Friday, 9 September 2011

my crib

So many cribs, so hard to decide on what to get.  Well, here's what NOT to get...

As of 2010, drop side cribs are no longer being sold in North America due to the high incidence of fatalities - babies being suffocated or breaking their precious necks after getting stuck between the gap of crib side that drops.  If you're not in NA and these are still being sold, best to avoid it!  Get a fixed side crib.  You can read more about it here.

So how do you deal with a fixed side crib?  Well, the mattress can be adjusted to two or three different levels, depending on the type of crib you buy.  The challenge comes when your baby is over four or five months and can sit up.  You will have to lower the mattress and will have to finesse your way into placing your baby into the crib without, a. waking him/her up, and b. without hurting yourself (the pressure on your tummy as you do this is no fun especially if you've had a C-Section.

Personally, avoid those all in one cribs with a change table, where the change table comes attached to the crib.  Here's why...if you've had a C-section, it is much harder to lean over your baby while he is facing you toes to your tummy to change him.  This will hurt your back!  And there's the chance that he will kick you, (mine did while on the change table attached to the play yard downstairs and it hurt!).  However, if you've got room to spare beside the change table then this may work for you.

You'll feel a lot better if you purchase a convertible crib.  Most of these are now four stage cribs, going from a crib, to a toddler bed, to a day bed and then finally into a double bed.  This will also come in handy in prolonging the use of the mattress your purchase, especially if you've purchased an organic one which can really put a dent in the bank account (more to come on the organic mattress).

There are some great cribs out there.  This is what we got our lil guy and he LOVES IT!  Next up, dressing up your baby's crib and what NOT to do!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

New perfume

I'm a new mom and for the first few months, I also had a new perfume.  It was called formula!  Don't be surprised to find this new 'perfume' streaking your neck and shoulders at any given time, especially in the earlier months.  Burping can be so much fun.  You'll find it in the oddest of your hair.  Until you learn to tie it back, because really who has time to wash their hair every day.  Not new moms, lemme tell you.  There are some days you'll barely make it in to shower. 

Upon meeting up with one of my friends who was the first to be a new mom in our circle gasped as she suddenly realised she had not brushed her teeth that day.  Oh boy did I poke ample fun at her.  I should have thought about that because fast forward to a year later and there I was gasping about the very same thing.

Another friend told me the best way to avoid this scenario is to jump in the shower before your baby wakes up in the morning.  Freshen up yourself before anything.  I was all like, what? I am so NOT a morning person but I can tell you my baby is.  He's up before me every single morning.

But, take it all in stride!  It's all good!  Before long you will be looking back at when they were wee little and that nostalgia will hit you like an arrow and you will be wishing your baby was that tiny again.  You won't even mind the new perfume...

Monday, 18 July 2011

Wake me up like a yo yo

Why is it that the moment you fall into that sweet deep sleep, that abyss that takes you away into nothingness, that your little one decides to stir, needing something?  Most times I'd rather stay up than sleep, because it's so much harder waking up after just an hour's worth of slumber than keeping watch.

If you've never cared much for sleeping, well then you're going to now.  You will MISS your sleep.  The first few weeks as your baby regulates himself, prepare yourself to be up every four hours.  Of course, that doesn't mean you've slept for the past four hours.  Breastfeeding in the early stages takes up to an hour for a new born, no one ever tells you so.  The average baby feeds every four hours, you do the math!

If you're one who looooves your sleep, well all I can say is that I wish you luck and I hope you have help to delegate all of the tasks that will be cutting in into your short 'naps'.  I call them naps, because that's exactly what they're going to feel like.

Eventually your little one will sleep through the night on a regular basis, but that might be a while.  My son has started doing this since he was about eight months, however, when he's teething, all bets are off.  Prepare yourself to be up at least once.  So far he's been pretty good, but you never know.  Each teething experience is different.

So prepare yourself...and catch some zzzz's whenever you can.  It will save your sanity.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Swaddle me

What's one of the biggest things new parents miss once they have a baby?  SLEEP!  During my research, I read that just because one baby may sleep for significantly longer than another, doesn't mean that the former set of parents are doing a better job than the latter.  While this may be true, there are a few techniques to helping your baby sleep longer during the night, so you can rest up as well.

Enter the world of swaddling.  Now if you come from or live in Asia, you are well versed with the technique of swaddling.  This age old practise lost it's way in North America, but is gaining popularity in the last year.  Baby companies have jumped on the swaddler bandwagon and not a moment sooner.

So, what's the big deal about swaddling?  Why and when should you do it?  

Once out, most if not all sleeping babies will have jerky reflex arm movements, which assurdely is what wakes them up.  This is called the Morro Reflex, which lasts for about four months.  Swaddling your baby helps keep this reflex under 'wraps' and also helps mimic that womb like cozy environment for your baby.  

