Thursday, October 30, 2008

Midnight Mommy Brain

It's amazing that in the middle of the night, you really can't think clearly. 

Usually when Petra wakes in the night I hobble into her room, grab her from her crib, and feed her. Last night she woke up early and when I tried to feed her she was screaming her head off and it was really hard to settle her. She woke again around 2 or 3 am, and again, it was hard to soothe her and she didn't eat. She displayed the same terrible behaviour roughly 3 nights in a row and really fussed when I put her down for a nap a few days ago but last night was by far the worst. I was starting to think she had developed a horrible sleep disorder.

Then, this morning, I mentioned to a friend that Petra hasn't pooped for 3 days and she said, "oh teething". Seriously? How dumb was I the last few nights? I know she's teething because it's been going on for about 2 months but I was distracted by her shots/bad sleeping since we travelled/constipation problems. It's amazing how clearly someone else can see things. Now I need to settle our pain relief problem. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Momma Tip: Band-aid Removal

I remember last time Petra had her shots we didn't know how to get the Band-aids off without hurting her. I remember that I was determined to ask them not to put the Band-aids on next time, but then I forgot. 

Tonight, I had to get her Band-aids off again. I soaked her in the tub and pulled them off in the water. She didn't seem to notice them coming off but her skin still flared up a little.


We had Petra's 6 month appointment yesterday. The doctor says my little 18 pounder is ready for "real" food. So I got the usual rice cereal talk and they (I see a resident and a physician) cited the importance of iron fortification in commercial cereal. I decided to politely nod as I listened to their advice and now I will do as I please, and tell them about it after. 

While I know that doctors understand the fundamentals of nutrition, I don't think many doctors really understand nutrition. First of all, iron-fortification in cereal is superficial and I don't think it's the ideal way to get iron into your baby.

The Canadian Paediatrics Society recommends 11mg iron per day for 7-12 month-olds. A simple search on the web reveals there are a lot of iron-rich veggies and legumes including: lentils, potato, peas, spinach, and chick peas. You can even search tables that show the iron content of each vegetable or legume. CPS also says that Vitamin C should be taken with iron to aid absorption. You can get Vitamin C in oranges and red pepper, among other sources. 

Since Petra is over 6 months I don't have to worry as much about the nitrate concentrates in foods like spinach but if she were younger I couldn't use spinach or carrots. Also, since she isn't 7 months yet, I can take my time and introduce yummy foods that, once allergy cleared, can be combined with iron-rich foods to cut down the yucky taste but still reach 11mg before her iron stores are depleted. 

We've been sampling little bits of food for awhile, a taste of banana, potato, watermelon or avocado with a finger. We started when she seemed really interested in eating, she would watch us eat and mock-chew. And now, when she nurses, she takes little breaks to chew. I think she's ready and I'm excited to see how she likes mini-meals. Last night I got little 1 tsp servings of sweet potato ready and put them in the freezer. They look really cute in the ice cube tray. Sweet potato is a good one to start with because it's supposed to taste like breast milk.

Any advice for me mommas? 

Friday, October 24, 2008


As a new mom, I really don't have the stomach to watch a movie about a child that goes missing but if I did, I'd go see Changeling. Here's the review of the film. Angelina Jolie is getting great reviews for her performance in the film and it's worth seeing anything John Malkovich is in. 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Do you know Vaughn Mills?

I hit the 400 today with a friend to visit Vaughn Mills Mall. At first I was disappointed because it seemed like there were fewer outlet stores than the last time I was there but then we hit paydirt. 

There are some really great outlets still in the mall. I found shoes for my husband which is no small feat and something for Christmas. I'll be back in 5-6 months when I'm getting ready to back to work. I'll be visiting BCBG, Holt's Last Call, Style Sense and the Town Shoes outlet. 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Oh Gross

After 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding, I got my period back. And while it's a healthy sign that my body is getting back to normal, it wasn't exactly what I was hoping for. I thought I would be able to dodge it until we introduce solids but, as my mom would say, "it is what it is".

Since I'm visiting my parents I had to raid my sister's stash of tampons and pads. I know most women generally prefer one or the other (or both) but I haven't ever found either option very satisfying. Pads tend to be messy and can chafe. Tampons have always dried me up and been uncomfortable. Although I use cloth diapers for the baby, I'm not really interested in trying out the cloth variety for myself.

