Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Infantino Recall - Baby Slings

I am a babywearing mama, and I'm proud of it.

I can hear the disapproving *tsks* already: Didn't you hear? Baby carriers are death traps! The Today Show told me so!

I own a Slingrider. We bought it at Target before Jack was born. It was one of the few relatively inexpensive baby carriers available in the big box stores. I wanted a Moby Wrap, but I found absolutely no stores in my area that carry it. I assumed the Slingrider was "good enough," we bought it.

I used it twice. The first time was only for a few minutes before Jack got fussy. The second time, my husband took one look at it and said "that isn't safe. How can you be sure he can breathe?"

He was absolutely right. Jack's sweet little face could easily be covered with the fabric if he turned his head even the slightest. The Slingrider has hung in the closet since then.

In the past few weeks some news reports have come out exposing the suffocation deaths of three infants whose parents were using the Slingrider. My heart aches for them. Despite the news, I still saw the Slingrider for sale at Target as recently as one week ago.

Infantino has now decided to do the right thing and is issuing a recall of the Slingrider and their Wendy Bellissimo Sling. They will pay the cost of shipping the sling back to Infantino, and they provide you with a new item: either a shopping cart cover or a Wrap & Tie front/back carrier.

To learn about the recall, visit Infantino's website:

Pity Party, Table for One!

Sick days are only nice when you can stay in bed under a warm comforter, sipping hot tea and watching bad daytime television. Sick days are lame when you have to suck it up, take a one hour commute to work, spend a ten hour day at work (complete with an after-hours meeting), and then take a one hour commute back home before you can rest.

I'm sick today, and I'm feeling sorry for myself. I have a cough, my chest is tight, my nose is running, and I feel drained. I almost made it through winter without any significant cold or flu, and then here in the home stretch I fall flat on my face.

I can handle being sick, though, even at work. What I don't like is the fact that it is almost inevitable that Jack will also get sick. I'm doing everything I can to keep my cold away from him: no more kisses (sigh), extensive hand washing, not holding his little hands (I love doing that), etc. I just don't know if that is going to be enough. I can only hope.

And now, I'm off to work, armed with a box of Kleenex and some Gypsy Cold Care tea. Wish me luck!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Swaddle Scare!

Like all new moms, I am scared to death that I'm going to hurt my baby. Clipping his fingernails is a harrowing event, bathtime is fraught with visions of him pitching forward out of his tub and bonking his noggin, and I'm certain that he's about to suddenly become mobile and flop out of any seat I put him in. The sane part of me knows that all of these things are pretty unlikely, and if something does happen he will probably be just fine.

But this morning, Jack scared the hell out of me.

Jack was very fidgety last night, which happens when he gets overtired. I don't swaddle him every night, but when he's overtired I'll use the Miracle Blanket or, less often, a Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe blanket. The SwaddleMe is a fleece swaddling blanket that uses velcro to keep baby wrapped tight. Jack usually breaks an arm out of the SwaddleMe sometime during the night, but at least he spends most of his night swaddled and sound.

Apparently Jack has been working out, as last night he did more than break an arm out of the SwaddleMe. He managed to scootch his legs out of it and squirm so far down that the SwaddleMe was covering his face, held on by the velcro which was now around his neck.

There are no words to describe the abject horror that I felt when I looked into the Pack n Play and saw that. Even writing about it now, hours later, I get short of breath. Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. Jack was just fine, and in fact he was kicking and squirming and his happy morning self, totally unaffected by his predicament. He had his morning milk and shared some beautiful smiles with me.

What went wrong? The velcro on this SwaddleMe is weak from use, which I think made it easier for Jack to break out of the swaddle and wiggle himself into the position he got into. I'm sure that he would have pulled the velcro away from his neck as well, given enough time, but I certainly wasn't about to test that theory. I can certainly say I'm retiring this SwaddleMe to the trash can, and I'm not sure I'm going to use my other two SwaddleMes either. I'm shaken, I'm definitely shaken.

Moms, go hug your babies today, one extra time.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Forgive me husband, for I have sinned...

Forgive me husband, for I have sinned. I purchased Babylegs for our son. And not just one pair. Five pairs.

For the uninitiated, Babylegs are like legwarmers for babies. I think they are terribly practical - Jack has a bunch of great little onesies that I'd love to show off but it is just too cold out for him to be bare-legged, even in our house. Enter Babylegs: Jack can wear his cute onesies paired with Babylegs and his legs will be covered.
I was a little worried about my husband opening the package with the Babylegs before I could offer an explanation. I could just picture him opening them up, pulling them out of the package one by one, turning them over, trying to ascertain just what the hell they are. I imagined him calling me: "Jenn, your ugly socks arrived." Telling him that those ugly socks were actually legwarmers for his son would not go over well. I called him with my confession.
In all fairness, I tried to choose "manly" (or at least "boy-ly") styles. One pair sports a firetruck, another pair is black and gray. So it isn't like anyone will mistake him for a girl.

