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Archive for October, 2010

Random thoughts for Friday

-I used to love weekends because it meant sleeping in, a break from work, time to go out, or just relax at home.  Now I love weekends for the simple reason that I get to spend two whole days with Lil Z-Bear.

-I can’t wait for this particular weekend because we get to put a cute outfit on Lil Z-Bear (he’s still too tiny for most costumes) and go pumpkin picking/hayriding/corn maze wandering/apple cider donut and kettle corn eating with him.  I love fall!

-What an amazing relationship we have with our children.  Lil Z cries and we are there to wipe his tears, change his diaper, feed him, cuddle him, and love him.  We repeat this as many times as necessary throughout the day. What a truly amazing way to start life in this world, where you have the reassurance that love and comfort will always be provided in leaps and bounds.

-I love writing this blog.  Some days I am surprised at how many views I get because it is pretty neat that there are people out there who want to read what I have to say.  But writing this means a lot more to me.  I love to think that Lil Z-Bear will read through this many years from now and know how much he means to us.  Who knows, maybe he will read it at a time when he is a parent himself.  Most importantly, I write these notes because I always want to remember these precious days, and memory can be fleeting, and undocumented memories are short-lived.  I like the tangibility of writing this; I know it will be remembered because I will it to be remembered.

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Just another love song

(Image from Etsy)

For my two beloved boys, hubby and Lil Z-Bear.

I realized something this morning while listening to Pandora on the train to work:  Most love songs, the deep and soulful ones, and yes, even the ones that are oozing cheese, apply just as much to the love I have for hubby as they do for the love I have for Lil Z.

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In a perfect world, I would not need to make a single baby bottle for Lil Z.  In a perfect world, I would have breastfed him until he was 2.  Yes, that’s right, 2 years, as in 24 months old.  That’s what I would have wanted to do.  But, alas, perfection is not always attainable.  So Lil Z has been drinking from a bottle, whether breast milk or formula, for quite some time now (whatever ‘quite some’ of 4 months is).  We’ve tried 3 different bottles for the Bear, and here’s my review of them.

Dr. Brown’s Standard Plastic 4 and 8 oz bottles : When doing my research on baby bottles, Dr. Browns kept coming up as a favorite amongst reviewers.  So I went out and bought a pack.  I like these bottles.  A lot.  And I use these bottles for Z-Bear. That being said, there are a few drawbacks, but even then, these bottles always come out a winner.  The look: I like the traditional look of these bottles with the cylindrical shape, the white cap, and the clear nipple.  Inside the bottle is a two-piece internal vent system that reduces air bubbles.  The result: Lil-Z seldom has problems with gas, burping, or excessive spit-up.  An added bonus is that they easily fit the Medela breast pump I use, so I can pump directly into the bottle if I want. The bottles are BPA free and we are happy with them.  They are a pain to clean though because of the extra parts inside.  And a little tricky to assemble when bleary-eyed at 3 in the morning.   But simply putting them in the dishwasher at the end of the each day and preparing the bottle before going to bed can easily solve these two problems.  They are durable, we have been using the same bottles for over 4 months now, and they are still in very good condition.  A more serious issue is that they tend to leak when not assembled just right.  I don’t have this problem anymore, but in the beginning when getting used to the bottle, it was rather frustrating.

Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature 5 oz bottles:  I read some good reviews on these bottles; they were particularly recommended for breastfeeding moms because of the nipple shape.  They are cute to look at, but after trying them out, I would not recommend them at all.  They just aren’t very user friendly.  The bottle is awkward, the nipple is more awkward, and often during feeding the nipple would fold into the bottle and frustrate Lil Z.  He didn’t like the bottles, and neither did we, and we retired them after a few short weeks.

Medela 5 oz feeding and storing bottles:  I like using these bottles when I pump, and they are just as easy to use when feeding.  Simply put on the Medela nipple and you’re ready to go.  These are the bottles we use for on-the-go feeding.  We take the stored breast milk out of the fridge, throw it in the diaper bag along with a nipple and we are good to go.  I definitely recommend getting a few of these if you plan on pumping.

