Sam is now in size two disposable diapers (disposables are used infrequently around here, but he’s dealing with a yeasty diaper rash due to my thrush, and that Lotrimin will eff up my nice cloth diapers in no time flat!), and he’s solidly in 3-6 month clothes. He’s also making some pretty amazing eye contact, and he “talks” to us — especially to Eric and my dad. They get the most response out of him. I predict he will be a daddy and granddaddy’s boy. (That means he’ll like knives, guns, and video games. And the guitar. And maybe science — biology or physics?) He also rolled over from back to front. This amazed me as I watched it happen, but he hasn’t done it again, and I think it was mostly accidental, though he looked quite pleased as he settled on his tummy. I hastily weighed him on my parents’ scale, and he’s nearly 12 pounds! How time flies when you’re having fun changing diapers, cooing and singing, walking around like a zombie, and nursing constantly.
Lordy, I’ve been somewhat remiss in loving my blog because of loving my son. I think that’s acceptable, but I need to do something for me! And I need a better record of this pretty amazing time.
So, this is my challenge! For November, I’m going to write at least one thing, EVERY DAY. My husband said that was a lot of writing! I tend to be long winded and craft major posts (I have several sitting on my dashboard that are monstrous), and I figure I might just rather be prolific this coming month. Just for a change, for a little while. Maybe long term? Who knows until you try?
For now, readership, please hold me accountable. Fill up my comments with ideas for short blog topics! I yearn to write through November.
It looks to be nearing 2:30 AM, and Sam SEEMS to be sleeping in his crib at my parents’ house. I will try to do the same myself. I predict a rude wake up call in less than three hours.
Good night friends. Be well.
I’m sure you’ve read lots of books that tell you all about your pregnant body — how your baby is developing, the weight you should gain, how your feet might start to swell, or the nighttime insomnia you may experience. Very few of the books I read really mention the postpartum period, and they certainly do not cover it in detail. There is some mention of the baby blues and postpartum depression. (Maybe if there was more coverage on what to expect of your body in the first few weeks, depression rates might be a little less. Just saying.) But the books — perhaps society — seem to assume that we women are simply back to normal after a birth. Friends, it is not so. Your body has just experienced a major trauma, and here I am to be very blunt about what to expect. (*Since I haven’t had a c-section and wouldn’t know what to expect, this is the vaginal birth edition.)
Fair warning …. there’s a lot of grossness, and if you don’t want to read about it, or if it will unduly freak you out, just navigate away from this page …
So here’s what to expect from your (lovely, hardworking) postpartum body:
1. It’s going to hurt to pee at first. In fact, this is the first thing you’re going to have to do for your nurse or midwife — in the hospital or at home — to let them know you are okay. And it’s going to hurt like a mother, because you are a mother. Just do it, grin and bear it, and it’ll all be okay. How does it hurt? It burns. What can you do to help it? Use the peri bottle from the hospital — fill it with some warm water and flush your lady area during or after your pee time. (You can also add some Epsom Salts to the warm water … this can speed the healing process and help cleanse the area.)
2. It’s also going to hurt to do anything else for a while. It’s going to hurt to walk, get up from the couch or the bed, turn over, shift positions or stay still. And guess what? It’s normal. It’s okay. And it’s going to get better. I promise. At about two weeks, you’ll start to feel like you can do all kinds of normal stuff! Before then, just chill. Don’t push yourself to clean the house, make the bed, exercise, or anything that requires much effort. Load up your Netflix queue, get out the Boppy, breastfeed, and watch television. You don’t need to do anything else (if you’re a first time mom … I won’t get into the territory of parenting another child!). Have your SO get you water, food, and ice packs. Get lots of ice packs. Ice packs are good.
3. Sorry about all the pain stuff, but I’ll just warn you on this last one: it’s going to hurt when your milk comes in. It just does. Your boobs will load up like they are going to explode, and it will feel like you’re on that edge … the explosion edge. Again, this gets better too. It takes a couple of days, and then your body starts to adjust. In the meantime, take a long hot shower, hand express, breastfeed often, and use those ice packs between feedings.