Then I happened to read an article in Chatelaine this month by Gill Deacon, Your greenest time of the month. Period. She says she's a big fan of the "keeper cup" as another option for feminine hygiene. Menstruation cups have been available in some form since the 30s but only within the last ten years have they become more mainstream. I had heard of them before but until Gill's article I hadn't really thought of using one. 

I did a little online research and decided to try the Moon Cup, the silicon version of the Keeper Cup. I bought it at Earth's General Store in Edmonton. 

Has anyone else ventured down this path or thought about it?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Double your Vitamin D

A new report is being issued by the American Association of Pediatricians doubling the daily recommended dose of vitamin D. Click here to read the story published on The new recommendation is 400 units per day. That's equivalent to the Canadian Paediatric Society's current recommendation. CPS also recommends doubling to 800 units between the months of October and April if you live as north as Edmonton or further.

I like this article from ivillage on the subject.

For reference - a 1ml dose of vitamin D is equivalent to 400 units.

The Cadillac of Pain Relief

I'm feeling compelled to talk about the Epidural. I didn't have one because, frankly, I was terrified of the negative things I'd heard about them. Things like; prolonged labour, escalating interventions, possible (although highly unlikely) paralysis, a (gasp) catheter, not to mention having a ridiculously long needle put in my back while I sit still through contractions.

I just finished reading this Today's Parent article about epidurals. They have a nice balanced approach on the subject. They talk about how every woman has her own idea or vision of her delivery and most make their decision based on those ideas. 

In my experience, my hospital was really pushing the drugs. They offered to put them 'on order' for me when I walked in the door and offered the epidural another handful of times. My mom was there with constant positive reinforcement and, at some point, I found the zone and didn't feel a need for drugs at all. It was only my initial fear that I had to overcome. 

Somewhere in the pushing stage, my attending doctor said that she was going to have to pass my good karma around the ward. It was only later that I realized I was in a hospital with a 90+% epidural rate. At that rate, I may have been the only non-anesthetized mom she'd seen this year. I should say that I was remarkably calm and sleeping between contractions too.

I feel happy and satisfied with my labour experience because I feel like I really did experience it. I'm sure that's true for women who have epidurals too. 

Anyone want to talk about their experience? 

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Worldwide Breastfeeding Challenge

Happy Breastfeeding Week!

I just participated in the Worldwide Breastfeeding Challenge at West Edmonton Mall (we're in Edmonton for the long weekend). There were a lot of women/kids/dads there. I think we managed to get 30-35 in total. It was funny because Petra wasn't hungry and she was very distracted so I had to keep raising my hand (to be counted) and then drop it again. 

Here's the Edmonton Journal story

Did anyone else participate?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Flying with Baby

We're leaving for Edmonton in half an hour. This will be Petra's second plane ride... last time was not great. Since the return trip was much better than the ride out, I'm hoping she'll be calm for this one. 

Here are my tips for traveling with a baby:
1. Pack as lightly as possible. If you're visiting family you can probably borrow items on the other side (thank you Lindsay). If not, you can rent a lot of baby gear.
2. Travel during your child's regular awake period. Unless your baby is an awesome sleeper, don't count on a peaceful trip if your baby is just exhausted.
3. Don't fly alone. Seriously, if you have to go to the washroom and you're alone, it pays to travel with a sling so you can wear your baby. 
4. Soother, soother, soother. I know some people don't like a pacifier but it works like a dream for us for nighttime and flights. Petra doesn't nurse unless she's hungry so I can't rely on soothing her that way. Use whatever it is that soothes your baby. Yes, strangers will hear you singing and making silly noises. 
5. Rely on the kindness of strangers. I'm not saying be foolish and trust a stranger with your baby but let them hold your diaper bag for a second while you unzip the pouch with your ID/boarding pass in it if you need too.

Any other tips from experienced flyers?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Momma Stocking Stuffer

Christmas is less than 3 months away. For the mom on your list: The Maternal Is Political. Mostly American contributors but Ann Douglas (The Mother of All Pregnancy Books) is among them.

