Category Archives: Breastfeeding

Pregnancy Update: Nesting and Baby Gear!

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Even with my pregnancy quickly getting down to the last moments ( 38 weeks and counting!) it feels like the longest couple weeks of my life. But, being in nesting mode has kept me pretty occupied.   I am super grateful for the amazing hand-me downs, hand-made and bought gifts we are getting. Baby’s don’t need much and I for one hate carrying extra crap around that barely gets used. But there are some needed essentials for a winter baby.

Getting prepared for a winter baby...

Getting prepared for a winter baby…

This time around I encouraged hand-me downs as opposed to brand new items. As a second time around mom, I know how quick kiddies grow and what might or might not be worth the purchase.  And since we left the gender a surprise, we really don’t care about color or style of baby clothes… after all, a baby is a baby (and no I don’t care about a boy wearing pink!) Also… everything can’t be gray or yellow!

As a matter of fact, not finding out the gender has been interesting.  Here I was thinking it was about me and my partner wanting a surprise, but it quickly became clear that it was really about making others around us uncomfortable with the unknown. Like, oh you can’t already assign a personality and life goals to my unborn child? Sorry about the inconvenience of not confirming that said child might be a “mama’s boy” or “daddy’s little princess”…

gawd, I  just hate that shit!

gawd, I just hate that shit!

So waiting to find out the gender really became about shielding myself from those annoying conversations and frustrating assumptions… which I appreciate given my easily annoyed state of mind…

Nope.  Aint nobody got time for rigid gender norms in 2015...

Nope. Aint nobody got time for rigid gender norms in 2015…

Getting essentials from friends like infant car seats, clothes, and cloth diapers is totally amazing, and so are items like baby blankets, changing pads, and burp cloths. Since it’s been nearly six years since child #1- I’ve since given away most baby and toddler items to friends or charity.  The only things I kept and stashed away were my son’s crib and his high chair.  It’s pretty amazing how quickly folks are ready to clean out and give away baby gear (probably cause it tends to take up lots of space and babies grow out of it super fast!)  So, hit me up in a few months and we’ll keep the hand-me down party going!

Here are some items that I consider to be “must-haves”

~~Newborn Must-Haves~~

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1. Infant (or convertible) car seat ( unless you don’t drive or use public transit)
2. A swing or bouncer

this item is pretty needed I think...

this item is pretty needed I think…

3. An infant tub and some baby soap (I love burts bees)

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along with other baby grooming items ( the most important is the tiny nail clipper for those killer sharp claws)

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Grooming your cat or baby? ah, its pretty much the same...

Grooming your cat or baby? ah, its pretty much the same…

4. A place to sleep ( we scored a totally free hand-me down bassinet which is sweeeeet!)

5. Bundle me -or outdoor cold protection: ( Which I found for cheap at a local consignment shop!)

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This helps avoid over bundling the poor child in a million layers- a bundle me serves as a baby coat- super useful since we are having a winter baby and this is what it looks like in Rhode Island right now:

 

is it spring yet?

is it spring yet?

ewwwww.

ewwwww.

5. Blankets- again, winter baby… plus they are just so darn cute!

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6. Diaper time stuff: Whether using reusable cloth, disposable or both you will need-

-diapers & wipes

– waterproof/ changing pads or cover or some kind

Baby changing pad

Baby changing pad

-diaper pail and/or Cloth diaper wet bag

Cloth diaper wet bag

Cloth diaper wet bag

 

*More on our 1st time cloth diapering experience in a future post!

7.  Wipe Warmer-I know this is not a “need” for everyone, but with my first baby I found that there was nothing worse than using a cold wipe on my baby’s bum in the middle of night.  Also, this time we are using the wipe warmer as a way to keep our homemade cloth wipes moist.

wipe warmer for cold baby bums

wipe warmer for cold baby bums

 

8. Feeding time:  Whether bottle or boob, baby will need bottles.  I got a couple of the 4 oz glass bottles ( I was able to stay home and nurse most of the time) last time I didn’t really use more than two.

