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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I ordered my copy (first ever!) of Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions

As the title suggests, Nourishing Traditions is a book about traditional foods that are nourishing to eat.

I find that most of my "typical American diet" experiences (most of my life) have not felt satisfying, or have left me with side-effects that are undesirable. I have often wanted more from food, and found some foods really enjoyable that were on the fringes or the slow-food side of the typical American fare.

For example, I've acclaimed pizza as my favorite food for years, but often found I have a throat ache the next couple days and occasionally rashes on my face or arms within around four days of eating it. The same thing happens with sandwich bread, ramen noodles, and cake, much as I hate to admit it - it's seemed more convenient to eat these foods without connecting my symptoms and just thinking I got colds and rashes for no particular reason.

During the last ten or so years (after 20 of eating just whatever, such as spaghettio's and canned beans) I've tried to be very conscious of how much and what gluten products I eat, eating only organic produce, local or grassfed meats, eating more squash, less white potatoes, more cultured veggies and beverages, and here and there tried even more "special" diets, looking for improvement in my overall health.

I'm sure all of this helped, but I still felt I wasn't eating right. I studied "Eating Right for your Blood Type," and the 80-10-10 diet books, and felt that I was getting closer. Maybe sorta paleo is right for me?

I'm glad I finally got the Nourishing Traditions book because I agree with most of her writing about food sources and industrial shortcuts, and the recipes are really agreeing with my constitution.

I'll be posting more about recipes I try, how they feel, and what variations I work with.

The next post is "bone broth soup." And what a good place to start!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Our favorite non-essentials

Here are our favorite toys non-essentials from the first four months. I'm sure to add more soon as things change.

I'd originally titled this "our favorite toys," but as I added them, I realized some are purely functiofrustratedthers are just toys... here's the best of it. You may notice there are only a couple plastic items. I really don't think plastic is good for babies' mouths, and our little baby dude puts everything in his mouth. I really like cloth and wood toys, and try to provide mostly these for him. Of course, there are some exceptions. I haven't found a picture yet, but his all-time favorite toy is a plastic maraca (percussive shaker toy). It's also the first toy that he bled on- it cut something in his mouth when he chewed on the handle. Boo... I'll add a picture shortly. It was absolutely fabulous until he started chewing on the wrong end, so we got at least 3 good months out of it. Not bad at all.

Hape toys makes some great stuff. The xylophone/pounding toy pictured is really fun. We bought it used and didn't know we should have gotten a hammer. It's great as it- we can sort of punch the balls through (a little bit of silicone holds them in place but they budge easily with pressure) and the balls fall onto the xylophone. The xylophone has a handle and easily slides out of the hammering bench to be a mobile instrument. Very innovative, colorful, and probably a toy we'll "hear" a lot of. We'll find our own hammer.
Rattle Hexagonal

We love this wooden rattle from Grimm's but sadly they only sell to end-users in Austria and Germany. If you can find someone who sells them, their toys are gorgeous. Here's the site.

Once our baby really got into tummy time, I wanted to give him a ball to encourage him to go after it, and I wanted it to be easy to grab. This one makes his *hugely* soccer fan daddy happy, too. LBD spends a lot of time grabbing this, and he even caught it once as it fell off a couch. It's easy to hold onto, lightweight and BPA free.
First Keys picture

Green Toys Rattle Keys

Where are they? I haven't seen these in a couple weeks, but these were the very first toy our baby played with. They're easy to grasp and fun to shake. They kept his attention - even stopping the crying sometimes in the car. They're eco-friendly, too. They are BPA free and made from recycled plastic. These folks make cars and stuff too- we'll probably buy more of their stuff later on.

These two IKEA kids' soft toys are super sweet looking and soft to touch. They are lightly stuffed,  easy to clean, and have no removable parts. The hedgehog has a squeaker inside that our LBD hasn't found yet. The bunny is much bigger than the hedgehog, and fits across the LBD in his carseat. It's 15 inches long, so it covers his lap when he's face to face with it. It's hilarious to see him suck on its face and wrestle with it.
This set of little chewy mushrooms by Vulli (french company) are playfully called "chan, pie, and gnon" (mushroom in french, right?)  This squeaky toy was fun to prop under LBD's leg when he was in the heights of his kicking phase, and now that he's almost crawling, he has just started to realize he can make the squeaking sound by pushing on it. It's hilarious to see his surprise and delight when he squeaks it with his face, tummy, or legs, and he looks to us to be sure we know that it's squeaky. It sounds just like a dog toy. Ha! The Chan, Pie, and Gnon are easy to grasp, soft natural rubber and have "alimentary" paint. I'm not sure what that is, but I uncharacteristically trust this company. I just really like their stuff... They are also the makers of Sophie la giraffe. I like the mushroom waaay more. It's just so cute! We got the one with the curvy handle head, which is great for chewing as well as holding.

Now that our LBD is all out teething, we got a toy just for this. It's the NUBY silicon teether and he likes it pretty well. He's quite fussy and when it's chilled he seems to enjoy the cold. It's tough to see him so frustratey, but it feels better to give him something cool & comforting.



We have all four of these. (I know, they aren't toys. I still think they belong in this post- maybe it's a post on diversions rather than just toys.) I really, really didn't think I would be OK giving our kiddo a pacifier, but I am sooo glad my cousin gave us one at the baby shower. It was so helpful numerous times when we wanted to soothe our little baby dude in the car. We don't really give it to him otherwise. After we had two and I thought we lost one, I insisted we buy another set so that we would not run out again. Hehe, I went from wanting none to four! They are Gumdrop Soothie, modeled after the NICU style and human nipple-shaped. (supposedly better for mommies who breastfeed.)

