Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Minimalist: Baby Registries - Baby Gear III

I know, I know... there is a LOT of baby stuff out there, right?! This is the fifth installment of my Monday Minimalist series about registering for your Baby Shower gifts. Today will be the last of the "Baby Gear" section.

Sasha sleeping in Play YardSasha sleeping in Play Yard Cradle
November 2009

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Surf: Wipes, Books and a Carrier

I feel like I've not nothing productive all week. You know, other than feeding babies, changing babies, emptying the potty, washing diapers, washing clothes, washing babies, refilling the humidifier, occasionally feeding myself... There is always something else that needs done!

Here are the links I somehow managed to find for you:

~ Cloth Baby Wipes ~

Oh yeah! I did research and make my own wipe solution! I checked with Natural Parents Network and also found recipes at Zany Zebra Designs. I finally settled on my own version of one of the recipes:

  • 1½ C Hot water
  • 2 T Coconut Oil
  • 1 T Baby Wash

Spencer's bum has seemed red, though. I'm not sure if its from poop or the coconut oil, so I'm afraid to use it anymore. I'm taking a break. I was loving having it next to the cloth wipes in a travel spray bottle, though! I didn't add any essential oil, though the bottle had previous had diluted lavender. I like the resulting scent.

~ Little Free Library ~

One of my friends is trying to get some of these set up and the project just look awesome! I love it! Its a little free standing library box available for people to exchange books for free. Check it out!

~ Tablerunner/Placemat Onbuhimo ~

This is a tutorial on how to make a carrier (an ABC type or similar to a Mei Tai) out of a table runner and a placemat! Talk about upcycling!


Sunday Surf with Authentic Parenting and Hobo MamaI'm joining Authentic Parenting and Hobo Mama for Sunday Surf. Share your best reading of the week, and link up your post at either blog!

For more great reading, visit Hobo Mama or Authentic Parenting for the latest Sunday Surf and linky.

Happy Surfing!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Spencer's Birth Story


Welcome to the first edition of the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, hosted by Authentic Parenting and Mudpiemama!

In the month of January, we start afresh, a new year, new ideas. Hence, our participants have looked into the topic of “Birth and New Beginnings.” Take a look at the end of this post to find a list of links to the entries of the other participants.

***



I had a lot of contractions in my final trimester. They came often and they were hard. Because of this, our doctor had said that Spencer might (safely) arrive as early as 36-37 weeks. That'll make a family anxious! We were open to having Spencer any time as Giftmas approached. Then we hoped to wait a week. Our doctor was on vacation from December 25th - 30th.

At 11 o'clock on December 25th (11:04 actually, if I recall correctly), I decided I'd better go tell Tyler (13yo) to get to bed. Sasha (2yo) was still up with me. As I walked to the other end of the house, I noticed I was wet... really wet. I went to the bathroom to check myself and found some slight tinge of pink.

I got very shaky. I called my Jenni (my doula) and explained what was going on, including feeling like I was having a major adrenaline rush from the excitement of it. She reassured me that the shaking was normal anyway, but that we should get to the hospital. I didn't feel a need to rush, but I woke Elmo and we started getting ready. He carried the numerous bags out to the truck. We (Sasha, Elmo and I) were loaded up into the truck by 11:30. I called Jenni again to let her know we were on our way. Tyler was staying up at home, waiting for updates.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mamatography - Week 3

Mamatography now also has a Facebook page! I hope you're enjoying the project. Feel free to jump in at any time. I've made it through week 3, so I should be good to go, right? Lets hope I have gotten this habit well in hand.

Day 15

(01/15/12)

Sasha in SwingBeautiful January Day
Good swingin' weather!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Minimalist: Baby Registries - Baby Gear II

Welcome back to the fourth installment of my Monday Minimalist series about registering for your Baby Shower gifts. Last week I brought you just part of the "Baby Gear" category. I'll dig through more of it today.

Strollers

This subcategory is broken down into Travel system, Traditional stroller, Lightweight stroller, All-terrain jogger/stroller, and Double stroller. I certainly don't think they're suggesting you need each of these. We have had several hand-me-down strollers and just keep the nicest one. Even then, we don't use one very often at all, especially since I have so many slings / carriers. I don't like the detachment of using a stroller and am certain we'd manage just fine without one. Even when we take one with us somewhere, we wind up carrying Sasha or letting her walk and then using the stroller for other stuff.

7mo Sasha in StrollerOMG those cheeks!
7mo Sasha in her Stroller

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Surf: Cold Leash Carnival

It has been an up & down kind of week. Spencer aced a doctor appointment. My husband had a horrible court experience. We took our first visitor (Jenni, my doula) since Spencer's birth. (Oh wait, does Uncle Brandon count?)

Here are the links I found worth saving:

Confessions of a Child-Leashing Mom

My 2yo often runs away while we're out for walks or in the driveway or even in parking lots now. My husband (half-jokingly) asks why we can't leash her. Have you seen parents with kids on leashes and been amused? disgusted? This mom is embarrassed, but really offers another perspective. Check it out.

Cold Water Only

This is the January 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting submission from The Pistachio Project. It may have come along just in time to change my world! I had washed my cloth diapers once, in preparation for Spencer's arrival. I hadn't actually started using them yet, though. Well now I have! And get this... you ready? I wash them in cold water! <gasp!> Go check out her post to find out why!


Call for Submissions: Family Size Blog Carnival

And this is a new carnival that piqued my interest. I really like participating in carnivals. If you've got kids at all or even plan to have kids, you could participate in this carnival!

Sunday Surf with Authentic Parenting and Hobo MamaI'm joining Authentic Parenting and Hobo Mama for Sunday Surf. Share your best reading of the week, and link up your post at either blog!

For more great reading, visit Hobo Mama or Authentic Parenting for the latest Sunday Surf and linky.

Happy Surfing!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Adoption & Breastfeeding

Please welcome Melissa from White Noise as my guest writer today. Read to the bottom for her bio. Today I share with you Melissa's experience with adopting and attempts to relactate to initiate an adoptive breastfeeding relationship.

