Sunday, June 2, 2013

Help and support

It's been a while since I have posted on this blog. It has been a very eventful few months I must say. With being pregnant with twins and raising an almost 3 year old I hardly find time for myself. I went into preterm labor on April 29th, I was 30 weeks pregnant with twins. I dilated all the way to 6 cm and the doctors were able to stop labor, thankfully. I have been in the hospital ever since, which is going on 5 weeks this coming Monday. I posted this blog last week on my personal blog and thought I would share. Maybe some may be able to relate. Hoping to have more interesting posts once I get the ball rolling with raising 3 kids 3 y/o and under! I forgot what it is like to have a newborn and something tells me my babies will not be easy on me :)

Lets talk about support. I have been in the hospital now for 4 weeks straight! In those 4 weeks I have never received more offers of help in my life! Between my military family, most of which I barely know very well, offering to care for my daughter and come to the hospital to keep me company to my parents and Joe's parents dropping everything to come to my house and help clean and maintain it and care for Adrianna (and feed my husband). I am so very lucky to have such a great support system. Some of my friends have even come to the hospital just to chat for a few hours, how nice to have regular girl talk :)

Anyway, as my time being pregnant comes close to ending I have started to think about what life will be like with 3 kids 3 and under....two of which will be newborns. I am never one that likes to ask for help. I actually really hate asking for help unless I really need to, emergency situations and such. I am pretty sure that is why I ended up on hospital bed rest, I didn't ask for help nor did I listen to my body when it would tell me to slow down. I would go food shopping and think "it should be fine to carry all of these bags in myself, it is only a few steps away." You guys, I even carried cases of water 2 weeks before going into preterm labor! That did happen, and I should have never done that. We wont talk about other things I did throughout my pregnancy because, OB has a facebook and I am afraid she will read this ;). Point is, I should have asked for or accepted help when offered. As moms, I feel like we grade ourselves on that kind of shit, "I raised 4 kids and I never needed help and I home-schooled, home birthed and my kids never watch TV and I still nurse my toddler who latched on from the moment they were born." Just because I don't do these things doesn't mean I am less of a mother. I am perfectly perfect for my kids and my husband.  I have learned the hard way that help is nothing to be ashamed of. I am making it a point to accept help once the twinkies (I'm back to calling them twinkies, I am not mad at them anymore for misbehaving lol) arrive. My mom has been with Adrianna for about 4 weeks while I have been in the hospital and my MIL is here for about 1 week to give my mom a break. Once the twinkies are here, my mom will be back for maybe a week or so then it is just Joe and I until June 26th....then my 16 y/o cousin is coming in from out of town to be the relief. She will be helping me with everything, mainly keeping Adrianna company while we are tending to the twinkies and prepping our house for the move to VA in the middle of July. I am so glad to have all of this help. I am sure if we need my MIL or mother at any point they will gladly drop what they are doing and come our way. I don't anticipate needing meals made or anything like my wonderful military community likes to do, but I will not be turning away any form of help. I am done feeling bad for looking "weak" because I can't be supermom and handle it all on my own. This includes my feelings after birth.

With Adrianna, I had more than just the baby blues. I was down right depressed for a period of time. I did a great job faking it, but I had never felt more alone than I did during her first 6 months or so. I would cry throughout the day, had no motivation to do anything (I would force myself to tidy up the house but I never really went anywhere for 3-4 months), I couldn't sleep at night because I thought for sure Adrianna would stop breathing if I wasn't alert and attentive to her. It was miserable. Once she hit about 5-6 months I did some research and found a mommy and me gym class called Little Gym and it was seriously my saving grace! For the first time as a new mom I interacted with other new moms going through the same hardships of raising a newborn, it was fantastic. I will never forget the first time I brought Adrianna to a restaurant for lunch by myself. She was about 6.5 months old and it was after a little gym class, we went to Panera together and I juggled pushing the stroller around people and tables and getting my food/finding a table. It was hard and exhausting but felt so good once I settled in. Since that day, I began taking Adrianna out to run errands with me. They weren't always smooth, she once threw up EVERYWHERE at a Starbucks, pooped all up her back and on a shopping cart at a Target, I mean it was hard! But it felt good when I was able to accomplish what I need to during the day all while juggling a baby. Now, I am faced with twins. Will I have the same feelings again? Am I going to cry all day long, be stuck at home or stay up all night obsessing over their breathing? Chances are, that may happen again. I don't want it to but it probably will. I have had so much anxiety throughout this whole pregnancy. Now during my hospital stay I have the worst thoughts run through my mind...scary morbid thoughts. What if I die during labor, how will Adrianna handle not having me around forever? What if one of the babies die, will Adrianna keep asking for the other baby because she is so used to there being two babies in my belly? Will one be sick? Will one have Downs? Are the nurses sure they are getting two different babies when they check the heartbeats every night? Why do I think this way??? It is so frustrating because I feel out of control when these thoughts enter my mind, I feel like I can't breath or I just cry myself to sleep. It isn't healthy. So I suspect I will be just as anxious when the twinkies are home with me. Difference is, I will NOT be afraid to ask for help. I will tell the pediatrician the truth when she asks me how I am feeling (she would ask me multiple times whenever I brought Adrianna in to see her and I would lie every time). I will be honest with my OB when asked how I am handling things. I will talk to my husband more about these feelings and not try to hide them, there is nothing to be ashamed of. I hope I can resolve these feelings without medication. I hope that once the babies I will be so over the moon happy there will be no room for these crazy irrational thoughts and feelings. I will be paying more attention to caring for myself as well as them though, healthy me equals better mommy for them, all 3 of my babies :)

BTW, eviction date for the twinkies....JUNE 5TH!!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Flying Across the Pond...

It must be summer! We are up and traveling again. Two days ago, we landed in the UK for a two week adventure and our first foray into international travel with the little guy.

No matter how many times I fly with the little man, it is different every time! We booked a late afternoon flight into Detroit and connected to Heathrow from there. 

We spent the morning before our flight at the children's museum in Denver letting off steam. This got us all nice and tired. 

When traveling internationally, if your little one is traveling as an infant in arms, you will need to pay taxes on the trip when you arrive at the airport. This took about 30 min. and the cost is around $300 (you can estimate it as roughly 10% of the ticket cost.) I'm not sure why it takes so much time, but arrive early to account for this. The airline will then issue tickets your your infant in arms child.

In Denver we sought refuge in the USO. (Located in Terminal A near the airline clubs.) They are so wonderful there! We all got a bite to eat and settled into their dark room for H to take a nap. He slept for about 45 min while we charged up all our gadgets. 

H played happily on the flight to Detroit. We had lots of food for him, but he loved the collection of snacks from the flight attendants. He played with the peanuts and pretzels and ate the Biscoff cookies. Our only incident came when my husband attempted to remove the cookie remnants from my sons hands, at which point he totally freaked out. Even with all the toys we brought, little peach preferred the window shade, armrest and buttons on the chair to everything we brought. Since we were in the bulkhead, he was able to stand at our feet and play around. 

We arrived in Detroit with a close connection (due to storms moving across the plains) and got off one plane and right on to the next. While everyone else was boarding, we changed the little guy into his PJ's, read a story, said prayer and he was asleep before we started to taxi. Amazingly, he slept for much of the flight. He woke up several times to reposition and we had to get creative a few times to help him get comfortable. We put a blanket down at the floor and let him sleep at our feet for a bit and I even sat on the floor so that he could sleep in one of the seats! 

