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.

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

    Adventures with baby food

    When it comes to baby food and Lil Bee, this is probably the most research I've done since I found out there was a Baby Bee! In the end, it was a lot of trial and error haha.

    By 4 months, he was sitting with support and we were cleared by the pediatrician to introduce baby foods. I read all the recommendations from Baby 411 and everything I could find online as far as just how to introduce solids (waiting 4 days before introducing more foods, make sure to wait when Baby Bee was ready, etc). His first foods were rice cereal, pouches of fruit, and containers of baby vegetables. The recommended list of Stage 1 foods and all of the rules were very difficult to follow, much less understand. By the time we went back for Baby Bee's six month checkup and talked to the pediatrician about solid foods again, I was convinced I had spent the last two months overfeeding my child. Ooooops....

    Then I found Weelicious (blog-turned-cookbook). **Granted, you absolutely do not need to buy a baby cookbook. It's really pretty simple to make baby food: 1) steam, 2) puree, 3) serve.** However, Weelicious does contain all spiffy tips and tricks on traveling with and feeding a baby (avocados and bananas are now my go to travel baby foods!) as well as suggestions on baby's first foods and recipes for the whole family. 

    When I realized just how easy (and affordable) it was to make food for Baby Bee, I started pureeing everything I could get my hands on, fresh or frozen! (Seriously, there were times I opened up mystery containers in the freezer and thought I could puree that!) I basically had all the tools that I needed: a food processor (in my case a Magic Bullet), a pot, and a colander. After reading multiple Pinterest pins on "how to make your own baby food", I also bought this and these. And believe me, not all of my cooking adventures worked. (Pureed blueberries and instant oatmeal might sound appetizing but it looks absolutely disgusting- trust me on this one. Also pineapple chunks don't puree- they turn to juice... ) But it's been really fun trying things out!

    My process for cooking vegetables: 
    1. Peel and chop into similar sized chunks, while boiling water in a large pot.
    2. Place a metal colander like this into the large pot and throw the vegetables in there. (that way you're cooking using more of a 'double boiler' method.) 
    3. Throw the steamed food into the food processor. Add some of the cooking liquid in there to help during the puree-ing (I shredded the silicone ring for my Magic Bullet because I failed to do this). 
    4. Pour the puree into the freezer tray. Cool in the refrigerator then toss into the freezer. The next day, I popped out the 1 oz portions into a plastic formula container or freezer safe Ziploc bag. I made sure to label and date the food too so there was no guessing game later. 
    5. Whenever I needed to feed Baby Bee, I took out a couple of frozen puree cubes out and microwaved them in one of those tiny Corningware ramekins that no one really seems to use anyway. 

    Tips to keep in mind: (also see the Weelicious website)
    1) There are the "dirty dozen" but there are also the "clean 15". (A list of the Environmental Working Group's 45 fruits and vegetables can be found here.) When it comes to making food for your little one, it makes sense to go organic whenever possible for fruits and vegetables with the heaviest pesticide load but you also don't have to buy all organic when you really don't need to. 
    2) Always follow basic food safety whenever you're making your own baby food. Remember whether or not it is made from organic sources, there are no preservatives in homemade baby food. So do whatever it takes to avoid food poisoning for your little one! Prepare it and cool to room temperature (but never on the kitchen counter) then stick that into the freezer as soon as possible. Same with thawing- put them in the refrigerator or in the microwave but never out on the counter.

    Keeping baby social and you sane during winter months

    For those fortunate enough to live in a state with fairly decent weather all year round, I envy you. For the rest of us that have to live in frigid, not suitable for walks or parks weather during the winter months...this is for you. You are not alone. When I had Adrianna, we had not been living in Massachusetts long. We didn't know very many people that had children and our neighbors on base had older, school aged children so we never connected. I was spoiled with the summer months as 'A' was born in July. We went on walks, we went out for ice cream, we sat outside on the grass and she loved being in the sun. Then the dreaded winter hit. It hit like a ton of bricks that year (or snow actually). We got record breaking snowfalls during that winter. There was a foot of snow on the ground always from December to April. I felt myself feeling alone and lonely. My husband traveled for work often so it was just me and my, then, 4 month old. I had never heard of "mommy and me"classes. I had no one to advise me of such things available to stay at home moms because I knew no one. I googled and found a gym company called "Little Gym." When I saw that you can sign up a child as young as 4 months old I jumped on the opportunity and went to my first introductory class. It was amazing and we have been going regularly ever since!

