Will the Snow Ever Melt?

Around this time every year a certain song comes to mind.  It’s from the old movie, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

In November the snow starts to fly, piling up, ankle high.

Come December it’s up to your knees, still a bride’s a bride-to-be.

January, higher still, to the parlor window sill.

February finds a drift, and a storm that seems never to lift.

March comes in like a lion, what else?  Still the snow never melts.

April showers will come, so they say, but they don’t, and it’s May.

You’re about to forget the whole thing…all at once, one day it’s SPRING!

At the beginning of this winter, I was feeling ok about the snow since I was on maternity leave and I didn’t have to face the cold every morning on my way to work and I really didn’t have to leave the house if I didn’t want to.  Winter wasn’t too bad…

But I’m ready for Spring now.  We do get out of the house a couple times a week, either to the library, to visit family, or to go shopping, but I find myself craving a chance to get outside.  To breathe in some fresh air, to feel the warm sunshine on my face, and to not have to worry about bundling E up in all her winter gear.

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Can we go out yet, Mommy?

I think E is excited for warmer weather too.  We have a screen on our front door and E enjoys looking out at the world.  When it has been warm enough we have sit on the front step waving at the people passing by.  Sometimes E gets adventurous and crawls down the walkway playing in the snow and dirt along the way.

I used to think that Spring was a rather ugly time of year…and it is…but it sure is a wonderful time of year!

 

 

 

 

Some things I’m especially looking forward to this Spring and Summer:

1. watching E run around our newly sodded backyard

2. blowing bubbles for E to chase

3. getting a baby pool and letting E splash around in it

4. wearing shorts and tanktops

5. sitting and enjoying a cool drink in the sunshine

6. going for walks with my husband and baby around the neighbourhood

What are the things you are really looking forward to this Spring?

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My Top 5: Things for a Newborn

Here is my first post for My Top 5 “series”.  🙂  Every so often I’ll be posting my top 5 favourite/most used/just plain awesome things for a specific topic.

Today’s topic: Newborns

Here are 5 things that I found to be super useful when E was a newborn.

# 1. SwaddleMe

I strongly believe in swaddling a newborn.  Here are a couple reasons:

  • They are used to being nice and tight and cozy in Mommy’s belly so being all wrapped up tight helps them feel like they are safe and “home”.
  • Newborns also have very little control over their arm movements so the swaddle keeps from startling themselves awake.

Please note that I swaddled my baby, E, when she was sleeping or when she was too overwhelmed by this great big world.  She had lots of unswaddled time to practice moving her arms and legs.  Also, we never swaddled her hips so tight to create a problem.

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E all snug and ready for bed

At first we swaddled using receiving blankets and then moved on to large flannel blankets my mom had made.  The blankets worked great for her naps, but at night she was managing to get her hands out and startle herself awake.  I finally splurged and bought a SwaddleMe.  She LOVED them!  She would often be crying very hard while we were getting her ready for bed, but as soon as she was snug in the SwaddleMe she calmed right down.

The feature I love most about the SwaddleMe?  The velcro!  So easy to keep her snug all night long!

The SwaddleMe comes in different sizes.  We bought the Stage 2 variation in both the small and large.  I would often tell my husband that if/when I go to any future baby showers a SwaddleMe will be included in the gift!

# 2. Avon Sensitive Skin Bubble Bath

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Who know that this would get out baby poop?

This one might seem a bit strange to have on a list like this, but believe me, it is a product that every mom needs!  You know how everyone seems to be offering advice as soon as they find out that you are pregnant?  Even if it might drive you crazy, if you actually listen sometimes you get some good tips.  This was one of those times.

That mustard yellow baby poop stains everything!  And Avon Sensitive Skin Bubble Bath gets those stains out as easily as can be!  How awesome is that?  🙂

# 3. Soother

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E with her Wubbanub pacifier

A soother/pacifier seems to be a bit of a controversial item.  Some parents are worried that the baby will become too dependent on it, other parents worry about it affecting the baby’s teeth and jaw.  I, however, think that a soother is a wonderful invention!

