Friday, October 30, 2009

it ends up it's hard to type one handed...

i would like to sincerely apologize for my minimal posting these last few weeks.  i am trying my best to heal a nerve injury in my right arm and hand----and it's taking forever in my impatient mind.   never fear, i am still around and itching to write every day--and will certainly be doing that again as soon as i possibly can!   for now, i am trying to post at least a few times a week....all the best, and thanks for your understanding....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

baby registry : the one layette item that we couldn't have lived without

certainly everyone would have their own particular item here.  and honestly, i guess the true answer would have been diapers (though there is a school of parents that think babies shouldn't wear, ok)....i digress....

baby gowns!  baby gowns is my answer!  my son wore them from day one until they were thread bare around the 4 month mark when we finally moved on from them.

the fact of the matter is that you are going to change a bajillion diapers in those first few months and the gown has the quickest and easiest access.   the snaps on onesies add extra work and pants are no easy feat.  plus, this way, dressing the baby becomes a much more pleasurable and quick experience for everyone.

additionally, they are great for baby to sleep in because they are like having a built in blankie.  they are also womblike and allow baby to feel his own limbs/legs as he gets to know his body.

if you can find a convertible gown, it will certainly come in handy too as it can transition into a pants onesie.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

first weeks with baby : feel comfortable going out and breastfeeding in cute, easy-access tops!

this may sound insane, but after our homebirth, we did not go out into public with our baby until he was 3 weeks old.  and by "public", i mean we walked 2 blocks to some shops around the corner from our house. not only was it the height of flu season (and we were a little paranoid), but i was recovering from a pelvic injury, so it just took us a while to venture out.

also, it's tough to get it together enough, if you're breastfeeding, to feel like you can comfortably get the baby on your breast without flashing everyone at a restaurant or store (by week 4, i could give a rat's ass about flashing everyone at my family reunion if i had to).   so, i would like to dedicate this post to breastfeeding fashions.

i have laughed with other mothers about how, in the first weeks, we only owned 2 garments that we could breast feed in...a robe and a zip up hoodie.  as you may have noticed, these have not been at the height of fashion in recent seasons, plus you start to feel bad about the permanent zipper imprints on your baby's face after a while.

ok, back to the fashion....cue the music....

i found that once you get your breastfeeding bra worked out, tops are easy.  you have probably already seen the nursing tanks and often expensive and blaaah tees that are in the marketplace, so i will jump to what i found to be easy, affordable, and stylish.....

that's right (it's not just skanky underwear on there! they have great clothes.), once you feel like you have a handle on what your general body size is going to be like post-baby (i knew this within a few days), jump on your computer and start ordering.  you're going to want to order henley styles that can be unbuttoned decently low down.  any top that has a surplice style (looks like an overlapping v-neck) or fitted cardigans are good too.  even tops with large v-necks and cowlnecks will work great.  oh, and don't forget the forgiving babydoll top.  you will live in these for as long as you breastfeed, unless you choose to go the route of just lifting your shirt to allow baby to feed.  also, i cannot stress the importance of cute tops with pockets enough---really great for stashing the cell phone or keys on the fly.

money saving tip--sign up on their website to be on their email list, since they constantly send out sale emails.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

local : get into the halloween spirit with a vintage train ride to a pumpkin patch!

saturdays and sundays through halloween, the fillmore & western railway company has vintage trains departing every 2 hours to a pumpkin patch throughout the day.  take a 40 minute train ride to pick out your own pumpkin and also enjoy the festive corn maze, carousel, arts and crafts booths and more!

also, on friday and sunday evenings through halloween, take your older kids for a bar-b-que dinner on the same, but spookier, vintage train and search for the headless horseman during your haunted hayride upon arrival at the corn maze.

if you cannot make it to these halloween festivities in fillmore (1 hour nw of l.a.), they offer wonderful santa train trips just before christmas. you can ride to a christmas tree farm to cut down your own tree and bring it back on the train!!  i'll post about that in december....

see all fillmore train festivities here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

more on....zzz....zzz....swine flu....zzz

i always love our updates from our wonderful pediatrician jay gordon on H1N1.  because just when the media starts to creep under my skin and frighten me with swine flu statistics,  i have a great calming email in my inbox from him on the topic.  here is a snippet...

"The CDC released fatality data this past week and were quite clear in their assessment of this relatively non-virulent strain of influenza:

75-80% of the 76 children had significant or severe underlying medical problems.

Any child's death creates an extremely difficult public discussion but of the 300,000,000 Americans there are 45,000,000 children and teens and there have been 76 deaths of younger people. About 15 of these deaths occurred in seemingly healthy children and teens.