4. Okay, this one is gross, but it’s true. I guess all of this is kind of gross. So, how do I put this delicately? You’re going to stink. For some reason, your hormones go all whack after you have a baby, and you produce sweat like a thirteen year old boy. That means you are stanky in the BO type of way. Just make time to shower every day. There’s not much you can do about this one.
5. On the sweaty-ness. You will likely have night sweats. That’s exactly what it sounds like. You will get real hot all over, and sweat, and you will wake up all sweaty. Don’t worry when this happens. It’s normal, you don’t have the flu, and it’s natural. What to do? Shower! And change your sheets often so you have that freshness feeling.
6. You’re gonna leak. Get tons of disposable breast pads (Lansinoh makes the best ones) — if you’re like me, the cloth ones just won’t keep up. And change the pads with every feeding! If you don’t, you are making a perfect place for yeast and bacteria to grow (I told you this post was going to be gross). If you get those nasties growing in there, you could end up with thrush or mastitis. Change them. Often. (If you want to go with cloth breast pads, get at least 20 pads, and you’ll probably be washing them every day.)
7. Oh no. More fluids. Okay so, you’re body gears up for this pregnancy by making all of this lining and placenta and goop inside of you (that’s where some of those extra calories are going when you eat them during pregnancy). When you have the baby, a lot of it comes out — but not all. It’s going to come and keep coming 2-6 weeks. You’ll have all sorts of gnarliness — clots, period-like bleeding, and some tapering off discharge at the end. This glorious gift is called lochia, and it’s doing it’s job to get you cleaned out. You’ll need some giant pads at first (they have them at the hospital — take them home with you!), and then regular overnight pads worked just fine for me.
8. You’re skin might not have the pregnancy glow anymore. In fact, you might break out. I have. It’s gross. But again, I guess I can live with it since I’ve got this baby in return.
9. This has not happened to me yet … but … your hair might fall out. Sorry about that. Something to do with the hormones again.
10. And the last one … this was a hard one. I definitely did have the baby blues. It was something that I could sense was really hormonal, but it also had a lot to do with the stress of having a new little baby. When he cried, I started crying. It stressed me out so much. When I couldn’t sleep, I cried. I cried for no reason, and I cried for changing my life so very much. Crazy enough, this all but disappeared around week two. This is big time something you and your partner need to keep an eye on — and be aware of. If it lasts longer than the two or three week mark, go back to your OB, and demand help. Advocate for yourself … because your baby needs to be enjoyed by a mom who is capable, emotionally available, and energetic.
Good luck, and I hope this wasn’t too too gross.
I’m really hoping to stir up some controversy with my title. But I think you’ll get where I’m coming from when I explain myself. Even my lactation consultant was sympathetic when I talked to her for an hour the other night. I confessed to her that I’d had a dream I mixed Sam a bottle of formula and gave it to him. In my dream, I was SO happy.
Breastfeeding has never been something I’ve been totally on board with. During my I-want-an-epidural (or a scheduled c-section!) phase back when I first got married, I expressed my distaste for the idea of breastfeeding to my husband. (“It’s gross! Fluids! Sticky! Bleh!”) He thought I was crazy, and he expressed that he knew I would breastfeed when the time came.
Fast forward to October 6, 2010. Sam is a little over three weeks old, and I am four days into a 21 day course of Diflucan (fluconazole — an antifungal drug). Why? I have a fierce, painful, burning case of thrush — a yeast infection in my breasts. Blerrghhh …. (that’s the sound of me being appropriately disgusted). What does thrush do? It makes it incredibly painful to nurse my son. I have radiating pain for an hour to two hours afterward. It makes a special bond between me and my child something that I dread.
I haven’t gotten to enjoy nursing for one day, in fact. Before my milk came in, I was worried Sam wasn’t latched properly and wasn’t getting enough colostrum. When my milk came in, I spent a good while crying over the pain and taking multiple hot showers for a modicum of relief. As soon as my supply evened out and the pain of engorgement stopped, I got what I now know is thrush in one breast. Over last week, it jumped to the other.