My husband was not impressed. He will learn to love the Babylegs. I know he will.

I'm sure Jack will love it years from now when I show his first girlfriend the baby photos of Jack in his Babylegs.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March for Babies

We were blessed with a very healthy baby when Jack was born. Not all families are so fortunate. If you are or know someone who has had a premature baby, you know how it affects every moment of their day and every aspect of their lives. Every day, thousands of babies are born too soon, too small and often very sick. Our team is walking in March for Babies because we want to do something about this.

If you are able to join us in the March for Babies, we are walking in Milwaukee on April 24, 2010. If you can't walk with us, please help by donating to our team at the link below. You can donate in any amount, even a few dollars. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Spinoff Post: Reviewing Milk Supply Boosters

Breastfeeding is as difficult as it is rewarding. As a working mom, I don't have the luxury of being able to breastfeed my baby throughout the day which means that I have to pump. If there's one thing that pumping does, it makes you painfully aware of just how much milk your body is producing for your baby. In my case, it just ain't enough. Thus began my quest to find the "magic bullet" supplement that will boost my milk supply sky high so I can be one of those superwomen with a freezer stash and milk to spare.

How's that going so far? Not well. Jack still gets at least 12oz. of formula daily. I can't let my research be in vain, however. I wanted to review my experiences with some well-known milk supply boosters. Of course, your mileage may vary.

Fenugreek - comes in large, sort of hard to swallow capsules. The ones I have come from GNC and are 610 mg. I take 3 at a time, 2-3 times a day.

Positives: Inexpensive (about $9 for a 100 ct bottle) and easy to get at GNC.

Negatives: The pills are pretty big and I always feel like they get stuck in my throat. Plus, (TMI ALERT) they make me really, really gassy.

The Bottom Line: They seem to have increased my supply a bit, so I am sticking with the Fenugreek. It is well worth the price.

Traditional Medicinals "Mother's Milk Tea" - a tea that you can purchase at some of the more "crunchy" grocery stores (although my local yuppie mart carries it). They recommend 2-3 cups a day.

Positives: Inexpensive (about $5 for a box of tea bags), and with enough sugar it tastes just fine. Plus adding a few cups of tea to your daily diet helps increase your fluid intake, which is a good thing.

Negatives: The taste isn't for everyone, but I don't see any negatives aside from that.

The Bottom Line: This may have increased my supply a bit, but nothing to write home about. I'm a tea drinker anyway, and I actually like the flavor so I'm sticking with it.

More Milk Plus - This is a tincture (although I'm told it is available in capsule form. I haven't tried those). You take about an eyedropper full 2-3 times a day to increase supply.

Positives: It seems to be effective.

Negatives: I had to order it online, which meant a delay of a few days for shipping. I ordered from a shop on and it was around $20, so it is a bit pricey. Also, it tastes like ass. Seriously, it is toe-curlingly gross. You can add an eyedropper full to 2 oz of any liquid in order to dilute the taste, but even that doesn't help the flavor much.

The Bottom Line: This one really has helped me. I first took it before my late-night pumping, which is the pumping session that typically yields the smallest output, and I definitely noticed a difference. Despite the flavor and expense, I'm sticking with it.

Yogi Tea "Women's Nursing Support" Another tea that is supposed to promote lactation.

Positives: Cheap and easy to get at a lot of grocery stores.

Negatives: Definitely tastes worse than the Traditional Medicinals tea.

The Bottom Line: It seems to increase supply as well as the Traditional Medicinals one, but I like the flavor of the TM better, so I'll stick with TM.

Drinking lots and lots of water. This definitely helps the most. Of all things I've tried, this is the one I'd recommend as it has made the most difference.

Dark Beer - drinking a dark beer is supposed to increase supply.

Positives: It's beer! "Honey, I have to have a beer. It's for the baby."

Negatives: Of course you have to time your beer properly so that you aren't intoxicating your breast milk. That's easy enough though.

The Bottom Line: I've tried a few different dark beers, and the Sam Adams that I tried really made a difference. That was the first time I ever in my life pumped 6 oz. Other dark beers seem to help, but nothing like that Sam Adams.

Oatmeal. There is some debate as to what type of oatmeal is effective for increasing supply. I've heard that the Steel Cut Quaker Oatmeal does the trick, but it takes like 20 minutes to make. I've found time to make it once so far. Instant oatmeal is far easier.

Positives: I love oatmeal. I could eat it 3 times a day if I had to, so this one was easy.

Negatives: The steel cut, while delicious, takes forever to make.

The Bottom Line: I think it helps, and I have to eat anyway, so the oatmeal stays as a regular part of my diet.

