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Natural parenting

June 4, 2015

A Summer of Fluff

Cloth Swim Diapers thebestofbaby.com

Summer is here!  Well actually, it’s been here for a while because it’s the South, and it’s HOT y’all.  But summer officially started a few weeks ago…when our pool community opened!  Hurrah! At least hurrah for the kids and my husband (who, let’s be honest, is basically a big kid at heart).  They would swim and splash all day long.  Me?  I’m not exactly a water bug.  I dislike being in the hot sun and am not a fan of cold water (I have a theory that I have extra-sensitive nerve endings…others have a theory that I’m just a wimp).  But I digress,  I do love seeing my favorite people happy, and water makes them oh so happy, which makes me happy too. 

This is the first summer we’ve had a pool membership.  In the past when we’ve gone to the beach or pool, I would just purchase disposable swim diapers.  This year though, since we plan on being at the pool several times a week, I decided there was NO way I was going to spend money all summer long on sposie swim diapers…those things cost MONEY!!  And since I don’t think people would appreciate a diaper-less baby in the community pool…cloth swim diapers here we come!

Cloth Swim Diapers thebestofbaby.com

(A brief side note to comment on how fat knees, while not cute on adults, are scrumptious on babies.  And also on how baby swimsuits, while adorable, are wholly impractical.  Why don’t they put snaps on these things like onesies?  You mean I have to take the whole thing off to change her diaper?)

We’ve been cloth diapering for over 3 years now, but I’ve never had the opportunity to foray into the world of cloth swim diapers…until now! I have several reviews and giveaways for some pretty awesome swim diapers lined up.  I’ve already gotten to try one out and I’m officially converted…no more disposable swim diapers for us!

And to be honest, I’m kind of kicking myself for waiting so long…one cloth swim diaper is just a bit over the cost of a pack of disposable swim diapers, except I don’t have to throw it away.  Even for an occasional pool/beach goer, it just makes sense to go with cloth from a financial perspective.

If you’re a fan of fluff (geek speak for cloth diapers) or just a fan of saving money, join me this summer for a summer of fluff!

Do you use cloth swim diapers?

March 12, 2015

The Cure For a Fussy Baby

UPDATE: Congratulations Julie for winning the Li’l Peeper Keeper Ring Sling Giveaway (winner was randomly selected using the Gleam contest app)!  I will be contacting you immediately through your provided email.  (note:  I prefer to only give out the first name of prize winners, so if your name is Julie, please check your email to see if you’re “the” Julie that won!) You will have 48 hours to respond before I choose another winner.

For those of you that didn’t win, Rebecca from Li’l Peeper Keepers is offering all Best of Baby readers free shipping on any domestic orders using the code “ShippingSpecial”.  If you no longer see a sling that was previously listed, contact Rebecca and she’ll try and work with you…she’s super sweet like that 🙂

And if you’re itching for another giveaway to enter, check out my new one for an adorable baby bonnet! 

LPK 4

When Jay was a baby, he was the fussiest baby alive.  No really, I surveyed all other moms and the results were conclusive – he was the fussiest.  We suspect he had some colic issues that made him really uncomfortable, so I understand his discontentment, but boy was it challenging having a baby that always cried and could never be put down.  I think the little guy was held probably 90% of daylight hours (naps included).

You know what my saving grace was?  Babywearing.  Seriously y’all, if you have a baby who needs to be held a lot, do yourself a favor and get a good baby carrier!  I personally own ten.  You read that right…10 baby carriers.  When you hold your baby as much as I did, you get a little a lot obsessed with finding the perfect baby carrier.  I’ve basically tried every style — wraps, slings, mei tai, structured carriers, etc., so I feel completely justified in calling myself a self-proclaimed baby-wearing expert.

Lil Peeper Keeper Ring Sling www.bestofbabylady.com

And one of my all-time favorite carriers?  Ring slings! Rings slings are pretty much the easiest carriers around.  All you have to do is pop your baby in and tighten…and when you have a baby as fussy as Jay was, quick and easy was a must!  That boy had no time to deal with complicated wraps, buckles or ties. 

And in true Iulia style, I did lots and lots of research before finding an amazing AND affordable line of ring slings…Li’l Peeper Keepers.  Li’l Peeper Keepers is run by Rebecca, a redeemed follower of Jesus, who has been making beautiful baby carriers for many years.  As a mother of 8 (WOW), she’s well experienced in the art of babywearing and carefully handcrafts each item with the knowledge that it will surely bless a momma and baby.  She uses top quality materials that are both natural and sturdy and goes to great lengths to ensure the sling is created to be both safe and strong.

And she has soooo many beautiful colors, fabrics, and designs.  I personally chose the Linen Ring Sling in pewter.  I went with linen, because it’s lighter fabric (but still very strong) for our hot southern summers.  And it’s incredibly soft and comfortable!

IMG_1011

Isn’t the detail on that lovely?  The stitching borders the whole sling.  It was one of the features that caught my eye…pretty, without being flashy! I feel like I can wear the ring sling with any outfit and not worry about it clashing. And that pleating? Specially designed to ensure comfort and adequate support.  The more “fanned” out the sling stays over your shoulder, the more comfortable it is to wear as it evenly distributes weight.