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Also, breast milk storage bags, hand and/or electric breast pump (dont forget to wash/ sanitize before use)

9. Nursing moms also need nursing bras, nursing pads ( one side would leak will feeding on the other side!), nipple cream and support ( I love the Boppy!)

 

ah the useful Boppy!

ah the useful Boppy!

-nursing pads- ( this time I am trying these out:)

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I like these nursing bras for overnight/ hanging out at home:

Somehow I doubt this woman is lactating… those nursing bras are great though.

Somehow I doubt this woman is lactating… those nursing bras are great though.

10. Baby clothes: We loaded up on sizes starting 3-6 months, I skipped the newborn size since my last child started out at 9 lbs! Also hats, socks ( or footed pants) and those baby mittens are useful.

Bonus item:

** Baby carrier/ sling!  Thanks to aunty Megan we can try this one out:

 

Moby Wrap!

Moby Wrap!

And for items that we don’t need now, but will need later:

– Stroller ( wont need this for a couple of months in the northeast!)

-Back carrier (for hikes and lugging around bigger children)

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*Optional: Baby bag ( I am known for just throwing my child’s stuff in my regular purse!)

 

What do you think are needed baby items? Any baby gear recommendations?

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The Pregnant Herbalist: What’s in my Hospital Bag

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Here we go! About 37 weeks along now!

the countdown is on!

the countdown is on!

With my first pregnancy, I worked at a school till the very end (which at the time was a welcome distraction!), and as a result, I didn’t really have time to think about what went into my hospital bag.  I remember that my water broke after dinner time and twenty minuates later I was at the hospital with contractions about 2 minuates apart.  I had a bag, but don’t remember what I stuck in it in those few short moments I had to prepare at home. I don’t think I had a change of clothes for myself or the baby! Luckly I got lots of free supplies from the hospital!

So this time I plan to be much better prepared.

View from the side! 37 weeks and dropping!

View from the side! 37 weeks and dropping! And ugh! Are those what my feel look like?!

Clothes:

-comfy ( aka: granny underwear my hospital thankfully gives moms disposable underwear too!)

-nursing bras and nursing pads

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-light robe ( I got this great one here: http://www.amazon.com/Jockey-Womens-Robe-Eggplant-Medium/dp/B00E1ZOUM4/ref=sr_1_2?s=apparel&ie=UTF8&qid=1422561500&sr=1-2&keywords=jockey+womens+robe)

– pj or yoga pants, maternity tights, undershirt, maternity sweater ( its is still winter after all and I am ALWAYS cold!)

-warm socks and/ or slippers

– clothes (and swim shorts for the labor tub) for my husband

Baby gear:

– a couple outfits ( the white one was actually my husband’s coming home outfit when he was just a wee one! I am so glad my mother-in-law saved this! Circa 1987!!)

baby clothes are so tiny!

baby clothes are so tiny!

 

-Hat/blanket/socks/mittens

– pre-installed car seat ( gotta get on that soon!)

-nipple cream (my homemade kind!)

-nursing pillow (boppy or breastfriend)

 

Other:

-print out copy of birth plan

-Ipod with speaker dock

– Our phones and chargers

-Cooler ( yes, a cooler.)  For taking home placenta for encapsulation

-Camera/ charger

 

Toiletries: ( this is becoming more of a ‘note to self’!)

-toothbrushes/ toothpaste

-deodorant

-hair ties/ head bands

– contacts/ glasses

– shampoo/ conditioner/ cleanser/ lotion

-plastic bag for laundry

 

Labor Support:

-labor-aide/ coconut water

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Gonna try out these recipes:  http://www.naturalbirthandbabycare.com/laborade

-snacks ( honey sticks/ nuts)

-Raspberry Leaf Tea— drink to your heart’s content. Used to help organize contractions and tone the muscles of the uterus.

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Natural medicine:

-Blue Cohosh

Blue Cohosh

Blue Cohosh

Blue Cohosh is used to help women unwind during childbirth as well as to alleviate labor pain. You may use blue cohosh individually or together with different preparations, for about two weeks before the expected date of childbirth, thrice daily. Caution: Never use blue cohosh during pregnancy, except just for a couple of weeks before delivery.

