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Pregnancy

Meals

So most of us when we bring a baby home feel like we have our hands pretty full just with baby feeding the baby, changing the baby, etc. so the last thing we want to think about is feeding ourselves or our families. When we moved to Nashville and had our second child Tia one of the ladies at the church organized wonderful meals for us.  So about 3 times a week someone from church would drop off dinner and we would get to rest and enjoy.

As a new Mom often you have people who are close to you who ask if there is anything they can do to help as the baby approaches, this is one of those things. If you know your friend to be organized ask them if they would mind helping to organize for meals to be brought for the first 6-8 weeks after the baby arrives.

When I am organizing meals for others I use a website called www.TakeThemaMeal.com. This website is remarkably easy to use and it allows for those people who do want to be involved to sign up and then Takethemameal.com sends them reminders and updates for you. So for the most part the work is at the front end for the organizer. Typically I will send the Mom-to-be and email that looks like this so I can get all the information I need:


Hi ________,

I would love to organize for you to have food provided for you and your family for the first month or two after the birth of your child.In order for this to be effective and a blessings I am wondering if you would mind giving me some information to help in organizing these meals?

Do you have the email addresses of family and friends that might be interested in providing a meal? These might be cell/small group people, church people, friends, family, work associates or anyone else you can think of.

Can you tell me if you or your family have any food allergies, preferences or favorite things to eat.

Are you expecting family to come and stay for any extended period of time after the baby arrives and do you know the dates? This information just allows for those bringing the meals to plan for any extra adults that might be there for the meal.

Can you put together a short list of 3-5 restaurants where people can do pick up orders for those that are less confident cooking or have less time but would still like to bless you with meals. Typical restaurants that people use are either ones close to their house or chains like Chipotle, Five guys, Burger Up, Blue Coast, Wendy’s etc.

Typically after the first week or two depending on the amount of people able to participate I plan for meals to come every other day as there tend to be lots of left overs and people typically don’t have room for all the food.

Lastly, Can you give me your address for the meals to be dropped off at and any gate or door codes that might be needed. I also need a drop of window of time that you would prefer to receive the meals to ensure they are there by the time your family prefers to eat as much as possible.

If you have any questions or thoughts please go ahead and shoot me an email.We are so excited to bless you during this time.

Blessings,

_________

Then when I have the email addresses back I start to plan.  For the first baby I usually ask for people to start signing up for dates on or up to a week after the due date with the provision that if they have not heard that the baby has arrived then they let their arranged meal date pass and go on-line and pick a new one or two.

Your email out to those who are being asked to participate will need to include the address of the mom-to-be and a drop off window. Some people like to eat earlier then others so it's good to have that information from the start. You will also want to neatly communicate the food restriction and preferences info and to go order info that you got from the mom. Point form stuff that is simple and easy to read is usually better as far as not overwhelming those people you are asking to sign up. Through the website you can send reminder emails to those who don't seem to have resounded or if you have their cell numbers shoot them a text and ask them to check their junk mail for an email regarding an opportunity to bless _______. 

The first 6-8 weeks are the hardest interns of recovery, sleep and figuring things out which is part of why this is such a HUGE blessing.

Takethemameal.com

Getting Ready

I don’t know how you like to greet life but I like to have a plan.  Life is busy and being as prepared as possible is the goal.  So there are some things you can do to get ready that will make baby’s arrival a little less bumpy! Here are some thoughts:

You want to have lots of diapers and wipes! Newborns go through 10 diapers a day on average. I have been told that Huggies work best for girls and pampers for boys but I haven’t noticed a huge difference although they do fit differently.  Huggies tend to last a little longer in each size because they seems a little wider around the waste. I like Huggies and I never had any trouble with leaks. They also have a new “pure and natural” line that is made with organic cotton and hypoallergenic. Seventh generation also makes a diaper that has no chlorine, petroleum based lotions or latex in it.  I don’t know if they work as well as I only bought them once but they seemed fine.  I would say you want to buy them on amazon as they are more expensive. As far as wipes I think Huggies wipes work the best.

I call them onesies but most people call then bodysuits.  If your baby is due in the fall or winter you will likely use them everyday and go through quite a few a day as babies often have diaper blow outs or drool issues that make changing them often in the day a necessity. On average in any size (especially in colder months) you want to have 10 for under 6 months and then more like 5 from there per size.

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How about baby blankets? How many do you need? Well it depends on what you use them for! I usually have a couple in my diaper bag as I use them for burp clothes, laying down t change the baby on anything other then the changing table, occasionally covering them up in a car seat with them and swaddling them. There are cotton ones that are fairly cheap and come in three packs and that’s what I typically use for the burp, change, spit up scenarios but for wrapping, swaddling or a little extra warmth I like the muslin ones as they are more breathable and typically bigger which makes it easier to get a tight wrap. So how many do you need? I would say about 10.  You will lielly mass up 3 to 4 a day so as long as you are doing laundry at least every other day you should be fine.  If you don’t plan to do laundry that often then double the amount of onesies and blankets:-)

So let’s talk laundry! Your skin and your babies skin is the largest organ on your body. Our skin absorbs not only the things we put on it like creams and lotions but also the toxins in our detergents and fabric softners that are in our clothes after each wash. Many of the baby friendly products out there have just as many toxins in them as the regular ones. And while I certainly don’t want you to live in fear of toxins as a mom one of the best things you can do is to cut down the amount of toxins that are in your environment.

