Sunday, June 21, 2015

Nursing Needs

I'm moving some of my posts from another blog over.  This one is old, but still helpful.

Ok, there are five million questions a first-time mom has before her baby comes.  I think I will take all those questions and try to split them up into categories.  The first one is the most basic: nursing.  Even without anything else, if your baby is nursing/eating you're ok.  Here's what I think are basic nursing needs:

#1 Lanolin!!!  You will probably only need this for the first couple of weeks, so one little tube will be ok.

#2 Nursing Pads.  Please just get Lansinoh brand nursing pads.  They work great, and some of the others don't.

#3 Nursing Bras.  I have three daily-wear and one for night sleep.  If you like to exercise, have one for that too.  Why so many? There will be leaks, and you will need a few to rotate through washing.

#4 Burp Rags aplenty.  Have those and your nursing pads handy next to...

#5 A VERY comfortable nursing chair.  I'm talking you could sit in it all day, sleep in it at night, lean your arms on the arms while holding an infant for long periods of time, and not get sick of it.

#7 Sustenance.  You will want water handy all the time.  You'll easily down 32 ounces in a sitting if you're nursing, so go for a big bottle.  Also, stock your fridge with healthy things that are easy to grab and eat.  Naked Juice is great.  Baby carrots.  Spinach is better than lettuce because you don't have to chop it.  String cheese.  Whole milk.  Cream top yogurt.  Protein drinks.  Luna bars.  Healthy crackers or chips.  Hummus.  Seriously try to have lots on hand that you can prepare, eat, and clean up with only one hand.

#8 You may want to consider setting up in front of a TV.  There will be a lot of nursing, burping, bouncing, rocking to sleep and holding while sleeping.  A lot of this does not really involve face time with the baby or conversation.  In fact, with my babies, they had about 10 minutes of really good face time right after they ate and burped, and then the rest of the time, I was glad to have a TV to entertain me while they were awake but needing more physical attention than eye contact. 

#9 A copy of BabyWise.  It is the best book I have found and I use it.  I have a 21-month-old that sleeps 11 hours at night and a 2 1/2 month old that goes 8 hours between night feedings and sleeps another 3-4 after that.  Seriously, two kids under two sleeping 11 hours at night.  See how many people online don't have that and then tell me that BabyWise doesn't work.  Of course, it's not the Bible.  You have to make personal adaptations.  But read it before the baby comes and then dog-ear the important pages for easy reference after.

#10 Clock.  Your cell phone will work.  You will be keeping constant tabs on how often your baby eats, so have a trusty timepiece always at your side.

Hospital Experiences with Having Babies

I'm moving some of my posts from another blog over.  This one is old, but still helpful.

I've had two kids.  Both natural, both at St. Mark's, both with Dr. Carrie Sloan.  I do not pretend to know how your birthing experience(s) was or will be.  But I hope the little information I can share might be somewhat helpful to you.

First, I knew when I was in labor.  I knew when the contractions were starting.  Even with my first I knew.  They felt exactly like people describe them.  However, even though I knew I was in labor, I was still not sure.  I think that's a little normal.  We doubt ourselves because we hear stories about false labor.  And my water didn't break at home either time, so I really just had to trust that I knew what my body was doing and go in to the hospital.  As you'll see later, that ended up being a good idea.

Second, both my labors were really fast.  I think that might have something to do with going natural, although you can't count on it.  I got to the hospital two hours before Cid was born and four and a half hours before Zoey.  So, in my experience, I didn't really need to bring any of the things magazines recommend for during labor.  (Some suggested movies and handheld games.  Honestly I was so in the zone, I didn't need distractions.  I just needed that baby to come out, you know?)

Third, definitely be anal and pack your hospital bag as early as you want.  Have it ready with the car seat so you don't have to trust your in-labor-brain to tell you if you've forgotten anything.  Here is a list of things I found I needed at the hospital:

*Nursing Bra
*Lanolin (although most hospitals should provide this for you)
*Slippers (unless you like wandering hospital halls in those footie socks they give you)
*Something to hold your hair out of your face: bobby pins, headband, ponytail holder
*Pajamas (They'll keep you in hospital gowns the whole time, but you don't have to wear them.  Your     
own clothes are a LOT more comfortable.)
*Phone with camera (You'll want to text that day and then take some pictures the day after.  I HIGHLY 
SUGGEST having someone else be in charge of taking lots of pictures.  Your husband might be able 
to, but it is way better if a new grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc. does it.  They're way less busy than you.)
*Insurance info/card, ID, debit card.
*YOUR pillow and a light but comfy blanket from home.  I didn't bring these with Cid, but I did with 
Zoey and I tell you what I slept like a baby after she was born and hardly at all with him.  It makes a 
difference to have your own things, and the hospital blankets are seldom warm or homey enough.
*Facewash, Travel Shampoo and Conditioner, Razor, Lotion, Minimal Makeup, Deoderant.  They 
only provide handsoap in the showers at St. Mark's.  I don't know about anywhere else, but having 
these basics will make your showers more comfortable.
*Full clothing to go home in.  Make it loose.  Trust me, your maternity clothes aren't too far off.  You're  
smaller when you go home, but your hips are still just as wide and your chest is even wider.  Don't 
make the mistake of thinking you need a smaller size those first days just because you lost 30+ pounds 
giving birth.  :) (Also, you won't need undergarments until you go home as you will be wearing hospital issue diapers the rest of the time.)
*Bring pajamas for the baby to go home in, plus a blanket and of course the car seat.  "Going home outfits" are cute, but putting on a onesie and pants over a baby with the umbilical cord extras still on their little belly button is pretty uncomfortable.  Just bring pajamas.

Ok, that's all I can think of right now.  I have a crying baby.  Signing off.  :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sugar: Why you should skip it

In honor of Halloween next week, and in preparation for the months of sugar bombardment we are all in for, I decided to share my opinion and experiences of leaving sugar out of my diet.  Don't hate me, and don't quit reading.  I promise, if you try this, you will find some awesome benefits and end up LOVING the results.  Here's a quick list of why I love skipping sugar.

*Mood Stabilizer.  After having quit sugar for only a week, I noticed that my moods were a lot more stable.  Something about those spikes in blood sugar followed by intense slumps just weren't helping my already crazy moods.  Quitting sugar helped me to keep my moods and my temper more even.

*WEIGHT LOSS!!!  I don't take a lot of photos of me, but here is a makeshift before and after.  These pics aren't the greatest so I will just tell you that in the one on the left I had a lot of extra weight.  (Can you tell by the way I'm hiding behind my son's head and that plate of food I'm eating? Lovely.)  I had all the baby weight and then some.  The pic with Goofy is after about 6 months of being off sugar.  Baby weight gone!  Another plus: with sugar out of your diet, you can eat a lot more of what you love without having to count calories.

*Healthier Teeth.  Leave sugar out of your diet for one day, even a couple of hours, and you will notice that the filmy, fuzzy feeling is gone.  Yes, sugar is one of the biggest culprits for tooth decay and a lot of the bad breath and icky mouth symptoms we experience day to day.  So skip the sugar and keep your teeth happier while you're at it.

*Healthier Diet.  Getting rid of sugar is not just healthy, but it forces me to eat healthier things.  All the processed, quick and easy foods I would rely on before are replaced by fresher, better foods.  Fruit snacks.  Energy bars.  Cereal.  Flavored oatmeal and yogurt.  Even crackers.  They are all crammed with sugar and corn syrup, and there are some much better options out there once you pay attention.

*No more addiction to sugar.  Once I stopped eating sugar, I realized how sweet everything is.  It's crazy.  Now I can't even stand some foods because the sweetness of the added sugar is absolutely overwhelming.  

*The less I eat sugar, the less my kids eat sugar.  And we all know that is a plus!

Now if you haven't stopped reading yet, stay with me.  When I say that I skip sugar, I am not talking about skipping sweet things.  I am talking skipping "sugar" and "high fructose corn syrup" and any other sweetener that I think is problematic for me.  I suggest if you are going to start skipping sugar in your diet, find a sweetener you prefer and do the research that matters most to you.  I personally don't do well with the non-sugar sweeteners.  I don't like the flavor and they give me stomach issues.  For me, a favorite substitute is agave.  Here are three of my favorite agave recipes: must-haves when I'm skipping sugar.

