Tutorial: How to Swaddle With an Actual Swaddle

Posted 01-28-2015 at 05:02 PM by Banana Cat

swaddle

Go down the swaddle aisle at any baby store, and there are countless styles and patterns to choose from—enough for stores to justify dedicating a whole aisle to swaddles.  You never know what your baby will tolerate before they are born, and some kids love certain swaddles and totally hate others. After trying nearly everything on the market between my two kids, I came to the conclusion that the good ol’ fashioned simple square-piece-of-fabric swaddle is the most versatile and easiest to care for. Learning to swaddle the old fashioned way can be a bit tricky at first, especially when you are sleep deprived at 3am, but with a little practice you will be a swaddling pro in no time.

Supplies

  • A Swaddle
  • A baby

Step One

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This swaddle is so big I couldn’t get it in the whole camera frame without becoming Spider-Woman and sticking myself to the ceiling. Just trust me that it’s diamond-shaped.

Diaper Swapers

Healthy Snacks from Graze – Try Your First Box for Free!

Posted 12-15-2014 at 12:00 PM by Ellen

You do our best to provide your family with healthy food options. But with little ones and busy schedules, sometimes it’s easier to snack or “graze.” Fortunately, you can still eat healthy and it doesn’t have to be difficult either. You can have healthy snacks sent right to your home from Graze. Their products have no GMOs, no artificial flavors, and no artificial colors and the snacks are wholesome, real food. So if you need healthy snacks in your home but you’re short on time, this is an excellent solution. Best of all, you can try your first box from Graze for free! 

I Eventually Gave My Child Formula and Everything is Fine

Posted 12-8-2014 at 10:17 AM by Banana Cat

Bottle Fed Baby Featured

It’s no secret: I nursed both of my kids.

According to the Internet Moms of today, this is the Correct Way Of Doing Things. I don’t really care about the Correct Way Of Doing Things much (perhaps it’s the Catholic schoolgirl in me still being a bit rebellious), but I did find myself, over the past three years, having to defend my decision to nurse my kids. While I never got kicked off a plane or humiliated in public, I did have to deal with a family for whom breastfeeding was not “normal,” and the few disgusted looks occasionally thrown my way in public. Still, I nursed my eldest until she self-weaned at 19 months of age, and I intended to nurse my youngest until he weaned as well.

I was pretty certain he’d wean early. Already at 9 months he was an amazing eater of solid foods, cutting back on his milk feedings, and eating as much as his 2 year old sister at mealtimes (sometimes even more, if she were going through a spontaneous picky stage. Actually, he often finished her meals, too). What I wasn’t prepared for was for myself to be diagnosed with a condition for which medication was not nursing-safe when he was only 11 months old.

Bobbing with Baby: Tips for Taking Your Baby in the Pool

Posted 10-30-2014 at 08:19 AM by Ellen

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Infants and toddlers love to swim, and today’s babies are introduced to the pool earlier and earlier. With all the kicking and splashing, it provides exercise that they wouldn’t be getting elsewhere. It also helps them develop a love for water and shows them when and how to be cautious around it.

Taking your baby for a swim can be a lot of fun, but there are a few things you need to know before you both get in the pool.

Age

The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that a baby should be taken into a pool no earlier than two months of age. A baby’s temp can change quickly, and a baby is not big enough to regulate her body temperature until she’s around a year old, therefore the pool needs to be on the warm side when you go in.

The Parts of a Breastpump

Posted 07-22-2014 at 03:10 PM by Banana Cat

“I use an Ameda Purely Yours with 25 millimeter flanges, but the white valves need to be replaced and it wouldn’t hurt to get a spare set of diaphragms as well.” If you haven’t clicked away from that mess of words already, and you are new to the world of breastpumps, you probably are wondering what on earth everything is! Since most people have had absolutely no reason to research breastpumps at any point in their lives before they had children, the lingo can be mysterious and confusing! Why are there tubes? What is a flange? Will I feel like a cow being milked? We will explore the basic parts of a breastpump below.

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Nursing Covers: A Necessity?

Posted 06-10-2014 at 12:56 PM by Banana Cat

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Many years ago, breastfeeding was on its way “out.” Advances in the nutrition and development of commercial formulas meant that children who needed to be on formula, whatever the reason may be, were able to thrive on good nutrition. However, with these scientific breakthroughs, and due to an enormous number of factors that I won’t do into in depth here, the general American public came to see formula as “better” than breastmilk, and women who chose to breastfeed were seen as weird, perhaps even “backwards.”

The Training Pants Dilemma

Posted 05-14-2014 at 03:40 PM by Banana Cat

Shortly before her second birthday, my daughter became intensely interested in using the potty. She followed us into the bathroom to watch us go. She started pulling at her diapers after she peed. She sat on her little plastic potty and read books. One day after watching my husband use the bathroom, she ran around naked pretending to pee standing up with various “Wissssssssssssh!” sound effects. It was really the perfect time to start potty training her.

Her brother didn’t agree. I went into labor with him on my daughter’s birthday and all thoughts of potty training went out the window for all of us. I suppose it was for the best, since she probably would have regressed with a new baby in the house anyway, but I was slightly irritated at having lost the “window of opportunity” to train her. A couple of months later, when the water bill showed up and we were somehow shocked at learning that cloth diapering two full time uses much more water than only cloth diapering one full time, I bribed my daughter onto the potty with a couple of M&Ms (no judgment!) and suddenly, boom, she wanted to use the potty! Now that I had forced open a new window of opportunity, I found myself with another issue—what kind of training pants to use?

