Friday, August 29, 2008

Hello, rain!

Did you Arizona people just get a crazy storm dumped on you last night? We sure did. Did your power go out? Our lights flickered just enough to make the computer restart and to keep me from working on today's post (and I knew this morning I wouldn't have time).

So I went out and took some photos, which I'll post later. Have a fun day!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bases covered

You know how I wasn't sure about shopping cart covers? Well, I got to check one out up close at the baby shower of Jill, cousin of the Hubs. (Not the same cousin I mentioned before, BTW. It's just that everyone has babies at once.)

I didn't get a photo of Jill's (I think the Hubs had run off with the camera at that point). But I decided it would come in handy. Really would be difficult to arrange a blanket in a way that covers the front and back of the kid seating area of the cart and still allows their little legs room to stick out. So not a necessity, but nice.

In case you're wondering, we got her the Wiggle Worm Gym, which was on the registry. Pretty cute, huh?!

Photos: 1) By happykatie. CCL. 2) By me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Yes, poems can be cute!

Just (last night) read the sweetest little poem! (And you know I'm a poetry fan!) It's an original by the mom and son team of The Rowdy Pea blog: "The Baby Fairies."

I guess when I read it, I must've said "Cute!!" 'cuz the Hubs said "what? A poem can be cute?!"

I said, "Of course. Let me read it to you."

"...Don't you think that's cute?!!"

Here the Hubs pauses, thinking. "Is it cute because there are babies? Because they are snuggling? Because..."

I don't think guys get cute.

Photos by me. (Or maybe the Hubs, who doesn't understand cute.)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Is preschool the enemy?

Well, this weekend I threw a party and went to church and ate at Chipotle with my parents and now I'm sick. I don't know if being sick has to do with any of those other things, but it does have to do with why I'm home reading blogs in the middle of the day.

Also over the weekend, Playful Childhood posted "Protect Our Kids from Preschool," which referenced a Wall Street Journal article and studies suggesting preschool may not be beneficial for children.

(If you want to read it, I'll wait. No, really, it's ok. It's short, and I wanted a snack break anyway.)

So, as I was saying...while I respect the opinion of that post, I am not sure I totally agree with it. Is it preschool itself that is the problem? Or is the type of preschool? What about children who went to preschool for 6 hours a week? Or 9? Were the results the same with fewer hours? Perhaps it is the preschools (or the parents) that are pushing kids that are the real problem.

Not all preschools do this. Some focus on making learning fun with creative, age-appropriate activities. Children not only learn colors, shapes, etc., they learn how to share, how to sit (for short periods of time) and listen, and how to play nicely with others. Sometimes preschool is the only place a child has the opportunity to finger paint or use scissors or play in the sand.

Is it possible to do these things at home? Yes. Does every parent? No.

I don't believe that we should have universal preschool. But I think we should have preschool as an option. When preschool is done right, I believe it complements - rather than counteracts - a playful childhood.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You snooze you...get confused...

Know what's weird? Falling asleep to gymnastics and waking up to synchronized diving.

But that is what can happen when you doze off in front of the Olympics. As I groggily began to revive, there were two women diving off two very tall platforms - at the same time. My fuzzy brain assumed they were competitors.

Wow. They are so similar. How can the judges tell who's better?


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Children's books to check out

I'm a big fan of good children's literature. In my travels across the blogosphere, I've come across a few recommendations for kids' books that I haven't seen before but would like to peruse on my next trip to the library...

I already mentioned Gum, Geckos and God by James S. Spiegel, which Ann from Holy Experience calls "a fresh journey into the heart of God, family, and the fundamentals of our faith."

Also, Bethany at Playful Childhood relishes the "sing-song text and delightful pictures" of Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton.

Sorta Crunchy Megan says Templeton Turtle Goes Exploring by Ron Pridmore and illustrated by Michele-lee Phelan, is "charming, uncomplicated, and universal in the truth it affirms."

All three have something to do with animals. So I guess we'll call it a theme!


Photo by basheem. CCL.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Why should grandparents have all the fun?

