Friday, August 27, 2010

Real Momma's Cloth Diaper... Part 1

"Real mom's use cloth diapers", or so somebody jokingly told my stepmother years ago and she recently shared with me. Staring down at the liquid gold filling up the diaper I was changing at the time. I thought those must be real crazy moms. I changed my mind though not long ago when my husband and I were purchasing our very first box of Diapers in almost 6 months of parenthood. Diapers aren't cheap and it appeared that giving nature of my family had finally worn out in the diaper department and we were going to have to start buying out own. Standing there in toys are us I spied a 12 count package of Gerber cloth diapers and a little light went off and made me remember all the WTE mommies who cloth diaper and how much the liked it. I pointed them out to my husband and said that maybe we should go to cloth! To my complete amazement he agreed on the spot. Ummm, wow, that never happens! That got the wheels turning and I decided to do some research.
While I used to think I would never ever even halfway consider using cloth diapers I have to admit it makes a certain amount of sense. Firstly and most important to me it saves money. Especially when you have more than one child and can re-use your diapers on your second or third baby. Think about walking into the store to purchase things for babies and walking by the diapers and wipes without a second glance. You'd never have to purchase either one again - ever. How's that for cool huh?  Then there is Mother Earth to consider. According to what I have read a regular disposable diaper hangs around in a landfill for three to five hundred yeas (depending on your source). Even if we use the lower of the two numbers that's still a staggering figure to me. To put it in better perspective that means that every single disposable diaper ever made is STILL HERE. Think about that. The very first pampers to roll off production is still sitting around somewhere. That a lot of diapers and of course the number grows daily. I'm thinking good 'ol Mother Earth would appreciate it if we'd be good and try and keep things somewhat clean instead of trashing them like a teenagers bedroom.

So all that fact finding got me set on cloth and I set about to purchase diaper. I thought that would be pretty straight forward.. It wasn't. Apparently there are all sorts of cloth diapers out there ranging from the versions from  our grandparents days to high tech all in ones that basically look and act just like a disposable only you wash it. There are also all sorts of sizes to think about as well as diapers that adjust from very small to very large. Mind boggling is an understatement. Enter Marissa of Growing Green Bums which is a little store here in our local area (Gulf Breeze, FL) and sells diapers both in store as well as online. I was very excited to have stumbled upon a place where I could go in and actually look at the diapers and gets hands on with them rather than relying on opinions from others and being forced to purchase online with no guidance at all. This place is GREAT. I was able to set up a consultation which was like a little mini everything you need to know class. VERY helpful! Not only did I get to see every type of cloth diaper but I was able to address some of my concerns about the whole idea which mainly was how bulky the diaper would be. With that out in the open I was steered towards diapers that had a trimmer fit and were the types of diapers I felt I could handle. In my case I felt like pre-folds were not a good place to start. I wanted to try the easiest type of diapers, the ones that would function most like my pampers swaddlers. I got set up with three diapers, all three a different brand, to try out as well as a wet bag and some laundry detergent. 
I got a Thirsties Duo, I was attracted  by the fit and the fact that I wouldn't have to take the insert out to wash it, it does that on it's own. Next was a Flip diaper which is I guess a step up from pre-folds and covers. It has a pad in it that can be changed when wet and replaced ( if I had purchased more than one pad lol). The cover can be wiped clean until it get soiled. The third diaper was a rumperoo's and it's very similar to the Thirsties, basically I got it because it was CUTE ! It has little sea creatures on it and well Nicholas' nursery is an under the sea theme so of course I had to have that one.

So there it is. I have begun my cloth diaper journey. I have the diapers in the dryer now after having washed and rinsed them. Nicholas is already in bed for the night so the great first day in cloth will have to wait until in the morning. I can't wait! I am hoping I can get the hand of the cloth before he has a poo. Poo scares me lol. Daddy is going to make us a diaper sprayer if I decide I am indeed going to stick with this cloth idea. He's on board, especially now, after our little diapering meet up. I am really excited though my family is sitting back shaking their head in amazement that I even want to give this a shot. They think I am nuts anyway so this really shouldn't come as such a shock to them. :P I think I'll do fine. I also think it is possible that I could be blogging in a week or so about what a crappy idea this was but I hope not. I'm really looking forward to the saving. Plus did I mention the diapers are CUTE!! :) Will have to post pictures soon !

Other Useful Links You May Like
The Diaper Pin
Diaper Swappers
Cost Analysis (by Growing Green Bums)

Babyfood wars - Peaches

So we tried Peaches. I apparently loved Peaches as a baby and my mom sang a song to me about peaches. Must have been one of my favorites. So the way I saw it Nicholas should get the same royal treatment during "peach week" (we try one new food each week). I undressed him, loaded him into the booster seat, fed him his oatmeal, and then came the peaches. I sang the peaches song and everything. I guess because he thought the spoon was going to have oatmeal on it he opened wide and chomped down :) He was in for a surprise. He open his mouth right back up giving me a view of my fresh frozen peach puree and the look on his face was priceless. He opened and closed his mouth several more times and when I approached with a new spoonful he was ready for me. He ate it but then repeated the open mouth shock face lol. Maybe they were tart?? He likes bananas so I know he likes sweet things so maybe this was just a different kid of sweet? I dunno, but it was super funny!! I wish I had had the camera rollling. He ate most of the peaches in the bowl before he was full. His level of surprise went down with each spoonful but the funny faces continued. I wasn't sure he liked peaches. I tried again at dinner time and the reception was much better. Maybe peaches just taste better after green beans than after oatmeal. Anyway he liked them at dinner time and ate everything I offered before having to go get into the bath because he had lovely green beans on his face and arm and chest and peaches in his hair. Yummm. lol.

