Whole Milk

Ana is a mild mannered federal government employee by day and blogs at http://mammagiraffe.blogspot.com/ by night. She is a Supermom 24 hours a day to her wonderful 17 month old daughter.

It took a lot longer to feel like a mother than I expected it would. I certainly didn’t feel like a mother when we came home from the hospital. My daughter was such a sleepy baby that no matter what I did I couldn’t get her nurse. The lactation consultant at the hospital told me to undress her and dab a wet washcloth on her feet to wake her up. While that made her mad enough to wake up and latch on, as soon as she started to nurse she would drift back into fetal sleep. In fact, the whole nursing experience (the pumps, the mastitis, the sleep deprivation), which I had expected to be the bridge that would bring me into motherhood, did just the opposite. Weaning after 8 weeks allowed me to finally beat the painful recurrent mastitis, find pleasure in being close to my baby, and start to get my mommy mojo.

Once I could hold my baby close to me without flinching in pain I became obsessed with baby wearing. Looking down and seeing my tiny daughter’s round cheeks poking out of a Moby wrap made me feel like I was connected to the soul of the universe. I also became the master at “The Mommy Dance” – the crazy bouncy, swinging, waltz that was the only thing that would calm my hysterically screaming daughter during those “witching hour” evenings.

However, it wasn’t until close to my daughter’s first birthday that something clicked and I felt like my brain had really been rewired from 30 year old working professional to Mommy, and what made me realize it was, of all things, whole milk. From the time my daughter was born no major decisions were made without our pediatrician’s blessing. She told us what brand of formula to use, when to start solid foods, and even what kind of sunscreen to buy. But something about switching to whole milk made me realize that our daughter was not a myserious little being with unknowable ways and incomprehensible needs. She was a little person. A little person who I knew and had known since before she was born. And I was her mom and knew what was best for her. And I even realized that I had known all along what was best for her, better than the lactation consultants during our failed breastfeeding days, and sometimes, better than the pediatrician. So, I switched her to whole milk and I didn’t call the pediatrician about it. I knew how to do it, because I was, and always will be, her mom.


May 24, 2010. Guest post, Motherhood. Leave a comment.

Burnt Toast

Pamela Reddy is the proud mother of 15-month-old Luke and wife to Jason from central Illinois. She has the privilege of being a SAHM and is constantly perfecting her role as “domestic goddess.”

Nine months after my son had been born, I found myself crying uncontrollably to my best friend – spilling my guts in an obnoxious display of snot and tears. I hadn’t eaten a hot meal, slept for more than a few hours at a time, or even showered every day in months. I constantly felt guilty if I left my child for even an hour while I did the grocery shopping. I had put my son and husband first and totally neglected myself since the day I had given birth. Teri Hatcher (yes, I’m referencing a desperate housewife) wrote a book called, “Burnt Toast.” The premise of the book is that women give the perfect pieces of toast to our husbands and children, and we take the burnt piece that’s left over. What a metaphor! When I realized that I had been eating nothing but burnt toast for nine months, THAT was the moment I felt like a mother. After reflecting on my childhood, I vividly remember my mother doing it, my grandmother doing it, my aunts doing it. It is our jobs as mothers to put our family before ourselves, and we eat the burnt toast without thinking twice. Don’t get me wrong – I will continue to eat burnt toast until the day I die, but I have made a solemn vow to myself to also take a couple of hours a week to get a pedicure or take a hot bubble bath.

May 16, 2010. Guest post, Motherhood. Leave a comment.

I’ve never looked back.

Sally is a twenty-three-year old SAHM to a five-month-old son. She and her husband have been married almost two years. They met in college and had a wedding the week after graduation. Sally loves blogging, white wine, cloth diaper laundry, and weekend naps with her little boy. You can read her blog at http://www.exploitsofamilitarymama.com

My son was born November 27, 2009. He was absolutely perfect in every way. I know every mom says that, but he really was. I looked at him and just knew I’d been waiting for him my whole life. I’m not sure that I felt like a “mom” yet, but I knew he was mine and always would be.

I spent the next couple weeks in the haze of new mother bliss. We knew my husband’s deployment was looming, but I pushed it to the back of my mind and drank in every last moment as a family of three.

