Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Love You Forever Book Review

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch is a classic children's book. Though most might not know it by name, we know it by the quote, "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be."

Though in Mommy circles, where we all want to dissect every baby to prove that we have something valuable to add to the conversation, this book is criticized as being the Helicopter Parent's Worst Case Scenario. That is until it is put into perspective of why the book was written.

Mr. Munsch tells the story of how this book was written on his website:
“I made that up after my wife and I had two babies born dead. The song was my song to my dead babies. For a long time I had it in my head and I couldn’t even sing it because every time I tried to sing it I cried. It was very strange having a song in my head that I couldn’t sing.
For a long time it was just a song but one day, while telling stories at a big theatre at the University of Guelph, it occurred to me that I might be able to make a story around the song.

Out popped Love You Forever, pretty much the way it is in the book.”

Now, I can't even read about the book without crying. Here's a video so you can cry with me.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Straws and Sipping Success

I can drink from a straw.
There are moments when I wonder if all of the effort I put in to teaching Baby Buckshot things has any real effect on his advancement. After all, he's going to learn how to walk, talk and break things all on his own anyway.

But recently I read that learning how to drink from a straw is actually critical to linguistic development. Where drinking from a soft spouted sippy cup is much like drinking from a bottle and drinking from a hard spout or lidless cup uses reflexes that baby has from birth, drinking from a straw forces babies to develop muscles in their mouths not previously used. The same muscles that are necessary to pronounce some words.

Naturally, I was determined it teach BB how to drink from a straw. I've tried before and he just sits there waiting for me to drop water in with mouth with the straw because I've done that before.

Yesterday, I tried giving him a cup with a straw. Same lack of sucking motion on his part. Then I dropped water into his mouth from the straw and he did like a hamster with a water bottle does. Then, I held the end of the straw closed, forcing him to suck to get the water out. He successfully learned how to suck on a straw but when offered the cup with a straw again, he went back to his "waiting for a dropper" attitude.

I tried the whole process again but then started lowering the end of the straw I was holding lower and lower until it would sit in a cup. Then, voila, he got it. From start to finish, it took him about 5-10 minutes to figure it out.

Now he's drinking from a straw like a pro and I'm feeling pretty good about my teaching skills. Next up, identifying colors.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Infant No Refridgerator Travel Snack Options: 6 months to 1 year.

We've been doing a lot of traveling this summer which means long car rides and hotel stays. Sometimes in hotel rooms without mini refrigerators and other conveniences. Here is a list of my favorite and not so favorite travel friendly snacks.

Wheat bread. If bought the same day as hitting the road, all natural wheat bread will last for at least a few days out of the refrigerator without growing mold. It's low mess, easy to eat and not a bad snack for mommy and daddy either.

Fruit. Pick fruit that stands up well to travel, like bananas and apples. Berries and thin skinned fruits usually need refrigeration within a couple of days before they get mushy. I also didn't recommend oranges because they can cause diaper rash in some babies due to the citrus.

Gerber Instant Oatmeal. This brand oatmeal comes in organic and doesn't require hot water. Just mix with water, breastmilk or ready to drink formula and it's ready for baby to eat. Baby Buckshot enjoys this very much with some fruit mixed in also.

Gerber Veggie Pick-ups. I thought this would be a brilliant way to get BB some veggies on to the go. Unfortunately, sometimes he'll eat this. Other times, he won't touch it with a ten foot pole. If I could find a flavor he liked, I would definitely bring this on any trip because they are prepackaged in easily portable containers. The pieces are also soft enough to mush but in some cases, they are too small. I would prefer these in a glass container instead of the plastic and will try to find an alternative.

Baby Mum-Mums. I am a huge fan of these snacks because they are prepackaged for the perfect serving size of two biscuits in a bag. When traveling, allows me to take just a couple and not have to worry about putting them in a ziplock to stay fresh and dry or having to drag around a large container of the same item. They also come in a variety of flavors, including organic options, that BB really loves. I actually eat the plain organic ones as a snack myself. When Baby Mum-Mums sent me their flavors to sample, I was really thrilled as their best flavor is actually the organic carrot, which I could not find in stores.

