Sunday, August 31, 2008

Owen 6 months

click photos to see larger
I was in the studio for one thing or another and so we decided, why not take some photos of the boy on a bear skin rug? This way, I can bribe him with that when he's older. photos ©2008 dawn kish photography don't steal photos off this blog, it makes professional photographers sad. side note: I'm back into my clothes, a little extra flab around the mid-section, but I trust in time, that too will disappear.

Teething & Breastfeeding | AAP and Breastfeeding

Owen grew his two first bottom teeth at exactly 4 months. Cutting teeth doesn't seem to bother our boy. One day Matt looked at his gums and said, "hey, honey, our boys is growing teeth." Everyone gives me this horrified look when I tell them I'm still breastfeeding and my boy has teeth. I'll admit, the thought had me a bit worried too. It was simple though, and once again, nature and instinct ruled. When the boy bit me, and he definitely tried out his chompers on my nipple, I simple over-dramatized the "ouch" and he just stopped. I think he did it about 3-4 times the first week they came in and I could tell he was just trying it out and not being spiteful.

I definitely get the "are you still breastfeeding?" question often. I can remember the days when I thought women who breastfeed for a year (or more) were crazed stay-at-home mothers who would never let their kids watch TV, have a girlfriend, or eat non-organic foods. It's not about that, people. There are significant recent studies regarding breastfeeding. The AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics revised their statement about breastfeeding in 2005. Read full article here. You might be surprised to hear that it includes the following: **note I'm pulling this directly out of the above referenced AAP articles.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child.
  • Mother and infant should sleep in proximity to each other to facilitate breastfeeding;
  • Pediatricians should counsel adoptive mothers on the benefits of induced lactation through hormonal therapy or mechanical stimulation.
  • Healthy infants should be placed and remain in direct skin-to-skin contact with their mothers immediately after delivery until the first feeding is accomplished.The alert, healthy newborn infant is capable of latching on to a breast without specific assistance within the first hour after birth. Dry the infant, assign Apgar scores, and perform the initial physical assessment while the infant is with the mother. The mother is an optimal heat source for the infant. Delay weighing, measuring, bathing, needle-sticks, and eye prophylaxis until after the first feeding is completed. Infants affected by maternal medications may require assistance for effective latch-on.Except under unusual circumstances, the newborn infant should remain with the mother throughout the recovery period. (I believe most hospitals take the infant away for Apgar immediately and return the infant in a swaddled blanket; however, remaining skin-to-skin and all above mentioned procedures are the standard of care for most midwives). I found this quite interesting!
  • There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer.
  • Infants weaned before 12 months of age should not receive cow's milk but should receive iron-fortified infant formula. I am certainly not sold on the cow's milk for a 1 year old. I will do more research in that dept.
I think we've made some strides in the breastfeeding arena. It seems almost everyone I know breastfeed their baby at least for the first few months. However, that is when society begins to turn their nose up (including my uninformed self). We should be CHEERING to hear that woman and baby have made it to 1 year, 2 years or as long as mutually desired by mother and child. Benefits to the baby are numerous including less ear infections, less risk of obesity, bacterial meningitis, allergies and many if you meet a woman who is breastfeeding into her child's first year and beyond, smile at them, and congratulate them on a job well done.

I enjoy our breastfeeding sessions as does Owen. Now that he's six months, Owen is eating solids... and this boy loves to eat. I am making his baby food with some great advice from a great book, a review is in order.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Birth Stories | Griffin | July 26, 2008

My client and friend, Ashley, was kind enough to send me her birth story. She really wanted a natural birth...ended up with an epidural but with a happy ending, so please read more to find out. I know this is a long one, so I'll post her "birth plan" later. Ashley, send me a photo or two to upload with the story. :)

Griffin’s Birth Story
Born July 26, 2008; 9:47 p.m.

This is a bit long-winded, so be prepared for a long read…We saw my OB at 10 a.m. on Friday (July 25), and were happy to find out that I was 3 centimeters dilated. Being 3 days overdue, Dr. Faulkner agreed to strip my membranes and OK me for acupuncture to induce.

I spent that day doing a final project for work, and visiting the mall with my mom and Alyssa for some last minute shopping. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, until that evening when the acupuncturist made a house call to try and induce me. The treatment was interesting—I had some very strong Chi sensations, and felt lots of baby kicks. We were advised to take an hour-long walk afterward, to try and stimulate things further. Greg, Alyssa, my mom and I enjoyed the Sculpture Park and waterfront—I was having minor contractions at that point. By 11 p.m. that night, I finally started having regular contractions, but still nothing painful. They were five minutes apart, but Dr. Faulkner suggested that we get some sleep until I was really in pain.

