Monday, November 19, 2012

These are a few of our favorite things. Part 1

I thought it might be fun to write a series of posts on some of the items we have most loved. There really is no reason for doing this, other than to document things we have most loved, and gotten the most use out of. Plus, it helped us a ton to read about other people's experiences with various products. Who knows, maybe some other parents or parents to be, will find our experiences helpful as well.

Up first.. The Lillebaby Nordic Carrier, seen here, We decided to go with the lillebaby nordic over any other soft structured carrier, I admit, in part because of the price. That said, we have been extremely happy with our choice. We have been using it since baby girl was only a few days old, and she has always loved it. We did not get the newborn insert, and didn't need it. We use this carrier while out and about, as well as around the house. It's relatively easy to get on, and comfortable to wear. I can get it on and fastened without any help, which is a definite plus. It also stays on my shoulders, which is a huge bonus for me, as I have shoulders that most things tend to roll off of. There are also 6 positions to carry baby in this carrier; Front facing in, front facing out, 2 different hip carriers, back carry, and with the infant insert a cradle hold. We have now tried all 5 carrying positions that we can do without the infant insert, and she has liked every one of them. They have all been relatively easy for us to use with her as well. The head support is also a great feature. We never really needed it for support much, unless she was sleepy. However, it works great if she has sun in her eyes on a walk, or is just feeling shy while at the store. I can snap that up, and she settles right in. I still put it up when she falls asleep in the carrier, just to be sure her little head doesn't flop around.

Basically, this carrier has been wonderful for us to have. With it, I have been able to do everything from cook dinner to grocery shopping, all while holding our baby.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Adventures in Co-Sleeping

    We are a co-sleeping family, and have been since the day we brought baby girl home. Our original plans were to have her sleep beside our bed in an arm's reach co-sleeper. We brought her home from the hospital, set her in it, and she screamed. For the first few days home, we would try to put her in it on occasion, even for a few minutes. Every time, she would scream. It didn't matter if she was tired, or what time of day it was. She cried a rather heart wrenching cry. It was pretty clear, the co-sleeper wasn't going to happen. Her Dad even went out and spent $60 on one of those snuggle nest, that goes right in the bed. It played music, and womb sounds. She liked the sounds, but did not like being in it. Overall  it was a bad purchase for us. First, they take up a ton of space. Second, our little lady who first rolled the day she was born, figured out very quickly how to kick her little feet over the sides. Third, and most important...she hated it. On the bright side, we gave the snuggle nest to a friend, and her baby did like it. So it wasn't a total waste of money.

    So, we have been allowing baby to sleep in our bed since our first night home. We have been safe about it. Co-sleeping gets such a bad rap thanks to media, when really if it's done safely it's been found to be safer than having your infant sleep in a separate room. I could link to studies on this, but instead I'm including a link to another blog post, which includes such links, at the end of this post. Baby does not sleep on or near any pillows or heavy blankets. She usually sleeps right next to me, and prefers to be in my arms. I am okay with this, as it keeps me more aware of her movements. Another plus has been that she doesn't need to fully wake to nurse. I am aware of her when she starts to squirm and fuss, and thus can get her latched before she fully wakes, making it easier to get her settled back to sleep. There has even been plenty of times when I've woken to find her already nursing, having latched on herself without help. There is something very peaceful about these moments. Perhaps the biggest plus of all though, is that because she sleeps with us, where she prefers to be, our baby has been sleeping through the night since the day we came home. Yes, she wakes up to nurse, but she very rarely fully awakens, or stays awake for more than a few minutes if she does. She is over 6 months old now, and I can count on one hand the number of rough sleep nights we have had. I'd say, we are doing pretty good.

    One thing some people may see as a downfall is the time our baby goes to bed. She likes to stay up late. We are okay with this. I was the same way, as a baby/child, always. Her Daddy was working an 11 to 7 shift, so this was perfect for us. She usually goes to bed anytime between 11pm and 1am, and wakes between 9am and 10am. The only issue we are going to have with this routine now, is that her Daddy is going to be working some 7am shifts. It's only a couple of days per week though, so I am sure we will survive. We see no reason at this point to try to force her onto a schedule that is not natural to her. Maybe we will feel differently if/when we have more children. For now though, as long as she is happy, we'll let it be.