On December 15th, my husband left for Iraq. He will be deployed for a year. I was facing a year with a baby I didn’t even know yet and no partner to help me in this journey. On December 18th, my aunt passed away from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I lost my support system as everyone around me fell apart. She was greatly loved and will be missed more than I can even say.

Yet, Sullivan still needed me. He didn’t know his daddy was deployed. He didn’t know his momma’s favorite aunt was gone. All he knew was that he was hungry, needed to be held, and was scared in this new big world.

I grabbed that baby up and held on as tightly as I could. Sullivan became my rock. My little savior. Without him, I wouldn’t have pulled through without drowning in my own sadness. I couldn’t let myself fall apart with everyone else. Sullivan needed me. I was all he had at that moment. At 3:13AM, in the quiet of Sully’s nursery, in a glider with the hum of the noise machine and tears streaming down my face, I realized I was a mother.

I’ve never looked back.

May 15, 2010. Guest post, Motherhood. 1 comment.

becoming a mother

There were so many wonderful mother’s day posts that I had to share some more with you. Enjoy!

Mary M lives in Wyoming with her best friend and dear little one, and when she’s not enjoying life with them, she’s juggling her time between sewing, working on a cult-recovery ministry, and her cloth diaper addiction. She blogs a little at “Adventures with Baby” (http://simplymerry.wordpress.com)

This Mother’s Day is the first year I will be a mom. But that’s not what made me finally realize I’m a mom. It was when I was talking to my hubby about how fast baby is growing…. and realized how I was measuring his growth. By poop. Now of course I can justify this – I was talking about soon needing a diaper sprayer because baby is starting on solids, and we can no longer just throw the soiled diapers straight into the washer. But still. Only a mom would measure growth in terms of poop.

It seems like a long road already… from that first realization of “oops”, to darn-it-i-want-to-have-a-baby-bump-already!, to craving liver and cranberries… waiting and walking and laboring those last few weeks as I slowly opened up – and went overdue. To the jacuzzi in the hospital laboring room that was a cruel joke… it would randomly turn on high-speed bubbles that were agonizingly painful. To realizing the baby was in danger when they said I had meconium in the water… and to keep pushing! To hardly caring that I was stark naked when the ped emergency team swarmed the room to save my still and gray little baby. Hungering for that first touch before they whisked him away. Being on a mag drip and looking at his picture and crying as I pumped a few treasured drops of colostrum… and then finally taking my baby home. And falling in love.

Sometimes it seems I am just the milk machine. But then baby shows that I am the only one who can comfort him. The first one he learns to reach for. It’s in my arms he prefers sleeping, not his bassinet… and the only place he’ll sleep when he’s sick or teething. There’s the unguarded joy and complete trust he has in me when he plays and learns and tumbles through this new and strange world.

What is motherhood? It is being dedicated to another person’s life, happiness, and well-being. It is being the security and safety of warm arms. And it is being the owner of blackmail material. Which brings to mind the invention of digital cameras… a blessing and a curse. A blessing to us moms, and a curse to the future of our children. They will have every memorable occasion recorded, along with every occasion they didn’t want to remember… On youtube.

And as I write here, sitting next to my adorable sleeping baby, I am just starting to realize I am a mom. Mom to this beautiful, blue-eyed, chubby smiler. He will be nearly 6 months on Mother’s Day, and I love being his mom.

May 11, 2010. Guest post, Motherhood. 1 comment.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Lisa is a stay at home Mama to Emma and currently an incubator for Amani. When she is chasing after her toddler and two dogs, she likes to listen to the Navy Band concerts where her hubby plays the trumpet. 😉

I think the moment that I really “became” a mother, was when our daughter was minutes old and the doctors kept poking her with needles in case she needed an IV line. I was still under heavy medications from the Csection and through the haze, managed to tell the doctors to quit it and take the line out, she was fine–my mother-sense told me so. It was like I suddenly had the strength of twenty men and managed to sit myself up on the bed and asked for my baby. I didn’t get a chance to properly introduce myself to her or get to eat her up with kisses. I just had to be her Mom.