I woke up around 2 a.m. (on Saturday morning—July 26) with painful cramps. I quietly got through things on my own for a while, relaxing in bed and walking around the condo. After a few nudges from me that things were starting to happen, Greg got up and helped me. After an hour of painful contractions, we called Dr. Faulkner again. This time she advised us to come to the hospital when we felt like it was really ‘time,’ but not later than 7 a.m. By 3:45 a.m., I knew I was really in labor. I had some moments where I felt really scared and discouraged—the contractions were already intense, and I wasn’t sure how I would cope through the entire process. Greg helped me relax, and was very reassuring. I was feeling very nauseas and cold, which was also discouraging. During the time that I labored at home, I showered, took a bath and sat on the birthing ball to get through the contractions. By 5 a.m., we felt like we were ready to head to the hospital. The nausea and chills were getting worse, and I did not realize that was a normal reaction to labor.

We were not stressed on the way to the hospital, but I was VERY uncomfortable. Greg drove the wrong way by accident, and we stopped at Starbucks for a quick snack (I knew they would not let me eat once we were admitted to the hospital). We were put in a small room in triage (the area where they monitor you to determine whether or not you should be admitted), and I was hooked up to the monitors and checked for dilation. I was SO upset to find out that all the labor I had been through so far had not dilated me any more. I was still only three centimeters. They were not sure they wanted to admit me, as my contractions had slowed to only 7-8 minutes apart. I was very frustrated and began fighting against my body, which was a big part of why I was not progressing. After an hour or more in triage, things got a little ugly. They told me my baby was a bit ‘flat’ and that they wanted to see more activity out of him. Then I started throwing up (another common side effect of labor), and this apparently put the baby in distress. The triage nurse started acting like we were in code red, and hooked me up to oxygen and ordered an IV. I was scared at that point. As they were poking me over and over to find a vein for the IV, the call was made to admit me. At that point, my personal nurse arrived in triage to rescue me. She was a saint. She took me off oxygen, told them to stop trying to give me an IV, and calmly walked us to our birthing room. I loved this woman! She was the turning point in my birth experience, where I realized that my birth plan would be respected and that I would be in very good, caring hands.

With nurse Alyssa’s and Greg’s help, I then began to progress very quickly. We were in our birthing room by 10 a.m., and I was in the tub by 11 a.m. I labored in the tub naturally for about 3 hours. I was in active labor, and became very mentally focused to get through the pain. At about 2 p.m., I started telling Greg I needed to get an epidural so I could take a nap. Remember, I was planning on going through the entire process naturally, so he was very strong in trying to talk me out of it. Our nurse came in and also tried to talk me out of the epidural. She checked my progress and I was already at 8 centimeters! I was in transition, and had gotten there pretty fast. Greg and the nurse coached me through about another half hour to try and avoid the epidural. I had lost my focus at that point, and decided that I needed relief to make it through. At that point, I was about 9 centimeters.

After the epidural (which did not hurt), I took a nap and waited until pushing could begin. I felt really really good for a while. I could still move and feel my legs, and could tell when I was having contractions. When pushing started, the nurse was certain I would have the baby very quickly. After about an hour of pushing and getting nowhere, she started to suspect that the baby was facing the wrong direction—face up instead of face down. I started to feel more and more pain, even with the drugs. Long story short, pushing went on and on for 5 ½ hours before Griffin was finally delivered. I was so grateful for having the epidural, because I was in a lot of pain and was completely exhausted. Pushing was so physically exhausting, I’m sure I could run a marathon after having gotten through it.

In the end, we decided to let the doctor use forceps to deliver Griffin. She was willing to let me keep going on and on, since he was not in any distress, but I couldn’t bear the thought of pushing for hours and hours more. Plus, with him facing the wrong way, there was no guarantee that I would EVER get him out on my own. His head was essentially stuck in my pelvis. The forceps delivery was painful, but Griffin was delivered very quickly once they got started. The doctor also wanted to let me push him out, so she only used the forceps to get his head over my pelvis. Once he was crowning, I was able to finish the job, and bring my baby boy into this world. The feeling of getting him out was the most relief I could ever imagine. The look on Greg’s face was priceless, and as he watched Griffin be born, he just calmly said ‘Wow.’