 Tips:  Get a dishwasher basket to wash the parts for the bottles.  I use Munchkin, and it works great.  Wash the nipples by hand with soap and hot water and then use a sterilizer in the microwave (we use the Dr. Brown’s one).  It will make the nipples last a lot longer and keep looking like new vs. putting them in the dishwasher every time.  I am amazed at how many people say that a bottle warmer is a waste of money; for us it has been a lifesaver.  We use the First Years babyPro SmartWarmer, and I like that it has so many settings to choose from.

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Snapped on my train ride to work

I want to start reading again.  Well, I should correct that, I want to start reading books again that don’t involve how-to on baby: whether it’s making, baking, caring, or rearing.  Granted, there’s not much time to read what with the business of keeping Lil Z alive and thriving and all, but I would like something better to do on my train ride to work than stare into space.  It gets rather boring, and sometimes while staring into space I accidentally make eye contact with a fellow train rider. A big no-no for commuters in any urban area.  Read the commuting handbook and you’ll find out it is true.

I also want to get a library card.  And probably also find out where the library is located.  Because as much as I love Barnes and Noble where the air is permeated with the smell of paper and caramel lattes, it gets expensive to buy books.  Just recently I bought a handful of children’s books to read to Lil Z-Bear, the total: $97.85 for 4 books.  Ouch! Good Night Moon indeed. 

The books that I do own are proudly displayed on our bookshelf in the hallway; it makes people who visit us think we are smart (we are, in case you were wondering).  I make sure that the books that make us look even smarter are at eye level: that’s where I keep my Tolstoys, Gogols, and Nabokovs, Austens and Dickens, Steinbecks and Hemingways.  I also throw in hubby’s old Anatomy of the Human Body and various other medical books with scary titles to keep things interesting.  On the lower shelf, I keep my collection of South Asian writers, my collection of David Sedaris, my collection of travel books, and some selected chick lit books.  Hidden from all eyes to see in a box somewhere in a closet is my collection of romance novels.  Yes, the ones with the embarrassing graphics of dashing rakes and brazen maidens.  Because we all have our vices.

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I am really enjoying watching NBC’s Parenthood.  I’m a big fan of Lauren Graham, which is why I started to watch the show in the first place.  It takes a while to get into it, but once you start to follow the characters, it’s hard not to be hooked.  I enjoy this show now that I am a mom, but I am certain I would not have liked it two years ago.  In a recent episode, Julia (a very successful working mom at a top corporate law firm) and Joel (a stay-at-home dad) are having trouble getting their daughter Sydney to sleep in her own bed since she has nightmares and comes to sleep with her parents.  The scene below is one of the ooey-gooey reasons I like the show:

Julia: When mommies and daddies first meet and they fall in love, they get in this kind of a love bubble. It’s their own little world. And they’re just in there with each other. And then… babies come. And it makes them really happy. And they want the babies to come in the bubble with them. But they only made the bubble for two people at first… so it gets a little squishy.

Sydney: But does it grow?

Julia: It does grow, but it takes time for it to grow, so…

Sydney: So the daddy’s getting pushed out?

Julia: That’s exactly right. And he starts to feel a little left out, you know? He misses some of that attention that he used to get. So, do you think you could help me out with that, by sleeping in your own bed for a little bit, so daddy can come back in the bubble… for a little bit?

Sydney: Sure. Sometimes daddies are like little babies who need attention too.

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I make my way to the lactation room at work about 3 times a day.  And by lactation room I mean the utility/LAN room tucked away behind the customer support department in the building next to ours.   It’s cold and excessively noisy due to the fans blowing near the spaghetti mess of wires and routers combined with the whir of the breast pump.  But I don’t mind it much.  It’s private and I’ve grown to love the hour to hour and a half I spend in there each day thinking about Lil Z-Bear, what to make for dinner that night, and why I never seem to be able to find the right length for pants as I stare down at my feet.  I am so thankful for each and every day that I can produce milk for Lil Z, and today I want to share my review of products I have used related to breastfeeding.

The pump: Medela Freestyle.  As a mom, you quickly discover that Medela is synonymous with breast pumps.  It’s hard to be in love with a breast pump, but I sure like this fellow.  It’s lightweight and powerful, and I can get up to six 20 minute sessions with just one battery charge.  However, I am not a fan of the SoftFit breast shields, and I prefer using the PersonalFit breast shield that fits easily with the Freestyle.  I don’t use the hands-free option; I don’t mind sitting the 20 to 30 minutes holding the pump while daydreaming.  Unless you have small breasts, I definitely recommend getting a larger shield rather than the default size that comes with the pack; it’s much more comfortable.  I also recommend checking with the hospital to buy your breast pump, they often sell it at wholesale prices, I got mine $100 cheaper than retail.

