Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Flats challenge

I haven't really been blogging lately. Things have been busy. Im trying to reorganize the house so I can get the spare room turned into a classroom by fall.

I wanted to post about this flats challenge

I'm really excited to do this. I've been using flats for a while and often when people ask what they can use cheaply, I say flats and covers! I rotate between favorite types of diapers, but I do love my flats. Right now I use a snappi, though I prefer pins. Charlotte won't stay still and I've pinned myself before, so we switched ton snappis. I much prefer flats to prefolds for their quick washing and drying time, though I have not hand washed them before.

We used gerber flats when Charlotte was first born. They're not very absorbent, but they're good for a newborn. Then we used little lions brand once she was a tad bigger. These were a bit bulky in the newborn stage, but on bigger babies they're the trimmest diaper I own. Most of mine are dyed and painted because I was experimenting. I think I'll buy some new ones from moms milk boutique just for this challenge, they're offering a free cover when you buy 12 flats with the code cover12. They'll even let you specify boy or girl! And you can get two sets! Their site is and they're one of my favorite websites to buy from. Very quick service. And always free shipping.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Powerful Words We Speak

I haven't been blogging for a while. We were going through a rough patch. I am going to share bits and pieces of our experience.

Shortly after Christmas Lydia was told by a family member that she is too big to nurse and needed to stop. I was not in the room to intercede and let Lydia know this was NOT the case. That night, while I was still unaware of the comment, she began telling me she was too old to nurse. I have not offered unless she was I'll for two years, so it was odd that she was sharing this information so randomly. She seemed bothered by it and I let her know if she felt like stopping she could, but if she wanted to nurse that was okay as well.

This continued for the rest of the day and well into the next. She fell and got hurt. This is often when she wants to nurse. She began crying that nursing would feel better but she couldn't because she was too big. This is when I asked why she thought that. She told me what had been said and who told her. We had a talk about how mommy decided to let her choose the end of our nursing, no one else. If Lydia wants to nurse, Lydia can nurse.

For a couple more days, she continued the same interest in nursing but refusal to nurse and repeating "I'm too big." don and I could tell she was really NOT ready and this wasn't self weaning. I offered some and reinforced that she was in charge of weaning.

Finally, she resumed her breastfeeding, but with such a ferocity, I was exhausted. She was throwing fits when I asked her to wait or stop so I could tend to the baby. She seemed to feel as if she lost trust in us after she lost trust and security in the nursing relationship. We decided it was best for me to nurse her on demand for a while until she was emotionally more stable. She nursed for three days with only short breaks.

I was exhausted, so I began trying to reintroduce limits. She started throwing fits that lasted hours, she was having nightmares that we were trying to hurt her and waking afraid of us. We were concerned enough that if it didn't end soon, we were seeking behavioral counseling. Our happy, silly, easy to discipline child had turned into someone completely different. She was crying, screaming, violent, and fearful.

I wrestled with some dark feelings of frustration and desperation that led me to yell, spank, and punish. I hadn't seen the link between the comment made and the behavior we were seeing. Once I did, and once I prayed my way through the dark feelings I was having, I began to seek help. I contacted a good friend for prayer. She suggested we teach Lydia to tell her nightmares and the monsters that she loves Jesus and they can't hurt her. This worked.

Another friend gave me a quote about love. Since I don't know the original source, I'm not going to share it at this time. It talked about how love conquers.

We began meeting tantrums with more love and support then dealing with the issue that caused it after. This has been extraordinarily effective.

I will share some of the things God has been working on in me with gentle discipline and specific techniques we are finding that work later in the week. I was awed at the way that one person who we see only a few times a year impacted my child. One ignorant, uneducated comment made over a month ago has done damage that I am still trying to reverse.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Elimination Communication-this should be an interesting journey.

I've decided to do some EC with Charlotte. For those unfamiliar, it's the practice of "diaper free baby" or "infant potty training." How funny that I want to "infant potty train" when my nearly three year old is in diapers still. Basically, how it works (from what I can gather) is that you learn the signs that your baby is about to potty, then put them ON the potty. That's a really short run down.

The reason I want to do this with Charlotte is because she has a really sensitive tush. She is allergic to disposable diapers and wipes. She can't be wet for very long or she gets really red. Overnight makes her bottom break out terribly, so every morning we have to do some "repair work."