When they turned on the lights for breakfast, the little guy woke up and enjoyed three of the breakfast muffins. (We had a very nice flight attendant!) We got him dressed before we landed and let him watch some of the kids TV options as we landed. 

Going through customs was a breeze. A customs officer jumped those of us with little ones to the head of the line, saving everyone some headache. Although the little ones slept, they only got about three hours. Immigration was a breeze, although our car seat came out on a different carousel. 

We chose to bring our own car seat to the UK after much Internet searching and a phone conversation with Britax. We have a Britax Marathon. UK law requires you to have a UK car seat. That being said, everyone I talked to assured me that our carseat was a better option then renting one through the car hire. (The UK law does have an exception for US Military, but only of they are using their US car here.) New cars in the UK have LATCH, although it is called something else and not as well marked as in US vehicles. Britax assured me my rental car would be new enough to have this same system, and sure enough we were able to use the LATCH fasteners and secure the seat. Now lets just hope that my husband remembers what side of the road to drive on.

So so far, so good...right? Well here is the bad news: The first night was terrible. We all passed out around 7:30pm and slept without trouble till about midnight, when Little Peach woke up and thought it was time to get up. It took almost two hours to get him back to sleep -
It eventually took turning on all the lights, having a snack and then going back to bed co-sleeping style. The good news is he woke up smiling and ready to take on the day and we are all now fully acclimated! 

I'm sure I'll have more tips and tricks as we make our way around the island. In the meantime, you can follow us on twitter @ejdn or read about our travel at Out of Edwards. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Easy, Awesome, DIY Toys!

These are the easiest, most engaging activity items my kid has. I saw a few at the Children's Museum in Atlanta and was inspired.  You don't even need instructions to entertain your child for hours. Take a bottle and fill it with something - literally anything - secure cap, and give to you kid. I filled some bottles with water and food coloring. Today we had a play date at a friend's house who had used popcorn in one bottle and felt balls in another. Genius.
Activity Tubes at Atlanta Children's Museum 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


My toddler just had a meltdown.  I'm talking sitting on the floor, crying hysterically, inconsolable because we were outside, she wasn't listening, and I made her come inside.  I could feel myself getting frustrated with her so I took a deep breath and picked her up and we went and sat on the couch until she calmed down.  I spoke softly to her while she cried, encouraged her to stop crying, and tell me what was wrong.  She was calm within a few minutes because I was calm.  I'm not saying I'm a perfect parent.  I am far from it, but I do try to improve my parenting skills every day and be a better today than I was yesterday.

The thing is toddlers don't have the language skills or the emotional understanding to express what they are feeling verbally.  Yes, I believe my toddler was mad, but she doesn't have the words to tell me she was mad that she had to come inside.  She also doesn't have the language skills to necessarily understand why we had to come inside.  She was expressing her frustration the only way she knew crying and pitching a fit. 

In moments like these try to put yourself in your toddlers place.  Physically get down on their level.  Sit with them, hold them, talk to them calmly.  Help your toddler learn how to express themselves by letting them know it's okay to tell you when they are mad/sad/frustrated/happy/etc.  Encourage your toddler to stop crying and talk to you as much as they are able at this young age. 

If you need a time out then take a time out.  It's better to remove yourself from the situation or ask a trusted friend or family member to hang out with your child for a few minutes while you calm down than it is to take your frustrations out on your child.  Never discipline your child when you are angry or take your frustrations out on your child.  Remember your child isn't doing anything wrong...they are acting like a toddler, learning self expression.  You have a choice to maintain control and be patient with your child.  You have the ability to maintain control and demonstrate patience.

Parenting is hard.  It's a lot of work.  It takes a lot of patience.  Your child needs and deserves an amazing parent.  That doesn't mean being a perfect parent, but rather it means that you actively work on your parenting skills.  We all need help and advice from time to time. 

Serenity Counseling Online is here to help.  Whether you are looking to strengthen your parenting skills, need someone to talk to about parenting, or have questions on how to work with your particular child don't hesitate to contact us.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Toddler Bed

I thought Sweet E was ready for the toddler bed.  Okay, I didn't really, but circumstances have sort of forced us into this transition (we are getting ready to move into a hotel for 2 months before our military move).  We knew she'd be sleeping on a toddler cot at the hotel so we wanted to transition her to the toddler bed now in preparation for that.  

It hasn't been as awful as I thought it would be except for naptimes which to be honest have not been that great in our house recently.  We have a LOT of change going on right now.  We sold our house, traveled to VA to find a house, are having a baby, moving to a hotel.  I know Sweet E knows something is going on, but how do you explain to a 2 year old all of those things?  

So basically Sweet E only will fall asleep at night if someone sits in her room until she falls asleep.  I sort of am okay with this.  I don't want this to be our habit forever, but with everything that is happening I feel like she might just need the extra support right now.  

Naptime she wants to get out of her bed and play.  Yesterday she did not take a nap at all, only woke up once during the night, fell back to sleep relatively quickly (with mommy half asleep in the rocker), and stayed in bed till almost 6:45 this morning.  Mommy needs to get stuff done during naptime plus I NEED that down time during the day and sometimes I just need a nap, too!  

I just ordered her a tot clock so I am hoping that helps get her on a better sleep schedule.  

What's your best tips for transitioning to the toddler bed and helping your toddler stay in bed?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Birthday Party Prep

When Baby Peach turned 10 months i thought it was time to start thinking about his first birthday party! I made a trip to Hobby Lobby for inspiration. (Thanks to major traffic on 25, I missed Stroller Strides and found myself with some extra time. Lemons into Lemonade!)

I won't bore you with the crafty details (you can read those over at Peach Stitches.) I'm pretty excited about planning the party - even though it means my little one won't be so little. In an attempt to put everything I make for the party to use, I'll be using some of the decorations in BP's big boy room.

Here is a photo preview of some of the goods...

Friday Favorite: Books Baby Loves

Photo by Forever Mine Photography

I'm clearly on a book kick. I blame the spring snow. The days are getting longer, but I still have to stay inside. (My Georgia roots make it impossible for me to truly enjoy the snow from anywhere other than inside, under a blanket with a book.) Luckily, my little guy loves to "read" as well. Books are our go to car activity and we spend at least 45 min every day with him finding his favorite books on the low shelf or in the library bag and bringing them to me to read. He loves to flip the pages, sometimes so fast that you can't read all the words and instead are lowered to the level of just making the animal sounds. He also finds books hysterical. He opens them, laughs and slams them shut. I guess it's funny, if you think about it.

Here are the books that are capturing my 11 month old's attention this week:

Noodle Loved Bedtime, Noodle Loves the Farm, Noodle Loves get the point he loves the Noodle books. In case your wondering, Noodle is a panda bear that loves a lot of things. The books have lots to touch and feel and the last page always has a mirror.

Pat the Bunny by: Dorothy Kunhardt.
Ironically, he jars the page where you pat the bunny. He loves peek a boo with Paul and smelling the flowers....and there is a mirror. He likes that too.

Heads & Tails by: Matthew Van Fleet
These cute books feature animals and their amazing heads and tails. The book has plenty of fun moving pieces that baby peach can't operate on his own yet, but he  thinks it's funny when you do.

