Friday, September 27, 2013

The Best Baby Cleaner in the World: Yours, for FREE!!!

I'm here to tell you about the best baby cleaner in the whole world. Better than soap, shampoo, baby wash, etc. Better than all of it.

I'm serious, you guys. 

What is it?

Water.



Yep, you heard me correctly. Plain old water.  Clean water, preferably.

The reality is, there's absolutely no reason to use soap, shampoo, or baby wash on your baby, unless you want to do it for your own entertainment or enjoyment.  It may be fun to lather the soap up on a baby, but don't do it for their sake.    Your baby doesn't have hormones or adult sweat making it stinky.  They don't get into anything that good old fashioned water can't "chisel" away.  There's nothing on your baby that can't be cleaned off 100% with water, and there's really no chemical, benevolent or otherwise, that when combined with water is going to do much of a better job at baby-cleaning.

Trust me, water does a kick ass job.

They call soft skin "baby soft" and say that people with beautiful skin have "skin like a baby" because baby skin is awesome.  You don't need to be scrubbing it with anything.

Worried about poo and pee on your baby? Water. 

Worried about germs on your baby? Water.

Worried about spit up on your baby? Water.

Is your baby super messy? LOTS of water. 

Is your baby super, duper messy? LOTS of water for a LONG time.

Water is awesome.  And you may as well take advantage of this time in their lives where they are going to save you money on sundries, because once they hit puberty, you aren't going to get off so easy.

 
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Friday, September 13, 2013

I Win at SPUD

I really love SPUD.  There's something about having groceries delivered to your home that makes them taste more delicious. 

We've never gotten SPUD on a regular basis because we live within a 5 minute walk to two Safeways, No Frills, and a Whole Foods; but also because I LOVE grocery shopping.  However, every once in a while our schedules warrant it. 

I think the prices look somewhat expensive at a glance but they are totally on par with what you'd spend at Whole Foods or Choices on organic and speciality foods.  You also save the money you may spend on impulse buys if you are prone to them, which I totally am.  Not to mention the time you save, and transportation costs if those apply to you when you shop.

I wanted to share this recent invoice from them, because it sort of made me feel like I win at SPUD. 


Crazy right? It's like I was extreme couponing except without the paper coupons and without having to store thousands of rolls of toilet paper in my apartment.  Incidentally, my browser is telling me that couponing is not a word, go figure.

SPUD delivers local, organic produce and groceries right to my door.  If you are looking for SPUD Vancouver discounts or codes, look no further!

You can get $20 off when you use my discount code.

Details:

1. Go to http://www.spud.ca/refer and  "Sign Up"
2. Enter your information and add referral code CRVAN-DALMOR to the field marked "Referral Code"
3. This referral code entitles you to $20 off your first order.
Try it out today!
 
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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Reasons Why My Son is Crying

Reasons why my son/daughter/goat/grandma/robot is crying has become a meme.

And for good reason.

I think it all started with this, which I have mixed feelings on, but which I think  possibly holds the potential to teach an important message.

I was talking with a child-free/child-less friend a few weeks ago about how frustrating it can be when a child gets upset.  Their well-meaning yet clueless advice was:

"Well, can't you just not upset them? Or make sure you avoid things that upset them?"

...

...

No. 

In short, no. 

Here's why. 

Sometimes toddlers cry for really crazy reasons.  Now, it's important you don't let the toddlers know the reasons are crazy because that would be disrespectful to them and would be invalidating their feelings, which I don't think we should do.  Eventually, as time passes, they will stop crying about these things.  Until then, you just have to be sympathetic and respectful of it.

But as far as whether or not you can PREVENT these things, the answer is a firm no. 

Here are some examples of why my almost-4-year-old has cried in the last week:

- Another kid had a blue shirt on
- Thread exists
- One juice box does not contain the same juice in another juice box, and juice boxes need to be opened in order to get to the juice
- He only has two feet
- I'm incapable of flying

See what I mean? 
Here's a much, much longer list by another blogger. 

So to answer your question, no.  I cannot simply just avoid upsetting my toddler or create a perfect world for him where I can rip the blue shirts off strange kids because my son wants me to, or completely erase the existence of thread just so that he doesn't get upset.  The best I can do is get him through it and hope to God he grows out of it.

The silver lining of all this, is that every episode of crazy crying is a teaching moment, both for him to experience emotion and learn to cope with disappointment, and for me, to learn how to show respect toward him when he's upset and to validate his feelings.  Because someday he's going to be crying for reasons that aren't so crazy, and he needs to know that's ok.






 
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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

10 Things Pregnant Women Don't Want to Hear from You. No, Seriously.

Here are 10 things pregnant women don't want to hear from you. Or maybe it's just me.

Before we start, here's a very important rule:

When is it ok to ask a woman if she's pregnant?
Who made this picture? It's everywhere. Probably because it's true.



1.  How small they are.

If you tell a pregnant woman how little she's showing or how small she is, you are going to make her worry that the baby isn't growing correctly.  Pregnant women tend to take pride in their bumps no matter how small, and insulting size of the bump is a below-the-belt move.  Stop being such a size queen. If you want proof that this doesn't go over well and there aren't any pregnant women around, find a man and tell him how small his penis is.  It's pretty much the same thing.

