Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Cloth diapering comes with lots of advantages. Most of them involve environmental benefits, long term cost benefits, and being better for baby because there are no (or fewer) harmful chemicals near baby's skin. Given all these things, then maybe the upfront cost wasn't so bad. I set DH loose on the subject. He's the numbers man of the family. For cloth diapering he included the initial investment, laundry soap, water, time, etc. For disposables he counted gas for trips to the store, cost of diapers, garbage collection and so on. Our final cost analysis came out to a difference of $.04 per diaper change. Or about $100 per year savings in favor of cloth diapers. While that number may not be representative of the cost for everyone, its what we came up for us. The next question was: Is $100 per year worth it?
Our second major hurdle was that we knew NOTHING about cloth diapering. Thankfully the internet is full of resources. I found Cotton Babies particularly helpful. They have tons of resources on tips, tricks, care, and recommendations. They cater to all kinds of cloth diaper users. It was there that I learned about soakers, Chinese folds, all-in-ones, and pocket diapers. They helped me find out how many diapers I would need. Its a really good starting place for those who know next to nothing about cloth diapering. At this point we decided that cloth diapering would be the way to go. I was going to knit my own wool soakers and we were going to have a cloth baby. But then mom's stroke happened. I left my job and that upfront investment ended up being out of reach for us.
I had my heart set on cloth diapering, but we just couldn't afford the better, more natural option. (Why is our society incentivized that way? Never mind, I don't want to go on that rant.) We settled on disposables. Our local Duckwalls, (yes those still exist) has Senior Mondays. All senior citizens get an extra 10% off their purchase. Every Monday we sent my grandma in, with coupons, for diapers. We stocked up and we're still using what we bought. Every time I change a diaper (well except those middle of the night ones) I think about how much more trash we're creating. I mentioned it to my midwife one time and she told me, "Oh, well if you do it right they're not in diapers for very long anyhow." I thought sure, that sounds reasonable. I was potty trained at a year old. But then she got me, she said "With mine, I put them on the potty for the first time when they're three days old." Whaaat?
I remember a few years ago when the New York Times ran an article about infant potty training. The author declared:
"For many parents in the United States, the idea of potty training before a baby is able to walk, or even before age 2, is not just horrifying but reprehensible - a sure nightmare for parents and baby, not to mention a direct route from the crib to the psychiatrist's couch."I completely agreed. Nonie had talked about how when she was raising her Nettie (her brother's child) she had her trained by six months. I don't know if I didn't believe it or if I just thought it was an anomaly, but I surely thought it was next to impossible. Of course you can't hang out long in the homebirth/natural family/cloth diapering community without running into Elimination Communication. The more I read about it, the more plausible it seemed. I started talking to others about it. My grandma told me that back in Russia, they trained their babies from birth. It started to sound like something I might want to do. However, the more I looked into it, the more I realized that I wasn't cut out to be a hardcore EC'er. I'm lazy. I didn't want to deal with puddles. I didn't want to be washing out a baby potty all the time. I know that those things go along with potty training, but adding those things to the spitting up and other baby quirks seemed too much, so I forgot about it.
Flash forward to three days ago. I was wandering around The Huffington Post as I am prone to do, and I found an article by Kristen Dirksen. It turns out that way back when, some big name pediatricians were paid by Procter and Gamble to say that babies shouldn't be potty trained until "they're ready." Seems that doubling the time babies spend in diapers was good for their bottom line. Corporate giants paying experts to convince mothers that their otherwise unneeded product is necessary, all the while interfering with our children's natural development? Thats just the sort of thing that gets my knickers in a knot.
As soon as I read that article, all of the EC info came rushing back to me. They suggest that babies don't want to sit in their own filth any more than you or I do. Several times the Birdie has gone to the bathroom with me and I would tell her "Mommy is putting her pee in the potty instead of her pants." I figured I was laying the groundwork for a year from now. After reading the article, I thought, why not give it a try. Three days ago, I took Birdie to the potty, removed her diaper and supported her on the toilet. I asked her "Can you pee in the potty?" It took a few moments and asking a few times, but she got a great big smile on her face, and she pee'd in the potty! I almost couldn't believe it, but it seemed so reasonable.
