Monday, September 18, 2017

Wearing your newborn baby in a soft structured "buckle" carrier

I always say - "baby wearing your first born baby is a luxury. Baby wearing any baby after that is a necessity." I truly believe that. I think back to the first months after having my son. I didn't have the luxury after having him to sit all day in a chair and breastfeed, change diapers and watch t.v. No, I had an active 4-year old and I still needed to do all the things with her (parks, school pick-up, walks around the block, grocery store runs). How sad that suddenly I couldn't just sit and allow my son to snooze all day long on my lap? How crazy that I couldn't just set my son in a bouncy seat for hours and help my daughter cut, glue, color and paint? Nope - I still needed to fulfill the needs of my newborn who wanted to be close to his mom AND care for the needs of my preschooler.  I truly NEEDED another set of hands to make things work. Enter baby wearing.

I had several baby carriers to help me get through this time so while I definitely have a bias as to what I liked and what worked for me and my body, I do think that there are some safety standards a caregiver should think about when choosing a baby carrier for a newborn.
  • Airway: Always make sure baby's airway is protected. If baby's chin slumps into her chest, reposition the baby. Grunting and snoring sounds are all signs that baby's airway may not be protected
  • Kissable: Check baby's position on your body. Baby should be worn high enough that the top of her head is kissable. 
  • Visible: Baby face should never be covered by the carrier
  • Upright: Think about how you hold a newborn. It's always in a supportive way, tummy to tummy, typically with either a hand or your forearm supporting the baby's bottom. A baby carrier should mimic this same positioning. Ideally you want a newborn to be tummy to tummy with her knees higher than hips so that she's in a seated squat position.
Let's look at Soft Structured (Buckle) Carriers
Now that I've reviewed many of the important tenets of wearing a newborn in a carrier, it's important to choose the right carrier for your baby. Most babies still like to curl up into a little ball (I call it a loaf of bread or hedgehog) and don't typically stretch their limbs for at least 10 days. For that reason, I find that soft structured carriers can be a little bit more difficult to get your baby well positioned. Oftentimes, soft structured carriers' front panels are too long so baby is sitting too low (which breaks the "visible" rule). Additionally, many soft structured carriers front panel is too wide and baby cannot go into an ergonomically correct seated squat position because the carrier's front panel goes beyond the baby's knee joint. If a soft structured carrier's front panel is too wide and cannot be made more narrow for a newborn, you'll need to purchase that carrier's coordinating infant insert. Most of my customers find infant inserts to be burdensome, hot and awkward. So then they look for carriers that don't require an infant insert. Carriers that do not require an infant insert have some sort of design to make the front panel nice and narrow to fit a newborn, 7 lb baby. Lillebaby, Beco 8, Beco Gemini and the Tula Free-to-Grow are all carriers that I've successfully fitted babies in. With the Lillebaby and Beco Gemini, you must be careful as those carriers' front panels are longer and most newborns heads do not "pop" out of the top of the carrier (again, making them not visible). There are some techniques of "boosting" your baby by using a rolled up receiving blanket but I typically don't like using tools that aren't part of the carrier to make it work for a parent/baby. 
The Beco 8 and Tula Free-to-Grow are pretty much great options for newborns. The Free-to-Grow's front panel adjusts as your baby grows and can get nice and narrow for a newborn (no infant insert needed!). The front panel can also get shorter thanks to adjusters in front, right at the straps. The Beco 8's front panel also gets nice and narrow eliminating the need for an infant insert but, it does come with a "booster" pillow that will boost baby up so that she is visible. This pillow is very different from a traditional infant insert as you don't have to strap baby into the insert before putting baby into the carrier. 
At the end of the day, there may be other baby carrier options that will better position a newborn that is still in that hedgehog position and we'll take a look at those in my next blog post. But if a soft structured carrier is something that you absolutely want to start using ASAP, then please make sure you visit your local baby wearing store that has certified experts or attend a baby wearing meeting in your community. All baby carriers will fit all bodies differently and it's important to get the right fit for you and your new little bundle!


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Repelling problems or just the case of a super soaker??

