Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dear Brand-Spankin-New Mama

Dear Brand-Spankin-New Mama,

At this point you may be thinking, Holy Guacamole!  They really let me put a little tiny baby in my car and drive off? 

Calm down, Brand-Spankin-New Mama, it's not just any little tiny baby--it's YOUR baby!  (What?!)  Crazy, I know, but it's true.  (At least I think it's your baby, maybe you should check the wrist band one more time.)

Brand-Spankin-New Mama, you're about to embark on some wild and unforgettable (and yet very forgettable) months.  You're about to experience feelings you never knew you could feel, so take your pain killers and saddle up--here you go!

Brand-Spankin-New Mama, it's ok if your nursery is not finished.  It's ok if you haven't done all the preparations you had planned on doing.  Do you have a blanket or two and some burp clothes?  Combine that with the loot you made off with at the hospital (diapers, wipes, pacis, creams, formula, etc., etc.) you'll be set for a few days.  Babies don't take up much space in the beginning.

Brand-New Mama, I want to be the one to tell you this secret about newborn babies: They keep breathing even when you put them down in a safe place to get some water out of the fridge.  And since newborns don't flip and flop around, a safe place is not hard to find (Couch cushion + Boppy pillow) .

Brand-Spankin-New Mama, it's ok if you're feeling completely overwhelmed and unsure of what you just got yourself into.  We all feel that way at least a little (some of us hide it more than others, but we all feel it.)  Cry if you need to.  Seriously, right now.  It's ok, mama.

Brand-Spankin-New Mama, you're doing great.  Take comfort in knowing that with each day your baby gets a little older and more mature.  If you have a colicky baby that cries like a baby, know that he eventually grows out of it.  I promise he doesn't mean to make you frustrated.

Brand-Spankin-New Mama, if your baby is crying, you can't get her to stop, and you're about to lose it, it's ok to set her in her crib for a few minutes and compose yourself.  Seriously.  Even a thirty second break helps.  Your baby is usually so thankful you came back and picked her up, that the crying calms down.

Brand-Spankin-New Mama, lots of people will offer you help and advice.  Take what you want and leave what you don't.  Think before you speak because, let's be honest, your mommy-brain has never been worse.  Don't forget to eat, especially if you're breastfeeding.  It's not selfish to eat, your body has to produce milk.

Brand-Spankin-New Mama, if you're having a rough time, give it a week, then give it six weeks, then give it three months, then give it six months, and then it gets better!  Each of those milestone are turning points though, so use them as focal points when you feel like these are the slowest days of your life.  And remember, mama, eventually your baby won't wake you up in the night (that's not to say you won't wake up anyway out of habit and panic.)


Monday, August 13, 2012

Peace Out, Yo!

I was in my first trimester about 16 months ago and yet it feels like years!  I hardly remember it until friends ask me to recall details.  Do you remember your early days?

Did you pour over pregnancy books allowing yourself to read the scary things that could happy to your pea-sized baby?  I did my best to keep it balanced, but lets be real, for most of us, we worry A LOT until the first 12 weeks have past.  Even then, until we feel the baby swimming around on a regular basis, the fear quickly creeps in.  It's a daily battle to stop.

 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  Matthew 6:27
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7
In my most resent season of life {parenthood} the Lord has been daily teaching me peace.  Peace that no matter what happens, it's ok.  It will be ok.  Our great Father in Heaven sees it all before it has even happened.  And He's been through it all.  He can relate to your feelings.  He watched his Son die so He can cry with you if you need to cry.  And when you first hear your baby's heart beating inside your womb, He can rejoice with you.  He watched His baby grow inside of Mary; He can relate.  So let's turn over our worry to the Lord and instead embrace God's peace.

And when all other foods sound disgusting or make you feel not-so-good, try coke and potatoes--it worked for me.  What foods have helped you make it through the sick times?  What scriptures have brought you through the worrisome times?

Friday, August 10, 2012

The ABCs of a C-Section

A guest post by a mother whom I trust, love, and admire-- my sister, Sarah Quezada.

Some people plan to have C-sections, but most of us don’t. Most of us have different ideas about how our birth experience will play out.

For me, I had planned to enter into peaceful labor in the comfort of my own home. Then, once I realized the contractions warranted a trip to the hospital, I planned to spin in panicked circles in my living room, repeating, “It’s time! It’s time!” I would chastise myself for procrastinating packing my bag and hop in my car overwhelmed with tingling excitement.

