Book Review: ‘Breastfeeding Made Simple’ by Mohrbacher

Love Love Love Love Love Love this book. I’m convinced this is the best breastfeeding book out there. One of my best friends gave it to me and I’m so thankful she did. It answered so many questions and gave me confidence.

I didn’t receive this book until Clara was a month old. I wish I had read it before she was born. It would have helped me immensely in the first few weeks. Luckily my doula is a breastfeeding specialist and guided me in the beginning. I would have been lost without her. The lactation consultants at Harris were also wonderful. But it really makes a difference for me to have things in writing that I can regularly refer to.

Not only does it give you encouragement and tell you what to expect in the early days, it also tells you how to meet your long term goals. It addresses issues that arise and how to fix them, such as latch and milk production. It discusses expressing and storing milk and weaning your child naturally.

My favorite chapter is The Power of Touch: Why Holding Your Baby Matters. In a society where books like Babywise are popular, which are responsible for failure to thrive babies and lowering milk production, not to mention the barriers in bonding and possible psychological damage it creates, we need to hear the research that supports how important it is to hold your baby and be close to them all the time. I could go on a tangent about how it drives me crazy when I hear people say “put that baby down or you’ll spoil it!” Uggghh! That is so old fashioned and ridiculous and completely against research. But that is another post.

Anyway… back to the book review.  It is organized very well, easy to read, comprehensive, and provides a historical and cultural context. It truly is a wonderful book and I highly recommend it to anyone who is about to have a baby.

 

 

But What About The Stinkies?

Diaper pail

Stinky shminky! I give a “meh” to the stinkies. The cloth diaper stinkies that is. Usually the cloth diaper stink refers to the ammonia smell that lingers in the diaper pail. I prefer this smell to the disposable diaper pail rotten poo smell. Is it weird to prefer one bad smell over the other?

The diaper pail I use for my cloth diapers has a little filter that allows some air flow to help keep the stinkies from partying like it’s 1999. And I know the ammonia monster is contained in the pail. It doesn’t sneak out and tap you on the shoulder like a sposie pail. There’s nothing worse than a slight cloud of stale poopy diapers in the air. Care bears need to breathe after all.

Sometimes I wonder if the things I talked about before having kids sounded this gross. Talking about snot and poo doesn’t really bother me. Puking might be another story. But luckily I haven’t had to deal with that yet. Oh wait, there was that time I had to pull over and let my husband puke out of the car. I was hoping I’d forget that sound.

If you are reading my blog for the first time and these things gross you out, I hope I haven’t scared you away.

So as I was saying, “pheeewwie!” I’ve tried all the stripping tricks I know of to combat the ammonia smell. I’ve soaked them in Rockin’ Green, Charlie’s Soap, done multiple washes with no soap, added bleach (which is generally a no no), tea tree oil, dawn, and I always add extra water to the cycle and do extra rinses. The good news is my diapers always smell fresh and clean after each wash. They only smell like ammonia after sitting in the pail a few hours or when Clara wakes up in the morning with a diaper that probably weighs 10 pounds. I suppose it could be worse. Some people say they smell ammonia as soon as their baby wets. Luckily I don’t have that problem.

I have a few theories as to why my diapers might get that smell. Perhaps the free and clear laundry detergent we use for the rest of our laundry leaves a residue in the washer, finding its way into the cloth diapers. Perhaps the very hard water with a lot of minerals affects the diapers. Perhaps my HE front loader washer doesn’t clean/rinse as well as our old top loaders since less water is used.

Either way, I still give a “meh” to the stinkies. It doesn’t grind my gears and it’s really the only complaint I have about cloth diapering. What works for you to get rid of the sshtinkies? I’d love some ideas!

 

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Everyday Cloth Diaper

BumGenius Elemental AIO

Raindrops on roses and cute baby tushies. Bright colored diapers without any mushies. Velcro or snappis and inserts with wings. These are a few of my favorite things.