    Being a SAHM, even worse a new mom who is a SAHM and has to live somewhere new because of the military, can be so tough on the social aspect. It takes time to meet people and to make friendships. You aren't exactly in the 'play date' stage because your LO doesn't play yet. It is a very lonely world. I guess what I want to say is that you are not alone in your feelings. I can remember slipping into an almost depression for a while. None of my friends back home had children and my parents were so elated with being grandparents that I felt neglected. Even my husband, i felt, was more smitten by our precious little baby that he was by me. You get so much attention when you are pregnant and everyone is so excited. Once the baby is here everyone is so focused on the needs of the baby that they forget about your needs. I had to learn that I had to take care of me if I wanted to be a good caretaker of my baby girl. I learned to ask for help. I learned to take time for myself. I learned that a short separation from the baby was healthy....even a half an hour at the grocery store. Not that 'A' was a tough baby, she was as easy a baby as they come. But when you find yourself being home most times and not really having adult conversation you long some time to get back to "you." To feel normal again. Going to a mommy and me class like "Little Gym" gave me the socialization I longed for. It was also beneficial for my preemie daughter who I feared would start falling behind on milestones because she was never around babies. She excelled  I met some women who were dealing with the same feelings I was dealing with. It was nice to know I was not alone. That although I loved my daughter to pieces, literally more than my heart could stand, I did not need to feel guilty because I longed to have "me" time as well. Mommy and me classes isn't "me" time, but it was something to look forward to. It was our escape out of the house. It was our social time and it was fun! As 'A' got older I started to make a routine out of LG and going out to lunch just her and I. The older she got, the more neighbors I met who had children around the same age. Seems they too found themselves cooped up in the house during the winter and that spring it was like everyone bloomed and started to venture out. I met good friends. 'A' had play dates finally and I got the hang of the whole being a SAHM thing. It is an adjustment. Just know, there ARE activities. Some are even free if you look in your surrounding town. Don't get stuck at home during the winter and catch the "winter blues" like I did and like many of my fellow new mommies did. What are some activities you will be doing with your LO's? I'd love to hear some of your ideas.

    A list of my baby advice (from what I can remember)

    Inspired by Mama Whale, I thought I would do a Buy this/not that post, or really my advice post, from the perspective of someone who has gone through all of the infant stages. We "even me" are still learning what works best for our little ones and what is best for our pockets since babies cost a lot of money....these little bundles of joy do wonders to our bank accounts don't they? Luckily they are cute :) These are merely suggestions that have worked for my little one who is now 2 1/2. I did not breast feed or go organic so these are very generic suggestions.

    1. Bottles. If you choose to bottle feed this can be tricky for each baby. My LO was a very gassy baby and had a lot of issues with feeding because she was premature and low birth weight. I originally had AVENT bottles and got so frustrated with forgetting to put the ring in before screwing in the top. And if you have these you know what happens if you forget, formula (or perhaps even more frustrating, breast milk) everywhere!! I went with Dr. Brown bottles because of the ventilation system and the cost. Down side, it comes in a million pieces! DO NOT buy whatever the most expensive bottles are, i.e. Tommy Tippee. Unless you really love them and do not want to switch, there are much less expensive alternatives.

    2. Formula. I have no advice on formula since my daughter was on Neocate which is a prescribed formula for infants with milk protein allergies. I'll have to post more about my...interesting...experience with my LO as an infant.