Our little Ella Bella isn’t as fussy as Jay was, but girlfriend still loves to be carried a lot.  My Li’l Peeper Keeper sling is a life-saver as far as actually getting stuff done around the house.  It frees up my hands while still keeping the dollie happy.  And did I mention how easy it is to get her in and out?

I also love the portability of my Li’l Peeper Keeper ring sling.  I have some other carriers that work well, but are just too cumbersome to take anywhere.  Not the case with the ring sling…it’s so easy to roll up that it has a permanent compartment in my diaper bag!

LPK 8

Don’t you want one now?  The answer is no.  You NEED one.  And you’re in luck!  Li’l Peeper Keeper is offering one Best of Baby reader their choice of a solid colored Linen Ring Sling (up to $59 value) or one of their new Wrap Conversion Ring Slings (up to $65 value).  And for those of you who don’t win, but realize how much you still NEED one of these, you’re also in luck!  Rebecca is offering free shipping through the end of March with any order using the code “ShippingSpecial”

Best of Baby is giving away a beautiful Li'l Peeper Keeper ring sling! #giveaway #ringsling #babywearing… Click To Tweet
I was not compensated for this post.  I purchased my ring sling several years ago and loved it so much that I offered to review it for Li’l Peeper Keepers.  All opinions are my own.

Happy clicking!

Lil’ Peeper Keeper Ring Sling

March 9, 2015

I’m a Lactivist…and I hated nursing

I Hated Nursing www.bestofbabylady.com

If you’ve been around Best of Baby for a while, you might have picked up on the fact I’m a lactivist…like really a lot. It’s hard not to be when there are so many amazing benefits to breastfeeding.  But would you believe me if I told you that I hated nursing?  Like hated it so much that I almost quit?

It’s true.  With my first baby, nursing was hard…at times even downright MISERABLE.  Most women will experience some discomfort in the early stages as their breasts adjust to nursing, but I had extreme pain for months on end.   What made it even worse is that I kept hearing “if you’re doing it right, then it won’t hurt”.

But guess what?  I was doing it right (according to three different lactation consultants) and it still hurt…a lot. And there were SO many challenges.

1)  PAIN AT ONSET OF NURSING

Every time my son latched, I felt like he had hidden razor blades in his mouth.  It was the toe curling, back arching, bite your tongue so you don’t scare the baby with your screams type of pain.  This made me DREAD every nursing session.  So much so, that if the nurses in the hospital had told me I could go 7 hours between each nursing session, I would have gladly taken their advice!

2)  PAIN WHILE NURSING

For many people, after the initial latch, the pain mostly eases up.  Not for me!  It hurt the whole nursing session (all 30-40 minutes of it).  I attribute that to extremely sensitive skin.  My poor nips were RAW and no amount of nipple cream made it any better (TMI?  Sorry…it’s a breastfeeding post though). 

3) PAIN AFTER NURSING

Ok, so you’d think that after I was done nursing, I’d get a break from the pain, right?  Not the case.  For about half an hour straight after a feeding session, I got what I not-so-lovingly termed “Fire Breasts”…where I literally felt like I had fire coursing through my baby feeders.  To this day, I still have no idea what caused it, though some have suggested an undiagnosed case of thrush.

Thankfully, after about 3 months, the pain diminished and nursing eventually became comfortable.  But during those first 3 months, it was awful.  I hated nursing and not a single day went by where I didn’t consider quitting.  The only thing that kept me going was the absolute knowledge that I was doing the best thing for my baby (seriously, if you don’t know about the benefits of breastfeeding, check out this post I wrote).

My point in all of this…don’t be discouraged if something so natural doesn’t, in fact, come naturally at all.  It can be very painful and very challenging, but ultimately, very rewarding.  Get help when you need it (lactation consultants are your friend!), persevere as much as you can, and know that eventually it probably will get better.  But if it doesn’t, take comfort in the fact that you’re doing something wonderful (and very sacrificial) for your child. 

(Sidenote: Don’t beat yourself up if you need to supplement or quit altogether.  You need to do what’s best for your baby, and that includes having a sane mama.)

(Sidenote 2: Nursing with #2 has been a breeze…so there’s definitely hope for anyone else who had a rough go of it the first time around.)

 

March 1, 2015

How I almost became a co-sleeping mom – In 16 deluded stages

How I almost became a co-sleeper www.bestofbabylady.com Image via Unsplash

The smell of vomit — spaghetti flavored — clinging to the air.  5 loads of laundry in a single day (oh why did it have to be spaghetti?!)   And a pitiful, barf breathed, exhausted little boy.  My mama heart ached…how could I make this better for him?