2.  How big they are.

This rule applies to all people, regardless of pregnancy status.  You should know this rule already.

3. How awful your personal experience with birth was or how much it hurt.

Because scaring the shit out of someone is a douchey thing to do.  Everyone knows it's not going to feel like a day at the spa and everyone knows that things can go wrong. If someone asks about your experience, feel free to be honest, but don't dish unless asked.

4.  How much worse things are going to get later on in the pregnancy.


If someone's having an easy time of it so far, why on earth would you rain on their parade? You don't know for sure if it's going to get easier or harder for them, so shut up.

5.   Any opinions you may have on the sex of their baby.

See this chart? Don't say these things. DO NOT be that person.


 


6.  Any opinions you may have on the name of their baby. 

We're smart this time.  We have a name and we aren't telling a soul.  Why? Because we don't give a crap what they think.  And anyone who insults a baby's name after they are born and already have it assigned to them is a jerk.

7.   Any opinions you may have on their parenting intentions. 

Sure, they probably have no idea about the gong-show that is a newborn baby.  If they believe they can give their kid exclusively paleo organic food, never let their child see the screen of a TV or computer, and that their child will never cry or tantrum, let them believe it. Who cares?  I'm sure when you were a kid you thought you'd be an astronaut when you grew up.

8.  Your old wive's tales predicting the sex of the baby. The number of people that will arbitrarily look at the shape of your stomach and tell you the sex of your baby is pretty funny.  My favourite was when I was pregnant with my son (you know, a boy) and someone told me I looked so wrecked that surely I was having a girl, because they "steal all your beauty." Thanks for that.

9.  Your guesses as to how far along they are, or how many babies they are having?

 If you want to play guess the weight, go to a freaking carnival.  Unless you are bang on, you can only lose in this situation.

- If you guess too late, people think they are gaining too much weight.
- If you guess too early, people think their baby is too small.

If you find yourself in a position where you've done this to a person, the only way to correct it is to let them guess your age or weight.  

10. "You must be having twins!"

Maybe.  But most people aren't, so shut up about it.  If you are pregnant, not having twins, and someone says this to you, I suggest you say it right back to them whether they are pregnant or not.

 

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How Breastfeeding Was for Me

I feel like I could possibly get a lot of flack for this, but it's been weighing on  my mind for like, oh, almost 4 years? 

I'll start by saying that this is my experience, and I know there are others who will have had different experiences.  I know that. But here it goes anyway.

It's no secret that I nursed my son for over 3.5 years, before he finally weaned himself, most likely just because I was pregnant.  Our nursing relationship had been a success from the get-go, he never had to take a bottle and never had a drop of formula.  By all means, it was a successful nursing relationship.

But here's what it wasn't: easy.  At least, not always.

One of the biggest things I run into are people who find out about my nursing relationship with my son, and they immediately assume that everything went perfectly for me.  They assume it was easy.  If they had a terrible nursing experience and they have guilt about it, they always feel like they need to "explain" themselves to me.  The fact is, they don't.  I don't have expectations of others or place value on them as parents based on how they fed their kids.  I just don't. 

Now that I'm pregnant, I'm running into a lot of the same breastfeeding dialogue I remember from when I was pregnant with Aias, except this time, I'm interpreting it differently. I see a lot of this:

"I'm going to try to breastfeed."

"I hope I can nurse."

"I'll nurse if I'm able to."

Fair enough.  That was me as well.  I said all those things, probably verbatim.

And people who advocate for breastfeeding will say things like "Don't TRY, just plan on DOING it" or "It's easy, and it's natural, and you can totally do it!" 

The truth is, you will likely have no physical reasons why you can't nurse.  If you have an easy vaginal birth, your kid doesn't have some sort of issue with tongue tie, if you are like most people and don't have some sort of medical issue that interferes with breastfeeding. And frankly, this is most people. 

But even if you have everything going perfectly for you, it won't necessarily be easy. I say this not to discourage you, but to assure you how incredibly normal that is.  And to tell you that you should not feel ashamed about it or let it drive you to quit because you believe you are somehow incompetent.

Why else do I say this? Because on all these forums and blogs, pro-breastfeeding advocates try really hard to convince you that breastfeeding is super easy.  Like they are marketing a product, they want you to buy it, so they say all the things you want to hear. They say things like "It shouldn't hurt if you are doing it right" and "breastfeeding is what's natural so you are meant to do it."

Then guess what happens? One of two things:

1. Everything goes well and it's super easy, and you become one of those people who says how easy it is, and whose mind is boggled when it isn't easy for other people.

OR

2. It isn't easy, there are hangups, or you just feel downright unnatural, and you are suddenly convinced it's all a big fail or something is wrong with you.

Here's how the first 8 weeks of nursing were for me, and remember, I successfully nursed for 3.5 years, no bottles, no formula.

- Day one:  Baby nursed like 5 minutes after being born.  Not for very long, and it felt awkward and weird. Had the doula squeeze colostrum out for me to prove it was there. Still not entirely convinced.