In the beginning most babies may have a roughly four hour sleep schedule, if you're lucky.  If you swaddle your lil one everytime he/she goes down, you can probably make the four hour sleep pattern a regular thing, if your baby actually sleeps for a shorter amount of time to begin with.

How do you swaddle a baby?  Click here to watch a demonstration. 
There are a couple of things to note in this video.  First of all, the lady is using a large muslin cloth to swaddle her baby, which I will talk about shortly.  Secondly, when bringing the bottom piece over the baby's left arm, she leaves enough room for the baby's legs to move freely, which is an important point to remember.  You do not want to restrict a baby's legs as this can intefere with the natural growth over the next couple of months.  Until just a few generations ago, not much room was left for the baby's legs and this practise restricted growth, which is why swaddling lost its charm and was all but forgotten.

What kind of swaddlers should you get?  When I was pregnant, I was fortunate enough to know all about the importance of swaddling.  I was swaddled as a baby, as was my brother, and many cousins.  We were bound so tight, there was no getting out of that swaddle wrap.  I know I had previously linked up to these flannel receiving blankets made by Luvable Friends, however, these were too darn small for my tall newborn.  I now use these as burp cloths.  Luckily I had already purchased these fleece swaddlers made by Summer Products, so practical because they take the guess work out of swaddling.  This works great if you are going to be in a hospital that blasts the A/C so darn cold, you're literally freezing.  I've also recently seen these Woombie Swaddlers on the market, much after my son was born, and so I am unable to give you an opinion about them.

When my son was first born, I used the fleece swaddlers on him at the hospital, because it was way too cold, however, upon returning home, there was no need as we controlled the temperature to a level far less than freezing.  While I had cotton versions of the fleece swaddler, these cotton swaddlers were far too thick for home environment and my son would sweat while asleep.  This is a huge no no.  It is very important that a baby NOT overheat at any point in time and especially while asleep.  This has been known to contribute to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  

A friend presented me with these Muslin blankets in blue and white while at the hospital, and I started to use these to swaddle him every time he went down.  He would sleep for longer hours at night, at times for six hours at a stretch by two months of age.  I was hooked and on the hunt for more.  I fell in love with these Aden & Anais Muslin wraps  at Target which were larger than and softer than the gifted set.

So why Muslin Blankets?  Unlike the fleece and cotton swaddlers out there, Muslin is super fine woven cotton that is breathable and therefore, doesn't allow your baby to over heat.  I can personally vouch for this.  My son loved being swaddled in these and by the time he was about three months he'd sleep for up to six to eight hours a night, most nights.  These Muslin wraps are also versatile, they can be used to shade your baby from the sun while in the stroller or the car seat and because it's breathable, you need not worry about your baby suffocating.  They are also great to use as blankets in hot weather.  If you have friends and family in Asia, they would probably be able to get you some at a much better deal, so ask around.

I swaddled my son in these muslin wraps until he was about three and a half months, after he grew out of the Morro Reflex, and preferred to sleep with his arm stretched out wide open, no holds barred.

Happy sleeping!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Educating yourself

If you're a first time mom-to-be, it is so important to educate yourself before hand.  You may think that you'll be okay with just the advice from the older generation of females in your family, like your mom or aunts or grandmothers (which is always helpful), but so much has changed since the previous generation of moms.  Research is a constant and continuous thing, that there's so much information out there - one that can benefit you greatly, if you take advantage of it.  

If you live in a place that offers free pre-natal classes either by the hospital or a women's resource centre, then I urge you to take advantage of it. These classes are awesome and are extremely informative especially if this is your first child. But don't overwhelmed by the fountain of information.  It's best to take it slow.  You're probably not going to remember half the things in those first few weeks after the baby arrives BUT, you will remember, gradually.

It's important to note that pre-natal classes are not the same as Lamaze classes, which focuses entirely on breathing through labour pains, preferably without an epidural.  Most pre-natal classes cover a wide range of topics like Normal & Abnormal Delivery, Breastfeeding, Immunization, Infant & Child CPR, Post Natal Care at Home etc.  

I was so concerned that Breathing During Labour was no longer part of the pre natal classes that we signed up for.  How on earth am I going to know how to breathe?  To be honest, while one of the classes briefly covered different techniques breathing during different stages of labour, you really won't remember any of it while in labour.  Your OBGYN or midwife will guide you through the final stages of labour, telling you when to push and asking you to hold your breath while pushing all the while counting for you.  My doctor had me trained so well in the first few minutes that I knew when to hold my breath and push by looking at the next contraction on the fetal monitor.  Note, I said looking, not feeling, as I decided to get the epidural, which I will cover in another post.

So at the end of the day, don't fret.  Remember to take it one step at a time, deal with it as it comes, because like any situation, it's daunting and overwhelming when you're looking at the big picture.

