Baby Favourites: Six Weeks In

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There are so many items one can be required/tempted to purchase before having a baby but you never really know how well these things work until you put them into action. I thought I’d share what we couldn’t do without so far:

Graco Click Connect Travel System – Aside from our cloth diapers this is probably the product I researched the most and it paid off. We are SO happy with this travel system. The click connect is crazy easy to use. The stroller is large but fast to break down and fits in my trunk well. We’ve taken it walking on all kinds of trails and roads and it rides super smooth. You can get it at Babies R Us but we got ours on sale at Target for $330 CAD when we went on our Minot trip. That’s a $300 savings! Something worth looking into.

Kidiway Leather Glider – So many moms told me to invest in a great rocker and they were right. Both Tommy and I have spent countless hours in this thing since Leo was born. It’s crazy comfortable and I love that it reclines, too. Ours is in our living room so I love that it doesn’t scream “nursery”.

Kushies Waterproof Change Pads – Nothing groundbreaking but these are super handy for a quick change anywhere and the patterns are so cute. We have two and I’d like more.

Onesies with Built-In Mitts – Those newborn mitts were constantly falling off of Leo’s little hands, especially because he always wanted to suck his fingers. Onesies with the mitt flaps were so helpful for those early newborn days to prevent scratches. Old Navy has awesome ones.

Aden & Anais Swaddle Blankets – All moms seem to recommend these and I agree. These blankets are thin but cozy and have so many uses.

Fisher Price Soothing Seat – Still where Leo sleeps the most soundly. This seat uses rocking and swaying motions that mimic a parent’s movements. It also has music and vibration options and I love that it plugs into the wall.

Summer Infant Baby Bather – A friend kindly lent this to us and it has made kitchen sink baths a breeze. Leo is really relaxed in it!

Jamieson Baby Probiotic Drops – Our paediatrician recommended these for Leo’s often gassy stomach and he rarely has tummy pains anymore. We’ve noticed a huge difference since starting them when he was two weeks old.

Halo Sleep Sack – Once we got one of these, Leo started sleeping in 4-5 hour stretches overnight from being up every 2 hours. Highly recommend!

What are your favourite baby products?

 

 

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Cloth Diapering: Our Setup

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Super excited to be sharing our cloth diaper setup today. This is something I’ve been looking into pretty much since I found out I was pregnant and I love hearing other’s experiences and tips so I thought I would share what we plan to use for our baby.

Cloth diapering is a somewhat controversial topic and I’ve definitely received much skepticism and discouraging opinions on it. I understand that cloth won’t work for everyone but for us it feels feasible to at least give it a try. In the condo we have main floor laundry so I don’t think an extra load every other day or so is a big deal. If we were using disposables we’d be taking a load of garbage down to the main floor and then across our building to the dumpster room every day which is way more of a production than a load of laundry inside our suite, in my opinion.  I’ll be honest that cost savings is my biggest motivator. We stand to save easily a couple thousand dollars cloth diapering from birth to potty trained and even more if we use that same cloth diaper stash on more than one child.

The amount of research I did before deciding on what brand to go with was outrageous. I probably seriously considered at least four brands and every type before deciding on Planet Baby’s All-In-Two package. I liked that the company is Canadian and they sell on Amazon so I was able to read a lot of reviews from verified purchasers on there. I know that some people like to try a mix of styles and brands but my goal was to choose well from the beginning and really get comfortable with one style rather than have a mix of items and potentially only a few that I liked. The diapers look and feel great, so I’m excited to see how they work.

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What sold me on Planet Baby:

  • Ability to purchase a full diaper package
  • Reasonable price (plus free shipping and coupon codes)
  • Cute prints
  • Bamboo inserts
  • The features: double leg gussets, snaps, one size (fits 8-35 lbs.)
  • Close to disposables for ease of use

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A list of everything we have to get started:

From Planet Baby:

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From Well.ca:

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Miscellaneous:

  • Coconut Oil (in lieu of traditional diaper rash cream)
  • Cloth Wipes
  • Spray Bottle (to spray cloth wipes)
  • Dryer Balls
  • Country Save Liquid Detergent

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We are going to wait at least a couple of weeks after the baby is born until the meconium passes and we get our bearings before we start using cloth. It will also depend on how well they fit him as a newborn.