Breast cream:  Apply a small amount of breast cream after every pump/nursing session.  You will be glad you did.  I have tried both Lansinoh Breast Cream and Medela Tender Care.  I like the texture of Medela better, it glides on easily and it works great.  However, if you are dealing with a lot of soreness and pain, then Lansinoh, which is pure HPA lanolin, does a better job at coating.  You don’t need to wipe off either before feeding, which is a plus.

Nursing pillow:  Check out this earlier post.

Teas to help with milk production: I’ve tried Traditional Medicinals Organic Mother’s Milk and Yogi Woman’s Nursing Support.  Traditional Medicinals works much better.  They both taste like fennel seed and are very drinkable, no sugar or honey needed.  Also, eat oatmeal.  It works!

Nursing covers:  Bebe au Lait covers are cute and what a name!  However, they really don’t work any better than using a receiving blanket.  Better yet, try aden + anais swaddle cloths as a nursing cover: they work great because of the very pliable muslin material.

Breast pads:  When you are breastfeeding, it feels like…ahem…your headlights are always on.  Breast pads are great not only to soak up any leakage but also as an extra padding between the world and the ‘gals’.  I’ve tried Lansinoh Disposable Pads and Philips AVENT Ultra Comfort Disposable Pads.  I prefer AVENT because it doesn’t have the odd cup shape and the unnecessary extra adhesive strip that Lansinoh does.

Notes: Medela Quick Clean Wipes work great when you don’t have water to clean the pumps.  Also, stick to these Medela bottles instead of the longer Medela freezer bottles.  The latter can easily tip over, and believe me, watching hard-earned breast milk spill will make a grown woman cry.

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Are you here yet?

Image from amazon.com

Two of my good friends are pregnant (both first time mommies) and I couldn’t be happier for them.  I also feel so much older and wiser than them (hah! by 4 whole months into motherhood) and I’d like to pass on my words of wisdom on how to make the best of your pregnancy and prepare for your bundle of joy.

 1.  Sleep.  Don’t feel guilty about sleeping til late in the mornings, taking naps in the day, and going to bed early.  You won’t get much sleep as a mommy.  You just won’t.  No, seriously, you won’t.

2. Enjoy being a twosome.  Having a baby is going to strengthen your love in ways you never imagined, and when baby comes, you won’t know how you ever lived without.  But for now, enjoy how amazing and special just being two is.

3.  Do what feels natural and good for you as a pregnant woman, not what you have seen in movies, books, TV etc.  I never craved a single pickle, I did not feel any hungrier than I normally do, I didn’t snap at my husband (any more than usual), and I didn’t have an urge to clean everything. 

4. Don’t be impatient to have the baby.  I know how hard that is, but pregnancy is just nine short months (yes, short!), just nine months where you feel the unbelievable miracle of life growing inside you, the sheer joy of anticipating the baby, the delight of feeling the flutter of movement and the jolt of hard kicks.  Only nine months where you can dream all day of what the baby will look like and know how great a mother you are going to be.

5.  You thought shopping for shoes was fun?  Wait til you start shopping for baby.  Really take in every moment, from picking out the crib to the tiny socks baby will wear.

6.  Its ok to splurge on any baby item you really want.  I have yet to regret a single purchase I made for baby.

7.  If you are struggling with pregnancy symptoms and dreading the labor, just remember pregnancy and labor are the easy parts.  They really are.

8.  You cannot be too prepared.  If you have the room ready, the baby stuff bought, and your hospital bag packed the day after you pee on that stick, that’s not too early.

9.  Say yes to all offers of help now, before the baby comes.  If anyone offers to help cook, clean, do your laundry, whatever, just say yes.  You may think now you will have time to do all those things, but you won’t.

10. Pamper yourself.  Get a manicure, pedicure, wax, haircut, massage, whatever you please.  Two reasons.  a) You want to make the best of that wonderful pregnancy glow.  b) There will be days in the future when combing your hair will be a luxury.

11.  Be prepared for motherhood to astound you, stump you, make you feel elated and make you cry all at the same time.

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