This rattle is made by a German company, Haba. We love it. The rainbow parts are flexy with a taut rope inside. It doesn't stretch, but the wooden pieces still move enough to be fun. This is a favorite teething ring for little baby dude. There was a stir about Haba moving production to China. Here's an interesting article about it.

Our LBD totally chews on these kitties every day. Lately he's taken to nursing the tails and legs. It's pretty cute, and I feel comfortable with it because they are washable. The stripes are delicious and these plush rattles are easy for new babies to grab. He's been playing with these since very early on - among his only "first toys." Hooray IKEA. Note: I recently found our cat playing with them. Apparently they're not just fun for babies. :/
We bought this in a boutique baby store (it was their cheapest toy at $15, I think) and our little guy couldn't hold it for a couple weeks. Now he chews on it and folds it. I love the colors. They are so rich and it looks pretty neat- stretches slightly and forms a star or a circle. In the shape pictured, it also rolls like a wheel on flat surfaces.
We really wanted to go to shows and help our LBD to experience live music, too, (and just aren't ready for a babysitter yet) so for his 2 month birthday we bought LBD a pair of baby Banz earmuffs. They are rated for safety at sporting events, drag racing, concerts and air shows. They are way too cool. And, yea, I chose the lavendar color. Gotta love purple.

Fisher Price Baby Rocker/Bouncer

Our baby's first chair

Neither of us had any idea what this thing was for or how it would be useful, but when our little baby dude (LBD) was about three weeks old, he already wanted some space occasionally and was so content to sit in this little chair. I called it our baby rocker but the internets seem to call it a "bouncer."

The bar underneath the chair in the front can swivel out to prevent the rocking and also creates a greater angle to keep the baby reclined more. The red buttons under the orange cross bar allow the seat to lean forward and back, but this is not a very large difference one way or the other.

The overhead cross bar has some (I think crappy) little plastic animals. I liked that they are forest themed. I was really surprised when around six weeks or so I could tell our baby was staring at the animal's eyes. Pretty neat. We usually left this bar off, as it detaches somewhat easily with little click-lock tabs on the sides. There's a leafy thing (i think) hanging from the turtle in the center of the bar that can be pulled to make some kind of annoying super high pitched music. We all were pretty happy to leave off the "busy bar" but occasionally used it to slightly extend the time he spent there contently.

There's one other feature I'm not a fan of that may work for some folks (and some babies). The chair has a vibration switch front & center by baby's feet. We never used it.

The chair seems really safe as it has a lap belt, but we didn't leave him alone in it as we were a little worried about it tipping. It is so stable, though, that we never had any real worries. He did sit a little sideways in it most of the time, but it didn't seem like a big deal.

Note: This was our baby's favorite place to BE in all the house. He would just kick and sing and play for 30 minutes at a time. He and his daddy developed a game kicking a blanket off in this chair and it was their favorite past time for a couple months. Oh, such sweet memories. This was excellent for me to put him in and pull into the bathroom when I needed lots of postpartum baths, and for his daddy and me to eat dinner while he watched, and kicked.

We are a little sad he's already outgrown it, but the way he acts in it now seems dangerous. He arches his back and it seems to turn the fabric inside out - like, up & out. Even with that behavior, the chair's going nowhere, but we respect our boy - we got him outta there and put the chair away.

Today we shopped and saw newer versions of the same chair by Fisher-Price, but they have the same features. Not much has changed except the fabric and attached toys. 

Our baby hasn't ever cried himself to sleep

We just can't listen to him cry without trying to do something.

Babies' cries are meant to get our attention. For some cultures, a baby doesn't cry without someone picking them up. Even if this means it's a village member, uncle, another child. Babies cry because their instinct informs them that if no one is touching them, they may be in danger. Their cry is sharp, difficult to ignore.

When I was a baby, docs told new parents to time the crying and check the new kiddo every so often... but that they needed to cry to sleep. 

I think some doctors still say this. There is evidence from many studies that crying to sleep at newborn age can cause neurological issues in our babies. Further, the baby will eventually give up on its caregivers coming to help. I really appreciate Dr. Sears' article on this, "Why do babies cry?" We have chosen his suggestion of giving a "prompt and nurturing" response. It just happened that way.

I know every family is different, and that many people don't (or can't) stay with their baby 24/7. We all have different levels of tolerance (his cry makes my ears ring sometimes) and different schedules, and different desires. No judgement implied. I'm writing about my experience. When my baby cries, I feel irresistibly drawn to help him anyway I can.

The PHDinParenting blog has a lot to say about this. I heartily agree. Some of the reasons this blogger lists not to make the baby cry are: (my favorites first) "the world needs more love," "it's disrespectful of my child's needs," it "harms the parent-child relationship,"can result in decreased intellectual, emotional and social development, and it can "cause harmful changes to [babies'] brains."

From a biological perspective, this is the most vulnerable time of our lives. Babies are entirely needy and dependent upon their caregivers and have no way to do anything differently than what they do- cry until their needs are met. It just happens this way. When their cries aren't met with affection, caregiver's attention, food, a clean nappy, or whatever it is the baby senses a need for, they eventually give up.

We don't want our baby to give up on us. And it's actually going well.

 We do our best to meet his needs and haven't "had to" cry it out yet. I also don't feel at all manipulated. When he cries or even starts to frown, I genuinely want to help.