In terms of prepping, I just prepped the diaper covers by washing and drying once. For all of the inserts, I washed them three times, dried once and then repeated this process, with everything on high heat. This is necessary to maximize the absorbency of natural fiber inserts and prevent leaks. You also have to be careful to avoid the softeners, fragrances and dyes in traditional detergents and fabric softeners with cloth diapers. I chose Country Save detergent, because it came highly recommended for cloth diapers in many of my readings and I can get it from the London Drugs in our neighborhood. We’ve also switched from dryer sheets to dryer balls to avoid extra chemicals.

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That’s all I have so far. This is going to be a learning experience for us so I’m excited to get started and will let you know how we make out!

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Pregnancy Related Reads

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You may recall me saying in my second trimester recap that reading anything about pregnancy had not been my cup of tea but once we started prenatal classes I felt much more inspired to read up on everything I could. Here is what I’ve read so far and my thoughts on each selection:

Books:

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

My mom got me a copy of this book soon after we announced and in the early stages of my pregnancy I found it very alarming to read. There were too many extra possible problems that it alerted me to and as a notorious over thinker I didn’t need extra reason to worry. Later in my pregnancy I’ve found it much less upsetting to read. I also like that there is detailed information about labour and delivery, breastfeeding and postpartum care that will be nice to have on hand.

Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding

This book is amazing and so helpful. I truly felt like it taught me a lot. I understand the importance of breastfeeding and wasn’t needing to be sold on that, but I did find a lot of practical advice and troubleshooting tips that I hope will be helpful after I deliver should we run into any issues with breastfeeding.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

I struggled with this one, especially after loving Ina May’s breastfeeding book so much. The first half of the book is full of all natural birth stories, none of which happened in a traditional hospital setting and so I found that hard to relate to. The second half of the book has some good, encouraging info, particularly about the ability for us to birth naturally but some of the chapters were just weird. An entire chapter dedicated to “sphincter law” and another on “orgasmic birth” left me skeptical. I also found the information on medical interventions such as C-section, episiotomy and epidural VERY biased and as my personal goal is to go into my delivery with an open mind, I found her strong opinions discouraging. I didn’t end up finishing this one.

The Mindful Mom-to-Be

This is the best book I’ve read during my pregnancy and I wish I’d found it right at the beginning, as it is broken down into chapters month by month. I loved the voice of the author, and found that she gave advice in a gentle, nonjudgmental way. The book includes exercises, meditations, DIY’s, recipes and some great tips I plan to use during my labour and delivery.

The Honest Life

This book isn’t a pregnancy or motherhood read specifically but it includes chapters on pregnancy and lots of helpful information regarding chemicals in the home and healthier alternatives. I started to pay much more attention to these things once I became pregnant and I wish I had found this book sooner when I started to eliminate these things in our home.

Articles:

Baby on a Budget: What Do You Really Need?

This helped me from going crazy when shopping for baby. So. Many. Options.

The Joy of Having Boys

The comments on this one are great, too.

10 Tips for a Mindful Birth

I LOVED this article and found it very encouraging and enlightening.

That One Time I Made Ten Million Freezer Meals, Part One and Two

I’ve read Jessica’s blog forever and found these tips helpful for planning some freezer meals.

Also:

Something else that helped me was reading the manual for our hospital’s labour and delivery unit specifically. As lovely as it is to read about home births and birthing centers, I need to be realistic about what my birth experience will look like in the specific hospital I plan to deliver in. In addition to prenatal classes and a hospital tour, I’ve thoroughly read up on my hospital’s policies and procedures and found that very comforting just to have a better idea of what to expect.

