Monday, May 28, 2012

First Time Mom Advice from Moms who have been there!

Being a first time mom is exciting and waiting for the arrival of your little bundle of joy is one of the best parts. Then the day comes and suddenly you’re a mom. You are “in charge” of this little life. It’s overwhelming; there isn’t a question about that. There are a few things us older moms have learned along the way that we’d like to share with you.

I've taken a poll and asked friends and fellow moms to share their advice for this blog post!

Before Baby
  1. As one mom put it best: “You do NOT and will not use 90% of the items you register for and receive at your shower.”
  2. If your home is small without a lot of storage space consider borrowing some of the bigger baby items from friends like the bouncer, bassinet, jumpers, etc. Sure it’s fun to register for those items but if you don’t have space then you don’t have space.
  3. Don’t read all of the parenting books out there and be careful of some of the pregnancy books – they might scare you!
  4. If you are the kind of person who gets stressed out by having a regimented plan, don’t make a birth plan. They aren’t for everyone. And conversely, if you have a birth plan remember that anything can happen. Don’t get your heart set on something you cannot control.
  5. If you want to have a natural birth use available resources to help guide you.
  6. You do not have to listen to every woman’s horror birth story if you don’t want to.
  7. You are your baby’s mother and you are that child’s advocate. Trust your instinct.

After the baby’s born…
  1. Even if you have a vaginal delivery or a C-section, you will be sore afterwards. Follow doctor’s orders and take it easy.
  2. If you deliver in the hospital, get up and try to walk around; it’ll help with your recovery.
  3. Post partum bleeding is normal and happens for weeks. Have pads, pads and more pads around because if you use a tampon or a menstrual cup you won’t be able to after delivery.
  4. Your milk will come in a few days after your baby’s birth day. On this day you will be emotional; okay, emotional may not really describe it. Your hormones are indeed raging; it’s like getting your period times ten. It’ll pass.
  5. Have lots of nice breast pads on hand and a good working breast pump.
  6. Freeze your breastmilk! Chances are your baby will take about two ounces of milk per feeding. Pump the rest and freeze it for later. Trust us on this one.
  7. Breastfeeding is not as easy as it looks so don’t be surprised if your baby doesn’t “get it” right away. Keep at it and surround yourself with a lot of supportive women who have been there too.
  8. Skin to skin; it’s a great way to bond with your baby for both you and Daddy.

Life’s Changing
  1. Yes, your newbie baby is tiny and getting out of the house is a little more challenging than it was before BUT newborns are incredibly portable. Bring that baby everywhere and get out of the house when you feel up to it! Catch a movie with daddy and wear the baby, go out for dinner with baby, walk the mall and shop. After eight to ten weeks your baby will need a little more of a routine and quieter area to sleep in.
  2. Accept help; you don’t have to be Super Mom. None of us are.
  3. Sleep when the baby sleeps – really we mean it.
  4. Let Dad help you however he wants. If he wants to rock the baby when he gets home, feed the baby a bottle at night, or bathe baby; let him. It’s good bonding time for him and baby.
  5. Take a shower every day; you’ll feel better after a sleepless night.
  6. Fussiness peaks at six weeks (or six weeks from the due date if your baby was early or overdue).
  7. Due to number 6 above, you should do whatever you can to make the baby sleep – rock, sway, bounce, and wear. You cannot spoil a newborn.
  8. Don’t underestimate swaddling and white noise.
  9. Also if baby is really overtired, over-stimulated, or fussy and nothing is soothing, try (and this is going to sound weird) turning on a hair dryer, vacuum cleaner, or dust buster. The noise reminds them of the womb.
  10. One older, experienced mom put it best: “Sleep when you can, play when you can, have sex when you can and screw dusting.” Love it!
  11. Enjoy the snuggly moments, the late night feedings and the frequent naps. You won’t regret those one bit once baby’s older and on the move.
  12. While it’s good to be aware of post partum depression (PPD) remember that after the baby is born you will experience what’s called the “baby blues.” This is normally and usually lasts up to three weeks after delivery. That is not PPD.
  13. Be willing to accept help from family, friends, and neighbors. If you need to take a walk around the block to just breathe, ask a friend to come over and stay with the baby.
  14. The house will be messy…but they’re only babies once.
  15. After three months from baby’s birth date your hair will fall out. It’s normal, creepy, but totally normal.
  16. Adopt this mantra: It’s a phase and it’ll pass. (This pertains to pretty much ever struggle you’ll encounter from sleeping problems, napping problems, separation anxiety, feeding problems, etc.)
  17. Choose to laugh. If you don’t you most certainly will cry.
Top Three Pieces of Advice from Moms who have “been there and done that?”
  1. Enjoy how dependent your little baby is on you and love on that little one as long as you can.
  2. Don’t try to do everything on your own; accept for help and ask for it too. That’s being “mom enough.”
  3. Trust your instinct; nine times out of ten you’ll be right.

