Diapering At Night

One big challenge for many cloth diapering mamas is handling night time. Some mommies are lucky and they can continue to use their daytime cloth diaper system that they use during the day for night time maybe with an added hemp doubler. However, for any mama of an extreme heavy wetter and side sleeper (or tummy sleeper), that doesn't work. Saying that J is a heavy wetter is an understatement; my child pees like a racehorse to the point where I have tried many combos that did not work. It took a lot of trial and error to figure out what would work. There are cloth diapering mamas who use disposable at night, but even those don't work for J. I have tried going up a size in a disposable, using 2 disposables, using special night time disposables, and he has always woken up pretty damp on his left side because he sleeps on his side at night. It makes sense, if you think about it. Look inside of a disposable and you'll see that there is usually blue dye/crystals all along the front and back of the diaper because those are the soaking zones; there really aren't noticeable chemicals for absorbing along the sides.

When it came to cloth, I quickly learned that my daytime pocket diapers wouldn't cut it for night (and I did try to make it work). Why not? Pocket diapers are only absorbent where the insert is located, which does nothing for a side sleeper. After emailing a few cloth diaper retailers, I opted to try the Happy Hempy diaper because it is one of the more inexpensive fitted pocket diapers and comes with a stay-dry lining. Figuring out how to stuff it in order to keep J from waking up with a sopping diaper, soaked sleepsack, and sheets drenched in urine definitely took some time and playing around with different options. And my stuffing combo has changed over time because J pees much differently now at the age of 14 months than he did when he was only 8 months old. For all of them, I used a wool soaker over top: I have one made by a wahm on etsy, a largeAristocrats soaker, and an extra large Disana soaker.

First, I tried a loopy do insert made by Knickerknappies which is boasted to be great for heavy wetters. Nope, still had a wet baby and wet sheets in the am. Then I tried a toddler-sized OsoCozy prefold  trifolded inside, but still had the soaked sheets. After that, I tried 3 premium joey bunz insert thinking I needed to go more trim with the stuffing and J was wetter than ever in the morning.

Finally, I found the answer: a premium Joey Bunz insert trifolded into a toddler OsoCozy prefold stuffed into the hempy with the xl Disana soaker over top. Only the Disana soaker works well since J is such a big boy and the bigger soaker just seems to help. I need to get a second one! :)

  Above: XL Happy Hempy, Joey Bunz premium insert, toddler-sized OsoCozy prefold trifolded 
(I generally stick the joey bunz into the prefold before trifolding)

                                             Fully stuffed diaper - yes, it's pretty darn big :)

                                                     My wonderful Disana xl soaker

It was so amazing when J actually slept til 6:30 AM and woke up with completely dry sheets and a dry sleepsack! If you've ever had an extreme heavy wetter, you'll know the feeling when you find a great night time diaper combo for your little one! 

Yes, my son has an extremely fluffy butt to the point where he resembles some sort of Dr Seuss character, but this is the first time he has woken up in the am totally dry. I don't even get that from disposables. Nothing beats having a child with dry sheets and completely dry pajamas, with no odor of foul-toddler urine on his skin.

Happy diapering!!! 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I'm Not a Germaphobe!

The other day my MILfreaked out when she discovered that I borrow board books from the library for J. "When my kids were younger, I never let them take those germy nasty books out of the library. They're gross." I just looked at her and responded with, "Well, I'm not a germaphobe. That's why we wash hands." Really, if I raised J the way she raised her kids, he would pretty much be stuck living in a boring little bubble with no friends. MIL wants to have a play structure put in the backyard to avoid J playing at the playground where there are germs, and constantly makes comments about the germs from library books, borrowed toys from friends, etc.

I happen to believe that there is nothing wrong with some exposure to germs of other kids. After all, the time will come either when J attends preschool that he'll be thrown in a room with many germs since let's face it, kids are germ factories, and if he is kept living in an overly sterile environment he'll be getting sick all the time at that point. Not to mention, every time J goes to the pediatrician, dentist office, grocery store, etc., he is in an area where there are some germs. I just pick and choose how to be safe by using a shopping cart cover at stores, always travelling with hand wipes, and teaching J about hand washing.

Do I want J to get sick? No, of course not; however, sickness happens and I want to be realistic.