What was your favourite pregnancy related read? I still have some time for more!

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The First Trimester

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This post has been in the works for-ev-er. For awhile I felt apprehensive about writing about pregnancy on my blog because it is so personal and feels a bit TMI but it’s also a HUGE theme in my life right now and at times is all-consuming. In the end, how could I not write about this experience? If you’ve been pregnant you’ll probably relate and if you haven’t this post will probably bore the heck out of you. I won’t be offended in the slightest if you skip it, either way. Be forewarned, this is a long read.

I suspected I might be pregnant because I had some unusual cramping way before my period was due but I also didn’t want to get my hopes up. It’s such a mind game and I really didn’t want to pay attention to it, which worked for a day or two. Then I remembered that I had a couple of “for fun” dollar store pregnancy tests stashed away and I took one super early, way before my period was due. It was inconclusive, which made me laugh at karma poking fun at how impatient I was being. The next day, I went to toss something out and saw the test in the garbage was positive. After a big WTF, I reminded myself that it couldn’t be trusted at this point and went on my way. Then, the next day, I took the other cheapie test, which was also inconclusive (picture me banging my head against the wall). I got really crazy (or continued being really crazy?) and checked it a few hours later and saw a faint positive. I was telling Tommy all of this throughout and he kept reminding me not to read into things. Then I reminded him who he was married to. Ha.

For the next several days, I googled pregnancy symptoms and false positives approximately 50 million times. Google shouldn’t be allowed for women who think they are pregnant. Seriously. I ended up somehow waiting until I was FIVE days late to re-test, popped into London Drugs on the way home from work and grabbed a two pack. I was about to start making supper and then Tommy and I decided we couldn’t wait and I ran in to do the test. I had barely peed on the thing and it lit up with a positive. Tommy was totally freaking out, told me to leave it and we would come back and check it in the two minutes. I still make fun of him for this. Then he started saying that maybe the test was a fluke and that I should do the other one. I drank a bunch of water, did the other one and it was also positive. We were giddy with emotion so we went out to dinner to celebrate.

A lot more things started to make sense after this. I’ll leave some out for modesty’s sake, but in addition to my weird cramping, I’d had no interest in my morning coffee for days, I had cried because I didn’t want to leave the house one night and the dog had been SO weird. He would either try to sleep on top of my stomach or be standing at the edge of the bed staring out the door as though he were guarding me.

We found out on the Monday before we were hosting both of our families for Thanksgiving dinner and it was torture not to tell them right away. My mother-in-law even expressed disappointment as she was leaving because she was SURE we had gotten everyone together because we were announcing a pregnancy. Let’s just say there was a lot of tongue biting that weekend. This was also right about the time that my nausea started and I still can’t think about anything I cooked that weekend without feeling totally disgusted. A picture of a pumpkin pie can still turn my stomach in the worst way.

In my sixth week I saw the doctor because I was having trouble keeping food down. I’ve heard people complain about pregnancy sickness before but I definitely never realized how extreme it could be and it was a rude awakening. For me, it felt like I had a stomach flu, all day, every day. Many days I sat at work with a sleeve of saltines in my desk drawer and was constantly shoving them in my mouth to keep from vomiting. I always had to be chewing on something in the car or I got car sick. Luckily my doctor prescribed me diclectin which got rid of my vomiting for the most part and I was still able to function at work. I had a ton of concerns about the quality of my nutrition. It’s hilarious to me that when I need to be nourishing another human I have no desire to eat anything even remotely healthy. I have so many aversions and at the same time, very specific and random cravings that I can’t ignore. There have been so many times that NOTHING sounds good and I end up just eating crackers or canned soup just to get something down.

