Archive for the ‘Hippie Mommy’ Category

This is what moms should be fighting about   2 comments

Still up on my soapbox, last one for a while, promise. I’ve already written about Mompetition and how Time Life thinks we are in Mommy Wars (or they are trying to start one) let me tell you now what I think we SHOULD be fighting FOR.

So not to be all preachy but there are some things I feel that should cause us to start Mommy Wars, Moms vs the system. There are things that should change to make things better for ourselves and our children, especially our daughters who will be dealing with this same nonsense in 20+ years (40+ years if LA’s Daddy has anything to say about it lol)

Since I’m still up on my soap box let me tell you some things I think we should fight to change.

First of all Americans seem to think that because we are one of the biggest and the richest countries that automatically makes us the best in everything. This fascinating study appeared in the LA Times last week concerning the ranking of the United States in regards to women and children’s issues this week. This study places us at 25th place for best places for a woman to live and 31st for the best places to be a child. That is unbelievable to me! I am amazed by the fact that it has not been picked up by the media. I would think that argueably one of the greatest/richest countries in the world being ranked so low for such important issues would be news. But then again I always am amazed at the power of denial in America. Since this study wasn’t done by us the ethnocentric thinking would be that it doesn’t “count.”

This is not the first study of its kind that has come out. I remember when I was pregnant the World Health Organization came out with a similar study that placed us even lower. We actually rose 6 places this year… impressive.

What amazes me is that many of the items we were marked down on could be easily fixed if we simply recognized that there were problems.

The US was ranked poorly because of these things- Mothers Mortality Rate (1 in 2,100 risk pregnancy related death, the worst of any industrialized nation), High Infant Mortality Rate (ranked 41st), poor education concerning prenatal care, labor and breastfeeding, relatively low political status and benefits for maternity leave for women the fact that the US is one of the few countries that doesn’t guarantee paid maternity leave.

Now the benefits for women with regards to maternity leave is huge. I totally believe that women should be given at least minimal paid maternity leave. I still remember a former boss of mine saying in regards to a discussion on if a coworker should receive a bonus the rest of the teachers had because she was on maternity leave “Well, she shouldn’t get the bonus… she already has her reward.”  Of course she has her reward, what is better than a baby… but really? Not receive the bonus? Because babies come with a financial gift as well and have no costs attached? But that seems to be the attitude from the system. Just get back to work faster. No one is giving any credit to the fact that these babies are our future work force if nothing else and there are countless benefits for a woman to be able to stay home and develop a healthyrelationship not to mention attachment to their child. It benefits us all to have our country peopled by healthy well adjusted adults.

Concerning the mother mortality rate I am often appalled by the attitude of women going in to have their children. I am shocked that it is so very high in this country. I had no idea. But I do feel if we better educated ourselves we would all fare better. So many women are completely uneducated about the process of birth or what happens during a medical or non medical birth. Even before I became pregnant I educated myself  concerning what would happen to my body and what I could expect.  Recently I saw a woman I know on Facebook ask “Should I even bother going to the birth class or is it a waste of time?” Another woman posted, “Why bother? Just get the drugs and do what the doctor says… after all, they are the ones who went to school for this.”

There are so many things about that statement that made me angry. First of all, this is a miraculous thing that you are doing… you really have no interest in even knowing what is going on? And two, yes Doctors went to medical school but that doesn’t make them gods.

I know women who have spent more time researching what type of shoes to buy and where to get a good deal on them versus what is best for them and their child regarding birth!

And that’s the thing, when we decided to have LA in a birth center my husband and I both received all sorts of push back. I was being irresponsible to not have my baby in a hospital where “babies were meant to be born.” I even had one person tell me that I was recklessly endangering myself and my child so I could prove I was superwoman. Which is ridiculous. My birth center was less than five minutes from a hospital and I was just as safe there. Actually according to recent studies on infection and other issues I was safer at the birth center than the hospital. Most women are. There are countless studies that home birth or birth center births are safer for women than hospitals. They are certainly cheaper. My birth cost around 6000 vs the minimal 15-20k required at a hospital birth (and that’s if I didn’t have medication or other procedures).

There is a reason for insurance companies and hospitals to push the myth that having your baby there is the best, “Safest” decision…. it’s big business. There are also countless studies showing how much money birth rakes in yearly. It’s astounding, but not so much when you do the math. Half of the population is likely to give birth at least once… they get a ton of money each time we check in and it’s relatively quick and easy for them.

Now, does this mean I am saying that all doctors are evil and hospital births are wrong? Of course not. Doctors and hospitals are lifesavers for women who have complications or children who need more. Births that have problems. But that is the rarity not the norm.

If a woman feels more comfortable birthing in a hospital that is her choice too but my point is it should be a choice made by women who are educated. Not just because “that is how things are done.” I know some of my friends who were just more comfortable there or who wanted drugs, which are unavailable at a birth center. Which is great. That is what is best for them as long as they made it for a reason and not because they didn’t know about other options.

Here we are right after LA was born in our birth center

I also know a girl who was pushed into a birth center birth by her parents because it was cheaper. That isn’t right in my opinion either. A woman should be able to choose how she gives birth as long as she is being safe considering the needs of her pregnancy.

Ok, so say that most women still want to be in a hospital because they feel safer there or because they want that epidural. Fine too. But still be educated about it.