Peek-A-Boo Forest
This is his favorite car book. Luckily the rhymes are simple to remember so I can spout them from the front seat as we drive. "Who's hiding behind that spruce?"

Note: A huge thanks to Forever Mine Photography for capturing some of our favorite family moments. Such as reading Pat the Bunny together as a family. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Out and About

Little Peach and I continue to be out and about around town as much as we can.

Getting out has really helped us make friends. I say "US" because it is important that little peach has someone to play with and that I have someone to talk with. There is nothing better for a friendship then sharing in experiences. I have found myself in a wonderfully supportive large group through Stroller Strides. I love that this group is comprised of so many moms. Or group has a Facebook group where we can share information on upcoming events or get advice. I also have a smaller group within this group who all have kids around the same age. Our kids play well together and at the same level - amazing. We have been setting up weekly play dates with this group. This is so good for little peach. His social skills are refining as he learns about playing gently with others, and alternates between taking toys and having toys taken from him.

Getting out has built my confidence immensely as a mom. I have had great days out and total disasters and I have survived them all. Little peach has thrown a fit in the middle of Target and I survived. He has screamed the whole way in the car to an putting and I've survived. Blowouts, wet diapers, throw up - I have survived it all!

Getting it tires us both out. Little Peach has never been a better sleeper. I know he is exhausted from all the playing but it makes him sleep well for naps and at night. He falls right to sleep without a fuss and will even engage in a little quiet independent play in his crib with a book. I want him to learn to value quiet downtime as much as playtime. He seems to like the change in routine.

I've had to relax a few of my standards. When we are at a play date or at an activity little peach gets some more processed food then I would give him if we were having lunch at home. These things are helping me be more relaxed and helping baby peach be more flexible.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Love Letter to My Library

Dear Local Library -

I'm sorry we were apart for so long. I moved to a land far far away (see Out of Edwards), where we lost touch. Then, in August, we were reunited!

I knew we would be fast friends when I was able to choose the design on the front of my freshly laminated library card. I, of course, chose brightly colored hot air balloons.

In those years we were apart, you had grown and changed. Yes, you were still filled with books, but now you had an iPad app so I could check on books from my phone and place them on hold. (A necessity with a wiggly one in tow.) You send books straight to my kindle, audiobooks to my iPad, and three free songs a week!

The events you've planned have dominated my calendar. We started at Baby Time, but soon we were too mobile. We spent a week attending the regular story time - but that was way over our head. That's when we discovered Toddler Time - a wonderful collection of songs and stories with no requirement for sitting still. We've petted dogs (at the library each week for kids to practice reading to) and chickens, built Chinese Dancing Dragons and even fed the ducks behind the Monument branch (just ask at the desk for duck food.)

Just when I thought I couldn't be more attached, I found your collection of board books. Little Peach could hardly contain his excitement as he pulled all the books out of the bin. I've had to place an artificial limit on how many we get each week.

It is not all about Little Peach though. You provided most of the Oscar nominated films for after the baby is asleep date night movies, in addition to some classics and documentaries. I'm slowly winding down my Amazon book wish list filled with cookbooks, chick lit, parenting books and sewing books with each visit.

My husband has even found a few books to read. He is the first to admit his initial attraction was due to your proximity to our local brewery and the promise of a lower Amazon bill, but now he is addicted to your online offerings. He even says your audiobooks make his commute more productive.

Have I mentioned your self check out lanes? Love those. Seriously.

With warmest regards,
- Mama Peach

P.S. if you want to know what I'm reading, head over to Peach Stitches and check the side bar.

PPS. Okay, a few of my fellow bloggers have asked when I have the time to read. I've found more time to read now than ever before - mostly when little peach falls asleep in his car seat, stroller or other inconvenient place. I pull out my book and read!

Unloading all our Library Books! 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Ma Chauffeur’s 5 tips to a successful first flight (at least with my 7-month old)

By the time February rolls around every year, I’m a Michigander who yearns to see and feel the warmth of the sun.  In order to boost our vitamin D levels, my husband and I decided to start a new family tradition – an annual winter retreat to Naples, FL! 

I don’t know how many of you moms worried about your first flight with your LO (or still worry if you haven’t taken your first flight yet), but after sleep training then 5-month old B in December, I seldom worry about any new experience with him now.  I worried more that I would forget B’s SPF 50 sun tan lotion and birth certificate than how he would handle his first flight. 

Despite my worry and to my surprise, during and after the flight we received many compliments from the crew and other passengers that B was extremely well behaved so without further delay and in no particular order, (although my husband may disagree), here are my top 5 tips to our success on our first flight.  

#1. A bottle of water.  We heard having something to drink upon lift off and landing was critical to popping ears.  I planned to breastfeed B to help pop his ears, which I eventually resorted to, but since he loves to do anything “adult” do and we’re practicing drinking out of “big boy” cups, he was fascinated with a bottle of water for longer than I expected. 

#2. A boppy.  Some parents told us their LO sleep in a front body carrier on their flight, but B is not a fan of any carrier and hates to be confined.  (You can only imagine our shock when B was hours old that swaddling was completely out of the question).  I had to be creative as to how he was going to sleep on my lap.  Praise to the high heavens that what I thought may work, actually worked and my mother’s intuition kicked in!  B felt most comfortable sleeping on our boppy on his back with both arms and legs extended far out in all directions.

#3. My boob. On the flight to Florida, there were a few seconds when B started to cry.  After being kept up past his nap time, exhaustion set in.  His fascination with the bottle of water ended and I panicked. Was he going to cry during the entire 3-hour flight?  I quickly whipped out my boob and B was home sweet home.  As soon as his crying started, it stopped, and he slept through touch down upon our arrival in Florida.

#4. Reading B’s cues. I knew I had to make B as comfortable as possible since this was a completely new experience.  Upon take off, when he looked at me like I had 10 eyes, I explained what was happening.  When he started to cry, I fed him so he could go to sleep.  When he woke up in a panic from his sleep, not knowing where he was at, I positioned him in the other direction on the boppy, fed him again, and he slept the remainder of the flight. The flight attendant even commented he looked so relaxed and peaceful.

#5. My husband. He stood in the aisle with B until he was required to sit down.  He entertained B for the longest game of peek-a-boo that I’ve ever seen. He shielded wandering teenage boy’s eyes when my boob had to make an appearance for breastfeeding.  And he told me I was doing a great job keeping B as comfortable as possible.  I must say so myself, he is husband and Dad of the year in my world!

From one mom to another, I hope you find one of my tips help you in your first successful flight with your LO.  PS – And after worrying about B’s birth certificate, they never asked for it. 

Naptime aka The Universe's Cruel Joke on SAHM

To give you a little background my now 2 year did not sleep for the first year of her life. People who said sleep when the baby sleeps risked getting punched in the face by me. She didn't nap, she didn't sleep at night, and it didn't help that my husband was enjoying his 15 hours of sleep per night during his vacation in the desert.

Now I realize that naptime is really the universe's way of saying f**k you to stay at home moms. It's payback on behalf of all those women who have to work everyday while we stay eating bonbons, watching reality tv, and getting fat. (and God help you if you tell me that your child naps for 5 hours every afternoon)

I think for a large portion of stay at home moms we approach naptime with the same trepidation we might use when trying to kill a spider in our home. You know it's something that needs to be done and yet you dread it with every fiber of your being. Dread mixed with unbridled optimism that today will be the day that your child naps.