The one thing about peaches that I neglected to remember is that if your baby is stopped up one of the foods that will help to unstop them is peaches. Can you guess where I am going with this? Let's just say these things should come with a warning lol. It wasn't as bad as the apple prune juice spiked oatmeal (we no longer have that particular product in our household) but it was pretty impressive. I had to take a minute before I could continue the diaper change and take in the awesomeness of this slightly orange poo that had filled his poor pampers up to max capacity. Probably my pause was due to the need to catch my breath because the stench was quite impressive too *gag*. It made me seriously think about my sanity since I am about to get started with cloth diapers.I guess I just haven't gotten over the drastic changes in poo that have taken place since the addition of formula and solids to our diet. Man! I am now thinking I will reserve peaches for special occasions when I am upset with somebody. I will calmly as them to please babysit for Nicholas. Slap a cloth diaper on his mini money maker and load him up with peaches. Hehehehe, better be nice to me huh?? :P

Next week sweet potatoes ... or will it be avocados ???? Who knows, the gods haven't given me a sign yet.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

We have our first word, well kind of

Babies begin to vocalize very early in life, first with crying and then with coos and then one day that begin trying to copy the sounds that you make. I learned this first hand a couple of weeks ago when my sister taught Nicholas, in the course of about 20 minutes, to pretend to cough. >:(  He now makes that lovely throat clearing/coughing noise and then breaks into a big grin like he just won the noble peace prize. I am biding my time until my sister has children so that I may take my revenge. Now it's a well known fact that infants begin putting vowel sounds along with consinents around 5/6 months on average and the What to Expect the First Year carries a warning to moms that the "D" sounds is often learned before the "M" sounds so Da Da tends to come before Ma Ma. Well I wasn't having any of that so when Nicholas started making "M" sounds on his own a couple of weeks ago I made sure to make those sounds at him so he heard them more than the "D". I wanted him to say Mama first. It worked. Over the weekend we begin hearing mumbled versions of "ma ma ma ma ma" coming from him. Sunday night, the 22nd, he said Ma Ma! loud and clear. YAY!!!!!!! How exciting. Now of course he doesn't know what he is saying he's just making noise but I can still pretend that he was calling his mommy. He does it most often when he wants something so I can imagine it won't be long before he makes the connection to the sound and me. :) So CUTE!! Trying to get it on Video but every time I pull out the camera he stops saying it and just smiles real big. What a ham!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thoughts in the wee hours of the morn'n

Cripes it's just after 5am, I've been up most of the night. I dozed a bit but not much. I've been pumping and pumping and pumping some more... I'm a little bit sore and a little bit worried that somebody is going to think I like my breast pump more than I should. *Eyeroll* I don't, I promise. I scared the living crap-ola out of myself walking into the kitchen just before 3am to get the parts of my pump that were drying in the sink b/c it was time again to get the girls to work. My dog Howie has a big plush toy snake and I saw it laying across the kitchen floor in the dark and about had a heart attack. *giggles* I almost pee'd myself. Jebus! Anyway as I sit here in the dark the house is quiet and I am thinking....

Dear "Girls"
       Please wake up, I know it's been 6 whole months and the last couple have been kind of crummy but I really feel like you're falling asleep at the wheel. I am doing everything I can to help you out and am swallowing enough herbal supplements to make me feel like a druggie without the good drugs and the high and still you're falling flat. I really need you to get back to work. We need 24 oz a day at least and you're just not coming close to that. Now I know, I know, ladies it's close to that time of the month and we get a little hormonal distraction which decreases production but now is a really bad time take a couple days off, I just can't spare you, I'm sorry. You will just have to work through it. You know, take one for the team kind of deal, Nicholas and I need you. You're providing a great service and a fantastic product but in order to keep said product in stock we're going to seriously have to increase the output. I'm sorry that we've lost the baby suction device and now have to rely on the Medela, but really girls, it's a top of the line pump truly the next best thing to baby. You should feel blessed to have such a nice pump, I do. If we cannot get back in shape I am going to have no choice but to let you go and maybe think about those implants. If you can't be functional (brainy,productive) then you might as well be pretty.... pretty DD wouldn't hurt. I'm sure the hubs wouldn't mind when it was all said and done. I hope I've made myself understood to you. I've always been a little iffy about you guys, but I'm glad we had this little talk. Now you're going to perk up right and start working hard again? We're going to sleep on it for a couple of hours, the critter will be awake soon, and then we're going to be raring to go right. I hope so. This is your final warning... I really hope we can work this out and not have to have another conversation like this again. (((Hugs))) Ladies, just a few more months and you'll get a well deserved vacation. It'll be a nice long one too since you won't be needed again for full time work until we have our next baby. You'll just have to worry about the part time stuff for hubby, but that's easy. OK, well I'll let you both get back to work and I'm hoping to see an extra ounce or two from both of you in the next couple of days and then we can go up from there.

Well.. Now I am sleepy, wonderful :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Restaurant Rudeness

