Monday, July 30, 2012

Plane Travel with a Lap Riding Toddler/Baby

We are planning for a 4 week trip to CA sooner than I'd like to leave. As a result this will mean 2 seperate 6 hour plane rides (one to get there and one to get back) with a lap riding baby that can be really hard.

We struggled on the ride back last time so I needed some plans to make the ride fun for her. I did lots of reading and thinking about the trip that went well to figure out what to pack in the diaper bag.
I thought I'd post a blog about it.
Most parents ask what toys to bring. The answer is not many. Littles are more fascinated with things that AREN'T toys. So I went to the dollar store and walmart and found the following items that should pack well not take up too much room and be hits with my munchkin:

  • Sunglasses x2
  • Folding hair brush
  • Soft toy ball
  • Compact mirror
  • pocket digital calculator
  • 2 pk small slinkies
  • a few new board books and probably 3 old favorites
  • silky scarf
I am planning to make and order a few finger puppets as well as I thought that would be fun. Have some puppets to go with her favorite books and songs to make them more interesting. I bought about 7 sheets of craft felt to supplement my stash of felt scraps and plan to handsew or hotglue the puppets for the next few days.

I'm considering making her a felt quiet book but she may be too small for that so we'll see.

I will also be packing the essentials:
  • diapers
  • wipes
  • changing pad
  • Wetbag/disposable bags
  • change of clothes for Sweetness x2
  • some form of baby carrier(probably a mai tie since it fits in the diaper bag so well)
  • soft sole shoes
  • sippy cup
  • hand sanitizer
  • teething meds (we use homeopathics so easily portable)
  • Ibprophen(just in case)
  • gripe water
  • paci
  • her giraffe lionel(he's a sound machine and a must to take ANYWHERE)
  • a few know non noisy toys
  • teething razberry
  • paci straps (I make mine but this gives an idea of what they look like)
  • burp rags
  • paci wipes
  • sanitizing wipes
  • something to keep me occupied if she sleeps
  • granola bars for hubs and me
  • we'll purchase water at the airport
  • yogurt drops
  • veggie straws
(that's as far as I've gotten on that so far)
We purchased a backpack with GOBS of pockets (this is similar to the one I picked. However ours has a few more pockets on the front and inside)  to use for our diaper bag. It's so awesome I can't wait to get it packed and use it. :)

Most of the things I bought where cheap and under 3.00. I went to the thrift store, walmart and dollar tree. I'll be ordering the extra puppets from amazon. So excited for our trip! 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

What is this Elimination Communication You Speak Of?

So if you've been following my blog for awhile now you know we practice something called EC or elimination communication.
You may be wondering what is it? how I do it? what exactly the point is? etc.

EC is NOT early potty training. It is a method of learning to read your child's biological need to pee or poop. It's a communication enhancer. Die Hard EC'ers start from childbirth by leaving their baby diaper free to learn what body language or "signals" their child uses to express their need to eliminate.
They will use a little potty, the sink, tub, bowl, or even sit backwards on a adult potty and hold the baby over the designated spot, and give the baby a sound or word or sign (or all 3) as they go.
The point here is to teach the baby to associate that word/sign/sound with elimination.

Many EC'ers use diapers as a backup when they feel they understand their baby's ques. And while out and about.

EC isn't an all or nothing process. You can ec all the time, part time, or like me some of the time.
The point is different for each parent. For me my goal is less poopy diapers and more poop in the potty. (less laundry is a great thing isn't it?) For some it's about learning their child's ques and increasing communication. For others it's just another fun thing to do with their baby/child.
You can start at birth, or even later. (we started at about 7-ish months)

While some baby's will potty train early as a result of EC it's really meant more to help the child learn about their body, how to relax and go, where it's safe to go, and be fun!
Sweetness at nearly 11 months old is not afraid of the potty like some older children are. She waves "bye bye" to the water as it swirls down the drain, the grins like crazy when she "potty's like a big girl!" and sometimes "dances" when she can do so quickly.
She's just started asking to go to the potty now and we can "catch" between 2-6 pees and sometimes a poop or two each day if I work at it. If I don't then no big deal. I hope it will help her potty train early but if it doesn't like I said less laundry is ALWAYS a good thing! ;)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Demand or Scheduled Feeding and the Line Between

One of the first things I had to decide as a new breastfeeding mom was weather or not to demand feed or schedule feed our Sweetness.
We talked and prayed about it and decided on a medium that has worked well for us all.
Things that played into our decision where the fact that we shared one car. This meant sweetness and I had to get up with the Hubs at 6:30, and take him to work, if we wanted the car for the day. This also meant we had to go get him from work after he was done.
Thankfully my husband is a salary employee so he has a fairly set schedule that flexes a little.