For example most women don’t know that getting that epidural in most cases will slow labor down. Many women don’t know (until after) that it will not block all pain. They do not know that the more they up the epidural the more pitocin will be used to speed things up. The more pitocin is used the more pain they will feel because the contractions are becoming more intense artificially. This will often put a strain on the baby and can lead to a Cesarean. The Cesarean is labeled necessary and maybe it is now but only because of the steps that led to it.

By the way here is a fascinating article on pitocin…. it has the actual instructions and warning label from the manufacterer. Did you know that it says it is not to be used for induction unless the induction is medically necessary? Did you know that it increases the risk of post partum hemoragging or a pelvic hematoma? … the makers of pitocin don’t even recommend it be used unless necessary. So why is it used in nearly every single hospital birth? It’s become standard to hurry births along.

Pitocin can be used to save lives and is so important. But that doesn’t mean it’s necessary for every birth!

There are countless US studies that induction and pitocin will lead to Ceasarians. And no matter how normal Ceasarians have become in this country they are a major surgery that can cost the lives of women…. hence our mortality rate (or part of it).

The World Health Organization estimates that necessary C sections should be around 10-15 percent maximum. In the US it hovers between 30 and 50 percent depending on region. There are several US studies concerning how most C sections are done in the hour before a shift change. Do women really think it’s coincidental that the C section becomes medically necessary right before it’s time for Drs to go home…. or is it just for convenience?

If you didn’t have information about pitocin, epidurals, C sections etc a Dr coming in and telling you that a C section was necessary would just scare you. You want to protect your baby, naturally, so you agree. But you don’t ask questions that could show that you don’t need that C section.

Again, I’m not saying Dr’s are evil…. even the Dr’s who do this. They have been taught that this is the way to go. Our country has seen so many lawsuits and so many things about convenience that this is the easiest way. But it does not mean it is the best way.

1000 years ago the most modern medical advice was that bleeding was good for everything. I feel like in the next decade the way births are rushed and treated to a one size fits all standard will be looked down on.

Also, I trust my Doctor. I love my doctor. But I intereviewed doctors before getting this one. A lot of women just go in and take the first doctor given to them. Doctors differ. Some have different techniques and different methods. Some are better than others. Some have different views.

Another thing I heard when having natural birth with LA was that doctors were more educated than I was so why did I think I was smarter than they were. I don’t. I am not more educated or more qualified than doctors. But I recognize that since all doctors differ I want to find one that agrees with how I feel. One who has read the same studies I have and who supports what I feel is best for me. If I was buying a car I wouldn’t say “Well all cars go so I will just get the first car I see and it will be right for me.” I would research and make a choice.

Induction is another issue that leads to C section. There are reasons that induction is necessary but it has become something done all too frequently. There are study after study that shows that even one week in the womb can finish off a child’s lungs or can cause them to have asthma or other issues because they weren’t ready. But in this country induction happens all the time. A due date is a best guess. Unless you only had sex once you do not know when your child was conceieved. Even if you only had sex once there is a 3 day window of when conception happened… so you can’t be sure. But in the US it’s become norm to induce the day of due date or the day after.

Obviously there are times this is necessary… but it’s become a real elective thing.

I know of women who were offered induction a week before their due date or on their due date… “just so you can see that baby sooner”… no medical reasoning behind that. Inductions usually lead to C sections…. most women don’t seem to know that.

I feel like I’m a bit all over the place but so many interesting articles and studies came out in the last few weeks. And it amazes me that they aren’t talked about at all, especially in comparison to that stupid Time Life cover, which just makes people argue. We should be full of righteous indignation rather than arguing over “How old is too old too breastfeed?”

Again, I’m not saying that I’m against inductions, doctors, C sections, making the choice for an epidural, hospitals or anything…. but I truly believe women need to be empowered and choose the birth that is best for them. Not some cookie cutter idea of what is most convenient for the doctor… or doing it just because this is the way it’s done. Every woman is unique and her birth should be too.

If more women were educated and doctors recognized that births don’t usually have to be sped up or kept to a timetable then we wouldn’t be ranked 24. While I was working on this blog I came across this new article from Consumer Report about 10 procedures that women should reject regarding labor and delivery. It’s awesome.  I could probably have skipped writing this post altogether and just cut and pasted this article here because it says what I’m trying to say… and better. But here is the first paragraph…

“Despite a health-care system that outspends those in the rest of the world, infants and mothers fare worse in the U.S. than in many other industrialized nations. The infant mortality rate in Canada is 25 percent lower than it is in the U.S.; the Japanese rate, more than 60 percent lower. According to the World Health Organization, America ranks behind 41 other countries in preventing mothers from dying during childbirth.” 

I mean, just the fact that we are so poorly ranked should take some of the god like status away from doctors and hospitals.

It just amazes me that there are all these studies that, to me, seem like a big deal. But they don’t get the coverage of other stories. They are not by fringe media or dubious sources they are legit, though non American, organizations. Why don’t they get coverage? Well, I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist but I believe they don’t get coverage because the insurance and pharmaceutical companies are big business and they put pressure to keep them away.