Manners are important, no doubt about it and they are especially important out in public. What a wonderful place this world would be if everyone's child was born perfectly mannered from day one, never cried in public, never threw toys at playmates, and in general didn't bother anyone. Umm hey... you're day dreaming about that aren't you?? *Smack* SNAP OUT OF IT! Welcome, my friends, to the real world. The one where babies don't always cooperate with your plan to have a nice family meal. Tonight was one of those nights. Nicholas got a little over stimulated with the abundance of grandparents he possesses and got a little cranky. He had a hard time settling down and it wasn't his fault. He is the kind of baby who when he gets upset a calm quiet voice, shhhh'ing, or complete silence from you is your best bet rather than trying to talk over his wailing to tell him to calm down or try and sooth him. The louder you get the more worked up he is going to get. My grandmother is one of those people who wants to try to be heard over him and tonight he had a total baby meltdown in the living room of my mom's house. I finally got him calmed down enough to eat his carrot dinner and he was just a little cranky b/c he was tired after that. Sooooo what we should have done was go home, give him his last bottle of the night, and put him to bed. What we decided to do instead was go to dinner. Bad call on my part. I honestly thought he would calm down and behave himself or sleep - Nope. He fussed a lot of the time we were there and it didn't help that the place we went apparently had some air conditioning problem and it was just as warm inside as it was outside. In Florida, in August that's usually a bad sign. He did settle down and behave a fair amount of the time but he got upset several times too and fussed and then started crying. Understand here that we were seated among several tables full of young children and infants maybe only slightly older than he is and this place is noisy in general anyway so it's not like we were in a nicer type place and he was disturbing the whole restaurant. Most people probably couldn't even hear him and most of the people who did didn't care maybe because they saw us doing everything we could to keep him happy and calm. It's not like I was content to just sit there and eat and let him scream or anything. However, there was one lady at the table directly behind ours, (I was seated so I was facing her), who apparently was annoyed. Throughout dinner she kept giving me and Nicholas dirty looks and kept rolling her eyes. I seriously wished I had had a huge bottle or been able to whip a breast out to feed him then neglect to burp him, shake him up and waltz him on over to her table to spew! Bitch. At least if I had done that she would have had a reason for all her dirty looks. Hey since he ate carrots for dinner anything that came up would probably be bright orange and would most definitely stain. I could have been really mean here now couldn't I. What really kind of irked me was when Nicholas settled down and was hanging over my mom's shoulder starring at the lady and smiling his best Hi I'm Nicholas smiles she just glared at him. Who glares at a baby? What kind of in need of serious therapy weirdo do you have to be to be starring daggers at a smiling infant? To make matters worse she was accompanied by an young man who appeared to be her son and who looked like a real upstanding citizen... you know the kind right, the just go out of Juvie and is on probation for busting up a couple of neighborhood cars kind. Nice. I was sooooo glad when they finally got up and left so I could stop visualizing throwing my drink at her. It's not like he was THAT bad and he wasn't even annoying the whole time we were there. So chill lady, show some respect for people who are trying their best and are doing a good job. Sorry you blew your chance, now it's my turn so keep your nasty looks to yourself  less you happen upon somebody not as polite as I am who is willing to smack them right off your ugly mug for you!

Cut mothers of very young children some slack. Reserve your annoyance for people with out of control toddlers and pre-schoolers that aught to know better!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Real mom's decide for themselves (and hopefuly they make the right choice)

Recently a reader posted an unexpected question on my blog, one that really spoke to me personally because of all the criticism I myself endured when Nicholas was first born, and frankly will probably continue to have to deal with on my journey as I do things my own way instead of how everyone expects me to do them. The short version of my answer would probably read something like ,"Opinions are like assholes, everyone (god willing) has one and mine is the only one that counts". The longer version follows below.

Pregnant myself for the second time, I am trying to decide on Baby Wise vs. EVERYONE ELSE. Baby Wise says listen to your instincts as a mother. Everyone else seems to say, ask a friend, read a blog, or go against the doctors. My two year old son was a beautiful, independent premie, who is thriving today. I simply allowed my instinct to raise him. What would be the advantage of following these lifestyle guides of raising children that are being offered? It seems like, not only would I be raising a needy, clingy, always-wanting-mommy baby, but it also would take away the joy and pride of saying I did it my way. Will I really be doing it my way if I follow someone elses way, such as Attachment Parenting?

A couple of things jump out at me right away here. One is, dear reader, I would LOVE to live in your world where attachment parenting is the norm and is thus "everyone else". That's not the world I live in though. The crappy place I call home clings to misguided and inaccurate information on infants and assumes that you should treat your new family member very much like the family dog. Let me here explain that I am a certified dog trainer and in my training classes I teach my students that behaviors that are rewarded are likely to be repeated and behaviors that offer no reward will go away. So if you are teaching your puppy to stay in his kennel and he cries you ignore him. If he jumps up on you asking for attention you ignore him and walk away. These bits of advice are in direct conflict with old school training methods where you beat the living crap out of the dog with a rolled up newspaper, jerk on a coke chain, or spray it in the face with vinegar and water. That is called negative reinforcement and a lot of parenting methods are based on similar concepts. Those two dueling training styles alone are a good example of dueling parenting styles actually and I have seen more than one poor dog damaged as the result of negative training methods while my husband is a living breathing example of why "they other guys" shouldn't be listen to about parenting, bless his heart. New school dog training tends to focus on behavior modification via positive reinforcement and negative (meaning you take something away instead of adding a smack upside the head) punishment. Either way, basically in a nutshell, you are the boss and you have to show the puppy/dog that you are in control. Still with me? I hope so, because I said all that to say this - Infants even ones approaching their first birthday are and not even half as emotionally, mentally, or physically developed as an 8 week old puppy is. They are not capable of understanding the concepts that the puppy can at this stage. The average dog by the way is on the same intelligence level with the average 3 year old child if you are interested. The average infant is not. They don't even possess object perminance until sometime around 5 or 6 months usually. We as a society need to step back and stop treating babies like pets and stop parenting for our own convenience. We as mothers need to step back and take a look at how a baby benefits from our parenting instead of how we're going to benefit. We should start putting baby first and not worry so much about our hair and makeup and the fact that we didn't have time for our double latte' this morning.Once you have a baby life is no longer about just you, it becomes life plus baby and is really more about the baby.

I will here insert that I am an attachment parent b/c that is what mothers are hardwired to do, or at least I was. Society as a whole, at least in our country, promotes what I call convenience parenting and books and programs like babywise have an almost cult following. These are called infant management systems, the name alone should jump out at you. They aren't parenting guidelines, management and parenting aren't the same thing. I myself don't like some of the concepts presented in babywise, which was not written by a pediatrician, or other books like it. I am not a fan of a lot of the sleep training systems either to be honest.  I don't feel like anyone who doesn't have a MD behind their name or a PhD in child development has any business telling me what I should and should not do with my child. Being that I know my baby better than anyone on the planet I'm in the best position to parent than a book or a website no matter who wrote it. Am I prepared to bash a parent who does like these systems? Yup, but in the spirit of play nicely with others I don't and won't. :) Now I'm not gonna spout of tons of facts and figures and quote articles of this or that study that was done. You can find all that info on your own and I believe you should actually because what you learn yourself becomes YOURS rather than just advice from somebody. Seeeee killing two birds with one stone now aren't we? Doing that you CAN be proud that the style of parenting is truly your own. Just because I read up and learned more about so called attachment parenting or any of style of parenting doesn't mean I am not parenting MY way. My family can tell ya no doubt that I do it my way and only my way and they all sit there in awe.. oh wait no that's disbelief maybe at some of what I do. My stepmother and sister are in shock at my desire to cloth diaper. Come to think of it so is my own mother and grandmother but who cares? I did the homework and I made the call. Cloth it is. Just because I didn't invent the concept doesn't mean I am following somebody else.