    3. Diapers. We went expensive and chose Pampers Swaddlers for our LO. I wont be doing the same with my twins when they arrive in 4 month (excuse me while I freak out about only having 4 MONTHS TO PREPARE! AAHH!) We tried target brand diapers when 'A' was about 10 months old and I am in love. I swear by any generic diaper. During black Friday Babies r us likes to put their brand of diapers and wipes on extreme discount and we buy a ton! at $10 a BOX!! It is so worth it. They are a little flimsy but do the job. I still like target brand the most. Do NOT join one of those diaper websites like It makes sense if you have more than one baby in diapers at a time because they deliver to your home monthly but otherwise you can find better deals at stores. Try a wholesale club like BJs or Costco. Wipes can be generic as well. If on sale I will, still, buy pampers but babies r us are our favorite right now.

    4. Diaper Cream. Apparently there are differences between creams. The clear or yellow creams are meant to prevent diaper rashes and you should apply daily. The white creams are meant to heal diaper rashes and although you can apply with every diaper change, they really do their job at curing a rash. Do NOT use baby powder. There is no need. If you have a baby girl you shouldn't be using it anyway as it can cause infection (who knew). This is according to my pediatrician.

    5. Baby jar food. Making your own baby food is satisfying and nutritional. I tried and failed miserably. I always bought BeechNut baby food and did just fine. I looked for discounts most times. You DON'T need to start with rice cereal. Always follow dr recommendations, I think they say 6 months is the deal time to start baby food. If your baby hates rice cereal, try a jar food. You can even mix it into the cereal. Every baby is different so follow what works best but don't feel like there is a set regulation on what food to start your baby on. Make sure if buying jar food to start with the right stage.

    6. Teething biscuits. 'A' LOVED these when she was teething. Earth's Best had the best ones that could hold up to all the chewing she did. Make sure to put them in a high chair when feeding your LO's a teething biscuit because when mixed with saliva the result can be compared to is a mess!

    7. Diaper bags. When 'A' was an infant, I always had two diaper bags. Both had tons of pockets in and out so I can put bottles and sippy cups in them. I organized using ziploc bags for snacks and a formula dispenser like this one to keep servings of formula in. I always carried bottled water too. My diaper bag weighed a ton! I have to figure out a better way to organize this time around so I am looking to all of you new mommies for advice because I am out of the loop when it comes to baby stuff!

    8. Sippy Cups. Every sippy cup leaks no matter what it says on the package. I have tried them ALL! when 'A' was younger, they did  not leak because she didn't shake them. The worse "leakers" were the Nuby brand These are the culprits. If you don't make sure the rubber spout is completely flush against the inner rim it will leak worse than forgetting the AVENT ring...that dreaded ring. I still have nightmares....hours of pumping lost because of that stupid ring. Ok, so with this I suggest trial and error. And coupons. Always buy these with coupons because you will go through enough. And don't buy them at Babies r us because they are way overpriced there always!

    I guess the best advice I can give is that more expensive doesn't always equal better quality when it comes to these every day baby items. I did the expensive thing and most either failed to work properly or did not last long at all! I always bought on sale and couponed (once I learned my lesson). That being said, every parent has their favorite products and their own standard when it comes to purchasing items for their LO's. Target has a great variety of organic baby food and typically has their "Earth's Best" brand on sale. Another favorite product I use even now that 'A' is not a baby anymore, fruit pouches like these. They make these with baby food for all stages, so easy to travel with and resealable, for those looking for easy ways to travel by airplane with babies. When your babies become toddlers, it will happen no matter how much you will them to stay babies forever, a product I highly suggest you stay away from are those easy toddler meals you stick in the microwave like these. It is way too easy to make meals that can be reheated for several days. A little broth, some star pasta, a couple of carrots and celery can do the trick for lunch or dinner fr several nights. When your LO's are ready to eat table food, that can easily be put in the food processor and puree'd to their specific texture. Stay away from those pricey meals, really I don't see the point. Hope this helps anyone reading this post. I guarantee you will forget all that you thought you knew once you have baby #2 or #3 (or in my case, 2 and 3 at the same time! I find myself reading all of the posts on this blog learning new things and keeping mental note of fantastic ideas I never thought of. Happy child rearing!