I can say that I am incredibly lucky that Sam gained 1.5 pounds (!!!) by his two week appointment. He’s gained at least a full two by now. My supply is fine, his latch is good, and my god, I am lucky.
I am lucky, and I am not. I am one of so many women who suffers at the whims of breastfeeding success. The information I’ve read on breastfeeding has a lot to say about how crazy you are if you formula feed (I’m paraphrasing, but you get the point), how breast is best, and how too many women stop for little issues like soreness or thinking they don’t have enough supply. If you have a breast, you can feed, they say. You’re silly to think that you can’t.
I know, of course, that breastfeeding is ideal. It provides closeness and warmth, and all of the wonderful nutrients that your baby needs. It builds immune systems, provides antibodies, and gives the tools for brain growth. But I do think women these days, especially in certain circles, can be made to feel that if they choose to formula feed, or NEED to formula feed for their health or for their baby’s health that they are terrible people. I know several women who have had to quite breastfeeding after so many attempts to keep pushing forward for the sake of their children. This situation hurt these women, but in the end, formula proved to be the best — perhaps the only — option.
The lovely, patient lactation consultant talked to me for a long while. She told me of a woman she knew who had mastitis (a painful bacterial infection in the breast) once a month for all of the ten months she fed her child. She kept on pushing through. Noble, but … could I do it? I’m not sure I could. I know I would feel guilty quitting. But should I be expected to continue through such a painful and continuous issue? Just a question. Mostly rhetorical.
I’m left sitting here, back to square one. After my natural birth, my growing success in cloth diapering, my recent successful forays into babywearing … I’m left unenthusiastic about breastfeeding. Knowing it is best (and cheapest!), I continue for now. But I feel for any woman who has had supply issues, mastitis, latch problems, poor health and of course, thrush. It’s hard when you’re always told to do what’s best, and what’s best hurts you so much.
I so want to enjoy breastfeeding, because it is a unique time in my son’s life, one that will be over too soon. I’m giving him strength to live and grow — and that’s pretty amazing. I hope I get the opportunity to enjoy this task I now see as an obligation.
And by damn, I hope that medicine works soon, because this totally sucks.
For great information on curing thrush, check out this site.
Poems always help.
Song for a Fifth Child
Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rock-a-bye, Lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek-peek-a-boo).
The shopping is not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there is a hullabaloo.
But I’m playing “Kanga” and this is my “Roo.”
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rock-a-bye, lullaby loo).
The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.
Ruth Hulburt Hamilton, 1958
Finally, a blog post with some pictures!
As you know, we started with our nursery as a blank canvas … the previous owner of the house had used it as a room for her creepy dolls. There were major cracks and gouges in the plaster, and what appeared to be water damage or possibly mildew stains in the closet. When we moved in, we had all the hardwood floors refinished on the main floor, so that was our first step (I was about 9 weeks pregnant at that point). After that, I had it set up as my sewing room for a while, and around 5 months pregnant, I cleared it out and started to paint!
It’s started to fill up after that …
A lot of love went into this room — patient fixing, furniture building, outlet replacing, and fan wiring from Eric, painting from me and my dear friends, and rug rearranging from both parents. Let’s not forget our several day ordeal with the tree decal — let’s just say the grass and butterflies were much easier.
Of course, it wasn’t only our love that went into this room where our baby will stay. My boss and his wife contributed their glider rocker chair to our nursery, and Eric’s aunt gave me the boppy. The gorgeous blanket on the ottoman was made by my childhood friend, Haynie.
My amazing aunt, who has for many years been the only person with whom I can talk about my mother (very important), contributed both the lamp and the crib. I researched the crib well to make sure that it was a solid piece of furniture that we could have for a long time. It’s from the Westwood Waverly Collection and was purchased at Buy Buy Baby (it’s a shame there aren’t more of those stores around!). My mom’s best friend contributed toward the crib linen set — I ended up choosing Nojo Jungle Tales for the set. It looks beautiful with the rug! My mom bought the mobile from Babies R Us, and Eric’s mom got the adorable monkey that perfectly matches our set.