I went to a jewellery party at a friend’s house, had to lie about why I wasn’t drinking the wine and then was asked point blank if we were trying for kids. I am the worst liar in the world so I had to work on my poker face a lot. Around this time I had an awful cold and then got a freaking cold sore on my EYE of all places, in addition to my all day nausea. My immune system was shot and I learned that pushing myself to be out and about like I used to be serves no purpose except for running me down. I pulled back a lot on making plans because it felt impossible to know what kind of day I’d have. For example, one day I woke up with a wicked back spasm that lasted all day and I was hobbling around like a 90 year old woman. The next day it was totally gone. I also had to leave situations abruptly a couple of times for fear that I was going to vomit in front of someone. If I cut off a conversation quickly or left your house in a hurry the last couple of months, I’m sorry. Now you know why!

I can’t stand cooking smells and have only recently started cooking simple things again. Tommy has been a saint, handling all of the house work and meals while I go to bed early every night. I could not have managed these last couple of months without him. We told our parents and siblings around 9 weeks. We were lucky that my brother’s birthday fell around this time so my whole family was together. I wrapped up a “Super Cool Like my Uncle” onesie with his birthday gift, which was initially mistaken for a dog outfit. Everyone was speechless. Tommy’s parent’s birthdays are two days apart so we had a birthday supper for them and wrapped up two more onesies with “I Love Grandma” and “Grandpa’s Sidekick” on them. They unwrapped them together and it was a super emotional reveal. We go there often so this was the hardest place for me to hide my sickness and I was sure someone would have caught on. To see how shocked they were was a lot of fun. We also told a few of our closest friends around this time.

The problem with starting to tell people early was that I was terrified that something would go wrong and we would have to un-tell people. I was (and still am) petrified about everything going well and very soon I was getting a lot pressure to tell the whole world WAY before I felt ready. I lost a lot of sleep over when the “right” time would be to tell our news. We saw the baby and his or her heartbeat at 9 weeks which helped ease my fears but I still really wanted to wait until at least 12 weeks to publicly announce. I know that something could go wrong at any time but for some reason this was just where I placed my stress. I felt a ton of responsibility to keep things private because it helped ease my anxiety and this was also the first decision Tommy and I were making as parents so it felt sacred to me.

Between the stress of keeping such a big secret, feeling poor physically and being cooped up a lot due to being sick I started to feel really down. I didn’t feel good enough to partake in any of the things I used to enjoy, like travelling, reading, walking the dog, cooking or seeing friends. I felt guilty because I had been blessed with such an amazing gift but I wasn’t glowing with joy. I mostly felt panicked and scared all the time. I couldn’t even really commiserate with anyone about how I was feeling which was very isolating. I was having one particularly hard night when my Mom phoned me out of the blue and talked a lot with me about her pregnancies and symptoms and it was like a godsend. It was a huge relief to talk to someone who had been pregnant before and I learned that just talking with people who understood was the best way to feel better.

More recently my sickness has let up a bit. Late afternoon and evening is usually my most nauseous time these days and I often get sick after eating my supper, which has been frustrating. I’m still exhausted and sleeping a lot but my food aversions have lessened and I am a bit more excited to eat these days. We finally announced publicly and as scary as it felt we have had a lot of well wishes and support which has been great. It does feel good to talk about the baby with everyone and although I still have fears I know that I have to trust life’s plan regardless of whatever comes to be. My family has had a challenging year, so to receive good news and have something to look forward to has been such a blessing. I have also gotten so many lovely, encouraging messages and tips from the moms in my life and that has been so comforting for me. I feel like I’m joining a supportive community and that’s been a blessing.

That’s all I have for now. If you’ve been following along with my ramblings this whole time, thank you! I appreciate your support so much.

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I Have News…

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In 2017 we’re going to become parents! To something other than a Chihuahua, that is.

You may have noticed some silence around here these last several weeks and it’s because I’ve been on a first trimester roller coaster. There isn’t much in the way of blogging material when you barely leave the house, don’t cook and are in bed by 8 pm every night.

I’m due in early June and we aren’t finding out the gender, which is both torturous and thrilling all at the same time.

We are so, so excited and grateful for this gift. Lots more to come!

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