We have four kids. Three grew in my belly, and one in my heart. This topic is a very difficult one for my three year old to wrap his mind around; he keeps asking, "Who is my tummy mommy? Is she the same as Matthew's tummy mommy?"

When our oldest son was two and a half, we traveled around the world to Thailand to adopt his little brother. Ayden was very excited to meet "Baby Mafew" and to have a playmate and fellow mischief maker around 24/7. Matthew was a serious, intense fifteen month old powerhouse who motored around on four points like a spider. So cute!

Spider CrawlSpider Crawl

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Nursing through Pregnancy - final weeks (39th week)

I really got spoiled by having a few nights that took only half an hour or less to get Sasha into bed. Some nights were as short as 15 minutes! So I started the first night of this week (Giftmas Eve) by once again waiting for her to ask first... but still nursing for nearly a full hour before I was able to get her into bed!

If you're curious about the safety of nursing through pregnancy (and tandem nursing an older child along with your baby), check out the Nursing Two FAQs on KellyMom.com. These FAQs cover health issues, nutrition, the milk itself, discomforts and concerns of pregnant nursing mothers, tandem nursing and more!

So back to that first night of the week... Sasha slept nearly 5 hours before Daddy woke on Giftmas morning. (That makes it nearly 5 a.m. for those of you keeping track.) She was holding herself and moving around a lot. Once she opened her eyes, Daddy went ahead to take her to the potty.

Then she got into bed with me and nursed to sleep, but woke right up... twice before I got up to nurse her in my lap... As she nursed and nursed, I felt more and more awake. My agitation just got worse and worse. And on the flippin' holiday. Isn't visiting family stressful enough without adding lack of sleep to the mix?!

After enough fidgeting and asking her twice whether she wanted to get up, she finally nods and gets out of my lap. I am ticked off and relieved all at the same time. I wanted her to go back to sleep, but I also wanted her to stop nursing, especially if she wasn't going to go back to sleep anyway! I've mentioned how much I hate wasted nursing at this point. Nursing with no sleep feels pointless and just irritates me to no end!

It was nearly 6 o'clock by the time she got out of my lap. She faked a yawn and laid down on her bed. I am sick to my stomach already, but haven't had any meltdowns just yet. Before long, she'd convinced Daddy to turn off his game and put some awful kid show on the television. Then no one was happy but Sasha. It looked like he was going to join me in my frustration, in an effort to save me from my own. Then he cuddled up with her on her bed.

Honestly, just having him up with me, helps boost my sanity. It just isn't often that he can be up with me. Actually, on a work night... he'd already be at work! We got up and around and I cooked breakfast. Sasha was finally ready to nurse back down to sleep at 8 o'clock. We slept for nearly 3 hours before getting up for the day. So much for early morning stocking opening. I'm so glad we only had one holiday visit on the schedule!

Note: I started this post on Giftmas Day, the first day of my 39th week. However, I went into labor very late that evening, before Sasha was even ready for bed! Interestingly, I did manage to nurse her down to sleep while in labor at the hospital! More on THAT later!

Find the other posts in this series:
  • Nursing through Pregnancy - final weeks (39th week)
  • Nursing through Pregnancy - final weeks (38th week)
  • Nursing through Pregnancy - final weeks (36-37, so far)
  • Nursing through Pregnancy - 35 weeks
  • Nursing through Pregnancy - 29/30 weeks
  • Nursing through Pregnancy - 25 weeks
  • Nursing through Pregnancy - 20 weeks
  • Extended Breastfeeding, So Far! (posted pretty much the weekend I got pregnant!)
  • Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    Mamatography - Week 2

    This is my second Mamatography post of the year! I'm already making some minor changes to how I write it up, now that I've seen some other Mamatography posts. I hope you are enjoying my take on the project. Please feel free to hop on board any time!

    Day 8

    (01/08/12)

    Cosleeping MommaI seriously love it when Elmo takes these shots!
    How else are you going to capture the moment?

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    Monday Minimalist: Baby Registries - Baby Gear

    Welcome back to the fourth installment of my Monday Minimalist series about registering for your Baby Shower gifts. Last week I went over Safety needs. Today we'll go over "Baby Gear," but doesn't that cover everything? According to the "Must Have" list I'm using for reference, this category includes several subcategories:

    Car Seats

    Unless you're a committed pedestrian / non-driver, this is (of course) an absolute MUST HAVE. In fact, hospitals here in the US won't let you take your baby home at all without one. This category is split into infant car seats, convertible car seats, and booster car seats. You do not need all of these right now!

    Sasha in a convertible car seatSasha in a convertible car seat... in a closet!
    We used to have 2 vehicles. We have since given this extra car seat away.

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    Sunday Surf: Daddies, Milk Production, and Sleep

    It has been a wonderful week of finding our groove as a family of 4. (Tyler isn't home from her vacation just yet.) Here are the links I've saved to share with you this week.

    50 Rules for Dads of Daughters

    A friend shared this via Facebook this week. I've seen it before. I might have even included it on a Sunday Surf before. But it really is a good one. A worthy reminder...

    Sasha & DaddySasha & Daddy
    December 2011

    Maximizing Milk Production with Hands On Pumping

    I had to start pumping in the hospital right after Spencer was born. A friend shared this link with me. Thankfully, my supply has been more than adequate. It helps that Sasha is nursing, too. If you're pumping, come check out these pointers for getting the most for your pumping buck, as it were.

    Sleeping SashaSleeping Sasha
    September 2011

    The division of responsibility in sleeping

    This is not the article I thought it was, based on the title. I thought it had to do with a mother / father balance when it comes to putting little ones to bed / sleep. I tend to skip such articles because our schedules don't allow for Daddy to put the kids to bed. (He works at roughly 4am.) Then someone linked me to it.

    This post could not BE more timely for me! I had basically started to come to the same revelation! I've been making some pretty big changes to how I handle Sasha's bed time and they line up well with what Hobo Mama says here. AND - they're working!

    Sunday Surf with Authentic Parenting and Hobo MamaI'm joining Authentic Parenting and Hobo Mama for Sunday Surf. Share your best reading of the week, and link up your post at either blog!

    For more great reading, visit Hobo Mama or Authentic Parenting for the latest Sunday Surf and linky.

    Happy Surfing!

