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Thursday, August 20, 2015

The BIG 6 Month Update:

Teething, Crawling, Nursing and Elimination Communication 

Well, it's been about a month since I've posted much of anything here, so it's update time!

We are thrilled that our little baby dude (referred to as LBD hereafter) has started to show front teeth and to crawl.


The two bottom teeth just popped out three weeks ago. That Tuesday evening as we were getting ready to nurse I pushed a finger (gently) along his lower gumline. I read on la leche league international mommy's forum that massaging his gums may help to reduce biting as teething progressed, so on days that I saw him chew a lot on toys, I started doing this before nursing. This evening I felt this intensely sharp little edge on his gum, like a razor sticking out. They have arrived!


The same week, he had been pulling himself around with his arms, and on alternating days, pushing his bottom up. It was so fun to watch, first little baby push ups, then gathering his feet under his bottom, sometimes sort of hopping them under him like a little bunny.

By the end of that week, the moves had coordinated into a full all 4's - knees under, arms straight and reaching forward. He also started waving that week. It's all happening so fast!

 New Feelings

And, though it has been totally inspiring, sweet, and beautiful, something else happened that totally surprised me. I felt sad, overwhelmed, and worried.

My darling husband helped me figure out what was going on. I wasn't feeling sad that our baby had teeth, nor that he could crawl, and waving is positively the coolest. It wasn't that I was worried that he was healthy, nor that I worried about his learning environment- I was feeling stressed because suddenly our son ha(s) a whole new set of skills for us to keep up with. I'm overwhelmed because suddenly the folding metal chairs (they have really comfy seats & are heavy- well made!) that we love so much seem really, really dangerous. Actually, besides our books being in danger of baby slobber, most of our house now seems a danger to a baby.

We can handle this, and we anticipated the need to baby proof. It just happened so, so fast.

Nursing: Ouch, Baby Bites?

And then, the inevitable. We were sitting at the dining table and our son was hungry, so I offered him the breast. He smiled and hungrily lunged for it and - moment of suspense?? - totally bit me so hard my nipple started bleeding. Before this time, when he bit my nipple (especially before the teeth came through) I laughed and squealed and gasped and felt/acted really surprised and sometimes said "ow." This time I cried, "Owwww" and looked at him as if I was crying, then made a short act of crying. Oh goodness. Our LBD broke from smiling at me (he thought it was funny at first) to crying in earnest. The poor little guy! And, oh, his poor mommy! We were a mess. Worse, we were both worried about nursing.

Throughout this day, LBD wouldn't nurse the right breast (the one that bled from little razor teeth marks.) When he awakened from his nap and realized his [brave] mommy was nursing him with right breast, he burst into tears and popped "on & off" the nipple intermittently crying.

Finally, after dinner, with right breast just about to pop (so engorged from a day of no nursing), we took a bath and LBD nursed as normal. He was so relaxed in the tub! Thank goodness. That night at bedtime, he nursed both breasts as usual, and then (as usual) popped off the nipple and rolled away. SO CUTE!

 I wouldn't do it differently if I had it to do over. Although it made us both really sad (when I feigned crying and he actually cried) this was a great way to train our son not to bite the nipple that feeds him. He hasn't done it since- and even that day was super gentle with left breast. Thank goodness. Whew!

Elimination Communication (read: Elimination Radio Silence)

We've moved into using mostly the large size prefolds in our diapers, and occasionally the intermediate (blue edge) with a doubler. See the article on diapering if you'd like more details. Our son's peeing so much more liquid each time now that the old diaper liners just weren't doing it.

These days, our EC is kinda out the window. I was happy to run into an old friend yesterday for the first time in about eight years, during which he had a beautiful daughter. She's about six, so they've had plenty of time to work out potty training, and I said to them that with teething and crawling, our son is waaay to busy to tell us about pottying, but that I felt bad, because it seemed like a special way to honor our communication when we were doing it so well. Pepy said, "ah, don't worry; it comes and goes." This totally felt right.

I think we will continue to give our LBD opportunities to EC, but not worry about outcomes. I felt like we'd failed him, or he forgot how to use his potty, or something like this, but I think Pepy is right. It's happening just right; it will work out.

So, instead of 90% potty use as we were a month ago, and around 60% since 2 months age, we're now at about 10%. So it goes.

More updates to come! Things will surely change again.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Berkey FAIL :(

I had high hopes for Berkey filters. I felt I'd done plenty of research. The few naysayers I found (before I saw the reviews!!!) seemed far out and really, just plain mean.

I read review after review (before I went back and saw they are "affiliates!!!") and they all were happy customers. I saw a return policy and didn't question that the filter was available from different companies with the name Berkey in the title... Sites such as Berkey Filters, GetBerkey, BerkeyWaterFilters, and Directive21. Yowza, the latter gives a clue. Is a red flag waving yet? If not, maybe the name Mike Adams will ring a bell? He endorses Berkey Filters. I've linked to a wiki page for his website, as wiki calls it "dedicated to the sale of various dietary supplements, promotion of alternative medicine, controversial nutrition and health claims,[3] and various conspiracy theories."


So before doing enough research, and after reading about Berkey filters on Wellness Mama's blog (and I love her recipes!) I ordered one on a great sale from one of the above sites.

And it arrived really quickly! Oh, delight, we were excited to have great water. My dear hubby was a little concerned when I told him how much it cost, but considering it could filter for 4-6 years without replacements, it seemed cost effective. Our current system (countertop Z,ero water filter) would cost about $40 per 3 months, or more, depending on city versus well water.

I ordered it with the arsenic/fluoride removal filters & I followed the directions. Over and over we "primed" the filters and each time they dirtied the beautiful stainless steel basin they filled with "purified water." Finally, I decided to test the water to see if it was indeed cleaner (even though it tasted like metal and had a whitish residue, with rainbow surface. Again, yowza!)

Our total dissolved solids wands (we have 2) both read 30 ppm for our well water when running cold, 40 and higher for warmer water. When I put in in the Berkey water, it read 60 ppm and higher, and as high as 120 ppm. This is twice to four times more dissolved solids in the filtered and purified water than before we filtered it at all.

A week and about 20 "primings" later, we gave up and returned our filter.

I called Berkey and a super nice, super helpful employee suggested I might need to reprime. I told him how many times I'd done this and our method. He agreed we were doing it correctly. I told him about our total dissolved solids (TDS) wands and the increase of dissolved solids in the water, and I asked if he knew what would be coming out of a black berkey filter, or an arsenic/fluoride white berkey purifier. He said he'd ask and returned to the phone a few minutes later. His coworker suggested it was sulfur from our well water. This does not explain why it would be an increased amount of solids in the water, or the rainbows or white chunks. Finally I told him I really appreciated his help trouble shooting, but would really like my money back and to return the whole system to his company.

We did this, and it worked great. The customer service was great, much better than the filter.

Thank goodness we got our money back.

SometimesOften, simple is better.