When our little baby dude (LBD) was born, we had no idea how we would parent. His first moments on Earth were in the morning on a Wednesday and we cleared our schedules and stayed up with him that first day. We napped and nursed and looked at each other and did little else. This was the beginning of our bedsharing. He still sleeps in the family bed where he was born. By the way, "The Family Bed" is the title of a book we love! It's written a while back, but still available on Amazon.

On those very first days when he started to cry we naturally pulled him close to us, swaddled him, rocked him, checked his diapers, and offered him mommy milk. Since those first days, every time he cries, we try these things. We've added a few to the list, and there are exceptions. Now we may try to help him pass gas by flexing his legs up to his torso or we may take his diaper off and offer him an "elimination communication" potty session. We might try sitting him up to get a burp (patting his back for burps never worked for us, usually just an upright hug does the trick!) or give him a toy to play with, or a book. If it's bed time or nap time and he's saying "ow-waah" then we put him in a carrier with a muslin swaddle blanket loosely atop it and he falls asleep in minutes of walking around.  (more on the "universal" baby sounds here LINK)

Since birth, we carry our baby most of the time. When he's sleeping, 60% of the time, I'm sleeping with him. I don't expect this to last forever; I don't think it's necessarily a good thing for my sleeping habits, but it is good for my baby. He sleeps beautifully, frequently and is growing fast!

Back to the title of this post, "Our baby hasn't ever cried himself to sleep," I mean that we just don't leave him to cry. We haven't ever needed to. We just do our best to help using our mental checklist (did he poo? is it gas? is he hungry?, etc), and if we can't do anything else, we hold him close while he cries.

Swaddle Blankets Review

aden™ by aden + anais® for Zutano 4-Pack Cotton Muslin Swaddle Plus® in Car/Blueaden™ by aden + anais® for Zutano 4-Pack Cotton Muslin Swaddle Plus® in Owl/Pink

Muslin Swaddles

We asked for these on our registry and are so glad we did. They are Aden & Anais brand. We use them for all sorts of things.

They were about $45 for a set, so I wasn't sure if anyone would buy them, but we got both sets we asked for and have 8 of these blankets. I'm not sure why they cost $45 - that's like $11 each blanket! I'd be more willing to pay $6 or less each, but thank goodness for baby showers. I guess I'm kinda cheap.

We used them at first as swaddles. Now we use them as nursing covers, diaper station covers (think: shopping or restaurant diaper table & wandering baby fingers...), play blanket, sun cover for stroller on bright days, and hope LBD will use them for forts someday :)

They are fabulous, lightweight, soft & the patterns are beautiful. We actually got the car set, pictured above, and the blue owl set. I absolutely love the dots pattern in the car set.

Pacifier Cleaning (or Dirtying) & the Swedish Study


According to a study, the way we clean pacifiers could affect our kids' immune systems

Before being a parent, I'd always wondered why people boiled baby stuff. Why not just clean it with hot soapy water and good old friction?

Now that we have little baby dude (LBD) I have a different perspective. I want his stuff to be clean. If we're out and his toy falls on the floor, I put it away until it's washed. When he bit his gum on a plastic rattle and bled on his soft kitty rattle, I washed them both. (with hot soapy water and friction)

Since I didn't think I'd ever want to use pacifiers (worried choosing passy over breastfeeding, nipple confusion, and that he'd keep it in forever) I didn't ever consider how to clean them.

The first time his pacifier ever fell out of his mouth I had a dilemma. We have silicone pacifiers so they can be boiled, but I really felt inclined to just rinse it off and give it back to him. We were home and it didn't seem like it was really all that dirty. (by the way, the 5 second rule has some validity but has been pretty much debunked. Gross facts lurk in the google results :p )

I looked up pacifiers and cleaning and found a swedish study which showed that licking the pacifier clean transmits germs to babies that seem to help prevent allergies.

Here's a quote:
"Those whose parents sucked the pacifiers clean were significantly less likely to have developed eczema at 18 and 36 months and less likely to have developed asthma at 18 months, the researchers say."
NPR wrote up the story in 2013. Here's a link.

Or you can search these terms: "pacifier swedish study lick," and get great results.

So now when our baby's pacifier falls, or when it's linty from a bag we put it in, I'm pretty likely to lick it. However, now that I've read that the 5 second rule is debunked, I'm not going to lick it if it falls on the floor! Ew.

LBD doesn't have teeth yet so I'm not too worried about the bacteria causing tooth decay... even though the American Dental Association says the Streptococcus mutans bacteria can be transferred and cause dental caries.

I'm much more concerned about sugar consumption, handwashing after trips to bathrooms, hormones & antibiotics in our food supply... He's going to be exposed to our spit here and there, most likely. I've seen kids pick up all sorts of things and put them in their mouths, and he puts his fingers in ours. (I do NOT encourage this. It just happens!)

It seems unavoidable that children are exposed to their parents' bacteria, and frankly, to me it seems most natural. Perhaps this is exactly how it is meant to be. I think this study brings us a little closer to understanding a healthy dynamic of germ-sharing and how living too clean may not help our immune systems.

Oh, and if you love it, you can buy the pacifier pictured above at Here's the link. I don't endorse it, I just loved the picture and want to give them credit. :D

Surprises in Baby Shopping

Babies Need a Lot of Stuff (not surprising!)

Twice today I talked to someone about what things we were surprised to need, or what I thought I wouldn't need for our baby.