In a previous post, I mentioned how we avoided having a colicky baby and one of the reasons was because we used a soother!  E was a sucker.  At first she was using me as her pacifier and, despite warnings of developing nipple confusion, we introduced her to a soother a couple days after she was born.  Maybe we just got lucky, but there were no issues for going between the soother and breastfeeding at all.

It took awhile to find one that she liked, but when we did (thanks to a gift from a friend), she was a happy baby!  We used the soother for about 6 months and stopped using it once we started sleep training.  I was a bit concerned that she’d start sucking her thumb instead (and you can’t take a thumb away), but it didn’t happen.  Luck again?

If/when the next baby comes around, we’ll definitely use the soother again, but once the baby is past the 3-4 month age, we’d probably restrict it to just naps and bedtime.

# 4. AngelCare Baby MonitorIMG_3395

There are so many monitors available now, but we decided to go with the AngelCare system because of the motion sensing mattress pad.  The pad goes under the mattress and detects the slightest movements of the baby, including breathing.  If movement stops for too long the alarm sounds.  I found it very reassuring as a new mom, knowing that if my baby stopped breathing for some reason I would know about it right away.

There was a recall on the monitor systems recently, because there is a cord connecting the sensor pad to the nursery unit.  All I had to do was request a kit to fix the problem.  The kit came quickly and using it I am able to keep the cords away from my baby’s curious hands.

When the time comes to purchase a new monitor, I will probably go with AngelCare again, although I’d like to get the version with the video.

I did have a problem with the parental unit going blank, but AngelCare sent me a new unit.

# 5. Nursing bras

Ok, this isn’t really for a newborn, but definitely something I’d recommend if you are going to be breastfeeding!  One time my nursing bras were all dirty so I was wearing an ordinary one.  I ended up having to strip down, taking my bra off completely, so that I could nurse.  Not so convenient since I was visiting my parents at the time.

It is recommended that you go a few weeks before your due date to get properly sized for a nursing bra.

And while you’re shopping for your bras, consider buying a sleep nursing bra.  I really appreciated having mine.  It was nice in the hospital because it kept me a bit more covered up than the hospital gown and once I was home it offered support at night as well as held nursing pads in place so I didn’t leak all over the bed.

Ok, there you have it, five of my favourite things to have for a newborn.  And just because it is awesome too, here’s a bonus.

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil is just a wonderful thing.  It has SO many uses.  For a newborn it works great as a diaper cream (cloth safe even), a moisturizer, and it helps get rid of cradle cap.  E was starting to get cradle cap and so I slathered her head with coconut oil about 10 minutes before her bath.  I took a soft bristled baby hair brush and brushed her hair…ok, I brushed her scalp, she didn’t have THAT much hair.  Haha!  Then rinsed it out.

Coconut Oil works great as a nipple cream too, so don’t just save it for baby.  🙂

Hope you found this helpful!  Moms out there, what did you love using when your baby was a newborn?  Please add your comments below!  🙂

 

Let’s Make a Mess!

I’m not exactly sure why it is called Cloud Dough…maybe because it is SUPER soft!  It reminds me of our honeymoon to the Cook Islands.  One of the islands, Aitutaki, is considered to have the most beautiful lagoon (it really is absolutely gorgeous!)…and the softest sand.feetOh to be able to escape this never ending winter and sit on a beach and enjoy the sand…but I’m getting off topic…cloud dough!

Because we are often stuck inside because of the weather, I try to do some sort of new activity with E every few days.  I had seen several recipes on Pinterest for Cloud Dough and since it looked like fun, I decided to give it a try.  E is still at the stage where everything goes in her mouth so I used cooking oil instead of baby oil.

All I needed was two ingredients: flour and oil.  In a bowl I mixed up 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup canola oil.  I then put it into a dish that was a bit more suitable for little hands to reach in.  We stripped E down to her diaper and let her at it.