How about you readers? Do you do everything you can to avoid other kids and their germs or do you feel that some healthy controlled dose of germs are okay?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Toddler Toy Favorites

I have to confess something. As new parents, my husband and I went overboard with the toys we bought for J as a baby, as well as with toys that we wish-listed for his Christmas. Our favorites then were anything that sang, touted that it was educational on the packaging, and usually cost a fortune. Then we figured something out; the best toys are the ones that you don't buy. No, I'm not joking and veteran parents know this already. J's favorite "toys" are our cats' toys, pots & pans, and dog bones. Seriously, this kid will toddle all over the house waving around a giant dog bone for an hour sometimes.

Of course, it is good to have some toys for entertainment but lets not go crazy here. I thought it's be good to list some toys that I found to be great both for entertainment purposes and for skill-building.

  • push toys - these can be as simple as a toy shopping cart filled up with some heavier items to weigh it down because they make for helping a little one start toddling without just always holding your hand and builds confidence in the little one's abilities
  • blocks - there comes a point when your toddler learns that it is fun to stack up some blocks, whether they are wooden, big cardboard bricks, or plush, and then to knock them down; or in my son's case it is more fun to watch Mommy or Daddy stack the blocks for him to knock over as I make fun crashing sound effects
  • shape sorters - they teach about categorizing and logic as your little guy or gal figures out that only certain shapes go in certain places
  • stuffed animals - fun to beat up on and cuddle, and they don't run away like the real animals
  • bead chasers - basically those things with the beads attached that can loop-de-loop in all sorts of ways; great for fine motor
Did you notice that none of the above listed toys come with batteries and giant instruction manuals? Really, believe it or not, they are great toys and can entertain for a long time...well as long as your little wonder's attention span lasts with anything else. And the best part is that they don't break the bank! I wish I knew then what I know now because I wouldn't have 2 toyboxes and many shelves full of unused toys. 

Happy shopping! :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged"

The "Batman shooting" is one of the worse massacres I've heard of in a long time, and partly because parents are now arguing over whether it is acceptable to take children to see a midnight movie, particularly one of that caliber. I don't get it at all! I believe that every parent knows his or her child best. Yes, some kids need an early bedtime; mine is one of them. If J is up past 7:30 PM, he becomes a hot mess. I know other kids who are very different, and will not settle down until past 10. Does that mean that the parent(s) of that child is/are lacking? Not at all. Personally, I won't take J to the movies, not because I'm anti-movies for children, but because he is 14 months old and will not sit still for more than 15 minutes at a time. To take him to any type of movie would be unenjoyable for both me and him because he'd be miserable if I tried to force him to sit for such a long period of time, and for me because I wouldn't be able to pay attention to the movie.

Here's an idea, parents. Instead of hurling insults and judging the parents who did take their kids to see The Dark Knight Rises at that midnight showing with tragic results, why don't you pray for the families who are now traumatized? I'm sure that they're already questioning their choices, and that is a terrible place to be mentally. If you want to judge anyone, why don't you question the sanity of the guy who saw nothing wrong with opening fire in a movie theater full of children and adults?

Parenting should be a no-judgement zone. All of us parents are free to make choices based on what is best for our children, and I know that many of us will always wonder whether doing one thing or another is a mistake. So let's support one another. We all love our children indefinitely and unconditionally, and that is the important thing to remember.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Miracle of Life...and CHOICES

I remember my final trimester of pregnancy like it was yesterday. My biggest fear was how much childbirth would hurt. I'm a wimp with a very low tolerance for pain, and I also have a fear of needles, and fear of the unknown. Every time that I asked a mother what contractions feel like, I couldn't get a straight answer. The consensus seemed to be to "take the epidural." What people didn't know, because I did not tell them, was that I didn't know if I wanted an epidural. My mom had given birth to both my sister and me with natural childbirth and now that she's been gone for so many years and I felt like she has been watching over me, I wanted to make her proud. Plus a bigger fear of mine than pain is my terror of needles.