IMPORANT NOTE* very strong as a tincture or tea, better to try in homeopathic form first! For Blue Cohosh the homeopathic remedy is Caulophyllum (200X)

-Bach’s stress remedy. It’s safe and  always a go-to in times of need, which lets face it, birth can be one of those times! They gently restore the balance between mind and body by casting out negative emotions such as fear, worry, hatred and indecision which interfere with the equilibrium of the being as a whole. They work with the body on an energetic level.

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These are the 5 Bach Flower Remedies in Rescue Remedy:

Star of Bethlehem – Orithogalum umbellatum
Rock Rose – Helianthemum
Cherry Plum – Prunus cerasifera
Impatiens – Impatiens gladulifera
Clematis – Clematis vitalba

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Week 37 updates

Pros: Light at the end of tunnel, almost gonna meet this new human, finally!

– I am not teaching middle school full time anymore…

– When in the pool, I feel great!

Y can't I just live in the water till this thing comes out…?

Y can’t I just live in the water till this thing comes out…?

Cons: Where are my feet?

– Falling asleep and staying asleep can be challenging… but my body is getting used to it’s soon to be reality…

-Peeing is constant

-easily annoyed ( I try to stay off the roads…!)

– When I am not in a pool- I feel like a huge whale…

that about sums it up...

that about sums it up…

Activities:

– Packing:  ( besides the hospital bag and such…) essentials such as starter diapers and wipes, disposable and re-usable, although we intend to use reusable and / or get on a diaper service for the 1st few months, I remember how often newborns tend to poo and pee, so we stocked up on some disposable options as well.  *For the reusable wipes I got some Thirsties and some Bum genius and I plan on making my own bum/ wipe spray ( more on that in a future blog post!)

– Preparing: Sleeping, resting… snow days are okay by me!  Knocking off the books on my reading list for the first time since grad school!  Also, washing lots of baby stuff, sorting and putting things away- reading positive birth stories, swimming and yoga.

getting in the zone for baby-time

getting in the zone for baby-time

-Dr apts: are more often now in the last month ( weekly) I declined an ultra-sound to determine (or not so accurately) guess the baby’s size/ weight cause I didn’t see a need for it- especially considering it’s not very accurate AND given my recent experience with the glucose tests showing false positives in my 1 hr blood exam (with that nasty sugar drink), while the fasting 3-hour test showed I had normal blood sugar (TWICE!!! Yes I am doubl-ly normal!!).

In other words, I am going with my gut and declining what I feel are unnecessary tests again!

–  Weekly Pelvic Floor Physical therapy helping make sure my back and pelvis stay aligned for birth time.  Also, working on stretching out my perineal scar from those 3rd degree lacerations (almost 6 yrs ago now…) I am confident this time will be much better and much less damaging to my pelvic floor! For one thing, I am pretty sure this baby will be smaller than 9lbs, 9 oz!

And more importantly, I feel much more confident in my support system and birth team this time around…

go team go!

go team go!

Next time:   Sibling prep, baby gear, herbal support for the labor and postpartum period, final weeks updates and more!

Homemade Nipple Butter aka: My Boob-Milk Manifesto

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The countdown is on and baby-time is drawing near. This is about the time I find myself nesting, preparing our space for a new tiny human and that includes getting the boobs ready for constant feedings.

My homemade Nipple Butter!

My homemade Nipple Butter!

I remember what it was like the 1st time ( geez over 5 yrs ago now!)  trying to figure out that latch and it was NOT fun to say the least. It totally sucked!  I didn’t realize it at the time, but due to my son’s shoulder dystocia and the stress associated with being separated for the first 8 hours, we had a very hard time getting the nursing thing down.  For one thing, my milk took 4 days to come in and the poor little guy was clenching his jaw tight when trying to latch those first few weeks, offering everyone around me free lessons in epic-pirate quality cuss-outs.  I tend to cuss like a sailor in normal daily conversations, but with the added element of aching breast and sore nipples,  I could probably make black-beard blush.

I know DJ, I know...