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    Vasectomy

    In an effort to get some posts together for my upcoming babymoon, I've written some stuff in advance. This was going to be a themed Sunday Surf (see my Resources page for more), but it didn't turn out looking like one. My husband is scheduled for a vasectomy on Friday, December 16th, so this topic has been on our minds. (Article / Link List written on December 11th.)

    My friend Tim, day after his vasectomy ~ by TheSimple1They really do recommend a bag of frozen peas. We already bought one for the occasion. Click for photo credit.

    Now, just a little back story... After having Sasha, we were pretty certain we didn't want any more kids. Or, at least I thought we were. I arranged to get Essure®, which I think is a really awesome option! I was breastfeeding, though, and they wanted to give me a bunch of drugs for the procedure. I opted for an IUD instead. (I'm thinking I need to maybe write posts about those options, too!)

    That was December 2009, when Sasha was just a couple months old. Elmo mentioned a couple of times that he'd like to try one more time for a son. I started telling him that once I turned 40, I was DONE. Needless to say, we're pregnant now (by choice... and with a son even!), so we obviously reversed our decision. We're more steadfast in our choice now. We don't want to get any further outnumbered by our children. Economic times are hard. And I'm just getting too darned old for this reproducing business! It is getting to be very hard on my body.

    And so, to avoid the drugs for procedures for me again, my husband willingly agreed (even suggested) to get a vasectomy... permanent birth control. We both look forward to a stress-free sex life. No more pregnancy scares! That said, and in case you're interested in vasectomy but want to know more, I've collected some resources for you.

    Vasectomy Brochure, Page 1 ~ by kristykay22Vasectomy Brochure, Page 1
    circa 1980s

    My Vasectomy.com

    I'd like to recommend this site first. It is done by a regular guy. His wife took photos of his procedure and he put the site together with them and his own comments. While there is plenty to be said for medical sites and study results, I have an appreciation for getting some of my info from everyday-people with first hand experience.

    Also, each page has a squeamish rating offered in advance so you can choose to proceed or not based on your personal limits. I thought that was very generous of the author! He has even written an update since several years have passed since his vasectomy.

    Wikipedia: Vasectomy

    Say what you will, I love Wiki! This article sheds some light on the many different options available for vasectomies. We're getting his done through Planned Parenthood, though, and I just don't think most of the options are available to us. I think they pretty much do assembly line vasectomies.

    The article does share some scary information on Post-vasectomy pain syndrome (PVPS). I may need to contact PP and ask them for more details on their procedure (there are ways to help avoid PVPS), but I need to not do it while my husband is in the room. He is nervous enough about the procedure.

    Vasectomy.com

    This site offers information on vasectomy as well as vasectomy reversal. You can also find doctors in your area for both using this site. This site claims to provide up-to-date trends in the world of vasectomies.

    I do note, however, that they say things like "A vasectomy only blocks sperm and does not affect your sexual drive..." because other sites say that some men do experience a lower sex drive. The site does not deny that there are risks, but the information doesn't jive with the Wiki article... I don't know which source might be more reputable.

    Personally, I have to wonder how much of the loss of sex drive has to do with men's ego with regards to their manliness being based in their testicles.

    I also got the impression that the site was slamming Essure®... so perhaps this site is all about the financial gain behind vasectomies.

    WebMD

    This article was last revised in May 2010. I don't know that there have been many advances in the science of vasectomies since then, but it does seem like it should be revisited perhaps more recently than that.

    That said, this page offers a lot of the same information as the other pages, but also offers more detail on some of it. And they somehow manage to do it with less words overall. This page looks like a nice, quick read!

    eMedicineHealth

    If you're looking for some light reading on the topic, this is not the site for you! If you want details, then perhaps it is. This article is 10 pages long! I like the say this site breaks their articles down into each section. For instance, you start with an introduction to vasectomy. The next page is specifically on the risks. So, if you have a particular interest or concern, you can skip directly to the section that suits your needs.

    Vasectomy.md

    eMedicineHealth actually refers to this site for more complete information! How often do you see that on a medical site?? However, this site is for one particular urologist, so it looks like one big ad. It tells you what they offer, but does have section on risks and alternatives as well.

    That's nuts! Dr. Phil helped with own vasectomy

    Had you seen this story? I really don't find it all that shocking. I'm more shocked that it was so quick and easy for him to get the procedure when he was only 29 years old. I say that, but my own husband is 29. Dr. Phil only had one (new) child at the time, though. Elmo has 2 daughters, 1 stepdaughter, 1 son on the way, and is married to a 38 year old woman who has birthed 3 babies so far. Even we had to wait 6 weeks to make sure that we were sure. We really wanted to have the procedure done sooner and have been planning to do it throughout this pregnancy. That's what procrastination will get ya. We have to wait 3 months for testing to verify that the surgery is a success.

    Day 64: The Sample Cup ~ by PunkJRDay 64: The Sample Cup ~ by PunkJR

    Oh, also, I spoke with a young female doctor once who said that her doctor father and 2 of his doctor buddies got drunk one night and vasectomized (yeah, not a word, shut up) each other. Obviously the procedure is not rocket science.



    That really seems to be the extent of what is out there. There are probably some smaller articles, but as far as the real "meat and potatoes" of it (no pun intended... heh) - that is the list. In case you're debating birth control methods, I think I may soon write posts on those other options I've tried. I've even tried Depo-Provera®.

    Remember that I am not a doctor! I am merely sharing with you the information I've found available on the internet from my own research.

    Has anyone close to you had a vasectomy? Were there any complications or do they recommend it? Any funny vasectomy stories?

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Mamatography - Week 1!

    This is to be my first Mamatography post of the year! I may change the layout along the way, please bare with me. I plan to use my Mamatography project as my Wordless Wordful Wednesday format for the year, but wrote yesterday's post a month in advance! I hope you enjoy the project, please feel free to hop on board any time!

    My Mamatography posts won't always be this long, but this was an eventful week!

    January 1

    Happy New Year in the NICUI rang in the New Year with my new Little Man,
    trying to keep him warm.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Wordless Wednesday: Family Cloth Tutorial

    Family Cloth - Tag: 100% cottonChoose a fabric that is 100% cotton. You want something soft, but absorbent. Do not use fleece! When in doubt, drip a few drops of water on your fabric... does it absorb or roll off?