My way of making up my mind was to ask around on the birth stories board of as well as various people on twitter such as @HeidiMurkoff, people who were doulas, and some OB nurses. Many people suggested Ina May Gaskin's book Guide to Childbirth, which was an amazing read. That book aided me in the decision that it would be best for me to avoid the epidural and reaffirmed my belief that women's bodies are made for childbirth. Basically, I understood that women have been giving birth for thousands of years and are fully capable of giving birth in whatever manner we choose to do so. I am in no way an extremist and I do not like when women are judged for opting for an epidural or elective c-section. Every mother-to-be has the right to choose her birth plan, and regardless of how it happens, we all get the same amazing "push present," a beautiful baby who we have the pleasure of raising. ***Just have to disclose now that I think the idea of a "push present" where a significant other is expended to buy diamonds for the mother to be a little unusual. For me, the push present was baby J.***

I'm not going to lie and say that contractions are painless; heck, we wouldn't refer to "labor" as such if it were all fun and games, but contractions do not last forever and they come with purpose because each contraction gets a woman closer and closer to meeting that baby who has taken over her womb for what feels like an eternity. What I will say for any woman that is considering either going natural or holding off on getting pain relief for as long as possible that it helps to think of contractions as ocean waves. Each one starts small and slow, builds up to a peak, then crash back down with a rest period before the next one. Actually when I had my contractions, I imagined that I was riding ocean waves while I did my lamaze breathing, and that helped since watching the ocean relaxes me. The contractions eventually will come closer together and build in intensity, which I believe is intentional, since each contraction prepares you for the next one. If they started out with high intensity from the get-go, we would all be crying out for pain relief right at the beginning. I do want to be honest and inform my readers that I did beg for an epidural when I was 9.5 cm dilated, and then of course realized how silly it would be to get an epidural at that point when I was so close to being done with the whole experience.

My least favorite part of birth happens as the baby crowns and has an appropriate name: "The ring of fire." Feeling the head coming out does burn, but once the shoulders are born the baby just slithers out, and hearing the little (or in J's case, intense scream) cry is the best pain relief. After giving birth to J, I was exhausted initially, but after eating dinner, I had this incredible surge of energy.

All in all, giving birth is an incredible experience and there isn't a thing about it that I would change. To all my pregnant readers, don't freak yourself out thinking too much about birth because fear of the unknown is much scarier than what actually happens. Birth itself is not scary; it is amazing! When you see and hold your precious bundle, you will see how worthwhile it was, and if you're like me plan to do it again in the future.

Any other readers want to share their experiences? :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Cloth Diapers + Clothing...HOW????

One of the challenges that we cloth diaper mamas experience, especially when we first start cloth diapering is trying to figure out what to put our little ones in clothing-wise. Cloth diapers tend to be much more fluffy, even the trim diaper options are usually still a tad bigger than disposables. The reason behind this is that with cloth diapers, a bigger diaper = more absorbency. This is all fine and dandy until it comes time to buy clothing for the baby or young toddler. While the novice cloth diaper mamas think that the diapers are too big, the truth is that clothing is just created much smaller than it was in the past. Why? A lot of babies are in disposables, so the companies are able to use less material to make smaller outfits.

But do not fret! It is pretty easy to find ways to keep your angel appropriately dressed with a cloth booty :) My absolute favorite outfits are coveralls/rompers and overalls. With those, you can easily size up or even stick with the size your child would wear without the fluff depending on where you shop. I usually get the ones from Carters because their sizing is usually more generous. For summer time, J lives in the shorts coveralls for going out and about. But of course, on really hot summer days, nothing beats just wandering around in a diaper or even a diaper + a shirt. Seriously, fluffy butts are fun to show off! I reserve the coveralls more for when we go to places where it may not be considered appropriate for J to wander around in a diaper. In winter time, I like the long coveralls for inside or even size up with fleece pants, sweat pants, yoga pants, etc., with a nice shirt. I have no issue rolling up pants legs, and J doesn't mind. This year for fall and spring, I want to get some leg warmers. That way we can have his legs covered but still show off the fluff and then do a nice shirt.

For awhile, I didn't want to size up and it took trial and error to figure out what I could to do avoid compression leaking as well as prevent J from tripping over pants that were too big. However, we did figure out these neat little tricks with clothing and I have fun with my fluff! On diaper + shirt days, I match the diaper and shirt just because I can. Some people don't even realize it is a diaper my little man is wearing.

Happy dressing! :) Any other suggestions, please feel free to comment.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cloth Diaper Woes...