I've received quite a few emails from people asking if and why their diapers are repelling.  More often, the question is simply, "Krista-could you tell me why my diapers would be repelling?  Could it be my detergent?"  While I'm always willing to troubleshoot and figure out if it is fact their detergent or laundry routine causing repelling issues, my first question back is always, "Hey customer!  When you change the baby, are the inserts/diaper itself really soaked?  If not completely soaked, is the front/back of the diaper feel pretty wet??"

Nearly 99% of the time, the answer is "yes."  Usually the entire soaker pad or diaper is saturated or the front (if a boy) or middle/back (if a girl) if almost entirely soaked.  Once the entire soaker or part of the soaker gets saturated, the diaper is going to start leaking.  Most of the time the leaks will happen out the legs and occasionally it will be up the front, if on a little boy.  While this can be incredibly frustrating to a caregiver, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

First, you may just have a super-soaker.  But this is usually temporary.  Most children go through phases where they're breastfeeding/eating/drinking a ton because they're in the middle of a growth spurt (or about to start one) and thus their urine output is extreme.  Yes, this can even happen with a newborn.  We'd like to think that a newborn pees just a teeny, tiny bit but let's remember that newborns go through crazy growth spurts and if you breastfeed on demand, around the clock, expect a lot of pee. Once a growth spurt is over, the urine output may slow a bit and you may find that you can go a bit longer in-between diaper changes.

Second, in regards to growth spurts, at some point your child will stop with the constant small pee-pees and will do one big pee-pee every 3-4 hours--much like how you and I do it as adults.  Your older child (19 months-2.5 years) is really close to potty training, understands when he has to go pee-pee, and may bring a diaper to you after he does it.  More than likely his diaper was dry for the first 3 hours it was on and then when he peed, it was a lot.  And if he also drank a lot of of water within those 3 hours, he may soak through that diaper.  After all, his bladder is larger and is holding a lot more urine.

Third, cloth diapers are not made of synthetic materials or chemical gel to aid in absorbency.  It's just cloth.  It works pretty darn well but a super-soaker can saturate a piece of microfiber pretty quickly.  During these growth spurts, change more frequently.  Some moms tell me that if they don't change their kiddo on the 3 hour mark exactly, they can expect wet pants.  If that seems really frustrating to have to remember to change that often OR you need that diaper to last a bit longer (you're going on a longer car ride, etc.) then add some absorbency!  A hemp or bamboo doubler is super thirsty and will absorb, in some cases, 10x the amount of liquid that the microfiber or cotton insert did.  Bamboo tends to be less bulky and so is becoming a more popular choice.  If you decide to double-up on absorption, remember to put that extra bamboo or hemp insert under the microfiber/cotton.  That way as the microfiber quickly wicks away that moisture and becomes saturated, the bamboo or hemp will come to its aid and start absorbing.

Now, sometimes true repellency does happen  (you accidentally used fabric softener, mom put vaseline on baby, etc.,) and the best way to know if you're having repellency issues is to first feel how heavy the diaper is when you take it off.  If its feels like it's been barely peed in, then I recommend testing it for absorption.  Drop a few drops of water on the diaper and then lay the back of your hand against the diaper where the water is.  If your hand comes up really damp and/or the water rolls off the diaper, then sure enough you have repellency and you'll need to strip your diapers clean.

I hope this helps!  As always, email me with any questions you may have!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

2000 Fans…and counting!!!!

What a wonderful thing!  Lots of prizes to giveaway for all of my 2000+ fans!

Tonight, let's start with Itti Bitti Wet Bags.  I got two and they'll go to two lucky winners!  Enter via Rafflecopter  This raffle ends tomorrow night!
a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Oh Time…Time…Time...

I feel like I would be remiss if I didn't write a blogpost regarding the Time Magazine article, partly because I have strong opinions on this and partly because my daughter may read this post someday and see what type of a parent I tried to be and how I really did put a lot of thought into parenting her.

In case you have been living on a boat in the Atlantic or just like to stay away from the news (I don't blame you), you can read the article here, or just google "Time Magazine Breastfeeding" and you'll get some sort of synopsis by some writer on some website.

