Posted in Bandora

The Evolution of My Mommy Look

Before I became a mother:
I had waist length hair with a zig zag part that I usually kept away from my face with a hair clip, I used to wear bohemian gypsy clothing (think long flowy skirts, tie dye and leather sandals). I wore a wide assortment of silver jewelry including dangly earrings, necklaces, bracelets, anklets and toe rings on both feet.

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After my first child was born:
I lived in maternity cargo pants, nursing tank tops and flip flops. I kept my hair the same but drastically cut back on the jewelry, anything that a baby hand could hold on to and yank was taken off. My cute earrings were replaced by tiny studs that baby couldn’t try to take off, my toe rings were cut off when my feet swelled up at the end of pregnancy and never replaced. Oftentimes the look would be completed by wearing a baby or having a baby latched on.
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After my second child was born:

Very similar to my original post partum look but I favored the yoga pants more. I got sick of having long hair that I didn’t show off so I cut over a foot off and had shoulder length hair. The most pampering I did was putting henna on my hair. My definition of accessorizing is wearing a teething necklace

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After my youngest child became a toddler:
I alternate between yoga pants, cargo pants and will wear jeans on Saturdays. I finally bought my first pair of regular work pants since having children. I will wear any shirt that is comfortable and the Ahh bra is my favorite over any other bra. I will occasionally wear jewelry other than my wedding ring and amber necklace but still keep it simple. I cut another 9 inches off my hair and I am actually enjoying how it looks without me having to do anything other than wash it, unfortunately this means that I can no longer go for years without a hair cut. There is an increasing amount of salt to my pepper hair but it doesn’t bother me as much as it used to.

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Trying to reclaim my fashion identity
I have actually tried to get back into the wrap skirts and long flowing skirts but between the kids trying to hide under my skirts, the wind blowing wrap skirts open while my hands are busy holding toddler hands and the trip hazard from carrying laundry up the stairs while wearing a long skirts…. it’s just not practical.

My body went through a lot of changes during both of my pregnancies some of which are permanent. I still carry a lot of pregnancy weight that I haven’t done much to try to shed. Losing weight after Shammy wasn’t so hard but with Zen there seems to be zero improvement. It may just be because now I am in my 30’s and my metabolism has slowed down. While I don’t eat as much as I used to in my 20’s, I don’t count calories and I am constantly hungry and have to eat a bowl of cereal right before bed or I get so hungry I can’t sleep. As it is some nights I end up having to get up in the middle of the night to drink a glass of milk so my stomach will “shut up” because the hunger pangs and rumbling wake me up and keep me from going back to sleep.

The combination of 2 pregnancies and c-sections has left me with a condition called Diastasis Recti in which there is a gap in the muscles in my abdominal wall so I still have a “belly”. While I don’t care so much about the cosmetic effect of it, the gap causes my organs to shift and changes my center of gravity so I deal with back pain and gastrointestinal issues as a result.

I feel like I am aging faster as well, I guess that after a decade of not noticing much changes I suddenly look in the mirror and compare to a picture from 3 years ago and I look so much different and not for the better. But thankfully I have never been very concerned about my appearance so while it’s sometimes a little disconcerting, it doesn’t bother me too much.

Posted in Baby Foxes

School for Shammy and Mommy

A lot has happened over the past few weeks, not all of it worth reporting. After months of constant stress over having care for Shammy while I worked, we have finally found a long term solution.

I had a very strong aversion to commercial daycares when Shammy was an infant but I am ok with the idea after 1 years old. So after our babysitter put in her notice we then started the frustrating search for the right place. It was quite an adventure to navigate all of the options available. Our friends and acquaintances seemed to think that we were made out of money or really needed to save our son’s soul for all of the recommendations that we were getting cost more than I make in a day at work thus making it cheaper for me to just stay home or it was religious based.

We do believe in exposing our son to different religious to foster understanding, acceptance and help him find his path when he is old enough to make that choice but we are against emphasizing a religion that is not our own on a daily basis by sending him to a place that has bible time in lieu of story time.

For a while I was so frustrated and overwhelmed that I started to considering private babysitters again, what a barrel of rotten apples that was. In previous occasions we had found the right person very quickly, but this time it took us almost 2 weeks to find the right place.

