Friday, October 23, 2009

Momma Yoga

what is yoga?
An Indian tradition related to the union of mind, body and spirit.

So What does yoga have to do with being a mom?
It's a great way to stretch out and relax while bonding with the little bean.
Here are my 2 favorite ideas.

Cat Cow
Do cat-cow while mooing and meowing at baby. Haley loves this, she had a big giddy smile on her face each time I looked at her and made noises.

Sun Salutations
The other great one is sun salutations. I loved these in the yoga class I did in college. When you are doing downward facing dog you can bark, or hiss during cobra. Just don't go to low.

This is the simple version. It's easy and relaxing. I enjoy the rhythmic movements.

I like this one because it has some warrior poses thrown in.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Haley Loves High Contrast

I realized that Haley absolutely loves the mobile over her changing table.
So I decided to paint her some pictures with the same black, white and red style. I found some pictures online that inspires these. Haley seems to like them. If I pt them on either side of her she tries to roll toward them, she can't get past her side yet.
Then I made some silhouettes of Zach and I from our wedding and from my pregnancy. I am pretty pleased with the way they turned out.
These are the pictures they came from.
The wedding picture is from James and Jenny of Visio photography
My friend Jessi (of Capture photography) too the pregnancy photo for us.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nursery Art

Being a stay at home mom gives me lots of time to be crafty again. Well a little time at least.
I love to paint. I haven't done it much in the past few years but I have missed it. Rebecca and Jessi made Haley a beautiful alphabet painting for her nursery. They had the fun idea of doing a flower painting with the same colors at the baby shower. It was a great idea that didn't go so well. After the baby shower we re-painted it and Jessi started to create paintings more in line with her original vision. However, time want by and it just wasn't happening so I took the canvases home to finish on my own. I found some green and pink paint and painted the canvases solid colors. Then I spent hours looking for ideas online and trying to decide which ideas to pursue. i ended up using the design from stationary I found online for the first canvas, and mimicing the pattern for the second. I also decided to paint Haley's name on the canvases. I traced them in pencil first and painted over in opposite colors. I thin they turned out pretty well. My next project are some high contrast paintings since Haley loves the mobile over her changing table with all the black, white and red images.
Rebecca taught me to crochet, and by looking at videos online, and with more instruction from Rebecca I have improved my knitting skills beyond the basic stitch. It was been great to have a simple craft to do with my hands. We have been traveling a lot with Zach playing frisbee and I love having something to do while sitting in the passenger seat. Also crocheting is great because it is easy to do with Haley sleeping in my arms, and I can easily put it down at any point if she gets fussy. So far I have only made dish cloths and hats. I taught myself to make cute baby hats (that look slightly like witch hats) and after re-starting about 6 times I made a beanie for Zach. I am looking forward to creating blankets and other new things for all of the babies that are due soon.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Search for my favorite Nursing Gear

Guys beware, this post is all about Haley's bottles. And no, I don't mean the bpa free kind.

We have all heard that breast is best. What the don't tell you is that it hurts. Oh my gosh it hurts. The pinch of a baby learning to eat for the first time mixed with boobs that seem like they may explode off your chest and then dried out or chapped nipples is not a good feeling. But it is a sacrifice worth making if you can. Luckily there are several classes, hospital lactation consultants, and great gear to help mothers as they embark on the journey of feeding their babies.
At two and a half weeks Haley got thrush which made it hurt worse right as it was finally starting to get better. I wanted desperately to quit, and might have if I hadn't let Haley get sunburned. I cried through several feedings but I figured toughing out the pain was the least I could do for my sweet baby who I had exposed to too much sun. And I'm glad I stuck it out (although I have a total respect for anyone who doesn't seriously I think it was only guilt that kept me going. Well, guilt and knowing that preparing bottles in the middle of the night would have been a much bigger inconvenience than unhooking my bra.

Nursing Bras: These are the one's I have tried and my opinions of them. They are all available at Target for the price listed.