But when I needed to be induced, my story began very differently. And eight hours later, when the doctor pulled a chair up by my bed and said I needed a C-section, it continued down an unexpected path.

Here are somethings I learned in the process:

A – Action
A quiet nurse leaned over me and said, “Now that the decision’s been made, everything will happen quickly. It doesn’t mean there’s an emergency or your baby is in danger. It’s just how we do it.” As teams of strangers poured into the room, skipping introductions and wheeling me away, I was so appreciative of her assurance not to worry.

B – Boldness
Once, while getting a bridesmaid dress altered, I felt the seamstress had pinned it too short. When she asked me, though, I said, “That’s fine.” I similarly struggled with boldness with my anesthesiologist. When they ask you what you can feel, be honest! Trust me. I ended up having some unfortunate problems when my epidural wasn’t working properly.

C – Section
My husband sat by my head, whispering encouragement to me, which was such a comfort. My doctors talked about their daughters’ basketball games, which was a strangely wonderful distraction. It was not at all the natural childbirth I had learned about in my birthing classes, but we were having a baby!

D – Drugs
Drugs are good. One nurse after surgery made me feel like I was a drug addict whenever I requested pain medication. She made me so nervous I tried to stop asking! Looking back, I would’ve had my husband stay on top of my medication and never felt bad asking for the strongest ones available. I have sometimes wondered how much my pain limited my capacity to deal with some difficult circumstances early in my daughter’s life.

E – Expectations
People have asked me if I felt like I failed because I had a C-section, but I don’t think so. I know there’s controversy about legitimate need for many C-sections, but in the moment, I made the best decision that I could for my daughter under pressure and with the given information. Still, I later did need to mourn the loss of my expectations. I never got to shout, “It’s time!” I never chewed ice chips or executed funky breathing rhythms. Because of my anesthesia issue, I wasn’t even really awake when my daughter entered the world, and I didn’t get to hold her. These expectations all changed, and I think it’s okay to mourn those losses.

My daughter is almost two years old now! And at the end of the day, her birth story was only about five days of all that we’ve experienced together. Was it exactly what I planned? Nope. But I’m so grateful for her presence and life. The entrance was simply details.

I hope our experience helps you if you ever find yourself in the midst of the unexpected.    

Sarah Quezada lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband Billy and daughter Gabriella. She blogs about their multicultural family life at A Life with Subtitles. She also works with Mission Year, a year-long volunteer program. You can find her on Twitter @SarahQuezada.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

{the skinny on cloth diapering}

There are tons of options to choose from when it comes to covering your baby's tush.  This post explains what goes on my baby's tush.  In general we use cloth and sometimes we use disposables when we're out and about, at church, or are feeling lazy and don't want to be responsible for doing laundry.  We also always use disposable at night.  I know we don't have to and that there are night time options when it comes to cloth, but as of now, we haven't bothered trying

We stick to Pampers Baby Dry (12 hour protection) at night and the disposables we use during the day range from Target brand, to Luvs, to Pampers Swaddlers.  The Swaddlers are fancy because they have a faint yellow line on them that turn blue when your baby pees.  They are SUPER helpful for new dads (and moms) who are apprehensive about changing diapers due to lack of experience. 

the skinny on cloth

Once you decide on cloth, you have to learn the lingo and decide on which type of cloth you like best (or can afford).  AIOs, pockets, hybrids, prefolds & covers!?  I brought pictures to help explain.

AIOs (All In Ones)

I only have one of these.  They're called AIOs because there isn't any part that is detached.  It's all connected so once it's clean you just stuff the long part into the pocket and you're ready for round two.  They have laundry tabs, which means the Velcro flaps fold in on themselves so the scratchy part doesn't snag other things in the washing machine.  I bought this one at Mother Nurture
I think they would be excellent for travel and for care-takers who don't have CDing (CD=cloth diaper(ing)) skills. They are rather expensive, so it would be rough building your collection to have enough for a couple of days worth.  However, they are a ONE-SIZE diaper, which means they only sell one size, but it is adjustable with snaps in the front and Velcro waist, so once you have one set, it will stay with your baby until she is potty trained.

Pocket Diapers    

Similar in ease to the AIO, the pocket diaper differs by making you keep track of the absorbent part (stuffer) that goes in the pocket of the diaper.  Bumgenius is a very popular brand, but there are SEVERAL different brands that all make pocket diapers.  I have two pockets, one Bumgenius and one KaWaii Baby.  So once you wash your diapers, you have to sort the parts and stuff the diapers.  These are also a ONE-SIZE diaper that come in Velcro or snap closure.