I recently read a study by the World Health Organization that showed a direct link to the number of vaccines given before age 2 and SIDS. The more vaccines given before age 2 the higher the risk of SIDS. This accounts also for the infant mortality rate in the US. We have a huge number (percentage not actual number) of SIDS versus other industrialized countries. We also give more vaccines before the age of 2 than any other country.

Again, I’m not saying vaccines are bad. But when we were kids we were given about 9 shots for 3 diseases before the age of 6. In 2012 if a parent followed the CDC guideline their child would receive 49 doses of 6 different vaccines before the age of 6. Out of all European countries we give the most vaccines before the age of 2 and more doses than anyone else. All other European countries have the same levels of outbreaks and deaths that we do. So why do we give more when it seems there is no benefit? Especially when new studies are showing it may increase our SIDS rate?

If a parent agrees with the CDC that the benefits outweighs the risks than go forward. Even my Dr, a mainstream pediatrician, doesn’t agree with the CDC schedule and he’s not the only one. There are countless alternative schedules because people are different. We feel most comfortable with the schedule on http://www.twoandtalking.com and we aren’t even doing all of the shots on that recommended schedule.

Also, please realize I’m not criticizing any other mother’s choice. I understand why moms are more comfortable with all the vaccines. But I’m not and that should be respected too. LA will get some vaccines, but not the whole CDC list and not until she’s over two. I actually have wanted to post a bit about vaccines before but I’m afraid. It is not something I even talk about regularly with my friends. Because I feel that I will be judged. I had one person tell me it was child abuse. The other side of things is that I don’t want my friends to feel I’m judging them if they get all vaccines. I understand why you’d choose to do that as well. But I shouldn’t be afraid of judgment if I feel good about my decision. And hopefully those that know me understand that I believe that we all make our own best decisions and I don’t judge others.

While women ranked 24 in the above study children ranked 31. The US is ranked 31 best/worst place for a child to grow up. That was based on access to pre school, nutrition and mortality rate. As I mentioned we have one of the highest mortality rates for children of any industrialized nation.

So let me get off my soap box for a minute… but the point of this blog is that studies like that scare me. Especially when so many people put blind faith in our system. That is my point… there is a purpose to hospitals and doctors and vaccines… but not a one size fits all purpose. And when we try to impose a one size fits all mentality to something as unique and individualized as health care we get results like the ones in the study.

This is what we mommy’s should be going to war about. This is what we should be fighting for….

Oh and after I wrote this whole thing one of my friends posted the awesome blog below about what she feels Mommy Wars should be fought about… and she’s totally right too! We have so many more things to fight for than who does it better!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristen-howerton/mommy-wars_b_1510807.html?ref=fb&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009&src=sp&comm_ref=global_motherhood&comm_crv

I feel like I just gave you all a whole bunch of information to study and read 🙂 …. go forth and do your reading! There will be a quiz on Friday! (The teacher in me pokes her head out and grins!)

Posted May 19, 2012 by etainl in Culture, Education, Hippie Mommy, Mommy-hood

Thank you Time Life   8 comments

…. that is said both with gratitude and some sarcasm.

The cover has stirred up all sorts of issues. I feel like Time was trying to encourage this “Mommy war” that the media is always talking about.  A lot of moms buy into the Mommy Wars which is evidenced by the comments regarding the cover, not even the whole article. Comments about how extended breastfeeding is sick and child abuse. Others say the picture is pornographic and that the woman is damaging her son, who incidentally is only three. I feel Time chose a very mature looking three year old to make it looks even more extreme.

I would guarantee that the women making those negative comments have not done ANY research concerning the long term benefits of extended breastfeeding. There certainly is a lot of it.  LA still nurses at 20 months. For us this works. In my mind I have that we will start weaning around two years old… we are just about to start night weaning. For many of my friends this is way too late for their comfort level. For others I know this is too soon. But this is what works for us and it is, frankly, no one else’s business.

Many of my friends have told horror stories about friends and family bullying them to stop nursing, as early as 6 months. They push formula or mock them, they tell them they will spoil their child etc. I suppose I am lucky to have friends and family who have not done this to me. Although I have a friend who says I’m just so outspoken that if someone tried that I’d just dump a load of information on them to shut them up… this too is possible.

I do have one friend who messages me about every other month to ask if I’m still breastfeeding. There is no chatty email that this comes up in conversation. I’ll simply get an email that says “Are you still breastfeeding?” I’ll write back, “How are you? blah blah blah… yes we are. Things are going well.” I will get a reply that ignores all my pleasantries and says, “When are you planning on stopping?” It just makes me laugh although I’m aware she is expressing some sort of morbid curiosity or disapproval.

I suppose if I think about if I’ve received some disapproval of the fact that LA slept in our room until she was 1. I know a couple people who made negative comments that we didn’t sleep train or that I still fed her at night for comfort. But most of my friends respect my decisions, or at least keep harsh opinions to themselves. I don’t mind opinions or questions… just the ones aimed at making me feel bad.  And some of the negative comments I’ve received have been both sides… for example some of my parents who co sleep made negative comments that we did not and those that did cribs from day one were not approving of how we kept her in our room. I definitely received some comments from people regarding our decision for LA to be born in a birth center. Two that stand out are “Babies were meant to be born in a hospital” (which made me laugh because they only have been born in hospitals for the last 90 years, before that hospitals were pretty much where you went to die) and “Are you trying to prove something?”
You can’t please everyone… and that’s fine.