Ok, I know the answer to that. They've earned the right after all the hard work of parenting. But that's not really what I needed to tell you today.

What I want to say is this: Do not let the fact that you aren't a grandparent stop you from going to And if you are a grandparent, you really are out of excuses. They have city guides of 101 kid-friendly (but not necessarily only for kids) things to do in a bunch of U.S. cities, and once you choose, say, Phoenix, you can further narrow things down by category (eats, museums, outdoor fun, etc.)

There's also articles on all kinds of stuff. I highly recommend "No Talent, No Patience Arts and Crafts," if you're planning on doing a craft with children. (Ever.)

Photos by me. 1) E, Grandma, me, Uncle Dave 2) A "treasure chest" by Rachel.

Also: No, no one paid me to write this. I just like that website and get excited when I come across cool stuff like that.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Every once in awhile I mess up my back. It doesn't happen often - probably actually less frequently than thinking I might be pregnant - and it's never been a big deal. Just bad enough to keep me off the blog for a day or two (i.e. the last day or two). Nothing that a little Advil (or disconcertingly bright orange generic ibuprofen) and an ice pack won't cure.

Which reminds me. A co-worker told me about making your own ice pack by adding rubbing alcohol to water in a ziploc (or maybe one of those seal-a-meal things). Why alcohol? One time, someone shoving booze into the freezer at a party told me that alcohol doesn't freeze. That, however, is not true. Dad says you can freeze anything if you get it cold enough. The point is that water freezes way before alcohol, so what you end up with is an ice pack that is slushy and bendable, rather than one solid mass.

That is, if you get the amount right. I'll let you know when I get that figured out.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Getting Testy

Not mentioning any names here, but someone I know can be crazy emotional...any time of the month. That same someone frequently feels really tired. And has unexplained bouts of nausea. And super irregular cycles. And has a blog.

Ergo, she has taken a couple a few several pregnancy tests since getting married.

All that to say, I was someone I know was pretty excited to find out you can get pregnancy tests in bulk (much cheaper!) online.

Just thought I'd share that in case you are also a member of the FPTTC (Frequent Pregnancy Test Taker Club). Or, if not you, maybe someone you know...


Photo by jason_coleman. CCL.

Monday, August 11, 2008

New purpose

Project Support Beauty in Nature is all about greener living and cleaner communities - one project at a time.

One thing we've been trying to do lately is re-purpose plastic containers whether they're recyclable or not before discarding them. For example...

  • The tube that Airborne comes in is the perfect size for quarters - used to need them for laundry, still need them for water, occasionally bus fare or the stamp machine.
  • We dump bags of sugar into a large plastic ice cream container with a lid. It's easier to scoop it out for baking and keeps the bugs away.
  • Those Glad containers that lunch meat sometimes comes in are great for lunch-sized portions of leftovers, salads or yogurt. (I buy a big thing of plain yogurt and add fruit or whatever to it myself.)
  • Which reminds me. Yogurt containers are not my favorite thing for leftovers, since they're not transparent, so I either label the top or use them for other things. Recently, I used one to mix vinegar and water for cleaning. I didn't have time to finish the job, so I just stuck the lid on it and put it under the sink. That works, right?
  • A clear pesto container now keeps clothespins.

Using containers I brought home from the grocery store anyway keeps me from buying new things to serve those purposes (less cost, less waste) and keeps the containers out of the landfill for a little while longer.


Photos by me.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Other 8-8-8 news

You may have noticed that some days I just have a lot to say. Today, I not only felt the need to wrap up World Breastfeeding Week, but to say Happy First Day of the Olympics! (What's with Yahoo putting the metal count right on their front page before the events have even aired?! SPOILER ALERT: don't go here!)

And to note the date.

I remember 8-8-88. I thought it was so cool. Because I was...8. (So, yep, that makes me 28 now.) I had a will-this-ever-happen-again conversation with my mom, in which we established that there would be an 8-8-2008 when I would be all grown up, and an 8-8-2088 when I would be really old - if I even made it that far. Anyway, I remember coloring pictures and writing the date on them in very large numbers and wondering what my life would be like in 2008.