    I opted to upcycle a set of 3 coordinating receiving blankets from when Sasha was a baby. For my second batch, I did the same with a set of 2 coordinating receiving blankets.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Family Cloth... Really??



    Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Experiments in Natural Family Living


    This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have reported on weeklong trials to make their lives a little greener. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


    ***




    The first time I really read about "Family Cloth" was on OrganicSister.com. I thought it was a nice, green idea... but a little too far out there for this self-proclaimed "slightly crunchy momma." Still... I read the entire thing with some fascination.
    Visit Natural Parents Network
    I've since gotten more involved in some crunchy circles and heard mention of others that practice the use of family cloth. As you may (or may not) recall, in October we traveled to a gathering of just such a crunchy circle (the Natural Parents Network Volunteers).

    Visit Code Name: MamaThis was to be my very first in-person experience with family cloth. Our host (Code Name: Mama) offered regular toilet paper, but I immediately recognized a stack of family cloth in a basket on the back of the toilet. After looking around a bit, I realized that the bag on the doorknob was a "wet bag." I could hardly believe I was in the situation. So... I tried it! What did I have to lose?

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Monday Minimalist: Baby Registries - Safety

    Welcome back to this, the third in my Monday Minimalist series about registering for your Baby Shower gifts. Last week I went over Diapers, Formula, and Diapering Accessories. In today's post, we're going to cover your Safety needs.

    Safety

    I'd like to preface this by saying that your baby is not going to arrive home mobile. There are some items that you can certainly get piece by piece as you need them. Of course getting them as shower gifts saves you the cost. I'd almost suggest waiting to see what kind of mobility and desires / curiosities your child has as he/she grows. We found that we were able to use furniture in most cases. We even used a play yard as a baby gate for a while.


    • Monitors - The latest in high tech gear. If you decide you want to use one, be sure to research them. There are some video monitors that have been known to broadcast the live footage and people could pick it up from outside your home. How's that for safety? Even (or perhaps especially) in our two floor condo we had at the time, simply kept Sasha in the same room with us. If she slept while we were downstairs, she was downstairs. She went up to the bedroom when WE went up to the bedroom. Yes, we occasionally went more than 10 feet from her, but we just listened for her and made sure not to have any noisemakers going that would drown her out.
    • Cabinet & Door Latches - This, too, depends on your home and your child. Once Sasha got old enough to venture into our kitchen, I simply kept safe items down low. She had open access to pots and pans. She loved to climb into our kitchen cabinets. Drawers have never been an issue.
    • Safety Gates - you won't need one of these for a while. When you do, though, consider your home. Do you have stairs? You definitely need to be able to secure them! We just found other things that worked in our home for keeping our child secured. Even now, though, our roommate considers getting a safety gate to keep our 2yo out of the kitchen.
    • Outlet Covers - These are cheap. You could totally register for them as a low end item to have available for people, but you are sure to afford this item at any point anyway. These are cheap and easy enough that you could go ahead and start putting them into place early so you don't have to worry about it later.
    • Travel Mirror - This is a safety item? Yes, it is convenient to be able to see your child in their car seat behind you, but... I don't consider this a must have. It was a luxury for us. Once I did get a travel mirror, my daughter insisted on playing with it constantly, so I rarely got to actually use it myself!
    • Corner & Edge Guards - You may want to rethink some of your furniture anyway. If you have a glass coffee table... yeah, maybe its time to change that. We only had minor use for these and never actually got them. Look around your home and decide what you need.
    • Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm - Um... I totally see the point here, but I've never had a carbon monoxide alarm, I don't think. I rent and use the smoke alarms that are already in place. This would be a very personal decision, but I can see how it is a "must have."

    I hope you are enjoying this series and finding it useful when deciding what you need or want for your expanding family. I'm providing my own opinions on the items listed, but these are just what worked for me. I also hope you'll come back for more categories in the series.

    The next category in the series will be Baby Gear, but that will be broken down into subcategories including Car Seats, Car Seat Cushioning, and Car Seat Accessories.

    What safety item do you feel you need in your home?

    Momma Jorje: Monday Minimalist

    Let me know if you have a Monday Minimalist post and I'll share it on my blog.

    Click the icon to grab the button for your MM posts or for details on how to join the movement.

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    Sunday Surf: From my Baby Moon

    I debated doing this week's post at all, but lets see if I can throw something together for you...

    Authentic Parenting Carnival

    I enjoy carnivals and I dig this site. So... I'd like to try to participate in this carnival this year. I think it is new this year anyway. If you like carnivals, too... check it out!

    An overview of the development of infants with Down syndrome

    Someone recently asked about development on a group page. I dug up this page and want to keep it for future reference as well. It helps you figure out what to expect from children with Down syndrome in comparison to average children. You'll notice, though, the DS version just offers a broader window. Children with Down syndrome may follow the same developmental schedule as other children.

    Do You Have Your Access Pass Yet?

    The Access Pass is a free lifetime pass to over 2000 federally owned parks in the USA. For parks that charge admission per vehicle, everyone who is in the vehicle with the Access Pass holder is admitted for free (for individual tours and campsites, there may be discounts, but fees still have to be paid). How cool that National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands offer this special pass to special needs families!

    That's enough for this week! Spencer is calling... I really do need to write my birth story soon!

    Sunday Surf with Authentic Parenting and Hobo MamaI'm joining Authentic Parenting and Hobo Mama for Sunday Surf. Share your best reading of the week, and link up your post at either blog!

    For more great reading, visit Hobo Mama or Authentic Parenting for the latest Sunday Surf and linky.

    Happy Surfing!

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    Top 10 Reasons to Leave Your Son Intact

    Please welcome Mandy of Living Peacefully with Children. Read to the bottom for her bio. Today I share with you Mandy's Top 10 list of reasons to leave our sons intact. This post was originally published on her own blog.

    1. 80% of the world's male population is intact.

      newborn baby by bethPhoto by Beth
    2. It is easier to clean an intact infant's penis than to deal with open wounds in a diaper which is routinely filled with urine and feces.