Today we had to run to Walmart to return this crappy humidifier (fair warning do not waste your money on a Honeywell humidifier. I don't know how a company who makes pretty much every single piece of an airplane including the engine can NOT make a simple humidifier. I may never fly again.) Because our sweet sweet daughter had been up since 5:30am she fell asleep in the car on the way home at 11:30am. Not only on the way home, but actually on our street. I thought this is great. I'll just sneak her up to her crib and she'll take a nap and I can eat lunch and have 5 minutes to relax and get things done.

I'm sure my other SAHM's can relate to that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when, after you've congratulated yourself on successfully getting your child into the house; getting her shoes off; getting her jacket off; getting her into the crib; and getting yourself back downstairs, you hear not 30 seconds later that tiny voice on the monitor. Mommy, mommy, *singing*, *singing*, *talking to stuffed animals*, *playing* and you know that You. Are. Screwed.

So I get Em up and feed her lunch and eat my own lunch, during which she has a massive poo (ya know the kind you can hear), and I know I have to change her diaper and that there's a good chance I'm gonna throw up on her. So we head upstairs around and it's now 1pm and I put vicks in my nose and inhale a baby wipe (it was THAT bad y'all) and gag and try not to throw up and finally get Em into her crib.

Where she cries, and plays, and whines, and wants to go potty, and on and on and on. Around 2pm I try laying down with her. hahahaha And the thing is that she is soooo funny that I have a hard time not laughing (even though my soul feels like crying for the desperation I feel at needing a break from my child).

Around 2:30 my phone, which is downstairs, starts ringing...and ringing...and ringing. Em, like her daddy, is very concerned about me not answering my phone so finally I go down to see what the emergency is. I return some phone calls (and tell the hubby that if he comes home and asks me what I got done today there is a good chance he'll be punched in the face) and as I'm on the phone I can hear Em running around upstairs and I realize there will be NO naptime today...for the second day in a row.

No naptime. I feel like I've just learned that there is no Santa Claus.

Now I'm sure all you working moms are thinking "oh poor baby, gets to stay home and play with your child all day. Boo hoo." And yes that thought has crossed my mind as well. In my defense I did get FIRED during my pregnancy and I also went crazy after the baby was born (literally crazy, like had to take medication crazy) which would've made returning to work at that time challenging considering I worked with the mentally ill and 4 months after said baby arrived my husband deployed to Afghanistan's not been all fun and games over here in our household. But yes, I do thank God every day for my blessings and the ability to stay at home...even when I want to run screaming naked into the yard.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Becoming an "Eco-Mama"

I'm a big fan of the webpage Food Renegade, which focuses on eating healthier by getting as close to the source as possible with the foods you eat. I've become increasingly "granola" since having Little Peach (okay, who are we kidding: it all started with the birthing class I took at BiniBirth in LA and solidified by my amazing doula assisted birth, all this much to the chagrin of my mother and the delight of my sister for finally embracing her ways.) Anyway, the blog is not judgy, and provides a good variety of articles on everything from public policy to recipes.

The author of Food Renegade has published a book on eating during pregnancy, breast feeding, baby's first meals and even on possible links to infertility. The book is on Pre-order now on Amazon. If you Pre-order now, she throws in her online nutrition e-course. We are not sponsored by Food Renegade, but I wanted to pass on the word if you think this book might be for you. Once I get my copy, I'll let you know how it is.

If you think this is up your ally, you may also enjoy the following. (If this is not your thing, please stop reading now and feel free to judge my growing crunchy-ness...)

Get Ready to Get Pregnant by Dr. Michael C. Lu

(Please don't read this if you are already pregnant!) Dr. Lu is a leading OBGYN at UCLA who has had great success in reducing pregnancy complications (hypertension, early labor, etc.) through diet and environment changes prior to pregnancy. His current research focuses on extending these practices to eliminate childhood conditions. The book provides information on his studies and easy to follow check lists for changes you can make. His methods are widely used by the UCLA OB's and Midwives including the Dr 's we used for Baby Peach.

Slow Death by Rubber Ducky: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things by Robert Smith

The ultimate book of #firstworldproblems. This is the book that convinced me to give up sulphates in my shampoo and (as much as possible) anything containing the word "parfume." (Mama Bee should not read this book, and neither should those who may become obsessive.) I found this book to be filled with information which I could take and act on and others I chose to completely ignore, because I can't imagine giving a particular product up. If like me, you're an information gatherer, this is a great book to be aware of the chemicals in our lives,

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stork Stack Review Update and Another Great Month with Citrus Lane

Today my snow day was interrupted by finding this in my mailbox.

Yep. It's a Postage Due notice for $1.15 from Stork Stack. To refresh your memory read the review here; but the long and short of it is that Stork Stack sent the wrong gender baby legs. I was asked to mail them back (which cost $2.07) to Stork Stack. Then, today, I received the notice--for what I assume to be the baby legs--because there was insufficient postage. I am waiting for the company to get back to me, but I'm annoyed it has taken so much effort to resolve this problem. They just got back to me (while I was writing this post) and are applying a $5 credit to my account. They also apologized, which goes along way with me.

Meanwhile Citrus Lane continues to impress with one of our best monthly packages yet! Citrus Lane has revised some of their packages due to customer feed back, so they are now sending items babies can grow into. Our February package (age 10 months) included the following.

The small board book Spring is Here from Chronicle Books.

 Toddler Tamborine from Hohner Kids

 Little Buddy Wipes from Me4kids

 Tooth Gel from Branam

Lip Balm (for Mom) from Pangea Organics.

 The items total to just shy of $39 - which is great since I only pay $25/month!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday's Favorite: Books about baby

Well I was going to just comment on Mama Peach's post (but that was quickly getting out of control). So here are my favorites:

    • Great Expectations: This was my go to book because it takes you all the way from pregnancy (week to week changes) to labor and recovery (i.e. birth alternatives) and to how to care for a newborn (feeding, bathing, emergency baby life support). It also had great recommendations on baby gear (what to look for when making the major purchases and how to start your layette).

    • The Baby Bump: This is basically like the website where it describes weekly changes you might be feeling and things like whether it's safe for a pregnant mommy to paint the nursery. My husband loved reading this and updating me that "Baby Bee is now the size of a cantaloupe", hah.

    • Show Mom How: this book is hilarious. It's like all those "How to Survive a ____ Attack" books. There's a version for Dads and both are filled with tips like how to stimulate baby's development and how to fake a clean house as well as "How to Conquer a Ninja Obstacle Course".  

    • Recording your pregnancy/baby's first year:
      • I didn't get the Belly Book but I did get the My Baby book by the same author. It's cute and there are short questions on how baby is changing (although I've FAILED on updating it haha). The only thing I didn't like about it is there isn't a place for all the keepsakes from our time in the hospital.

    • The first weeks. 
      • Agreed on the Happiest Baby on the Block; it was in the new Dad's class the hubs went to, the tips were easy to do, and it really worked on our little one. We later transitioned to Baby Whisperer when it came to establishing a regular nap routine. It worked well for us but it's certainly not the only one out there (see previous blog posts for Sleep Training tips). 

      • It starts with a quiz to identify your baby's temperament then it provides solid advice on how to calm your baby's specific type. 

