Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What's ahead...

When i was pregnant, a friend told me to read as much as possible about breastfeeding, because it would be a very overwhelming task at first. I watched some videos and read a blog here and there and thought I had done my research. However, I didn't feel like I had a set plan. In my head I wasn't sure I could physically do it, but I would like to try it for two reasons: to save money on formula and because I knew it was best for the baby. I thought it would be a natural thing and the baby would just latched like it was supposed to. If I didn't succeed it wasn't the end of the world. My friend was right and I was wrong in two things: first, it is really not that "natural" (in the sense of being easy) and secondly, I did want to succeed. I wanted to have that experience. I already had lacked on the natural birth part, after trying for 17 hours with no epidural or spinal, I had to be put to sleep. I had some minor complications in the end of the pregnancy, so I had to be induced at 37 weeks. Trying for a natural birth was a long shot. It was a little disappointing to not have it naturally but in the end, we were glad that she was here and she was healthy. The staff at the hospital was really helpful. If it weren't for the lactation consultants that came everyday on the last three days I am not sure I would have continued. At that point I wished I had read more about it. I wish I did know that their stomach is the size of a marble and that I didn't need to supplement with formula those first days, but that's what the nurses told me to do, so I did it. We, as first time parents were concerned because they said she lost over 10% of her weight, so we resorted to the bottle formula feeding mixed with the few drops of "liquid gold" we could pump. Another factor was that I had to have the help of a shield - more on that later - plus the terrible engorgement, it was a recipe for quitting the whole BF ordeal. Right after I was released I paid for two lactation visits. It was the best money we have ever spent. They helped me with the engorgement and with the techniques. We both did not have our mothers anymore, we lived away from our families, we didn't have many friends with kids around, so we were in this alone. My husband played a major part during those first weeks. If it wasn't for his support I would have quit easily. Hearing him say I could do it was all what I needed to keep trying. Again, I did not have a set plan of how long we were going to do this. It was a "living each day" kind of thing. Zoe drank exclusively breast milk after a week or two and stop the breast milk bottle after about a month. And then weeks passed, it became a little easier, but not yet smooth sailing, but I kept going. One thing still bothered me, the shield. It was a huge help, but it made it so much more difficult too. It's not like I did bf in public a lot. I did carry a hand pump and bottle to restaurants if I thought it will be hard to feed her, but if I had to bf at a friends house or something it was a pain. I call the lactation 1-800 when Zoe was almost 4 months and they said it was too late. She was too used to the shield, it was going to be a long term thing. A couple weeks later we went away and I prayed that I could get rid of the shield. On the same day I lost it. I was so tempted to just pump and give her a bottle, but I remembered that I had just prayed about it, so I tried to do it without it. She latched. I tried on the next feed and the next and the next. She was 4 1/2 mo and since then we had not used the shield. I can tell that she also prefer this experience. It's a lot less stressful and now IT IS natural and smooth sailing. I have been breast feeding her for all this time, she's 7 1/2 mo and super healthy and now I do plan on keep on going for as long as she wants it. I am so glad I stuck up to it.

Here are some links of timelines that helped me a lot with schedules (I still bf on demand, but follow a basic schedule structure):

  • On breastfeeding: http://www.thealphaparent.com/2011/12/timeline-of-breastfed-baby.html
  • On sleep: http://www.thealphaparent.com/2013/01/timeline-of-baby-and-toddler-sleep.html

Here are some of my essentials:

  • Instead of buying a bf cover, I just tie these swaddle blankets and put over around my neck. It's easy and makes it one less thing to buy/carry. 
  • Forget those floppy U-shaped bf pillows, this one is all you need and you don't have a baby that keeps sinking in between the pillow and you.
  • I could never remember what side and what time, how many wets and how many soiled, or how lone did she sleep if it wasn't for this app. Cheer for the 21st century! 
  • I love the Eames rocking chair, but I couldn't afford paying $500 on one. Here is a cheaper version that still rock the looks.
  • Burp cloths, you need lots of burp cloths!
  • And a comfy, sporty bra is an essential for the day-to-day, but make sure to buy a cute one too.
  • There might be situations when you need to pump, such as on airplanes, restaurants, or parks. I use this one.

I decided to write this post for the new moms who are trying to breast feed and get some zzz's, so I hope you enjoyed my story. Have a great day!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Happy 2013 and a new DIY jazz-it-up your baby's clothes

Hi, I hope you all had a great holiday season. We had a great time visiting family in PA. It was a long drive from Missouri, which we did on two segments of 7-8 hours. We stopped in Columbus, OH for the night and got to spend time with friends and eat amazing food like breakfast at Tazi (they have the best sausage and gravy I've ever had and a delicious challah French toast with bananas and maple syrup.. Yumm!), french macaroons and shortbreads from Pistacia Vera, the best veggie burger in town from NorthStar Cafe and let's not forget the Salty Caramel and Sweet potato with roasted marshmallows ice cream from Jeni's. Ok, I'm drooling now. So on to the DIY.
I bought a bunch of white onesies for Zoe and though I could -as I said- jazz-it-up a couple. Also, I had this sweater I bought in a consignment store for a couple bucks, but I wasn't so crazy about the cutesy sheep design.

What you need:

Masking tape
Brush or foam brush
Fabric paint
Pattern hole puncher
Adhesive cardstock
A piece of thick paper

With the tape I made striped. I used a combination of colors and widths. It created a sporty look. Just tape the onesie making your design. Add the piece of thick paper inside the onesie, so the paint doesn't go through the other side and seal the onesie shut when it dries. Paint the area in between the tape - I had my foam brush moist, not wet, to thin out the paint a bit. Let I dry. Do the same with the back. Make sure to touch up the sides too, where the design matches. I would advise it to wash the onesies before dressing your baby, that will also help the fabric paint to feel less stiff.
I also used this technique on the sweater. Then, I used gold paint to cover the sheep design.

Planing stripes

Sweater - before the paint

The other way to add print to your baby's clothes is to use self-adhesive paper and a hole puncher (it can be any design you want, I went for oversized circles and stars). Punch your self-adhesive paper leaving a good amount of space around it so you don't get paint outside your design. Stick to where you want to paint, dab your brush, but don't forget to put a thick paper in between the front and back again. Be careful to not use too much paint or it will seep through. Remove sticky paper and move to another area. Repeat until you feel your design is complete at the front. Let it dry before you do the back. I chose to do my star design on the back of the sleeves but not on the whole back, so it would not overwhelm the onesie. I just add one star near the bottom for fun. On the large dot design I decided to use a iridescent white paint over the white onesie. It is a subtle design that will work with many printed bottoms.

Just a little dot goes a long way - and can you see my paper in between layers? Very helpful little trick.

These adhesive cardstocks are so easy and helpful to use
The finished product.

That's it. Simple and easy. I hope you enjoy and have a happy new year!!!