    3. Foreskins are functional, protecting the glans while containing sensitive nerve endings and blood vessels.

    4. It is a parent's duty to protect his/her child. Circumcision is painful.

    5. Pain and shock from circumcision disrupt bonding, breastfeeding, and sleep patterns in newborn infants.

    6. Complications include infection, abnormal bleeding, removal of excessive amounts of skin, loss of part or all of the glans, urinary issues, and death.

    7. It is illegal in the United States to circumcise a female against her will or who has not reached an age of majority. Circumcising infant males is discriminatory.

    8. There is NO medical benefit to routine circumcision. Removal of the foreskin does not prevent STDS. It does not lessen the chance of developing penile cancer.

    9. Once done, it cannot be undone.

    10. If it isn't your body, it's not your decision to make.

    Circumcision is a deeply personal decision. Let's leave the decision to the person who owns the penis. Say NO! to routine infant circumcision.

    Mandy is married to her best friend and is a stay-at-home-mom to their four wonderful children. She holds multiple degrees in the sciences and music and is a self-proclaimed research fanatic. Her love of learning plays a large role in her unschooling journey with her family and her volunteer involvement with various homeschooling and parenting groups. You can find her at Living Peacefully with Children, where this post was originally published.

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Wordless Wednesday: NICU

    Family Bed in the HospitalBed sharing in the hospital, trying to maintain
    some level of normalcy for Sasha.

    Spencer in NICU - 12 hoursGoing 12 hours without seeing our baby...
    then finding him with tubes and leads.

    Family in NICUOnly finding very rare opportunities
    to visit the NICU as a family.

    Breastfeeding in NICUBreastfeeding on someone else's schedule, not to mention times when NICU is closed so our baby isn't available at all.

    Spencer under Bili Light in NICUTreatments...

    Spencer's Hearing Test in NICUtests...

    Heel sticks from NICU stayand booboos.

    Sasha sleeping UNDER the bedRunning on sleep deprivation and trying to be an
    attachment parent to 2 children that aren't
    permitted in the same room together.

    Sasha & Spencer, together at last!Sasha & Spencer, together at last!
    This somehow makes all the rest melt away.

    Mamatography 2012
    Tune in next week when my participation in the Mamatography project will officially start.

    I'm taking photos now, but they'll start posting next week.

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    Nursing through Pregnancy - final weeks (38th week)

    This week was off to a very rough start! When I'm having a rough night, I often vent to friends or even an empty chat room online. This week, I vented right here. So this is your beautiful opportunity to see examples of the hardest, ugliest nights as well as the easier nights because the week did improve.

    If you prefer to avoid negativity, you may not want to read this post. If you want to see the brutally honest side of this thing from my perspective, by all means... please proceed at your own risk. Also, please forgive the interchanging present and past tense. These were each written late at night and were often done in live time, as I was experiencing them.


    First Night

    The nights have, by far, been the hardest. We go through several nights of me managing the patience or Sasha sleeping more. Then we have two really good nights where she goes to sleep early and/or sleeps for long stretches. And then we have a bad night. A night where maybe she goes to sleep early, but she wakes before I even get to bed (within an hour). Then she wakes again an hour later, often landing precisely 20 minutes after I go to bed. I have no idea why it is always 20 minutes. Then in a couple of hours. Then in an hour, perhaps to potty. And then I lose it. I am so absolutely agitated by the nursing I want to yell and throw her off of my breast, even considering getting up and watching a television show with her. I know, though, that this will only serve to wake her more completely and make it harder to get her back down. This would only make our night LONGER, not shorter.

    But by the time I get her back down (hopefully within half an hour), I am so worked up and crying (its quieter than screaming) that I can't go to sleep. I have to unwind all over again... once I'm done crying and fretting over how in the hell I will manage her with a newborn (who may not even be able to nurse) added to the mix.

    Only on this particular night, as I type out this RANT... she only sleeps 5 minutes or less before waking in tears again. She wants a banana. It is nearly 4am. I return with one and she appears to be asleep! But opens her eyes again moments later. She has a single bite before fussing and deciding it is time to nurse again. These make for very long nights and I wonder how I will ever manage to simply stay up ALL NIGHT when I am managing her and Spencer both. I try very hard to minimize my sobbing so as not to keep her awake.

    I try to tell myself that if I can endure labor, I can endure this, easily. It doesn't help at all. And the nursing continues. And the fidgeting continues. And the tears continue.

    I occasionally pound my fist onto my desk or pound the floor with our Boppy. I am not a violent person. But I have my breaking point. How will I do this with two? How on earth are my friends managing it?? I find myself considering putting Spencer directly on formula... I can hardly believe this idea has sprung to mind. I am a passionate advocate for breastmilk!

    I tell myself that if I can just make it to the 1 hour mark from when she woke me, I can give up and turn on the television. It has already been 45 minutes. This actually helps me calm down temporarily. I check the clock in 3 minutes. I have to switch breasts again. Then checking every 2-3 minutes, trying to busy myself with Solitaire and email. As the time nears, I check it more than once per minute. She fidgets even once she has fallen asleep so it can be hard to know when it is "safe" to put her down. I finally put her down and she lets me step away... but I know this only lasted 5 minutes a little while ago, so I finally let myself sob again and I wait...

    She begins to move after only a couple of minutes. I pause and hold my breath. My husband wakes to my sobbing and I feel guilty for it. Any other Saturday night I might have woken him up, but he is recuperating from his vasectomy. Still, he reassures me and even makes me laugh. Knowing that I'll be going to bed now that he is getting up is usually enough to send me into new sobs, but he is off for several days for recuperation, so it isn't quite as depressing this time. I sit down to unwind a bit, now that I'm calm. The nausea from crying sets in.

    The "next" day, I did steal away for a nearly 3 hour nap while Sasha napped. I felt much better after. Several friends come up with possible solutions to help Sasha with her sleep: Lavender Oil on her feet and pillow, Rescue Remedy, and more. They even offer to ship me samples! I feel a new hope. We also get Sasha outside for some playtime and a long walk.