Elizabeth (aka Bert) is a stay-at-home-mom and contributing writer for She Thinks Media. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband, Ben, her son Buggie, and daughter Lady Bug.  When she's not trying to convince Buggie to expand his interests beyond Thomas the Train or put his pants back on she's writing about her experiences as a mom on her blog, First Time Mom (FTM). After all, Bert maintains there's a first time for everything, even if you  have more than one child! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Breatfeeding, Natural ways to boost your milk supply.

You’ve made the decision to breastfeed your baby. You’re minding your own business and everything is fine until one day you notice that your little angel is never satisfied after nursing. Becoming worried and maybe even a little frustrated you drag out your breast pump. Despite waiting three hours to pump your results are less than what you have been able to pump before. Your fear has become a reality: your supply has for some reason taken a dip.

That was me three years ago with my son. At four months my Buggie wanted to eat every hour and a half and was never satisfied after I fed him. Worried, I looked for natural ways to boost my supply.
  • First things first – nurse, nurse and more nursing! Your body knows what to do. It works on supply and demand. If you’re able to stay home for a few days and do nothing but nurse your baby. Relax, watch TV and cuddle that little one while she helps boost your supply. This obviously would be easier said than done, especially if you only have one child, but if you can swing it why not give it a try?
  • Look at factors that may be contributing to supply. Are you taking any allergy medication? Do you smoke? Is there a lot of stress in your life? Are you eating enough? Are you staying hydrated? Are you supplementing with formula, bottle-fed breast milk or solids? These are all things that can affect milk supply. I realized that the problem with my supply was the allergy medication that I was taking. Allergy medication works by draining the mucus from your cavities (sinuses, etc.), however, the same is true of your milk ducts. At least that’s how my lactation consultant explained it to me. Once we figured that out, I stopped the medication and started using a galactagogue. What is a galactagogue?
  • Galactagogues – These pretty puppies can be herbs that naturally increase milk production but should be used as a last resort. I used fenugreek and it definitely helped boost my supply. Reader be warned though – if you take fenugreek your milk and poop will smell like maple syrup; your baby will smell like it too! Other galactagogues are blessed thistle and alfalfa. As always, and even with herbal remedies, consult with a trusted physician or lactation consultant before consuming. The herb, fennel, can be used to aid in letdown which would be good to use if you need to pump more frequently because you’re working.
  • Bring on the cookies! The web has a ton of lactation boosting cookie recipes. When looking for a recipe you’ll want to find one that includes the ingredients oatmeal, Brewer’s yeast and flax seed. Do not purchase quick cooking oats; you need the old fashioned kind. And the Brewer’s yeast? A good, hearty dark beer does help boost milk supply and Brewer’s yeast does too. As for the flax seed – buy the milled kind.

Remember, before you start fretting look at your baby: Is he satisfied after a breastfeeding session? Is he gaining weight? If the answer is yes to those questions chances are your supply is fine and there’s no need to worry.

Elizabeth (aka Bert) is a stay-at-home-mom and contributing writer for She Thinks Media. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband, Ben, her son Buggie, and daughter Lady Bug.  When she's not trying to convince Buggie to expand his interests beyond Thomas the Train or put his pants back on she's writing about her experiences as a mom on her blog, First Time Mom (FTM). After all, Bert maintains there's a first time for everything, even if you  have more than one child! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Write your Birth Story at Luvaboos with Motherhood BirthWrites, Register today!

No matter how old your kids are, this class is for you!
Partners are welcome to register as well!

Motherhood BirthWrites: Write Your Birth Story

Maybe you just had your baby. Maybe you had your baby ten years ago. No matter how long ago your baby was born, you remember that day like it was yesterday. Wouldn’t you love to write down those powerful memories of your labor and birth? 