I can tell from your question that you are concerned with some of the myths of attachment parenting. Mainly the one that I myself was concerned with at first too - the raising of a whiny spoiled over dependent brat who can't hold his/her own in the real world. I don't blame you. (BTW I studied child development and early childhood education on a college level while in high school and ALL the text books and studies agree that you cannot spoil and infant by attachment style parenting) Sometime in the 1890's children became a inconvenience (though usually a somewhat welcome one) instead of a blessing, pregnancy became a medical condition instead of a glowing joy, and tons and tons of advice was dished out about how to control and train your child and why you should. NONE of it was really based in scientific study because there were no studies at the time. Most of it was more about social graces when you think about it. Young infants were said to need discipline to prevent the manipulative little schemers from controlling their parents lives and growing up to be the above mentioned spoiled brats. Newborn babies and infants who remember cannot even see clearly much less understand the concepts of control of manipulation were put on strict schedules and parents were to let them cry when they wanted to teach them to be quiet such as at night or why they cried before it was time to wake from a nap or eat again. They were told to ignore them when they tried to get attention (especially via crying), and when they were being difficult to a parent was to show them who was really in control... Sound Familiar? Woof Woof. Previously mother's had been attachment parenting and breastfeeding and baby wearing for centuries and now all of a sudden that was out of fashion and motherly wisdom fell by the wayside and was bred out of us.

I think you should follow your instincts as a mom but first you might take a step back, and now is a great time to do it since baby isn't here yet, and examine what your  instincts are and what fuels them. Are they motivated perhaps by what is easiest and most convenient for you (and yes I am keeping in mind that you already have a child), or are they really geared towards what is best developmentally/emotionally for your newborn. Take paci use for instance. What exactly is the point? The point is to allow you to put the baby down and go about your business without interacting for a short while and without having to hear the baby cry. Why not put the baby in a wrap or a sling and wear them while you go about your business and promote a strong bond and pacify baby at the same time. Now that's not to say there isn't a time and a place for baby to sit tight and mommy to do something else but usually you can wear a baby and multi task. Plus all the extra calories you burn you get, get rid that baby bulge momma!! lol. Nicholas is sooooo visual and readily interactive partly, I believe, because he is always up and at almost eye level with everything in the world rather than down in a stroller or left in a swing or bouncy seat. He gets tons more interactions and he learns from them. How can that be bad for development so long as we don't let him constantly observe wanna be "gansta's" in the mall flashing gang signs to one another. A good point to make here is that while Nicholas is a high need hold me type baby the more I wear him the more confortable he is to have free play on the floor on his own. He also sleeps through the night and I don't have to nurse or rock him to sleep every night. I did at first and it was annoying at first but you know what I told myself to just keep at it and viola, sleeping baby no book needed. I put him to bed wide awake and don't hear a peep out of him for 12 hours.
Ask yourself why you are willing to do something VS why you are not. Thinking back to the spoiled brat we're worried about check out some of the more primitive societies who think we are a bunch of idiots for how complex we make parenting. Do they have clingy children. NO and their babies are worn all the time and breastfed and not left to cry ever. The ones who turn out wrong are probably fed to the lions or something but the fact remains that they don't have spoiled brats because of their attachment style. So if you do your homework and take the lessons to heart whatever they may be, and know when to back off with it and how you shouldn't worry yourself about the clingy always wants mommy kiddo. Dr. Sears writes in The Fussy Baby book that therapists offices are full of adults who need reparenting, meaning they were unable to get what they needed emotionally as a child. Interesting?

Bottom line; How I am going to parent is for me and me alone to decide, nobody else gets in on that. Are you a bad person for deciding to use some of the more extreme aspects of an infant management system? Maybe... ummm no, I mean of course not, it's your baby. You do what you think is best, that is all anyone can ask of you. Though believe they will ask you to do other things. I find myself having to stick to my guns and explain my beliefs and back them up with facts a lot. When I began setting my parenting beliefs in stone I made a list. For example with breastfeeding I did the old list of pro's lists of con's and I did the same for formula. I then looked at the facts and stats and decided to breastfeed. Should you get all your info from a blog.. No.. not unless it's this blog... LoL. :p Should you get all your info from a book. Nope, though I highly recommend reading be a good place to start your research. Should you go against your doctor?? That's a harder one to answer and the short answer would be maybe. You should question your doctor if you feel something might be off. Doctors aren't God and their opinions govern a lot of what they do even if they don't mean for them to. In matters of life and death, the doctor went to medical school and you probably didn't so step back and let them handle it rather than being a pain in the ass. Any other time ask WHY. Why do you want to use a medication, when we could try a natural alternative like eliminating certain foods from the diet. Never hurts to try after all. A lot of parenting skills are hard wired into us, don't forget that either. Though I call myself an attachment parent in, truth, I happily sample from other schools of thought. Mixing and matching is OK in my book. So while I don't allow my 6 month old baby to scream and cry at nap time I do allow him to fuss for a few minutes to see if he will settle himself down and go to sleep. I do what works for me and what works for Nicholas. As he gets older I evolve my parenting style to keep it age appropriate. He's allowed to work issues out on his own and if he can't I help him, but I give him time to try. I don't hover over him all the time going, "OMG he made a little peep pick him up!" which is what a lot of people mistakenly think attachment parenting is. When your baby is an older toddler THEN you can start the training :) THEN you can assume behaviors that are rewarded are repeated and visa versa. THEN you can introduce concepts of discipline. A baby though just isn't going to understand and you can't speed up their understanding by continuing to try it.