Thanks to the Green Bambino in Oklahoma City, I have quite a buffet of cloth diapers. From diapers made with microfiber to polyester to wool to organic cotton to PUL to terry cloth…with features such as pockets for extra absorbency, inner gussets, nano technology, and quick dry fleece..the list goes on and on. I personally have 18 varieties/brands of diapers in my stash. There are only a couple diapers that I tend to pass over. The rest of them compete very well with each other.

I love using different brands. There are so many cute styles and different features that it keeps it fun and interesting. Who knew diapering could be so fun?! If I absolutely have to pick a favorite for everyday wear, it would be the BumGenius Elemental with organic cotton.

Here are some reasons why I like the BumGenius Elemental:

It’s an All-in-one: I really love AIO’s. They are just so much easier to deal with altogether. No stuffing, unstuffing, or getting inserts mixed up. They’re just as easy as using a disposable. My dad said it best when he was babysitting Clara one day. “If you have these kind of diapers, why would you use disposables?” He was amazed at modern cloth diapers.

The Fit:  The fit is snug but breathable and very trim. Clara is 15 months right now and at her size, it fits about the same as a disposable would. She still has so much room to grow in it too. Although I love a bubbly cloth diaper bum, her pants fit the same as it would with a sposie. It doesn’t cause issues with leaking or blowouts since it fits her little tush, waist, and legs so perfectly.

The material: The organic cotton is super duper soft. The smoothness also keeps the poopies from getting ingrained into the cotton, which makes dumping and/or spraying easier.

The quality: This feels like a well made diaper that will last forever.

I haven’t tried using this diaper at night. Since there is not a pocket to stuff inserts for extra absorbency, I’m not sure it would last all night long. I’d rather stick with what I know works for my nighttime routine. I don’t want to take any chances on her waking up from a wet diaper. Stay tuned for a post on my favorite nighttime diapers.

Diastasis Recti Rehab: Week 1 Conclusion

The Flying Splint

I’ve squeezed my transverse muscle 4,480 times this week! And that my friends is without doing any crunches… because apparently they are THE DEVIL. According to Julie Tupler, they will make your diastasis larger and possibly create one if you don’t already have one. I’ve never been a crunch fan (a crunchy mama, maybe), but not a crunchy exerciser. I’m not too upset that I’ll never have to do a crunch again.

It has definitely taken some discipline to do the elevator and contracting exercises 3 times a day. I’ll admit, I’ve procrastinated and doubled up a couple of times. The splint is still not my best friend, but I’m figuring out how to wear it and adjust it so that it stays in place better. I’ve taken it off a couple of times this week when I wasn’t supposed to for a short time…

Well actually, I ripped it off, threw it across the room, and did a happy dance. I’m a rebel I know.

However, I’m going to make a commitment to be an even better diastasis student this week. Do you want to know why? Of course you do. Well first of all, since I’m blogging about it I can’t give up now and look like a complete failure. But honestly, I can tell a big improvement already! This is really working! My waistline is smaller, despite the fact that my silly husband has brought home ice cream and reeses peanut butter eggs all week. I know that my core is much stronger because it’s easier for me to sit with good posture and I can feel the muscles working more each day. Also, my umbilical hernia which came back after my fallopian tube surgery is getting smaller. This tells me the connective tissue must be healing.

There are a couple of things I need to work through yet. I get this cramp in my left side quite often when doing the exercises that hurts. I’m also holding in my tummy muscles so much that I find my breathing is rather shallow at times. I have to remember to belly breathe more often and squeeze to the 5th floor when I exhale. I spent so many months practicing to relax every muscle in my body for childbirth through breathing, that I stopped using my abs altogether. Now it’s time to find a balance.

Here’s hoping for a week of patience with the splint and continued healing!

 

 

Broccoli Grilled Cheese Sandwich? Yes, please!

Ready for the grill

Mmmmmm… this recipe is easy, cheesy, and breezy (if broccoli makes your baby toot that is). Clara used to love plain steamed green veggies like kale, broccoli, spinach, and zucchini. I was so excited about my little veggie eater. But at some point, I couldn’t keep “other” foods away from her, like things that are NOT green, which she believes are more tasty. Oh well. I figure as long as she gets mostly home cooked/non-processed or minimally processes foods, I’ll be building a healthy foundation for her.