Even before this cover came out I was going to write a post about all these different labels we have for mamas- Tiger Mothers, French Mothers, Attachment Parenting, Disciplinarian, Baby Whispering… I’m sure there are others. Why do we have to label each other? I doubt anyone is 100% any one type.

I would say I ascribe to many Attachment parenting philosophies but after reading an article on French mothering I do many things, especially in regard to discipline, that they do… but again not all. When we label we have to pick. And when we pick one it seems none of us are mature enough to stop putting the others down. And there are things I do that aren’t any particular “thing” that I’m aware of.

Parenting is unique. No two sets of parents will ever do the exact same thing, even if they ascribe to the same parenting style. There are many types of parenting styles. All of this will combine into various type of people… which is the point. None of us are the same. We are all different but different doesn’t mean that one way is necessarily better. It may be better for one mom, but totally wrong for another.  Unless abuse or neglect is going on and the parent has made the decision out of love and the best interest of their child (rather than intimidation, ignorance or coercion) there is no wrong decision!

For example, I know one mom who told me that she “couldn’t handle” her child getting up once or twice a night to feed still at a year like LA did. But her child got up at 6 am every morning, something I personally couldn’t handle. I far preferred getting up once or twice for 10 minutes a piece with the exchange of sleeping until 8 or 9 every morning. It’s all about what works for each individual family.

It’s not to say we don’t judge ever. We make our parenting decisions because we feel they are the right ones, so we have our reasons why we think the alternatives are not as good. And it’s natural to be defensive of what we are doing… because we are all doing our best. But we can keep in mind that other parents are doing their best too. And we can make choices about how we treat others. Even when I strongly disagree with what someone else does I remind myself “I will do my best not to make another parent feel bad about their parenting decisions.”

Because there are other factors in every family and what works for one does not work for another.

The only complaint I have about many parents I meet is educating themselves. I do tend to be hard on parents (and I should not be but I’m working on that) who do not educate themselves before making parenting decisions. I suppose also I’m hard on parents who know the benefits but don’t care because of convenience or other small things… but I suppose that goes back to what I said that no decision made from love can be wrong.

And as I said before I thank Time for making this a topic of conversation. Because when a topic becomes conversation usually some level of education is achieved. Based on what I’ve read of the article, the title and the picture I feel they were trying to sensationalize Attatchment parenting… the stranger it looks the better for their sales. I can only hope some mothers will read the article and takes what works for them and leaves the rest.

I’m annoyed with Time because I feel the whole idea of encouraging Mommy wars, especially the idea of “Are you mom enough?” is trying to pit us against each other. I’m about to post a blog post concerning recent ratings of the US in regards to womens health issues. If they keep us fighting each other we will never turn around and fight to improve things for ourselves and our children…. which is what we should be doing!

A friend of mine recently posted the following quote on her page. I don’t know where it comes from but I think it is perfect…

“Motherhood is — should be — a village, where we explore each other’s choices, learn from them, respect them, and then go off and make our own.” 

I wish we could all remember this….

 

 

 

 

 

Total side note… when I went on Pinterest to find the “Are you mom enough” response I had to search for it. A ton of pins of the original cover came up… most of the comments were “Wtf” “What is wrong with this woman?” and “Someone should go get that child a glass of real milk.” The last is my favorite because she clearly doesn’t know that mothers milk is far more nutritious than cows milk.

Personally I’m aiming to have LA weaned around 2 because that is where I am comfortable. To be totally honest the idea of nursing a child who could be in pre school or kindergarten makes me very uncomfortable. But that is my issue and my feelings and I wouldn’t impose them on anyone… and I wouldn’t make horrible comments on pictures judging that mom. I don’t do formula, and while I realize it has a purpose and is a blessing for women who need it I do not like that some women just choose it, not out of necessity, but because they want to keep perky breasts or can’t be bothered etc… however I don’t make nasty comments on pictures of children eating it from bottles. Even though I don’t feel it’s the best choice I leave that mother to parent her own child and am infinitely glad that the child is being fed and loved… even if it’s not how I would do it.

And that’s my point… it may not be how we would do it but it’s love and care and that is what counts!

PS Moments after posting this I saw this great article about how breastfeeding to 3 and above is anthropologically beneficial… and how in most of the world, the US excluded, it is the norm.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/story/2012-05-11/breastfeeding-rates/54909940/1

Baby Signing   Leave a comment

My husband made few specific requests when we were awaiting the arrival of LA. But one of the first was that we teach her to use Baby Sign Language.

I thought this was a good idea. However I was worried about us being consistent in doing it.

A few people (ahem mom! lol) thought it might be a waste of time since it would make more sense to just work on teaching a child to speak rather than to communicate in a non verbal manner.

To anyone who is unfamiliar with the concept of using Baby Sign Language the point is not to teach them to sign rather than to speak. Nor is it to have them communicating in long sentences about their deep thoughts and feelings. The point is to teach them to communicate basic things about wants and needs so that they can let you know more easily than the typical toddler method of “I will cry until you figure out what I’m trying to say.” This is because even while they are learning to speak they are not always clear and I have been involved in too many cases of “Guess what I’m trying to tell you” with a child to not value easier communication.