    • Best All Around: 

      • We were gifted Baby411 and I can't believe how many times we've gone through that to find answers on feeding, well baby checkups/immunizations.. everything. 

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

    Packing for Baby: The Car

    Nothing can ruin a mommy's day like reaching into your diaper bag and realizing you forgot extra diapers, or a snack, or a new toy. I quickly realized I was going to need to keep back-up supplies in the car. This is not only a practical solution, but it also makes my car feel like home base. At the airport, I feel relief when I get to my car - not just when I get home. Plus, with mommy brain you never know what I'm going to forget!

    I received a Thirty-One Tote as a baby shower gift. It is the perfect size to fit behind the seat in front of the car-seat. I love that everything is contained (remember I'm Type A) and that I can remove the whole bag for re-packing, cleaning, or date night.

    I organize the bag with the most used items (food, toys, wipes) on the top and the lesser used items (rain cover, hats) on the bottom. About once a week, I have to pull the whole bag out of the car and reorganize everything - it also helps me feel less like my car has been taken over by the little one.

    Food. Since my little man is quite the eater, I always keep some snack in the car. I keep them near the top since a hungry kid is an emergency. The Munchie Mug Snack Cup is one of my favorite inventions. The soft fabric keeps the stuff from spilling, but lets a hand in. The big handle means Baby Peach can grab on to it even when I am carrying him or he is in the stroller. The Munchie Mug also comes with a separate lid so if it is in my bag, I can seal it up completely. Baby Peach has not quite got the hang of grabbing just a few Cheerios at a time - so it can be a real mess. (Nothing that shaking out the car seat can't fix.) I used to be really worried about Baby Peach choking while I was driving so I stuck to Puffs (a variety of brands available) and Mum-Mumms, which basically melt in his mouth. He has pretty much mastered eating, so I've added GoGoSqueeZ apple sauce pouches and Kashi Cereal Bars to the "car snack" rotation. I keep a plastic bag full of these snacks in the car bag. I also keep a standard Munchkin 8oz sippy cup in the car. Its not our favorite cup, but it works and I wouldn't cry if it got lost.

    Diaper Change. The real downside of cloth diapering is traveling. I almost always resort to disposables when we are on a long trip, but even short trips can provide a challenge. My car bag always has a full back of disposable inserts for the clot diapers. This way if I forgot to pack an extra insert (we used Flips) or we go through more then expected I can stay with the cloth diapers. I also keep a few disposable diapers in the car, because sometimes the cover becomes soiled and I don't have another. I also find you can never have too many diaper wipes or too many hand wipes, so an extra package of each of those go in the bag as well.

    Comfort Items.  I have a collection of items I keep in the bag designed to make Baby Peach or myself more comfortable regardless of unanticipated weather changes. A small lap quilt, which I have used for sitting on, nursing, playing peek-a-boo and providing shade. A small first aid kit from Medibuddy. A Balboa Baby Shopping Cart and High Chair Cover, which we use so much I ended up buying a second one for our other car. I also have a plastic bag full of extras - socks, cloth drool bibs, onesies, pants and t-shirt for mom. A plastic bag full of seasonal items - winter hat, mittens, sun hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and any other item that I may need to sub in or out of my diaper bag. I also keep a rain cover for the stroller. (I used to keep this rain cover in the house, but then I never had it when I needed it - this way rain doesn't dampen our plans.)

    Add caption
     Toys. The most used item in the car bag is the small bag of toys. I use a reusable shopping bag to corral all the car toys. I can pull out the whole bag to bring it with me if needed, and it makes cleaning up the toys a snap. (Baby Peach throws the toys, so they end up all over the car.) The toy bag is easily reachable, so I can grab something new and hand it over, if necessary. I change out the toys in the car with the exception of this little cell phone toy (and another phone toy). This thing can provide hours of entertainment and is a real crowd pleaser.

    Obviously the items will continue to change as Baby Peach gets older, but curtailing his mess to one bag sure makes my car seem somewhat organized.

    Taking Time For Me

    One of the hard things, for me, about being a stay at home mom has been finding "me" time. I've approached being a mom just like I approach a work project - keep at it till it's done right. The problem here is that it's never done; there is always more laundry, more toys, and more things to do with baby.

    A few weeks ago, I realized it had been a long time since I did something just for me. (I do drag Baby Peach to my daily exercise class, but that feels like a necessity!) I felt like a mess - my last pedicure was in November, my last massage was when I was pregnant, and I am in terrible need of a new hair style. When I expressed this to my amazing husband, he told me to schedule a haircut or nails or whatever I needed - no problem. The thing is, I always felt like there was something more important to do. I finally realized I would feel better about myself if I took a little time away for myself. Sure enough, after just going to get my hair blown out for family photos, I felt amazing. I had renewed patience for Baby Peach and the boys got some quality one-on-one time. Lesson Learned. An hour away makes me feel awesome and makes me a better mom.

    This week I headed out to the Department of Aeronautics Spouses Group Painting Party. What a treat to spend some time working on a painting (I love being crafty), chatting with the girls and having a glass of wine. I feel ready to take on the week!

    What are you doing for yourself this week?

    Friday's Favorite: Books about Baby

    I had hoped my mom visiting would mean some down time to get some blogging done... Those of you that know me will not be surprised that I actually used the time to play tour guide. I promise to update you on traveling with a little one, but first I want to know your favorite books to prepare for baby. Here are mine: 


    Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy - Provides real details about what your going to encounter, from sleepless nights and swollen ankles to all the dirty details about post-labor. The use of "girlfriend" and reminding you that pregnancy is actually 10 months can get annoying, but the information is exactly what your best friend would tell you.

    Recording Your Pregnancy:
    The Belly Book - Cute with the right amount of writing prompts and plenty of spaces for pictures.

    What to Buy:

    Baby Bargains - This is a must have if you need to make any large purchases. Each product section has a nice breakdown based on how much you want to spend.  The webpage can also be quite helpful.

    Those First Weeks:
    Happiest Baby on the Block - LOVE this book. You probably don't need to own it, so check it out from your local library. (There is also a movie, if it is more your thing.) This is exactly what they teach nurses and it works... if you follow through on all the steps.

    Best All-around:

     Brain Rules for Baby -  Amazing book that describes what baby's brain is doing and what you can do to help development at each stage. It is so well written you won't even realize how much information you are gathering.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

    Come On Guys, Follow Me

    My daughter is a con artist. She is funny, she has a large personality, and she knows we think she is awesome. I'm not sure how this play out when #2 gets here, but I fear that Sweet E will teach #2 her tricks and together they will take over the world. Or at least our house.

    Last night as soon as Hubby read Sweet E her bedtime stories and laid her down in her crib she started with "sleep with mommy." He told her no and she went to sleep. She's had an awful nighttime cough (no other symptoms) and a friend (shout out to JSF) told me about Zarbees cough syrup. I had given her some before bed and it wore off about 12:41am. I went in and gave her some more and she laid down, but a few minutes later she had an awful coughing fit.

    I walked into her room and I knew. You know that smell. There is vomit somewhere in that crib. Gag. Gag. Gag. I called for Hubby to come help me get things cleaned up. He lucked out and got to get Sweet E cleaned up and changed into clean jammies while I tackled the crib.

