Friday, December 21, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

My 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways and sales continue.  I know that technically the 12 Days of Christmas doesn't start until Christmas but in the retail world, everything is ahead of schedule…

To qualify for the raffle (that's why you're here, right!), I'd like for you to answer a question.

So tell me…

Have you traveled using cloth?  If so, what were your essentials for successful cloth diapering while traveling?  If you haven't traveled using cloth diapers, what prevented you from doing so?  If you have yet to plan a trip with a kiddo in cloth diapers, do you have any reservations against using cloth diapers while on vacation, visiting family, etc.?


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

OOOOHHHH MAN...

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--

Friday, January 20, 2012

Potty Training Adventure

As soon as 2012 hit, I had so many customers ordering cloth training pants.  It made sense with the rush of The Holidays over and I was encouraged that so many people are warming up to the idea of using cloth trainers as opposed to scratchy disposable training underwear.  I've even had parents drop by the shop to purchase cloth trainers and they didn't use cloth diapers on their child.  That's REALLY encouraging!

So I decided to jump on this bandwagon.  After all, my daughter is just over 2 years old and she's expressed an interest in the potty.   It's also a great opportunity for me to take stock out of my showroom and try it out so I can tell you first-hand how it worked for me.

One thing that I realized right away is you have to commit yourself to helping your child through this huge milestone.  You can't expect to run errands all day, every day and then wonder why little one won't sit on the potty or won't tell you that he needs to go.  My daughter has done a great job so far.  First thing in the morning, we go to the bathroom (I don't ask her if she needs to go--I just take her) and I strip her diaper off and sit her on the toilet.  Success!  Every morning this week she's tinkled into the potty.  I do the same thing after nap time.  It's the in-between time that's been the most challenging.

I think the most success I've had with the in-between times is to allow her to run around with either no diaper or with a pair of training pants on.  The training pants I've used are easy for her to pull on and off and she will feel wetness when she goes pee-pee.  The training pants also prevent a puddle on the floor.  I have to say, the "full-freedom" thing really helps her take notice when she has to go.  Yes, we've had a few accidents on the floor but they're easy to clean up.

So, day 4 into potty training and we've had some major successes.  She goes on the potty every morning.  She goes on the potty after every nap.  What's more, she actually told my husband during her bath yesterday evening that she had to go pee-pee and he pulled her out and sat her on the potty.  Success!  This evening, she ran up to me and said "mommy M go poo-poo on potty!" so I snatched her up, ran upstairs and threw her on the potty.  Sure enough she peed right away and minutes later, pooped.

I've had some moms suggest setting a timer for every 30 minutes and explain that when the buzzer sounds, that it's potty time.  I've had other moms reward no accidents/successful pee-pees in potty with a toy or a sticker.  I think those are great ideas but you need to know your child and what he/she will respond to.

Okay so some of the items I'm using and really like (and so does my daughter)
Antsy Pants
Super Undies Underwear
Snap EZ AIO Training Pants
Blueberry Trainers

I can't wait to try the new GroVia trainers but my daughter is still a bit small for them.

I'll keep updating you on how it's going.  And if you're in the same boat or maybe you want to be in this boat, let's chat in the comments!  Just remember--it does take patience and persistence!