Have you seen 50 First Dates? If not, SPOILER ALERT: you're gonna need to skip down to the next paragraph. I love the ending of that movie. Every day Lucy wakes up - thinking that the day before she was single and living in her dad's house - and realizes she's met and married the love of her life, had a beautiful daughter, is surrounded by the beautiful Alaskan coastline, and someone is playing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on a ukulele in the background. Pretty sweet. Pretty hard to take life for granted. I cry when she hugs her daughter like it's the first time she's seen her. Sigh...

If 8-year-old Steph could have had a glimpse 20 years into the future - see that her hanging out in the condo with her wonderful Hubs, see the friendships, the church, the growing family relationships, the car she can drive all by herself - she'd wonder why grown-up Steph would ever complain.

Maybe grown-up Steph should rethink the whole not-being-extremely-grateful-for-all-she-has thing.

Maybe I'll get that down by the next 8-8-88.

In the meantime, I have Opening Ceremonies to watch.


Photos by me.

Breastfeeding myths

Ok, so after a week of different breastfeeding-related posts, I think a great way to wrap up is with a list of myths.

So here are 16 breastfeeding myths from Just Mommies. (Um, with handouts.)

Actually, it says it can be copied and distributed, so why don't I just paste it here for you? I think I will....

Some Breastfeeding Myths by Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC

1. Many women do not produce enough milk.

Not true! The vast majority of women produce more than enough milk. Indeed, an overabundance of milk is common. Most babies that gain too slowly, or lose weight, do so not because the mother does not have enough milk, but because the baby does not get the milk that the mother has. The usual reason that the baby does not get the milk that is available is that he is poorly latched onto the breast. This is why it is so important that the mother be shown, on the first day, how to latch a baby on properly, by someone who knows what they are doing.

2. It is normal for breastfeeding to hurt.

Not true! Though some tenderness during the first few days is relatively common, this should be a temporary situation which lasts only a few days and should never be so bad that the mother dreads nursing. Any pain that is more than mild is abnormal and is almost always due to the baby latching on poorly. Any nipple pain that is not getting better by day 3 or 4 or lasts beyond 5 or 6 days should not be ignored. A new onset of pain when things have been going well for a while may be due to a yeast infection of the nipples. Limiting feeding time does not prevent soreness.

3. There is no (not enough) milk during the first 3 or 4 days after birth.

Not true! It often seems like that because the baby is not latched on properly and therefore is unable to get the milk. Once the mother's milk is abundant, a baby can latch on poorly and still may get plenty of milk. However, during the first few days, the baby who is latched on poorly cannot get milk. This accounts for "but he's been on the breast for 2 hours and is still hungry when I take him off". By not latching on well, the baby is unable to get the mother's first milk, called colostrum. Anyone who suggests you pump your milk to know how much colostrum there is, does not understand breastfeeding, and should be politely ignored.

4. A baby should be on the breast 20 (10, 15, 7.6) minutes on each side.

Not true! However, a distinction needs to be made between "being on the breast" and "breastfeeding". If a baby is actually drinking for most of 15-20 minutes on the first side, he may not want to take the second side at all. If he drinks only a minute on the first side, and then nibbles or sleeps, and does the same on the other, no amount of time will be enough. The baby will breastfeed better and longer if he is latched on properly. He can also be helped to breastfeed longer if the mother compresses the breast to keep the flow of milk going, once he no longer swallows on his own (Handout #15 Breast Compression). Thus it is obvious that the rule of thumb that "the baby gets 90% of the milk in the breast in the first 10 minutes" is equally hopelessly wrong.

5. A breastfeeding baby needs extra water in hot weather.

Not true! Breastmilk contains all the water a baby needs.

6. Breastfeeding babies need extra vitamin D.

Not true! Except in extraordinary circumstances (for example, if the mother herself was vitamin D deficient during the pregnancy). The baby stores vitamin D during the pregnancy, and a little outside exposure, on a regular basis, gives the baby all the vitamin D he needs.