My mom’s dear friend Karen, who is the mother of my dear friend Amy, purchased the Delta Changing Table for us. I picked out the curtains from West Elm, and I re-purposed my shoe cubbies as a holder for blankets, cloth diapers, burp cloths and tiny t-shirts. The supplies have come from everywhere — disposable diapers from my aunt and cousins, bath products from my coworkers and mom, and clothing from almost everyone I know.
Of course the son of an English major must have a library next to the rocking chair. The books have come from all sources — from those my husband and I had as a child, to very special books that my aunt and mother shared as children. Friends have given books, I’ve scored some on sale, and my dear best friends contributed Goodnight Moon and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. My friend Nicole gave the super cool ABC flashcards, and my mother’s friend gave me a basket-full of Beanie Babies for decorations. I found the Uncle Goose blocks on Ebay for a song, and Eric and I got the lovely bookcase from World Market on sale. The amazing print is from Nerdy Baby — their stuff is to die for!
So there it is. It’s for real our style, and absolutely the first room I’ve really decorated. The pieces aren’t made to match, but nothing in my life is — and that’s how I like it. Homey, comfortable, functional. This room has an added sweetness from the incredible gifts given and the time spent on making it beautiful. I know Sam won’t be able to appreciate it for a long time, and perhaps it won’t occur to him to appreciate it in his early years, but it is the representation of our excitement and love. It will be used and loved by us, and that love will be given to a special little boy.
I’m definitely making my own baby bag with my massive sewing skillz, but I just couldn’t resist this guy right here:
Delicious huh? As you can see, Ms. Bradley charges around $100 for this lovely bag, but this savvy mom got it on Ebay for $59. That’s right! New with tags …
My cousin has the same bag in a different print, and I got to check it out last weekend. Since a lady’s got to have at least two bags to choose from, I figured I’d go with it if I could find it for a few bucks less on Ebay. And I did. So I got it. Pretty fabulous, right?
I so highly recommend Ebay to those who are in a childbearing way. So far I’ve gotten: my Baby Bjorn carrier ($16 — $60-$80 in stores), my Maya Wrap ($32 — $60 in stores), my favorite Joe’s Jeans maternity jeans ($70 — $220 in stores), my Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeper Bassinet ($89 — $159 in stores), the organic mattress for the co-sleeper ($100 — $200+ in stores), my Earth Shoes ($50 — $100+ in stores), and some Barely There breathable undies for the summer — don’t worry — they were new with tags and individually wrapped in plastic — for half their in store price. Alright, that’s like my fiftieth pitch for buying from Ebay.
Sorry about the delay in posting … I’ve been writing thank you notes and nesting mightily over the past week and have neglected my writing duties!
We got engaged in April of 2006 in a little inn in Wakayama Prefecture in Japan. It was cherry blossom season. A day later, Eric got the flu and I had to take care of him for the rest of his visit to Japan. After he left, I got the flu too.
Three years ago this week, we got married at the courthouse in Santa Barbara. Even though June is a foggy month on the coast of California, the day was beautiful, and I managed to get pretty terrible sunburn. We honeymooned in Hawaii, where we both got sick.
Since then, we adopted our first baby.
And then we decided to make a baby of our own (but it looks like the first baby won’t ever remove herself from the picture).
Happy Anniversary to the love of my life. I hope there are many, many more years to come …
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We all have dads in our lives: our fathers and grandfathers, uncles, husbands who are fathers or fathers-to-be, or friends of the family who may serve in a fatherly role. It’s often difficult to buy gifts for the men that we love. I know I didn’t get to create a Mother’s Day gift guide, but I’ve been inspired to create a Father’s Day gift guide from some of the suggestions from my husband and ideas I’ve had on my own. Granted, I do believe that both Mother’s Day and Father Day were created by the greeting card and flower companies … but anyhoo, it’s fun to buy for dads and dad-like folks. After all, they do a lot for us. My dad has helped paint three rooms in my house, taught my husband how to change out light fixtures and switches, and put together the collar for our dog’s electric fence (it was inside out, but it worked!). My husband, the dad-to-be, has made dinner almost every night since I got pregnant, installed the ridiculously complicated fan in our nursery, and has put up with my crazy mood swings. Guess they deserve some stuff.