    Second Night

    Sasha goes to sleep in her own bed by 11 o'clock, despite the early-ish nap. I wait up for my husband to fall asleep to the television (for the noise). I climb into bed at 12:30, noting the time so I can track whether Sasha wakes by 1:00. Sure enough, she wakes me by 1:00, kneeling at the side of her bed in tears. It appears she wet the bed a little as she rolled out. I get her blanket covered with a lap pad and new blanket, then hold her in my lap (on the Boppy) to nurse her back to sleep again.

    I wake again at 3:40, seemingly for no reason. This happens sometimes and I often think "I should pee because this means she'll wake soon." But in my groggy sleepiness, I don't listen. Within 10 minutes Sasha wakes me. With the state of my bladder, baby resting firmly on it, often pressing into it, I know I have to go before I can settle her. I set my pillows up so she can climb into my bed, but she will have none of that. She insists, through sobs, that I carry her to the bathroom with me.

    Once there, she cries more while I pee. I give her the option of Momma's bed or the Boppy to nurse back to sleep and she chooses the Boppy. After a short while of nursing, switching sides (only to realize the 2nd nipple is more tender), I give up and lay her in my bed. I lie next to her and let her nurse more. This position now makes me uncomfortable in my own bed as well, not just in hers. Minutes later, she lets go, opens her eyes and requests water. She is wide awake. So, at 4:15 she gets to lie in her bed and watch more crap on the television because there is no way she is going back to sleep. I wonder how soon any of the solutions offered might arrive in the mail... it is Giftmas season... that could slow things down.

    I also kick myself for not listening to my instincts when I wake. If I had just gotten up to pee before she woke, she wouldn't have woken so completely. Before she even got through one 30 minute episode, she asks for Mommy milk. I worry that she won't settle back to sleep so soon, but she is insistent. I turn the television off and let her climb into my lap with our nursing pillows. Its 4:35. Within 5 minutes, she cries that she wants more television and I send her back to her bed. I hate "wasted" nursing. I wonder if my friends that nursed through pregnancy had sore nipples at the times that their babies arrived.

    By 5:30 we've changed to a Christmas show and I've gotten a Glucerna for my hungry belly. I've gotten Sasha to potty. Still going strong. At least she isn't being needy or fussy. She doesn't watch the newly requested show for even 5 minutes before asking for "Night Night" again. I shut off the television (if she isn't serious, she'll fuss for it) and load her into my lap. Hand and foot go immediately into my hair... I guess that is actually a good sign of sleep. Good thing, too. Sleepiness overcame me just as she asked. I don't even have to remind her to closer her eyes this time. That chin thing starts up again and I realize I'm also hunched over. I'll be so glad to try a different nursing pillow because this one just isn't cutting it anymore, not in my current furniture.

    Just a few short minutes into nursing, Sasha sits up to request the other breast. I say request, but I know full well that weighing out the options (a fit for her choice or the pain of the more tender nipple), I'd choose the pain. So we switch. And the hand goes right back into my hair.

    Even with my Boppy, a neck pillow, and my elbow under her head, it is a constant effort to keep her chin from rubbing my belly. And I do have to remind her to close her eyes. In case you had any doubts or questioned, I still hate the sensations of nursing. A lot!

    Less than 10 minutes later, she's asking for her sister. It is coming up on 6am and now she IS fussy. She asks for sausage, a common breakfast. Only she hasn't slept even half of her night yet. But I don't feel like I can turn down a hungry baby. Only thing is, last night she ate a single bite of her banana before going to sleep.

    I'm losing my patience, but haven't melted down yet. She, on the other hand, is now melting down... which is what is tearing down my patience. In tears (her), I tell her we'll go to the kitchen in 3 minutes so I can get her back on my sore nipple. She is more likely to fall asleep when she comes to the breast in tears. I. Hate. Nursing. Reminders to close her eyes only work if given in a stern tone now. I also hate when she puts my hair in my face. I can't tolerate it.

    I chant, "Close your eyes, baby. Go to sleep," repeatedly in a soft tone. This one is not a lullaby sort of baby. Sometimes she squints them shut hard instead of restful.

    Moments later, she is up again, now asking for peanut butter. I want to throw the pillows. She is in tears waiting for me. She cries as she follows onto the cold tile floor. At least peanut butter 1) doesn't require heating / cooking and 2) won't go to waste if she only eats one bite. She brightly points out that Daddy is sleeping. I curse as I respond that of course he is, it is the middle of the *(^&*% night. (It is 6 o'clock now.)

    She fusses. Then she hears our roommate and gets very bright eyed and excited that someone else is up. She cries for colors and card. I refuse. She cries more. Our room is calm, quiet, and dark... other than her crying. She wants back into my lap for MORE NURSING. She has only had 2-3 bites. I let her choose which breast and we say our goodnights AGAIN. I'm irritated and tired. I feel myself becoming more and more tense by the second. I want to scream. I want to put her out of my lap and be angry with her. But so far, I sit... nursing...

    Sometimes when she drags my hair out far in front of me, I strongly grab her arm and hold it to me, lest I lose my mind. I hold it down, close to me or curled into her chest for a moment or two, until she pulls it away. I have almost no tolerance for some of her fidgeting. I. Hate. Nursing.

    I'm finally on the verge of tears. I feel them welling up. I try, desperately, to distract myself with Solitaire and one-handed typing here. I have doctor appointments later in the day... they will place us on the road during normal nap times... but what is normal when you're up for hours in the middle of the night?!

    Just when I think I can't take it for another second, my body is tensing and I am physically stifling a scream, I tell her to switch sides. She cries for just a second, then accepts. It is never as much relief as I hope it will be. But, she seems to be fading off to sleep in fairly short order. I am so worked up I am nauseous again. Up comes her foot, into my hair, not asleep yet...

    My feet, however, are falling right to sleep and I have to put them on the floor. That means supporting her weight on tiptoes, heels against the legs of my chair. She starts dropping her foot, seemingly drifting. I put her foot down, but of course the hair twirling and nursing continue. In case you've forgotten, she isn't taking a drop of milk. The foot comes back up... my tension and tears well up again. I know that once I do get her down, I'll need time to let myself cry before I can get back to sleep.