    And she knew she had us. As soon as he had her jammies on it wasn't just "sleep with mommy," it was "come on guys, follow me" as she walked to our bedroom. We were laughing hysterically. How could we not give in to that? Famous last words.

    An hour later and Sweet E thought we were all having a slumber party. There was singing, there was dancing, there may have been crying and begging (on the part of Hubby and I to please go to sleep). Finally Hubby went to take her back to crib; however, Sweet E retaliated by head butting him in the nose.

    I took Sweet E into her room where she proceeded to have a slumber party with her stuffed animals. I heard singing, dancing, Lambie asking for a cuddle. It was a regular old party up Sweet E's crib. Finally she fell back to sleep and of course was ready to go at 8am, but she was content to watch "mickey phone" (God bless the iPhone and the Disney Jr. app is all I have to say about that) so mommy could rest until 9am. Poor Hubby had to get up and go to the gym at like 6am.

    Naptime rolls around and Em sleeps from 2ish until 3:50 when she wakes up crying. I was also napping on the couch (hey I'm pregnant, don't judge) and not ready to wake up so we laid down in our bed where we slept for another hour. Holy crap. What have I done?

    Now I'm scared for bedtime. I'm afraid da club is gonna be bumpin tonight in Sweet E's room. If I'm lucky she'll cough and get to take some of that Zarbees with melatonin. I mean if I'm lucky she'll have a good nights sleep. Couch, couch.

    Sunday, February 17, 2013

    Post Partum Anxiety/Depression

    My daughter is about to turn 2.  The tiny little baby that we brought home from the hospital is now a walking, talking, singing (so much singing) little person and I feel like I am wholly unprepared to give birth to our second daughter in 3 months.  I feel like all the knowledge I may have had in caring for a newborn is gone.  Lost somewhere in the exhaustion that has overtaken my life. 

    I think one of the things I'm most nervous about is what happens emotionally after this second baby will arrive.  With my Sweet E I had post partum anxiety/depression.  It was bad.  It was scary.  It was worse than I let on.  I am a clinical social worker and knew I needed help and decided to go the route of anti-depressants.  Even though I was nursing Sweet E, not taking medication was NOT an option for me.  I felt like my very sanity was at stake.  Perhaps you think I'm being dramatic and that is okay.  If you've never suffered from post partum depression or anxiety then you can't really understand.  Everyone gets the baby blues.  Post partum depression/anxiety is like that, but a 1000 times worse.  I can understand now how mothers who are suffering end up killing their own children.  Thank God it never got to that point for me, but I'm not gonna lie.  I did worry about it. 

    Of course I'm sure the fact that we were facing a deployment didn't help matters.  I started off on the lowest dose of Zoloft available and when Hubby left for his desert vacation I ended up needing to up my dose.  I was able to wean off when Sweet E was about 10 months old.  If you are on anti-depressants do not attempt to wean yourself off without talking to your doctor first.  My work experiences gave me the knowledge that allowed me to feel I safely could wean off the meds, but I still touched base with my doctor about my plan. 

    So to say I'm a little bit nervous now about what will happen post partum is an understatement.  I think about it a lot.  I've talked to my ob about it and we have a plan which includes starting on Zoloft BEFORE I even am discharged from the hospital.  I'd rather be safe than sorry. 

    We aren't facing a deployment this go round, but we are pcs'ing (aka moving for a new military assignment) the month after the second baby arrives.  Weirdly though I don't feel stressed about any of that.  I'm more concerned about how Grandma and Auntie K are going to do cope watching Sweet E while I'm in the hospital birthing this baby.  God help them. 

    Post partum anxiety/depression is serious.  Don't be afraid to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.  There's no reason to try to suck it up and suffer through it when you'll have enough going on as a new parent.  You'll enjoy your new baby more if you take care of yourself, too. 

    Friday, February 15, 2013

    Outings with a chatty infant

    Our most recent outings with Baby Bee have been, well trying. First let me explain that he's a very social, very curious, very squirmy, and at times a very VOCAL kiddo. The first (& last time) we all went to a movie together was Argo and let's just say Daddy Bee will never ever let us do that again with baby in tow.

    Going to Ash Wednesday service went surprisingly well (but I certainly was stressing out about it by packing every quiet toy I could find in the house). Meals at our favorite restaurants have been the most difficult. Most times, we are surrounded by other babies and friendly faces, and he can sit and stare and smile at other tables for a little while. Valentine's dinner was the worst... picture my mild mannered, textbook baby with 1 or 2 toys in front of him that were gradually being replaced (he's in the middle of the "let's see what happens when we drop toys" phase) then being swapped out from high chair to car seat to held by Daddy Bee and back again while he was doing some serious contortionist-type maneuvers to get miso soup or sushi into his mouth. Now let's be clear Baby Bee was never screaming; he was loudly babbling... It was the 'threat' of the scream that made us both nervous and the situation was just well, awkward. Sigh...

    Looking back, I'm still wondering what went wrong... we were mentally prepped for the worst to happen, went out to places we were very familiar with, made sure Baby Bee was fed and changed just before we arrived, and were loaded up on quiet toys he loves (we keep these in the diaper bag for traveling out of the house). We've discussed the "you eat first while I entertain the baby" approach but haven't tried that out yet. I guess we're just going to have to stock up on patience and go with the grin-and-bear it-keep on trying attitude...

    Any tips on any quiet toys/entertainment for a 8 month old?

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

    What I Wish I'd Known Before Baby #2

    Hello blogging world! My name is Stephanie—I’m excited to be a part of this fabulous group of ladies and share some of my mama-stories and experiences with you. My awesome husband and I live just outside Atlanta with two kids: one three year old little super-girl who won’t stop talking and a little eight-month-old boy who won’t stop climbing. They are the reason life is so fun. (And so challenging!)

    Sometimes I wish I could go have a chat with myself around a year ago, when being a mommy-of-two was just some impending doom I tried not to stress about. Being a mother for the first time has its own set of (very drastic) adjustments. But now, for the moms who know the basics and have been through it once, here’s what I wish I’d known right before Baby #2 came into our home.

    Some Happy News
    First, here’s some welcome news: all those awful aches and pains? Hips that kill? Horribly unattractive grunting sounds every time you turn over in bed? Sore swollen feet and no comfortable position to sleep in? Well, just like before, they will disappear right after birth. I wasn’t so sure my hip pain would ever go away, since it was so much worse the second time around. But it did! And it was wonderful.

    Nursing Woes 
    I know that everyone has a different experience if they decide to nurse, and some moms don’t want to go that route at all (which is totally fine). BUT, if you do decide to breastfeed and, like me, it’s not so fun at the beginning, here’s something to consider. For me, it hurt just as bad when we first started, but it got better quicker. So it's not great news, but still a little encouraging.

    With Big Brother or Sister
    There are a lot of factors that go into how a child will react to a new baby, including their age, personality, and the boy/girl factor. I was lucky that Little Girl showed hardly any jealousy toward her new, needy, LOUD sibling, but that didn't mean that learning to share Mommy's time wasn't a difficult transition.

    I learned that, even when I was exhausted and wanted nothing more to sleep, it made a big difference when I spent some Mother-Daughter time with her while the baby slept. We read books, made cookies, played with blocks, and told stories. It took a lot of effort not to just stick her in front of the tv (at least not every time :-) ) so I could rest, but I think it was worth it.

