Mother’s Day

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I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on my first Mother’s Day. I am so overwhelmingly grateful for my son and I love him more than anything in the world.

This last year has been incredibly challenging. I had a colicky baby who hated sleep, developed excruciating de Quervain’s Syndrome in both wrists, and at Leo’s six month immunizations a wonderful health nurse urged me to see my doctor about postpartum depression and anxiety. By the time I finally admitted that I did need help and worked up the courage to see my doctor, she was unhelpful and dismissive of my concerns. I’ve been conflicted on where to turn ever since.

In addition, late last year both of my parents were diagnosed with cancer (my mom for the second time) and I underwent genetic testing for the BRCA2 gene that my mom carries. I’ve spent a lot of the last year just trying to survive and so many things have suffered: my relationships, my health, my self esteem, my sanity. I have doubted my ability as a mother every single day because of these challenges. I’ve felt robbed because so many negative distractions really kept me from enjoying and savouring the first year of my amazing Leo’s life.

I haven’t blogged in three months because I don’t know where to start. I’ve been dragging a lot of ugly stuff around this year and our household has been shouldering most of it alone because I’m so afraid to admit that I’ve been struggling. I don’t EVER want to sound like I’m complaining or that I don’t love being a mother.

My gift to myself today is to just own my truth. As women we feel so much pressure to make it seem like things are perfect all the time and we are doing ourselves a great disservice by hiding every struggle as if it were a dirty secret. I’m slowly learning that motherhood (and life in general) can be imperfect, and that’s ok to acknowledge. If your journey as a mom hasn’t been easy or effortless or the way you had envisioned it, you aren’t alone.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms, moms to be, moms who are struggling to become moms, moms who are mourning the loss of children and the non-moms who do the work of moms. May we all feel celebrated today! Lots of love to you. 

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Cloth Diapering: An Update

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We’ve been cloth diapering for several months now and I thought I’d share what we’ve learned so far!

Now that I have some experience in this area, I’ll start by saying that I have no idea why so many people have such intense fear in them over cloth diapering. It’s baffling to me the amount of times I was told that I would hate it, it was so much extra work, it would never last, and so on and so forth. Well, in truth, all it really seems to be is an extra load of laundry every day or two. And when you have a baby, extra laundry kind of comes with the territory, am I right?

We started using Leo’s cloth diapers when he was about a month old and had hit the 8 pound mark. They fit him well then, although they were a bit bulky but that was to be expected. We’ve continued to adjust the snaps as he has grown and they still fit him very well.

We LOVE the Planet Baby diapers we chose. After months of daily use they still look and feel brand new, aside from some minor stains. We use them as pockets only, rather than just laying the liners inside the covers and we will probably continue to do things that way. Something about mindlessly stuffing pocket diapers at the end of a long day is therapeutic for me. These diapers hold in a ton. The Planet Baby diapers have a double gusset and it does not disappoint. Disposable diapers equal way more blow outs for us.

Now for the accessories. In terms of the wet bags, we have found them very useful for travel but we now use a small pail for daily use. I found unzipping and rezipping the large wet bag with my hands full all the time annoying. The pail works much better. I just use a small plastic garbage pail that is easy to wash in the bath tub.

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We are still using Country Save detergent and dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. I am looking at wool dryer balls for future because I hate my plastic ones. The Country Save seems to work fine as my diapers are still in great shape and always come out clean. I’ve tried both the liquid and powder and I can’t say I’ve noticed a huge difference either way. My routine is to wash every day or every other day with a preliminary quick wash on hot and then on a normal cycle, hot water, with an extra rinse and then a machine dry on low. If after a while I notice lingering smells or stains, I bleach my whole lot of covers and inserts and then do another couple of washes with just detergent and an extra rinse to make sure all the bleach is removed. So far, so good. There seems to be mixed opinions on bleaching but we are dealing with human waste and I want to make sure things are cleaned properly.

If Leo has a diaper rash we either use coconut oil or Sudocrem with a disposable liner to keep it off of the cloth diapers. We do use disposables for overnight and long car rides, just for Leo’s comfort. They just wick moisture away from his sensitive skin so much better and I’ve been sleep deprived enough without waking up every few hours to change wet diapers. I do also find that he doesn’t seem as comfortable in his car seat in cloth for long periods of time, so for now that is the approach we’ve taken.

I had originally planned to use cloth wipes but I just haven’t gotten around to it. I kept finding wipes on sale so I would stock up and here we are months later. If I do get into cloth wipes I will let you know!

All in all, cloth diapering has been a positive experience so far and even Tom would tell you that he is amazed at the ease of things. It is a big money saver for us and I am always relieved that I’m not buying diapers on the regular.