It turns out, my mother-sense was right, she was completely fine and I was there to make sure they didn’t do anything unnecessary. She was preemie weight, the tiniest thing ever, and although I was frightened at the prospect of taking her home, I knew what I had to do. So, I had my first major conversation with my daughter at minutes old. I told her:” We are going to do this together. You don’t know what you are doing yet, I am not sure I know what I am doing yet, but as long as we are together, everything will be ok.”

Sometimes, I think to myself, I wish I had a sweeter introduction into motherhood and stepped into that role in a smoother way. But, then I just remind myself that “becoming” a mother happens in very different ways to different women…and that is good. If we all “became” mothers at the same time, there wouldn’t be new stories to tell and that to me, would be a very boring way to celebrate Mother’s Day. 🙂

May 9, 2010. Guest post, Motherhood. Leave a comment.

It’s the cute that counts.

Very great post by one of our fans, Stacey!  Check it out.  And thanks to Stacey for sharing her link.

May 1, 2010. cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Fun, Guest post. Leave a comment.

Cloth diapering 101

Michelle is a homeschooling mom to 6 with a grandbaby on the way; co sleeping, baby wearing, homebirthing, cloth diapering all while blogging at http://www.blessed-quiver.blogspot.com

I LOVE cloth diapers. This post is likely to get long because I have a lot to say about cloth diapers.

These diapers are not your mother’s diapers. These diapers are more like disposables. They are easy to use and easy to clean.

First let’s have a little tutorial for those cloth diaper newbies who may be reading. Please remember that this is just my opinion and everyone will have different results.

There are 4 basic kinds of cloth diapers: prefolds, AIO’s, fitteds with covers, pockets.

Prefolds-These are your mothers diapers. They are just the soft cotton square/rectangular diapers that you lay baby on and fold up. Now they make Snappis to fasten them with so you don’t have to use pins. These come in basically one or two colors; white and off-white. But you can tie dye them or color them.

Advantages: CHEAP, you choose absorbency

Disadvantages: time consuming to put on, several steps, bulky

AIO’s-These are almost exactly like disposables. They either snap or velcro. One step and you are done. These Berry Plush are especially soft, comfortable and cute. Every print and fabric imaginable can be found. These are best for short periods of time or when you feel lazy.

Advantages: quick, simple, slim

Disadvantages: can’t choose absorbency

Fitteds with covers: The bottom diaper is either snaps or velcro and it goes under a cover. (These must have a cover or they will get the clothing wet.) They come in various fabrics and designs, as will the covers. Usually the covers are plain though. As you can see in the picture, they aren’t all plain. These are Kissaluvs (my fave) and a Gen Y cover, which I thought was just so pretty, but that I’ve never actually used.

Advantages: ease of use, can choose absorbency

Disadvantages: two steps, can be bulky

Pockets: These are great for overnight and car rides. Every imaginable print or fabric. These are Blueberries which is a wonderful brand and one of my faves.

Advantages: last all night because you customize absorbency, they usually grow with baby a little better than other kinds

Disadvantages: STUFFING them gets tedious, hands can be too big

With cloth diapers there are “name brands” and then there are “generic brands”. Name brands are Bum Genius, Fuzzi Bunz, Kissaluvs and other brands like that, which are made by bigger companies and get national advertising. Generic brands are the work at home diapers like Loving, Caring, Anointed, and Kuddly Kreations. Basically moms who work from home to make a little extra money.

I suggest trying out a little of all and finding what you like. Every diaper will fit babies differently. And what you like for one baby may not work for another.

April 29, 2010. cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Guest post, Q & A. 3 comments.

Hot Fun in the Summertime

Erica is a full time mommy working part time in R&D for a food company.  She and her handsome hubby live in the suburbs of Minneapolis, MN with their gorgeous girl, Little L who is quickly on her way to being 15 months old!

What makes cloth fun in the summertime? ….. What doesn’t!  🙂  I think my favorite is when it is warm enough to let my beautiful babe run around in just her dipe!  Too cute for words!  Plus I love my swim dipes!  Again…cute as can be!  🙂

Oh, did I mention they are super great for my babe and allow me to “be green” and save “green” all at the same time!

