Friday, August 21, 2015

Hey, let me wear that baby!!!!

So if you come to my house, there's a good chance you will see...

And if you came over for dinner, you're definitely in for seeing this...
He likes to help momma cook!
And if you came to the mall with me or say to NASA one day with us, you would most likely see this...

And if you dropped by during big brother's nap time, there's a good chance you might see this... (Althought lately little man has been taking naps in his crib during this time!)

You know, as a Mom, I think you are always trying to find ways to make your day run smoother. Smarter parenting techniques, ways to help meet the needs of both (or more) of your children. I think that has been the hardest thing about having two kiddos, just making sure all of their physical and emotional needs have been met for the day. At the end of the day, I can usually say they have been bathed, diapered, fed and possibly rested from naps, but sometimes I question myself if emotionally their needs have been met. For whatever reason, I feel like sometimes the emotional needs of babies and toddlers are put on the back burner. They are expected to act like adults and not be needy. But that's just ludicrous I tell you. Babies and Toddlers are needy. And they are needy like they want you to hold them, rock them and hug them all the time! 

I don't know about you, but I only have two hands, so when Jude came around, that made it quite a challenge to meet his needs and take care of Jackson's. Here's how things went with Mr. Jude. I call him my little fox, because I think he is sneaky. The first 6 weeks of his life, he was a pretty laid back little dude. Didn't even cry when we changed his diaper. Really the only time he got super upset was if he wanted something and I wasn't giving it to him fast enough, like food... this kid likes his food and he wants it like 5 minutes before he asked for it. But everything else was pretty chill with him.

Then he turned six weeks old. I dreaded this day. For real. Because, with Jackson, there was a huge awakening to the world around him and the next 12-14ish months were cray cray with naps and sleeping. And just like clock work... Mr. Jude woke up. Suddenly, my tiny baby that would sleep for a couple of hours in the mamaroo woke up when I laid him down. The little man that would doze off in the mamaroo decided that wasn't good enough anymore. He didn't like me laying him down period anymore. "No, I don't want the bouncer mom! I want to stay snuggled next to you all day long!" 

So what was I to do?? I had Jackson to take care of too, I couldn't just sit and hold him all day long... we would have starved to death and never pottied!! Eek! You may think I'm being dramatic but this is not the case. Ask my hubbie. Ask my mom or my mother-in-law. For a solid month, my sweet Jude did not want ANYONE to hold him except for me, and we're not talking about just a little fuss fuss if someone held him... I'm talking all. out. screaming. his little head off until I came to his rescue. It was exhausting and draining. So again I ask you, what do you do?

You get a ring sling. You go on Etsy and find a shop called Savy Designs 101 and buy a ring sling. It saved my life. I started using this after a couple of weeks of chaos with Jude and suddenly there was peace. My baby was happy, I was happy, and I could feed my toddler and play with him. We dubbed my ring sling the snuggle pouch, because my mom called it the "snuggle thing" and my mother in law called in the "pouch" hehe, so the snuggle pouch was born.

But really, the bottom line to this post is that I am now a big fan of "baby wearing." I love having him close to me and all snuggly in his snuggle pouch. It calms him. Jude is a sensitive baby. Jackson was too, but Jude more so I think. He is easily startled by movement, temperature, sound... So getting him all tight in the sling calms him and makes him more at ease. He was getting more rest as well so that also reduced how cranky he was being. I mean who wouldn't want to look down and see this precious face snoozing away?? Love him!

So, being the former science teacher that I am, I wondered about the physical and psychological benefits from wearing Jude and keeping him close to me. I got a lot of comments and questions (not negative, just curious I think) about how much I was wearing him, some wondering if he would ever sleep on his own in a bed. But he does and he will. It has progressively increased over time, and he sleeps great in his bed at night. I know this will just be another thing that we wean away from. I mean who sees a ten year old riding around in one of these things haha?!