I also think it’s important to not put pressure on yourself to be all in. I am amazed when I hear of people that do it 100% of the time because the planning it requires to go on a long trip especially is no small thing. There are some situations where a disposable diaper is still what we reach for and that’s ok with me. Even if you cloth diapered half the time, the savings is still worth the effort in my opinion!

Do you cloth diaper? I’d love to hear your take.

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Five Months of Motherhood

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Almost half a year into this journey! What a whirlwind. This experience is SO amazing and bittersweet and I could fill it with all the common cliches about motherhood that you’ve probably heard a million times (they’re all true) but instead I’ll just tell you what we’ve been up to.

A few noteworthy things we’ve done in the last couple of months:

– Took Leo swimming for the first time. He loved it!
– Met lots of extended family for the first time
– Left Leo to be babysat a few times, by his grandparents and his aunt and uncle. Thank goodness for family.
– Went on his first road trip to Brandon. His longest one yet!
– Lots of sitting up, rolling over and belly laughs

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Leo is getting more fun every single day. He’s super silly, determined and strong willed. He still loves bath time and his jolly jumper and he’s starting to become super curious about the dog. Also, he’s obsessed with his dad. Our favourite time of day is when Dad gets home from work, for sure. We treasure the weekends when we get more time with him.

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I had some concerns about a flat spot on the side of Leo’s head so he had an X-Ray to rule out any issues with his skull development (all is well!) and has been seeing a physiotherapist due to a mild case of torticollis. We’ve been learning stretches and exercises to help with this and it’s been going really well. He’s also rarely sleeping on his back anymore now that he’s rolling all the time so his head is rounding out nicely.

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Leo also had an allergic reaction right before Halloween, complete with hives all over and wheezing. It was so scary! Of course this happened at bedtime on the first snowy night of the season and we were dragging our exhausted baby all over the blustery city, looking for an open walk in clinic at 8pm. Between seeing the doctor and waiting for his prescription we didn’t get home until almost midnight and he was on meds for a few days after but he was a trooper. We are certain it was from a new lotion and soon we meet with an allergy specialist to get a game plan together.

Something else super weird that happened: our baby swing got recalled! My sister recognized it in an email she got and sent me the info. Sure enough, our swing matched the recall number and I had to cut it into pieces and send half away and throw out the other half. I loved that swing and it was pretty much the only place Leo slept for the first two months of his life so I was sad to see it go. That said, I’m also super horrified that he could have burst into flames in it and glad it is out of here.

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We’ve been enjoying all the fun and festive things this season has to offer. We set up our tree extra early, did photos with Santa and got Leo his first engraved ornament. What I’m really struggling with is not going totally overboard with gifts. I’m trying to remind myself that the best memories I have as a child are of experiences and not things and I’m hoping to parent with this in mind. Christmastime with a baby is magic though, I’ll say that much.

I am still wishing for more sleep and I do feel like sleep deprivation makes me a little off on occasion. I’m definitely more forgetful and scatterbrained. I also really struggle with making conversation and collecting my thoughts these days. Mom brain is so real! One definitely forgets how to interact with adults when home alone with a baby all day.

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Physically, I’ve also been dealing with tendinitis in both thumbs/wrists and it has been AWFUL. It started in my left wrist right after Leo was born and then because I started wearing a brace and favouring my right I developed it there too. It is super painful and really makes my day to day a challenge. I am still waiting on a referral to a specialist and in the meantime I am wearing braces on both wrists the majority of the time. Apparently it’s common in new mothers due to relaxin and the sudden constant lifting of a baby. I never knew it existed and it’s kind of comical to me that after pushing a baby out of my you-know-what that wrist pain is my biggest postpartum health concern.

I alternate between serious baby fever and then thinking that there is no way in hell I’ll be ready for another anytime soon. I feel so excited when I see pregnant women or things like ultrasounds on TV and I can’t wait to do it again. That said, I do want to enjoy Leo as much as possible before throwing another baby into the mix. I’d also like a bit more sleep before having another one. I just want to get caught up on sleep before I sign up for more sleep deprivation. Because that makes sense, right?

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Most recently, we just moved Leo to his own room after room sharing since he was born. I have mixed emotions. I feel anxious about it but I also know that none of us was sleeping as well as we could have been and that the arrangement had run its course. We also just started experimenting with solids and so far it’s been fun! Will keep you posted as we learn more of course.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading and for all of your support! I love sharing our experiences here.

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Baby Favourites: Five Months In

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Time for another round of baby faves! As Leo continues to grow we find more things that make our days much easier. Here they are:

Munchkin Bottle Warmer – Heats up a bottle in 90 seconds, which is long enough to wait when you have a hungry baby on your hands. Also worth noting that we’ve tried the more expensive Avent Warmer and the Munchkin one wins hands down for speed and ease of use.