Medela Sleep Nursing Bra $19.99main product image
This bra is super comfortable and convenient! (even though Target sent me the wrong color... twice; and wouldn't let me return it after trekking to the sore because the don't sell them at the Asheville location.)This one is great because you don't have to worry about re-hooking it, which is great for sleepy middle of the night feedings, or feeding in public. Instead of wrestling with your bra one handed under a sliding blanket you can focus on your baby who needs to be burped. This bra does offer less support though. It also has a racer back so the straps ill show if you have a wide necked top, but it's perfect under a t-shirt.
Gilligan & O'Malley Nursing Tank $16.99main product imageProduct Image
I love these tank tops! I have 4 of them (2 black, 1 white, 1 grey). These tank tops are affordable, comfortable, and I can wear these as a shirt or under a shirt. the advantage if they're under a shirt is that When I lift my shirt by postpartum belly is not exposed
Gilligan & O'Malley® Nursing Padded Demi Bra $12.99main product image
This bra is great if i want to feel sexy. It's a little stiff for pulling down to nurse, but it looks like a regular bra with the convenience of a pull down clip. It's perfect for wearing under my regular clothes and for days when I just want to feel like a regular me again.
Nursing Sports Bra With Padded Straps $12.99main product image
I got this bra because after trying to run to first base in a church softball game I realized that regular bras will no longer cut it. (I also realized that running for the first time in almost a yea is no piece of cake, but that's another story) After a lifetime in the IBTC needing a bra full time is an adjustment, and this one is great for the extra support I will need while trying to lose the baby weight. Soccer field here I come.
Gilligan & O'Malley® Nursing Sleep Bra $16.99main product image
This bra is super stretchy and I liked it at first, especially when my milk came in and I felt like I had two cantaloupes attached to my chest. But it is not my favorite now. The mesh fabric across the top makes re-hooking the bra easier, but it also means you can't wear it under most nicer tops. Of all the bras I have tried this is the one I would have skipped.

Other Favorite Breast Feeding Products

Johnson & Johnson  Contour Nursing Pads - 60 PadsGerber  Ultra-Thin Nursing Pads - 60 pk
Nursing Pads:
These are a must if you don't want big milk stains on your shirt (and in the first few weeks they may not be enough to help anyways) My favorite are the washable cotton/ bamboo pads I got from Jessi, They have cute designs and are eco friendly. The also have flower on one so you can keep track of which side you recently nursed on (although for me a hair tie on my wrist works better- when I don't fidget with it and switch it subconsciously) However sometimes disposables are what you need, like when you're trying to get rid of thrush or its laundry day. My favorites are Gerber ultra thins. They are super absorbent and they are comfortable since they're so thin. I also like Johnson's because they have tape on them so they will stick to your bra, which is helpful when you're nursing in public and you don't want to put down the nursing pad where it could fall on a dirty floor or get lost in the shuffle of baby, burp cloth, and blanket. I don't like the shape as much because if they are in the wrong spot they can be difficult to adjust and they are less comfortable and awkward looking. Finally I will say that I tried Lily Padz once, and while they feel nice (they are a bit cool which is soothing) I do not think the necessary upkeep is worth the trouble. I would say skip these as well, although they may be a great fit for other moms.
Pain Treatment
Lansinoh Lanolin Topical Treatment. This stuff is a must have if you have sore nipples (and you will) I don't know how soothing it is, but it did help at least some, especially when Haley got thrush. The downside - It's sticky and gross feeling, you have to rub it between your fingers to soften it up. If you are using disposable breast nursing pads you can wipe your fingers off on those and it's less inconvenient, but it will stain so beware. I also had some gerber ice pack that felt great when I was engorged in the beginning.

Pumping and Bottle Feeding:
I received the Medela Single Deluxe Electric Breastpump from a friend and it is the perfect fit for me. I have class for grad school on Monday night and am usually gone for about 5 hours. This means that once a week Haley usually needs two bottles. With this pump I can pump once on Sunday and once on Monday and Haley is good to go for the night. It is a convenient size and not terrible expensive. I usually pump one side while Haley is eating on the other. It is electric which is convenient and has an AC adapter to charge. This pump is lightweight and easy to use. I usually build up to full power, but I learned quickly to start on a low setting and work my way up otherwise OUCH! My only suggestion is to get an extra valve part (where it empties into the collection container) because that is the hardest part to clean.
I really like medela products and for 29.99 my mom got me a storage and feeding set. It has bag storage as well as 6 freezer containers and 3 bottles. I imagine that it is all I will ever need since I only pump for class and the occasional free-time outing

Cover up:
I got one of the cute nursing covers with the buckle on the side but I would say skip it. Haley gets all tagled up in it and a blanket works just as well, especially if yo have a husband or friend willing to old it up for you while finding the right latch. I will say though that I have seen "hooter hiders" which look like they would be a nursing cover worth having. It's just much easier if you can see your baby while they latch on.