But I checked out some websites and did some reading, and this is what I found. 
  • Babies cry less, and since they spend less time crying, they spend less time stressing about their environment and more time learning about their new surroundings. According to the La Leche League, parents worry that wearing their babies and keeping them close will cause them to be spoiled or cry more, but the reverse is actually true and helps him feel more comfortable in his world. Independence is established earlier.
  • Wearing your baby helps regulate and "organize" their systems. Babies aren't born with the capabilities of regulating their nervous systems, they regulate themselves by hearing your heart, feeling your movements and hearing your breathing patterns. Keeping them close gives them increased opportunity to become more organized themselves. I like what Dr. Sears had to say about this... "infants that are forced to self calm wastes valuable energy he could have used to grow and develop."
  • Infants that are worn tend to be more advanced in their motor skills, because their systems regulate more quickly from being near you.
  • Babies that are worn tend to be smarter and also more familiar with human interactions. They see everything that you see and experience, so again this gives them more opportunity to learn! 
  • There is value for the mom as well... it is more convenient going out and getting chores done at home, but also it distresses her feelings and build confidence. She is able to relax and enjoy her baby more.

I asked my friend Julia at one point why it seems like people sometimes discourage comforting our babies... like don't hold them too much, don't rock them too much, don't nurse them to sleep... those kinds of things. With Jackson I had those concerns but with Jude I have decided that I'm going to do what he needs because he will grow up and one day not need those things anymore. Babies and kids are always changing and forming new habits, and while you want to encourage good habits, I don't think we need to worry about the ones that just provide the comfort that our children need. Not that I think we aren't providing comfort, but you know, every parent is different and has a different approach to do things. All I'm saying is that I don't think we should worry about implementing things that provide the comfort they want and just enjoy the moment hehe! They are so fleeting!

I also feel like a lot of it is societal and some things have just not been passed down for whatever reason. I was reading in "Dare to Discipline" that in the 1920s, the big "parenting method" was a hands off approach and provide as little comfort as possible to your children. It was an approach that really took off and parents bought into, so I kind of wonder sometimes if we are just recovering from that. Baby wearing has been around for centuries though and I think becoming a more popular approach to parenting again. :)

The ring sling has been my go to this time around, but I have also used the Baby Bjorn, Ergo Baby and Baby Katan. I have liked them all for different reasons... I liked the Ergo Baby for errands and going to do things/outings once Jackson got a little older. It is great for airports too! I liked the Katan a lot with Jude, but once he was getting bigger he didn't fit as well in it. I know there are different sizes though so maybe a larger size would have last longer. I felt like the Baby Bjorn was more uncomfortable on my back but that is just my preference. 

So I hope that you found some of this interesting, I truly have! I love wearing my baby and am so glad that we found this tool. It has made our time together more enjoyable and less stressful for mommy for sure! I am such an advocate at this point because I see what it has done for my child, and I would wish those benefits for everyone!

Here are some more baby wearing babes! These are some of my dearest friends, who have also seen the advantages in keeping their sweet girls close! I call Julia the Ring Sling Queen, because she is so good at using her sling with her babies! She has given me some tutorials even on how to get them all nice and snuggly, safe and tight! 
She is the ring sling queen for a reason I tell you!!
My friend Jessica and her sweet Layna at the doctor's office!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Time for a change!

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress." - Frederick Douglas

So I've said before that blogging is kind of my nerdy hobby... not that other people are nerdy for blogging, I just feel nerdy sometimes writing down my thoughts for people to read haha... but I've had my blog for a good 5 years or something now and decided that I was ready for a change. A change in the name and a change in its purpose. 

I'm a lot different than I was when I started it, I'm not teaching anymore, and I am a MOM. Good grief when did that happen?! My priorities are way different and my time is not my own anymore, which I guess honestly it really never was anyway, right? So I just felt like I wanted to direct most of my blog's thoughts in that direction, which I feel like I already have in my most recent posts. 

I like change anyway, most of the time... hehe unless it is the constant changing of my boy's schedules and napping... that drives me bonkers... but I feel like change is refreshing, new starts are fun, and it kind of just makes my brain feel different. I think that's why I love traveling so much, makes my brain feel different... but anyway, that's another topic for another time.

So I just thought I would do a quick post letting everyone know that I did change the address, so if by any chance you have book marked my last blog address, you'll have to do a new bookmark. I know, sorry! Hope you enjoy the new look!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Labor and Delivery - More Unsolicited Advice!

So if you read my previous post, you are familiar with the births of my two sons and how dramatically different they both were! I think a lot of that is because of choices and circumstances, but the biggest thing I overlooked with my first birth was getting educated enough before hand. Yeah, I read books and read stuff online, but my husband and I did not take a birthing class (I know, shocking!) mainly because his work schedule was absolutely awful the months before we had Jackson. We literally did not have weekends or evenings to go together! One thing I really regret with my first son's birth is not getting educated enough on the birthing process and my options, and I certainly did not have the right kind of support, excluding my hubby of course!

You know, birthing has changed over the years. Years ago, it was normal for women to have babies in their homes. (I know a lot of women still do... I'm just saying the percentage is lower now than it used to be hehe!) Mothers were aided by their sisters and their mothers and their own daughters. I don't think birth was the big "mystery" that it is these days. Most women had seen birth while growing up and weren't afraid of it. It was a natural occurrence. I had never seen a birth before my own, so of course I had fears and uncertainty going into my own births because I had no idea what to expect. So instead of trying to get as much help as possible beforehand, I was like, "ehh we'll just see what happens and go with it!" Well, that didn't work out for us... at all!!! We had a healthy baby (so thankful!), but not the birth I was hoping for! 

So what I learned for my second birth, is that if I wanted it to go differently than my first, then I had to make different preparations. I had to talk to people. I had to get help and get a good advocate for my health and my baby's health, and to help support my amazing hubbie through the process! So we hired a doula this time around, and I talked to one of my good friends who teaches natural birthing class a LOT. I read books and talked to Jacob about the info, I tried to talk to as many people as I could who had had a VBAC before and what they did to be successful.

Through my months of pregnancy with my second son, I made notes from people like Julia and Lourdes, and then also added my own thoughts after I had my second birth. These are just some things that helped Jacob and I have a better experience the second time around, and I just wanted to share them with anyone who is trying to prepare for their birth!

Ok, let me just say, again... I'm no expert and this has been just information passed on to me that I have found useful, and also just some things that helped me with Jude's unmedicated birth! I don't want to overstep or say too much but I am open and honest about things, just because if anyone is about to have a baby, I want them to be comfortable going into their birth! 

This is kind of long... apologizing in advance! (This seems to be the theme lately!)

Tips: (from Julia) - Julia is an amazing lady, with so much knowledge about birth!

  • Push with your body rather than on command. Some people think pushing feels like an OVERWHELMING urge (kind of like a vomiting urge), some say the urge to push is present but not overwhelming, some don't feel one. If you don't feel an urge, you may need to change position- baby might not be hitting the pelvic floor at the right angle to trigger the urge. When you do feel an urge, push for as long as you feel it, then rest and conserve your energy. If it takes time, that's good! It gives the skin time to stretch rather than tear. ;)
  • If baby comes fast, you can lay on your side to slow baby down, get some rest, and give your skin more time to stretch. 
  • If baby comes slowly, use gravity during pushing. Get on knees and kneel. Hands and knees helps baby get in a good position and is gravity neutral (Yes, you can push a baby out while on hands and knees!)
  • If baby seems stuck, squat! Squatting opens your pelvis by 30% more. 
  • You can bring oils (olive or coconut) to put on your perineum to help baby slide out and prevent tearing. Also, you can request perineal support (doc or nurse holds the skin together to prevent tearing.)
  • Keep your sounds low and open (think "o" and "u" rather than a or e)
  • Think of each contraction as progress, leading you closer to your baby. Think "open", tell Yourself you want it to get more intense. 

More from Julia... There are a lot of things that affect the pace and duration of labor. One of the biggest is your attitude and environment. If you are uncomfortable, embarrassed or feel rushed, you can actually slow your labor down. When you can relax, at least mentally, you progress. That's why it's so beneficial to practice relaxation. Spend time listening to your labor music or have your hubby read some scriptures to you while you focus on relaxing tension in your body. When we're tense, we actually ADD to the pain in our bodies, feeding fear, making us more tense. It's a vicious cycle!! Practice taking HUGE deep breaths, filling your belly with air, relaxing your shoulders and jaw. (Bonus tip: the tension in your jaw directly correlates to the tension in your cervix!) Truly, one of the greatest benefits of a doula is having someone else totally at ease and happy- gives you lots of reassurance in a room full of people who are either uncomfortable or unattached! When I've given labor support, I make sure I smile every time mom looks at me. Trevor (Julia's husband) always smiled at me between contractions and it kept me from getting discouraged or worried. :)

Once labor/contractions have started...(Most of this is from Julia and Lourdes)