I also recommend the following  books which I think every pregnant woman should read.  If you cannot afford to buy them ask around, I am sure friends would not mind lending theirs to you.  I loved all three of these.  They also make great gifts!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Bibbity boppity boo

Some may tell you you're going to need a LOT of bibs, some may say not so.  Whom do you listen to?

This largely depends.  If your baby is going to be exclusively breast fed, then NO you won't need a lot of bibs.  If however, you plan on introducing formula to your baby, either as a top up to breast milk or exclusively, then YES, you're going to need a LOT of bibs.

So, which kind are the best?  Bibs with the plastic backing are great as they are leak proof, but you do tend to get sick of them after a while.  Besides, if your baby falls asleep right after a feed, removing this bib most assuredly makes a crinking sound, one that always wakes my son up.  

Regular cloth bibs are great at not letting your baby get overheated, especially if you live in a hot climate, however, they are obviously not 'wet' proof.

I have both and I tend to go back and forth between the two.  I love the cloth bibs as they are great for when your baby begins to drool (a sign that he/she will be teething soon).  My son began drooling at about two months, and boy was it a LOT of drool.  He always has on a cloth bib, even now (with his first tooth at six months), he drools even more.  Most times we'll just slap on a plastic backed bib for a feed, but there are times his hunger can't wait.

Which brings me to this, when buying any kind of bibs, try to stay away from white ones - formula can leave behind a wicked stain which is not always easy to get out.  Besides there are such adorable ones out there, it's so hard not to buy them all.  I love the neutrals which I co-ordinate with my son's outfits.

I just saw this extra large one this weekend that would have been perfect for my lil' boy.  It read:"LOCK UP YOUR DAUGHTERS".  I would have totally bought it, had not been for its gigantic size.

And finally, whether your baby is breast or bottle fed, you're going to need a LOT of burp cloths.  My husband loves these for the most obvious reason!  Besides, that wet feeling on your neck or shoulder is no fun, especially when, at many times, do not get to wipe it off right away. 

UPDATE (June 2, 2011):
I've all but stopped using the plastic bibs now.  Lil Mr. Man is so distracted by the crinkly sound they make, that he tries to rip them off as soon as they're on.  He's now almost eight months...

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Pink or Blue?

Pink or Blue, I welcome you!

What's one of the first things new moms do when they find out what they're having?  BABY SHOPPING!  I ran into a second time mom-to-be of an already 10 month old girl this weekend.  She was having a boy this time around and I could hear her talking on her cell about how she has no clothes for her second child, because all she bought the first time around was PINK!  That's a shopping list she'll have to check off again, except in blue this time around and that can get pricey!

Here's the thing, if you know you're going to have more than one child, and this is your first, venture into the world of neutrals.  There's nothing wrong with it!  In fact you really should because everyone else is going to get your baby pink stuff if it's a girl and blue stuff if it's a boy.  Believe me!

Case in point, one of my dear friends who had a girl a couple of years ago, bought everything in pink.  She also got a ton of stuff in pink during her baby shower.  In fact she had so much pink things that by the time her little one was about to make her debut into the world, she 'got sick of looking at all that pink'.  She hardly ever buys her girl pink anymore, leaving that to friends and family.

Here's my experience, when I found out I was having a boy, I hardly bought anything blue.  I'm all about making things work as many times as I can.  Ok, so maybe I bought him a couple of blue items but, for the most part his clothing were all neutrals or white (which by the way, don't bother with too much, because you'll get sick of seeing your baby in white all the time).  My son also had a lot of greens, yellow, aquas and even some reds and oranges.  And what do you know, most of his gifted outfits were BLUE, in fact they were all blue!  By the time I was done compiling, detagging and sorting out the laundry I was glad I had not bought much blue items for him, because there was the gift pile, literally the blue mother load!

And, can we talk about baby blankets for a moment, every blanket I have ever received for my son has been BLUE or some variation of blue.  Here's a funny anecdote: Christmas morning, we're opening gifts at my parents place and I come across a blue blanket.  This will have joined the five (I kid you not) blue blankets my son already has.  All I could say was 'If I see get another damn blue blanket, it won't be too soon', totally missing the look my brother gave my mom.  When I opened his gift I realised what the look was for.  Here was ANOTHER blue blanket!!!  And my all by brother could say was, 'I just heard what you said, so if you don't want to keep it I understand.'   This was my brother, also the Godfather!  How could I not keep this blanket?  I assured him this was ONE blanket I would keep and cherish, for two reasons, one because it was from him and secondly he went through the trouble of getting a handmade one (one crocheted by his friend from whom it was purchased).

So, go for neutrals.  If you're shopping for a particular baby, buy them a neutral set, their moms will be sure to thank you for it.

And to help you find some neutrals, as many stores don't help the situation below are some online shopping links just give you an idea: