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Chronicles of Cloth Diapering

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

prefold diaper on babyWe use cloth diapers (CD for short). Why? A. It's less expensive than disposables; B. It's better for Marlie's skin (no diaper rashes!); C. It's good for the environment. Many new parents don't consider cloth diapering because they think it's too messy and time-consuming. They have visions of thin, gauzy material that has to be folded and secured with giant pins that might stick the baby. They also fear leaks on the level of the Hoover Dam breaking. I am here to educate you on the ins and outs of cloth diapering based on my six weeks of experience. I know this doesn't make me an "expert," but I hope you learn something anyway. Here I describe our cloth diapering systems with definitions* of the products that we use and our laundering process:

Our fluffy stash (inventory) purchased from Hip Green Baby unless otherwise noted:

  • 24 prefold diapers (unbleached Indian cotton, chemical free): high quality, absorbent and inexpensive. Needs some folding . Secure in place with a Snappi (see above photo) then put on a cover.
  • 3 Snappis: the 21st century version of the diaper pin is a stretchy, Y-shaped plastic fastener with grippers like an Ace bandage.
  • 6 DryBees Bamboo Fitted diapers: shaped like a disposable, so no folding needed. Fastens with snaps. Easy to use, but expensive. Requires a cover.
  • 1 Kissaluvs contour diaper (hand me down): shaped like a disposable. No folding, but has no fasteners so it needs a Snappi. Easy to use and more affordable than fitteds.
  • 4 newborn ProRap covers: a diaper cover made of breathable polyurethane laminate or PUL. Fastens with hook and loop closures (apparently the term Velcro is trademarked)
  • 2 Wonder Wrap covers: diaper cover that grows with the baby using adjustable snaps. Closes PUL diaper cover on babywith hook and loop fastener. Made from Thermoplastic Polyurethane or TPU which has less chemicals that PUL. See photo to the right
  • 1 MotherEase Air Flow cover (hand me down): diaper cover made from a soft fabric (I think it's a modified PUL). Adjustable snaps on legs and waist allow for perfect fit.
  • 1 Bummis Super Brite cover (hand me down): a diaper cover made from a single layer of polyester with a wipe-clean laminated interior. Fastens with hook and loop closures.
  • 1 wool cover (hand me down): a pull-on diaper cover that very breathable and super-absorbent, making it great for preventing leaks when baby starts sleeping through the night.
  • 3 Rocky Mountain One Size Pocket Diapers: a diaper cover that has an opening for an absorbent insert to be stuffed in it. This brand fastens with snaps along the waist and legs that are adjustable to grow with the baby. I look forward to using these when she gets bigger.
  • 2 Wonder Fulls Liners: Made of 6 layers of super-absorbent hemp/fleece. I plan to use these as an insert for the pocket diaper and as a liner with the other covers to keep her bottom dry during the night.
  • 2 pail liners + 1 medium and 1 small wet bag
  • gDiapers: a hybrid diaper. gDiapers, which stands for green diapers, consist of a washable, cotton outer little gPant and a plastic-free biodegradable diaper gRefill (description from website). I have 3 gPants that were gifts and I purchased the refills online at Target.com. They are very similar to using disposables which make them perfect for the environmentally-conscious parents who also use childcare that is not cloth diaper friendly. I use these sometimes when we go out.
*Thanks to simplemom.net for the definitions!

During the day, we use the prefold diapers. At night, we use a DryBees bamboo fitted since we are changing diapers less often. Bamboo is known for its antibacterial properties and for wicking moisture.
I really like the Kissaluvs contour diaper and might purchase more when she outgrows her infant-size prefolds diapers. Marlie just outgrew her newborn ProRap covers and is now in the Wonder Wraps, Bummis and MotherEase. All three are lightweight, durable and very waterproof, but my favorite is the MotherEase Air Flow because it is so trim and offers the best fit. Have we had accidents with the cloth diapers? Marlie has had poo leak onto the inside of a cover, but never on her clothes or bedding.

Care/Maintenance:Diapers have to be prepped before use, to clean them as well as
activate their absorbency. This means running them through the washer once or twice depending on the brand. I put dirty diapers right into the pail. Her poo is not sticky enough to have to rinse out the soiled diaper. When it gets to that point, I will be purchasing The Diaper Sprayer because I will not be dunking her diapers in the toilet (perish the thought!). I launder the diapers/covers/pail liners every two days by throwing everything in the washer (we have a front-load HE machine) with a scoop of OxiClean and running a short, cold cycle to rinse them out (I pre-treat some of the heavier soiled diapers with a little Maggie's Liquid Soap Nuts). I then add 1 Tbsp of Maggie's and wash on hot, regular cycle to sanitize. I line dry the diapers because the sun is a natural brightener and bleaches out any remaining stains. This stiffens the diapers, so I air fluff them in the dryer for 30 minutes. I have been pleased with the Maggie's soap. It has just enough tea tree oil to kill germs and lavender to kill odors. But a 32 oz. jug that is supposed to do 64 loads only lasted 7 weeks (25 loads in my estimate). Of course, I was using it to pre-treat as well, so that contributed to the half life. Last weekend, I purchased a 160 oz. box of Country Save HE Laundry Detergent for the same price as the Maggie's, and I love it. It claims it will do 160 loads in my HE washer. We'll see! Once a month I strip the diapers with RLR treatment to remove detergent buildup and set-in odors. It works wonders and makes the diapers look showroom new!

Help Make Me a Winner

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I have been inspired to get serious about entering giveaways again by this:

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

Isn't it lovely?! It's called a Madsen Cycle, and I want one...badly! I can just picture myself riding around the neighborhood on this with Marlie in tow. Can you see it? Well, the company is giving away one of these bad boys every week. Help me win one by clicking on the picture link and visiting their cool website. Learn how to enter the contest yourself while you are there!

Baby Log: Week 6

Saturday, September 26, 2009

new parents at churchI'll call this week, focus on the family (not to be confused with the social conservative organization):
  • Marlie is settling into a routine. I developed a schedule for her that is not time-based, but activity-based. Everything is done in the same order: change diaper, feed, burp, playtime, change diaper, sleep (prefaced by a wipe down or bath in the evening). This is our rotation for now.
  • Marlie is getting more playful and responding to stimuli. I enjoy thinking of different activities for playtime like singing, puppet show, rubbing noses, and peek-a-boo, but tummy time is still her favorite. We are having so much fun together!
  • She started having the famous blowouts (you know how breastfed babies save up their poo and release one big bowel movement?!). Let's just say I really do not enjoy changing huge piles of mustard-colored poo-poo at 2 am.
  • I ordered her costume for Damon's company Halloween party. She is going to be a flower and I am dressing up as a gardener. Cute and Corny! I can't wait!
  • Damon spent some extended quality time alone with her on Wednesday night while I used the concert tickets I won from SheKnows.com to go see P!NK perform live. I pumped for three days so Damon could practice giving her breast milk from a bottle. Girlfriend was not having it! It was touch and go until Tuesday night when I left the house so she couldn't smell me nearby. He read a tip online to run the vacuum and place her in the bouncy chair for her feeding. Sounds crazy, but it worked!
  • She is babbling. She says "gee" a lot, which I suppose is a derivative of "goo-goo." She is also trying to creep. Damon put her on a yoga mat to "give her traction." She proceeded to pee and then sure enough she tried to scoot on her belly. I'll try to upload the video.Marlie and Me
  • Her features are changing and she is looking more like her daddy, although some people say she looks like me. I think this picture of me holding her confirms that she is 80% Damon (she has my feet though, thank goodness!). I posted our baby pictures for comparison. Who do you think she favors?
    Teresha toddler
    Damon toddler

Quickie Post: P!NK Concert Report

Thursday, September 24, 2009

girls night outopening act The Ting Tings

I went to the P!NK concert last night
! It took A LOT of planning (pumping, putting together a semi-cute outfit from the lame choices in my closet). I had a blast with my friend Shanelle (Damon volunteered to stay with Marlie...gotta love a man who will stay home with his child so her mama can go have some fun. I ♥ him). We arrived at the box office to retrieve my free tickets and discovered that Pink Concert Dallas we had open floor seats, which meant standing room only. Our feet were mind-achingly numb by the end of the night (small price to pay for awesome view). The English rock duo the Ting Tings opened. They rocked. Pink's entrance was cool. Her stage design and costumes were wicked. She did a rendition of I Touch Myself writhing on a hole-filled couch from which hands appeared and fondled her (never know what to expect from Pink!). My favorite part was wilin' out to So What:

So what I'm still a rock star
I got my rock moves
And I don't need you
And guess what
I'm havin' more fun
And now that were done
I'm gonna show you tonight!

Um, yeah...this rock star was ready to go by 10:45 pm. I guess I just can't hang anymore. I was back home and in bed cuddling with baby and hubby by 11:30. LOL!

Getting Back to the Business of ME

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

For the past six weeks it has been all about Marlie, but now that I have gotten into the rhythm of motherhood it's time to establish a balance between caring for her and taking care of me. So, I've started carving out some time to focus on my personal trinity...mind, body, and soul:
I have bad postpartum dementia. I walk into a room and can't remember why I went in there and forget where I put things. Did I mention that I have not seen my set of keys for two weeks?! I can't stress about it though...I have enough of that going on. I have been using spare keys to drive and open the front door. The old me would have obsessed about finding those lost keys...the old me was a Type-A, hyper-organized, neat freak and perfectionist. That is a skin I am shedding, mainly because I don't have the time or energy to fret over petty things anymore like neatly stacked and sorted mail. I am also letting go of some negative things that are cluttering my brain in order to make room for the positive memories that we are creating. I am also reading again, mostly news web sites to stay current with worldly events, and devoting more time to journaling because these activities stimulate my mind and will keep it from turning to mush.
Marlie and Me
On Monday I had an appointment with ancestral hair braider Isis. She began the process of locing my hair. You like? I have one year to decide whether I like it enough to make it permanent. In the meantime, I get a break from the rigors of hair maintenance for one year...yippee! Today, I had my 6-week postpartum check-up and have been cleared to exercise. The midwife was amazed at my incredible shrinking tummy. It would probably have been even smaller if I had used my belly bandit faithfully. I used it like three times. I just couldn't get it to fit right. It always rode up because of my short torso and broad hips. I feel like my body has snapped back though. Thanks to a healthy diet and breastfeeding, I look the same as before albeit flabbier around the middle. I can't wait to activate my workout plan which has only two mandates: start slow and mix it up. I'll start with yoga and walking, then begin using my trampoline when I feel stronger, and hopefully I will be running again by the end of the year. I'm asking Santa for a jogging stroller for Christmas (hint, hint hubby!).
Giving birth to Marlie has been the most rewarding, yet emotionally draining experience of my life. There are so many conflicting feelings. Just when I began to doubt that I can do this and started second guessing myself, God sent messengers to encourage me. The first reassurance came at church on Sunday in the verses of James 3:13 in which the disciple contrasts Goldy wisdom to that of the world we live in. In her message, Pastor Courtney encouraged us to ask ourselves if we are living up to God's expectations or what society imposes upon us. The text could not have been more timely as I have been plagued by voices questioning my choices. You are familiar with my personal struggle to reconcile stay-at-home-motherhood with my internal guilt about no longer being a breadwinner and external inquiries from people about when I plan to go back to work. I shared with the congregation my belief that God had been preparing me for the most important job I will ever have and that I now know that being Marlie's mommy is enough. Saying it aloud was such an affirmation! I vowed right then to continue to work on quieting those worldly voices by praying more and seeking His wisdom. God sent me more spiritual nourishment on Monday morning in the form of a blog post by my friend The Redhead Riter entitled, "Qualities of a Good Mother." My favorite quality that she lists is: She nurtures herself so that she has the physical and mental ability to take care of the child. That is exactly what I am going to do because a healthy Teresha + a happy Teresha = a happy family. That's why after much hemming and hawing, I am going to the P!nk concert tonight (I won 2 tickets!). I will give a full report on the fun later!

nursery rhymes are disturbing

Monday, September 21, 2009

Public Domain
I don't have the best voice, but that doesn't stop me from singing to my Marlie. Being the oldest of six children, you would think that I know all the popular nursery rhymes by heart. Not! You would laugh listening to me make up words to the simple "Hush-a-bye-Baby." So, I decided to look up the lyrics:
Hush a bye baby, on the tree top;
When the wind blows the cradle will rock; When the bow breaks; the cradle will fall; And down will come baby; cradle and all.

WTH! Why would anyone want to sing about their baby falling from a tree top to his/her inevitable death? I also learned that
Ring Around the Rosy is about the Bubonic plague and Jack and Jill is about the beheading of the French royals King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette. How horrible! I've decided to stick to singing my slightly revamped version of Close To You by the Carpenters :

Why do birds
Suddenly appear?
Everytime you are near
Just like me
They long to be
Close to you

Why do stars
Fall down from the sky?
Everytime you walk by
Just like me
They long to be
Close to you

On the day that you were born
The angels got together and decided
To create a dream come true
So they sprinkled moondust in your hair
Of gold and starlight in your eyes of blue brown

That is why all the girls boys in town
Follow you all around
Just like me
They long to be
Close to you

Baby Log: Week 5

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Marlie at 5 weeksI'll sum up this week in one word: changes...
  • The week started off rough. Marlie wasn't sleeping, crying more than usual and was inconsolable. I was afraid she had developed colic. We tried the pacifier, but she just spit it out. Plus her rash was spreading and looked like it was causing her discomfort. Off to the pediatrician we went on Wednesday. Her rash turned out to be cradle cap, which I was instructed to wash with Selsun Blue (who knew?). We were also given a prescription for the thrush in her mouth because it wasn't responding to the alternative treatment I had been trying (taking a probiotic, rubbing plain yogurt inside her mouth and on my nipples, eliminating wheat, gluten, dairy, and sugar from my diet). The good news is that Marlie feeling and looking better, and I am getting rest again. She weighed in at 8 lbs 3 oz at this visit!
  • Her growth spurt also meant an increase in the volume of milk she consumes. I took a couple of days for my milk supply to catch up to the demand. Meanwhile, girlfriend got violent when the milk ran out and she was still hungry. She would pound on my breasts with her little fists! LOL!
  • As Marlie grows, she outgrows stuff. She no longer fits between the sleep positioners in her co-sleeper. We considered moving up our time line to purchase a play yard with a sleeper compartment, but we decided to try putting her in the crib instead. Her nursery is next door to our room. I started off with playtime and nap time during the day. She has also spent two nights in it. I was expecting it to be hard to get up to feed her, but it hasn't been. My internal clock lets me know when it is time to wake up. I am so proud of her for taking to her crib, but miss having her right next to me!
  • Marlie is so different from the baby we brought home a month ago. She is reaching and grabbing. I love when she holds my finger tight! She stares at the walls in her nursery and at the ceiling fans. She also responds when I make faces at her and she cringes when I sing to her. Oh, and she rolled over in her crib! I had her on her stomach for tummy time, went to get the camera and came back to find her on her back! I can't believe I missed it!

The Swaddling Trials

Thursday, September 17, 2009

swaddled babyWe've tried four types of swaddling blankets in the month since Marlie was born. Actually, Damon does most of the swaddling. He should teach classes. We started with traditional receiving blankets and incorporated one of the other types each week until we had used all four. My reviews are based on two needs...1) Marlie had the misfortune of being born in Texas in August and has suffered from heat rash something terrible. So I favor the lightweight blankets made from breathable material (cotton). 2) Marlie is one of those babies that have to be wakened for feedings and she will fall asleep on the breast if she is too comfortable. So I favor the blankets that are easy to unwrap when I am fumbling to breastfeed in the middle of the night. They are reviewed in the order that they were tested:
  1. Gerber 5 pack flannel receiving blankets. ($10.59 Target stores). size: 30"x 30". These are the traditional square blankets. Pros: lightweight, affordable, easy-to-use. Cons: too small, can come undone Verdict: She sometimes wiggles out like Houdini because there isn't enough material to tuck, but I still like them for the lightweight fabric. Plus I can unwrap them with one hand while holding her, but she will soon outgrow these.
  2. SwaddleDesigns organic receiving blanket. ($29.99 Target online). size: 42" x 42". 100% cotton flannel. Pros: perfect size, swaddle instructions are sewn on blanket Cons: heavy fabric, expensive. Verdict: This blanket is perfect for winter, too bad we can only afford one.
  3. The Miracle Blanket. ($29.95 on company web site. disclosure: I won this in a giveaway). 100% cotton. Pros: made of lightweight cotton, video demo on website. Cons: lots of material, expensive. Verdict: This bunting is considered the Cadillac of swaddling blankets in many mommy circles. It does an amazing job of keeping Marlie calm and asleep since she cannot undo this blanket. I however found it difficult to unwrap when I needed to breastfeed.
  4. Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe. ($16.99 Target online). 100% OCIA Certified Organic Cotton. Pros: Velcro tabs, short wings make swaddling easy. Cons: material is heavier that regular cotton, sound of undoing the Velcro. Verdict: I like this swaddling product the best because anyone can do it! I just put Marlie in the kangaroo-like pocket and secure the wings with the Velcro tabs. The only downside is the loud noise the Velcro makes when you unfasten the tabs...not good if you want the baby to stay asleep.

I have no material connection with any of the brands mentioned. No gifts or compensation was received. I am just sharing my opinions.

The Dilemma of the Stay-at-Home-Momma

Monday, September 14, 2009

stay at home mom job bannerI have only been a stay-at-home mom for a month, but I have been at home (involuntarily) for more than a year. Damon and I moved here last summer for his new, big-time corporate job. This was also an opportunity to buy our dream home and start a family after nine years of schooling, saving, and sacrificing. I planned to continue my career in philanthropy/nonprofit management after a summer break. Nothing was happening on the baby-making front so I re-doubled my focused on landing a job, but the economy conspired against me. No organizations were hiring at my level, and I was getting turned down for entry-level positions. Then I became pregnant in December. I didn't waver in my job hunt. If anything, I was more determined to get work because I had a baby on the way and that meant more expenses. I still sent out resumes and went on interviews, but God had other plans. My every attempt to get hired was thwarted. Then I started to show and thought, "no one is going to hire me now." Surprisingly, I got invitations for two interviews in May. I disclosed my pregnancy beforehand to both prospective employers. I didn't get either position, but I don't believe it's because of discrimination. I now know that God wants me to be at home with my baby. That's how I became a SAHM.