Sesame Melba Toast. My husband told me that he remembered that melba toast was for babies, especially during teething so when I saw it at Trader Joe's, I naturally picked up a box. BB really liked to just suck on them, though he did not end up eating a lot of them. More like a suck until soggy and then toss. They were also a good adult snack. I might not take these with me again on a trip because they cause an awfully crumbly mess.

Gerber Little Crunchies/Puffs. These are the equivalent of baby cheetos, which I would normally not want to give to my child, but I made the mistake of letting him try one once and he loved them. Between these and the Gerber puffs (not pictured), when BB is having a meltdown in the car, a couple of these actually calms him down. I don't like to give him a lot of them though, because it really is junk food.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In Defense of High End Babywearing

My babywearing world was recently bombarded with posts about a woman who scammed two other women in a 3 way trade of Highy Sought After (HSA) Tula baby carriers. She received her Tula and tried to mail fraud her way out of sending her Tula to the next woman, as agreed upon in the trade. Each Tula in the trade was worth $1300 and it was not Paypal backed.

I had the same reaction about wraps and Tulas when I first started looking at these things. Who is paying this much for FABRIC?!

Then you catch the BSC. Lol, just kidding.

It is a little bit like strollers. Many serious babywearers don't even have strollers so I think they justify how much they spend on carriers because they didn't spend money on a stroller. (Actually, I haven't used a stroller in a long time since I got my Tula and Neobulle.)

You can buy a cheap stroller that will do the job but the more the spend, up to a point, the easier the stroller is to use with more bells and whistles, either for the baby or the parent. I have tried a cheapie JJ Cole wrap hybrid carrier and if that's what babycarrying was like, I would have personally quit and never looked back. It carried Ben but it was uncomfortable over long periods. I used a moby and it was comfortable but really a hassle to wrap and can't be used past 15 lbs.  I have tried a full wrap conversion Tula and it's the comfort and convenience that is unparalleled.

Everything past the aforementioned point is really just style points. Like the Andy Worhol X Bugaboo collaboration. No one needs a pop art inspired banana print on their $1200+ Bugaboo, they just really WANT it. Because at some point, for many moms, like their clothes, their baby gear becomes an expression of themselves. And their babywearing is part of what defines them as mothers.

In luxury carriers (anything over $150), the fabric is more comfortable and as a result, easier to wear for longer periods of time (babywearers will often tell you a tale of how they wore their baby for the whole day with nary an ache as a testament to how good their carriers are), the carrier is better designed (easier to nurse while wearing or allow baby to sleep) and able to last baby longer (wider seats allow for longer use).

Arguably, most wrap/highly sought after carrier owners will tell you that they intend to sell their carrier when their child has outgrown it. This is why they'll spend more than the $150 mark for rare wraps and carriers. And because they are highly sought after (and as a result, outrageously priced), they should retain their value, if not appreciate in value. It's practically an investment, they reason. And in some cases, these women will resell their carriers for more than they bought them for. So they can spend $1300 today, and in a month or so, depending on how the demand as driven by the tastes of the mommies on the market, it might be worth closer to $2000.

That being said, no more un-backed trades for $1300 carriers.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Letter to Breastfeeding Mothers Who Shame Other Mothers For Nursing In Public

Dear Backwards Members of the Breastfeeding Society,

Karlesha Thurman breastfed her 4 month old during her California State Long Beach University graduation only to be slammed with the most appalling onslaught of misogynist comments that I'm shocked to understand came from other breastfeeding mothers. 

I try to discretely breastfeed, not because it's superior or I am more decent than any other mom but because I am more self conscious and scared of how people around me will react specifically because of comments on articles like these and stories about women who are confronted and shamed in public for feeding their babies.

But some babies won't take bottles, some won't nurse with something over their head. Until I bought my Tula, I didn't have an effective way to nurse discretely in public and would have to go to a bathroom (gross) or go back to my car (extremely inconvenient). And not everyone can afford a Tula.