    The Balancing Game
    Unless you're one of the lucky ones, balancing the needs of two kids is HARD. Some people get the hang of it quicker than others; for me, it was a real and serious challenge. It's hard to feel like a competent mother on three hours of sleep with a baby still trying to nurse (and screaming in between attempts) and a toddler that you've barely had a chance to smile at that morning crying that she has to go potty or that she's hungry. This is not even to mention that you haven't had time for cleaning the house, a real meal, or personal hygiene in what feels like ages. 

    The hardest part was feeling like taking care of one child meant neglecting the other. But here's the good news: you will become a master balance-er. I learned multi-tasking quickly, and though it still wasn't easy, sooner than I thought I was successfully taking care of my kids and myself. That's a great feeling.

    Baby Blues, Round Two
    I'll say it again: having two kids is HARD at the beginning. And that's okay. It was never supposed to be easy. Give it time: the magic number that helped me was three months. I thought, there's no way I can do this forever, but I can make it to three months. At each month milestone, I'd look back and realize that things were getting easier. By the time three months rolled around, life may not have been 100% perfect, but it felt doable, and I could feel positive on a regular basis.

    Here are a few things that made a real difference for me:
    • Celebrate the small achievements, like successfully grocery shopping with two kids, or making it to noon with everyone fed, clean, and calm (even if the peace only lasts ten minutes).
    • Here's a biggie: don’t compare your worst days to smiling pictures and chipper facebook status updates from your friends. Everyone has up days and down days, and if you sometimes feel like you're the only one who can't handle this motherhood thing, get off facebook and call a good friend to commiserate. I promise, you're not alone.
    • Write down the happy moments, like the way you felt last night at 3 am when that sleepy baby smiled at you, or how proud you were when big brother or sister gave the wee one an impromptu kiss. That way, when things are rough, you have concrete memories to buoy you up.
    When you're learning to take care of two kids instead of one, you need to be okay with letting some things go. What you make time for and what you don't will depend on what is important to you, but, for example, I didn't care if I only put on jeans to leave the house. Being in comfy yoga pants made me feel better, so that's what I did. The Little Girl's third birthday was only a month and a half after the boy was born, but I decided to do a very small family party rather than a themed event. Going all fancy could have been fun, but it would have been stressful. She didn't know the difference.

    If an activity doesn't contribute to one of your highest priorities, then don't consider it necessary. You have this awesome opportunity to be the mother to two fantastic kids. They don't need a lot; they just need you. Here are the priorities I tried to focus on: having a healthy, centered self; being a loving wife; and being an awesome mommy. You don't have time for everything, so make sure you have time for the important things--all the other extras will become easier with time.

    Before too long you'll be throwing kids in and out of car seats at the drop of a hat, nursing anywhere your baby is hungry, diffusing the worst toddler tantrums, and balancing naps like a pro. And it will seem easy, and it will feel rewarding. Congratulations, mama. You are a full-fledged mother of two.

    Monday, February 11, 2013

    Korean Traditions and Culture

    What traditions are we going to pass along to our little guy?  That is a great question and one of the easier ones to answer.   We are concerned about the cultural identity and information aspect of an international adoption, so we have talked with several adult international adoptees and done some online searches.   The responses typically split about right down the middle—some were glad their parents introduced them to the Korean culture; others thought it was just a hassle.  There were even some differences of opinions within families. 

    As for us, we plan on introducing our little guy to as much as we possibly can and encourage learning within his interests as well as helping to cultivate additional interests.  We will be purchasing children’s books on Korea and international adoption.  Currently, we are stationed in California and have several large and diverse metropolitan areas close by. In Los Angeles, in particular, there is a large Korean adoptee population. Many of the Korean adult adoptees provide services and ceremonies to introduce children and teenagers to the Korean culture.  As long as our son (or future children) is interested in those types of activities, we will make every effort to allow him (or them) to participate.  

    Many have asked if we plan on learning how to cook Kimcee or other traditional Korean food.  Not at this time, mostly because it is unlikely to be a regular in our little guy’s diet and something that he would miss.   We would certainly encourage our son to learn how to make those things if he was interested when he gets a little older. 

     In one of our adoption classes, the social worker gently reminded the class that toddlers weren’t really “losing their culture.”  At 18-24 months, they are not cognitively aware of annual traditions and holidays, foods associated with those holidays or regular Korean diets. What we could do as adoptive parents is to introduce them to books, magazines, foods and mentors as needed or desired.   That made sense to us.

    My husband and I do plan on incorporating, combining and creating our own family traditions and celebrating holidays, birthdays and ordinary days with our son.   In all reality, while we will introduce Korean education, we cannot truly introduce Korean culture because we are not Korean nor do we live in South Korea.  We will also strive to let our son have some input on how much he learns or what we do.   Eventually, we would like to travel there with him…perhaps when he is a teenager. 

    Friday, February 8, 2013

    Weekly Activities for Baby's First Year

    So if you're like me, there comes a day when you and baby are sitting on the floor staring at each other, and you're thinking, what do we do now?  And I don't just want to do anything because I want to make sure I'm playing with him with a purpose so that he's learning something.  Well has a great article with week-by-week activities broken up by month that helps develop different age appropriate skills.  Check it out!

    Here's the link:  Let's Play! Weekly activities for your baby's first year

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

    13 Good Things to Know About Baby (that you may not have heard)

    So there is a ton of information out there, and sometimes it can make your head spin, but the following information are things that I feel are important for all moms to know, and they aren't the things we've all heard over and over again (like put your baby to sleep on their back to prevent SIDS).  I hope you find it helpful.

    1.  Rectal temperature is the only accurate temperature during the first year of life
    Ear thermometers over estimate temperature and all other methods (under the armpit, pacifier thermometer, temporal thermometer, etc.) under estimate temperature.  For the first year of life, the degree of a fever is very important and will determine whether your child needs to see a doctor or not, therefore it is important to have an accurate temperature.  I recommend the Vick's Pediatric Rectal Thermometer as the easiest way to get your baby's temperature rectally.  It's got a short shaft to make sure you get it in far enough, but not too far, and it only takes 10 seconds.  Just place baby on the changing table, open up their diaper, lift their ankles up like you would when you are wiping their bottom, insert the thermometer and 10 seconds later you're done.  Your baby won't even notice anything happened.

    2.  Your baby's body temperature may not set at "normal" until 6 months of age
    My baby was a hot body from day one.  He always felt like a little lump of burning coal, and he was sweating all the time.  That guidance of "dress your baby in whatever you are wearing, plus one layer" didn't apply for us.  It was quite the opposite.  We had him in minus one layer.  If you took his temperature, it was always hovering around 99.2 or so, but never over 100, so he wasn't running a fever, he was just hot.  I asked my pediatrician about this, and he said that as babies' bodies start to learn to regulate their own temperature, sometimes they "set" a little high or a little low at first and often won't get to "normal" 98.6 F until around 6 months of life.  This was absolutely true for us, and like clockwork, as soon as little J hit 6 months he wasn't a little lump of coal anymore!