Each birth is intense, beautiful, and unique. Taking the time to relive your birth story through writing helps you to remember the many emotions, thoughts, and details of those moments that you already may have forgotten. It also gives you the opportunity to celebrate the beauty of the birth, while helping you to gain perspective on any frustrations that you may have encountered in labor. Most of all, when you write down your birth story, that astounding experience becomes a tangible, permanent keepsake to share with your children in the years to come.

No previous writing experience necessary! In all BirthWrites classes, privacy is respected. Only you will read your writing. However, if you would like feedback or to simply share your story, there's time for that as well. Journals will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own.

Classes meet at Luvaboos, June 19 & 26 and July 3, 7:30-8:30.
Preregistration is required. Partners are welcome to register as well!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Green Toys ROCK! Durable, Fun, and most importantly they're SAFE!

I hate toy recalls. Who doesn't? There is nothing worse than finding out something your little child has been playing with, snuggling, or chewing on every day is could cause them harm. My second was born right around the time of the lead paint fiasco and we didn't feel like anything was safe, including my older sons toys we had lovingly stored away. This led us to start making more mindful choices when it came to the toys we would purchase for our children, and GreenToys have quickly become a favorite!

Let's start with the obvious reasons:
  • Green Toys are made in the US
  • they are made from recycled milk jugs (so cool!)
  • they are safe
  • the packaging is recyclable and made of recycled materials
  • every toy they make is simple, yet childhood favorites (think dishes, trucks, etc.)
  • no batteries!
  • they are top-rack dishwasher safe
  • they are gender neutral, making them a no-brainer for gift giving!
  • most durable toys we own!
I think that last point is my favorite, I have boys and things often get thrown, stood on, kicked, and suffer other violent injustices. Green toys can take it! I often tell people in the store about how my two year old constantly stands in his dump truck, and it's still just like new, (although I do not recommend this activity).

Lets talk safety, because I know the idea of safety is relative. All toys go through scrupulous third party safety testing and have no paint or coatings to rub or be chewed off. They also contain no melamine, and no traceable amounts of Phthalates or BPA. Commitment to safety is one of the cornerstones of the Green Toys company. And because they manufactured here in the US, there is no risk of harmful materials (such as lead) being used on them without the companies knowledge. Being made in the US creates jobs here and the environmental impact is lessened because they are not shipped long distances.

My favorite right now is the green toys tugboat. It even has a spout for making hair rinsing a breeze! And if it is a little less than fresh from being used in the bath, throw it right in the dishwasher and it will come out just like new! My 2 year old loves the tug boat too, but I think his favorite is the recycling truck. It seems to be a favorite of most of the kids that visit the store as well.

We just got a large shipment of them at the store, including Green Eats eco-friendly tableware for kids! The new line of tableware has all the benefits of the toys (melamine, BPA, and phthalate free) and are just as durable. My son loves the independence of having his own tableware but can not be trusted with anything breakable. I think my favorite is the big divided tray. Sometimes presentation is everything with toddlers and the little divided sections just make foods seems more interesting (a little dip never hurt either).

Do you have any Green Toys in your house?  What is your little ones favorite?

Michelle, Luvaboos

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Love Planetwise? Here's how to care for your precious Planetwise products!

I love my wet bag. It’s the ultimate cloth diaper accessory for on the go diapering. How do you care for it? Do you wash your wet bag the same way you do your cloth diapers? I looked at the washing instructions and warranty for Planet Wise Wet Bags to see just what I should be doing.

Warranty Information:
Planet Wise has a 60 day warranty on all of their products. This warranty covers malfunctions such as broken seams, zippers, stitching and/or elastic. It does not cover any fading on the fabric or stains. Snagged, torn or ripped PUL (the waterproof lining in your wet bag) is not covered by the warranty. If you need to use the warranty you must complete a form and mail the form along with the defective product back to Planet Wise.

Washing Instructions: Similar to washing your cloth diapers, Planet Wise suggestions washing the wet bag on a warm/cold cycle. They also discourage using a high speed machine as the speed and vigorous nature of the cycle has done damage to their wet bags in the past. Any kind of damage like that is not covered in the warranty.

They also discourage using any detergents that have additives and brighteners with your wet bag washes. Bleach is not recommended at all and neither are your typical natural brightening agents like baking soda and vinegar.

Drying Instructions: Line dry or low heat. Do not use a high heat cycle in an attempt to “reseal” the PUL. Planet Wise says that does not work anyway and it could cause damage to the bag that will not be covered under warranty

Contributed by Bert of the FTM Blog