7. A mother should wash her nipples each time before feeding the baby.

Not true! Formula feeding requires careful attention to cleanliness because formula not only does not protect the baby against infection, but also is actually a good breeding ground for bacteria and can also be easily contaminated. On the other hand, breastmilk protects the baby against infection. Washing nipples before each feeding makes breastfeeding unnecessarily complicated and washes away protective oils from the nipple.

8. Pumping is a good way of knowing how much milk the mother has.

Not true! How much milk can be pumped depends on many factors, including the mother's stress level. The baby who nurses well can get much more milk than his mother can pump. Pumping only tells you have much you can pump.

9. Breastmilk does not contain enough iron for the baby's needs.

Not true! Breastmilk contains just enough iron for the baby's needs. If the baby is full term he will get enough iron from breastmilk to last him at least the first 6 months. Formulas contain too much iron, but this quantity may be necessary to ensure the baby absorbs enough to prevent iron deficiency. The iron in formula is poorly absorbed, and most of it, the baby poops out. Generally, there is no need to add other foods to breastmilk before about 6 months of age.

10. It is easier to bottle feed than to breastfeed.

Not true! Or, this should not be true. However, breastfeeding is made difficult because women often do not receive the help they should to get started properly. A poor start can indeed make breastfeeding difficult. But a poor start can also be overcome. Breastfeeding is often more difficult at first, due to a poor start, but usually becomes easier later.

11. Breastfeeding ties the mother down.

Not true! But it depends how you look at it. A baby can be nursed anywhere, anytime, and thus breastfeeding is liberating for the mother. No need to drag around bottles or formula. No need to worry about where to warm up the milk. No need to worry about sterility. No need to worry about how your baby is, because he is with you.

12. There is no way to know how much breastmilk the baby is getting.

Not true! There is no easy way to measure how much the baby is getting, but this does not mean that you cannot know if the baby is getting enough. The best way to know is that the baby actually drinks at the breast for several minutes at each feeding (open—pause—close type of suck). Other ways also help show that the baby is getting plenty.

13. Modern formulas are almost the same as breastmilk.

Not true! The same claim was made in 1900 and before. Modern formulas are only superficially similar to breastmilk. Every correction of a deficiency in formulas is advertised as an advance. Fundamentally they are inexact copies based on outdated and incomplete knowledge of what breastmilk is. Formulas contain no antibodies, no living cells, no enzymes, no hormones. They contain much more aluminum, manganese, cadmium and iron than breastmilk. They contain significantly more protein than breastmilk. The proteins and fats are fundamentally different from those in breastmilk. Formulas do not vary from the beginning of the feed to the end of the feed, or from day 1 to day 7 to day 30, or from woman to woman, or from baby to baby... Your breastmilk is made as required to suit your baby. Formulas are made to suit every baby, and thus no baby. Formulas succeed only at making babies grow well, usually, but there is more to breastfeeding than getting the baby to grow quickly.

14. If the mother has an infection she should stop breastfeeding.

Not true! With very, very few exceptions, the baby will be protected by the mother's continuing to breastfeed. By the time the mother has fever (or cough, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, etc.) she has already given the baby the infection, since she has been infectious for several days before she even knew she was sick. The baby's best protection against getting the infection is for the mother to continue breastfeeding. If the baby does get sick, he will be less sick if the mother continues breastfeeding. Besides, maybe it was the baby who gave the infection to the mother, but the baby did not show signs of illness because he was breastfeeding. Also, breast infections, including breast abscess, though painful, are not reasons to stop breastfeeding. Indeed, the infection is likely to settle more quickly if the mother continues breastfeeding on the affected side. (Handout #9 You can still breastfeed).

15. If the baby has diarrhea or vomiting, the mother should stop breastfeeding.

Not true! The best medicine for a baby's gut infection is breastfeeding. Stop other foods for a short time, but continue breastfeeding. Breastmilk is the only fluid your baby requires when he has diarrhea and/or vomiting, except under exceptional circumstances. The push to use "oral rehydrating solutions" is mainly a push by the formula (and oral rehydrating solutions)manufacturers to make even more money. The baby is comforted by the breastfeeding, and the mother is comforted by the baby's breastfeeding. (Handout #9 You can still breastfeed).