Here are some of the things we really love, or that I didn't think we would want, or that we don't. I'll continue to update this post as our little baby dude (LBD) grows.

We really LOVE the following:

Swaddle blankets- big soft muslin style by Aden & Anais - great for nursing/carseat covers, early months swaddlin' and play blanket on the go. We always have one along.
Baby carriers - see my post on this.
Cloth diapers. Absolutely love them!
Cloth wipes. Absolutely amazing results for rash & cleaning (and easy to launder, and waaaay cheaper than purchasing wipes.)

Didn't think I'd want (and really needed/loved):

Baby clothes hangers and adult sized dresser. My hubby's old dresser is four drawers, all full of baby stuff. Hubby was totally sweet to give it to his LBD. The bottom drawer has toys, top has sleepers, socks and hats. The middle drawers are shirts in one and pants in the other. We hang a few things, and baby hangers are just the right size - and a fun reminder of how teeny he really is.
Baby hats. Just didn't realize this would matter. They are so fun, so cute, and we used them all the time for the first few months. LBD outgrew these rapidly, so it's good not to have too many the same size. He outgrew almost all of them at once.
Changing table (this one from IKEA
Infantino baby playmat- I thought these were stupid. They rock! See review (LINK)
Fisher Price baby rocker  - gave us dinner time for a few months & mommy bath time. Sigh, so necessary, and double-sigh, already outgrew this chair. At 4 months, our baby seems able to turn it inside out with his back arching. He used to love it. :(
Soothie pacifiers - We have 4 so that there's always one along. I thought I was against them until the first time he cried lots in the car. They are a lifesaver. And, yes, he still breastfed normally and did not get "nipple confusion." We started them after 3 weeks. See my post on pacifier cleaning.
Washable Breast pads (!!!) Some days I used three sets or more in just hours. This became much more manageable as time passed, and now I don't use them but still like to have them on hand.

Don't really like, but thought we would:

Baby socks. These little teeny stretchy things just kinda suck. Besides, at four months, we haven't even put a shoe on. They fall off, get lost in the wash, etc. We got one set we LOVE (not teeny size, but he'll grow into them)
Baby shoes. Same reasons as above. They are so cute, though!
Sleepers with zippers- we LOVE buttons for easy off with diapers & pottying.
Zip-up polar fleece baby bag things. They are so perfect for keeping LBD warm at night since he likes to kick blankets. We prefer the ones with sleeves. If they made them with buttons, we'd prefer those.

Baby jeans. Stretchy pants seem comfier- LBD's belly changes sizes daily, and even after pooing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Crib and Mattress Shopping

We thought a crib was absolutely necessary for our little baby dude. We were probably right. It's not yet, but we will likely soon be very, very glad we have it. We are very glad we chose a crib and mattress that will work for awhile. (unlike our super cool but almost outsized carseat)

We got the Gulliver crib from IKEA in birch wood (unpainted). I've included some images from the IKEA website. When I searched for it on the internet to write this post, I was happily surprised to find that this Gulliver is spelled just like the one from the story, Gulliver's Travels. Fun!

We looked at Sniglar (only $69 USD!) but it seemed a bit flimsy and I like to have stuff that can withstand a bit of rough use. The Gulliver has wider corner posts and just looks lots more sturdy. Like the Sniglar, it comes in plain wood and they both have a removable side so that it can be a toddler bed after the crib days our past.

Here's a really fun IKEA hack for a cosleeper Gulliver bed (3 cheers for Petriojk, engineer/dad):

hacked IKEA GULLIVER co sleeper crib

Monday, June 15, 2015

Handmade Book from Custom Made Printed Cloth

After much ado, we found a carseat & stroller we all love.

Our Super Fabulous Stroller & Carseat, the Maxi Cosi Mico & Kaia in Bohemian Blue. Review to come.

What to Wear Part 2

Baby Wearing AKA Freedom of Movement and Not-So-Achey-Shoulders

One of the very best gifts we asked for and received (thanks to lots of research and someone saying, "so what do you not have yet that you really need") was our baby k'tan.

I also asked for an Ergo carrier, thinking we would use this for the next years and that it is very friendly for my hubby to use. I was gifted a Maya sling and a Baby Bjorn, and will talk about all of these in this post.

My favorite for the first months has been the Baby K'tan. I really, really love it! We got it in blue but really liked the sage and eggplant colors as well. It's really important to get the right size! Hubby dear and I lucked out because we are able to wear the same size- medium fits both of us. We are 5'7" (me) and 5'11" and neither of us is super skinny or super heavy. Just kinda average build- he's a little on the skinnier side. If you can try one on first, that might help, or they provide measurements on the website. Here's an image from their site (so so cute!) :

Best feature: easy to use, even on the first days with a little bitty baby. This is by far the easiest carrier to put on and with a day or two of practice, for me, it was the easiest of all to position our baby in. He sleeps well in it and if I tie it pretty tightly, stays in a good position even though I move a lot.

It's so soft and comfy! It's like a hug you can put your baby into, and then be hands-free. The biggest perk for us is that we started to use it on day 2. Little baby dude (LBD) was born at 9 lbs 2 oz, so it was easy to place him inside this sling without worrying about losing him. I think if our child was a lot smaller, this may have been a concern.

We sometimes swaddled him then placed him inside, but generally both hubby and I really liked wearing it with no shirt underneath, and even with LBD just in a diaper. There are tons of benefits to this skin-to-skin contact, especially in the very earliest days, and he hardly left our arms for those first few weeks. The Baby K'tan really allowed us freedom of movement while keeping him close and secure. For our LBD, this meant warmth, comfort and a feeling of familiarity with us, but also food right there anytime he needed it.