So, why am I calling it a dilemma? For starters, I have heard a lot of comments from working women (single, childless, mothers) that rub me the wrong way. I writing this post because I am tired of certain family members and friends telling me how
lucky I am and how nice it must be. Don't get it twisted. The truth is that it's a blessing and a curse. Yes, I am lucky that my husband's job enables me to stay home to care of our daughter, but one income means no money for extras. I have to watch every penny and have become a coupon fanatic. I am a driving a 10-year-old, two-door Honda Civic (imagine managing a car seat in that). I have been to the hairdresser once in the past year and the only new clothes I have bought are from the maternity section! Yes, it's nice to be home with Marlie, especially during her first developmental stages. I love being able to see her first smile, hear her first coo, and to be here when she crawls and walks. But I am on duty all day, every day...24/7. I can no longer eat lunch at my leisure and there is no time to watch television. It can feel like a prison sometimes. The amount of preparation it takes to get her ready to go somewhere often outweighs the need to get out of the house. I admit that I often think back to my former life as a women with a career...waking up every day with places to go and people to see, getting dressed in designer suits, putting on make-up, going to business meetings and wowing people with my smarts. I wouldn't trade places with the old me though.

Having lived both lives as a working woman and a stay-at-home mother, I can tell you nothing is what it seems. The grass just always looks greener on the other side. There are definitely benefits and trade-offs. At some point I will go back to work. In a year, two years...who knows? I know my brain needs more stimulation than reading up on the latest in cloth diapers and watching Sesame Street (looking forward to watching that!). Plus, I want to set an example for my daughter that women can have careers and families. I am considering work-at-home opportunities or starting my own business once Marlie is older. We'll see what God has in store for me. For now, I am happy to just hold the job title of Marlie's Mom.

Media Attacks Midwives/Home Births!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I used to love the Today Show and trusted their reporting as fair and balanced. That was until I saw this "investigative" piece on Friday entitled "The Perils of Home Births." The title alone screams we-are-about-to-warn-you-about-a-threat-to-society! I watched it anyway since I had recently used a midwife, and I am considering a home birth for our next baby. This so-called investigative report uses a worst-case-scenario to question the "trend" of women giving birth at home. At the centerpiece of this report is a NYC couple discussing the loss of their daughter during a botched delivery in which she was in labor for four days! Four days?! The baby girl was born limp and could not be resuscitated by the midwife nor the doctors at the hospital after they were transported. This story hit home because I was in a similar "perilous" position except my midwife used her professional judgment to transport me when she realized something was wrong. I will be forever grateful to her for acting quickly and to the obstetrician who delivered Marlie because she was in distress and could have died. While I was disappointed that I did not deliver at the birthing center as planned, I am more thrilled that I have my healthy baby girl.

Now, I wasn't present at this couple's home birth, so I am not going t
o speculate as to what may have happened, but what they did reveal spoke volumes. They claim they chose their midwife after seeing her featured in the Rikki Lake's The Business of Being Born, a documentary that promotes the benefits of natural birth. The reporter uses this as evidence that pregnant women are following what's popular with celebrities and ignoring the risks. The fact that the reporter implies that women who choose this route are doing so because it's in-style really pisses me off! I feel the entire report amounts to a thinly-veiled scare tactic. Where was the investigative report when women started scheduling C-sections like a certain Spice Girl? I don't care what method you choose to deliver your baby, you should never surrender your health care to anyone. Not all midwives are the same, just like all doctors are not the same. You need to do your homework, educate yourself, and interview potential maternity care providers. Otherwise, you can end up with the same tragic result as this couple (at home, at a birthing center, or even at a hospital). I can tell you point-by point why we chose to use a midwife at a birthing center and it wasn't because we saw some commercial. It was an educated decision we made after weighing a lot of options. I have several friends who delivered their babies at home without incident, and while I used them as inspiration, I did not just simply follow in their footsteps.
born loser funny midwifeSome people may ask if I would choose a midwife/birth center again since I wound up at the hospital anyway. The answer is, YES! As a matter of fact, I would like to have a home birth the next time (god willing). It is still my opinion that a hospital is not the only safe place to have a baby. Still, midwifery care and home birth is not for everyone. Some women, especially those with high-risk pregnancies, need medical supervision during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Some healthy women will need medical intervention during labor and delivery because of unforeseen complications. In my case, the midwife could not tell that the cord was around Marlie's neck, but she knew something was off and called the hospital. We chose this particular birthing center specifically for its standing relationship with a hospital located one block away. We did not just buy into a storybook ideal. We made sure we had a back-up plan. We were responsible parents-to-be who made the best choice for us, and I resent any media portrayal that insinuates that we just jumped on a bandwagon, or worse, were being reckless.