Please put all of these numbers in the proper perspective and realize that there are many important lifesaving topics for the media to publicize but none which sell papers and create TV viewership quite as well as this new flu."

read the entire message on his very informative website here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

alternative highchair that travels!

if you're not that psyched about plastic baby items taking over your home, here is a product that will make you happy.  it's the handysitt child's chair.  a 5.8 lb wooden booster seat for $89 that can easily attach to a chair at your table or a restaurant's or grandma's. isn't it nice to be able to have your child join you right up at the table?  age range is for kids 9 months to 4.5 years. there is also an attachable back leg option (for additional purchase), if you'd like to make it stand alone at some point.

for more photos and info on this general style of seat, check out the higher end product for $149 from minui. it's on amazon here.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

zee most beautiful baby cradle in zee whole wide world

i came across a stunning cradle recently by the danish company leander.  the designer was inspired by his sister-in-law who had twins and needed to be able to comfort both of them at the same time.  read more here on the leander website.

what labor feels like

before i had my first baby 10 months ago, i remember asking a friend with 2 kids what labor feels like.  i asked,"is it like crampy or burning or tearing or what?" and she said,"yes, all of those."----gulp.  and this coming from someone that had 2 medicated births...i knew i was in for a challenge as i was planning for an unmedicated homebirth.

i wish i had known i was doing this actual post back during my homebirth labor, in which case, i would have asked my doula to take notes as i called out every single variety of sensations i was having.   it's true that amnesia of the pain sets in after the birth. but i'm going to try my best here.

labor, for me, came on like menstrual cramps in my low back (i'm going to continue to use the word cramp, but what i am describing is the menstrual kind, not the stabbing or gassy kind).   these were different from the frontal uncomfortable braxton hicks cramps i was having all day that day.   i knew the labor contractions were new and different, because they were timing out consistently (as compared to braxton hicks which were more random and just a hardening of the belly like a turtle shell).

the first couple hours, the cramping (again that dull menstrual feeling--but much stronger) came on quickly and intensely.   3 hours in (which flew by in a blink), i was on my side in bed, with a body pillow, semi-yodeling on my out breaths.   i took a bradley class but i could not, for the life of me, be quiet when breathing out.   i always moaned or yodeled.   i had a hard time standing as every time a contraction came on, i would keel over to hold onto something, get an intense cramping/pressure in my uterus, need to sort of bend my convulsing legs slightly, and end up on my tip-toes to get through the contraction. shower didn't really help....was hard to stand.

once i got into my rented birthing tub, i had the urge to push---so i did, and i saw my plug shoot out/my water broke.   this was all somewhat relieving because i was able to move into a different sensation that felt a little more proactive and controllable.   it's so strange how one minute you think the repeated crampy contractions feel like they're lasting forever, and then out of nowhere you have the urge to push.

i am skipping details of my birth story (which i will write about later) in order to only focus on the feelings in this post.

my labor was very short for a first baby (6 hours), and so ok----back to the pushing.    i tried squatting, side lying, sitting on the toilet, but ended up on my back in bed (the last place i wanted/envisioned).   i really needed to be able to be very well supported while pushing, because it takes extreme energy and focus.   i would have needed to be a body builder to hold onto my husband while squatting and trying to push---when i tried, all of the focus/energy was on just supporting my upper body, instead of on pushing, during a contraction...not good.

when you are in the pushing phase, you wait for a contraction to come on (they are happening approximately every 2 minutes at his point), and when it does, you want to be focused and ready.   you are in position (me on my bed with both legs jacked up--2 different people were holding them), and you feel the contraction/cramping coming on, so you take a deep breath and push like your life depends on it in a very focused area (this comes naturally).   i guess it could be compared to having a very constipated bowel movement with all of your abs and pelvic muscles engaged.   you get about 2-3 pushes in before the contraction ends and you have to wait for the next one.   some people push 5 minutes, i pushed 3.5 hours (which is HIGHLY unusual--i was distracted by vomiting and baby's foot kicking up under a rib causing sharp cramping).

here's the part no one talks about---when the baby's head is just reaching it's largest circumference at your vaginal opening, if you don't get it out during that just hang out (la-la-la) and wait a couple minutes until the next contraction.   i'm not gonna lie to you, this is when i was screaming bloody murder (and thought my neighbors might call the cops)---see photo above.   in the multitude of resources that i studied before birth, i never read about the huge head just sitting there while you wait 2 minutes for the next contraction to come on.  it is a hot, burning, stretching feeling.   i think it took me about 2-3 more contractions to get the head out.  after that, the rest of the baby's body is pie.   the doctor is in full effect helping glide the head and shoulders out gently.  my son's cord was wrapped around his neck, but this is not uncommon and not a problem unless it gets pinched somewhere (and restricts oxygen flow). the fetal heart monitor would have alerted us had there been a problem here.

once the baby is out, you are so awash in endorphins and oxytocin bliss, that the stitches (if you have to get any--i had 4 after a local novocaine shot) and the placenta coming out are like complete non-events. you basically do not feel them.  even the entire labor quickly vanishes from your mind.  it's the most bizarre and wonderful thing.

i must say that people probably do not talk about true labor details for 3 reasons: a. most do not have unmedicated births, b. you honestly do get amnesia about it, and c. it sounds scary.