    My roommate gets noisy in the kitchen... In my mind I curse the noise and threaten that the noise had better not disturb. Thankfully, we're not situated close to the kitchen. Sasha's foot and hand both settle. I'm stifling enough tears back that my nose is running. I try desperately to hold back the meltdown until I can settle her onto her bed. As soon as my hands are off of her, the quiet sobs burst forth. I just need the release, as if there was a choice. It is nearly 6:30 now. The tears just roll and roll and roll... the sickness in my stomach worsens...

    As stressful and hard and awful as I dread the nights will be when Spencer comes home, I can hardly wait for it just because it will be such a change. I have hopes that Sasha will again actually take my milk. But I dread that she won't because I will be so utterly crushed if all this work, all this enduring (and not) will have all been for naught. How could I bare that?

    I (amazingly) only cry for a short time this morning. It was much longer yesterday. I crawl into bed, feeling drained, hungry, and nauseated, by 7 o'clock. When you're only getting 6-8 hours of sleep per night, Actually, no matter how much sleep you're getting, being awake for half of that time in the middle + stress + tears... it does not make for a restful night.

    Third Night

    I just let Sasha come to me as she was ready... which was after midnight. It only took 15 minutes to nurse her to sleep! I forgot to potty her beforehand, but she still slept through the night with no potty break. This was amazing considering how many misses we've had lately. She even slept for about 5-6 hours straight in her own bed! Overall we had a pretty restful night. It was a good thing, too. The next day was possibly the most hormonal / short fused day I'd had for the entire pregnancy!

    Fourth Night

    Once again, I let Sasha come to me on her own. I'd had an insanely hormonal day and she'd nursed several times early in the day, claiming she was sleepy. So we began after midnight again, this time with me starting out exhausted from the day. She began to fade right away.

    I often push myself to nurse her through one more hand at Solitaire. The logic being to keep me from trying to put her into bed too soon and blowing it - having to start all over again. She was asleep and into her own bed within 15 minutes, though she did bite down AS I slid my nipple out of her mouth!

    My back has been terribly pained this afternoon. Each passing day makes it harder and harder to get up from my chair and lower her into her bed.

    Fifth Night

    It was Winter Solstice... the longest night of the year! I started feeling ill and making lots of bathroom trips. I asked my doula if I should be worried or excited. We decided to hope it was early labor signs. I waited for Sasha to come to me (closer to 11 this time) and she took about 20-30 minutes to fall asleep. Thankfully I lasted straight through without having to drop her to run to the toilet. As soon as I got her into her bed and signed offline, I got sicker.

    As is her tendency, she did wake about 20 minutes after I went to bed. On this night, I chose to hold her in my lap on the Boppy, as if starting bed time over again, rather than the discomfort of joining her on her tiny mattress or bringing her into our bed so early.

    She did wind up joining me in bed at some point in the night. I got up around 6 to spend a couple of hours with Elmo. Then Sasha and I did some serious sleeping in! Overall, a pretty darned good night!

    Sixth Night

    Sasha did nurse a couple of times through the day, but never did actually take a nap. The strangest part of this was that she did NOT get cranky from it. She seemed her normal self all afternoon / evening. I still dislike nursing and find it uncomfortable, but I haven't been hating it quite so passionately these last couple of days. It is a nice break from the negativity!

    Sasha asked to nurse a little after 11 o'clock. She has gotten so used to me asking her if she is sleepy and ready for night nights that she rubs one eye and fakes a yawn! She nursed to sleep in 15 minutes again! I guess I definitely need to stick with waiting for HER to ask. I can get her to sleep when I decide, but it takes so much longer then!

    Nearly an hour after getting her to bed, Elmo woke for a potty break and I started to head for bed when Sasha woke up. I go ahead and bring her back to my lap. I don't wait for her to cry and I don't lie in her bed. She nursed right back to sleep. She did start to fuss when I put her down, but here is my usual trick, "Close your eyes, baby, I'll get the pillow." The idea is she then thinks I'll lie down with her in a minute, but that calms her enough that she settles in to sleep. It is very much like the "Let go baby, switch" that really just means let go and go to sleep.

    I went to bed hoping she wouldn't wake 20 minutes after... Eventually she did wake, fussing. As she stood at the edge of my bed, to climb around our toddler rail, she wet her bed. I couldn't get up fast enough to get her to the potty. If I'd woken a bit sooner, before she was moving around... oh well. I just dried her and brought her to bed with us. We all woke very early (for us) at 7:30. Daddy was antsy to do our Giftmas exchange! Sasha and I did nap later in the morning and then she still took her nap later in the day as well...

    Seventh Night

    Sasha got a bit fussy late in the evening and I finally offered milk / night nights. She agreed, especially when I offered brushing her teeth to get ready for bed. (This is a new effort to teach her using actual toothpaste and rinsing water.) I guess I should have had her potty first because she peed in the chair she uses as a stool. Oops.

    Anyway, she did finally settle in to nurse, then wanted "other milk" a few minutes later. It seems like any time she chooses to switch, the choice nipple is the more tender of the two.

    As I looked down at Sasha, checking that her eyes were closed, I wondered if I'd be able to nurse through early labor if the situation arose. But then I don't guess I'd be nursing her to sleep if we were getting ready to go to the hospital anyway... all depends on the timing.

    It took about 20 minutes to nurse her to sleep tonight. She went to bed at 11:45. We are night owls. She woke up 45 minutes later, but I managed to shush her from across the room back into sleep!



    Tomorrow will mark 38 weeks pregnant. We're ready for Spencer to arrive any time now. I don't want to give him a holiday birthday... and would rather not deliver between December 25 - 30th because our doctor is on vacation, but otherwise... whenever he is ready. Of course, he'll come when he is ready regardless of our preferences anyway!

    Have you nursed all the way through a pregnancy?
    Was your experience anything like mine?
    Did I share too much this week?