We also wanted to make sure my milk supply was well established and that sweetness could cluster feed through growth spurts.

I also knew from my birth class and from much other reading on the web that babies go through a LOT of growth spurts in the first two months of life.
So we decided to nurse on demand the first two months then switch over to scheduled feeds.

A lot of people hear of scheduled feeding and think it's rigid, and not flexible. They think it means baby cries when hungry and parents ignore till the "correct" time on a clock.

TRUE scheduled feeding is NOTHING like this. The first "rule" of scheduled feeding is to investigate why the baby is crying if you discover baby is hungry you feed them! A LOT of moms simply feed the baby every time it cries. While this is probably comforting it doesn't involve searching for the real reason the baby is upset. For Sweetness she almost always cried in that first two months because she had a wet diaper. She HATED wet diapers. For some reason she didn't complain about poopy ones but wet ones made her very upset. Changed diaper usually meant happy baby.

Anywho my list when checking her was usually:

  1. is she wet or dirty? 
  2. does she seem hot? (she is like her dad and very warm natured. So she doesn't like being hot at all)
  3. Does she seem tired?
  4. Feed 
Simple right? Ok so common sense! Now how do you get a baby form nursing on demand to nursing on a schedule. Well I'll be honest I don't ascribe to the baby-wise method 100%. I did something I felt that was very simple. First I kept a log for 3 days of when she was REALLY hungry (nursed for a long time period) and when she snacked(nursed for a short time period). For each child these times are going to be different. Sweetness's long sessions where about 10-15 minutes at the MOST. Short where less than 5.
I also logged her sleep habits.
By doing this I noticed a pattern. It wasn't exactly the same each day but I was able to shape a schedule to suit her and myself.

So the first thing was establishing a wake up time. I am not a morning person. It isn't easy. If the baby is sleeping everyone tells you not to wake it. But if you want to keep a schedule of ANY sort you have to get up at a certain time. So we picked 7am. (remember sharing a car with the hubs had to be early)
Every morning for a few days I woke her up and nursed her right after she woke up. Got her a clean diaper and got her dressed. Then I got dressed while she sat in the bounce seat and jabbered and we all took daddy to work.

Next step was distracting. If there was more than 30 minutes before her next feed cycle and I knew she'd nursed well I offered her a paci first. Babies need what is called "non nutrative sucking". Basically sucking for comfort. They do this in the womb. Some suck on their fingers, toes or even their umbilical cord. It's normal and natural for babies. After birth some babies suck their hands fingers, or paci, and will even suck a breast or bottle just for comfort.
Sweetness was a baby who if she wasn't hungry and you offered the breast she'd get mad! So this worked well for us. Most of the time that's all she needed. If that didn't work we walked around the house and looked at things, picked up bright toys, stepped outside and looked at plants and birds, etc. Usually I didn't have to distract her long and she was calm again.

If distracting didn't work. She got more frustrated or upset. I nursed her anyway.
After that when it was "time" to feed I'd nurse her again. Usually this meant one of these feeds wasn't great. But the idea is that our tummy's and bodies can learn when to be hungry and when not to be. If you are always fed at 12:00 you will probably be hungry then even if you miss lunch.

It only took a few days but I noticed a different baby. I noticed when she cried it was because she was hungry. I noticed she had specific cries for hungry, tired, hold me, etc.
I felt it helped me bond with my baby and give her stability.

Now we are nearly 11 months into breastfeeding. We've been nursing on a schedule for 9 of those months. And Sweetness is growing and learning and doing so well.

We still have growth spurts and during those times she cluster feeds. We throw the schedule to the wind and nurse till she's full, put her to bed, and nurse when she wakes again. We have nights where when a tooth is trying to cut she will nurse and suck for over and hour and a half. but most of the time we go with the schedule and since she is used to it and she basically created it she sticks to it within 30 minutes of time to do xyz. At this point she is big enough that I don't stress over her waking up 30 minutes early from a nap or whatever and feeding her and getting "off" she usually still sticks to the timing just 30 minutes ahead or behind whatever it was supposed to be.