Baby Log: Week Four

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What a difference a week makes. 7 days. 168 little hours. I reread last week's posts, and I don't recognize that whining woman! In fairness to myself, sleep deprivation + a sick baby DO NOT mix. I was so delirious that I was questioning my natural baby care plan (breastfeeding, cloth diapers, baby-wearing) and whether I had spoiled my newborn!!! I will repeat...a week can make all the difference. So what has changed? For starters, I dedicated this week to learning my baby (still reading books and web sites, but trusting my gut more). I am proof that caring for a newborn does get easier (once you stop stressing). Here's what happened:
  • Marlie is responding to mommy's new take-charge attitude. She senses my confidence and is less fussy because I am letting her know that I will keep her safe and secure.
  • We ventured on our first public outing as a family last weekend. It felt so good to be out like a normal person and not on house arrest. Saturday we went to the new Babies R Us grand opening and the grocery store. She created a stir wherever we went. We took her to church on Sunday. I carried her in the Moby Wrap that I had abandoned in a pile in the closet because I was so intimidated my all the material. Of course I tied it wrong and had to support her with my arms, but I didn't take it off (another example of my re-discovered determination). Our pastor saw my dilemma and gave me a tutorial (I ♥ Pastor C!). Marlie loved it so much that she slept the entire service! I plan to use the wrap every day so she can be close and I can be hands-free to do other things (like eat!). Then, we had a mommies lunch date on Wednesday with a friend and her 5 1/2 month-old son. Marlie was so cooperative while her mommy chatter boxed for two hours. She must have known that I desperately needed some girlfriend time.
  • Tummy time has become our favorite part of the day. All of the adults gather around her to see what she will do! She has graduated from cobra pose and baby push-ups to rockiMarlie winkingng and (almost) rolling! I love this photo of her mid-rock and squinting. She looks so determined. She also grunts like Serena, which to me is an indication that she is going to be competitive.
  • We are still on the fence about the pacifier. We have been getting along fine mostly doing 4 out of 5 S's (swaddling, stomaching, shushing, swaying). I know, that as a newborn, Marlie has an incredible sucking reflex, but so far she has done well without a binky (not counting the week she was sick). She has discovered the back of her fist, which is okay for now. We did buy a set of pacifiers on Saturday at BRU (just in case). For getting her to sleep, nothing works better than laying her on her stomach across my arm in a football hold. Damon compares it to a wrestling sleeper-hold because she is out like a light! I sometimes allow her to do the occasional recreational sucking on my breast after a feeding, wait until she is asleep, de-latch, then proceed to swaddle.
  • Marlie cries. This is a reality that I have to accept no matter how much it pains me. Instead of getting stressed when she cries, I am learning her what her cries mean (i.e. "Neh" = I am hungry) thanks to a friend who turned me on to Priscilla Dunstan's Baby Language (watch this clip).
  • Miss Marlie developed that pesky neonatal acne over the weekend. I left it alone. Then I noticed her cheeks, chin, neck, eyelids and ears were covered flesh-colored bumps that were inflamed in some areas. I panicked when I couldn't find any matching descriptions in the books. Luckily, the Mayo Clinic web site has a slide show of baby rashes, and her bumps look like the picture of heat rash. Well, duh! Texas is hot! That just killed any plans to take her for a walk around the neighborhood. I had a phone consult with my homeopathic doctor who advised that I keep a 100% cotton barrier (blanket, burp cloth) between her face and our skin and synthetic fibers (clothes, her car seat and bouncer), both of which generate heat and irritate the rash. Dr. E also recommended the sparring using of pure aloe vera gel.
  • My phone consult also covered the topic of taking control of my diet. I am guilty of consuming various bad foods since giving birth, and Marlie's little tummy has been suffering the consequences. She had bad gas one day because I ate pizza. Now she has a bit of thrush on her tongue. So, I am re-committing to my wheat/gluten-free diet and cutting out dairy to avoid fueling the bacteria and hopefully it will clear up on its own and we won't have to use that purple stuff.
  • This is my mother-in-law's last week with us. I cannot describe how incredibly helpful she has been. She has done everything from changing diapers to fixing meals. I had a minor freak out when I realized that I wasn't going to have her extra pair of hands anymore, then I stopped and started to plan how I was going to manage on my own during the day. This week I made myself do things without running to my MIL for help. I learned to take my shower with Marlie strapped in her bouncy chair, and I made a smoothie while cradling her in one arm. Ya me!
  • I can't believe my baby girl is a month old! People warned me that time would speed up when you had a new baby. They were not lying.