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If you thought choosing cloth diapers from the millions of types available was hard, I’m sorry to tell you there are just as many types of training pants out there!

Me and the Accidental Case of Breastmilk’s Healing Properties

Posted 03-17-2014 at 08:49 AM by Banana Cat

breastfeeding

I’m a scientifically minded person. This is probably because ever since I was a little kid I drove my parents and teachers crazy by asking WHY…but I needed detailed answers. “Why is the sky blue?” could not be answered with, “Well, that’s the color the sky is, the light makes it look blue”–no, the whole concept of the color spectrum and so on had to be explained before I was satisfied. Perhaps this expectedly also got me in trouble with the nuns at the Catholic school I attended for asking too many theological questions, but that’s another story.

Anyway, this means I question a lot of things. If I read an article on a news site that says “New Study Reveals Yogurt Cures Feline Leukemia,” the first thing I will do is read the article, point out all the factual errors, and question statements about the results that aren’t backed up with statistics or other links, then hunt for the original study in a scientific journal and point out that the study showed that at 10am on a sunny Monday in March, a cat ate yogurt and tested negative for leukemia three days later which means nothing scientifically and the article was dumb. Yes, really, I do this all the time, probably much to the annoyance of everyone in my life. Anyway, THIS means that I naturally tend to be skeptical of alternative medicines and cures. Sure, millions of people might swear by taking a certain herbal supplement to prevent the flu or something, but if there are no studies proving so, it wouldn’t even cross my mind to try it.

I’m aware that nursing your baby exposes them to antibodies and other compounds that aren’t in formula. But everywhere, people were touting the healing properties of breastmilk. It cured pinkeye! It cured cradle cap! It cured diaper rash! It cured everything! The skeptic in me kicked in, even the entire nineteen months I nursed my daughter. Sure, it’s good nutrition for a child, but as a remedy for a bunch of different things? Bah.

But…

A Good Excuse To Have More Diapers On Hand

Posted 03-12-2014 at 08:04 AM by Banana Cat

Emergency Preparedness

I admit, I’m kind of a disaster freak.

Not like, “Oh no, the apocalypse is coming, gotta store 500 lbs of wheat in my cellar” type of disaster freak (mostly because we live in a top floor apartment in the middle of a large metropolitan city). But, you know, I live in the Pacific Rim of Fire and that top floor apartment gives me a dead on view of a volcano that’s been overdue for an eruption for a few hundred years now. I will at least get a National Geographicesque high-resolution closeup view of a volcanic eruption before I die a terrible, burning death.

 

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Mountains: A pretty sight, until they blow up on you

 

However, more realistically, my decision to live a life on top of the area where two giant continental plates smash against one another means I’ll probably get caught up in an earthquake one of these days. The county has a suggested disaster preparation list of things that every family should have on hand in case of a disaster, tailored slightly to earthquakes for the area. You’ve got your usual water bottles and emergency blankets and ponchos, emergency food bars (have you ever actually eaten those? They’re, uh…definitely only something I’d eat in an absolute emergency), and then, almost as an afterthought, the list adds “specialty items for kids and pets.” This is important, but it begs the question of what the absolute essentials are for children in a time of disaster.

Cholestasis (the Second Time) – The Birth

Posted 03-11-2014 at 08:33 AM by whitneywalters

Cassandra has made her grand appearance since my last blog post. I am relieved that our journey with cholestasis has come to an end and she is here, safe and healthy.

Cholestasis (the Second Time) - The Birth

We knew at the beginning of my pregnancy that the chances of getting cholestasis again were very high. Some studies say the chances are even as high as 90%. So while I was hopeful to avoid it, I knew that more likely then not, we would be dealing with it again. The first time I had it was during my pregnancy with my fourth child, I only had to deal with the itching for a very short time, I was diagnosed and induced the very same day. It really did not prepare me for what I would be experiencing this time around.

The itching began weeks before I was diagnosed this time, my official diagnoses came around the 33 week mark. They got me on medicine right away but nothing ever fully took away the itching. I now have scars on my arms, legs, feet, and chest because I would scratch so much.

My induction date was set for February 7th I spent the four weeks beforehand at a lot of doctor visits with extra tests. Due to the complications the condition can have for an unborn baby, I needed a lot of extra monitoring. I felt like a living pin cushion from all the blood tests they were doing.  The Tuesday before my induction date was my final doctor visit. She wanted to see if I was favorable for induction and I was not. I was barely dilated to a one, 30% effaced and my cervix was very high. My doctor wanted to try cervical ripening the night before. I was upset by this news, it was another night away from my older children and more intervention that I did not want.

Thursday night I went in around 7pm and they started the cervidal. The night was pretty uneventful, I did contract every two minutes most of the night but they were not very painful. I tried to get some sleep and hoped that by morning something would have happened. By morning I was only a two and 40% effaced, it was pretty disappointing to hear. A pitocin drip was started around 7 am and I spent the afternoon walking the halls, getting the pitocin upped, more walking, more pitocin. They checked me a few times during the afternoon and not much was changing.  By 3pm I was sitting at a three and 50% effaced. My doctor wanted to break my water and that is when I made the choice to get an epidural. I did not have the energy to labor all day and all night, I had not slept well in so long from the itching and I was just wanting things to be over. I wanted a natural labor, I was pretty upset with how everything was going. They let me off the monitors for awhile, I sat in the bath and waited for the anesthesiologist. While in there I broke down and cried, my husband was sitting with me and he just held me, kept reassuring me that it was okay and telling me that no matter what, I was still strong and we would have our baby soon.