They put Griffin onto my chest right away, and we cuddled skin on skin. He pooped all over me, and started nursing almost right away. I was in shock, and total euphoria. It was an overwhelming feeling of happiness, relief, shock, disbelief and amazement. He was so beautiful, even with his horrible cone head (which went away by the next day). Greg, Griffin and I bonded as a family and started getting to know each other right away. He never left our sight or our room, and we held him close until we were able to leave the hospital the next night. All in all, we are so happy with the birth experience, and will look on that day forever as one of the most momentous of our lives.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Oh hi, remember me?

Here's a quick dispatch inspired by Cameron's thorough musings on cloth diapering!

It's taken me nearly 2 years to get the changing table to the point where I really like it (for now...until the next rearranging, at least). While changing table are certainly not an essential piece of furniture, we have a gorgeous one that was in my husband's family and used 20-odd years ago for some of his siblings. We're proud to wipe our son's classy behind on it.

I'm not naturally a very organized person when it comes to stuff like this, so I'm rather pleased with what I've done to our cloth diaper stash:

On the top shelf, you'll see a bright orange bottle that was quite cheap and is more often than not filled with plain ole water. Next to the bottle, we have a plastic box (that once held disposable wipes long ago) in which I keep a stack of (again) plain ole baby wash cloths, which are - of course - are easy to tell apart from bath-time wash cloths. Behind that is a small basket of diaper covers.

The middle shelf is, uh, clothes. Guess you could tell.

The bottom shelf features a lovely blue basket chock full of mostly flat pre-folds, one treasured all-in-one and a handful of fitted diapers. I'm a big fan of that blue basket and am considering buying another one to take the place of the three smaller baskets, which contain odds-and-ends and a enormous supply of second-hand Fuzzi Bunz. We don't use the Fuzzi Bunz often; Tommy tends to get rashy with them, which is in direct contrast to most of the glowing reviews from customers. But they're good in a pinch, and I'm grateful to have scored them at such a good price.

Not pictured: the trash can in which we toss the occasional disposable diaper; a small pail in which we toss dirty diapers and use for clean transportation to the toilet; and a large diaper pail in which toss all the diapers, covers and wipes for washing. Like Cameron, we wash at home - and, also like Cameron, we're big fans of Charlie's Soap!

See, cloth diapering isn't just good for your baby and wallet and environment - it gives you a good excuse to accumulate fun baskets and stuff.

Friday, August 8, 2008

cameron's cloth diaper manifesto

For diapering, I knew I wanted to do cloth, but two concepts were stopping me 1) hassle and 2) poop. I'll address both and soon you'll be using cloth diapers yourself.
**Okay I want to preface this post with these facts: #1) I breastfeed, so I don't really know anything about formula fed baby poop so take that into consideration. Baby poop (until they eat solids) is very watery and similar to cottage cheese, only yellow *sorry.* It does NOT smell gross, in fact, it has a sweet smell, a baby poop smell. :) In any case, at first, it just splatters everywhere and absorbs into whatever will absorb it.
#2) when my baby reaches the solid poop phase, I'll post about how that works out with cloth...because I got this toilet sprayer thing that you can hose off the diapers and solid poop but I have no idea how it works.

If you are a first time mom and haven't used cloth diapers (or changed diapers since the babysitter days) you may be thinking to yourself, eeeewwwwwwww, nasty! How do I handle poopy diapers and wash them every day? Secret: YOU don't, the washing machine does. Really, you just throw those guys in there all dirty and nasty, put it on a soak cycle (or front loaders have a pre-wash) with no detergent and voila-- the are ready for the wash with detergent. After soaking (follow your diapers directions) you add some detergent. I use Charlie's Soap it doesn't leave any residue and cleans everything. Another secret, make diaper duty a habit. When I put the baby down to bed for the night, I just gather all the dirty diapers (stored in a dry pal) and toss them in the machine. After they are washed, I hang them to dry and they are ready by morning (alternatively if you don't live in the desert like me, then toss them in the dryer)

Does that sound horrible, hard and inconvenient? I didn't think so. Really, it's great AND you are not constantly buying diapers and smelling gnarly dirty ones.