I know DJ, I know…

I remember thinking that the pain my breasts endured was worse than the actual birth    (and due to certain hormones kicking in, that was probably true!)  Once things got really bad and I was dealing with like ALL the things…. All that stuff they tell you to watch out for on those well-meaning but shallow nursing pamphlets:  engorgement, clogged milk ducts, bloody nipples and a fever… yeah, I had that.   I sought out and received support from a lactation consultant (totally covered by insurance which my broke-self was very thankful for!) and after a couple sessions, nipple cream, and just putting my boob milk on the boo-boo nips, everything was in much better shape and we nursed mostly pain-free for several years.

I am not one to force or even talk up long-term nursing. I didn’t exactly plan it to nurse that long myself, it just sort of happened and it wasn’t stressful for either us so I went with it.   I am also not one to that can be easily embarrassed about most things in general and I am not one to look away when someone (and most of the time it was other women!) gave me dirty looks while nursing in public.

Let my boobmilk go!

Let my boobmilk go!

I remember returning the look right back- with a “dont make me squirt ya in the eye with my boobmilk” stare-which btw should totally be an emoticon…

yeah, kinda like that...

yeah, kinda like that…

Over time I cared less and less about pulling the boob out for feedings. I found it particularly interesting that after months of encouraging my son to say “num-num” as a way to nonchalantly request boob-milk when in public that he would instead shout “Boob!” While also tugging at my shirt.

Well done child.

Whatever decorum was left had surely deteriorated at that point so f**k it!

BOOB it is.

I strongly feel that nursing should happen for as long or short as mom and baby deem right…But that lady on the Times cover ain’t got nothing on me.

who cares what this lady does with her boobs, get over it America...

who cares what this lady does or doesn’t do with her boob? Get over it America…

People thought that was controversial? Hows about putting a Palestinian mom nursing her Black pre-schooler on the cover…?!  What then…?!

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oh man, shit's getting real...

oh man, shit’s getting real…

Aaahh, but I digress…

So I am a boob-milk believer.  I loved learning about it, the health and emotional impacts on both mom and baby. The unique chemical makeup.  I became a boob-milk scholar, learning everything I could and sharing it with others.  I could write a book on the differences between whale and human milk and everything in-between… I was a lacto-scholar. It was super interesting to me… then again so are things like glacial deposits, historical cemeteries, post-industrial rivers, and birding…We all have our ticks.

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Why Nipple Butter?

Issues with Lanolin:  A study published in the September 1992 issue of the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” found that lanolin samples contained several types of pesticide residues, and the contamination level varied significantly among batches. Also, I just wasn’t really feeling the texture of it, it didn’t feel very good on my skin.  I decided to hit up the mighty Pinterest and low and behold there are various homemade nipple butter/cream recipes to try out!

This recipe is a combo of couple different ones I eventually settled on:

Ingredients:

2 parts coconut oil

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2 parts shea butter

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1 part beeswax

beeswax

beeswax

2 drops lavender essential oil

lavender

lavender

2 tablespoons of Calendula infused olive oil

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Where you can order ingredients:

mountain rose herbs: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com

or, if your a local: Farmacy Herbs: http://farmacyherbs.com

images-8 How to:

step 1: Melt the coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax in a small sauce pan over low heat

* It is best to shred/ cut up the beeswax before adding in, which melts it down easier.

step 2: pour in the lavender and olive oil

step 3: pour the entire mixture into 4 oz jars (any desired container would do, but I prefer glass)

step 4: let in cool from anywhere between 1 hour to overnight!

My completed Nip Buttah

My completed Nip Buttah

Uses and benefits:

beeswax: protective to skin, wound healing, antibacterial, humectant (moisture retaining)

shea butter: anti-inflammatory, chemical-free moisturizer, healing

coconut oil: skin-softener, absorbable fatty acids, the lauric acid can kill bacteria, viruses and fungi

lavender essential oilimages-4

Calendula:

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* So many possibilities! It’s exciting to try out new variations for next time including using coco-butter or different essential oils.  I plan on branching out and trying a whipped all over body butter  (among other goodies) for next time!  Check out my growing Pinterest board on all things DIY: http://www.pinterest.com/nsamih84/health-and-beauty-diys/

Next time: My version of “necessary” baby gear and what I am packing in my labor/hospital bag and who knows what other nonsense!