Real mom's look at all the available information and choose for themselves!! Here's to all the REAL MOMS out there!! We're all on the same mission really to raise happy healthy offspring that don't become serial killers or rapists or god forbid lying politicians. How we do it is up to us.

Useful links in my opinion
Attachment parenting international
Useful articles on babywearing 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Product Review - Simple Green pet stain and odor remover.

*Cross posted from THE WONDER PUPPY the best new pet related blog out there :)

Prior to now my favorite pet cleaner was Get Serious that I often purchased and loaded up into our rug doctor carpet cleaner. Worked great for spot cleaning too. Not long ago I ran out and about the same time our bad kitty got locked out of the room with the litter box and used the carpet in the baby's room. GROSS!! I loaded up baby in the backseat of the car and proceeded to the pet store. Guess what, No Get Serious in stock. OH NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I looked over all the various cleaners on the shelf and Simple Green caught my attention. I unscrewed the cap to take a sniff and the smell was fresh and kind of pine like so I shrugged and stuck it in the cart. When I got home I applied the cleaner to the spots on the carpet and scrubbed. Surprise! It works :) Not only did it get those spots out it also cleaned a spot that the previous cleaners I have tried and loved failed to remove in front of the fire place. Yay! So I'm loving this stuff, not that I need a it all that often for potty spots but with 6 four legged children running around we sometimes have puddles that show up. Saleen was in heat recently and it cleaned blood up when she dripped between panty changes. When Wonder licked a frog and threw up all over the living room Simple Green to the rescue.

Another really fantastic plus to Simple Green is that it is non toxic and biodegradable. Saving the carpet and the planet. It is it pretty inexpensive as far as pet cleaners go as well. A product that works and doesn't break the bank. Fantastic! It also smells ok and that's a huge deal for me. I can't stand cleaners that either stink themselves or don't remove the odor from the stain they are cleaning. This not only removed the odor but also leaves a light fresh scent behind. Even after having used a lot of the stuff on the old spot in front of the fire place the odor didn't overwhelm the living room though I could smell it a little. Long story short I am loving this stuff. Based on what I've seen with the pet cleaner version I am totally going to purchase other cleaners in the Simple Green Line

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Baby Food Wars II - Additives are a no no

OH MY GOD... did I ever learn a lesson today about why it isn't really a good idea to add anything to baby cereal (in this case oatmeal). It all started on Friday when hubby and I went out to breakfast after Nicholas god awful early doctors appointment. I had nursed Nicholas before I left and then fed him from a bottle what I had been able to pump in the car on the drive over b/c I had forgotten my cooler and couldn't store the milk. I did remember to bring his baby oatmeal and some bottled water it was in the diaper bag. Anyway so there we sit with him being a goober about eating his oatmeal and I put a teeny bit of sugar in it. He ate it up. Now I know, I know I shouldn't have done that. It was only the one time and eventually I'd probably be adding fruit to his cereal anyway.. maybe... I dunno, obviously though it set me up for a dangerous frame of mind.

Fast forward to this morning Nicholas again didn't seem as interested in his oatmeal. It had been about 90 minutes since his last bottle and normally he would be hungry by then. (important side note; he had already had a dirty diaper that morning and he usually only poops once a day). Soooooo I don't keep sugar in the house and I'm not going to add fake sugar to anything except my peppermint teas which lead me to the last bottle of apple prune juice that was hanging around. We bought it two months ago when I thought he was constipated and gave him a little bit in a bottle. It didn't work, no dirty diaper. I ended up drinking the other two bottles (didn't work for me either though I don't have a problem being regular) which left one in the cabinet. Since he's already had it and I know he wouldn't have any sort of reaction from it I decided well why not add a tiny bit of that to the oatmeal and see if he likes it better. He hasn't ever been a big fan of the oats and when he discovered other foods he was even less of a fan, though it does rank just slightly higher than rice cereal with breast milk :P Well, dumb me added less than half of an ounce, really just a tiny bit, just enough to add a little flavor to the oatmeal. Nicholas was so so about it and ate most of what I had made for him. Ok, I made more than usual so no biggie if he didn't finish it all.
Well.... a couple hours later he has a second dirty diaper. Wow, ok, that's a surprise but not completely unheard of. It's happened a time or two before though it's rare. An hour after that he's playing on the floor with hubby and all of a sudden he STINKS! Check the diaper, Whoa, another one! Go change. We're getting ready to leave to go visit family and had another diaper issue. Daaaannnnggg. This is when it starts to dawn on me that maaaayyyybe I shouldn't have given him anything containing PRUNE juice? Hubby finishes changing the diaper and only gets about four steps out of the nursery when it becomes apparent they another visit to the changing table is in order. Phew! Stinky boy and unhappy daddy! Change him again and we are finally about to get in the car and out the door. We survived the car ride without another diaper bomb and after being away from home for a couple of hours I figured we were in the clear. Nope. Late this evening he was playing on the floor with my sister, who had fed him a bottle and his peas and carrots dinner earlier and she starts to smell him again. Diaper check in which she managed to stick her finger in the deposit and yup we need a new diaper, some baby wipes, and a hand washing. :P  Golly, I don't think he pooped that much even as a newborn but I could be wrong. His tummy was never upset or anything which is good and he didn't seem bothered, he just was going to clean house internally today I guess? I wonder if he'll poop tomorrow at all? Will be interesting to see. Maybe he'll decide to rest on the 7th day and only have wet diapers lol. Kind of makes you think a little harder before jumping into cloth diapers that's for sure :)

Note to self, don't put Apple Prune juice in baby cereal unless baby really is constipated. While we're on he subject maybe just let him east his cereal plain, he doesn't need the sugar and we don't need to create a picky eater.