I did a trial run with some different cloth diapers for the first 3 months as per a recommendation from Mom's at my baby shower. I had four systems. I'll explain each and tell you pros and cons. I chose one system in the end, Fuzzi Bunz, a pocket diaper.

1) gDiaper: love these, but at first when babies are small, the poop gets all over the liner and the diaper with frequency. I still liked them because it's less trash no matter how you shake it. If you get a whole set of these, I can see how they work awesome. I have four and we could make it at least one day. Problem with gDiapers is that their strength is that they are compostable when no poop is present. Paradoxically, you will find, though, that new babies poop A LOT. As they get older you will be able to compost more so I'd recommend these diapers as a support system for another diaper until baby is pooping solidly. Advantage: if you are camping or have a compost there is virtually no trash-- or if you can flush the pee ones. It's hard to flush new baby poop diapers because they are hard to touch since poop goes everywhere. Also they are a bit more "work" in snapping in the liner, unsnapping dirty liners, etc. If you are dedicated, you will like these, if you are looking for 100% easy solution, maybe it's not gDiapers.

2) Organic Caboose snap-able cotton diapers size newborn with Organic Caboose wool covers. I got these as a gift from my baby registry at Zen Baby in town. I found these diapers to work great if you don't mind your baby being WET and you don't want to use pre-folds. Owen didn't care about being wet, but it bothered me a bit. You have to use a cover with these. The wool Organic Caboose covers that I used worked great to keep the wetness in. Drawbacks include IT TOOK FOREVER for both the diapers and the covers to dry and I mean like ALL DAY in the AZ sun and you have to time your washing just perfectly to get the covers washed and dried with the diapers washed and dried. You only have to wash the wool covers once a week, but you also have to buy special wool wash and lanolin wool cure to keep them absorbing well. As a result of the drying issue, I found myself supplementing often with our disposable diapers. I don't think they will fit your baby long unless you have a skinny butt like Owen or a preemie. Also I couldn't fit baby, diaper and a doubler (liner to absorb more liquid) into these diapers. Maybe I just didn't have the right size, but the organic caboose super soakers didn't fit. I see on their site they have newborn size, which probably would've worked.

3) Nature Care Baby (buy at Target stores or These are so called "biodegradable" disposable diapers created by some mother in Sweden. We also buy their wipes for backup (yes I use cloth wipes too). They work almost as well as the Pampers, which makes me suspicious but they are a bit kinder to the planet (not by much). Owen wears one when he goes to bed or if we are caught out without a cloth diaper. If he sleeps through the night, these will hold it all. I don't feel AS BAD throwing these away because they breakdown eventually but alas, it's still trash and I hate TRASH and landfills don't biodegrade anything as is discussed at LENGTH in this article.

We are down to one Nature Care Baby diaper per day.

4) pre-folds with cover. I tried these and didn't really like folding them all the time. I have about 6 friends who LOVE their pre-folds and use them exclusively but for now they were more hassle on the changing table then I was willing to battle 8-12 times a day. I will say, when I did use them, they worked and they are easy to clean and they dry fast and are easy to pack in a diaper bag.

5) Fuzzi-Bunz (pocket diapers) You put an absorbent soaker (foldable insert) inside the diapers and take it out for washing. I might also like an "all in one" type cloth diaper but I bet they take forever to dry. I ended up choosing to purchase a set of Fuzzi-bunz (I bought two to test run). I got a set of 10 and got the "second quality" because they were $13.99 rather than $19.99. In the future, I'll buy the first quality ones because you get a micro-terry insert in the 1st quality but not the seconds, plus a warranty. I like these diapers A LOT. They are easy to wash, easy to use, they WORK, they fit and they dry super fast. They wouldn't have fit Owen until 3 months because he had a skinny butt and legs but now he's in the tightest snap on the size small so I think these will fit awhile. Their website has tons of info regarding diapers and how to wash them, etc etc. Follow the directions because I'm told if you don't wash these properly they will stink and lose their absorbency. I have heard that bamboozle diapers are also great. I might buy two of them to check them out. I hear they take a long time to dry (huge issue if it take longer than 8 hours or 1 hour in the dryer).

Seventh Generation: work well, at least you are supporting a company who strives to do the right thing but they still have a fair amount of that plastic like absorbant substance (so do gDiapers).

Pampers: I admit on vacation for a week I used Pampers. I hated them. They stink funny with urine and give the baby a rash and you are constantly throwing them away. I couldn't WAIT to get home to my Fuzzi Bunz.