Now, at 28" and 17 lbs, I'm starting to worry LBD may be almost too big. I talked to our local mom n pop baby consignment store owners and they suggested that we dry it after each use. They said this would shrink the fabric considerably and might help us use it longer, but that other parents say it starts to stretch too much by 15 lbs or so. I'm just so stubborn! It's super comfy, soft and versatile so I keep using it around the house and for short walks.

This is where the Ergo really shines.

Now that I'm walking longer with a heavier baby, and still want to breastfeed him while we're out and about, the Ergo Classic is absolutely amazing. Compared to the K'tan, it has much greater support for me, similar to carrying a backpacking pack. There is a wide band of foam with a buckle that fits around my hips, a snap to secure the shoulder straps crosswise on my back, and easy to adjust straps that fit over my shoulders. The best thing about this pack is the support it offers. I am able to stand up straight and lengthen my back and torso in a way that is much harder these days in the K'tan. After stretching my tummy muscles to carry the LBD, I really appreciate being able to hold him close in ways that don't collapse my chest down and round my spine and tummy.

The Maya Sling is pretty great, too, but we use it rarely.

I think it functions just as it is meant to, and well at that, but I don't like single shoulder carries. My shoulders carry enough weight with lactating breasts and a baby, so putting it all on one shoulder is not optimal.

With that said, I will use this in a pinch to do some cooking when I want to keep LBD at a distance from what I'm doing (I am not advocating for cooking while baby-wearing, but I do it) or if I want to just hold him close for a short time and then lay him down, for example in the yard while I'm working and I have a blanket setup for a nap. It's nice to lay him down in an easy-off carrier.

It's really nice that the extra material on the sling can be turned around front-wards to lay over his head if it's sunny or if he is breast feeding. Our LBD gets pretty distracted by pretty things, bright lights, our faces, etc and so I really like to cover him if he's sleepy enough to fall asleep while at the breast. Our Maya sling also has a big (6"x6", i think) pocket that would carry my wallet, phone, and a little snack, but I don't use it much (except if I get mail from the mailbox) because it just adds more weight. I do like the size of the pocket.

One downside to this sling is that even though it's easy (conceptually) to put on me, it's tough to get our active LBD comfy in it. He doesn't prefer to lay sideways against my body, but has preferred to be upright since, well, before he was born. LOL! Our LBD was breech, so I'm kinda being funny, but really since his first week whenever we've put him in a carrier he has preferred vertical alignment along our bodies. And that's cool. I try to work with his preferences, especially since he has little ability to do more than complain... and when complaining mounts to crying, I find myself scrambling to do what he wants. It's my biological drive- what more to say??

Finally, the Baby Bjorn is our 4th carrier.

We haven't used it much, so I will update this post shortly when I have more information to share.

I really like that it is super adjustable and I love the way the clips work on the sides. The design is super cool, however (and this is a BIG downside) I can't breastfeed wearing it.

That's pretty much a deal breaker for me, but I think this could be a good carrier for my husband, especially if we were walking somewhere and the LBD was awake and engaged. I think they both would really enjoy the outfacing and in-facing methods of carry and I think it offers really great support.

I used to use this very same Baby Bjorn carrier when I nannied years ago and it was gifted to me during this pregnancy. While I didn't even think of breastfeeding my nanny charge, I loved this carrier, second only to the Ergo carrier.

Other Baby Wearing Carriers and More to come: 

I'll soon be purchasing one of those wrappy carriers that fit similarly to the Baby K'tan but without the stretchy knit fabric. I loved how easy the K'tan was to put on, and sorta dread the difficulty of a 15 foot long fabric (is that an exaggeration??) but I'm sure I'll figure it out and keep up the baby wearing. It's such a joy to keep him close and see his smile... and to be able to kiss LBD's forehead so easily.

Ok, that's all on this for now. More to come when we've used ERGO and Baby Bjorn more.

Someone else's article on this:

These 5 Baby Brands Are Not As Awesome As You Think They Are
And here's a quick excerpt: (heee hee)

You knew this, right? Baby Bjorn is not that great. Their little potties are awesome (and discontinued). But the carrier, despite its popularity, is not the best design. Not only does it hold your baby in a crotch-dangling position (uncomfortable), but it also lacks a waist band for hip support. For some reason, men tend to really like this carrier. But for women, it usually pulls at the shoulders and causes back pain.

I really liked this post and I totally agree, point for point... hmmm

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Heat n Bond Magic

  I've been really excited about this stuff called "heat'n bond"

For starters, I hadn't even considered what form it would come in. When I went to Joann's to purchase it, I was informed it was "right there" behind me on a bolt. There was a big sign that it was for sale, so I grabbed the bolt and found it was only $1.49 (USD) per yard...
"Ok, but would I really want a whole yard," I wondered?
So I went for it, and maybe even for two yards...
This stuff is fabulous. Just like I read it would be. Cheers.

I just took some and put it on the back side of my fabric, then ironed a little. It said to iron for 2 secs and I ironed for 6 secs because it also said to iron for 6 after peeling the backing. I got it backwards.

Heat'n Bond 3927 Iron-On Vinyl Matte 24" - By the YardI removed the backing and ironed for two seconds, then checked the label (it comes with a little plastic wrapper that has instructions) and ironed a little more when I realized it was supposed to be 6 seconds. Pretty easy so far... but did it work?