Prefolds & Covers

Prefolds are the fancy name for "old school" diapers like the kind your parents may have used on you!  Gerber sells prefold at Walmart/Target, but watch out for the packages that are only labeled cloth diapers (sometimes "flat") and don't include the word prefold, they are just cloth that are not "pre-folded" in the middle to create a big absorbent part.  You can also buy prefolds in organic cotton or other choices and places like Mother Nurture.  Just like in the story If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, if you give a baby a prefold, he's going to need a Snappi.  You can continue the "old-school" style and use diaper pins, but if you can afford it, go for the Snappi.  They're super simple, nothing to poke baby (or you!) and a two-pack of these has served me plenty well.  If you're using only prefolds, you may find more is helpful.  If you give a baby a prefold and a Snappi, he's going to need a cover.  There are a HUGE range of diaper covers out there.  The job of the cover is to keep the wetness contained.  If you use cotton prefolds, they get soaked very fast and then your lap would also quickly be soaked.  The "old-school" choice was rubber pants, now there are diaper covers.  I have 10 cotton prefolds, 2 Snappis, and 3 Econobum covers and if I need to, I can go about a day and a half using only these (and a disposable at night).  If you give a baby a diaper cover, snappi, and prefold, he's going to need bigger pants.  Prefolds are VERY bulky.  Econobum covers are ONE-SIZE, but that is not true for all covers.


This term is used to describe diapers that are half cloth and half disposable.  The outter shell or cover is fabric and the inside has a part that is flush-able.  The kind of hybrid I use is gdiapers.  This is the main diaper I use, HOWEVER, I use a cloth insert instead of a disposable one.

I chose gpants because, in short, I liked 3 things about them:
3.  It seemed like less washing to me.

The down-falls in my opinion are that they are not ONE-SIZE diapers and they have more assembly.  There are tinys, smalls, mediums, larges, and even extra larges (not pictured).  You end up buying about them same amount of diapers though, and it's spread out instead of all at once, so I like that.  There are 3 separate parts to each diaper which means more parts to keep track of.     There are only 5 smalls in the picture, I've lent out one.

I actually like the separate parts because if the diaper is just wet, you only need to change the stuffer/absorbent piece.  If the diaper is soiled, you'll often need to only change the stuffer and the liner.  Then, on occasion you'll need to change the cover too (my husband refers to these as the gym-shorts!).  When making my main diaper choice I didn't like the idea of washing the entire diaper every time my baby wet it (which is what you'll do for the AIOs and pockets).

If you buy the baby bundle it comes with 12 tiny gpants and 6 small gpants.  I didn't end up using the tiny gpants very much because my son was 8lbs, 5ozs at birth so after we ran out of disposables we had been given as gifts, we moved pretty much straight to the small size.  The large size goes up to 36 lbs, so I'm hoping extra large will not be in my future and I'm praying my son will be using the big-boy potty at that point.  To be honest, if we're not trained at 36 lbs, I will probably use disposables rather than investing in a whole set of XLs.

The following is pictures of all the parts to the gdiaper.

 Small g-flapper/stuffer and Medium/Large g-flapper/stuffer (the absorbent part).

This is a biodegradable/flushable stuffer.  I rarely use them, they're more expensive than regular disposables, but they came with the bundle, so I've played with them a little bit.
This is a Small liner and Medium/Large liner that snap into the cover.  This is PLU material that keeps the wetness inside the diaper and off the cover and your lap!
This is an open flapper.  Its benefit is being able to dry quicker than having 5 layers all together to dry.  Also, I have a few "g-scraps" that can be used to give extra absorbency in the front for boy or middle for girls.

This is the cover with the snapped in liner and the g-flapper half way in.
This is the gdiaper stuffed and ready to go.  It also has laundry taps.
A gdiaper stuffed and closed up.  The 'g' goes in the back!

 A few last notes to this VERY LONG post.
  • Gdiapers Velcro in the back, which I hear is helpful when tiny fingers start trying to take their own diaper off. 
  • I've also heard that for pockets and AIOs, whose closures are in the front, snaps are best since they're harder for tiny fingers to unsnap.
  • Diaper covers don't have to be just for prefolds, you can also lay g-flappers/other absorbent materials in them, just be sure the layer that touches baby's tush is skin-friendly.
There is one more type of cloth diaper--the fitted diaper.  I haven't explored them, but you can read a bit about them here.

To learn more about what I think you'll need to start you're gdiaper collection, check out this post.