   We also do have her crib side-carred to our bed now. We set this up when she was about 4 months old. She still will not sleep in it, unless I am right next to her, and she can lay on my arm. It does give us a bit more room in the bed though. Plus, now that she's really getting around, she's finding she likes to play in it. Some nights we will turn out the light, and she will wriggle away from me and crawl around in her crib for awhile. She is also working on pulling herself up on things, and has been making a game recently of climbing all over Mommy and Daddy, when we try to go to bed before she is ready. Our bed has turned into a jungle gym lately. This too, is a reason I am glad we co-sleep. I would be a nervous wreck if she was in a crib in a separate room, because I guarantee she would figure out how to climb out.

    Oh we also nap together. Some people say we need to get her to sleep on her own. The thing is, I am sure she would. She will fall asleep in her car seat, or stroller if she is in them and tired. At home though, her down time is also my down time. It's not the time I choose to clean, or do anything strenuous. Some days I do sure, and on those days baby gets worn. We have a small living space, so naps generally work best for her if I am quiet too. Therefore, when she naps, I lay down with her and do something quiet, like read a book, or take a nap too. I think we are all better off this way. She gets plenty of rest, and I get plenty of rest. It keeps us all a bit more peaceful. Sure, we have our exhausting no nap days, but what family doesn't?

    Overall, we are very happy with our decision to co-sleep. It's what works for us. No, it's not what's best for every family. I think, ultimately, everyone has to be able to get a decent amount of sleep for your family to function best. If having baby in their own bed or room is how this can be achieved for your family, then do so. I just happen to like that this is working so well for us. It's certainly made our life easier.

   Now, as a disclaimer, I am not telling anyone they should co-sleep. Everyone should decide for themselves what is the best and safest arrangement for their family. This is what works for us, even if our bed has become a jungle gym to her lately.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Baby wants a cookie

I mean, she REALLY wants a cookie. She is interested in a number of foods. Mostly she just wants to play with them, or to try what we have. As for actually eating, she never has more than a few small bites yet. However, cookies seem to be an exception. Whenever she sees a cookie of any sort, she goes crazy. Obviously we don't want her having sugar, or processed foods at all, especially so young. I would love to make her some natural, organic baby cookies, but so far all the recipes I have found and tried have been terrible. I guess I need to get in the kitchen and start experimenting. Am I the only person who has terrible luck with following baking recipes, and great luck with just doing my own thing? I feel so backwards for that.

If you have a recipe for baby cookies that is good, please please please share it with us. We would love to give it a try!

Knit This, Sew That

I am excited to have an opportunity to work on some projects today. I have material cut to sew two more diapers, like the one pictured. I also want to make baby girl a dress or two for Christmas, and knit her a cardigan to wear with them. Along with those things, there are a few other projects I would like to get done. Hubby's sweater is long overdue, baby needs some leg warmers, a dress I knit her previously needs mending, and Christmas gifts need to be made. Basically, I should have no problem finding something to work on today. My only complaint is that our car is in the shop, so I can't go to JoAnn to see about fabric for a dress.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Baby Led Weaning

Now that we've reached 6 months, I expect, any day now, to hear a question along the lines of, "when will you stop breastfeeding?" So, I am just going to take this opportunity to answer that question. We will stop breastfeeding when baby is ready to stop. I am hoping for her sake, that this does not occur before a year at the absolute minimum, and if she goes at least 2 years, even better. Some of you may be thinking it is ridiculous and unnecessary for us to be breastfeeding still, and especially to even consider doing it past 2 years of age. However, there are just too many benefits to doing so, for me as a mama to feel right even considering it any other way.

I've felt this way all along, and yesterday, when discussing for probably the hundredth time with my husband, could have hugged him, when he said how he "doesn't want me to not breastfeed her because our society thinks it's wrong, when there is so much evidence to show how good for her it is." This was huge to me, considering a few months ago he was okay with us breastfeeding until 1 or maybe 2, but thought then we should wean because it would "look funny." If he hadn't been driving our car at the moment, I would have jumped up and hugged him. Perhaps I should do so now. I think I will after I write this.