When you first hear of cloth diapering, you may be in one of two camps, either it sounds icky and like a lot of work or it sounds incredibly easy. Initially, I was in the first camp when I was pregnant and my cousin decided to cloth diaper her son; I wanted absolutely no part of it. I thought, "Eww. I don't wanna touch poop!" However, when J was about 7 months old I was bemoaning the cost of the Pampers which ironically are the only disposables that J doesn't leak out of and of course it took a different type of Pamper diaper to hold him over at night. With the 2 boxes of Pampers plus the wipes, it was costing us about $100/month to diaper J and I calculated that if he remained in diapers til the age of 3 like my nephew that we would be out $3600 in the long-run. Like a broken record, I would tell my lovely hubby, "It would've been so much cheaper if we used cloth diapers on J, but it's too late now, right?"

Finally a friend told me that it is never too late, and that got me thinking. So I then spent 2 months researching cloth diapers by reading blogs, watching vlogs, reading books, tweeting moms who cloth diaper their little ones, etc. After much obsession on which are the best and how to use cloth "the right way," I decided to do a cloth diaper trial through one of many online cloth diaper retailers who offers one. When the diapers came, I kept the prefolds and flip diapers in the package, convinced that I would never use them. I really thought that I would wind up going with AIO's (all-in-ones) because those are the most like a disposable. Much to my surprise, I wound up preferring the pockets for their faster drying time and customizable absorbency. Washing was simple enough: cold prewash, hot wash with some cloth diaper friendly detergent, 2 cold rinses, then line drying the diapers and using the dryer for the inserts. So of course, I invested in diapers and as I always do, I did it with all-or-nothing mentality. Instead of gradually investing in diapers, I put out money instantly: the majority of it on "China cheapies": Sunbaby diapers & Kawaiis, and bought some other "better quality diapers" that were on sale: BumGenius 4.0.

Everything was smooth sailing for the first two months, then I was hit with problem #1: stinky diapers. I started googling how to battle stinkies and first tried revamping my wash routine then switching detergents. Of course, I didn't strip the diapers before switching so that led to problem #2: repelling. For those who don't know cloth diaper lingo, repelling means that instead of absorbing urine, the diapers repel the moisture so that most of the insert stays dry and the pee soaks right through instantly. That meant I needed to strip the diapers and I tried every method under the sun within a 1 month span to strip those suckers: hot water washes all day long, hot wash with blue Dawn, then finally RLR to soak then strip. The last one did the trick. Problem #3 came along when I decided I was tired of sizing up with clothing: compression leaking. Think of a cloth diaper insert like a sponge. It can hold a lot of liquid, but if you squeeze it, liquid comes out. With a cloth diaper that has compression, the liquid comes out the top at either the front or back of the diaper.

At this point, I had been cloth diapering for three months and was fed-up, so I decided to go back to disposables for a little while. After one week in disposables, poor J got a rash and so I put him back into cloth, and of course it turned out to be a yeast rash which I figured out too late. That meant I needed to kill the fungus from the diapers and treat J for yeast. Again, the cloth was put aside and left to sit in the pail for WAY too long. His room reeked of ammonia and no amount of washing could get rid of the odor even though I did kill the yeast with tea tree oil, lots of hot water, and sunning.

Once again, I switched detergents, this time to Rockin Green and rocked a soak. Initially, odor was gone and I was washing diapers every 2 days once again. However, soon the diapers picked up a musty barnyard odor. I knew that I was not about to give up on the cloth diapers, because I really didn't want to hear "I told you so" from everyone who swore up and down that I'd wind up hating the cloth. In desperation, I contacted Stephanie of AbbysLane. Basically, Stephanie told me that the diapers were stinky because there was bacteria that wasn't being killed and that biological matter was being left behind. Worried, I decided to follow the advice on how to get the diapers back to a clean slate: I stripped the diapers with bleach then switched to Powder Tide Free (she originally wanted me to use the original powder Tide but after I said that J is sensitive to fragrance, she said to use the free version). Finally, the diapers always just smell clean out of the wash, J doesn't get any rashes whatsoever, and there is no leaking. I also now wash a little bit differently: I do a warm prewash, hot wash with detergent all the way up to the 2nd line, and 2 cold rinses. As it was explained to me, if you skimp on the detergent, there is not enough to actually work to clean the diapers and bacteria will always be present.