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She LOVED it!  It was so much fun watching her!  She did try eating a bit of it, but since it doesn’t taste all that great, not too much got in her mouth.  The kitchen floor got messy and she needed a bath afterwards, but she had a fantastic time!

What a great sensory activity for our 9 1/2 month old!

 

How we avoided having a colicky baby!

Colic is the term often used to refer to a fussy, crying baby that seems to be crying for no reason.

I cannot count the number of times I was asked if my baby was a “good baby”.  (I would always laugh inside at the question, because a baby is a baby – she can’t be good or bad since that implies that there is a deliberate decision that is made.)  I was tempted to answer with something silly like “she is such a bad baby – always pulling the cat’s tail, not following any instructions, won’t change her own diapers”, but instead I’d just smile and say that yes, my baby was a good baby, answering the real question that people wanted to know – was my baby fussy and crying all the time?

I remember this one lady who had asked me that question.  After I had replied that E was a happy baby, her response was that I was SO lucky.  Her son had been such a crying baby and it nearly drove her crazy!

The great thing about having friends and family who have had babies before you, is that you have the chance to watch and learn and pick up lots of helpful tips.  My sister, the mother of two boys with another baby due in July, introduced me to the first book: The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Carp.IMG_3383

What is fascinating is that in his book, Dr. Carp mentions that colic is a first world problem.  It doesn’t happen in third world countries.  I hadn’t really thought about it until I read the book, but I grew up in Indonesia and I only remember happy babies.

Dr. Carp figures that babies are born 3 months too soon.  They really should be in the womb for those months, but because of head size, they can’t wait that long to be born or they’d never get out!  Colic stops around the 3 month mark.  Hmm.  Interesting.

He has five techniques (he calls them the 5 S’s) that he suggests to calm a baby.

1. Swaddling – tight wrapping

2. Side/stomach – laying a baby on her side or stomach (While supervised!  NOT WHILE SLEEPING!)

3. Shushing – loud white noise

4. Swinging – rhythmic, jiggly motion

5. Sucking – sucking on a nipple, finger, soother, etc.

There were many times when E would be fussy.  She was fed, clean, good temperature, etc, but was still crying.  We’d then swaddle her in a blanket, hold her on her side, bounce her gently up and down (the natural movement that one does when holding a baby), give her her soother, and then make a loud shushing noise close to her ear.  It wouldn’t take long before she would calm down.  It was like magic!  🙂

If  you are dealing with a baby who cries for no apparent reason, definitely pick up this book and read up on the techniques!

IMG_3376The second book that has been fantastic for dealing with fussiness is The 90 Minute Baby Sleep Program by Polly Moore, Ph. D.  This book isn’t about colic, it’s about sleeping, particularly naps, but it was a real eye opener.

The main concept of the book is that all babies go through a 90 minute alertness cycle.  That means that after about 90 minutes from the time she wakes up, she will be ready to go back to sleep again.  It seems obvious now, but I honestly didn’t realize that E wasn’t able to stay awake for longer stretches of time without getting fussy.  Before I read the book, I was noticing that E would get cranky about 60 – 90 minutes after she had woken up.  I was so confused because she had just woken up it seemed.  After reading the book, we started putting her down for her naps an hour and a half after she woke up and the fussiness disappeared!!!

As she has gotten older, E is able to stay up for longer amounts of time, but we try to put her down to sleep in increments of 90 minutes.  For example, at the 3 hour mark or the 4 1/2 hour mark.  We have found that if we try to put her down for a nap in the middle of an alertness cycle, she is much more resistant to going to sleep, even if she is exhausted.

The only issue I had with following this 90 minute cycle is that E started taking 30 minute naps and that has been a huge habit to break!  If/when we have another baby, we are definitely going to follow the 90 minute cycles, but at the same time work at taking longer naps right from the beginning!