I support a woman's right to breastfeed however she would like in public. We are feeding our babies. And honestly, this shaming of women is misogynistic. And the worst offenders are mothers who tell other mothers that they should nurse in public with a cover because they think it's indecent because they nursed and managed to do it with the covers. This is the stuff mommy wars are made of. Judgmental, close mindedness with a complete lack of respect for other women and the needs of babies.

How can other mothers speak to breastfeeding moms with such contempt?

As you rage on with your comments against this young woman who managed to graduate from college wtih an infant, do you also comment on every sexually explicit picture on the internet?  I bet not. 

Why is it acceptable to show that amount of skin for something sexy in the name of commerce, which is what should be considered indecent? Large billboards, breasts exposed in windows, purposefully titillating (pun intended). But unacceptable to show the same amount of skin or less with the expressed purpose of feeding a baby, which should be considered the most decent thing to do?  

It's ridiculous that we live in a society where the intimate bond between a mother and her baby make people uncomfortable but a woman paraded around in a string bikini to peddle goods doesn't make anyone uncomfortable. It's even more ridiculous that women who have experienced this bond feel uncomfortable or ashamed about it enough to shame other women over it. 

And for those not familiar with the law, a mother as a legal right to breastfeed in California where ever a mother and child are allowed to be. 

Normally, I don't like to alienate my readers with tirades that might offend them but in this case, if you are a mother offended by my letter, you probably shouldn't be reading my blog anyway.

Thank you and good day.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Baby Camping Gear

Every year, for the Hosh's birthday, we go camping.  I should explain, that we actually go glamping which generally means a ton of gear.  I worried, this year, that we wouldn't have space for all of Baby Buckshot's camping gear along with ours.  Turns out, with a few key purchases and a suitcase filled with his everyday necessities, babies don't need that much camping gear.  These are the items that really came in handy during our camping trip:

1. Cozy Cub Baby Bunting Snowsuit in Fleece. Since baby sleeping bags are a no due to suffocation risk, a snowsuit was my next best option. I found it best that it was hooded and had enclosed feet and hands too instead of trying to struggle with keeping a hat, socks and mittens on BB at any given time. On sale for $34.95 - One Step Ahead.

2. Britax B-Nimble Stroller. A lot of people suggested getting a camping high chair for BB but if he's anything like me, he's likely a little clumsy and prone to falling out of camping chairs (yes, this has happened to me) and I opted for a stroller instead. I figured, as long as he can sit in it and it is able to recline for potential nap times, it would be even better than a camping high chair. The B-Nimble folds down to about the size of a camp chair, has the functionality of a full stroller with the ease of an umbrella stroller. $89 -

3. Inglesina Fast Table Chair. The other option I bought instead of a camping high chair was this table chair.  It attaches to just about any table (including those with a lip), folds up small enough to put in a large diaper bag and allows baby to sit right at the picnic table with the rest of the diners. This chair is a dream at restaurants and came in very handy at the campsite.  It doesn't touch the ground either, which made post camping clean-up of this seat non-existent. $59 -

4. Beco Gemini Baby Carrier. A baby carrier is a MUST during camping.  Between hiking, camp work and just needing to keep baby close, I don't think I could have done it without a carrier.  I like the Beco Gemini (I will do a review in the future) and feel that a canvas soft structured carrier that is easy to clean is the best option for camping, especially if someone else is going to try carrying baby also.  Like dad, who might not want to wear a girly pattern while out in the great outdoors.  Prettier woven wraps may get snagged while roughing it also and canvas is oh so durable. $130 -

5. N'ice Caps Boys Sherpa Lined Micro Fleece Hat and Mitten Set with Ears. We were camping in the cold weather (it actually rained the first night) so having a fleece hat that velcroed in place under BB's chin was very helpful in keeping his hat in place. The mittens were also perfect for keeping his hands warm as the nights got colder before I would put him in his snowsuit.  In the summer, obviously this wouldn't be necessary, but a sunblocking hat would be. $11.99 -