Nursing Pillow:
What a blessing There are several out there, even with clever name, like my breast friend, but there is a reason boppy wins parenting magazine awards year after year. When I nurse using the boppy my arms don't get as tires and I can even lay haley on it to do other things, like read her a story. It has several cute, washable covers to choose from. And it is great for tummy time and for extra support when learning to sit up. I would say this is definitely a must have.
I got a really nice glider, also from m mother, and I love it. It's great for nursing and for soothing Haley when she's upset. The chair I got is very modern and will make a great piece of furniture even when my nursing days are up, however it is a definite luxury. Half of the time I end up nursing on the couch or in the bed. But that may change as we establish a more permanent bedtime routine. Basically I would say if you get a glider or rocker as a gift or as a steal on craigslist go for it but it is not something to break the bank on.

and to end here is my embarrassing nursing story...
One day I heard a knock on the door, I left Haley sleeping on the couch to go answer it. Two guys selling magazines. I talked to them for a few minutes before they made their sales pitch, which is when I told them I would not be spending any money and they left. A few minutes later I looked in the mirror, only to realize that the entire time I was talking to these two guys my tank top had been pulled down exposing my lovely nursing bra to the world. Just lovely.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

playing with a 2 month old

It is so hard to play with Haley. I imagined myself as the mom who played her baby classical music, and read to he all the time; who played educational and developmentally appropriate games and lavished her baby with attention. I thought I would be wearing her constantly (instead of leaving her in a bouncy seat) doing infant massage and making sure she has adequate tummy time. For that matter I also though she would not be sleeping in the bed with me, but so much for that idea I love my little snuggle to be close, and it's just easier for her to fall asleep in my arms when she east at 4 in the morning, but I digress.
Most of my time spent with Haley during the day I am doing all I can to get her to stop crying... the shameful part is that my motivation is often completely selfish. I want to keep exploring things online, reading other blogs or webpages for new moms. I want to finish watching my TV show, I want to sleep, or I simply want to sit down. But the exciting thing is that Haley has finally started becoming more responsive when she's awake. She isn't cooing or saying ahhh yet (which several babies her age on you tube videos do) but she is smiling at me more often and staring at me for longer. Sometimes I can't help but play with her.
So how do we play?
Tummy Time: Usually we're laying together on her quilt, me trying to coax Haley to lift or turn her head. This never lasts very long, in fact if she makes it 3 minutes I fee like we're doing well. She has a spin and see tummy time mat that she likes a bit better than just resting on her face. I think I need to rest her on her boppy more. She can turn her head on her flat tummy, she just gets mad quickly, and can't lift her head well.

Massage Time: This usually does not last very long either, and only happens about once a week. She wears a diaper during it so I avoid being pooped and peed on. I don't use edible olive oil as suggested, if I use anything it's Johnson's baby oil or bedtime lotion.(I just try to avoid using it on her hands) I massage her face, than her tummy, her arms and fingers, her legs and toes, and if she's not screaming at me yet her back.

Baby Boxer: She holds my hands and I turn her into the million dollar baby. She jabs, crosses, hooks and uppercuts to my sound effects. POW!

Airplane: Now that she can hold her head up a bit more she likes to fly. She loves peering over the shower bar to see daddy when he gets home from work. I also do "baby push ups" where I lift her up, then bring her down for kisses 10 times. She will also lay on her tummy on my calves and I can do 1/2 leg lifts with her as my weight.

Finger and Toe Games: We sing "10 Little Indians" and play "This Little Piggy". We say and act out "clap your hands, stomp your feet, clap your feet, stomp your hands."

Body Parts: We sing "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes" while I show her the right body part. We play "I'm gonna get you" and I get her nose or toes etc. We play "How big is baby?" "So Big!" and I spread her arms as wide as the go.

Kisses: I say " Eskimo kisses (and we rub noses) butterfly kisses (batting eyelashes together) and Haley kisses (then I cover her with kisses all over)

Movement song: I recently stole this one from the huggies website. I move her legs in the appropriate motion for "walking, walking, walking, walking, hop hop hop, hop hop hop, running, running, running; running, running, running, now we stop! Now we stop!" (to the tune of frere Jacques)

Follow the bunny: I turn my fingers into a bunny while she's laying on her back and watch her follow them from side to side. This works with her toys or any visually interesting object too.

Sit-ups: When she's on her back she holds my hands and I guide her through sit ups, (but she has to lift her head as we go or I set her back down. This works best if she's starting on a slight incline)

Others: We dance, I sing, We go on long walks (usually in the snuggli or the moby wrap)We play peek-a-boo. I read to her, usually while she eats or while she isn't being fussy, but sometimes I read through her screams just for the sake of my sanity. I copy her sounds. (even though right now it's usually her screams and cries that I mimic) We have tickle time and make funny faces at each other,

Things to try (these are some new ideas I have gotten from a little research): Take her exploring in my closet to feel the various textures and see all the colors. Let her smell various spices up close. Blow bubbles. follow the light.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

screaming mandrake and other Haley look-a-likes

Over the past 2 months Zach and I as well as several family members and friends have been discovering several things that Haley looks like or acts like, here is a list of a few. 

