Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Putting Motherhood in Perspective

Seeing this changed my outlook on my post-partum body. As much as I gripe somedays, I would rather have my imperfect mom bod than the heartache of never being able to bear a child.  I need to be more grateful.

Crystal Deodorant Vs. Conventional Deodorant


          In our attempt to eliminate harmful chemicals and toxins in our lives, I stumbled across some crystal deodorant.  It is either a salt block or salts in spray form which you apply to clean skin before odor and odor is supposed to be prevented.  The salts create a hostile environment for the bacteria which cause odor. I was pretty skeptical especially since one stick cost a few bucks and could last up to a year! How many sticks of deodorant do I go through in a year? I don't want to think about it. I'm sweaty....that's all you need to know. 
        Given my penchant for sweating and smelling when I don't wear deodorant and even sometimes when I do, I decided I was a good test subject.  I purchased by very own crystal deodorant stick and hurried home.  I showered so that I would have clean skin ready for application.  The stick had to be wetted under a faucet or applied to very wet skin.  I generously applied it to my skin and held my arms up to let it dry a little.  It didn't cause any stinging or noticeable sensations.  The test had begun.
        I went about my day as normal and then went to bed and when I awoke I didn't smell! There were no chalky marks in my shirt and no staining in my shirt from the crystal.  The sniff test was a pass! No smell!!! I couldn't believe it, and I was sold.  I picked up a bottle of the spray crystal deodorant the next day, as its application was easier when water was not accessible. I have applied the crystal stick after showers and reapplied the spray about half way through my day with great success. I definitely recommend giving it a try!

       I was in no way compensated or supplied by any crystal deodorant companies.  I tried and reviewed this product of my own volition.  

Baby Sign Language

  My family and I attended a local baby sign language class.  This method of communication is purported to help with cognitive development, decrease tantrums, and improve a child's communication development, and if you use American Sign Language, you have a child who can communicate in another way!  It sounds so great to us that we just had to see what it was all about. 
       We were informed of the benefits,  learned basic signs and were instructed in how to sign in context so that the child can begin to gain an understanding.  The other baby in our class was there because he had developmental delays and was instructed to come by his doctor.  That boosted my confidence in its practical uses. It is said that Baby Sign language is best started around 6 months, but some people begin signing right away when their babies are born. 
       We have begun trying to implement it, but so far, it's been difficult for us.  The baby hardly ever looks at us while we try to do it, and we feel a little big like we're failing! 
      Do you have a signing baby? How were you successful?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Items to Forget & Items You Must Have!

          When I was pregnant, I spent a fair portion of my time fretting over the items I would need or wouldn't need for my baby.  Having never had a child, at that point, I was only able to guess.  In most cases, I guessed well enough. I did spend some money on unnecessary items and have had friends who have shared with me items that are worthless. I will share what worked and didn't work for me. 
       These are my opinions and should in no way be interpreted as safety instructions or guidelines. Always read the instructions when you buy a new product, and check for recalls! Discuss decisions with your baby's healthcare provider. 

Items to forget:

1. Bottle Warmers: Warm water works well enough, and since many more people are breastfeeding these have become obsolete.  If you are a formula feeder or an exclusive pumper, warm water works just fine! No need to spend the $$$.

2. Newborn Shoes: This is simple.  Babies don't walk, and when they are born many have bowing in their legs and feet related to their positioning in utero.  Basically, they don't tend to stay on because of the way their feet are shaped initially.  You won't use them!  Get fuzzy socks which will get you much farther in keeping your baby warm and comfortable. 

3. Wipe Warmer: You love your baby, and you want to pamper them no doubt.  The wipe warmer is silly, though.  Babies quickly accustom to room temperature wipes which are not 'freezing.' Another consideration is that if your baby is accustomed to warm wipes then the first time they will be without is when you are not home which is already hard.  It will be a bad experience when in addition to being on the scary mall changing table, your baby gets a rude, foreign, cool awakening. Skip this needless item!

4. Crib: I realize this will be met with opposition, as many people use them quite successfully.  I will amend this item and say that you could probably wait until you get your baby home to get one.  A bassinet will take you far enough that you will know if you are going to co-sleep and then you have saved the money.  If you find you are not going to co-sleep, then get that crib! If you do get a crib, make sure you get one that converts into a bed in the future, so even if it ends being an ornament while you have an infant, it will be useful one day!  