Of course the real trick is getting the baby to do the reading.  😉IMG_3384

Shopping for Baby

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Me at 9 months with my daughter

Being pregnant for the first time is pretty exciting!  (My baby is 9 1/2 months old now, so I’m reminiscing. 🙂  Here’s a picture of me about to pop!)  Even though I was completely exhausted most of the time, I never seemed too tired to shop.  🙂  As a new mom-to-be I picked out the “obvious” stuff like a crib, change table, rocker, stroller, etc – you know, the things that you typically think of needing when you have a baby.

Shortly after I announced my pregnancy, a teacher at the school where I was working offered to take me shopping to buy all the “essential and maybe not so obvious” things a new mom and baby would need.  This woman is  a very caring woman and isn’t afraid to talk about the things that aren’t mentioned all that often.  She’s very open, but in a way that makes one feel comfortable asking questions.  She also loves buying baby cloths and let me buy a whole bunch of baby girl clothes at a great price.  The clothes had belonged to her daughter and some of them had probably been only worn once!

Anyways, we picked a day to go shopping and here’s a list of the things she recommended.  I thought I’d share the list.  This list is not comprehensive (you will need more than this for a baby) and there are probably moms out there that would say that there are things on here that aren’t needed, but hopefully you’ll find it as helpful and fun as I did.

For Baby (in no particular order, I am listing things as I remember them!)

  1. Oval Drops: My baby was not colicky and I don’t think she was in pain because of gas, but she sure did have a lot of gas bubbles in her!  Giving her a dose of the Oval seemed to keep things from getting too bad or painful.  I would recommend getting 2 bottles – one for at home and one for in your diaper bag.
  2. Infants’ Tylenol Drops: I don’t use this very often, but it is definitely good to have on hand in case my baby develops a fever or is in pain because of teething.  I got the White Grape flavour which doesn’t taste too badly if you ask me.  Again 2 bottles – one for at home and one for the diaper bag.
  3. Bottles: Regardless of whether you are breastfeeding or giving formula, you will most likely need bottles.  When my baby was first born I was nursing and pumping.  The bottles were very useful when someone was watching my baby when I had to make appointments or went on a date with my husband.  After struggling with breastfeeding for four months, I decided to switch to formula and those bottles got even more use.
  4. Hydrasense Ultra GentleMist Baby nasal spray: It can be very dry here in Edmonton, Alberta and this nasal spray is great for moisturizing her nose and relieving congestion.  I don’t use it all that often, but it is good to have on hand.
  5. Vick’s BabyRub: My daughter didn’t get a really bad cold until she was about 8 months old and then she was hit hard!  Poor thing was so stuffed up and was coughing like crazy.  😦  We rubbed her chest, back, and feet with the rub and I think that helped.  We also gave her a small baby spoonful of coconut oil which helped with the coughing too.
  6. Baby bath tub: This is one of those things that you don’t absolutely need, but I’m so glad I had one.  I was able to borrow one from my sister, but if it hadn’t been available I would have bought one.  A newborn baby is super slippery in water (ok any baby is super slippery in water) and it was nice to be able to put the bath tub on the table at a level that is easier to work with.  We used it on the table for a bit and then put it into the large bath tub.  It was nice being knowing that she wasn’t going to bang her head on the hard porcelain.
  7. Baby bath tub insert: Lots of baby bath tubs come with inserts pre-built into them, but if yours doesn’t then I’d recommend the insert.  I had a c-section and wasn’t able to lift much weight so things were a bit harder trying to hold up the baby’s head and grab the shampoo and rinse her off, etc.  Again, I was able to borrow an insert (from my sister-in-law this time) otherwise I would have bought one.  There are several different kinds.  The one I used was mesh on a wire frame.  The one that was used by the lady who took me shopping was foam.
  8. Baby Shampoo, Bubble Bath, and Body Wash: There are so many different varieties out there.  Choose the one that suits your needs best.
  9. Baby Lotion: Again, lots of variety out there.  I found the lotion great for giving mini baby massages and just moisturizing her skin in this dry winter weather.  I had bought some lotion, but the best stuff I’ve used was a homemade version made by my sister-in-law.  (More on these great products of hers coming in a future post)
  10. Humidifier: I wasn’t sure how much these really help and I was a bit hesitant about buying one since they are kind of expensive.  But then my daughter got a bad cold and we were able to borrow one from my mom.  It is run during her naps and at night.  If nothing else, it provides a bit of white noise.  🙂
  11. Play mat: Any of them will work.  I was given one as well as was able to borrow one from my sister.  I think for the next baby I want to splurge and buy the SkipHop one because I think it is so cute!  Even though the baby won’t play with anything at first, it was nice to have a soft place to lay her down when I needed to do something.
  12. Baby wash cloths: I originally bought 24 wash cloths thinking that would be enough, but then they turned out to be great for wiping up baby spit ups.  My baby spat up a lot and these cloths were a bit easier to use than blankets or actual burp cloths.  We eventually went out and bought another pack of 12.  They have proved useful even now as cloths to wipe up her face after eating.
  13. D Drops: Here in Canada we don’t get enough sunlight to create all the vitamin D we need so if you are in a similar environment, definitely pick some up.  I had heard that a formula fed baby doesn’t need the drops because it is added to the formula, but when I was talking to the doctor and nurse before I switched over, they both recommended that I continue with the D Drops.  (By the way, everyone living in Canada should be taking a vitamin D supplement!)
  14. Diaper cream: I decided to cloth diaper so I needed to make sure I had a cloth safe diaper cream.  Your baby will most likely develop many diaper rashes (it’s just the nature of wearing non-breathable diapers – whether cloth or disposable).  My sister-in-law makes a fantastic diaper cream which is cloth safe and works like a charm!  (More on these great products in a future post)
  15. Newborn diapers: Even though I was planning on using cloth diapers I wasn’t sure if they would fit her right from the beginning.  These were great to have on hand as well because she developed a bad case of thrush diaper rash and the antibiotic cream is not cloth safe.
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Welcoming my daughter into the world