- Day two: We went home.  I had a My Brest Friend nursing pillow.  I kept doing exactly what the midwives, doula, lactation consultant, and nurses said, and I felt like a fraud. It didn't feel natural. It felt absurd. I felt like I was doing it wrong for sure.

- Day three: Milk came in and was squirting everywhere.  I felt like a goof.  Thought for sure the baby was starving. Feeding the baby with my slippery engorged boobs was like rubbing together two bars of soap.  Was most definitely latching him wrong.

- Day four: Huge chunk of something falls off  my right nipple. WTF?  Unbearable to let the baby nurse on that boob, so I didn't for like two weeks. Was convinced I had ruined my milk supply.

- Day five: Still felt like a tremendous goof every time I pulled my kid on to latch. Why are babies so small? They can't do anything! How can it feel so absurd to do this!

- Day six: Convinced baby is starving. The baby eats non-freaking-stop.  Surely because it's starving?  Why am I nursing this baby feeling like an awkward clown for like 16 hours a day. 

- Day seven: Midwives (once again) confirm that baby is not starving despite weight loss that is supposedly normal after birth.  Still haven't used right nipple, hoping the weird part that falls off grows back like a lizard tail.

- Day eight:  Start buying supplements because I'm convinced I'll have a terrible supply because pretty much everyone on the Internet seems to.  Start religiously reading Kellymom.com, even though I read every article on it like 10x before the baby was born.

- Day nine: Still feel like a fool.  I now smell like maple syrup from fenugreek.

- Day ten: Boobs are killing me.  Discovered gel pads.Discovered cloth breast pads and that if I nurse on one side, I need to push on the other boob to prevent leaking and a sort of "snapping" feeling.

- Day eleven: Mystery fever but boobs don't hurt.  Midwife comes over, it's probably mastitis.

- Day fourteen: Baby hasn't starved yet but I still feel like a clown, completely unlike the majestic photos of nursing I've been exposed to on the Internet.

- Day fifteen: Baby goes on all night nursing bender, for literally 6 hours, I watch half a season of Glee while in an exhausted stuper

- Day sixteen:  I'm back down to my pre-baby weight, but I'm fairly sure I'm consuming 5,000+ calories a day.  That's no exaggeration. 

- Day twenty:  Apparently all babies do is eat.

- Day twenty-four: Why do my nipples still feel sort of raw? I love gel pads. I love lanolin.

- Day thirty:  I can nurse on my right side without wanting to kill myself.

- Day thirty-two:  I still feel like a fool, but now I can use the peanut cushion and I'm sort of getting a rhythm. Baby still hasn't starved.

- Day thirty-five:  Starting to feel slightly normal. SLIGHTLY.

- Day forty: Boobs barely feel raw anymore. Googled "side-lying" and tried it.  Clearly impossible.  I'm not talented enough to do advanced things like this.

- Day forty-five: Finally in the swing of things, but still feel goofy.

- Day seventy (ok, I went further than 8 weeks): I finally feel like I've got this thing down. I can even nurse in public!  Can side-lie like a pro and therefore can finally sleep.




Thanks Peaceful Parenting, this image is very accurate.

Websites and women who really want you to nurse will sometimes tell you it's easy, because they want you to do it.  Because no one wants to discourage you, they may tell you how amazing and beautiful and easy it is, because they don't want to scare you away.  I think that's kind on one hand, but totally un-helpful and condescending on the other hand. Because honestly, you aren't stupid.  You will figure out pretty quickly how nursing goes for you, and if it's easy and comes naturally, that's freaking amazing. But if you've been told 1,000 times how easy it is, and then you find that it isn't so easy, or if you feel incredibly awkward like I did, you may second guess yourself.  You may think there's no hope or that you just don't have it in you.

But guess what? You probably do have it in you.  It's just not that easy for everyone.

Let me also point out that while I was on mat leave, my partner took 3  months off work to stay home with us. He did 100% of the cleaning, 100% of the shopping, 100% of the cooking, 100% of everything that did not involve feeding our newborn.  In other words, I had pretty much a perfect situation and I spent basically 3 months with only one responsibility, to figure this nursing thing out, and even then I felt like a clown most of the time.


By the time my kid was 3 months old, it felt like I had been nursing my whole life.  I could not for a single second believe that I had somehow succeeded at this, because I went so long in the beginning feeling like a huge awkward goof. 

One thing I never do now is tell people how easy nursing is in the beginning.  If I'm in a group and someone asks about it, most of the other pro-nursing people around me will say how easy it was for them, and I will explain that it was a HUGE challenge for me, and I will get glares from those other moms as if to say "Don't ruin breastfeeding for her! You aren't representing it well at all!," but I'll continue to be honest about it, not because I want to be Debbie Downer, but because I think that women are smart.  They don't need to be told something is perfect and wonderful and easy in order to be motivated to do it, or in order to decide they want to give it a try.

Women don't need to be lied to or protected from the truth in order to have success with something that well, to be honest, is a lot of freaking work.  Have more faith in women than that.

 
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