Power Pumping. I've done this once, a few days after my supply dropped hard, and it made a difference. I think I need to dedicate an hour every weekend to power pumping to see if I can get any further increases.

Last Night's Episode of the Office

Yes, I'm going to talk about breastfeeding, just briefly. Last night's episode of The Office centered around the birth of Pam and Jim's baby, and it included some really great scenes about the struggles that breastfeeding moms face. From the baby's latch problems to the nurse pushing bottle feeding I had a lot of "been there, done that" moments during that episode. It was great to see a show that finally portrayed breastfeeding as a learning process, a struggle, and something that doesn't always happen as naturally as we've been led to believe it should be. I hope the show continues to follow Pam's struggles both as a new mom and a breastfeeding mom.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I have witnessed a miracle

Jack settled himself into a sleep routine very early in his young life. It isn't a good routine, but it is almost always like clockwork. A typical night has been:
11:00 p.m. Jack falls asleep in my arms. I tuck him into his Snuggle Nest and I get some sleep too.
2:30 a.m. Jack wakes up, hungry and fussy. I feed him and he falls asleep in my arms again. Efforts to put him back into his Snuggle Nest are completely in vain, so I hold him and rock him.
3:30 a.m. Jack is sufficiently asleep for me to return him to his Snuggle Nest.
4:00 a.m. Jack is awake and realizes he's no longer being held. Fussing commences. I pick him up and hold him.
4:30 a.m. Jack is asleep again. Until I place him into the Snuggle Nest. Then he opens one accusing little eye and winds up for a big, big cry.
5:00 a.m. I make coffee and turn on the morning news. My night is over.

And then, a miracle happened. More specifically, the Miracle Blanket happened. I purchased our Miracle Blanket when Jack was about four weeks old, but I didn't really use it much. The various flaps confounded me, and the fact that it bore more than a passing resemblance to an actual straight jacket disturbed me. When I've swaddled him with it, Jack has busted out of the swaddle within a few hours and with little effort. (Don't worry, I'm getting used to being outsmarted by my baby. My ego can take it). This week I decided to renew my efforts with the Miracle Blanket, but this time I brought in my secret weapon: Daddy, the Master Swaddler.

I love my husband for countless reasons. When we first met, I loved his genuine love of life, his ability to make me laugh, and the fact that he's a total hottie helped too. When we purchased our home, I loved his Mister Fixit skills and the pride that he took in our home. Now that we have a son together, I have grown to love the paternal adoration he has for his boy, but on a more practical note, I really love his mad swaddling skills. My husband can swaddle the baby with the speed of a ninja, one handed, upside-down and underwater while reciting the alphabet in German. With the Miracle Blanket, he is a swaddling force like no other. So last night, Jack experienced the Miracle Blanket, Daddy style.

And this is what I experienced:

11:00 p.m. A swaddled Jack hits the hay. He's actually asleep before Daddy can tuck the last tail into the swaddle. Wow. I'm sold. I may get a solid four hours of sleep tonight.
2:30 a.m. I wake up, apparently out of habit and Jack hasn't stirred. I make sure Jack is breathing, and he is. I tickle his nose until he reacts. He scrunches his nose and falls back to sleep. And so do I.
3:30 a.m. Awake again, I peer over the side of the Pack and Play. Eyes are closed, still breathing. I go back to sleep.
4:30 a.m. I wake up again. Okay, surely Jack is awake by now? Maybe he's playing quietly. Maybe I was so tired that I slept through his cries! No, he's still sleeping. This is...weird. Something must be wrong. I feel his forehead and he feels fine. Huh.
5:30 a.m. I wake up with a strong desire for a cup of coffee. Jack is still asleep. I'm not sure what to do with myself now, so I stare at the ceiling for awhile listening to Jack breathing.
6:15 a.m. I can't stand it anymore. I wake Jack up. I unwrap the swaddle and change his diaper as he slowly wakes. My baby is well rested and content.

Thank you, Miracle Blanket. I'm so ridiculously well-rested today. Tonight, we'll be watching the Miracle Blanket turn water into wine. I'm convinced this thing can do anything.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Son has Pink Things

My husband has made it clear that our son will grow up to be a manly man. He has visions of little Jack the lumberjack, chopping logs by age 3 and wearing Old Spice to Kindergarten. I'd never put my little man in a dress, but I also don't believe that baby boys need to wear blue every day until high school. A few little pink details have slipped in over the months.

Jack has a pink swing. I didn't realize the importance of a baby swing until Jack was four days old and I was exhausted from holding and rocking him around the clock. In my sleep-deprived stupor, I drove myself to Target to get him a swing. I knew that beggars couldn't be choosers, but sadly their selection left a lot to be desired, ranging from completely hideous to ridiculously pricey, except for one lovely little Boppy swing. It had all the features we wanted: variable swing speeds and music, and it was just the right size. was pink. With pink plush animals hanging from it. And a beautiful band of pink across the top. While more rested minds may have done differently, Mommy was tired so Jack has a pink swing.