For the past few days now, I've taken the Birdie to the potty pretty regularly. Each time when I ask her to go for me, she smiles big and goes. Last night we pooped in the potty for the first time. This morning at 6 a.m. (which is early for the Birdie) she was really restless. She was sqirming and crinkling the diaper and otherwise not letting me sleep. I picked her up and checked her diaper. It was dry. (unusual) I took her to the potty and that girl pee'd and pee'd and pee'd. She had been holding it. We've gone through four diapers in the past day and a half. I called my brother who is in KC with my mom for a few days and sent him to the Babies 'R' Us to pick up a potty seat for the big toilet. Apparently my child wants to be potty trained. She smiles so big each time like she's really proud of herself. I don't know that we're ready to be diaper free, but at this rate I think its realistic to have her diaper free during the days by the time she's six months. Its going to be better for her because she won't be in diapers and its going to be better for the environment because we wont be creating so much trash. We're going to start working on some sort of sign for her to let me know when she has to go. If she can go on request then she is aware of the sensations and there is no reason why she can't tell me when she has to go.
I'll keep everyone posted on how this goes. I've been looking for little undies for her. Now I need to go do laundry and mentally flog myself for realizing my worst mothering fears: Poo has officially become an acceptable conversation topic.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Not so fast Turbo.
The cruise is from March 13-18, 2010. We would have to fly to Miami on the 12th and we would fly back on the 19th. My Birdie will be 10 1/2 months and we will still be breastfeeding. Is it possible to spend a week away from a 10 month old baby and return to breastfeeding when its over?
Ideally I would like to take her with us. That unfortunately is not an option. The cruise has a minimum sailing age of 12 months. Barring that I would like her to be at least two before we leave her for that long. That too, is not an option, seeing as how the opportunity is now. I want to go, so I've begun looking into maintaining a breastfeeding relationship with a separation of a week. So far what I've found isn't comforting. I don't think I'd have any problem keeping up my supply, but I'm afraid that she would wean during that time, and I don't want that. My goal is to breastfeed for two years. I'm not willing to risk that relationship for a cruise, no matter how cheap or how awesome.
If we were to go, she would stay here. I've got enough family right here that she is comfortable with. From talking with my Dad, Grandma, and the Birdie's Uncle Hat (I'll do a post on him one of these days) it sounds like she would even be able to sleep at home in her own crib. That would be helpful and would cut down on the change in routine. I would have enough milk stockpiled so that wouldn't be a problem. I know she would be well taken care of. I doubt she'd even have to miss church.
For me, the thought of leaving her for so long is difficult. I'm just as attached as she is. DH really wants to go. We never had a honeymoon, and she'll be nearly a year old. He's ready for a romantic getaway.
As I said before, if I can't find some reasonable advice on how to keep up the breastfeeding relationship while away, then we won't go. Breastfeeding is too important to me. Does anyone know of any good resources? I've checked out LLL and Kelly Mom but I haven't found anything really helpful yet. I may have missed it. Does anyone have experience with leaving a breastfed baby for a week? How did it work out? I know alot depends on the age of the child and its temperament. I need advice!! Send this post far and wide and find me brains. I need to decide one way or another in the next 10 days.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Have I ever mentioned that I love breastfeeding? Right now as I'm typing this, Birdie is on a pillow, under my left arm, nursing away. She has a hold of my shirt with her left hand and she's kneading my breast with her right one. Her eyes are closed, she's sucking at a leisured pace. She's at peace. The night before last, she woke up at 4:30 a.m. like usual for a quick snack before going back to sleep. I laid her in the bed next to me and she latched on. When she was done she popped off the breast, looked up at me, smiled the sleepiest, most angelic smile, patted my breast, and dropped off to sleep. It was bliss. I had to wake up DH so he could see her sleeping there, smiling in her sleep, with her little hand on my bosom. I'm sure mothers everywhere have had this experience. It was a genuine, heart melting moment.