Early in my search I had come in contact with a brand new licensed home day care not far from our house. It looked good on paper and the address had symbolism special to us, it took us a week to finally set up a meeting. It has a maximum enrollment of 5 and it is set up like a preschool classroom with a play based curriculum. The price is right, home cooked nutritious meals are included and cloth diapers are cool.

How do I know that we found the right place? When I go to pick up Shammy and at first he is happy to see me and eager to nurse but as soon as he’s done breastfeeding he waves bye bye and goes back to play. He is only going 3 days a week but so far he likes going to “school”.

During his first day of "school"

Over the past month I have been doing in depth research on educational options. Despite what some people may think, I don’t aspire to become a doula or midwife, I don’t have what it takes and quite frankly I’m not very interested in that. Since I get paid to talk about breastfeeding and I still don’t tire of it I feel most drawn to pursuing a breastfeeding specialty certification. The ultimate goal would be the IBCLC certification since it’s the only title that is widely recognized but sadly the fact that when I went to college I took the wrong classes since I never imagined myself working in the health field means that I would have to go back to college for 8 classes in addition to the lactation education required.

I would totally do this is if wasn’t for the fact that I can’t afford such a large tuition cost ($300 per class plus fees at the local college). I’m still struggling with my student loans from my first stint in college over 10 years ago which messes up my changes for financial aid.

So IBCLC is out for the time being but there are a variety of other options available. The title earned varies by school but the course content is practically the same. The tuition ranges from $700-$1,000, still steep in our current situation but not so impossible. There is one program that offers me a payment plan that I can almost afford so I may just go that route, depending on how much time I find to study it can take me 6 months or 2 years. Since the Certified Breastfeeding Counselor title doesn’t open as many doors or brings as much money as IBCLC I have also looked into becoming a Certified Childbirth Educator as an additional revenue stream. So I just need to find a spare $1,200 to get this all accomplished.

So in the meantime, I’ll start small with Breastfeeding USA, it’s very affordable to become an accredited Breastfeeding Counselor through them because it’s a volunteer gig and I’m already doing it with every non-WIC mom that I help. The most expensive thing is the textbook, which is also the required text for the bigger course so if you really want to support me I could use this book

Some people mistakenly assume that I have a problem with mothers that choose to formula feed, my problem is not with the mother but rather with the formula companies and their marketing tactics. While I listened to the Health Department’s Head of Tobacco Prevention discuss their program I saw many similarities between what tobacco companies do in their marketing that formula companies do as well and wonder if we (meaning lactivists) should take the same approach of grassroots work to get local resolutions or ordinances to regulate the marketing of Artificial Baby Milk. I am not advocating a formula ban, not at all, but rather for Enfamil/Similac/Nestle/etc to stop their predatory practices undermining breastfeeding.

And then we come across the latest big debate about the free formula samples given in hospitals, my boss firmly believes that there would be riots in the local hospital if the free samples were no longer available. But like a popular article recent states on hospitals sending breastfeeding newborns home with formula “is like giving somebody divorce papers at their wedding.”

So since formula freebies are an addition for some just like cigarettes and every body ears violence at the unfairness of completely removing them from hospital cold turkey, how about locking them behind a key and distribute BY REQUEST ONLY to moms that are only formula feeding! that way the mom that is breastfeeding and doesn’t need a confidence buster won’t be tempted and the mom that is dead set on her god given right to give her baby substandard nutrition can still get her free can.

And this installment’s rant:

As you all know I hate bucket babies, I totally get the convenience of getting a sleeping baby out of the car without waking them up by just taking the car seat out, we’ve done that here. What I hate is when the baby spends the better part of the day in the bucket and gets minimal skin to skin.

So imagine my disgust when at a consignment sale I come across a contraction that allows the mother to “wear” the car seat, OMG! I’m all in favor of babywearing but this is just ridiculous, those car seats are heavy without the baby and this is far from ergonomic. The one I saw for sale was practically new indicating that the mom didn’t get the benefit intended from it, I would be that the money she was hoping to make selling it would go towards her chiropractic expenses after messing up her back.

My back hurts every time I look at this
Posted in Baby Foxes

Things that I would do differently next time

I have been very pleased with my parenting decisions so far but there are a handful of things that I would do differently next time, nothing major.  This list is not comprehensive but it gives you an idea.

Would they get done?  Maybe some….