Jack has one pink diaper. We cloth diaper part time (he's in disposables for overnights and for travel) and I purchased most of his diapers in lots of 3 or more. One of those lots contained a mix of colors, including one lovely pink diaper. He wears the pink one occasionally, usually when my patience is wearing thin. "You want to cry, honey? Fine. Cry in a pink diaper." These things keep me sane.

Jack has a pink Boppy pillow. My frugality was flaring when this happened. I saw a Boppy pillow on sale for a great price. Sorry, baby. Mommy's a cheapskate.

If Daddy ever gets more than 4 hours of sleep in a night again, he may notice all of this pink that has slipped into his manly son's life. For now though, Jack and his precious pink things are safe.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Gender Disappointment

I need to start this post out by saying that I did not experience one iota of gender disappointment when we found out we were having a boy. I knew that my husband so wanted a boy. He had visions of Boy Scouting, camping, hunting and fishing, and while he could have done all of that with a daughter (well, except Boy Scouting - I think they frown on that) it would not have been the same. His enthusiasm quickly became my own, and when we were told that our little bug was indeed a boy, we were elated.

That said, I am experiencing a lighter, more trivial form of gender disappointment that is entirely clothing related. Baby girl clothes are awesome. Baby girl accessories are even better. Baby boy clothes are, for the most part, pretty boring. Sure, we have the cowboy boots, the camo pants and the Oshkosh B'Gosh overalls, but beyond that the boy selections are limited to sports themed clothing and monkeys. Lots and lots of monkeys.

This disparity is never so clear as during the Easter holiday. Right now, the infant section at Target is bursting with beautiful, frilly Easter dresses in wonderful pastel colors, patent leather shoes, beautiful Easter hats, little fru-fru stockings - all kinds of eye candy for little girls. And four hideous sweater vest combos for boys. I counted them, there were four, each one uglier than the next. I'm talking 1970-called-and-wants-its-golf-pants-back ugly. At least two of the outfits, if put on an actual child, could have constituted good evidence of child abuse. I'm all for taking embarrassing photos of Jack to show his future girlfriends, but even I have to draw the line somewhere.

My husband has already forbid me from buying a frilly little Easter dress ensemble even if I promise I won't put it on our boy. Sigh. I never get to have any fun. Instead, I bought my little boy a gender neutral stocking cap with bunny ears. Apparently, that's as good as it gets for a little boy at Easter time.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wardrobe Change

I just took a look at the web cam and I see that my husband and my son are both wearing different outfits than they had on this morning.

That is never a good thing. Something catastrophically messy must have happened.

Weekly Miss/Won't Miss

Blog Note: About once a week I'm going to take the time to post a short list of things that I'll miss, and things I won't miss, about my son's current stage of development. Every age presents its own challenges, but today's challenges are tomorrow's fond memories, and I just don't want to miss a moment.

Jack is nine weeks old.

I'll miss the randomness of his smiles. In a few weeks he'll have a few words, a few faces or a few sounds that I know will trigger that gorgeous smile of his. But right now I'm not quite certain what will bring on his gummy little grin. Right now it feels like playing a little lottery - when I win, I get the sweet, sweet prize of a beautiful baby smile, but winning is far from a sure thing. I'll miss that.

I won't miss this in-between size that he is right now. He busts out of his newborn sized outfits like an angry Incredible Hulk, yet some of his 0-3 outfits are still oversized. I like my little man to be a sharp dresser, and this in-between period is making it difficult for him to look smooth.

Instant Messenger Saves my Sanity

It has been one full month since I returned to work after my all-to-brief maternity leave. My first day back was hard. I left the house, came back, left again, and came back one more time before I could finally say goodbye and head to work. They say it gets easier, and while I'm no longer finding excuses to run back in for one more goodbye, it is still hard to leave a little baby who is wide awake, smiling and so excited to see you.

My husband has come to the rescue on this by making my long work hours a little more acceptable. He uses the Yahoo Instant Messenger program in conjunction with his web camera so I can watch our son on the computer during the day. Instant Messenger is a free download, and a moderate quality web camera is inexpensive, so this setup is pretty attainable by anyone who has some freedom at work to utilize a chat/webcam setup. As I type this blog, Jack is lying on his gym mat batting happily at his plastic rings and cooing. It isn't nearly as rewarding as cooing back at him or snuggling his precious little baby neck, but it is a lot better than spending hour after hour wondering what my little boy is doing.

And I promise that once Jack is a little older I'll stop having this need to peek in on his life at all hours. But right now while he's still small a little bit of nosy mom love won't hurt anyone.