We have several nursing scenarios and moods. The most common is that Birdie and I both feel that its time to come together. If I'm on the couch (my normal perch) I'll put her on the pillow and ask her "May I interest you in a bosom?" She smiles and makes the birdie face (mouth open, fist waving in front of her mouth, eyes saying "I can has?") and we go to nursing. Then there are times when she's upset. She might have gotten overly hungry because we were in the car, mom was away, or our schedule was off. Or, she might be frustrated with life. She wants to do so much more than she can right now and she gets frustrated easily. During those times I hold her close and offer her the breast. She's usually too upset to take it right away. The exchange goes something like this: I don't wanna boob! You can't make me take the boob! I don't wanna boob! Oh! A boob! YaY! suck, suck suck suck. . . Other times, like when I've left her with my dad or grandma, when I return she is so desperate for a nursing session its like having a ravenous little wolf in my arms. Those times are the Oh thank God! Its my bosom! sessions. Then there is the nighttime nurse. She will whimper a bit and I pick her up immediately and lay her next to me in bed. She latches on with a sense of ahhhhh, comfort. In all instances the sessions end the same. She pops off in what we've come to call the "fatted baby" state. Her eyes are closed, her lips are pursed, there is still milk on her lips and chin. She's not really asleep but she's definitely in stasis. At this point I usually send her to DH for a burping or just leave her on the pillow under my arm if it seems she's sleeping well.
I don't know what its like to bottle feed. I always hear that the bonding is the same between those who nurse and those who don't but I can't help thinking that its just not the same. A soft breast has to beat the hard bottle any day, but then again, I suppose that if a baby has never been breastfed then she wouldn't know the difference. I love our nursing relationship. I want it to continue for at least two years. After that we'll go with the flow and see where life takes us. I am so thankful that we've never had any problems. She has always latched well. I've never had any soreness. My supply has always been plentiful. I do wonder how much of our success can be contributed to my completely unmedicated birth and uninterrupted mommy/baby contact. I wish every woman and child could experience what Birdie and I have. Its wonderful that evolution has designed such a perfect relationship.
Monday, August 17, 2009
There were two major things that I took away from the Omaha conference. One is that people are making HUGE BANK doing this. There were people there that were making $10,000-$15,000 per month. It sounds crazy but its true. These people came from all walks of life. At the formal dinner, I sat next to a farmer and a cardiologist. Both were making serious money in Livinity. The second thing is that WE'RE GOING TO JAMAICA AND LIVINITY IS PAYING FOR IT!!! (Sorry for the caps people, I'm just that excited) Over spring break, Livinity is sponsoring a cruise for its members. They're running a promotion from now until December where everyone you sponsor, every pin level you achieve, every product you sell, you get money off your cruise. The incentives are totally achievable and we signed up on the spot. We've never had a honeymoon, and we always talked about Jamaica, but I never thought we would actually go. Its going to be awesome!!
So, to sum up, Livinity is awesome. They've got great products, great leadership, an advertising campaign, and a compensation plan thats making people rich. If you want to know more, or get in yourself, go here.
Alright, enough of the shameless self promotion. On to baby!
My mother always says she "doesn't travel well." Well neither does Birdie. Prior to this excursion, the longest Birdie had ever been in the car was two hours. She was two weeks when we made our last trip to the midwife. This trip was five hours plus and she was not impressed. For one thing, she hates the car seat. She's a free range baby and restraints aren't her deal. She's used to driving around town here and there. That never takes more than 15 or 20 minutes. She can handle a trip to Wal-Mart (forgive me for mentioning such an evil) Thats a 25 minute drive. She lasted a whole 40 minutes before she started protesting. This girl cried, and cried, and cried. Finally, she wore herself out and went to sleep. Then she woke up and cried, and cried, and cried. Back to sleep. The third time she woke up, she was just plain ol' pissed off. She started giving me this look:
She looks like her mum!
The trip had gone smoothly for the most part, until we got to Omaha. We had intended to leave around 11 a.m. so we would get there before rush hour. Our travelling companion got off work late due to a broken down delivery truck, so we didn't get to the city until 5 p.m. . . . on a Friday. Omaha traffic is about the same as Denver: No comparison to L.A. but still, you're not going anywhere fast. Combine this with the fact that there was a wreck (isn't there always) and you start to get an even more upset baby. Because of the wreck, traffic was at a standstill. The lack of movement woke up the Birdie who hadn't eaten in a few hours.
Before I continue I need to tell everyone that my husband is a SAINT.
Birdie got incredibly upset. DH is trying to navigate rush hour traffic. Our travelling companion "doesn't travel well" either, so she's sitting in the front seat hollering "Watch out for that truck!" every few moments even though said truck is several lanes away and no one is really moving. This went on for nearly an hour until we got past the wreck. We were almost to our exit when we saw the road construction signs. It turns out that our exit was closed and we had to detour into Iowa for several miles.