Most of the signs we have focused on have been things that she will need or will help us more quickly establish what’s wrong. We have been most consistent with the signs for milk, bath, fish, pony, more, all done, cracker, eat and home. Originally we were working on Mama, Dada and other family relationships but since she’s already mastered MaMa and Dada we’ve pretty much dropped the signs for them.

I also really want her to learn the signs for hurt, dog, potty, please and thank you as well as others. The more the better really. I explained to my mom why I thought it was important to demonstrate hurt. Until they are older you can’t always tell what is bothering a child when they don’t feel well.

Recently LA was out of sorts. She started to run a fever and we weren’t sure if it was teething, an ear infection, or something else entirely. I took her to the pediatrician and she had lesions in her throat due to a virus. If I had been able to ask her “Where does it hurt?” she could have shown me if she understood… or done the sign for hurt in front of her throat. Now, I don’t think at 10 months she has the coordination but she will soon! And it beats the guessing game of “What’s wrong with Baby?”

So we started doing Milk, Eat, MaMa, DaDa, and bath pretty consistently from when she was three months old on. Most of the things I read said that she could start doing signs around 6 months.

I anxiously awaited her first sign… what would it be? The book said it was often something fun… so I guessed it be fan or feather, two things she dearly loves. Or maybe doggy, she loves her doggies.

I say consistently but we weren’t truly consistent. We were mostly consistent during good times and fairly consistent during others.

Nothing.

I chalked it up to us not being consistent enough. But one thing you don’t think of when you make a decision like this is that WE had to learn the signs too! It’s all well and good to say we’ll teach them to our child but first we have to know what we are doing too!

For Christmas her Grandpa got her two DVD’s of Baby Signing Time recommended to us by my friend Carly over at CarlyKablooey.com.

She LOVES those things!

If I put on a baby signing time she will literally sit, entranced, for the entire 30 minutes. If I put it on loop she might sit there all day! She absolutely adores them. I have never seen a child so young watch something like that. If I put one on while she is playing she will crawl to sit in from the TV and not move while she watches. If you dare stand in front of her or the TV she will crane to look around you or try to push you aside. But even beyond the benefit of her fascination, or that I’m hoping she picks up a lot of words through it, it has been instrumental in Steve and I learning more signs.

At seven months I thought I noticed that she would grin when I did the sign for milk. By eight months I was sure she was recognizing it because she would dive bomb my shirt when she saw me make the sign!

Finally around nine months she started opening and closing her hand (the sign for milk). I wasn’t sure if she was signing milk or practicing her wave but pretty soon it became apparent that she was actually signing for milk. Not only did she sign for milk but I think she does the sign to call for me in general… so to her the sign is for both milk and MaMa. This had my mom quite excited, I think she is now a believer!

We can now tell that she recognizes the sign for milk, pony and fish. There may be others but these we can be sure she knows.

She has a rocking pony that she absolutely adores. She rides on it and rocks back and forth with the biggest grin on her face! We have been consistent in asking if she wants to ride her pony and using the sign. The other day we were watching Tangled while she was sick. There is a horse on it that cracks her up. I asked her if she liked the silly pony. She got all excited and kept motioning from the television to her own pony. Now whenever I make the sign for pony she looks at her pony or to the television to see if her sily friend is on.

The other day we noticed that when she is indicating her pony she holds her hand up in the air and seems to be trying to make the sign (the sign for pony is to motion with two fingers from your head, like a horses ear).  I love watching her attempt to make the sign for pony! I love that we can see little glimmers into her mind, much faster than if we were just waiting for her language skills to grow.

On top of all the fun we are having I have read studies that children who learn baby sign actually develop spoken language more quickly and learn a large vocabulary than other children. Who knows if this is true but for me it went against the idea that it would stop her from learning real words.

I had held off in writing this blog because I was becoming so frustrated that she hadn’t signed for us yet. She still really has only mastered one sign but I have seen her indicate that she understands at least three- milk, pony and fish. And these were all learned recently… so I can’t wait to see what is next!

It did take her to 9 months to start but I would recommend anyone start signing with their child and check out the Baby Signing time DVD’s since they are so much fun and so rewarding!

LA on her pony!

Posted July 10, 2011 by etainl in Education, Hippie Mommy, Mommy-hood, New Mom, Stay at Home Mom

Tagged with

Adventures in Diapering   5 comments

So before LA was born Steve and I talked about cloth diapering. We both liked the idea of it saving money long term and that it was better for the environment. Personally I liked the idea of avoiding late night diaper runs as well.

But we were apprehensive about trying cloth diapers as new parents. We both felt like learning how to take care of a new baby was enough to handle without figuring out cloth diapers as well.

My MIL offered a wonderful solution. She wanted to purchase a diaper service for us. This sounded heavenly to me. But, if we were going to cloth with more than one child it would make the most sense to invest in cloth of our own that we could reuse. Plus, it is so expensive it felt wrong to tie her in to such a long term commitment and if she couldn’t continue it we knew we would be spoiled.

Luckily we were blessed with a lot of disposable diapers. A LOT. As a teacher traditionally staff often does diaper showers. While my shower was not a diaper show officially a lot of teachers still got that for me as a gift. Students pitched in and bought giant economy boxes of diapers. Neighbors gave us boxes of diapers, co- workers. Around the second trimester my mom started buying a pack of diapers every time she went to the grocery store. As a result our linen closet was half full, literally, of diapers.

At 8 months old we are just now on our last giant box of diapers!

So about a month ago I started looking into cloth diapers since this seemed like the time to switch.

Wow. I was overwhelmed with the terminology. Fitted, pre-folds, pockets, AIO’s, FLIP, Two in ones… honestly I still haven’t learned all the lingo or what does what. I was referred to some excellent sites that helped a bit. The more I researched the more it seemed that it might be something I would just have to dive head first into.

I wrote a couple of my friends about their experiences and recommendations for cloth. They both gave very helpful advice. Carly at Carly Kablooey gave lots of great advice… but it still seemed I would have to do some trial and error on my own.

But cloth diapering saves money in the long term but can hit your pocket book hard if you are starting out, especially when you don’t know what will work or what won’t.

So after talking it over with Steve I began piecing a collection together of second hand cloth diapers. I got my first three pocket Happy Heineys from a mom at Mom’s Group. I got a fitted prefold off Cotton Babies on clearance. Just recently I got 7 diapers (a BumGenius, some Kawaii, and others) and 14 inserts off a woman on Craigs list for just 28 dollars (Including shipping). I got some Flips at Cotton Babies that were seconds. Piece by piece.

We did a cloth diaper day here or there… but at first I only had 3 then 5 so it was just a day here or there literally before I’d wash and all.

Then I got to have 12… so I could do a day but I didn’t have a diaper pail or wet bag or some of the other cloth diaper things that make it easier. I was taking each dirty diaper out to the wash and washing at the end of the day.

This past week a friend from Mom’s group made me a wet bag so that we can travel (if you are like me and don’t know what a wet bag is it’s a waterproof bag that you can stick a wet cloth diaper in so that when you are out you don’t have to deal with the smell or mess until you get home when you can dump the whole thing into the wash).

SO, for the last two days we have been exclusively cloth diapering (with one exception that I will get to). On one hand it’s a success… we’ve only had two leaks and I think one was my fault for not having the diaper on properly. One was because some of the cheaper ones I got don’t have great elastic, something I’m hoping to fix but can otherwise deal with while she’s still not crawling. Most of one I have are pockets.

Pockets are what they sound like, you stuff an insert in there to make it more absorbent, the idea is that it’s nice because you can stuff as much as you need in there. Wash and drying can be separate to save time with drying.

All in ones are just like disposable because they are all in one… he he.

Fitted prefolds are a fitted cloth diaper that you have to wear a cover over.

So far I least like the fitted prefold, but it could be that the cover chafes LA’s skin a bit which annoys me, also it’s terribly bulky…. it looks HUGE on her.

There is a diaper swap coming up and I’m hoping to unload these and get something out.

I have begun to covet the Flips or All in Two’s… they can be used as a cover or you can snap a liner inside. What I like about them is that you can unsnap the liner, wipe it down and put a new liner in so you don’t have to wash the outer part us much. It looks to me like it would cut down on laundry. PLUS, if you are out and about you can have disposable liners so you wouldn’t need the wet bag etc. I actually have a couple of these ordered and I’m excited 🙂

So far there are only two issues I’m having.

One is that we don’t yet have a diaper pail in the house and I’m not sure where I’d put one. Small problem to be sure but still.

Another is that it seems that the cloth might be giving LA a small diaper rash. She has been rash free for a couple months now and her skin looks a bit water logged and I don’t like it. I knew that with cloth you have to change more frequently so I had already upped us to nearly every hour. So I wonder. Anyone who does cloth have any thoughts?

The last is that we still are doing cloth for nighttime. She often doesn’t make it through the whole night without a leak…and she doesn’t generally wake up enough for a middle of the night diaper change (unless I want to wake her up, which I don’t). So I don’t want to leave her all night with moisture against her delicate bits… so I haven’t used one yet. I’ve heard there are great ones that work well, but I haven’t gotten there yet 🙂

So here we go!

So far I like how cute they are… I really want a cow print minky one… they are a bit addictive and I feel good using them. I also like that I’ve heard it’s easier to potty train when the time comes. It doesn’t seem to make a difference to her one way or another yet with them and I haven’t had much difficulty in using them. Steve even put her in one the other day without any problems.

So we’ll see how this goes….

Posted April 29, 2011 by etainl in Cutting Costs, Hippie Mommy, Mommy-hood, New Mom

My black thumb   Leave a comment

I do not have a green thumb.

I would very much like to have one… I long to harvest foods from my beautiful garden and have flowers bloom with little effort. However, the opposite is usually what happens.

I try and I try and I try but plants just die.

When Steve bought me a rose bush we named George I was strictly told that there was a no touching policy in place. I was to look but not touch. He was sure that if I were to touch George he would immediately whither and die.

My grandfather, however, had two green thumbs. He probably even had some spare green thumbs hanging around his garage. Poppop tried to teach me. He gave me peace lillies to keep in my room and coached me. When they would begin to look ill he would take them home, fix them up and bring them back to me well.

In middle school I learned about pesticides and genetically engineered plants. I vowed to be vegetarian and start a garden. Poppop patiently tilled a section of the yard for me. We planted all sorts of things and I religiously watered and weeded my garden…. for about a week.