She makes silly faces like this guy.

She has the same favorite spot as the baby gorilla.

She's the size of a Wallaby (9-22 lbs.)

Her sweet startle reflex makes her look like this monkey... or a rapper. 

She yawns like a lion.

She has cute little frog lefgs when she gets all scrunched and snuggled. And when I put her in her wrap a lot of times one leg is tucked up, and the other is hanging out. 

Zach says she looks like a baby ewok.

Justin and Anna said she looks like a mandrake. When she's screaming and her face is all scrunched she really does. 

When we pass her off and her shoulders are high I think she looks at you like baby Simba, or baby Kiara, being presented by Rafiki.

She rolls around on her back like this polar bear.

Finally, right before she spits up on you she looks at you with bright eyes like this cute alien baby from men in black. 

The Diapering Dillema

In a perfect world this sweet girl would get to roam around bare bottomed. However we have seen the effects of that style of parenting and it's not always pretty. (i.e. poop and pee all over the floor, couch, bed, etc.) So while it may be great for some people, it's not ideal for us. I'm sure our landlords would agree. So I am on a quest (thanks to my mom, sister, and all the other people who got us diapers as shower gifts... we still haven't had to buy any... just wipes) to find the best, cheapest, most practical diapering system around.

The Disposables

The hospital started us off with papers sensitives. They were great because they have the umbilical cord cut out. But even better, they have a strip that changes from yellow to blue to let you know if the baby is wet, much better than the smell test or reaching your hand in and seeing what you find. Also pampers have sure sesame street characters. I think so far Elmo is Haley's favorite.

We have also tried loves. They are incredibly absorbent, but definitely feel like paper.

now for my favorite. Huggies, ands down. Featuring Winnie the Pooh (how appropriate) These diapers also come with the yellow color changing strip, but they just seem to fit beter and be more comfortable. This shout out also goes to the huggies wipes which seem to keep baby'b bottom much more clean.

I also have to give a shout out to the diaper genie. I don't think it's necessary but it's easy and it does keep the potty smells at bay. The blue diaper bundles are not environmentally friendly, but maybe it's better to have all of the disposables contained.

Cloth Diapers

First I tried prefolds with a fuzzi bunz as a cover (it's what I had been given) I don't like the prefolds because the entire thing is soaked through leaving baby's bottom very wet ( this could be useful for potty training but we are far from it) The snappi did however make the prefolds much easier to put on, without the danger of pins. I also didn't like that when I washed these they stained very easily, making it seem like they weren't really clean.

The fuzzi bunz made a great cover since all the real covers I have are too big, but it did make the whole thing incredibly bulky. I like how adjustable the snaps are too.

My cloth diaper winner. Bum Genius 3.0. Several people suggested these and after some research I decided to try them out. THey are great, designed for babies from 7-35 pounds, so you don't have to buy more as she grows, just adjust the snaps. I love that they velcro on like a disposable to get the perfect fit. (my friend who uses these said after a few months the velcro wore out, but it was easy to replace). This diaper comes with 2 inserts (a newborn one that can later be used as a doubler and a bigger one that has snaps to adjust to the diaper size). I love the cute colors these come in.
You can save a little money by buying in bulk, but I hope that using them often will save money in the long
run. I currently own 8. I use them at home but switch to disposables when I'm out and about and during the night. I wash them every other night. It's easy too. When they are soiled I take them off and fold down the velcro flap, then take out the inset, putting them both into an empty industrial pickle jar (my diaper pail) While she's breast feeding only there is no need to rinse them off or dump them in the toilet first. Then when she's gone through all 8 I dump them all into the washer.I run them through a cold pre-rinse cycle. Then wash them regularly with an extra rinse in warm or hot water. I have been using tide free (which research says isn't the best for cloth diapers, but not the worst either, and I can wash regular clothes and baby clothes in it. - Dreft is not suggested) Then dry them in the dryer on a normal setting put inserts back into the diapers, and set them into the basket on the changing table, ready for another use. Disclaimer: There is a slight urine scent that comes with cloth diapers, but if you keep a lid on the jar it doesn't permeate the whole nursery so at least so far I'm not to worried about it.
As I start to run out of disposable I could definitely see using these more at night and out of the house, I will just have to invest in more of them. They are a little bulky but there great. And when Haley starts moving around more she may appreciate the extra padding on her bottom.