Now that the issues have been worked out, J has a comfy behind and I love the cloth once again!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sleeptraining...not for the weak at heart & mind...

If you're one of those people whose baby or child was just magically a good sleeper who was sleeping through the night by 6 weeks of age, then you probably can't relate to what you're about to read and I more than likely will envy you. My son, Lil J, was a nightmare from about 10 days of age on when it came to night. Whether it was colic, reflux, food allergies, or other issues altogether, I may never truly know, but what I can say is that it sucked. For the first 2.5 months, I spent at least 22 hours of the day trying to comfort a baby that just cried nonstop. I was always tense as I had no idea how to make this little being stop howling at me. NOTHING WORKED and the fact that it made my hair stand on end and made me think awful thoughts made it that much worse. 

Needless to say, even after he became a happy baby, night time was still horrible. My way of getting through it was co-sleeping. I know, I know *gasp* - "that's awful," you may be thinking. How could she do that? Well, I'll tell you what. When you have a child that only sleeps when tummy to tummy with you and no other way, you do crash from lack of sleep. Inevitably you find that you fall asleep with the baby in the bed with you. At first you wake up appalled to find that little innocent being asleep between yourself and your husband, grateful to realize our child is still alive then try to force your eyes to stay open even as baby and spouse still sleep. But eventually, you realize that this is the only way your family sleeps. You constantly hear comments such as, "You're never going to get him out of your bed," and roll your eyes because who has ever heard of a teenager who sleeps in bed with the parents? 

I'm an obsessive type of person, so I did start to google co-sleeping and that's when I first came across Dr. Sears. He is a doctor who actually did research on safe co-sleeping when his family fell into a similar situation. Reading what he had to say did make me feel better. Co-sleeping leads to more peaceful sleep for mama and baby, it decreases the risk of SIDS, long-term emotional health and is safer than crib sleeping. ( Even the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) acknowledges that co-sleeping can be done safely, and of course it is advised that the best way to do so is with a co-sleeper bassinet such as the Arm's Reach cosleeper. 

Beyond the research, guess what. We did sleep peacefully and J continued to thrive. Other infants I knew of were still waking up maybe 3 times a night but J would lay down with me at 7, wake up once around 1 or 2 am, then would sleep til 6 am, have a bottle, then would sleep til 8. I never felt more refreshed and the cuddling was nice. However, once he hit 4 months old, he was much bigger and I was waking up with an elbow in my face and pushed all the way to the end of the bed, and my husband and I didn't have an intimate relationship anymore. I could no longer nap with my son in my bed because I was to fearful of him rolling off without my husband on the other side of the bed. Therefore, we did invest in an Arm's Reach cosleeper mini, which my Lil J would sleep in for my husband but not for me. If my husband put him down, he would sleep til I entered the room, then he would instantly wake up and cry til mama put him in the bed. 

Naptime was an utter debacle. I could rock Lil J to sleep and then had to remain sitting in the uncomfortable old wooden rocking chair for hours or attempt to put J in his swing swaddled up, hoping he wouldn't wake up. Sometimes I would use the Kangaroo wrap & hold with the Moby Wrap so that he remained close to my heart while I could actually get some things done like washing bottles. 

My husband and I finally agreed that we should attempt to wean Lil J from his night time bottle, and then sleep train. Did you know that there are probably 1001, if not more ways to sleep train a child? Some methods promise no crying, most promise limited tears. Really, in all seriousness, you need to know your child and yourself when picking a method. The mister and I both hated the idea of letting J cry, so we knew that a straight up, cry it out, wouldn't work for any of us. There was no way we could handle letting J cry til he just passed out, it seemed far too cruel, plus J was an intense baby who would cry to the point of choking and gagging on his own spittle. We liked the idea of a modified CIO where we could go in at timed intervals and bought a book called "The Sleep Easy Guide." According to this book, we had to introduce some type of lovey and apparently it needed to smell like mama, start a bedtime routine, take away the pacifier unless the little one is able to replace the pacifier himself or herself (to which we decided hell no), take away the swing, car rides, and anything else he used to fall asleep. We gave this method a good solid go, except that we didn't take away the pacifier or the swing, and didn't want to do naps and bedtime at the same time. Unfortunately with J, going into the room at timed intervals only made him cry harder and we had trouble sticking to the alloted time frames. Then finally one night, J slept for 10 hours one night and did so as long as the hubster did bedtime. All it took was me doing it one night and it was all undone. We would attempt this method 2 more times, with the same results. 