I think we had one serving of green beans from that garden.

Poppop always had fresh tomatos and green peppers ripening on the kitchen windowsill. I never ate one of those tomatos because I don’t care for them raw.

Now that he’s gone I’d give anything to eat one.

We lost my grandfather nearly 13 years ago now and, like deep pain, I still miss him as if it were yesterday.

So when we got our home I was excited at the idea of trying another garden.

Steve and I dutifully tilled a bit of early and planted seeds… not much happened. We chalked it up to starting too late.

The next year I planted some tomatos in a pot and some herbs in a little garden on the side of the house. As I dug into the earth I could hear Poppops voice in my ear saying, “Ange this is some good dirt.” I felt him coaching me as to where I should plant things and what steps were next. I was so encouraged that I planted some flowers in pots around our deck.

Well, we had several harvest of tomatos that I used in pasta and my herbs thrived. My flowers made it mid summer. I was proud.

Last year we had several meals of green beans and several beautiful cucumbers from my little garden (I gave up on tomatos because neither of us love them). My herbs were so plentiful I had to give them away. My flowers lasted all summer until LA was born and Steve and I both stopped watering them. To be fair, Steve did pick up the majority of the watering when I would forget…. and in my defense I was pregnant and not inclined to go out in the hot Florida sun to water.

This year I planted more herbs- now I have mint, sage, basil and rosemary. And I planted more vegetables and even some fruit. I have blueberries, raspberries, watermelon, cantelope, cauliflower, cucumber, zucchini, eggplant, leeks and green pepper.  There is also one mystery plant that I lost the tag and I don’t remember what it is lol. There are flowers all over the deck.

Steve has always been supportive although this year he questioned buying so many plants since, “You don’t really produce that much.” I said I had to have something to start!

I sense Poppop with me… I’m taking baby steps. Each year I’m doing better.

I’m hoping to keep up my watering and weeding. It helps that in the evening I take LA out in her bouncer with her little sunhat. She coos at the dogs and the birds while I work. She laughs at the water I spray. I hope it’s enough to keep me outside as the temperature heats up… I’m not much for the Florida summers, even though I’m a native.

I will confess that I procrastinated getting some of the plants into the ground so the watermelon, leeks, raspberry and cantelope already don’t look so hot…. hopefully they are salvagable, otherwise I may get another starter. I did learn that I cannot start things from seeds. Seeds and I don’t get along.

Let’s see how I do.

Leeks

Cucumber

Watermelon already not looking good

Believe this is cucumber or eggplant

Cauliflower

My rosemary that is threatening to take over the garden area! three years old and not dead… whoohoo!!!

Some deck flowers

See me touch the rose without fear!

Posted April 14, 2011 by etainl in Cutting Costs, Food, Hippie Mommy, Stay at Home Mom

Guilty! Mommy Judging – add on   Leave a comment

So after I finished the last blog about Mommy judging I went to bed…. it was late!

And I realized that I forgot something (probably because it was late).

So we all judge and I said it’s not necessarily bad. I think in some cases it forces us to defend our choices. For some people it forces them to reconsider other options… it is a chance to reconfirm what we want or to discover new ideas.

However… that is in cases where we feel judged, but no one intended to make us feel that way.

When a mommy is intentionally judging another and trying to make her feel bad or bully her into changing her mind that is not ok.

And there are plenty of mom’s who do this. I still think it’s because they want to validate their own choice but it’s not ok to guilt trip or make a mom feel bad. Unfortunately I think it happens all the time. I know when I was pregnant people would ask which hospital I was going to give birth at and when I’d say a birth center naturally they’d launch into their horror story about how painful, how dangerous, their birth or their friends birth was. It was like they needed me to make their decision.

I have seen mommies do it all the time… sometimes it’s unintentional and sometimes it’s mean spirited and pushy.

I know I have a lot of facts and information. I know the reasons I have made each choice that we have made. But I do try to keep them to myself ……unless I’m asked 🙂

Posted March 3, 2011 by etainl in Culture, Hippie Mommy, Mommy-hood

Guilty! Mommy Judging and Why   3 comments

We know it’s wrong to judge and we know each person has to make their own individual choices but still….

Mommies judge each other all the time. They compare. They pass judgement. And they do it all the time.

I’ve been thinking about this post for a bit now and trying to figure out a way to put it nicely. But there is no nice way. At the same time it’s not necessarily a bad thing if a momma doesn’t let it be.

Let me clarify…. I go to two different mommy groups. Moms get together with their babies and talk about how things are going. They ask questions and share information. It’s great, especially for the first time mom, to hear how things are working (or aren’t working) for others.

Last week at one of the groups a passionate discussion on circumcision began. Actually, it wasn’t a discussion so much as various people talking about why circumcision is bad and how if anyone researches it they would not do it. Finally, one of the moms (who is a regular there, this was only my second visit) spoke up saying that she had researched it extensively and still had her son circumcised. She said it was a difficult decision and that the main reason they had it done was her husbands preference. Now she wishes she hadn’t done it but what bothered her was that she was afraid to change her sons diaper in the group for fear of being judged.

There was some backpedaling and everyone assured her that she wasn’t judged. That she’d done the best she could with the information she had at the time. That many women had to make compromises because of family pressure or other reasons that they weren’t happy with now. Other women spoke up about their reasons for circumcision and subsequent regret. Others felt judged because they didn’t breast feed or co sleep or cloth diaper. Everyone reassured each other that no one was judging.