Although I continue to introduce whole veggies to her so she can at least grow up seeing them on her plate, I’ve learned to sneak some in her tummy by hiding green stuff in things I know she loves… like CHEESE! She loves this sandwich because it’s cheesy and buttery (no I’m not afraid of butter as long as it’s REAL butter!). This is not exactly low fat, but whateva! She devours this every time I make it, so here is my version of this recipe I found on the food renegade blog. I call it the “eyeball” version since I don’t have exact measurements and it will change depending on how many sandwiches you make. It’s not rocket science.

Mix together shredded cheese, finely chopped cooked broccoli, and a dollop or two of mayonnaise. (For extra protein, you can grind up some cooked chicken to mix in too.)

Spread between 2 slices of bread (I love fresh nine grain and honey from Central Market) and generously butter the outside of the slices.

Grill sandwich in a George Foreman grill or do it the old fashioned way on a stove until melty and toasted. And Wallah! Satiating for momma and baby! Added some fresh apple slices and it’s a meal!

 

 

The Snot Sucker!!

Tttthhhheeeewp! Bllllllrrrrrp! Wsshhhhh! Ah, the sounds of snot being sucked into a tube. No more trying to shove a pointy syringe into your baby’s nose while she wiggles her head from side to side. No more accidentally squeezing the syringe at the wrong time sending air and icky particles that have been harboring inside the bulb back into her nose.

This little gadget is very handy. Clara thinks it’s strange enough that she looks at me like I’m weird just long enough for me to get in a thewp or two. It’s still a bit of a battle, as with anything I stick towards her nose. But it’s so much more fun, effective, and easy to use! And the handy filter keeps any boogies from getting into mommy’s mouth. Phew! Try the electronic one that play lullabies, you say? Done that…fail.

I give the snot sucker an A-. The minus is for having to replace the filter every time. It would be nice to know you should go ahead and order a bunch of filters when buying the sucker while you are already paying for shipping.

The inventors of the NoseFrida SnotSucker also have a new gadget out called, “the windi”, a gas catheter used to suck the gas out of your baby’s butt. I know what you’re thinking… EEEEEEWWWWWW!! That’s what I’m thinking too!! The funniest thing is that apparently you hear a little whistle when the gas comes out. OMG! Luckily there is no pipe on the other end for you to suck out like the snotsucker. That would make me gag… a little.

 

 

 

Diastasis Recti Rehab: Day 1

It’s just the first day. I’m not going to give up. But to be honest, this splint is kind of driving me nuts. It keeps riding up. I’ve taken it off to adjust it about 15 times today. Taking care of a toddler does not make it any easier. Sleeping with it on tonight is going to be interesting. The instructions are to have it on at ALL times until your diastasis is closed and only to remove it when bathing.

If I’m just sitting, the splint stays in place. But no matter how tight it is, the second I move, it starts to have a mind of its own. I do a lot of bending over type movements during the day from laundry, to changing diapers, to cleaning up, cooking, and teaching early childhood music classes that involve getting up and down off of the floor. I try to get up and down correctly with a straight back as per the Tupler Technique instructions, but it still moves. I’ve tried it in different positions to see if it stays in place better higher or lower and I’m just not having any luck

I’ve watched the DVD, Lose Your Mummy Tummy, a few times and I’ve taken notes because there are a lot of details and points to remember. I feel like I’m building an awareness of my transverse muscle. I’m not sure if I’m doing the exercises exactly right and breathing or moving how I’m supposed to throughout the day. The perfectionist in me is struggling with this.

Basically the first 3 weeks of the exercises involve sitting and squeezing your abs to strengthen your transverse before moving on to any other exercises. Crunches are a big “no no” because they will cause your diastasis to get worse. That’s OK by me though! I mean, who likes to do crunches?!! I never have. Tupler mentions on the DVD that any kind of “jack knife” type of movement is like fingernails down a chalkboard or chewing on aluminum foil to her. What? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone chewing on aluminum foil. But, I get the point. LOL

I’m sure the 4 steps to the technique will become second nature… hopefully sooner that later!