Baby Food Wars

Feeding babies is a messy business. Crack open and take a taste of canned baby food and you won't have to wonder why so much of it comes shooting out of their mouths and down the front of their clothes, this is especially true of cereals. We have given up on bibs in our family and learned to feed baby naked. I don't use canned food so maybe I fare a little better. My peas are freshly cooked and pureed instead of canned. Having tasted both I like mine better and so far Nicholas agrees. There are however some observations I have made over the last two weeks as we've embarked on our solid foods journey. 

Some baby foods taste better than others and every baby is going to have their own likes and dislikes that are as individual as they are. Oatmeal baby cereal  tastes and smells a bit like cardboard and in fact it's color suggests that it might have been made partly out of cardboard. Add a little baby formula and you get a extremely bland make you want to barf sludge that you scrape off a bowl and proceed to smear all over your baby, yourself and any surrounding furniture as you try and shovel spoonfuls of the stuff into a tightly closed mouth that only opens every to express displeasure in the form of a loud wail. This is how breakfast at my house goes anyway. Or at least it did this morning. lol. Nicholas it seems does not like baby oatmeal all that much now that he has discovered veggies like peas and carrots. Ahh peas and carrots, now those are some great foods for baby. Unlike oatmeal which smells a little weird and sticks to baby in a crusty layer even after wiping with a baby wipe, peas and carrots come off baby easily. Not so much on laundry. Carrots STAIN! OMG! They even stain the bowl and the spoon. We had an adorable green baby spoon with the rubberized color changing part. Well green color changing is no more, now it is a muddy carrot induced brownish color. How nice. So much for cute right. Oh well, function is what is important so it's OK I suppose. What is not as OK is the fact that occasionally baby's spit up after they eat and when their last meal included carrots you may was well just throw away the shirt. Gross. Carrot spit up is also not the most fun thing to scrub off the floors and get out of your hair. Yeah you read it right, I had carrot colored spit up in my hair. yummm, Bleh!

Another interesting observation is that not all baby spoons are created equal. What is brightly colored and comes in a pack of a million isn't always better than the munchkin four pack that looks a little plain. The right baby spoon is a must to keep baby clean and avoid external injury. Brightly colored spoons caught Nicholas' attention all right which may be the point but in our case was a hindrance. What was supposed to be an awwwww cute look his first taste of food turned into a no no let go wrestling match Mommy VS Nicholas over the spoon. Fun. Cereal and drool everywhere. Super fun. We have it on video which I posted on facebook. Somebody observed that it looked like he was trying to bite me for the spoon, and he kind of was. We switched to short metal handled spoon with little rubber ends. Those were much easier to get in the mouth and were less colorful so he wasn't as interesting in trying to take them away from me and the bowls of the spoon are shallow and easier to use in general. Those also pose less of a risk of eye injury since they handles are so much shorter. Always handy, now we know Nicholas will grow up with both eyes intact. So I have learned that with baby spoons you need a short handle and a shallow bowl.

Sometimes feeding goes well and he eats quickly and cleanly, those are the good days. On the other days, which are more frequent feeding is a little more of a challenge :) Nicholas is easy to distract and he loses interest in food when the dogs gather around under his booster seat. That happens a lot because they have figured out that food is involved and in the case of the poodles they know they can reach the baby and often try and lick his tray or his face which is a no no. They love it and Nicholas thinks it's funny but well... it's gross lol. Plus then it get in the dog's hair and makes more of a mess for me to clean up. It's messy enough as it is. Ha ha feeding a baby looks easier than it is. Just tonight in fact my sister claimed she could easily feed Nicholas carrots without getting it anywhere. Uh hu... He sneezed into his spoon and carrot puree went flying. Clean? Nope. He did eat the rest of he carrots with little problem and even ate all of his peas but he did need a good wipe down when he was finished. part of what causes some of the mess is the fact that little mouths occasionally decide they just done want to open and close themselves at appropriate times. I find myself with a baby like this. I go to give him the spoon only to have him just sit there starring at me lovingly with a little drool running down his chin. Adorable yes, helpful... ehh not really. I haven't yet resorted to the 'ol "airplane" please god just open your mouth and eat this move... yet. Really he's to young for it to make sense to him anyway. However, sometimes I catch myself trying get him to open his mouth wide by opening my mouth as I approach with the spoon. I can't help it, it just happens. Kind of shocks me but there is almost some supernatural force pulling on my jaw causing me to do it... I swear there is.. no really... somebody please believe me! :P Maybe that is what some people mean when they say that some aspects of parenthood come naturally. Diaper duty and nursing sure didn't. I just hope nobody walks in the room and catches me mouth wide open trying to spoon green goo into my son. I'll never live in down I'm sure.

Our adventures with food are just beginning but already we have tons of fun experiences and as we introduce new foods and begin to try mixes and new textures I'm sure we'll have many more misadventures :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Nicholas' weekend adventure

My husband and I have a love affair with the beach and the ocean. Handy that we live in Florida so close to the beach. Our first date was at the beach, our first kiss, our first I love you, and our wedding were all at the beach as well. Nicholas' nursery is done in a ocean theme with dolphins and fish and other sea creatures adorning the walls and a dolphin themed crib set. Nice. Here in the area we have a little marine aquarium called the Gulfarium. It claims to be the oldest marine aquarium thingy in the U.S. having opened to the public in the 50's. It's very small only a few exhibits, you can do the whole park in about two hours. They have dolphins, and a few sea lions and some seals and some salt water fish exhibits... you get the idea. They only have three shows, the main one being the dolphin show. Anyway we took Nicholas over the weekend because we needed a little family outting to try and reconnect with each other and Nicholas seemed old enough to enjoy looking at the animals.

HE LOVED IT! :) He especially liked the large salt water aquarium exhibit that they used to do dive demo's in when I was little but I guess they've stopped that now. These days you just go in and look at the living sea thing which is a large reef. He watched the fish and there was one type in particular that would go zooming by the glass and he was in baby heaven. The dolphins swimming by little viewing holes in their dolphin tank were also a big hit. I really want to take him to sea world now so that he can really look at the dolphins instead of trying to see them through small little windows. The sea lions were also a favorite because their tank he was able to see into and see them swimming. They come right up to the glass and look at you while you're looking at them. It's not a high budget operation by any means but the animals appear to be well cared for and happy so I didn't mind going there so much. They also weren't forced to preform really the shows they did were all educational the animals did almost no tricks. Just a couple of jumps here and there.