I have found a great diaper cream by Burt's Bees, but it's not safe for cloth diapers. Which puts us in a predicament. Disposables break her out, but the cure for her breakouts isn't safe for cloth. The only option left is naked. My carpet thus far is not happy with this solution. My cloth diaper-safe creams tend to work better as prevention. So, our diapering/booty saving routine is to let her be naked for a while in the morning with cream. She poops and pees on the floor. I try to keep her on a blanket but she rolls all over so that's hard. Then I use either Burt's Bees baby powder or some that a friend let me borrow that is made from organic corn starch and ground lavender after slathering her bottom with shea butter to seal out the wetness.

I have decided that maybe we can save the carpet and blankets during this couple hours of naked time by learning her signs.

Yesterday, I just observed her and her pottying as she laid on the floor. Some common signs I have read about are babies getting quiet or still before going. Charlotte gets quiet after she starts. She also does what I call "sniper poops" and I have no warning of them. So, I'm going to continue observing and reporting here what she does this week. If anyone out there has an EC tips, I'd really love to hear them!

Monday, November 15, 2010

In the Spirit of Full Term Breastfeeding

This morning, Lydia has been falling down a lot. The living room is cluttered because I've been focusing on helping Charlotte feel better. She is also not the most coordinated child in the world. She has been running to me to ask me to "make it better" with some "nahs."

I thought I'd share a picture of us tandem nursing. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Full Term Breastfeeding: Why I Refuse to Force Wean

Lydia is still nursing. She will be three in January. This is not something I broadcast to family, since I fear some of them may be uncomfortable with it. I'm sure they all know since she often asks to nurse and I will tell her, "later" or "when we get home." I have family and friends who are supportive, which is great and I appreciate thoroughly. I've decided that this is too wonderful of a relationship between my child and I to keep it "hush hush" anymore.

It's very important that every family choose to wean when it is right for them. If you are sick of weaning and despise the child's presence at your breast, maybe it's time to look into some gentle weaning. (La Leche League can help with that). If your child is done nursing, of course pushing them to continue is not a good idea. There are many reasons I have decided that self-weaning or child-led-weaning is best for our family.

The top reasons are:

1. It's a pick-me-up for both of us.
This weekend, Charlotte has been fighting an awful case of croup (she's on the upswing as I write this), and Lydia has been left to Daddy. They both enjoy this time together, but since every day is usually the three of us girls for most of the day, she understandably starts to miss me. Yesterday, she got very weepy for a while and was throwing a fit. I handed the baby off to Don and picked Lydia up to nurse. Her mood changed almost immediately. This has been a great mood booster for both of us many times over.

2. Pain relief and much much more during illness for the child
When Lydia had this bug that we've all passed around over the last couple weeks, she nursed a ton, but didn't eat much solid food. She didn't lose weight or get dehydrated. Breastfeeding is a natural pain reliever for nurslings, even the AAP recommends using breastfeeding during small procedures to provide analgesia to your child.

3. Less sibling jealousy
We have yet to have an instance of sibling rivalry or jealousy displayed from Lydia. She has not had her comfort taken from her. We do have etiquette rules, or nursing manners, that we expect her to follow. If she's latching lazily, she has a few tries to not hurt me or she's done. She has to stop if the baby is done and needs to burp.  The mere fact that she hasn't had to stop completely has made her accept and love her new baby sister tremendously.

4. Quiet time
It is so nice with two kids to have a few minutes here and there that we all just sit and rest. Toddlers are very busy and sitting down for a while to nurse can be as good as a long nap.

5. Nutrition
Most toddlers are picky eaters. There are products made by companies like PediaSure on the market to "fill in the gaps" of your child's nutrition. The commercials talk about how picky kids are. These are great products for kids who really need the extra boost. Luckily for us, my milk has everything Lydia needs in it. The beauty of breastmilk is that it's been proven to not only provide tons of nutrients, but to change as your child grows and to be specifically formulated for each individual child.

6. It's NORMAL!!
In most of the world, the average age of weaning is four years old. The World Health Organization recommends nursing until 2 years of age MINIMUM.

7. Reducing my risks of cancer and other diseases.
Every month a woman breastfeeds, she lowers her risk of breast, uterine, ovarian, and endometrial cancers. This of course does not mean women will be in the clear, and should not keep you from doing self exams and having regular mammograms. It helps to prevent osteoporosis and much more.