  • Sleep - Sleep and rest in the beginning stages as much as you can.
  • Walk
  • Eat - Eat good food while you are at home, once you get to the hospital they will most likely not allow you to eat anything. Eat something with protein, eggs are good!
  • Drink water after every contraction - It is super important to stay hydrated during labor. 
  • Bathroom - go often, every hour - Emptying your bladder makes room for the baby to make its way down.
  • Relaxation - relax muscles, spell open, jaw relaxed, be a ghost (make deep, low moaning sounds - the lower the better), showers - try to relax other parts of your body... relax your face, relax your shoulders... the more other muscles in your body tense up, the less productive your contractions will be as far as opening your cervix. This is something to start practicing now as you go to bed at night or rest on the couch. Start from your head and consciously go through each part of your body and focus on relaxing it until you get to your feet.
  • Position change - hands and knees for back labor, squating opens your pelvis for bigger babies - make sure you do not just lie on your back - your baby has to get into position to come out! Lying on your back causes the baby to settle in looking out of your stomach instead of looking at your spine or to the side. If you get an epidural, make sure that your nurse is moving your legs or rolling you to your side, or making your bed into a throne position.
  • Breathing - deep breaths, balloon - breathing is so key, deep breaths through each contraction. 
  • Massage - Have husband or doula massage your back, feet, hands, legs, whatever feels good that can get you to relax
  • Counter pressure - palms on hip bones and squeeze while on hands and knees, or hubby against wall and I lean against his fists - Applying opposite pressure to where you are hurting can help. (I had a lot of back labor, so I would lean over the bed and Jacob would push against my back during contractions. Leaning over the bed was also a good position for baby to swing his back down to come out face down.)
  • Encouraging words - you're doing great, making progress - This is the hubby's job! Remind you that you are doing great, you are making progress and each contraction will bring you closer to your baby. Remind her that this will only last a short time, that God made your body for this and you can birth this baby!

With Jackson's birth, we went to the hospital way too early. I would recommend staying at home as long as possible where you can eat, rest, bounce on an exercise ball, take a shower... You will know when things change and pick up and when it is time to go. Contractions should be 3 minutes apart and lasting 1-2 minutes I think is what my doula recommended. 

Wait as long as you can to get an epidural if this is what you want to do. Once you get an epidural you are very limited to how you can move, and moving is so important to get your baby in position. I loved not having an epidural with Jude's birth because one, I was awake and conscious this time unlike Jackson's birth, two, I could feel what I needed to do with my body to push him out later, and three, he was SUPER alert and it was so awesome how well he nursed after coming out. It really was amazing how different their levels of alertness were.

They had a bath tub at our hospital that I was able to use, and that helped me relax a ton and get through some of the harder parts of the labor. 

I would also recommend that you let your water break on its own rather than your doctor breaking it for you. Again, having fluid inside of your body means that baby can move easier to get into the right position to progress labor and come out. My water broke at 9 cm (such a blessing!) and the pressure was much more intense after that happened. I also opted to tear naturally instead of getting an episiotomy. It is supposedly easier to recover from. 

Also, as hard as it is, try to do things yourself to encourage labor to start rather than being induced. I know it is hard to wait, and I know sometimes it just doesn't happen for people, but I have so many friends that have told me the regretted being induced because their body just wasn't ready yet and the contractions were much more intense from the pitocin. A good website to help with getting baby into position to get labor started and progressing is

I think right the best thing you can do is pray and find some good verses to meditate on. I looked up online verses for birth and labor and then made some verse images on the Bible app. I looked at those the months before we had Jude, everyday the week leading up to our birth and afterwards. They really helped me focus and look to God through the hard parts, especially after I had him and we weren't sure what was going to happen with all of the bleeding and if I would have to go back for surgery. 

Positive thinking really does help too. You can do this. Your body was made to do this. God will take care of you and your baby! Eat good food, drink water, eat some pineapple, sleep and rest as much as you can and be positive about the birth. Your hubby will be a wonderful support for you and experiencing this together will only bring you closer to each other. 

I really feel like that anyone can have an unmedicated birth if that is what you want. I didn't think I could do it, even in labor I contemplated having an epidural, but they told me I could have the same experience again as I did with Jackson so I just kept pushing through each contraction and eventually you are done! Even the hours add up to such a short time in the grand scheme of things and I seriously believe that anyone is strong enough to do it. 

So, really a more informative post than normal, but I thought it was a lot of good information! Hope it helps someone out there!