Then, as if triggered by the scent (literally) of my offspring’s distress, the long forgotten, primordial part of my DNA stirred within me.  And suddenly, I knew the answer:  co-sleeping.  Of course!  They always tout the benefits of skin-to-skin with newborns…why not with toddlers?  Ok, maybe not skin-to-skin, because did I mention the puke?  But perhaps pajama-to-pajama would suffice.  He would curl up next to me, inhale my primal motherly scent (some may call it sweat, but I take comfort in delusions of grandeur), and my innate motherness would radiate health and well-being into the child borne of my flesh. 

How I almost became a co-sleeper www.bestofbabylady.comImage via Unsplash

Empowered by the awakening of the earth mama within me, I brazenly declared to my husband — “He needs me. I’m sleeping next to him tonight!”

My dear man, in a gentle but knowing voice cautioned that maybe this wasn’t the best idea.  I’m a habitually light sleeper…and our son is notorious for limb thrashing, bed acrobatics, and enthusiastic sleep monologues.

“No no husband.  I’m his mama…he needs me.”

He conceded, in the “I’ll let her make her own mistakes” kind of way, but made it clear that he wouldn’t be joining us…something about wanting to get a good night’s sleep, I think. I can’t remember because I was too busy basking in the newly rediscovered metaphysical connection between my womb and its former inhabitant.

And so, glowing in the way that all enlightened earth mamas do, I began my 16 stage co-sleeping journey.

STAGE 1

Prep the bed with glee in anticipation of the upcoming closeness.  My toddler, who nowadays is way too busy to be bothered with affection, will be mine to squeeze all night long.  I can almost feel the invisible umbilical cord between us quiver with eagerness.  Is it bed time yet?

STAGE 2

Burrow down into the covers with my progeny.  This. is. deep.  My mama heart is so full!  Maybe those attachment parenting folks were right…humans aren’t meant to sleep alone.  What a cruel concept!  Why did we ever even buy a crib?  I wonder how much a California king bed costs…

STAGE 3

One hour later…hmmm, my offspring is still awake.  Ok, maybe the connection between us is just so invigorating that it’s keeping him up.  He’s probably just excited that we get to co-sleep!  I get it little man…I’m excited too!  Just maybe stop touching my face?  That might help both of us fall asleep more easily.

STAGE 4

*Sigh*  He’s finally asleep.  My calm mothering aura must have been such a source of comfort to him.  But why is he still touching my face?  And trying to stick his hand in my sleeve.  Ok, I’m just going to geeeently lift his hand and put it…

STAGE 5

Dang it, he just woke up.  No son, we cannot watch Daniel Tiger.  It’s midnight.

STAGE 6

It’s midnight!  I’m still awake.  And now I’m sharing a pillow with the mouth breather…I mean, the fruit of my womb.

STAGE 7

Scratch that.  I’ve lost the pillow completely.  Ok, no big deal…I’ll just carefully roll over to the other side of the bed and use his pillow. Veeery carefully….

STAGE 8

Dang it, he just woke up again.  And here we go with the face stroking… (note to self: wash face thoroughly in the morning)

STAGE 9

He’s finally falling asleep.  Don’t move mama.  Yes, there’s a leg on your chest and you’re becoming short of breath.  Just practice the calm breathing from that yoga class you never showed up for.  Or better yet, remember how you breathed (some may call it screamed, but again, delusions of grandeur) your baby out of your body.  Channel that inner control.

STAGE 10

Forget that. I’m getting lightheaded.  Let me just geeently roll him over….

STAGE 11

Dang it.

STAGE 12

Ok, he’s back asleep.  I think we’re good for the rest of the night…all 4 hours of it.  Wait a minute…how did he end up perpendicular to me…and back on my pillow?!  Oh fine.  You can have ALL the pillows.  I’ll just bunch up the blanket that you kicked to the floor and use that as my head cushion.

STAGE 13

Ok Mama, time for a pep-talk.  No one ever said attachment parenting would be easy.  This co-sleeping thing is challenging for sure, but soooo worth it — AHHH I think he just fractured my nose!  Seriously…I felt it move to the left and it didn’t move back.  Let me turn my phone light on to see if that’s blood…what?! Is it really 5:00am?

STAGE 14

Ok, forget attachment parenting.  Co-sleeping is for the birds.  I’m going to go see what the weight limit is on a toddler bed…if I curl up just right, I might be able to squeeze myself in there and catch a few hours of sleep.  Let me just geeeently climb out of bed. 

STAGE 15

Dang it.

STAGE 16 – AKA Sunrise.

Earth Mama has left the building.  I need coffee.  And an ice pack.

 

Disclaimer: This post is really just meant to be a lighthearted humor piece.  I hate that I even have to put a disclaimer on it, but if there’s one thing my “They Lied…It Matters How You Birth” piece taught me, is that EVERYTHING inevitably ends up being controversial.  So to anyone that’s offended by this post…. I think attachment parenting is great.  I think independent parenting (or whatever the opposite is) is great.  I think co-sleeping (when done safely) is great and I think crib-sleeping (also when done safely) is great.  I’ve dabbled in all of those things, and it was great.  Have I covered everything?

(And for the record, I actually co-slept naps with my son for months when he was younger and it was one of my absolutely favorite parts of his baby/toddlerhood…it just doesn’t work now that he’s older)