    Gently rephrasing

                    I’ve always been told not to click angry (click the mouse), text angry, email angry, etc, the gist being that I am more likely to mess things up and or cause damage to relationships that I would later regret. It is generally good advice I think and I try to live by that.  However, today, I’m going to toss out some ofthat logic and blog frustrated.  As you know we are waiting for that elusive travel call and the longer we wait, the more painful the wait becomes.  While I certainly cannot write on behalf of all adoptive parents, I can speak for manyof them, as we seem to have the same types of questions.  Over the past year+, we have heard a variety of painful questions, generally from well-intentioned, but poorly informed people.  So, I will be using this blogspace for some of the questions and possible ways to rephrase them.  

    1.       “Why don’t you just go get that little boy?” The short answer is at this stage in the game that would be considered international kidnapping…enough said.  Why it hurts to hear:  There is an impliedundertone that we just haven’t purchased the plane tickets.  Another option:  Waiting must be so hard; doy ou have an expected travel date yet?


    2.      “Are you going to try and have real kids too?”  I promise the little guy we are bringing back is not a blow-up doll. He is real.  We are counting on the fact that he will be real, that we can laugh with him, have adventures with him, and grow as a family. Why it hurts to hear: we will be a complete family regardless if we every have biological children or not.  If you are really that curious, please use the word biological in lieu of “real.” Another option:  How do you plan on growing your family?


    3.      “Are you going to encourage your child to have contact with his real mom or dad?” Again, I promise that we will be his real parents, because we will take him to activities, feed him, cloth him, clean up puke, etc.  Why it hurts to hear:  there is an assumption that we don’t love him or aren’t a complete family because we are not biologically related.  Another option:  How do you plan on handling questions and possible relationships with your child’s biological family?


    4.      “Why can’t family or close friends come for a visit right after you bring him home?”   The agency and our social worker have recommended that we wait 6-8 weeks before allowing guests to come.  This is to encourage our child to bond with us, to build a trust with us, that as his parents, we will help keep him safe, fed, etc.  This is different than bringing a newborn home.  A newborn, you can pass around the room and he or she is indifferent to who is doing the holding.  A toddler that has just arrived at the house however, is trying to figure out who mom and dad is and additional adults could complicate that.  Remember,he has been in a temporary home since he was born.  All that he knows has been pulled out from underneath him.  Why it hurts: we desperately want those grandparents, aunts, uncles and close friends to be a part of our son’s life.  We know those folks are anxious to meet the little guy and we don’t want people to assume we are excluding them long-term, we just have to do what is best for him. Another option:  We are so excited to meet your little guy and be a part of his life, but will gladly wait until you think he is ready to meet us.  As soon as we get the green light from you, we are buying plane tickets! J


    5.      “When are you going to tell him that he is adopted?”  We’ll begin talking about his adoption in the first year we have him home, as we want that to be an open topic and we don’t want to hide that from him. Of course, we will focus on being age appropriate with the information we provide.  T o me, this is a silly question as there will be obvious physical differences that we couldn’t hide from him, even if we wanted too.  Why it hurts to hear: because of the assumption that we would withhold information from him and/or leave it up to chance.  We want him to hear things from us not a well-intentioned adult or child. This is his story. Another option:  How will you discuss the story of his adoption with him?


    6.      “Why aren’t you keeping his Korean name?”  For one, we would have a hard time pronouncing it correctly. J  Secondly, if we were having a biological child we wouldn’t give him or her a Korean name.  Third, as a young toddler, moving to a new country, learning a new language etc, it won’t be difficult at all for him to learn his new name. Why it hurts to hear:  What parents want to be questioned on the name chosen for a child?  Another option: What is the significance of the name you chose?  Or how did you go about choosing this name?