We got to the hotel just in time for registration. We ran to the room and got changed. I fed Birdie and went of to the first seminar. If you'll remember, Birdie wont take a bottle. We brought along every bottle and nipple we owned, bunches of frozen breast milk, and a sippy cup. I left my poor saintly husband and a crabby baby up in our room at the Omaha Hilton. I told him to text me if things got out of hand. About an hour into the conference I got a text. "She wont quit crying." I snuck out and went upstairs. I found my poor DH stripped to the waist trying to calm Birdie through skin to skin contact. It wasn't working. She would take about three sips from the bottle and then freak out on him. I took her from him and she stopped crying immediately. Of course this fixed the crying baby problem, but now, DH feels like a total failure. I fed her, gave her back to DH and ran out again. We would repeat this process every two hours throughout the weekend. DH tried everything. He wore her around the hotel in the Moby. He did skin to skin contact. He gave her baths. She would have none of it. The moment she got hungry all she wanted was mom.
The Birdie was really stressed by the change of environment and schedule. So long as both DH and I were with her, she was fine, but because of the intense schedule, that didn't happen very often. Both nights she just passed out from exhaustion once we were all in bed. On Saturday night there was a formal awards dinner for all of the people who had made a whole bunch of money since the last event. I'd stressed for weeks on what I was going to wear. I finally settled on this:
Engorged much? Note the cell phone right there ready for that text from DH. The president of the company took this picture. I'm not smiling big because I wasn't so sure I didn't have spinach in my teeth. How awesome would have that been?
I got called out right after dessert, ran upstairs, fed the Birdie, and then . . . She spit up. Everywhere. I had it from my shoulder to my hem. I quickly changed into something black and took the Birdie back with me to the awards ceremony. We left once the band started. It was too loud and we were leaving in the morning. We had some good family time, everyone got to unwind and go to bed relatively early.
The whole process was less than ideal, but DH deserves a medal for his patience. He did everything he could to let me have as much time as possible at the event. There was one other nursing mother there. Our babies were two weeks apart. She didn't have a husband that was willing to be tortured by a baby so she was in and out alot more than I was. We often found ourselves parked in an out of the way sitting area, nursing our babies. Both of us covered up completely so that no one freaked out on us. We were in Nebraska after all. I was surprised by the number of positive comments we got. As people would walk by (the sitting area was out of the way, but it was on the path to the closest restroom. A popular destination) they would smile at us. Some women would tell us that they missed nursing their babies. It was a really positive experience.
The trip home wasn't any better for Birdie than the trip there. No amount of making Mr. Penguin dance would console her. We finally got home last evening, but the Birdie has been traumatized. She wont let me out of her sight. She's not letting her food source get that far away again. She was so wore out after her ordeal that she slept completely through the night which of course means I woke up with basketballs on my chest. Its going to take us a day or two to get back to normal, but I think we'll be ok.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
A couple of things have me concerned about the trip. First, DH will be in charge of the Birdie all day Saturday while Terri and I are in training and then Saturday night when we attend the formal awards ceremony. DH and Birdie kind of stress one another out. DH is still a nervous father. Because he works 60+ hours a week, they don't get alot of one-on-one time together. That means when Birdie cries, DH thinks to himself "Oh no! She's crying! What do I do?" Birdie picks up on this and thinks, "Oh no! He doesn't know what to do!" This creates a vicious cycle. Birdie has learned that if she yells long enough at dad, he will find a way to produce mom.
Another issue is that Birdie still isn't keen on the bottle. She will take one from my dad, but thats it. She thinks women are holding out on her because they have breasts. She will not take a bottle from a woman She knows that if she keeps yelling at dad, mom will show up, so she doesn't take a bottle from him. Even so, we did get her to take a sippy cup the other night. We were all sitting on the couch and DH gave her pumped milk from the cup. The cup has a soft spout that she has to bite on to get the flow of milk going. She did really well, but the milk was everywhere. She doesn't quite have the hang of swallowing it yet. Hopefully the necessity of the situation will cause them to figure one another out.
The third major thing that freaks me out is that we're going to Nebraska. Nebraska is one of the last states in the union to exist without public breastfeeding laws. That means that we could theoretically be thrown out of anywhere because I'm feeding the Birdie. I'm not sure what to do about that. I guess I'll just go about my business and hope for the best. Here in Kansas I'm protected but I'll be legally exposed while on this trip.