Agave Zucchini Muffins
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger (optional)
2 eggs (beaten til fluffy)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/4 cup Agave Syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil **
2 cups finely shredded zucchini
1 cup nuts (optional)

Mix dry ingredients, then add eggs, lemon, Agave, coconut oil and zucchini.  Mix until well-integrated.  Fold in nuts if desired.  Bake in greased baking cups, or with paper inserts.  Can also be baked in greased loaf pans for bread.  350 degrees.
** See note below on coconut oil.

Agave Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup (heaping) whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup butter (or oil if you prefer)
1/2 cup Agave Syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients and bake at 350 for 11-15 minutes.  (I like them a little on the brown side.)
You can toast the oats in a pan before you mix for a yummy twist.

Agave Chocolate Cake

2 cups Agave (or a little less depending on your taste)
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup coconut oil **
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Mix the dry ingredients.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.  Beat 2 minutes on high.  Stir in water and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

**NOTE: The coconut oil is very important if you want a fluffy cake or muffin.  You'll notice when cooking with agave or other liquid sweeteners, baked goods turn out dense and moist.  If you want fluffy, use coconut oil instead of oil or butter.  It's a beautiful thing.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Counting Game: How to get your toddlers to do what you want, FAST!

You hear it a lot if you're around kids and parents.  The counting game.  "I'm going to count to three and you'd better... or else!"  Well, in my family, the counting game has a different face and feeling and it saves me from a nervous breakdown daily.  The trick?  Mary Poppins.  "You find the fun, and Snap!" Kids will do whatever you want and FAST!

Ok, this isn't actually a fix-all for toddler disobedience.  But I have found that using the counting game correctly can get my toddlers to do anything faster than any other method I have tried.  The trick is to make it a game.  Instead of counting and threatening with a very stern voice, every time I start the counting game it's like the start of a race.  "I bet you can't make it to the car and get in your car seat before I count to four!" I say excitedly to my four-year-old.  Instantly his face lights up and he is ready to use all his energy to prove Mommy wrong.  I start counting in a tone of voice that oozes fun and anticipation and it's like he can't resist.  By the time I get to three he's already done what I've asked and when I say four he giggles with guilty excitement knowing that, once again, he broke the system.

The two-year-old was a little more hesitant to jump on board.  She is suspicious of authority.  But after a while of watching her brother beat my counting to the potty, or eat all his vegetables before I counted to 11, she just had to get in on the action.  Now she, too, is adept at getting whatever it is done before the counting has finished.

It's all about the tone of voice.  That counting game gets toddlers every time.  Make it exciting and enjoy the results.  And feel free to let me know how it goes.

Happy Counting!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ryan's Opinion on the World's Problems

Last night I went with my family to eat Thai food, which I LOVE!!!! While we were waiting for our food to come, we got into a myriad of discussions mostly introduced by my brother-in-laws new insights from a work conference he attended. The conversation went all over the place, from natural childbirth, to Joseph Smith, to sexism, to super-heroes. Of course I had to add in a little of my new interest in there, so I brought up a food topic.

The whole point of this blog, though, is a little statement that came from my husband after we left.
In the end, when Ryan and I were driving home, talking about all of it, he turned to me and said, "You know, I think there are two things that cause all the world's problems. People are selfish, and they don't trust each other."

For once, I didn't have anything to say in response. It made me think. So I'm sharing with you.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

ORGANIC MILK: Horizon Vs. Organic Valley

My mother-in-law is a very health-conscious person. Her home is always stocked with organic milk. The two brands she buys most regularly are Horizon and Organic Valley. These two brands also sit next to each other on the organic dairy shelf in my local grocery store. I decided that these would be great to compare, especially because, as I did the research, there were so many differences between the two brands I thought of as equal. Here's what I found:

  • Owned by Dean Foods, a multi-billion dollar conglomerate. (Includes brands like Meadow Gold, Land O'Lakes, and Silk.)
  • Uses no artificial growth hormones, no antibiotics* and no pesticides.
  • USDA Organic certified
  • Cornucopia Institute Score 0/5; Ethically Deficient**
  • Dairy cows get up to 4 months of pasture time each year
  • Average herd size on family farms within Horizon's system: 90
  • Average herd size on other farms within Horizon's system: 229-560
  • Horizon runs 11 corporate farms with cow herds of 1,000-2,000
  • Number of family farms: 507; Number of other farms: 91
  • Farmer-owned co-op
  • Uses no artificial growth hormones, no antibiotics* and no pesticides.
  • USDA Organic certified and adherent to CROPP (see note 2), a program of strict, humane animal handling laws.
  • Does not use oxytocin (even though it is allowed by the National Organic Program)
  • Cornucopia Institute Score 4/5; Excellent**
  • Dairy cows get up to 7 months of pasture time each year
  • Average number of cows per acre: 3
  • Average herd size: 76
  • Percentage of family farms in Organic Valley system: 100%
Note: Organic Valley belongs to CROPP, a program which embraces stricter standards of animal care than the National Organic Program. Some of these stricter standards include:
  • consideration of cattle's social nature and making sure they are comfortable throughout their integration into new herds, breeding, day-to-day events, treatment of illness, etc.
  • giving the cows housing which is comfortable, spacious and which conforms to natural light cycles
  • providing the cows with fresh air, shade, and access to outdoors unless extreme weather would endanger the animals
  • special care in breeding to promote healthy herds.
  • strict rules about transporting cattle to provide for their health, comfort, and safety
  • limited or no use of electric shock devices in training
  • limited or no dehorning, and use of pain killers when dehorning is necessary
  • constant veterinary care and regular inspections to maintain all standards
To see all of CROPP's standards for treatment of animals click here.

*Both Horizon and Organic Valley use holistic or homeopathic remedies on their cattle unless the cows are not improving quickly. If their symptoms cannot be relieved by these natural methods, in order to decrease the cows' suffering, antibiotics will be used to restore health quickly. However, once an animal has received antibiotics they are taken out of the organic herd and used as a conventional dairy animal.

Despite this extreme reaction to the use of any antibiotics in the cattle, the main reason behind the "no antibiotics" movement is that most dairy farmers give all their cattle regular doses of antibiotics, "just in case". This is believed to be causing a huge amount of antibiotics-resistant bacteria in the animals and eventually/consequently in humans.

**The Cornucopia Institute, a non-profit organization "seeking economic justice for the family-scale farming community," has published a number of reports to help consumers see the business behind the food, and the actual quality of what they are buying. Horizon and Organic Valley are both included in their "Organic Dairy Report and Scorecard".

In this report Horizon scored 0/5 and Organic Valley scored 4/5.

Horizon's "0" score was based on the fact that they declined multiple invitations to submit their information for the study, and, as Cornucopia says, the company's larger scale dairies: include cows which have been non-organic for the first year of their lives, do not give their cows adequate pasture time, and are not concerned with the health and longevity of their animals. Wikipedia also states that the Cornucopia institute filed a legal action against Dean Foods, the owner of Horizon, based on their use of the term "organic".

Horizon's Overall Rating: Ethically Deficient

Organic Valley's "4" score was based on their cows' exceptionally good health, longevity, and time allowed on pasture, among many other factors. It appeared that Organic Valley received a slightly lower score based on the fact that some of the cows they purchase are also not completely organic from birth.

Organic Valley's Overall Rating: Excellent

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


To begin my life as a conscientious food consumer I made a grocery trip to Whole Foods Market. There I bought some organic produce, free-range chicken, grass-fed beef, organic milk, and a few other things. Then the fun began. With the combination of my new, more veggie-full, healthy ingredient list, and my fantastic new Tupperware toys (another story), I began cooking. I realized that coming up with ways to use everything made it a lot more fun.

Breakfast #1 was Organic Dried Cherry and Oatmeal Muffins made from scratch; and Egg "Smush" made with Organic Red Peppers and Tomatoes. It was so good, that Ryan (who NEVER eats sooner than 30 minutes after waking) got up from bed and immediately snarfed up the whole plate.

Dinner #1 was Angel Hair Pasta with fresh, Organic Tomatoes, Peppers, Red Cabbage and Green Beans on top; Free-range Chicken, Feta Cheese and Spinach Sausage; Organic "Seeduction" Bread with cheese and herbs toasted on top; and Organic Romaine Lettuce Salad. I have to admit that I was disappointed with the way I seasoned the veggies. I will have to do better next time. But both of our plates were clean by the end of dinner and Ryan's comment was, "I feel really good after eating that meal."

All in all I think that the Day One shopping trip was fun, and the Day Two cooking, while a little more ambitious than I will be able to handle every day, was a success.

Tomorrow I will have a post about my first research item: Organic Milk Brands: the difference between Horizon and Organic Valley.

Thanks for reading. :)