It was hot and humid and we were there about three hours taking pictures of Nicholas in various spots and trying to catch the look on his face as he viewed some of the more interesting exhibits. In all the activity we ran into an old friend. The doctor who delivered Nicholas :) I haven't seen her since he was born as she left the practice before my 6 wk check up. She talked to Nicholas and he being the huge flirt that he is gave her huge smiles and did his bashful baby routine a couple of times. We chatted for a minute before moving on. I was surprised she remembered so much about me considering it's been 6 months and she had a ton of other mothers to take care of, but she asked about the dog grooming and if Nicholas liked animals as much I did. It was touching in a way. It's also a little awkward to run into somebody who kind of amounts to a complete stranger yet has had their whole hand up your hoo hoo and has cut you open while you were awake and pulled a screaming creature, along with a few of your internal organs, out of you. But then after you've been pregnant you feel like half the world has seen parts of you that you cannot see without a mirror and have their hands in all sorts of places. Basically you don't have private parts anymore so it's all good I suppose :P

Aside from that awkwardness of seeing the O.B. between shows I also got odd looks and stares because I was wearing Nicholas in one of my new slings. Ok, so the sling isn't new exactly. I've had it about two months and when I first got it I hated it. Not long ago I offered to sell it to a friend of mine who is at this very moment in labor and delivery having her baby today. Something inside me told me to try the sling out one last time to make sure that I didn't like and what do you know. It's now my favorite, plus it's red which is one of my favorite colors :). It's easier to wear than the other one because it's so much shorter and I don't have to wrap the tail around the rings to avoid tripping over it. It's also a cooler fabric so the humid weather didn't bother us until it rained. Nice. Apparently the type of people who take their kids to the Gulfarium aren't the kind of people who have ever seen a ring sling. Oh well. He enjoyed it and it kept him high enough to see everything without killing my arms for the first half of our time there. One lady though kept starring and making ugly faces like how dare I have my baby in that thing. I wanted to smack her upside the head. 

We rounded out our little family adventure with a photo taken by the parks photographer. Kind of cute.All in all it was a good day. Going to be taking the photos and putting together a little slide show of the day's events whenever I get a spare moment... wish me luck with that lol!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Nicholas' Failure to thrive now has an answer

Failure to thrive is something I didn't want to hear but it's exactly what I did hear when our doctor saw us last Wednesday. We've been working very hard with nursing and Nicholas was doing VERY well. He nursed every hour and a half to two hours was sleeping through the nights and napping once during the day. He was also having bowl movements a couple of times a week which was a big improvement on what he'd been doing before. All the signs pointed to a baby who was eating enough. But was he really getting enough ?? Amid all the nursing and the few bottled supplements and the addition of solids there was a lot of spitting up happening. He spit up most days several times a day after eating. Usually fourty five minutes to an hour after a meal even though he had burped well. He seemed satisfied after each and every feeding and was not unduly fussy throughout the day.

Imagine the shock of both my husband and I as well as our doctor and lactation consultant when at our six month well check Nicholas had gain just a little more than half of what he should have gained and had not grown in length or head size at all. I couldn't believe it. I just didn't understand and couldn't stop the tears of frustration as the doctor explained the implications of his poor growth to my husband and I and questioned us on how much and how often he ate. He failed to gain enough at his four month appointment but then gained eight ounces in two weeks when we were sent home and told to supplement. That was about the time the spitting up had started. Now we were back to not having gained enough, again, in spite of feeding him more often and seeing him nurse well.

If a mother cares to research failure to thrive she will find that there is no exact definition on what causes it only specifics on how to spot it. It's very frustrating. Often they simply up the babies intake and assume that baby wasn't eating enough to gain. They look at family dynamics to make sure there is no neglect going on for obvious reasons. A doctor may also need to do blood work to pin down any underlying medical condition. They are also physical reasons such as tounge tie that can lead to poor weight gain and growth in newborns and infants. I would assume this is not the issue with our baby as he is already six months old. Surely a tie would have been noticed.
Preparing to do blood work our doctor asked me to pump my breast milk and feed Nicholas only from a bottle so that his exact intake could be measured and be factored into any additional exams or lab work. If I was unable to pump to enough (considering I haven't ever been very good at pumping) I was to make up the difference in formula. A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do and so I give Nicholas a little hug and heaved a big sigh. Right on cue Nicholas spit up all over me. The amount that ended up on m shirt caught our doctor's attention. The fact that he did it again about two seconds later had the lightbulb going on in our heads and I asked if that could be the problem since he's been doing it more for about a month. The answer was a loud YES! She gave us a script for Zantac to try and see if that would help at all. I was still supposed to pump but he was to get the zantac twice a day in the bottles.

His weight exploded. It been five days and I just weighed him at 12lbs 2 oz, an almost two pound gain. Shocking. He barely spits up now at all so long as he gets the meds at regular times and has begun eating solids like a champ. This week is carrot week and so far he's liking them along with oatmeal.

The only downside to this whole story is that the problem wasn't pinned down until now and that with the instructions to pump only I am losing my supply. I have never responded well to pumping only and each day I pump less and less. I am trying to keep to the doctor's advice of pumping only but I have cheated several times. I nurse Nicholas every morning when he wakes up and then feed him a bottle and I nurse him to sleep every night. The night that I attempted to not do this he screamed and screamed and screamed until I did. So he WANTS to nurse just as much as I want to nurse him. It's a little frustrating to not be able to give your baby what he wants and what he needs. Hopefully we can recover from this but I can see us being forced to go to formula. A little sad in a way.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dirty Diaper.. WHOA!!!