You Like Me! You Really Like Me!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I have made some fast friends online through blogging. People who don't blog or participate in any kind of social media will question the validity of calling someone I have never met a friend. But I honestly cannot have shared what I have shared with my bloggy friends over the past few months and then turn around and call them acquaintances or, even worse, strangers. They are my motherhood mentors, my confidantes, my sisters in blogdom. So, it is especially meaningful when one (or more of them, in this case) honors my blog with an award. It lets me know that I have touched their lives as much as they have touched mine.
The Redhead Riter, my favorite blogger (go visit her blog to see why), bestowed upon me, not one, but two awards:

sunshine award

the You Add Sunshine To My Day Award, which I am passing along to:

Teresa at Too Many Heartbeats (this is a ditto sentiment)
Maureen at Professional SAHM (this is her retirement present)

superior scribbler award

the Superior Scribbler Award, which I'm passing this along to the following Superior Scribblers:
Circling the Square Table
Painter Mommy
A Spiritual Connection
Jill's Believe It Or Not

The rules for this one are:
  • Each Superior Scribbler I name today must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
  • Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
  • Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to this post, which explains The Award.
  • Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor.
  • Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog
splash award

he Splash Award is given to alluring, amusing, bewitching, impressive and inspiring blogs. Teresa at Too Many Heartbeats gave me this enchanting accolade. The splashy blogs that I am passing this one on to are:

The Redhead Riter
The Mahogany Way
Execumamas, I hear ya!
Speaking from the Crib
The Scholastic Scribe
Angie's SpotDays of Whine & Noses
Natural Hair...Natural Products

The rules for this one are:
  • Put the logo on your blog/post
  • Nominate and link up to 9 blogs which allure, amuse, bewitch, impress or inspire you.
  • Let them know that they have been splashed by commenting on their blog.
  • Remember to link the person from whom you received your Splash Award.

Baby Log: Week Three

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Marlie at three weeksThis week has tested my mettle as a new mother (I am sure there will be plenty more of these times). I have never in my life felt so accomplished and inept at the same time. If you read my previous post, you already know that we've been struggling with getting Marlie to sleep during the day and night. I need to give a little background... During her first week home, she was a textbook baby: fed, burped, diapered and slept like clockwork and without the need to soothe. Then she became sick when she was 12 days old. It threw everything off, the most significant of which was her feeding and sleeping habits because she was so congested. I nursed her more often to keep her hydrated (and to soothe her). This is probably where she got in the habit of falling asleep on the breast. Anyways, she is getting over her cold, and we are waiting to see if the need to soothe on my breast passes too. We are seriously reconsidering the no-pacifier rule, and I have started to do research of the various types just in case. I want to thank everyone who left comments on my last post. I value everyone's opinion! What I culled from all of the advice is that it is okay to want some time and rest for myself, especially so that I can be in top physical and mental condition to care for Marlie. Also, that no book is going to know my baby like me, and that I have to trust my instincts as as a mother. I am happy to report that Thursday night, Marlie went to sleep after her 1:00 am and 3:30 am feedings without sucking on the teat. If she fell asleep while feeding, I woke her up to finish and promptly de-latched when she was done. It took anywhere from 15-30 minutes of rocking and shushing to get her to bed each time, but it was worth it. Her 5:00 am feeding was another story...she was very fussy and started to wail (oh no!). We made sure she wasn't gassy and re-checked her diaper. Turns out she was still hungry and was just trying to clue me in (it is harder to recognize those hunger cues when you are so sleepy). She went to bed happy after another round of nursing. Whew! On Friday, she napped like a champ after each round of feeding, burping, diaper-changing, and swaddling. By nighttime, she was back to sleeping without the need to suck. I actually had to wake her up for her feedings. By George, I think we've got it! I hope Marlie will be patient while mommy and daddy are on this learning curve. Here's what else happened in Marlie's world during week 3:
  • I can't watch those true crime shows that I love anymore. They just be remind me that there are sicMarlie at three weekskos out there who can harm my baby girl.
  • Her joints snap, crackle and pop...a lot. I have not found anything online that indicates that there is something wrong, but it makes me nervous nonetheless. So I am taking her to see the same pediatric chiropractor that worked on me during my pregnancy.
  • She is starting to play when she is awake. I shook a toy rattle (the little lamb) in front of her face and she lit up and grabbed at it!
  • She is proving to be a natural athlete (no surprise since mommy and daddy played sports). When she is on her tummy, she can lift her legs, arms, and head like Superman flying. We are amazed because the baby books and web sites make it sound like your baby will be a motionless blob until one month of age.
  • She loves bath time. She is a water baby. I need to learn to swim so that I can take her to the pool.
  • She stretches like a cat when she wakes up from a really long sleep. It's the cutest thing.
  • She cooed for the first time on Thursday. It was the most beautiful sound!