6. Babyganics Mineral-Based Sunscreen SPF 50 Spray 6 oz + Natural Insect Repellent. I like Babyganics for sunscreen regularly but didn't need DEET free insect spray until this camping trip.  Luckily, because the weather was wet and cold, there weren't many bugs but a summer camping trip would definitely warrant some insect repellent. Both sprays are very easy to apply and are fairly chemical free.  There are better options out there than this but they aren't readily available (Babyganics can be found at Babies R Us) and possibly not as effective. $16.99 -

I nursed BB all weekend so I didn't need it, but I also bought sterilizing wipes for bottles and pumps.  I made pretty specific clothing choices for Baby Buckshot too, which I might write about later in a camping clothing guide.

What other gear is there that would help make camping with a baby easier?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

One Size Pocket Cloth Diaper Options + Alva One Size Giveaway!

Ask any cloth diapering mommy and it's likely they use a different cloth diaper from the next. With the number of cloth diapers on the market, there's a type that will work for any baby but usually it's a trial and error game because there's not enough information on the details of the diapers to choose what fits each individual baby. I'm gathering up my criteria for rating diapers in hopes that it helps someone else who wants to use my chosen variety: One Size Pocket Button Snaps.

Here are the things I would consider in cloth diaper options:

1. White snaps or colored snaps. White snaps are easy to replace if you own a snap button tool but colored snaps make it easy to make sure the cloth diaper is centered. There are also velcro options to avoid the snap issue all together but the velcro doesn't last as long as the snaps and can cause pilling when washed with certain cloth diaper fabrics.

2. Size and elastic of leg opening. Some babies have chunky legs, others have skinny legs. Though the leg openings are adjustable, different leg openings are better suited to various types of legs.

3. Size at the smallest settings. For the most cost effective long term use of cloth diapers, being able to use them in the newborn months of 12+ diaper changes a day is important and some cloth diapers get down smaller than others.  The larger ones may be to bulky to be comfortable when put in the smallest setting also.

4. Size at the largest settings. The other cost effective long term aspect of a diaper is how long it will fit a baby.  Most of us hope it'll take baby into the potty training years.  Some diapers are too small for larger babies to fit in the later diapering years.

5. Single or double gusset. Cloth diaper makers try to make best design to prevent poopy blowouts. Many companies have developed double gussets, as in another elastic gusset inside the diaper to hold waste before it even gets to the elastic leg opening (much like the design of the typical disposable diaper.)

6. Back, front or two sided opening. With pocket diapers, the insert needs to be stuffed into the cloth diaper shell.  Some have the insert opening at the back, others at the front and others are open at both sides.  The ones with the back opening may be better at containing waste but almost guarantees have to touch poop when removing the insert to launder the diaper.  A front opening helps to avoid needing to touch poop but often results in an uncomfortably bulky front of the diaper.  The two sided opening is a great development but often requires a button snap to hold the insert in place which means having to use proprietary inserts or having to put snaps into inserts yourself.

7. Inner lining. Pocket diapers are usually lined in fleece or a stay dry material. Some materials are better at allowing liquid to pass through quickly to the insert to be absorbed.  Others are prone to build up that causes liquid repelling.

8. Front barrier or none. Some cloth diapers have an extension of the waterproof liner to create a front waistline barrier.  I'm not sure why not all cloth diapers don't have this because it makes a big difference in preventing clothing from touching any wet part of the diaper and wicking liquid into the clothing.

9. Price. Pricing varies wildly in this arena from $4 per diaper for bulk purchases from China to $30 for top of the line uber engineered diapers.  I'll take a look at which diapers are worth the money.

Luckily, my dear friend Megan is running a cloth diaper giveaway.  The best part?  It's of my favorite kind of cloth diaper: One Size Pocket Button Snap! Visit her blog or enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and let me know in the comments if you have any criteria you'd like me to add to my coming cloth diaper reviews.

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