Holy shit!! Literally! I couldn't believe my nose this week but like it or not with the introduction of formula and solids to his diet Nicholas' back end has been working over time. I guess we are done with the care free breast milk only not so bad or smelly diapers and have moved onto the toxic waste stage. Gawd!!!
For the last half of the week Nicholas seemed to have a poop time, it was between 3:30 and 4:30 every day. The first time he did it of course was in the car on the way to my dad's house for a start of the school year part. I rushed him, car seat and all, up to the door and told my stepmom OMG, I'll be right back we have a serious diaper issue and I need to get the diaper and wipes out of the trunk (crappy day to leave the diaper bag at home I can tell ya!) It was just a sniff at what was to come.

Because Nicholas usually only poops every couple of days I didn't really expect him to do it again so soon but at the same time (3:45 to be exact) the very next day he woke up from a nap screaming. He was a very very upset baby and as I walked into the nursery it only took 0.5 seconds to find out why. It was like walking into a wall, Whoa... What is that smell?? I looked all over the floor on my way to the crib sure the cat or one of the dogs must have gotten stuck  in the room when I closed the door after putting Nicholas down for his nap and had dirtied the carpet. Nope it was the baby's diaper that was the source of the amazing stench. What was more amazing than the stink was the size of the deposit in the diaper. You would have thought it would have been leaking out and such but nope, it wasn't all that large at all. In fact I wasn't even sure there was anything in there b/c I couldn't see it through the diaper like normal. I opened it up though and it almost knocked me over! ! !

This trend continued until Sunday night when at the dinner at my mother's house Nicholas topped any diaper he's ever produced with an incredible display of baby poo power. Standing in daddy's lap he let a manly type fart and then a big grin. Daddy almost dropped him because about 0.2 seconds after the fart the smell hit him and then began to spread around the room. Nicholas then leaned forward and lifted his left leg slightly and did it again. OMG!!, I again went running for the car to collect the spare wipes since what we had on hand in the diaper bag didn't seem like it would going to cut it. I hit he door just in time to hear a rather explosive sound from Nicholas and laughter from my mom and sputtering and coughing from my husband. We laid a towel down on the diaper changing station for added protection and opener 'er up. WOW! Impressive.

If ever I needed a reason for extended breastfeeding THIS is it! To bad we are stuck supplementing with formula now and probably won't be able to get away from it this time. Oh well. Solids produce some pretty stinky diapers too so maybe it's a moot point now. Still though for the next baby I will KNOW that formula = toxic diapers and breast milk doesn't ha ha. I will miss those days, but as with everything we must move on. Wish they could formulate an infant diet that was so easy to digest it gave all the nutrition needed but also did not produce such a stink. Gosh Gerber get on that would you!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

6 months old today

Six months ago today Nicholas was born. I can't believe half a year has passed us by. I can't help but remember the scared soon to be momma I was laying in the O.R. in total shock that this IS really happening to me and nothing was going to plan. Oh how far I've come from being who I was then to who I am now. I am sure my husband has similar feelings. Looking back we saw some rough times no doubt. We didn't know we had been blessed with a "high need" baby at first and we didn't know what to do about it. All I knew was my baby was crying and crying and crying and never seemed happy - ever. I fought against this for a while until I discovered a whole new way to look at Nicholas' behavior that changed out parenting style and out perspective. Almost instant improvement. It's been hard to ignore well meaning family members who "let their babies cry". They didn't understand and they still don't to an extent. Seeing is believing with Nicholas. He was difficult back then, not so much now. He certainly has momma and daddy under his spell as well as most of the rest of our family. Breastfeeding has also not come without challenges, mostly educational in nature. It shocks me still just how many people are so poorly informed on the issue, but we'll save that for a post you can bet your bottom IS coming soon along with more info on high needs.

Nicholas began eating Solids over the weekend. I couldn't help it, I did tear up a tiny bit that my little baby was hitting yet another milestone. Just to say we did we started with rice cereal. His first attempt saw him trying to wrestle the spoon away from me rather than eat the strange slightly breast milk flavored white stuff on the end of it. We still had a lot of fun. He has in the couple of days he's been trying become almost an expert in how to eat from a spoon. He likes the cereal and we're hoping that is going to mean good things :) Next stop peas and carrots! Wow, I hope they aren't as sticky as rice cereal and breast milk is!
Video of first foods here

As I watch him grow and change I can't help but think back and smile at how far we've come. When he was first born I couldn't imagine him looking at me and smiling, or rolling across the living room floor to get where he was going, or sitting up, or reaching out to grab things... I couldn't imagine him growing up! Now I can't imagine him not being able to do those things. He has become attached to me recently and over the weekend wanted mommy time all the time. As annoying as it is it's still kind of cute in a way (for now). Looking at him sleeping just now I can't help but wonder what the next six months will hold. Where will we be in at a year old, at two, at five....? Lord I don't even want to think about starting school. 

In addition to being proud of managing to raise my son for six months without doing serious injury to him or myself (OK, OK, So we've had a couple of bumps on the noggin and scratches and pokes... but nothing super major) I can also be proud - I hope - that we have continued to breastfeed in spite of our various challenges and the almost constant criticism. Our goal was 6 months and we've reached it. Whether my family or friends or even my online contacts like it or not I AM going to celebrate that goal. I AM going to celebrate my ability to look at the situation presented to me and look through to a solution. I AM going to celebrate making a plan and following it and successfully coaxing my little one back to the breast. I AM going to celebrate not giving up or giving in. It's something to be happy about. I've done the best I could and the best for my baby regardless of what others think. Myself, my husband, and out son all happy and healthy and according to our doctor Nicholas is doing fine and she is totally OK with him being small so long as he continues to grow.He is right on the money development wise.

So here's to 6 months of Attachment Parenting, Breast Feeding, Baby Wearing, and doing it OUR way with a beautiful, wonderful,  high need baby boy who is the love of our lives. Here's to Nicholas, happy 6 months little man! :)

Feb 3, 2010 9:23 AM
6 months later, growing up :)