5. Baby Headbands:  This is limited to little girls for the most part, but unless, you are taking pictures, I say skip 'em. Babies just pull them off, and if they pull them down, they are a strangulation risk. 

Must-Have Items: 

1. The Portable High-Chair or the Traveling High-Chair:  Once you resume your normal life you will realize that the world is not always prepared to accomodate your little one.  These two items are perfect for family outings sitting on the sidelines at a game or at a restaurant where you don't feel like putting your baby in one of those awful 'slings' they offer to hold the carseat. My poor baby was always bumped around by wait staff like luggage in those 'slings.'

2. Baby-wearing device: Unless you have been living under a rock, you have noticed mommies all over carrying their babies in slings or front/back carrying devices.  This isn't just a fad.  Cultures all over the world have been doing it for 1,000's of years for a good reason.  Worn babies are quieter and more content, seem to learn more quickly about the world around them, and allow their mothers to go on with their daily tasks while maintaining closeness.
             I loved a basic ring-sling.  A great place to get a ring-sling is Sleeping Baby Productions.  This website even has an option for people who already have a ring-sling they are not happy with so that they can be re-sewn into a better arrangement! Another obvious favorite is the Moby Wrap.  These allow for a variety of carries, are warm & snuggly, and can be easily washed.  I loved it when my baby was brand new! My favorite carrier for the long-haul is the CatBirdBaby Pikkolo Carrier. This is great for all kinds of outings and even has a sleep hood to support your babies limp head and neck.  It can be used for a sturdy back carry with a toddler of good size! 
            When starting out with baby-wearing your baby may fuss a bit as they adjust to the carrier, but a baby should ALWAYS have their face uncovered and breath quietly.  If your baby is struggling it's too tight! 

3. Halo Sleep Sack: Not many products can boast comfort while improving safety except maybe the latest luxury sedan. The Halo Sleep Sack has the ability to immediately calm and sooth my baby and allowed her to sleep longer.  This product eliminates the need for loose blankets which can cover your baby's airways and increase the risk of SIDS. I tried a number of swaddling products.  This one took the cake and was miles ahead of the rest! 

4. 3-Wheeled Stroller with Big Wheels:  When I first saw some of the tri-wheeled strollers with big wheels, I thought must be a silly, new trend.  I did not realize how much I would need one, and it wasn't just useful for pretending to be a jogger ;) They move effortlessly and smoothly over grass and transition over a variety of terrains wonderfully.  They swivel on a dime and are easier to handle. These strollers can be found in a range of prices.  A great affordable option that I have personally tried and enjoyed is the Baby Trend Jogger which can be nabbed for around $99. A pricier option with more bells and whistles is the Baby Jogger City Elite which will run you anywhere from $300-$400.  Niether of these are serious jogging strollers and are intended for all over terrain.  If you are a serious jogger, I would recommend getting a single purpose stroller intended solely for jogging.  Multi-purpose strollers tend to give serious joggers trouble.  Speed walkers or occasional joggers can get away with the two I have recommended! 

5. Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags: Every mom wants to do the right thing and provide their baby with the safest, cleanest environment and feeding options.  Whether you breastfeed or formula feed these bags eliminate time consuming boiling of pumping parts and bottles.  They steam sanitize your parts and bottles in anywhere from 1.5-5 minutes depending on the part and microwave.  YOU MUST HAVE THESE!  They run about $6 for 5 count and each bag is good for 20-ish uses.  I admit to using these for well over 20x with no trouble! 

     What products were Must-Haves for you? What products do you wish you never would have purchased?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Nurse-IN at Applebees: TODAY @ 1pm-3pm

         In response to mothers being treated inappropriately when they began to nurse their hungry babies in Applebees restaurants, there is a peaceful demonstration known as a 'nurse-in' taking place today.  People are being encouraged to bring signs and sign options are easily accessible online. These 'nurse-ins' will be occurring all over the United States. 

Here are some ways to support the cause even if you cannot join:
Sign the Petition

Photo Credit: Paala & Jacky