i will write more later in how this was the most amazing experience of my life, and that i recommend it for anyone that is interested.

these are the positives of labor :

--you are in another dimension, so hours fly by in what feels like minutes
--the pain stops between contractions, so it is bearable
--your body naturally provides the endorphins you need to relieve you
--you know the pain will stop in the near future
--you are doing this to receive life's greatest gift (why should it be easy-breezy?)
--the pain is no where near as bad as society makes it out to be (my pain expectations were so high that i was relieved that it wasn't that bad)

as a comparison, i am having nerve pain in my arm right now and it is 100 times worse than natural childbirth.  particularly because it is non-stop, and i don't know if or when it will get better.

here is my stating-the-obvious disclaimer : this was my experience and everyone has a different one.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

additional teething relief : molars and middle teeth

i realized that in my teething post last week, i left the middle teeth and molar kids in the dust.  being a naturalist, i always prefer to start as far away from plastic as possible, but if all else fails, and baby's in pain, it's worth a shot. if i do give my son plastic, i try to only do bpa, phthalate, pvc free.  here are some ideas....


cold carrot or celery

good plastic:

middle/back teeth:
bpa, pvc, phthalate-free toothbrush (use with supervision). another here.
born free teether

middle teeth:
philips advent teether

back teeth:
born free teether. you can add teething gel to it.
philips advent teether

cookie magazine shuttering

sadly, conde nast announced this week that hipster parenting magazine cookie will be no more.  they are also closing modern bride, elegant bride and gourmet (the oldest food mag in the u.s.).  sad....

Sunday, October 4, 2009

great glass bottles and natural rubber nipples

if you are breastfeeding, yet need to pump, momo bottles are a handy size and can attach to most standard pumps.  i recommend the 5 oz size as they are a convenient height/weight when pumping. these bottles are about as safe as it gets, although you can purchase some natural rubber nipples, instead of using the included silicone ones.  if you're pregnant and purchasing, maybe start with 6 bottles.

momo also makes a neoprene cover to protect from breakage...or you can be a total nutter, like me, and buy organic cotton crocheted bottle covers from etsy.

easily store your breast milk in glass instead of plastic.

i think we all know the dangers of plastic at this point.  yes, companies like medela provide bpa-free plastic bottles with their pumps, but in my opinion, we still do not know all of the dangers of plastic.  i prefer to avoid it as much as possible, just in case.

you can easily pump directly into a 5 oz glass baby bottle and then pop a lid on it to put in the refrigerator.

also, if you have not used the stored milk within a week, you can freeze it in glass baby food jars (get from a friend, craigslist, or ebay) or canning jars (available at some hardware stores or ebay, etc).  you would probably be safest using the refrigerator to transition on the front end to cool the milk and on the back end to thaw the milk (as to avoid glass cracking).  be sure to write the date on the lid!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

this is so awesome : obama white house farmers market opens!

as you may have heard, michelle obama launched a white house garden recently in her attempts to bring healthy eating into focus for americans.   apparently, only a month ago, she expressed her desire to open a white house farmers market and--voila!--it began last week.   it has been wonderfully received and will run through the end of october before picking up again next spring.

if you would like to locate a farmers market near you, please click here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

local: huge baby and kids consignment sale this weekend! plus, full moon walk...

our kids go through so much stuff by the time that they're adolescents---it's kind of shocking.  be part of the solution, and support great events like this l.a. kids consignment sale this friday, saturday, and sunday.

la kids consignment
7733 hayvenhurst avenue
van nuys , ca 91406

on saturday night, there is a fun full moon adventure at franklin canyon.  this is an incredible, huge canyon park just 10 minutes from rodeo instant escape from the concrete jungle.  my fave in town.  they are guiding a fun 2-hour walking tour for all ages through one of the trails under the full moon light.

10.3, 7-9pm
doheny ranch
2600 franklin canyon drive
beverly hills

sleepless nights during teething...

ok, yes.  this is an all natural blog, but we succumbed to infant tylenol last night (gasp!).   my son has had his first taste of big-pharma--ha! we do bed-sharing, so after 6 sleepless nights of him waking and readjusting himself to latch onto my breast every hour, i assumed this must be because of his discomfort.  he does not show signs of pain at night, but certainly it's the teething that's causing this.  and since he was lying on top of me every night for 2 weeks, my back muscular pain has turned to nerve pain, so i HAVE to get some sleep.

the infant tylenol does help---i'd say his waking was cut in half---so that's pretty good.  and on the upside (i'm reaching here), tylenol does make a dye-free version now---which also does not have high fructose corn syrup (yea!).  as you may know red dye #40 (a strain of which is banned in austria, norway, japan,and sweden), which is in other tylenol infant products, has been know to have negative affects on children such as hyperactivity, hives, eczema, and aggression.

UPDATE -- uck!  it has sucralose (splenda) in it.  i've contaminated my child--seriously, this stuff really bothers me.  what is so bad about just putting natural sugar in?  gosh guys....