1.The Maxpedition Sitka — This just arrived in the mail today for my loving husband. He did order it himself … not only as a gear bag for camping, hiking, or fishing, but also as a dad bag. He has demonstrated to me that this bag has some very cool exterior and interior pockets for holding bottles and diapers, and he has shown me that the straps are easily adjustable so you can carry the weight on either your shoulders or lower back. Another cool thing is that you can pull the bag easily around to your front, and since the pockets open up all the way around, you can open up the bag while it’s sitting on your chest without having anything fall out! It also has a large pocket for a water bladder. Great for hiking! Check it out …
My husband says that he will write a supplementary review as a guest, which would be super cool. Anyway, he loves it. He loves all the Maxpedition gear, since it’s well made, easily customizable, waterproof, and has cool pockets and paracord ties. Buy this if: your man is a champion hiker, fisherman or outdoorsman OR if your dad-to-be wants a daddy diaper bag that looks super masculine and high quality.
Note to readers: Eric pointed out to me that in one of the pictures, a gentleman is pulling a pistol out of the bag. While the Maxpedition Sitka (and most other Maxpedition gear) does include a concealed carry compartment, I wouldn’t highly recommend using this feature around children. But hey, if you’ve got a gun-lover on your hands … I guess this is the gift for that guy!
2. The Bosch Cordless Jigsaw — This is another cool toy that my husband bought for himself. He got a refurbished model from Amazon for many bucks less than the asking price. Just look around and see if you can find one of these refurbished:
Eric looked for a long time for a jigsaw that was cordless and high quality. So far, he’s used this guy to build a work table. The work table looks pretty great, and was made just from scraps that we inherited in our basement.
He says he likes this because it’s cordless and portable, pretty versatile, and can cut some good straight lines with an extra attachment. The jigsaw excels at cutting intricate patterns, but not at longer straight lines (a circular saw would be best for that). Overall, the husband recommends a jigsaw as a better all purpose tool over the circular saw. It would make some pretty great small tables, shelves, or a small bookcase.
Buy this for your guy if: he loves to work on projects in his garage or basement space but doesn’t like to get all tangled up in cords while he’s working. Buy it also if your dad guy is just recently getting more into creating some projects but doesn’t have a electric or battery-powered saw of any sort. This will work great for the handyman in your life, particularly since Bosch is the best, and the battery operated power tools are the most versatile and flexible.
Well, I gotta say, this book looks totally awesome. Just the title attracted me to it. I love my geek dad-to-be, and I can’t wait for him to take on awesomely geeky projects and activities with his kids. Remember how I mentioned that Eric used to blow up his toys and melt his GI Joes? This seems like a good set of activities to channel some of the er, creative energy that our children will surely have.
Buy this for your guy if: he’s geeky, loves cool projects, and maybe has an older kid who is just starting to get curious about how to melt things or build homemade bombs in the woods. It’s all about harnessing that creative energy and putting it to a good purpose!
Note to readers: The projects all look super cool (like finger painting with wind-up toys!), and gender neutral. So Mom and daughter would probably love this book too! Very excellent projects.
For now, those are the suggestions that we’ve got! I’ll post more as I think of them … Hope this helps the mom shoppers!
For the next week, I’ll be on vacation at the beach! Fabulous, I know. I’m going to be writing some all new posts, but while I’m there I’ll be internet free and concentrating on sleeping in, eating out, and getting some sun.
Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend! I know I’ll enjoy my week!
Welcome to the Savvy Mom Space
I’m a liberal feminist that believes that liberal, feminist ideals should gel with embracing your gender and motherhood (if that’s what you feel like doing). I support all kinds of moms and dads and parents. Oh and, although I totally love that natural vibe and not harming the environment, I supplement my organic milk and fresh fruits and veggies with the occasional Twix, the frequent Oreo, and the daily Coke Zero. I’m opinionated, not easily offended, and a loudmouth in person and on the internet. I am what I am. Welcome.