    Find the other posts in this series:
  • Nursing through Pregnancy - final weeks (39th week)
  • Nursing through Pregnancy - final weeks (38th week)
  • Nursing through Pregnancy - final weeks (36-37, so far)
  • Nursing through Pregnancy - 35 weeks
  • Nursing through Pregnancy - 29/30 weeks
  • Nursing through Pregnancy - 25 weeks
  • Nursing through Pregnancy - 20 weeks
  • Extended Breastfeeding, So Far! (posted pretty much the weekend I got pregnant!)
  • Monday, January 2, 2012

    Monday Minimalist: Baby Registries - Diapers & Formula

    This is the second in my Monday Minimalist series about registering for your Baby Shower gifts. Last week I went over the nursery. In today's post, we're going to cover all of the "must haves" of Diapers & Formula.

    Formula

    Oddly, this "list" had nothing... at all. No bottles, nipples, dishwasher accessories. There was no actual list. You just click through to the formula page. That said, there is a section under Infant Care for nursing/feeding, so this topic will be revisited later.

    Diapers

    This one doesn't have a specific list, either. It just clicks through to diapers (disposable and cloth) as well as subcategories that are already included under Diapering Accessories.


    Diapering Accessories

    • Baby Wipes - well yes, you'll need these! Unless, of course, you decide to use wash clothes you already have. Remember that you could request for cloth baby wipes on Etsy! They don't have to be disposable.
    • Travel Wipes - This is more about packaging than content. I do have a travel wipe box that I keep in my diaper bag.
    • Wipes Warmer - I definitely see this as a luxury item! I've wanted to own one a couple of times, but I never have had one. I always suspect that the wipes dry out faster anyway.
    • Diaper Bags (small & large) - 2 of them, really? Well... I don't like the style of most diaper bags, but they do have a lot more variety than they did 20 years ago. I went with a freebie I got from the hospital (with formula in it). It is a backpack with one shoulder strap. I got it FREE and think it works just fine. So would any backpack or small duffel you have lying around. It just depends on how many pockets you need, I guess. Mine has few.
    • Baby Changing Mat - As I have said before, I often changed diapers on the bed, the floor, the couch, etc. If I felt a need for a "changing mat," I simply used a waterproof lap pad. Kind of the same thing, aren't they? At least these are versatile!
    • Disposable Changing Pads - why do we need more disposable stuff? The great thing about those lap pads? They're small and light. They fold up and fit into any bag with great convenience. And they're washable!
    • Diaper Rash Cream - I'd recommend having some on hand. I'd be pretty picky about what you get, though. Research the options, check the ingredients. This is one item that is probably easier to purchase for yourself.
    • Diaper pail - if you're using disposables, these are nice but totally a luxury item. The garbage can works just fine. If you're going with cloth (good for you!), then you'll want to decide whether you're going with a wet or dry pail method and then choose a pail for your situation.
    • Diaper Pail Refills - that sounds like more disposable stuff to me! You get what you need, though. I think I'm going to use a 5 gallon bucket with no liner.

    I hope you find this series useful when deciding what you need or want for your expanding family. I'm providing my own opinions on the items listed, but these are just what worked for me. I also hope you'll come back for more categories in the series.

    The next category on the list is Safety.

    What is your must have item for diapering?

    Momma Jorje: Monday Minimalist

    Let me know if you have a Monday Minimalist post and I'll share it on my blog.

    Click the icon to grab the button for your MM posts or for details on how to join the movement.

    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    Sunday Surf: A Little Help from my Friends

    As of last Sunday, we were still waiting for our son's arrival. I even said that while we had been saying he could come any time now - we were then changing our tune. Our doctor was off from December 25th through December 30th. So we wanted to put it off and preferably Spencer would arrive on the 30th or 31st.

    Fast forward to Sunday night and we were headed to the hospital! So yes, this is probably first mention of it here, but Spencer arrived very early Monday morning! (I had posts scheduled to cover for this occasion.) I have already been released (read: kicked out), but Spencer is still in the NICU. Yes, I will post my birth story and photos soon! You can find some photos by following the first link...

    Virtual Benefit for Momma Jorje

    One of my parent friends (Joella from Fine and Fair) that I met while volunteering for Natural Parents Network posted this virtual benefit for our family. (She did ask for permission to use personal information and photographs.) I was moved to tears by the effort and especially the kind words of our mutual friends used in the post. And then... the response!

    Joella posted links to our benefit on her own Facebook pages and on some community pages, asking people to share the link further. The link was shared, shared, and shared again! There were at least 30 shares on Facebook alone! Others even passed the information along on their blogs! I could not believe the response!

    I had initially told Joella that we would not likely use gifted money for a hotel because I didn't know how long Spencer would be in the NICU and wanted to be cautious spending it too fast. I explained we'd likely use it for fuel. And then I actually lived the first night home without Spencer! And the money flowed in for support! My husband pressed me to check into hotels. I am able to miss far less time and much needed nursing sessions with Spencer thanks to Joella and so many others!

    Anyway... WOW! You can click the link for some more details (and photos!).

    Route Sixty-Sicks

    Another dear friend from the Natural Parents Network team asked me if there was anything she could do to help me. I asked her for a very personal favor. Our daughters have a LOT in common and have recently become fast friends on Facebook. I asked her if she might be willing to take my daughter for a vacation at her place. I've hardly been home and feel awful about only seeing Tyler long enough to say goodnight. She has been awesome about the situation, but misses me when I'm gone.


    Joni Rae (of Kitchen Witch) jumped at the opportunity to help in a way that only she could! She packed her kids up at 4 o'clock in the morning to come fetch Tyler for a vacation. Our daughters have been having a great time ever since!

    There is no way I could have planned something special for Tyler for New Years Eve, so this way she gets to celebrate in a fun way, with a dear friend!

    Click the link to read the very strange tale of Joni Rae coming to fetch Tyler.

    Update: Virtual Benefit for Momma Jorje

    Joella asked me for an update so she could write a post for her blog. I gave her some news... then I got MORE exciting news. I was on my way out the door to run some errands, so Joella got to share a lot of news with the world before we did.

    You can see my favorite photo so far and a photo of Spencer's foot. You can also get the latest scoop, since I haven't written anything for my blog yet.



    Thank you for your support (be it comments, prayers, healing energy, happy thoughts, or cash money) at this rough time for us. I am amazed at the outpouring of support and the number of people that check in with me every day for Spencer's progress. He has a lot of people pulling for him! Thank you!
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