Of course I'm totally psyched to be going to this event. I can't wait to get in on the training and to set new goals for my business but I'm wondering how I'll do without the Birdie all day and evening. I keep wondering if breastmilk will ruin my formal. Will I start leaking during a training session? Will I have time to pump in between sessions? What if she needs me while I'm away? I know these are things that working mothers deal with all the time, but they're new to me.
So, in closing, wish me luck! Hopefully I'll come home Sunday night energized, ready to build my business, and not having been thrown in jail for public nudity!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
My Birdie is three months old now. She's right on target with all of the milestones and she weighs in at 13 lbs. even. Our word, "ah-goo", has evolved into "ah-boo" and "ah-doo." Its great, she says "ah-goo" and if you say it back to her, she gets really excited. The look on her face is priceless. Its like she's saying, "Brilliant! The large ones are capable of communication!"
We have as of late run into a few snags. For one, she WILL NOT take a bottle. I left her for the first time when she was two weeks old (just for a movie) and she's always grudgingly took a bottle when I wasn't around, but in the past two weeks she has flat out refused to have anything to do with it. Once a week DH and I go to the movie, which is the only time she's really exposed to it. Recently, she gets upset when she even sees the bottle. Two weeks in a row now, my grandma had to call me to come home halfway through the movie because Birdie was hungry and wouldn't eat. We've tried every nipple known to man. We've got bottles that look like boobs from Adiri. We've followed the advice of every source I can find. None of it works. I turned down a part-time job as a HeadStart teacher this week because I don't know if I can leave her for more than a couple of hours at a time. This morning, I'm headed to the chiropractor and I'm leaving baby with G.G. (great-grandma) and DH. I'm going to top her off before I go and leave them with a bottle with the newest nipple. She's really happy in the mornings so maybe we can get her to try it again.
This refusal of the bottle has coincided with a change in her sleep patterns. She still goes to bed like she did before, but she's been having troubles going back to sleep after a feeding. Up to this point I've always fed her, burped her, and put her back in the crib which is right next to my side of the bed. She always went right back to sleep. Recently, she's been having trouble. She doesn't fuss, but she's really restless. The crinkly diaper keeps us both awake. If I pull her out of the crib and lay her next to me she goes out like a light. She seems to want to be closer, so thats what we've been doing.
On August 14-16 I'll be headed to Omaha for the launch of Livinity's Blue Revolution. I have to say, joining Livinity has been one of the best decisions I've made recently. The money coming in has taken the edge off our income troubles. Since I can do it in my own time, I don't have to worry about Ms. Birdie. I'll be headed to Omaha with my sponsor. I'll have Birdie and DH in tow to complete the travelling band.
Since I've had Birdie, I've become really interested in getting healthier. I don't want her to have to take care of me when she gets my age like my brother and I have had to do with my mom. I have been overweight since I was 12. I weighed 186 lbs. in the seventh grade. Since I've been an adult I've ranged between 163lbs at my lowest all the way up to 231 during my pregnancy. My pre-pregnancy weight was 212. Most of my problem (like most of America) has been fast food and sugary drinks. Even during pregnancy I wasn't as good as I should have been. But all of that is changing. I have put myself on a healthier eating plan (its not a diet!) I have cut out refined flours and sugars. I have cut back on my dairy and increased my fruits and vegetables. I'm eating more fish and lean chicken and less red meat. I have an exercise plan. I love to dance, but I don't like the skinny girls bopping around to salsa music that seems to be the norm on aerobic dance dvds. So, as a solution, my brother's girlfriend and I have decided to Party Off The Pounds with Richard Simmons. Its just cheesy enough to keep us interested. My goal is to lose 55lbs. total. That would put me in a healthy BMI range. I weighed myself this morning and after a little over two weeks, I've lost 8 lbs. W00t!
So, thats about it for me. However, here are some things I've come across in the past few weeks that caught my eye:
Look Barnaby! It's a breast-feeding doll!
Rixa's slings are on sale. She also had a great post about Litigation and the Obstetric Mindset.
Jennifer Block has actually sat face to face with the infamous Dr. Amy.
Jill has been busy. (I lurve this lady) Even though she lost her URL she's back warning us that pregnant women's rights are being trampled on again and again. And whadduya know, not everyone needs antibiotics for GBS.
And last, but definitely not least, is a post on Shapely Prose. The post is about rape, but I found it particularly relevant to the mindset of women who may not stand up for themselves in an obstetric situation. Be warned: They do use "colorful" language.