8. It's good for her social development.
 Nursing promotes bonding. It has been proven over and over again by psychologists such as Erik Erikson that trust and bonding in the early years are imperative to future social and emotional development. If a child is given the bond and nurturing they need for as long as they are asking for it, it stands to reason they will benefit socially in the long run. There are studies to show this as true.

9. She doesn't get sick as often
Statistically speaking, children who are breastfed have higher levels of immunity. When a mother is exposed to an illness her body begins producing antibodies. These antibodies are put into her milk and work together with the antibodies that the child is already producing to prevent and treat illness. When she does get sick, it is usually less severe and for a shorter duration than her weaned peers.

10. It makes us both happy.
We really enjoy our time together and she's going to grow so quickly, she's already grown so quickly, that I'm savoring every moment of the bond we are creating. Oxytocin floods each of our brains while we nurse and it lowers our stress levels. It's not a picnic every day and, as in every relationship, there are ups and downs, but it's more good than not and we are completely happy.  After all, a happy family is all that matters in the end.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Lesson in Thanksgiving

"Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'" Matthew 19:14

Earlier this week, I was doing a Thanksgiving craft with Lydia and she showed me the child's faith that we are all supposed to have. Prior to this project, when asked what she's thankful for, she would say silly things that didn't make sense. This time, I said I was thankful for Lydia and she then went on to tell me what she was thankful for. Here is her list, of her own creation:

I am thankful for our baby who came out of your tummy.
I am thankful for mommy's milk. 
I am thankful for Daddy.
I am thankful for Mommy.
I am thankful for our house.
I am thankful that God lives in my heart.
I am thankful for our kitties.
I am thankful for Daisy.
I am thankful for all our pets.
I am thankful for Charlotte.

What a beautiful list of things to be thankful for!! I am always amazed by the heart of this little toddler who is so kind and loving. She's such a blessing.

For anyone interested, the craft is as follows (I will post pictures of our final product later):

Materials needed-
spray bottle
construction paper in fall leaf colors
pen or colored pencils
yarn, string, or twine

spray construction paper 
crumple the construction paper up, then unfold it and let it dry (this takes a few hours, we let ours dry overnight)
cut out leaf shapes
write down what family members are thankful for
tape leaves to yarn, string, or twine to make a garland
hang up wherever you wish.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Adan + Anais Swaddle Wraps

I've seen these beautiful muslin wraps on sites like Moms Milk Boutique and other natural parenting/cloth diapering stores. I saw them in package at The Little Seedling in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I thought they were pretty and was really interested in trying them, but my only knowledge of muslin was the thicker muslin my husband uses for backdrops in photography. I couldn't imagine them being very comfortable and the nearly $40 price tag for three blankets was something I was unable to afford. Yesterday, I saw a four pack for $29.99 at Target. I got them since the price was better fitting for me. I do not know how I lived without these!!!

I am not being paid to review these blankets, but I know a lot of mommies and want to share my love for a really great product. Right out of the package these were extremely soft. Charlotte will be four months in a couple days and loves holding blankets while she sucks her thumb. Most are a bit bulky and cause her to get really hot quickly. These are lightweight and breathable so they don't heat her up. She spent the day chewing on, snuggling, and loving the one I pulled out first. The softness and light weight of these blankets makes them wonderful for covering up while nursing around people who don't want to see my breasts.

Charlotte has always slept better swaddled, but can get out of all her Summer Swaddle Me's now that she's a bit stronger. We stopped using those about two months ago. Tonight, I swaddled her in an Aden + Anais blanket and not only does it fit around her 15 pound self with plenty of room to grow, but it holds her arm still. We leave one out for her to suck her thumb, but if the other is free she wakes frequently. She is comfortable and sleeping well thus far with her new blanket.

We have used it for tummy time as well, since she likes to lick whatever is under her. It is so big that it provides lots of room to roll and play. These blankets (the ones specifically marketed through Target) are 44"x44". The more expensive swaddle wraps sold on the Aden + Anais store and other online retailers are 47"x47". I would love to one day get the larger ones, but thus far, the Target size seems very generous and as if it will last us for a long time.

The beautiful prints available are, of course, a plus. I purchased the "Jillaroo" which has a white, pink and brown circles, pink and brown stars and triangles, and pink and brown Aden + Anais logo print.

These blankets will most definitely be a staple baby shower gift from here on out! I don't think we could live without them ever again!