Like a champ. No more pinning for quick projects. Quilting would be a breeze with this. I bet my great great grandma would be proud of us for figuring this stuff out. 

I used an assortment of fabrics to test the results. Pictured below are poly satin, cotton sateen, felt, 100% "kona" cotton, and light polyesters (think 50's button up grandma shirts.) Oh, and faux purple fur. And purple linen under it. There was one aspect of this that proved tricky: to get the faux fur to adhere I had to get it pretty hot, but I'm sure it would melt if it got hot enough. I didn't want fur melted to my iron, so I covered it with another piece of fabric. This worked pretty well, but I ended up turning it upside down with yet another piece of fabric to protect the other layers. If you run into trouble, just think in layers. :)

Here's an image of four swatches I made on my first run:

More fun with heat'n bond (lite) to come! What projects do you use heat'n bond for?

Baby wipes

Eliminating Diaper Rash - No more Disposable Wipes??

We started out using seventh generation baby wipes. We'd purchased them weeks before having little baby dude (LBD) thinking we'd need them, and slews of them, before his first few weeks were over. In fact, we bought an 8 pack with something like 120 each.

Right away, we used cloth diapers and only occasionally used "paper" disposables. Planning for LBD to be truly little, we had at least 14 diapers that were for newborns (more on that in the diapers & "what to wear" post.. in the works) but we started to notice that when we used the disposables, he got rashy.

By six or so weeks, we'd mostly stopped using disposable diapers. As we'd read on other parenting and diaper blogs, we were much more likely to have "backsplosions" and other malfunctions plus we wanted to eradicate rashiness altogether and believed it to be possible.

I was looking at Etsy and was SO surprised to see there's been a paperless revolution of families replacing their toilet paper, paper towels, and hand cloths with CLOTH. Wow. This makes a lot of sense, and raises some hygiene questions. I'll do some more research and make another post on this topic.

I found an Etsy shop with really cute little cloths and a note that said, "you'll really appreciate the two-ply" and so I took the dive. I ordered 24- 4"x5" cloths that had patterns - fireflies in jars on some, and elephants and other "jungle" animals on the others. These arrived quickly and I started using them right away. It happened kinda fast that we no longer used any more of the wipes.

Our diaper rash completely went away. Completely. (As long as we did a good job wiping after poos...) Absolutely wonderful.

Ah, one more note: with these fabulous cloth wipes, we started using my peri bottle. At this point, I no longer needed one peri bottle in each of our bathrooms to spray my stitches (& etc) so we re-tooled them for use as baby spray bottles. We just spray a little water on the cloth, wipe him, and presto, happy baby. The bottles have spray tops that press down to close, pull up to open, so we keep one at the diaper table and take one on the go (or leave it in the bedroom for super-groggy late night changes, which seem to be a thing of the past, cuz lately it's a dry diaper and a night time potty-ing instead, urgh...)

So, buying baby diaper wipes is a thing of the past. We've gone paperless. I do so love trees. We're on the cloth revolution & it feels great. Cloth diapers, cloth wipes, no rash, happy baby, happy mommy & happy dada.

<3 <3 <3

Co-Sleeping & Nighttime Nursing

Cosleeping, Nighttime Nursing, and Dry Diapers (?)

It's 3:46 am. About an hour ago, I woke up wondering if our little guy needed a pee. I got out of bed and took him to the bathroom and he cried. Aww, he was so tired and I didn't realize it was only 2:30 in the morning. I'm feeling really awake. This is the time I usually go to bed.

Usually I fall asleep nursing him at about nine forty or ten, and around the time hubby dear crawls into bed, I get up for some *precious* alone time... browse spoonflower fabrics, make new graphics, make connections on SF and Etsy, work on blogging, google ads, etc. Hopefully sometime soon, this will be the time that I make paintings. :X

Lately, each morning he wakes and first thing needs to use the bathroom. (He always has; lately he wants to do it NOT IN HIS DIAPER.) I discuss our "elimination communication" in other posts. Generally I'd really want to call this mommy/daddy potty training because what's really happening is that we are learning when to hold him over something we don't mind him peeing/pooing on... everytime he makes the sound "uh, uh" (poo) or "eh, eh, eh" (pee).

This is tough, but it's also beautiful. The payoff is our son, smiling and proud at such a young age and most pleased not to be covered in pee or poo on his low section, but to have eliminated cleanly... amazing.

Back to cosleeping: we have a great big king size foam mattress from IKEA and love it. (except for the first weeks- my lungs "tasted" like outgassing foam. really did not love that. We even got a hotel for the first few days. I review the mattress here (LINK tba). During our homebirth prep we covered the mattress in a giant vinyl bag (supposedly prevents bedbugs and the fabulous folks in New Zealand have found it may be preventing SIDS). If not for this mattress, I don't think any of us would enjoy cosleeping. We love each other and we need our space.

Also, we hadn't exactly known what cosleeping was or whether we'd do it when we first were planning this bed purchase and during the pregnancy. I learned about a great book called the "Family Bed" that came out sometime in the 60's-80's and was around when we were wee things. My parents in-law (love, love love them!) raised my husband this way and said we'd perhaps get more sleep if we did it. Also, they said their son was really happy to sleep with them, and that it generally went well for all involved. And- the time passes very fast... he won't be teensy for long.

While working retail during pregnancy I saw a couple with a little baby and asked how they were so chipper. They told me they were cosleeping and getting great rest, while their baby's needs were well met.