Can You Really Not Spoil a Newborn?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Marlie wide-eyed newbornI framed the title of this post in the form of a question because I need answers. I think my two-and-a-half-week old is spoiled. All the current baby books and web sites I've read says this is impossible. These experts have not met my child. According to Dr. Karp (of Happiest Baby on the Block fame), newborn babies need lots of TLC because they are adjusting to life outside of the womb and need to feel safe and secure through constant comfort and attention. A quote on the kellymom.com site says, "when we are giving to our children out of love and enjoyment, then it is a positive...when we are giving to them because they have worn us down or we feel guilty, then it is a negative (spoiling)." Hmmm...

So, here's the situation. Marlie is breastfed. I feed her on demand, which means I watch her for signs she wants to nurse rather than follow a time schedule. This baby-driven feeding process has its pros and cons. One con is that I sometimes feel like a Jersey cow being milked all day and night, but I can live with that because I
love her and enjoy breastfeeding. The other drawback that I am struggling with is that Marlie is using my nipples to soothe herself to sleep. It has become very problematic at night when we are trying to get some rest. We swaddle, shush, and sway her until she drifts off and then put her in the co-sleeper. She'll be down for a minute, sometimes ten, before she has pulled a baby Houdini and gotten one or both arms out (and, yes, we wrap her tight). Then she starts to fuss. We don't want to give her a pacifier because we believe it is habit-forming. So what do I do? I let her suckle on my breast. Of course she falls right asleep in my arms and pretty much stays there all night. During the day she will only nap for an extended period if she in being cuddled and will cry if you put her down. I swear she has this self-satisfied smirk on her face when she is picked up and cradled. Does this mean she is spoiled? Or, is this just part of the growing pains of a baby's first few weeks? I know we need to be patient and get more practice in the 5 S's. I would do just about anything to make my baby happy. Still, I can't help but wonder if she is learning how to get her own way when we respond to her every cry. Not to mention my nipples and arms need a break. What are your thoughts? I need to hear from the experienced moms!

Labor Day: Marlie's Birth Story Part II

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

...continued from Labor Day: Marlie's Birth Story Part I

I get in the birthing pool to ease the pain and pressure, but the water also has the affect of stalling my contractions. I get out after an hour in the pool. No water birth for me, but it's okay. I knew better than to have my heart set on any one delivery method. I get in the bed to finish laboring, but I am dehydrated. The midwife and Damon offer me Gatorade, which I hate. I drink it at their insistence and proceed to throw up. On the plus side, the spasms get labor going again. I also get an IV.
The next few hours are blurry, but this is what I recall:
water birth
  • Around 9 pm the midwife examines me and announces I am almost fully dilated...just a little more
  • Around 11: 30 pm it's time to push. Seriously?! I am exhausted!!! For the next two hours I try to push Marlie out, but she won't budge. Something is wrong! Every time I push hard, her heart rate drops precipitously low. The midwife and birthing assistant try to get her into position by massaging my womb. It doesn't work. The midwife tells Damon that the baby is in distress and we need to be transported to the hospital. My heart sinks.
  • We pack up and head to the hospital, which is only a block away. I ride with the midwife while Damon follows behind in the car. On the way, the midwife is consoling me. She tells me that the OB will try to perform a vaginal birth, that she might offer me an epidural, that I should take it because I am exhausted and it will help me. I start to cry. I feel defeated because I believe an epidural will lead to a Cesarean and end my dreams of a natural birth.
  • We arrive at the hospital a round 1:30 am and the staff, already alerted to the situation, takes me into the delivery room where Dr. L performs a vaginal exam and says that the baby is mal-positioned and has the cord wrapped around her neck. She will have to reach in and rotate her, but it's going to hurt a lot. She asks me if I want an epidural or do I want to tough it out. I lean back to think, but Dr. L takes my hesitation as a sign to start turning the baby. I scream bloody murder! She asks again if I want an epidural or if I can handle more of that kind of pain. I respond that I need to push. She tells me to go for it and, with two nurses holding each arm, I push hard. Damon yells that he can see her head crowning. My midwife grabs my hand and has me touch the top of my baby girl's head. This gives me a second wind. Someone asks if I can push again. I close my eyes, ask God for strength, brace myself and push with all my might...
  • My daughter is born at 1:46 am on August 15th. She comes out kicking and crying...6 lbs, 1 oz. and 19 inches of God's amazing grace! She is handed to me for skin-to-skin contact and she latched on right away. She nurses while Dr. L sutures me (yep, I tore...right down the middle).
nursing after deliveryThings didn't go exactly according to plan, but we got our happy ending...a healthy baby and a natural birth! Later than morning, I awoke to Damon playing Marlie's Mix, a playlist of songs that we compiled to celebrate her birth. I sat up in the bed, took my daughter in my arms, and listened to each song. I remembered why I chose each song and was amazed how they all fit so perfectly. I added the playlist to the blog under the About Us section. Take a listen!
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