I've thought a lot about this article.  I've thought a lot about what this article means.  When my husband showed me a picture of the cover of the magazine early last week, I groaned.  My stomach kind of knotted up.  Part of me thought that perhaps Time would take a super professional, non judgmental look at attachment parenting but I also knew, being somewhat knowledgeable about how the media work, that stirring up controversy will ALWAYS sell.  And of course, after the magazine hit newsstands, all of the morning t.v. talk shows, news shows, popular blogs and radio programs decided to dive into the topic of parenting, extended breastfeeding and motherhood.

If anything, this got me thinking about my own style of parenting and how I got there.  I am an AP parent.  I did not expect to be an AP parent.  When my child was growing inside of me, I didn't research how best to raise a child.  I didn't talk to other parents about what type of parenting philosophy is best for a marriage.  Let me be honest--I didn't even know that the idea of a "parenting philosophy" existed.  I heard of attachment parenting once when my friend Julie Mendez told me about an attachment parenting group in Bloomington-Normal.  She said the group promoted sleeping with your child, using positive language, etc.  I was still a working woman and I think I actually told Julie that I thought that sounded silly and that there was absolutely NO WAY I would sleep with my child.

So becoming an AP mom was totally by accident.  As a proponent of AP-style parenting, I like to think that what I fell into naturally was, well, natural.  It was "instinctual".  As soon as I gave birth, I knew that feeling my daughter up against me made both of us feel more secure.  I knew that when she was lying right next to me in bed, we both slept better.  I knew that by wearing her in a sling, with my body heat against her belly, her tummy would feel better after eating a bunch.  I knew that breastfeeding was better for both of us.  And NONE of that I read in a book.  I just knew that if we were all happy, feeling good and healthy, something must be working right.  And the minute someone wasn't happy, healthy or feeling good, I'd change it.

Okay so that's me.  But guess what…that's probably not you.  Or maybe it is.  Or maybe it's who you thought you'd be as a parent but you're now something totally different.  And my guess is that you're trying to do the best you can with the resources, time and energy you have.  Isn't that what we're all trying to do?  So back to the Time article, it's absolutely INSANE that Time is pitting mother against mother.  A "mommy-war" must now be fought, lines must be drawn and we must all spit at one-another because we think the other "side" is wrong.  But really aren't we all just trying to reach the common goal?  Aren't we all trying to just get through another day free of broken bones, skinned knees, tears, guilt and full of love, happiness and well-rounded meals?  Aren't we all trying to raise well-adjusted kids who will do pretty well in school, be self-sufficient, feel compassion for others and love others for all the good and healthy reasons (okay those are not extensive lists!)??

So this Time article really irritated me.  I hope that new moms, or even seasoned moms, don't feel ashamed to be a certain type of parent.  I hope no mother will feel suddenly compelled to breastfeed her infant in a bathroom stall because she's embarrassed by what she heard on some talk show.  We need to support mothers--all types of mothers.  If a mother is choosing to breastfeed or bottle feed her child out in the open, good for her!  And from now on, while I may disagree with the diet (insert: artificial food colorings are evil!) a parent may choose to feed her child, I'll remember that the mom is doing the best she can.  She's making decisions that she hopes are best for her child because I highly doubt she's truly trying to ruin that child's future.  And I hope similarly, nobody will judge my child who at 2 1/2, still nurses 3 times a day, sleeps with her parents and is hugged and kissed at least 1000 times a day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Raising Babies the way of Parisians

This is a blog post unrelated to cloth diapering but a great discussion piece.

My husband and I decided shortly after my daughter was born (probably before then) that I would make the sacrifice of giving up my career and stay at home with my baby girl.  It really wasn't that much of a sacrifice.  Truth be told, I worked for about 2 months after my maternity leave and it was dreadful leaving her every day.  And I had it good--I was given 1 day off a week so I only worked 4 days. It still was tough leaving my daughter every day.  I know moms do it all the time but it wasn't for me.

So outside of owning a cloth diaper shop that keeps me very busy, I decided that staying at home with my daughter would be my job.  I would weave her into my daily "chores" that my obsessive compulsive self couldn't let go.  I wouldn't allow for her to spend hours upon hours in front of the t.v. and I would not spend time on Facebook or on the phone when I could focus on her.  In other words, my focus is her if I'm not putting away clothes, washing dishes or preparing meals.  And even then, I incorporate her into those tasks.

Guess what?  It's hard.  Really hard.  And as she gets older, it's become even harder.  Why?  I'm really not all that creative with a toddler.  I'm not the type of mom who can find a string, a piece of paper and some play-doh and magically have a craft idea for my daughter.  My short attention span doesn't allow for me to sit for more than 15 minutes at a time on the floor in front of playmobil.  I get dizzy if I blow bubbles for more than 5 minutes.  When I read Scott Noelle's "Daily Groove", I get frustrated because I so try to be the ever-patient mother to a toddler but sometimes (okay at least once a day) the patience thins to nothing.

So several weeks ago my dad handed me an article from the New York Times that reviewed a book called "Bringing up Bebe."  I have not read this book, only the review of the book.  You can read the same article here.    It intrigued me.  Not because I want to be a Parisian mom (although subsidized nanny care and extended maternity leave IS awesome!) but because it made me realize that I actually don't have it in me to not focus on my child.  Am I happier for it?  I'm not sure.  I think that choosing to be this type of mom can make some of us a bit more frazzled, tired and unshowered some days.  But I really feel like I would be overridden with guilt if I raised her any differently.  I already feel a bit of guilt when I have a babysitter come over for 2 hours so that I can work free of disruptions.  I also think it's interesting because my thought has always been that Europe is full of attachment parenting-type moms and dads who co-sleep, breastfeed for years and focus completely on their children.

If you agree with the premise of the book, I don't think that makes you at all a bad parent.  If what the author writes is true and most Parisian parents raise their kiddos this way, do they have a happier culture?  Are all Parisian moms more relaxed?  Are the children better adjusted at some point?  Discuss.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The popularity of postpartum weight loss


This is more of a vent post than anything so feel free to vent right along with me.

Being pregnant is an amazingly beautiful thing.  It's spectacular what your body does to prepare for birth.  Postpartum, it's nothing short of a miracle that your body knows how to produce a substance that your baby will survive on for months, if not years.   I could go on and on about the beauty of our bodies.

Of course, being pregnant has it's drawbacks too.  For me, the morning sickness and headaches in the first trimester were nearly crippling.  I also tended to have some "skin issues" throughout my pregnancy that was less than pleasing (that glowing preggers skin just doesn't apply to me).  And of course, there's the whole baby weight gain issue.

I remember post-birth looking in the mirror and not recognizing what I saw.  I was no longer pregnant so the beautiful belly I saw for many months was no longer there.  It was replaced by kind of a puffy, stretch-marked bloated gut and my legs were nowhere near the toned legs I had pre-pregnancy.  But I knew through the mutual benefits of breastfeeding, my uterus (and belly) would shrink, my body would become a milk-making machine and slowly but surely, some of that baby weight would come off.  Would my body be "the same."  No...but I would never be the same after becoming a mom and that's what's beautiful about growing into motherhood.

But now, NOW we're faced with Jessica Alba, Beyonce, Pink and all the other celebrity moms our age who are having babies and through the magic of Hollywood and great photo editors, they lose their baby weight in 2 months.  No, I don't have a fan site dedicated to these famous moms.  I don't peruse the internet reading up on the latest gossip about these celebrities.  But I grocery shop.  And as I'm waiting in the checkout lane, my eyes glaze over all of the tabloids, gossip magazines, etc., and the pictures of these celebrity moms wearing skin-tight dresses 3 weeks postpartum kind of pop out.  Blazing headlines reading "See Beyonce's plan to make her baby-weight melt off" and others scream at you as your load your groceries onto the conveyer belt.  Now, personally, I don't let it get me down.  But I know there are a lot of moms out there who just had a beautiful bundle and they see these headlines wondering what the secret could be.

The secret is not a eating 5 small meals a day.  The secret isn't cutting carbs out of your diet (in fact, dieting should be the last thing on your list if you're breastfeeding).  The SECRET is that these famous moms have a team of nannies, private chefs, makeup artists, stylists, professional photo editors, personal trainers, million dollar home gyms, dietitians, psychologist and every other professional as part of their entourage to make them look and seem pulled together 2-weeks, 3-months, 1-year postpartum. Most of us don't have that "luxury."  In those first months of breastfeeding and late night diaper changes, most of us are lucky if there's a meal on the table at night and clean clothes in the drawers.  

I worry that we're going to see a new breed of eating disorders out of brand new moms who will starve and exercise because the new "expectation" is to lose all of your baby weight and be swimsuit ready in a matter of months.  That's not real life.  That's not normal.  That shouldn't be an expectation.  We should be in awe of our bodies for what they're able to do pre-conception, during pregnancy and postpartum.  We should love our body because it knew what to do when the time was right.  It knows how to nurture a human being for months (if not years).  Wow.  So, if you're reading this and you've felt even a tinge of envy for those celebrity moms, just stop.  Give yourself a break and remember that your body, no matter the shape or size, is amazing beyond words.  And then go eat a cookie--your baby will thank you for it :-)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Potty Training Update

UPDATE***Potty Training was a wonderful success!!!  My daughter sleeps through the night, goes throughout the day and can even leave the house and run errands with us and NO accidents!  It went so much more smoothly than I thought it would.  One thing I know helped was using the cloth trainers.  Okay, I may be a bit biased because I do sell the trainers but honestly, they feel SO different from a diaper that the child feels different if he/she wets in them.  A disposable trainer (i.e; Pull-Up) will feel no different to a child from a regular diaper and that's why parents I know who have used those types of trainers are literally buying them for months, if not years, because the child continues to have accidents.  Okay, off my soapbox.  Here are some things that helped us reach this goal:

1)  Plenty of diaper free time in the beginning
     -This is where some of the cloth trainers come in to play.  If you aren't interested in the possibility of having puddles all over your kitchen and living room floor, the cloth trainers will absorb and accident.  The little one's pants may get a big damp but no puddle!  The trainers also give the child an idea of how undies feel different from a diaper.  Guess what kiddo--when you go pee-pee, it feels wet!

2)  Ask often but don't expect the response you want
     -Most of the time, when you ask your child if she needs to go potty, she'll say no.  At least my daughter did.  Why?  It's not fun to stop playing with your toys!  So while it's okay to ask because she may say "yes" and maybe it gets her thinking about the urge to go, I found that if it had been a while, she didn't have a choice.  I'd snatch her up and plop her down on the potty.  She may complain but then within seconds, we'd hear a tinkle and then celebrate!

3)  Pooping on the potty is hard
     -This is also where some of the snap-release training pants come in to play.  My daughter mostly had poopy accidents because at the beginning, she wasn't patient enough to sit on the potty and wait.  But then if she waited too long, she didn't recognize that the poop was about to fall out of her :-)  It took about a week and a little bit of constipation for her to get the timing right.  The snap-release trainers are great for these because if kiddo has a poopy accident, you can lay them down, unsnap the trainer and change it just like a diaper.  A poopy accident in a regular pull-on trainer is not fun.

4)  Reward and praise
    -For some parents I've talked to, they had to give their little one a small toy or trinket after the child went potty.  For my daughter, I tried a sticker approach but that didn't really seem affect her.  Although, it may have initially helped her with the thought process of "going potty on the potty is a good thing and good things will happen if I do it..." or something of that nature.  Regardless of whether you give a toy, sticker, have a potty chart, etc., I do think it's important to reward and/or praise your child for taking this big step.  I found that ultimately just singing my daughter's praises and making a big deal out of going on the potty was great for her.  It made her feel proud, special and it encouraged her.
               **We also rewarded her with super big girl undies--so after a week of no accidents, we went to a store and purchased cotton undies with her favorite character on them.  Now she can't stop showing people her undies--she's proud of them!

5)  Have a pee-pee party
     -Have you child watch you go potty and watch others go potty.  So to clarify, in the beginning, when we went to our weekly play date with friends similar in age to her, all of the moms would make a big deal about how "so and so has to go potty and let's all go watch her go potty and see what a big girl she is!"  This actually helped a lot because my daughter would see her friends (most of whom are about 6 months older) go potty in the big potty and then she would want to go to show off and then all the kids would sing each other's praises.  It was really cute and it definitely helped because my daughter doesn't have an older sibling to copy.

So last weekend, I did my last load of cloth diapers :-(  I was a bit sentimental because this is a big step from no longer being my baby.  When we were at the home improvement store, we purchased a plastic bin and then my daughter helped me pack away all of her clean diapers into the bin.  We said bye-bye to them put them away in a closet.  Sentimental indeed--