I started to realize this could work for us and started researching. Right away I found what my mom and other folks had told me- there is a tremendous amount of lobbying (corporate interests) against parents bringing their babies to bed. Those who would profit from sales of sleep products for little ones do not want us to cosleep, unless we buy a special bed called a cosleeper for our babies.

This is so cool. A study has found that breastfeeding mums make milk with higher melantonin levels at night, which it says may lead to longer sleep for breastfeeding babies and aid in the development of their circadian rhythms. So, so cool. I found this study linked from a blog called "breastfeedchicago." The info from breastfeedchicago is awesome- great facts on why nighttime nursing is so special. 

I found a research study from Notre Dame, published around 2004, that totally inspired me and confirmed what I'd been hoping. If I didn't smoke cigarettes during pregnancy (I didn't) or live in a house with cigarette smoke (we don't) and I don't drink (much) and I breastfeed (so pleased to do this) then the study shows we may be safe to sleep, and that in fact, our lil baby dude (LBD) is less likely to experience SIDS. (I've added a picture from the sleep study site of a suggested safe method of cosleeping with baby in bed. This is exactly how we naturally sleep. I tend to keep LBD on the side of the bed. Note the bed is on the floor, and there are minimal objects in bed- no stuffed animals, extra pillows, or blankets.) This research is really neat. I'm glad someone studied it before we had our son.

The idea of our darling boy dying in his sleep (he just cooed as I typed that) after experiencing his birth and taking care of him daily is... well, terrifying. Not much totally terrifies me, but now that we know him, we want to protect him. This drive to protect someone else is new and strong and terrific. I mentioned in our home birth post that I didn't sleep the first few nights- watching to be certain he breathed. (ha, ha, he did, and does, and well! and I really need my sleep!) The Notre Dame study shows that the infant who sleeps (and nurses) facing the mother breathes in CO2 which causes them to breathe deeper and get more oxygen which is obviously beneficial.

Perk: Our LBD also enjoys easy access mommy milk bar- all night nursing could happen. It's kinda up to him this way. He starts to make noise, or as of a month ago (4 mo old now) starts to sorta smack my breast, and I roll toward him and he latches. It's amazing how simple nursing is when we're all sleepy. Because of his nursing, frequent rousing, and noises, I'm not even slightly concerned about rolling onto him. Probably around month three I turned onto my belly for the first time since about 28 weeks pregnant. It just didn't occur to me that I could until recently, and I don't usually do this when he's in bed. I say all that because someone recently said, "hows your sleep, mum?" and I said, "fabulous, the little guy and I get great sleep and barely wake to breastfeed nights because we put him in with us," and she said, as so many folks have been programmed to say, "won't you crush him, or roll onto him?" Shew, I hope not, but I seriously don't think so. We discussed with our pediatrician that if we went to be inebriated the LBD should not be in with us.

Anyhow, the access to milk without having to get up is nice for him, and for me, and I just heard about another major perk. Following this paragraph is a quote from breastfeedingbasicsdotcom article on "night waking, or will i ever get a good night's sleep again?" This article discusses how breast milk gives our babies more growth hormone during the nighttime. Our baby is 28" at four months, which places him at the 98th percentile (actually above it, not sure what that means... except that we already need a new carseat by 29") and we've been wondering how in the world we have such a big kid. We are both just above average height but were normal/light babies. Perhaps it's all the nighttime nursing... or the hormones in our food? Maybe it's the excellent prenatals I've been taking. More on food in another post, some other night.
So what is a ‘normal’ sleep pattern for a nursing infant? Anthropologists have found that in cultures where breastfeeding is common, babies nurse frequently during the night and sleep close to their mothers. The low fat and protein content of human milk, and the small size of a newborn’s stomach, indicate that human babies were meant to feed frequently during the day and the night.

The more I thought about all that, and how "successful" humans are on Earth, and how we have been sleeping together for all of time (and how many people on Earth still do), the more I knew this would be something we would feel good about. Indeed, it has been a really treasured experience for all of us to cuddle at night, to wake sprawled, seeing our LBD sprawled in a position exactly like ours, and to feel such closeness to someone whose needs are entirely our business... not to mention feeling happy and somewhat proud of ourselves when people ask how we are sleeping. So well.

Love, love, love.

Check out this article from HuffPost
And this one, the Notre Dame Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Lab
And go here if you want to go directly to the "safe" sleeping guidelines
And this, (source for image below) Mommypotamus on sleeping with baby

OMG just found this image (see below) when searching for the recommended position for family cosleeping. Yowza. So scary. I hope it is a joke, but I'm certain it's not. This reminded me though of another thing we did to be safe.
Is Co-Sleeping

We did away with all extra pillows (during pregnancy we had about seven pillow "friends" in with us for comfy positioning) and extra blankets (I used to sleep with heavy, thick quilts, thermals, and switched them out for one fleecy blanket). We just keep two pillows in the bed and lay the LBD at a level lower than the pillows. (where the breasts are anyway!) We even only use a sorta flat mattress pad (and thank goodness for it, because [warning TMI] between leaky boobs, baby poo, and the occasional stray baby pee, our bed is wet a lot. :P )

Another mom I talked to who cosleeps and practices elimination communication (in her case diaper free bed time, and NO we are not there yet) said she sewed together two big wool blankets to make a mattress pad. I really like this idea- warm, absorbent, and natural.

OK, let's end on a more positive note. I found this image, too... hahahaha!