But we are… and I think it’s ok.

The bottom line is that each mother has to make the best decisions for her child and family with the information she has at the time. What works for one will not work for all. A beautiful quote that someone later posted on the site says:

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” -Maya Angelou

It was a wonderful meeting to be at and very helpful.

But it got me thinking about Momma Judgement.

We judge… we have to, we are all trying so hard.

There is so much information thrown at us. Traditional parenting. Attachment parenting. Grandparents advice. Mothers Advice. Mother in law’s advice. What worked for your friend. What didn’t work for your friend. What you swore you’d never do. What your husband thinks. What your husbands friends think. What the nice lady in the grocery store has to say.

There are a million pieces of advice and theories and ways to do things.  Ultimately each mother and father has to go with what works for them as a family. They base it on all kinds of things- research, numbers, what their mom thinks, what their doctor thinks, or just a gut reaction…. and they do the best they can based on that.

And that’s perfect.

But then after you have made your decision to have natural birth, breastfed, vaccinate, not vaccinate, use Vicks vapor rub, don’t use Vicks vapor rub, co-sleep, cloth diaper (the list is endless) you will run into someone who does the opposite of what you do. And they will tell you why they didn’t make your choice.

And for one split second I think everyone…. EVERYONE…. feels “Did I make the right decision? Or are they right?”

I was 100% sure that having LA in the birthing center was the right choice for us. But every time someone expressed a concern I would spend a few seconds reconsidering. Simply because I wanted to do the best thing I could do….so it was natural to hear another point of view and wonder.

And I think what happens is when faced with another persons perspective on what was right for them a mommy gets a bit defensive of what is right for her.

She gathers stories about how her decision was right. She is ready to jump on any bandwagon of people who agree with her.

I think there are different types of moms who judge but I do think we all do it. Here are the types I’ve noticed.

Type One- The Reluctant Judger- This is where I think I fall by the way. This type of mommy doesn’t want to judge. She knows with her head that everyone has to make decision for them and for what works for their family. There may be some issues that she strongly feels are “better” than others… but she’s flexible… in her head. But with her heart she so badly wants to have made the right choice that she does gather examples of why they did the “right” thing. Which I think is normal, I mean we all want to be validated, right? This mom won’t usually be verbal about their judging because they don’t want to judge.

Type two- The Regretful Judger- They went along with a choice that was not theirs. They felt pressured into it or something and now they defend that decision, rabidly. They HAVE to be right because they really aren’t comfortable with their decision. I think these mommies sometimes can get nasty because they really need validation.

Type three- The Righteous Judger- This is the mom who kind of likes to judge. Who HAS to put their two cents in, especially with those that are doing things differently than they do. They want to argue… to be right and to show someone when they have made, what they deem, a “mistake.”

I’m sure we all fall into one of these three categories at any time or another.

It’s great to say (and I do honestly believe true) that each family has to make the choice that is right for them. But we also want to stand behind our own decision… and if our decision is right then all the others must not be. Just by logic. Of course that’s not true but I think it’s why we get defensive.

We are doing the best job we can and we so badly want to be right so we take offense at the idea that we aren’t.

I know that I was thrilled at how our birth experience went. It was right for us. I loved how things turned out. But I really didn’t want anyone to feel that I thought it was right for everyone or that I disapproved of any other way, because I don’t. But when a friend asked how things went I responded that I was thrilled. I was shocked when I got a horrible, nasty email from her boyfriend asking if I thought I was better than everyone else. He took offense because I said I loved it. He thought by loving our birth experience I was saying all others were bad.

I know another mommy whose son was born after my LA who argues with anything I say. We have different styles of parenting for a number of reasons. She is more medical and puts a lot of faith in doctors. I’m more herbal and into holistic and natural. Every time I say something about what we are doing (even in another friends conversation) she has to pop up and say what she’s doing. I don’t know why. I think it’s because she isn’t someone who researches, she trusts her doctor. So if I do something different she wants to know why and when I answer she feels “lectured.” We’re just different. She trusts her doctor- which is great, that is their job. I trust my instinct after I’ve gathered massive amounts of information. Neither is right, it’s just different styles.  But when she “argues” with me I feel judged… even though I’m comfortable with our choices… but I still do.

Even my Nana, who I love, sometimes will say, “Well I guess I did things wrong.” This is in response to the fact that I’m doing something different with LA than she did with my mom. I point out to her that information changes and it wasn’t wrong, I mean, my mom turned out ok. I know my mom, who I think was the best mother ever, made choices with me that she nows wishes she could do differently. And I already can see things with LA that I would probably do differently if I could!

So… I don’t know if I made any sense. And I hope I didn’t offend.

I do honestly believe that for the most part each choice that a family makes out of love is right for that family. Barring neglect most every parent does the best they can.

But I’m also confidant that our decisions that we have made were the best we could do (for us!)… and I can’t help it if I feel a little judged when someone challenges me on them. But I also think it’s normal and I have to realize that they may be doing it just because everyone wants to be the best mommy they can be!

Posted March 3, 2011 by etainl in Culture, Hippie Mommy, Life, Mommy-hood, New Mom