The night time and naptime situation gradually became worse, and I cannot help but wonder if it is because we tried to sleep train J before he was ready; most don't recommend doing so til 6 months of age. Night time progressed to J waking up 2 hours after falling asleep, crying for 3 or more, going back to sleep in his swing for 2 hours, again up crying for many hours, and so on and so forth. For naps, I had to put J in his swing and lay in front of it until he fell asleep. If I left his line of vision, he just cried nonstop. Once he was asleep, however, I could disappear. I found myself making excused for his not sleeping each night: wonder weeks, teething, separation anxiety, and the list goes on and on. Both my husband and I were completely exhausted, and argued nonstop when we were together. We were miserable and had to do something about it, but what? 

One day, I happened to come across a woman named Pam Nease on twitter and she told me that she could help me. For her fee as a sleep consultant, I wasn't really sure I wanted or could afford her assistance in this. Plus what would my husband think? Another month went by and finally, beaten down and desperate, we used his Thanksgiving bonus from work to hire Pam after having a free 15 minute phone consultation with her. I don't know that I would consider Pam's sleep sense method to be a cry-it-out method at all. There was crying as J protested us changing things, but never the way he cried with the modified CIO. Not to mention, we were there supporting J in his room the entire time, not just standing outside his door listening to his crying and wringing out hands. The third night, J slept for 11 hours straight and I was floored. From then on, he always slept 11 hours and has taken wonderful predictable naps. 

I think what all of this comes down to is that if you are dealing with an infant or child who is impossible at bedtime and naptime, then you need to know your child in order to find a method that will work; no two children are alike so they all need a plan that is created just for them. Of course, I think that Pam is awesome and recommend her to everyone because thanks to her, we are a very well rested family. I also know that my husband and I intend to hire her right from the beginning with our next child so that we never have to sleep train.  

If you want to know more about her, you can check out her website

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Extremists: AP Parents vs The CIO Camp

"Are You Mom Enough?" This title and extreme picture of a mother nursing her 4 year old on the cover of Time magazine would be the cause of much heated argument between nursing moms and formula feeding moms, AP moms and CIO moms, and just all different groups of moms in the United States. Rather than opening people's eyes to what AP means, it only confirmed the belief in minds of close-minded individuals that all attachment parents are insane. On one facebook post, I remember reading the following response in regard to attachment parenting: "The next generation of over-babied brats." 

You know what I think? Oh goodness, you're it comes...out of the mouth of the oddball. On both sides, there are extremists. There are the parents who say, "My son had lots of health issues and I just let him cry it out. 45 minutes of screaming, then he fell asleep, and he never cried again." *cough* Bullshit *cough* Then there's the parent who says, "I use AP, wear my child everywhere, did baby led weaning, cloth diapered, nursed til he/she was 2, co-slept, never go on dates with my husband, give my child everything he/she needs and don't feel that my husband and I are missing any intimacy even though we never talk and mostly just fight." *rolling my eyes* Can you see how each side is a bit intense...and a tad bit silly?

Let's look at the real definition of attachment parenting according to Dr. Sears:

Attachment parenting is a style of caring for your infant that brings out the best in the baby and the best in the parents.  Attachment parenting implies first opening your mind and heart to the individual needs of your baby, and eventually you will develop the wisdom on how to make on-the-spot decisions on what works best for both you and your baby. (

If you really take the time to read the above definition, attachment parenting is about nurturing your child, attending to needs early on, and getting to know your child so that you can do what works best for him or her with on the spot decision making. Some babies fuss to fall asleep as a way to blow off steam at the end of the day, others are highly sensitive and if left to fuss will cry and scream until he or she is hyperventilating. Instead of listening to the unsolicited advice that you inevitably will get from everyone, listen to your heart, because you as a parent knows best. Do you need to pick one side over the other? NO! You don't need to follow every tenet of one philosophy or the other. You can be a middle-of-the-road parent like me who truly makes decision based on knowing your child. And guess'll have a happy, blessed family.