    3.  Circumcised baby boys need their smegma cleaned to avoid penile adhesion
    So if you have a circumcised baby boy, this is very important information and I feel also sorely unadvertised.  Around the base of the head of the penis, where it meets the shaft, dead skin cells collect and create this white sticky substance called smegma.  You need to clean this stuff out or it can cause the head of your son's penis to become stuck to the shaft, which is called a penile adhesion.  If left untreated, it can get to the point where it needs to be surgically corrected.  I've found this easiest to do when you have your baby boy in the bath, and dad can distract him with toys, etc.  Just take your little washcloth, pull down gently on the shaft skin of the little penis so that you can see the rim of the head, and VERY GENTLY wipe away the white smegma.

    4.  Your baby needs a Vitamin D supplement if he is exclusively or primarily breastfed
    Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium, so if your baby doesn't get enough Vitamin D, he won't absorb enough calcium and can develop a bone malformation condition called Rickets.  The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends that babies who are exclusively or primarily breastfed (less than 32 oz of formula per day) be given 400 IU of Vitamin D daily.  This is because Vitamin D does not pass through breastmilk very well, and most babies do not (and should not) get enough sun exposure without sunscreen for their bodies to produce adequate Vitamin D.  We like to use D Vi Sol (1 ml) mixed in a 2 oz bottle of expressed breastmilk or formula.  You can get higher concentrated products that only use one drop, but the chance of overdose is higher with these products.

    5.  Even a mild sunburn is serious during the first year of life and requires evaluation by a physician
    So if you are tempted to take your baby out for some sun-bathing to get their Vitamin D after reading #4, don't.  Even a very mild sunburn during the first year of life is serious and requires evaluation by a physician.  Not to mention the risk of melanoma later in life is exponentially increased if your baby's delicate skin gets burned.  In the past, the American Academy of Pediatrics didn't recommend using sunblock on babies under 6 months of age, but because of the risk of skin cancer, they have revised their guidance and now recommend using sunblock on babies from birth.  And just because your baby is in the shade does not mean she won't get burned.  Even the UV rays reflecting off other objects can burn baby's skin, so apply, and reapply, that sunblock!  I recommend Banana Boat Baby Sunblock because it has a great "no tear" formula, unlike some other baby sunblock products.

    6.  Don't take your calcium supplement with your prenatal vitamin
    Calcium competes with iron for absorption, and calcium wins.  So if you are taking your calcium supplement at the same time as your prenatal vitamin (or taking your prenatal vitamin with a glass of milk), you won't absorb the iron.  This is important because iron deficiency causes anemia, which is a reduction in your red blood cells' ability to transport oxygen.  Anemia is common during pregnancy and in breastfed babies, so make sure you are taking that calcium and iron separately (my pharmacist friend said about 4 hours in between, but if that's not possible for you, even an hour will help).  This also applies if your doctor has prescribed an iron supplement for your baby.  Make sure you don't give it to her in a bottle of milk because she won't absorb it.

    7.  Babies should not get any fluoride until 6 months
    Fluoride is important to prevent tooth decay, but like anything, too much of a good thing isn't good.  In the case of fluoride, too much can lead to fluorosis which is permanent stains and softening of the tooth enamel.  Teeth developing under the gums are the only ones at risk of fluorosis (once they have erupted, they are no longer at risk).  Therefore, the ADA (American Dental Association) suggests that for the first 6 months of life, babies do not receive fluoride.  If your baby is exclusively breastfed, you don't need to worry (it does not pass into the milk).  If your baby drinks formula, and you use the powdered stuff, you need to buy fluoride free bottled water to mix it (or use a reverse osmosis filter at home that removes fluoride).  I like Gerber Pure Water.

    8.  Babies need fluoride after 6 months
    So after 6 months of age, babies need .25mg of fluoride daily to help reduce tooth decay.  To get this, at 6 months your baby should start drinking 4-6 oz of fluoridated (0.7 ppm) water per day.  You can either find out how much fluoride is in your local water source, or I like to use Nursery Water with added fluoride.  You should still prepare formula with fluoride free water to ensure that your baby isn't getting too much fluoride per day.

    9.  Babies should start drinking water at 6 months
    Prior to 6 months, babies get plenty of water from their formula or breastmilk.  The act of drinking burns calories, and young babies need all the calories they can get.  If they burn calories drinking water, those calories aren't being replaced with anything.  Once your baby is 6 months and is eating solid food, they should be getting 4-6 oz of fluoridated water daily.

    10.  All formula is created equal
    All formula must meet the same FDA nutritional requirements, so name brand is no better than generic when it comes to feeding your little one.  And if you like a certain name brand, most generic formula brands make a generic version of that kind (e.g.  Parent's Choice Advantage is the generic of Similac Advance).  So if you choose generic to save money, know that what you are feeding baby is just as good as that expensive brand-name stuff.

    11.  Making your own baby food may expose your baby to more pesticides than store-bought
    Baby food farmers/manufacturers must meet stricter requirements than those that grow produce sold fresh.  Therefore, making your own baby food may actually expose your little one to more pesticides and contaminants than if you just buy the store bought stuff.  Additionally, stage 1 baby foods don't contain any preservatives or additives, and many stage 2 and 3 don't either.  So while there's nothing wrong with making your own baby food, if you are doing it to try to be more healthy, you may be doing all that extra work for nothing.

    12.  "Natural" and "homeopathic" remedies are not as safe as they claim
    Just because something is "natural" or "homeopathic" does not mean that it is safe.  In fact, natural and homeopathic remedies are not regulated by the FDA, which means that they don't have to meet any safety or efficacy requirements, nor conduct any clinical trials to prove safety or efficacy like conventional medicines do.  Additionally, production is not standardized, causing variability in potency and purity.  And labeling is not regulated, so producers of homeopathic and natural remedies can make any claims that they want without the requirement of evidence to back it up.  A key example of one of these potentially unsafe products is Hyland's Teething Tablets.  These "all natural" "homeopathic" tablets contain an ingredient called belladonna, which is a known neural toxin.  The FDA actually pulled Hyland's Teething Tablets off the market for a period of time after receiving reports of serious adverse reactions and after conducting tests on the tablets which showed inconsistent amounts of belladonna in the tablets.  While the tablets are back on the market, they still contain belladonna, and therefore I wouldn't give them to my baby.  I have a friend who swears by them, though.  She calls them "baby crack."  Unfortunately, that may not be too far from the truth if the tablets are altering her baby's neural state.  And just because one mom uses a homeopathic or natural remedy and their baby is fine doesn't mean yours will be.  That's why during clinical trials of conventional medications, only some people have serious side effects.  Different things affect different people differently.  So just remember, just because it's natural, doesn't make it safe.  Just ask my dog who had to get his stomach pumped and spend the night at the emergency vet after he ate some "all natural" mushrooms growing in the back yard!

    13.  Only use a cool-mist humidifier in your baby's room
    I hate this one because I hate cool mist humidifiers!  They get everything around them all wet, leave a white powder all over every surface, and you have to disinfect them every single day!  However, the reason you can only use cool-mist humidifiers in your baby's room is because a warm mist one will make the air hot and stuffy, and these conditions increase the risk of SIDS.  And of course, when baby gets bigger and is mobile, warm mist increase their risk of burns.

    So there you go!  I hope you found this information helpful and enlightening!

    1.  Baby 411, 5th Edition, Denise Fields and Dr. Ari Brown
    2.  Brent Steadman, M.D. (my pediatrician)
    3.  Taking Care of Your Child, 8th Edition, Robert Pantell, M.D., James Fries, M.D., and Donald Vickery, M.D.