I know from working as a nanny for other mamas who did extended breastfeeding, that my child will not be developmentally or socially stunted in any way from it. That's just a sad depiction our society puts on a healthy and natural thing. I could post a number of links to sources that have helped us in our decision to breastfeed as long as she wants, however for now I'll stick with just this one,

I would also like to emphasize that we in no way plan to force her to continue breastfeeding beyond a point where she wants to stop. If she wants to stop at a year, okay, if she is three or four, okay. It's up to her, because she will stop when the time is right for her. It's not about what's easiest for us, it's about her, and what's best for her.

This also does not mean she won't have foods. While our plans were to start her on solids at 6 months, we actually started her on them at 5 months 1 week, or rather, that's when she decided she would start. She still gets the bulk of her nutrition from breast milk, and likely will for awhile. However, when she shows and interest in a food, we let her try it. Considering it hasn't been yet a month since she's started on solids, she has a pretty good list of foods she eats. So far, she eats, and likes, apples, applesauce, avocado, yams, winter squash, butternut squash, oatmeal, carrots, pumpkin, and tofu. She does not like baby food, (no complaints here), or bananas. She also likes cookies and pumpkin pie, but for obvious reasons we don't want her having sugar, so she will not be getting those unless I make them without. If she shows an interest in a food, we let her try it. So far, this method is working great for us. If you would like to offer suggestions of new foods to have her try, please do. I love how much she seems to like trying new things.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Who doesn't like giveaways?

I've decided I really need to put my crafty skills to good use, and maybe work towards starting a wahm business. I am sewing our own diapers now, for example. Why not make some for others as well? Of course, it will be some time before I can really get something going. I'd like to explore with more fabrics and patterns, figure out what works best for which babies, you know, make the perfect specimen of a diaper, or at least as close to perfect as possible. What better way to test different diapers and fabrics than to give some away to others to try out? The ONLY catch will be, if you win a diaper I give away, I ask that you please be willing to let me know how it worked for you. I won't be offended if it didn't work at all. The goal is to figure out which fabrics and designs really do work the best. So keep your eye out for periodic giveaways posted on this blog. Maybe we'll even have our first one soon!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Happy Half Year To Our Sweet Girl!

   My name is Angela, and I am wife to a very loving husband, and mama to a beautiful baby girl, who turned 6 months today!  I've been wanting to start a blog on our adventures in parenting, and the joys and trials of having become a sahm in the past few months. Mostly joys in our case, despite at times feeling like I could really use a break. I have very much been enjoying our life.

    Still it almost seems a shame to have not started this blog sooner. I learned so much in the past 6 months, that I could have been sharing with others. For some reason, I really got to thinking about how wonderful my life has been since baby girl was born, May 10, 2012, and also about how many things we've learned, and still have to learn as parents. So I decided, it's time to start blogging.

   I'm not going to make any silly goals, like attempting to post about every little event, or even posting every day. I'm just going to post when the inspiration hits me, and believe me it will hit. I already have a few categories in mind. Hopefully everyone who reads this blog will keep an open mind, and remember just because something works for us, doesn't mean it will be the right way for you. On the flip side, please feel free to offer any suggestions or advice to any tribulations I post about. We understand that your suggestions might not always be right for us either, but we are always willing to listen, and to take everything into consideration when it comes to figuring out what does work for us. All that said, please keep comments respectful, not only to us, but to other readers as well.

    Some of you may be wondering where the blog name came from? I spent ages trying to think up a good blog name. Yesterday, I sat looking at our sweet sleeping baby girl, and suddenly remembered how on the day of her birth, our doctor held her and said, "you really are a perfect specimen." I realized how true this is, she is perfect to us in every way. More than that though, children everywhere are perfect specimens. Everything about every child, from what they look like, to their in it's own way, perfect.

**Stay tuned. Our first official blog post, aside from this intro, will be a fun one!