One more thing…cloth dipes drying on a clothes line in the summer sun always brings a smile to my face!  (Much more than watching them dry in the dark basement!)

Ah yes!  I love my cloth dipes and I LOVE the summer!

April 13, 2010. cloth diapers, Guest post. Leave a comment.

why cloth diapers?

One of our great submissions from our first blog contest.  Reprinted with permission.   Tiffany is a stay at home mama of four from Cumming, GA.  I am a Janeite, science nerd, child-wrangler, former middle school teacher, and compulsive blogger at http://tiffanyselephants.blogspot.com.

I cloth diaper. You’d think with all the laundry I do, I would check my sanity at the door for having signed up for this. I LOVE it!

I have tried several different systems. There are some that are cheap, there are some that are pretty. There are some for Mommies (fun prints) and some for Daddies (quick and easy).

I genuinely like laundry in general, which is good. If you have more than one kid, you know that laundry isn’t like addition, it is exponential. I like it because there is a concrete “done” factor. You start, you finish, clean clothes, magic. It smells nice, it is warm. It feels good and reminds me of being five. Kinda like home-made bread.

But I particularly like diapers. They are like baby socks. Tiny and limited to babies. I feel like I am handling Charlotte’s Babyhood. I was genuinely depressed when Amelia potty trained. Mind you I was thrilled that she got teeny tiny panties, (which I also enjoy folding, little girlhood) and we got a measure of independence…but it is exiting babyhood. It is a beginning, but it is an end. I love my kids at every stage, and look forward to each and every one. But I mourn every one, too. (With the exception of the sleeping-only-two-hours-at-a-time one.)

I started cloth diapers on Amelia when she was a little over 2. A friend tried them and they weren’t too bad…not like when I tried them on Gabriel with cheap dipes from Walmart…suffice it to say, it wasn’t great…BUT there are so many more options! Since starting cloth, I have had NO blow outs. I have also not had near the allergies or the rashes. They are cheap compared to disposibles. They also have the added bonus of the cute fluffy butt!

I love being a mommy. I like my job. I like the every day stuff. I like being there with my kids. I think my conclusion is:

Laundry Soap and Bread Cooking Smell = Security, I guess. Mommy’s there.

April 5, 2010. cloth diapers, Guest post, Q & A. Leave a comment.

A breath of (ocean) air

Our winning guest poster was Ana from http://mammagiraffe.blogspot.com/!  Thanks to everyone who participated.  We received so many fabulous entries that we just may have to feature all of them individually!

How do you use cloth diapers when every second of your day is full?  When you have two working parents who race to the metro, race to meetings all day, then race to get home for some quality time at the park before book, bath, bottle, bed?  And how do you have the time to blog about it?  Well, the same way you have the time to eat lunch, go to the bathroom, and (occasionally) even have time to have sex with your husband and/or watch an episode of 30 Rock.  You make time.  Yes, sometimes finding the time is as difficult as finding socks that stay on your baby, but when at the end of the week you go to empty the diaper genie and realize that there are NO diapers in it, its like taking a deep breath of fresh, cool, ocean air.  So, yes, to me fitting cloth diapering into my busy schedule is like taking a vacation to the beach.

What are the pros of cloth diapering, besides that cool, ocean air thing?  Well, there’s feeling good about doing something great for the environment.  Then there’s that whole saving thousands of dollars so that you can afford to take an actual beach vacation thing.  And, I have to admit, it helps assuage my working mom’s guilt.  I hate to think there is anything I can’t do for my baby and family just because I go to work during the week.  And finally, cloth diapers are just cute and fun and interesting.

So, now let’s move onto the cons.  Really, there’s just one, the washing.  How do you fit in the time to wash diapers when you have a toddler to bathe, other laundry to do and two adults that need to shower, all between the hours of 5 pm and 10 pm?  Well, so far my best answer is buy more cloth diapers so that you can wash them less often!

Ana Greene lives with her husband and daughter in Arlington, VA.  She is a mild mannered federal government employee by day and blogger by night.  She is a Supermom 24 hours a day to her 15 month old daughter Alice.

April 1, 2010. cloth diapers, Guest post. 1 comment.