For Mom:

  1. Pads: You’ve probably heard that you are going to bleed for awhile after you give birth.  I bought a pack of those super long overnight pads.  I didn’t use them all, but it was nice to know that I would be prepared.
  2. Hemorrhoid cream: No one wants to think about hemorrhoids, but there is a chance that you might get them so why not be prepared!
  3. Stool softener: I didn’t end up using the ones that I had bought because after my c-section the surgeon prescribed some and I used those instead.  Maybe this helped avoid serious hemorrhoids, but I can’t say for certain.
  4. Lanolin cream: Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt if the baby is latched on properly, but your nipples will still be sore.  A baby is sucking on them for the first time after all!  I remember feeling a sharp pain when my daughter first latched on, but then the pain would go away.  The lanolin cream helped keep me moisturized and protected.  I don’t think I’d buy the cream again though because coconut oil works great and smells better too!
  5. Breast pads: I used a couple boxes of breast pads during the first month.  I found the Lansinoh brand ones were the best.  There are also reusable ones out there, but I liked the convenience of the disposable ones. 

Like I mentioned above, this isn’t a comprehensive list of all the things you’ll need for a new baby, but hopefully it will help get you started.  Happy Shopping!

Experienced moms out there, are there items you would add to the list?

An Outdoor Adventure

This past weekend, our little family escaped from Edmonton and went down to Calgary for a few days.  I know, pretty exciting.  Haha!  It was actually great getting out of the city, visiting with family and friends, and going to Banff.

The really fun part was the day trip to Banff.  The last time we had been there was when I was pregnant.  Things were a bit different with a baby in tow.  We planned our day so that we left Calgary around the time that E would have been ready for a nap.  It took her a little while to fall asleep, but she eventually did, and was full of smiles when we reached our destination.

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Johnston Canyon

Our first stop was Johnston Canyon.  For those of you who haven’t been there, in the winter it is a short hike through a magical icy canyon with a frozen waterfall at the end.  Some water is flowing which is pretty neat to see behind sheets of ice.

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Carefully maneuvering down the icy stretches!