Now common myths of nursing on a schedule:
  • Nursing on a schedule will cause you to loose your milk supply.
    Not necessarily true. If your supply is well established and you've had no issues breastfeeding then you should be fine. Otherwise I'd suggest going forth with caution. Obviously you have to do what works best for your body and family.
    Nursing is supply and demand based. This is why women can breastfeed their 3-5 year old's once a day or so and still have enough milk to do so! If your body is constantly told to produce milk at a certain time it will! I can attest to missing a feed by a little and feeling my breasts fill up and get uncomfortable even now. (Sweetness is in a dis-tractable stage where she sometimes is too busy to nurse but that's another post for another day.) It's supply and demand. If it's demanded at the same time it will be there. :) And the body only takes a few days to adjust to a new or more spread out schedule so as baby grows your body WILL adjust. 
  • You baby will not thrive or grow as he/she should
    Also untrue. Breastfed babies of ANY type often do not fit common growth charts. This is due to the fact that the charts are made for formula fed children. Formula is wonderful for those who need it. For those who choose to use it, etc. But it does affect growth and a babies body differently than breastmilk. Breastmilk is MADE to be perfect for your individual baby. Or any baby you happen to be nursing regularly. Breastmilk changes through the day and even through your babies life.
    Babies who nurse on a schedule nurse for longer time periods (for the most part) and so get more of the hind milk, and more milk in general in a sitting.

    These are the two most common things I hear all the time and I laugh and sigh at the same time.
    It boils down to bringing your brain to the equation, figuring out what is best for YOU and YOUR BABY, and sticking with it! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Common Sense Parenting (or how not to be a sheep)

There are MANY different parenting styles, and many different views on how to use each one properly. Thoughts on why each one is TERRIBLE for your child, and thoughts on why they re the BEST for your child. 

I cannot tell you what will work for your baby/toddler/preteen/teen but I can tell you what works for me. What my thoughts are, why I parent the way I do and what I choose to use to discipline and why.
My instincts are for my Kids and mine alone. Your are for your child. So use common sense. If you don't think a method will work for your child, or family, then chances are it won't.
Bring your brain to the equation, pick what will work, toss out the rest. My feelings won't be hurt if you disagree with me. We all have to do our best to be the BEST parents for OUR kids. 


I've been asked by friend who are pregnant, or have just had a baby what I did "when XYZ happened" with my child. I've been long thinking of writing a summary of my parenting process and why I choose the methods I do.
My biggest struggle was I didn't have a "label" for my style. I don't quite ascribe the the C.I.O.(Cry It Out) babywise camp 100%, nor do I agree with attachment parenting 100%. I like to walk a fine line between them and throw in a large dash of common sense.

So I'm labeling it "Common Sense Parenting".
CSP can apply to any parenting style or method you choose as you have to mold it individually to each child you have. It grows and evolves, you tweak it when it doesn't QUITE work the way you want. You discard logic and go with what works for you. You do research to back up your thoughts. And if like me you are religious then your biggest tool in research is the Bible.

I will be writing a series of posts on specific situations we've(my hubs and I) dealt with as parents and how we've handled them. Hopefully our insight will help others and can give you something to think about.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Little sewing tip!

If you like me are constantly loosing your chalk and happen to always have a random nub of soap, to small to wash things with but too big to toss I have the perfect solution. Use that soap nub to mark your fabrics!
It marks darker really well and washes right out!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Super Easy Ruffle Tutorial

First I have to give credit where it is due this is NOT my idea. I got the idea from the lovely taeliac on deviant art. And had always thought "I'll try that next time."

Well I told hubby it's one of those situations where I kept putting off trying it and now that I've tried it I am kicking myself for not doing so sooner. What was I waiting for?

Anywho the time came for me to try ruffles again. I hate them. They take forever and on a knit which is what I'm using for my current project I swear they are a nightmare. You always hear "oh it's SOOooo easy!" *scoff* Yeah right. You work at them for hours only to find once they are sewn on your thread broke somewhere in the process and half your fabric is no longer ruffled. Or the thread doesn't gather no matter what you do.

Well those problems are now things of the past. Here's what you need:

Set your sewing machine to the biggest 2 step zig-zag it has. A two step zig-zag looks like this: 
See the third row of stitches? That's a 2 step. The second row is a three step and is NOT what you want. Image credit

Now place your fabric under your presserfoot, and lay your crochet thread on top. Leave a tail a few inches sticking off the edge of the fabric. Place the thread right in the center of the presserfoot.

Now simply zig zag over this thread. Do NOT sew through it. Go slowly and carefully and this should be fine. I guide the thread with my thumb as I'm sewing.
When you get to the end leave another tail of a few inches. Your stitches will look like this if you've followed my directions. 
See how the stitches end up on either side of the thread? That's what you want. Ok now insert a pin in one end of the fabric and wind your thread tails around it like so:

Then simply pull the Crochet cotton Thread on the other end and it will ruffle!

Tie your end that the pin was in once you have ruffled your desired amount. Spread your ruffles evenly and tie off the end you pulled to ruffle. Pin and place and sew on!

 Wha la! It actually took me longer to make this tutorial than make a ruffle in real  life. TRY IT! 

Next time I'll hopefully be showing you what I was working on. :) and have a new tutorial for you soon!