Operation Happy Baby: Mission Accomplished

What I would do differently

1- I would hire a post partum doula and/or accept cooking/cleaning help.  The first few weeks were brutal, specially after hubby went back to work and I would spend the bulk of the day alone with baby while recovering from surgery.  Nothing got cleaned, I barely ate and it was just a miserable time.

2- I would get a real high chair, booster seats are not the same.

3- I would make sure that my husband has a carrier that works for him, babywearing rocks and I want him to experience it too.

4- I would get professional professional newborn photos.  We have hundreds of cute Shammy pictures but they’re all amateur shots.

5- I would not listen to the incorrect breastfeeding advice given by the nurses at the hospital, instead I would follow what I had already learned.  This would have saved time, headaches and sleep and Shammy wouldn’t have lost as much weight at first.

6- I would give elimination communication a fair chance.  I barely did it and got promising results almost instantly but laziness among other factors made me drop it.

7- I would research BLW more and try it.  Making my own baby food was fun but messy and he didn’t like purees all that long.

8- I would not limit the number of baby costumes that I buy for the 1st Halloween.  Gotta take advantage before I loose the ability to choose what to put on.  There are way too many cute choices out there!

9- Join the playgroup circuit sooner.  The only thing that has stopped me this time is not having a car.

10- I would not skimp out on newborn cloth diapers and get good tiny cloth diapers like Lil’s Joeys.  I tried to go cheap with prefolds and covers and Shammy couldn’t stand it so we had to use sposies until he grew into his one size diapers, don’t want to have to do that again.  With enough planning I can purchase them little by little and they have a good resale value so it would still cost less than sposies.

11- Take sign language beyond the basics, we did very good with it at first and once again laziness and life got in the way and I just stopped using it.  Shame on me.

12- I would fight for my placenta. It was Shammy’s roommate for over 9 months, it kept him alive and they just toss it?! It’s standard procedure for the hospital to take the placenta away and I tried to fight for it while I was lying open on the operating table and was so overwhelmed with suddenly being a mother that I didn’t push the subject after I was in recovery. To this day I feel a sense of loss about it and wish that I could get it even though I couldn’t encapsulate it I would still do art with it.

I would totally breastfeed again

 

Things that I would totally do all over again

1- Labor at home.  I’m now high risk and wouldn’t quality for a homebirth in most cases but would like to still labor at home for as long as possible.

2- Have a doula.  My husband was awesome but he’s just one guy and great for some things but clueless on other, a doula provides the perfect complement and balance.

3- Skip on Vitamin K shot and eye goop.  No regrets about skipping it, it wasn’t hard for me to take the Vitamin K drops and passing it through the breastmilk.

4- Skip/delay vaccinations.  I don’t regret this one bit, in fact I’m tempted to take things a step further and delay/space them out even more.  Either way I’m definitely repeating the no shots until 6 months part.

5- No circumcision (if boy). If I need to explain this one you need a Prepuce Information Pack.  Heck, I’ll lend you mine!

6- Breastfeed.  I am so glad that I was determined enough to overcome the speed bumps and successfully breastfeed exclusively for 6 months and continue breastfeeding today (9 months and counting).

7- Co sleep.  Our bed isn’t big enough for traditional cosleeping (although Shammy made it work by kicking his daddy out of the bed and sleeping with me, lol.  I would buy a king size mattress and just put it on the floor.  Easier than attaching the bassinet/crib to the bed.  I’ve never come close to rolling over Shammy and in my sleep my mother’s 6th sense has been known to stretch out my arm and stop my husband from rolling over.

8- Babywear.  Babywearing saved my sanity during the first few months by being the only thing that would calm a screaming Shammy and even though it’s not necessary anymore I still thoroughly enjoy it.  I would like to get a better hang of ring slings though.

9- Cloth diaper.  So cute, so economical, so environmental.  I would love to have the wallet to be constantly trying new styles but have a good working stash with that I have.

10- I would again stay home as much as possible and not accept visitors outside of family for the first 2 weeks.  I am glad that I instituted this rule and stuck by it.

11-  I would still refuse to cry it out.  I can’t understand how someone can let their child scream for hours.  And for those that use the modified method of 5 minutes on, 5 minutes off, glad that it works for you but it’s still not for me.  It’s still contrary to Attachment Parenting and 1 minute is too long.

12- Use consignment sales. The only new clothes that we bought were on clearance, the rest were gifts or purchased on consignment, same for all of the gear and most toys.