E was securely strapped into the baby carrier on my husband’s back and we started on the hike.  Because of the time of year it was a bit slippery, but we were careful and the only one who fell was me…twice…ouch!  E had a great time smiling at the people passing by.  For the most part, the people we met on the trail were friendly and encouraging, thinking it was great that we were exposing our baby to the great outdoors.  There was one group, though, that clearly disapproved!  The eye rolls and looks of utter disgust at our daring to bring a baby on the hike was a little much.  But we were took our time and made it safely both there and back.

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E enjoying some apple.

Once we were back to the parking lot we were ready for some lunch.  We spread out our waterproof blanket on a dry spot of the parking lot and with the sun shining on us, we enjoyed a bite to eat.  People would walk by us and E would wave and smile at them.  She’s a very happy and friendly baby, if you haven’t figured that out yet!

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Mommy’s turn to carry the baby!

After lunch we drove to Cave and Basin, the location of a hot springs just outside of the town site.  This time E was strapped onto my back.  It wasn’t nearly as slippery and I think the carrier works a little better on someone who isn’t quite as tall.  I think she had a bit more visibility.  She would giggle whenever I would lean over so that she could see over the edge of the railings.  The air was fragrant from the smell of sulfur and water from the hot springs trickled down a hill where we were able to see little fish swimming around, a fun site to see when there was snow not too far away!

Once in the town site, E was put into a sling so she was sitting on my hip and we did a bit of window shopping.  So many people commented on how cute she was!  Supper was at The Old Spaghetti Factory and then we drove back to Calgary.  E had been up longer than usual since her first nap and she was asleep within minutes of being strapped into the car seat.

It was a lovely day!  And as I look back on the day there are a few things that I think helped things go smoothly.

1. We have an awesome baby carrier.  It is a Boba Carrier.  The features I love about it: it’s soft so there are no hard pieces to worry about, it’s easy to get on and off (although it works best if there are two people getting the baby in it!),  and it is able to be used as a front carrier and a back carrier, fitting a newborn without any extra pieces.

2. We planned our driving to coincide with E’s sleeping schedule.  I think most babies would fall asleep with the sound of the highway, but this way we knew for sure that she would fall asleep.  It was so much less stressful for me knowing that I wouldn’t have to worry about a crying and/or bored baby in the back seat.

3. That waterproof blanket I mentioned above was great because it allowed E to crawl and move around, burning off some energy.  We were getting lots of exercise carrying her around, but her, not so much!  I bought the blanket at Bed, Bath, and Beyond a few years ago and it has proved to be a great purchase!

4. Not planning too much for one day.  Sure, it would have been nice to have been able to see a bit more of the mountains, but we knew that with a baby along things would be different.

5. Prepared meals for E.  I’m a bit of a planner and so I had meals for the entire weekend in ziplock bags ready to be heated up for E to eat.  At first I wasn’t sure if this was going to work or not since, after sitting in the cold car for most of the day, the food was chilly and E wasn’t eating very much because it was cold.  Our waiter finally told us that they had a microwave and could heat it up for us.  Next time I’ll have to remember to just ask instead of waiting and stressing out that my baby isn’t eating!

It is tempting sometimes to avoid going places and doing things now that we have a baby, but this trip helped me realize that with some planning things will probably work out.  It is a fun thing to do as a family and we hope to do a lot more this summer!

How about you?  Any suggestions for taking kids on trips?  What tips and tricks have you discovered that have helped make things easier for you?

And it begins…

I’m very excited and a little nervous about starting to blog.  I had never really considered blogging before, but then I realized that I needed a place to share my thoughts and ideas.

I love Facebook but, as my sister pointed out the other day, I can be guilty of posting too often, especially when it comes to being a new mom.

“People will start ignoring what you have to say if you keep posting about your baby!”

I was a little taken aback at first, but then realized that my sister was probably speaking some wise words.  And it is a little hard to share all that I want to in a short status update anyways!

So if you are following my blog, it’s probably because you are interested in what I’m sharing, and I don’t have to worry about posting too often! 🙂

And so begins my blogging adventure!