 

 

 

 

Diastasis Recti, I’m Taking You On!

Diastasis Recti would be a good band name wouldn’t it? Try saying it 3 times in a row really fast. Diastasis Recti, Diastasis Recti, Diastasis Recti. Phew! I discovered I had this condition at my well woman exam a couple of months ago, along with an umbilical hernia.

My birth doula, who I still keep in contact with regularly, told me about the Tupler Technique for closing a Diastasis Recti. Julie Tupler has made it her life’s work to educate people about Diastasis and how to close one. Apparently it is very common. If you are having trouble getting rid of your “mummy tummy” or you are someone who has done crunches and ab exercises for years but can’t get rid of your pooch, you might have a diastasis. Basically the outer abdominal muscles separate and don’t come back together causing your stomach and organs to be held together by the connective tissue instead of the muscles. It’s important to check your tummy for a diastasis, so you don’t inadvertently do things to make it worse.

I weigh less than before I got pregnant. I lost the baby weight very quickly since I exclusively breastfeed and eat healthy foods. I also tend to snack more and eat the leftover food from my daughter’s meals. It helps when you don’t have time to sit down for a meal! Anyway, my point is that even though I’m thinner and can make my tummy look flat through my clothes, it is definitely a mummy tummy. My skin was stretched so far and I have no muscle tone, so it looks like a deflated, wrinkled balloon. If I’m not deliberately holding my tummy in, there’s a pooch. Luckily my husband doesn’t mind and says he loves it because that is where I carried our baby. Awe, isn’t he sweet! Yes, I know I’m a lucky gal. My tummy used to be my best feature before I was pregnant. Not one roll and it only pooched if I just ate a big meal.

I have come to accept it, being that I know it’s important for me to model a positive self image for Clara. However, when I discovered that I have a diastasis and learned that it can affect my health in so many ways, I decided to be proactive. The good part is that I’ll probably get my pretty tummy back! I’ve received my splint, video, and guidebook in the mail and I plan to start the program this weekend. I’m looking forward to the healing process and I’ll be keeping you updated.

 

 

 

Getting Started With Cloth Diapers

hangingdiapersA friend who is planning to cloth diaper asked me to send her some information about cloth diapering. I thought I’d share what I wrote…

Personally, I like the All-in-ones the best because you don’t have to do any unstuffing before the wash or stuffing after drying. They are a little more expensive, but totally worth it. I think the best thing to do is have a mix of brands because you’ll find that you prefer certain ones at different times/stages and it’s nice to have a variety. My favorite AIO’s are BumGenius Elemental with snaps, Grovia AIO with snaps, Bummis Easy Fit, Kissaluv Marvels, and Tailfeathers. Bummis and Kissaluvs have an option to add an insert for extra absorption at night for example.
Another diaper that I really like using is the Flip by BumGenius with snaps, also very economical. These are a cover with multiple inserts(usually 3 per cover)that you just lay in the diaper cover. So… you can use the same cover multiple times before washing and just replace the insert. These absorb really well.
I have some fuzzi bunz and rumparooz and others… since you have to stuff/unstuff these with inserts, they are just more of a pain… and whatever can make your life easier, the better. You might try a couple though just to see what you think.

All of these diapers that I mentioned are meant to last from newborn to potty training because they are adjustable in size. I didn’t start with/learn about cloth until Clara was about 5 months, so I don’t know what they are like on newborns. I have some friends that use them w/ newborns and they certainly are bulky… but cute!! I think some brands have diapers specifically for newborns. Rumparooz has Little Joeys for example. I would probably use disposables until the umbilical cord falls off though, or at least until the black meconium poo has passed-probably a few days. The disposables we have used and prefer are Earth’s Best. They don’t have any fragances or chemicals etc. like pampers and huggies.

Here are some essentials:

Diaper pail: mine doesn’t have a flip top lid that you can just step on and I wish it did!

Diaper pail liner: Planet wise are awesome (get 2 so you can use one while washing the other)

Wet bag: It’s a smaller bag for nursery/changing table or for the diaper bag. I use rumparooz brand and it works great. I keep my diaper pail in the bathroom, so I just hang it on a dresser nob and transfer the dirty diapers to the pail at the end of the day.