    7.      “I can’t wait until he is home so that I can show off pictures.”  Sorry, but this is about us, as a couple, becoming a family of 3. Why it hurts to hear: our son is not for show and tell and as far as the waiting game goes, it isn’t about others. The waiting game is hard enough on us without having the added pressureto have him home on someone else’s timeline. Another option: I can’t wait until he is home so that you all can start your life together.


    I’m very fortunate that I have somany friends who are in this waiting game with me.  They are so supportive and reassure me that despite what I think on some days, we will have him home before he is 16 and ready for the prom.  Like I mentioned previously, many of these questions come from well-intentioned people, but words sometimes hurt.  Please love on those waiting to adopt very gently;  they usually don’t have a due date, just a time frame, big dreams and aching arms.

    Monday, February 4, 2013

    Extracurricular Reading - Giveaways Galore

    If you haven't checked out Mommy and Me Giveaways you're missing out. Mommy and Me is a great way to learn about new products and maybe even win a few items for your little one. There is a Facebook page that will keep you in the know as well. There is a great give away right now for a gift certificate to Preppy Parents - a cute online boutique with parent tested products. No matter if you are a new mom or a more experienced mom, you will be able to find something at Preppy Parents.

    There is also a give away from Halo for their SwaddleChange, a changing pad that includes an attached upper body swaddle. I can see the need for this. My squirmer is always one second from smearing poop everywhere during diaper changes. On the other hand, it slightly resembles a straight jacket. Halo is a company I have consistently looked to for sleeping and swaddle options. If you are interested, you can win one for yourself over at Mommy and Me Giveaways.

    If you know a great giveaway blog, let us know!

    Worst Flight Ever ( When Traveling With An Infant Goes Wrong)

    After participating in yet another Facebook conversation about traveling with a baby, I feel it is time to share my story of infant travel gone wrong.

    We survived our flights to and from Puerto Rico without incident. Baby Peach was a dream, spending some time playing and some time sleeping. It was the late afternoon flight from Atlanta back to Denver where it all fell apart. Bad, we had been upgraded. Worst, due to turbulence, we could not leave our seats. Baby Peach screamed, refused to nurse and finally reached "brain fried" where there is little you can do.

    The bottom line is that it was bound to happen sooner or later - with 12 flights under his belt, Baby Peach was bound to have a bad day. I'm honestly glad it happened, because now it's under our belt.

    Here is how we handled it:

    1. We were overly apologetic to everyone. This even got us an apology from the man in front of us, who said, "I'm so sorry I keep glancing back. I know you are doing every thing you can, so please don't worry."

    2. As soon as the seatbelt sign came off we took Baby Peach into the bathroom. These rooms are basically soundproof, so it will buy you some time. There is also a bathroom mirror, which thankfully calmed the little one down - he loves to look at himself!

    3. Remain calm. This was not our strong suit on this flight. The added stress of being in first class really threw us for a loop. Papa Peach and I got defensive, and at some point, I outright blamed him for Baby Peach's behavior. Then we took a beat. Papa Peach cracked a joke and we relaxed and instantly the situation got better. The crying seems much louder to you then to the other passengers and the more flustered you get, the more flustered the baby will get. Remember, the jet noise drowns out a lot!

    4. Once we were all calm again I was able to use a blanket to set up a little tent where Baby Peach could nurse and it was dark. This meant that he finally fell asleep. A state he remained in until we landed.

    5. As one of my more experienced mom friends pointed out on the Facebook discussion - never underestimate the power of giving the baby to dad. People seem to be much more tolerant of a screaming baby in the arms of a dad then a mom. It's not fair, bit it is what it is. So hand that screaming baby over to dad. My boys found their way into the hearts of all the flight attendants - male and female. Baby Peach got a set of wings, a bag of Sunchips and my husband got a glass of wine.

    Finally, A Sleeping Baby. 
    I firmly believe the key to success is setting the bar really low. In most cases, my bar for traveling with the baby is to survive the flight. I prepare for the worst case and 90% of the time I am pleasantly surprised - the other 10% gives me something to blog about.