The Synopsis from Powell's Books: Each contributor tackles complex issues facing mothers and society today. Whether it's a mother teaching her children to live ecologically responsible lives, a mother struggling to get out of poverty while raising her kids, a mother's response to her child being sent to Iraq, or a mother voting for the first time, each writer forges the link, the crucial relationship, between the personal (life with family) and the political (life in the world) to give voice to, and thus empower, other women to realize and seize their collective political clout as mothers. Written by and for mothers, The Maternal Is Political is crafted to help motivate us to discover, appreciate, and use with greater effectiveness our tremendously powerful (and too often underutilized) political votes and voices to create positive social change.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Getting Toxins out of your House

One show I like to catch is Wylde on Health on CP24. The host Bryce Wylde is a Homeopathic doctor. The show format is a call-in talk show with an expert guest each episode. Today he suggested a website, Environmental Working Group

Here's their blurb: "at EWG, our team of scientists, engineers, policy experts, lawyers and computer programmers pores over government data, legal documents, scientific studies and our own laboratory tests to expose threats to your health and the environment, and to find solutions. Our research brings to light unsettling facts that you have a right to know."

They are based in the US but there is lots of great information for Canadians as well. Have a look at their research. You'll be shocked when you realize how many toxins are in your home.

Hair Loss

Hair loss is one of the things many women face postpartum. Even though I knew it was common, I was still shocked when it happened to me. It's both upsetting and messy. 

I had to keep checking my daughter's hands for strands of my hair to make sure she didn't put them in her mouth, I had to clean my brush and drain 3 times more often than usual, and I was constantly pulling hair from the shoulders of my shirts.

Thankfully it's over and I'm not bald!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Cloth Diapers... again

Best cloth diaper ever! Bum Genius - All in One - One Size - Organic. It became "available" in Canada in May but only stores that ordered a whack of them at that time actually stock them.

I have 2 and LOVE them. They are just as easy to use as a disposable (no stuffing). I actually prefer them to disposables because you don't have garbage to take out and you don't have to run out to the store to stock up.

I just ordered 6 more. diaper eez doesn't have stock yet, they're still back ordered but I've been ordering mine from a Brantford store. Click here to check it out. They still have a couple pink, and a lot of green and yellow ones in stock. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Newman Clinic

After the Newman Clinic coverage last week and again this week, I went to check out their website. It's got great reference materials covering a broad range of breastfeeding topics including: clogged ducts, finding support, skin to skin contact and starting solids. There are also video tutorials. Click here to check it out. 

What caught my eye today was 'Finding a Breastfeeding Support Person'. While I think this is the best resource I've seen, I think someone looking for help would still be frustrated. It's like finding a contractor to renovate your house. The key is not finding help, it's finding good help. 

When my milk came in I became so engorged that Petra couldn't latch. I was in emergency mode without any time to research and find a Lactation Consultant. I got lucky and was referred to a fantastic LC. Send me a note if you need a referral, she's in Etobicoke. 

Black Tie Welcome

Normally 'Black Tie Welcome' on a wedding invitation would get me totally jazzed. Pick out an outfit, jewelry, purse, shoes - fun! But a breastfeeding, postpartum mom?? Ha! I had two weddings to go to last year while I was pregnant, both in the first trimester. Dressing for those was only a bit of challenge because of widening hips and a thickening waist but not even close to the nearly impossible task of dressing a nursing mom.

Nothing fits properly. Your chest is not the size it once was. Your waistline, if you're anything like me, has not receded to previous levels yet. Your daughter needs to eat and needs to access your bosom to do so. And you may get drool, milk, spit-up, or all of the above on your dress.

It means dress material, cut, and accessibility matter in ways they never did before. You're more limited in undergarments too. 

So on Saturday, I've got a 'Black Tie Welcome' wedding to attend. One that has a 5 hour break between the ceremony and reception, which usually means costume change. So what's this breastfeeding momma to do? 

I'm going to wear my blue silk dress. It's button down in the front, is generous proportioned, fitted in the ribcage, and will hide my nursing bra - perfect. And the reception? A strapless, champagne coloured, crepe, cocktail dress with a beautiful borrowed wrap. The dress is a bit of a squeeze but with a bustier will be just fine.

So what about the spit-ups, drool, etc.? Emil will carry the baby... and the diaper bag too.