Disclaimer: This information is purely for educational purposes and is NOT meant to be SIDS prevention advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Let the Love Grow and MommyNaturally does NOT make ANY claims that any of the information or opinions presented here are considered to be SIDS prevention advice or medical advice.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Coconut Oil for Everything

If you're lucky enough to find it at a good price this is the best product from bathroom to bedtime.

We love to massage baby dear with it, clean his ears (only outermost parts!) While he was the smallest, we only "annointed" our baby, rubbing him from the top of the head to farthest toes instead of wet baths.

We used it several times daily during the month or so that he had cradle cap.

I've used it throughout pregnancy and have zero stretchmarks on my tummy. (!)

We use it for rashes and yeast on baby dear as well as ourselves.

I eat a spoonful a day...

It's an awesome substitute for butter in baking.

Finding the right stuff:

In Search of Great Toys

We began to learn about the difficulties of discerning parenting when we first made our baby registry. Anticipating many "handmedown" clothes, we asked for things like toys and cloth diapers. More on registries, toys, and diapers to come...

I prefer cloth or wooden toys, but some of our baby's favorites are plastic, such as his maraca (rattle).

I started making cloth toys for our lil one, such as this book:

Color Book Cover Color Book Pages Photos of color book Photos of Color Book Photos of Color Book Photos of Color Book Photos of Color Book

More about diaper free baby

Elimination Communication, Part 2

Tips and Tricks

Have you heard of Squatty Potty? Positioning is key for elimination, for adults as well as babies. The idea here is to align the colon in the "proper" way to aid in smooth elimination without added pressure. Here's a pic of the Tao model, made of bamboo and adjustable height. This would allow family members to share...

Holding a baby in the right way to assist them in peeing and pooing is pretty easy. We do it like this: 1. Align the baby's back to your belly. Make sure their head is supported if necessary.
2. Put your hands under their thighs and gently lift.
3. Voila! Your baby is probably happily peeing right now, or pooing...

There are a few tricks to this. If he is crying in the pee/poo position, it really might be gas discomfort and he will often still go momentarily.. just a matter of patience on our part and compassion. If he seems to need to go, but isn't, generally he's just distracted by a pretty light, music, or a sound nearby. When this is the case, a warm washcloth on his hand works quickly to release the urine. If we walk away from the bathroom and he needed to go, he'll usually tell us.

Potty Training Early

Elimination Communication (EC) 

So I was talking to my mom about how things are going. "I am starting a blog, our baby's super healthy and tells us every time he wants to pee, I am feeling optimistic, getting lots of exercise, hubby driving me crazy waking baby during nap time (he has a week off from work!)" and she says, "well honey sounds like everything is good."

Ha. We thought that elimination communication would make for a happier baby and less diaper waste. (More on diaper waste here. LINK) We thought that we would really like feeling like we had helped our little darling to stay dry and have clear communications with us about diapers.

This is going way too well. Let me elaborate?

Our 18 week old boy (boys are supposedly notorious for not wanting to potty train?!) already cries if he has a diaper on. I don't mean a wet nappy- he cries just because we put on a diaper. I would say he thinks it is unfair he has to wear one and we don't, but we at least usually wear underwear...

This little guy starts to fuss when he needs to pee and poo. We used to think he had gas or colic or that I produced too much milk. Instead, it seems he needs to go to the bathroom (really, the bathroom at 18 weeks, ha!) about every 20 minutes. If we are in the car and we pull over and pull off the nappy, he will pee on the side of the road.

If this sounds good to you.. here's more (LINK) on how we did it.

Bottom line: elimination communication has worked waaaay too well for us. My advice to another parent might be that once they go diaper free, it's hard to go back. Every baby is different, but ours wants to be bare bottomed all the time now, and it's tough. This means every potty time (every few minutes sometimes) we are going to the bathroom again.

I'll post updates as this changes. Right now part of the difficulty is that we have a potty trained baby but he can't get himself to the bathroom- understandably frustrating for him!

Finding the right stuff: (Part 2)


Although I didn't take prenatals every day, I've taken them for a couple years leading up to this pregnancy. I've heard over and over how important folic acid is for proper development of the fetus, but there are some other perks: My hair and nails are strong and shiny, the B vitamins balanced out some of my pre/menstrual cramps, and I'm sure I needed the minerals such as Iron and Selenium.

With that said, a healthy diet is also very important for building a healthy baby- and maintaining a healthy mom! I've heard someone say a baby can be built on cheetos (prenatally, that is) and then after giving birth, the mom would just fall over because she would have given every bit of nutrients to the baby from her own body. Whether that is true or not, it helped remember that whether or not I took my vitamins, I was building a full new system, bones and all, inside me.

Garden of Life is the brand I finally decided on once "we" were pregnant, and I switched between the RAW prenatal and the Kind Organics RAW Vegan prenatal.

Here are some reasons I chose the "Garden of Life" brand:

Although I take other supplements that include silica and magnesium stearate, I wanted something I believed in for pregnancy, especially since I wanted to take them quite frequently.

After birthing our son, we found out that I am to continue taking prenatals as long as I am nursing. 

I also used some other supplements before, during and after pregnancy. I'll list these on a separate post.

I generally do not want fillers in my vitamins. Vitamin fillers are often added to give texture, firmness, or homogenization to a pill. These are available as capsules as well and they actually taste quite good. Sometimes I add them to water or juice. I was concerned about source materials and concluded that whole foods are the best foods for mom & baby, since this way they are not made from things I'd be disinterested in eating. Check out the ingredients ---->