Fisher Price Play Mat – Leo loves everything about this, from the mirror he can see himself in to the piano he can play music with when he kicks his feet. Also interesting for him to look at during tummy time.

Avent Microwave Bottle Sterilizer – Super handy for sterilizing bottles in a hurry as well as breast pump parts.

Evenflo Double Electric Breast Pump – My sister has this and seeing how well it worked for a fraction of the cost of most electric pumps I bit the bullet. It really does the job well!

Summer Infant Swaddle Me Wrap Sack – Remember how I plugged the Halo sleep sack in my last favourites post? Well, I have a new preference. This variety has a way better zipper system at the bottom for changing diapers. These are also way cheaper than the Halo ones. Now that he is rolling over we have moved him to a sleep sack but these are our fave swaddles by far.

Wet and Dry Bag – I always keep one in my diaper bag for cloth diapers but one day Leo ended up blowing out through his whole outfit (and his CARSEAT, I might add) while at the mall and I was able to shove the whole mess in this bag until we got home to wash it. Lifesaver.

Jolly Jumper – Aside from bath time, this is Leo’s favourite thing to do. It’s nice to have another way to entertain him.

Padraig’s – These beautiful slippers were a gift from a friend and they are wonderful. So well made and cozy for this colder weather.

Fisher Price 4 in 1 High Chair – I’d been going back and forth on what high chair we should get Leo and I had a long wish list: small space friendly, folds flat to store, multiple uses, easy to clean, gender neutral and not $400. This is PERFECT. I’ve already loved using the space saver option rather than buying a Bumbo. Highly recommend it.

Jolly Jumper Cuddle Bag – We are loving this for the colder weather and so is Leo. It keeps him super cozy and he often falls asleep in it while we are out and about.

What baby items couldn’t you live without?

 

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Three Months of Motherhood

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Happy September! Before I had Leo I kept saying that I felt like June was the perfect time to have a baby because I got to enjoy the summer. In retrospect I think maybe March or April would be the perfect time. I finally feel like I’m just sort of starting to get a bit more sleep and finding some comfortability in my role as a new mom and…summer is over? Ah well. Life is becoming so much more fun with our little guy and every day is something new.

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Although we weren’t able to do a bunch of the traditional summer things like camping or beaching we did several road trips to visit family, grilled a ton and ate our fair share of ice cream. I learned to bake pie and became obsessed with trying new ones (next up, French Silk). We went for a ton of walks around our neighbourhood and just worked on adjusting to life as a family of four.

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Leo is doing great. His tummy issues seem to be resolved mostly due to my cutting a few things out of my diet, onion being the one he absolutely can’t seem to tolerate. Breastfeeding is still going well and we’ve even gotten him down to one nighttime feed a few times recently which makes me feel like a million bucks with a bit more sleep under my belt. He is growing like crazy and every time we see the doctor she is always shocked at how quickly he’s jumped up. He’s now over fourteen pounds after coming home from the hospital at six. His first vaccinations came and went and were heartbreaking of course. He’s smiling a ton, chatting more and more and loves being sung to.

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Some things I’ve found really helpful as a new mom:

– forcing myself to get out of the house once a day even if for a minor errand (unless baby is having an off day of course)

 
– handing over bathtime and a bedtime bottle to Tommy so I can have some time to myself if desired. This has become an awesome bonding time for them.

 
– meal prep at the beginning of each week. I prep overnight oat bowls for the week’s breakfasts as well as some sort of a healthy lunch. Some of my favourites: Quinoa Glow Bowls, Italian Pasta Salad and Curry Chicken Salad. This is especially helpful on those crazy fussy days.

 
– also, making a batch of something healthy to snack on each week, like granola bars or energy bites. This keeps me from eating junk when sleep deprived. Bonus points that these recipes in particular are good for lactation.

 
– just being honest when I’m having a hard time and could use some help. After a long string of sleepless nights I confessed to my family how much I was struggling and they have made regular trips to visit since then. It’s been a huge weight lifted for me.

 
– the new Tim Horton’s iced lattes. Have you tried them yet?

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Things I’d like to prioritize for fall: look into some sort of mommy and me activity with Leo, get in as many walks as we can before it gets cold and start reading again! I’ve totally slacked off on that front. I’d also like to fit in a date with my husband, and wear something other than sweatpants in front of him, although he’d never complain. He’s a good sport, that guy.

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I had grand plans to blog a ton on maternity leave but I keep reminding myself that these days are fleeting and I just want to soak up all I can. I also fear that this is coming across as a bit of a mommy blog these days, but it’s always been a reflection of my current life and nowadays it’s all about the baby over here! I do have several posts in the works, like our current fave baby products, a cloth diaper update and a healthed-up chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve had in the works forever but still need to share. How was your summer?

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