Flushable liners: thin liners to put in the diaper so you can dump the poo 🙂 probably not necessary if you are exclusively breastfeeding because that poo is okay to slosh in washer; haha… and it doesn’t smell bad! But when baby starts solids, they are very handy!

Diaper sprayer: attaches to the toilet and great for spraying off those extra messy ones so you don’t have to dunk. 🙂

Cloth wipes: I just put mine in a tupperware with water once a day. If you are washing diapers, why not wash wipes too?! They are better for baby’s skin and then you don’t have to worry about having a trash can to throw the wipes in separate from the diaper pail.

Cloth-diaper-safe rash cream: sometimes you or baby eats something that can cause diaper rash… grovia magic stick- awesome!! Just put on as a preventive at each change. Smells like a spa 🙂 It’s extremely important not to use regular pasty rash cream or anything with petroleum because it will RUIN your diapers… If you have to use some desitin or something strong, use a disposable until the rash has gone away. You can get Angel Baby Bottom Balm from central market which is safe for cloth diapers.

Diaper-safe detergent: this is also very important. You can’t use regular laundry detergent with your diapers or it will ruin them and cause stink and absorbency issues from build up… The most commonly used with cloth are Charlie’s soap and Rockin Green. Use only a small amount because too much detergent can cause build up. ***important, do a cold pre wash with no detergent, then a hot wash with detergent, add extra water to the cycle if you can, and I also do another extra rinse to make sure everything is washed out. My diaper wash cycle routine takes about 2 hours. It sounds like a lot of water… and probably is, but we haven’t noticed any increase in our water bill and it’s a very important part of the process so your diapers work and last for years. You can dry most diapers in the dryer, but it’s nice to hang them out to bleach in the sun from time to time.

There’s a lot to learn about “modern” cloth diapering… very different from what our parent’s experienced. Once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy and so much better than having to go out and buy disposables all the time. Plus, you know you’re not exposing your baby to any chemicals etc…

The Joy? Of Learning How To Cook

The thought of cooking has always been a source of stress for me. Notice I said the “thought”. Forget about actually getting to the cooking part. Growing up with two extremely busy working parents, the “joy” of cooking wasn’t exactly modeled for me. Of course I’m very grateful for the other wonderful things that were modeled for me, but let me stay on track here.

First of all, just coming up with what to cook, let alone figuring out how to, is the first challenge. My indecisive nature certainly doesn’t help with this and my running excuse that I don’t have time doesn’t help either. But… having a child and being very committed to feeding her healthy foods from the very beginning is forcing me to learn and to actually be decisive and change my priorities. One reason why I haven’t cooked much before is that I can’t bring myself to make things from a box. I would rather go out to eat than make a meal from things that can sit on a shelf for years. I’ve always been relatively healthy and educated myself through the years about eating healthy. So, it just doesn’t sit right with me to make highly processed foods for me and my husband. So… we’ve always just resorted to eating out. Thing is, I’ve been in denial that most restaurant food is probably highly processed too. I guess it just makes me feel a little better that I didn’t actually cook it. It’s amazing how writing makes you realize how silly your justifications are.

Back to having a child… Not only is going out to eat complicated, but I have no idea how the food is prepared, where it came from, what it’s preserved in, or exactly what is in it. I also can’t even imagine how much sodium it has. I’d almost strangely rather make my own processed foods for her. But! I just can’t bring myself to do that, unless I’m desperate and she’s hungry. Luckily, since I’m still breastfeeding, I have that to fall back on.

I’ve been cooking a lot of food in the last couple of months since she’s been eating a lot of solids. I must say I’m starting to get the hang of it and even coming up with my own creative ideas. I certainly takes a ton of time and effort. I’m trying not to stress and just do. Easier said and done. If I were working a full time job, there is no way I could do this. But, I’m thankful that I can work part time and learn to cook healthy foods for my family.

Here’s a picture of what I like to call “spinach cookies”, a recipe I found here. They don’t exactly look appetizing, but she ate them up! Score!