16. If the mother is taking medicine she should not breastfeed.

Not true! There are very very few medicines that a mother cannot take safely while breastfeeding. A very small amount of most medicines appears in the milk, but usually in such small quantities that there is no concern. If a medicine is truly of concern, there are usually equally effective, alternative medicines which are safe. The loss of benefit of breastfeeding for both the mother and the baby must be taken into account when weighing if breastfeeding should be continued (Handout #9 You can still breastfeed).

Handout #11. Some Breastfeeding Myths. Revised January 1998

Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC is a pediatrician, a graduate of the University of Toronto medical school. He started the first hospital-based breastfeeding clinic in Canada in 1984. He has been a consultant with UNICEF for the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative in Africa. Dr. Newman has practiced as a physician in Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa.

This article may be copied and distributed without further permission.*


*Statement applies only to article - I retain the copyright to other written material on this blog, except where otherwise noted.

Photo by cafemama. CCL.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The cause and the cure

When I was typing up the post with Mili's suggestion, I wondered what WebMD would have to say about that, and I came across their extensive article on Breastfeeding and Bottle-feeding.

Know what they say is the best thing to treat nipples irritated from breastfeeding? Breast milk.


This comes to mind....

"I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,

I know that full well."


Photo by manueb. CCL.

Quote from Psalm 139:14 (NIV).

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Toughening up

When I first told my friend Mili I'd be starting a blog about baby stuff, she said she had a tip she wanted me to share - and I hadn't gotten around to it yet. But it relates to breastfeeding, so I think this week would be the perfect time.

Her recommendation for keeping your nipples from getting sore during breastfeeding: start while your pregnant laying out for a little bit each day (top off).

If your backyard affords you that kind of privacy, she said it toughens you up so that nursing won't end up being painful.


Photo by erin watson photography. CCL.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Pouches...get your pouches...

We interrupt posts about World Breastfeeding Week to let you know that Heather of Sleek Mama is closing up shop! She will be spending more time with her three little boys and blogging about ways to encourage creative play at Playful Childhood.

So that means this week is your last chance to order a Sleek Mama pouch! And they're only $20! (This is updated from what the web says.) You'll need to visit the website ASAP, since it's going down tomorrow, but you can order all week.

I've mentioned before how much I dig these. Here are a few more fabulous things about these over-the-shoulder baby carriers:

  • Made from stylish yet sturdy fabric.
  • Can use with newborns.
  • Easy to take a wiggly toddler in and out.
  • Babies feel safe and snug inside.
  • Fold up very small - can fit in your purse.
  • Can double as a nursing blanket. (So we are on topic!)
  • Dad-friendly fabrics available too.

So there you go. If you need a pouch, go get ya one this week!

Monday, August 4, 2008

World Breastfeeding Week

How cool is it that I accidentally did a breastfeeding-related post on the first day of World Breastfeeding Week?! Well, let's keep this up and act like I planned it that way...

We'll continue on with a link to this API post. Which is very long. (Fitting since it starts out talking about nursing children for a very long time.)

Anyway, if you scroll down, it includes suggestions on "How to Celebrate" from La Leche's website. There's also a giveaway (yay free stuff!) for a book called The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, which I haven't read but it sounds like it's got a lot of handy info in it.

Photo by Raphael Goetter. CCL.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Cross nursing

The other day Mom sent me a text that just said "Cross nursing?"

Turns out she saw something on Good Morning America about moms breastfeeding their friends' babies in order to foster a sense of community and was wondering if I'd heard about that. I hadn't.

So I read the article and skimmed the accompanying comments.

I'm all for moms breastfeeding if they're able to. And I know it's not necessarily an effortless process. There can be latching issues, supply issues, demand issues...and the list goes on... So with all that work to meet your baby's needs, why would you complicate things by randomly adding another baby in the mix? Or have your baby be nursed by a friend - and risk being exposed to diseases she might not even be aware she has - just for the sake of "bonding"?

There are other ways to bond with your friends' children. Play peek-a-boo. Teach them how to high five. When all else fails, give them candy.

Photos by fikirbaz. CCL.