Currently the largest contributors to toxins in your home are

  1. Your dishwasher (both the stream full of toxic chemicals that it pumps into the air, and the residue of cleansers left on our dishes that we then ingest)
  2. Your laundry detergents and
  3. Our household cleaners. 

When I first started using non toxic cleaners in my home and laundry I tried all different kinds and wasn’t happy with many of them.  I then found the brand that I use now for all of it and that is Shaklee.  Shaklee is a multi-level marketing company that I do not work for, or get any financial gain from on purpose so I can freely recommend their products without ulterior motives. Shaklee is a company that not only is concerned about clean packaging and the environment but with almost all of their household cleansers if one of my girls were for some reason drink it, I wouldn’t need to be worried as they are non-toxic but they really work! The Laundry detergent and fabric softener or dryer sheets are also great! Here is a link to their sight and the products that I recommend.  They have a package where you can basically turn your house non-toxic over-night and then just refill products as needed. We bought this package 3 years ago and still have not had to buy more of the basic G as it lasts that long!

www.healthyoates.myshaklee.com

Look at the get clean products and laundry products under “Healthy Home”.

Getting Comfortable

Well I don’t know about you but as soon as the bump starts to show I tend to get a little un-comfortable while I’m trying to sleep. If you are a front sleeper, you won’t be for long while pregnant, and back sleeping isn’t recommended either.  The reason they say you shouldn’t sleep on your back, especially as you get into the second and third trimester is basically that the pressure of the weight of your womb then rest on your spine and intestines and other organs which lessons circulation (effecting the placenta and baby) and can also contribute to getting nasty things you don’t want known as hemorrhoids.

So you guessed it! Side sleeping is in your future if you haven’t started already! It is recommended that you try to sleep on your left side as much as possible.  Obviously it’s unlikely you will stay in one position all night and so transferring from side to side is fine but try and spend more time on your left side if possible! So why the left? It gives you increased circulation to the placenta and baby and therefore nutrients as well, its the best position to enable your kidneys to flush waste and therefore decrease swelling and well it’s just plain sexy to be a side sleeper! So with all of that in mind I have two of my favorite pregnancy items to introduce you to. 

This is the snoogle! Its the worlds best body pillow.  It’s curves to become your pillow and he top and the pillow that fits between your legs at the bottom. This helps you maintain a supported sleeping position on your side and help you get comfortable and stay comfortable throughout pregnancy. Alyn and I usually have to enter into negotiations as to how many weeks after giving birth the pillow then has to be put away because it’s so stinking comfortable I always want to keep it! I’m aiming for 10 years after this one!

You can buy a snoogle on-line, or at Target, babies r us and Motherhood maternity.  They average in price between 65-68 dollars.

This other little pillow is a “my brest friend pregnancy wedge” and as you hit 20 weeks you may want to (depending on the size of the bump) get this handy fellow! Certainly as you get bigger it’s just a nice support for laying on your side and taking the pressure of your back.

You can buy this on-line as well or at USA baby.

More stuff that I love...

Let’s talk car seats! My vote is for the Peg-Perego Primo Viaggio car seat.  Now this is for a couple of reasons:

  1. The car seat itself is one of the lighter ones you can get.
  2. It has side impact and more protection then most other infant car seats.
  3. The base that sits in your car is MUCH smaller then any other brand and it’s easy to get in and out of the base. 

The size of the base particularly matters if you are driving a regular sedan and not a mini van or SUV but it also means that if your bench seat normally fits three it still will. It does come as part of a “travel system” (with a stroller is essentially all that means) and I will chat about the stroller when we get to strollers.  

If you want to check it out click here: http://us.pegperego.com/babyproducts-catalog/2012/Primo+Viaggio+SIP+30_30

Ok let’s talk strollers! The stroller that goes with the Peg-Perego car seat we used for many years.  Because we travelled so much we wanted one that folded easily, was tough (because it got thrown on and off planes) and wiped up well.  The Pliko P3 served us well and survived planes, trains and automobiles well.  We didn’t move to the next stroller I will tell you about until we had Tia and therefore wanted a double stroller.

Here is a link to the Pliko 4 which they just replaced the P3 with:

http://us.pegperego.com/babyproducts-catalog/2012/Pliko+Four

OK so here is my current favorite stroller! It’s made by Phil & Ted’s which is based in New Zealand and builds incredible quality stuff! All but one of their strollers have a single wheel at the front and the wheels are much bigger. Both of those features make it easier to push especially on non-paved surfaces. The stroller that we got was called the Dash and they still sell it but they also have newer ones! Now I’ll warn you that these strollers are more expensive but you get what you pay for and it will make it through all your kids. Our Dash is three years old and has travelled quite a bit and still looks brand new. It’s easy to fold and you can choose where you want to have the second seat (for a second child) with you or not depending on the days adventure! We took this stroller to Disney and Tia didn’t miss a single nap during the day as it folds down flat with little light getting through to wear she was, and Abi still had a seat she could see from! We love this stroller. We purchased the travel bag for flights to protect it and it works really well. I’ll attach a few pictures to give you an idea of what it can do and also a link! They have some smaller one now as well which are even more compact and you can wait until #2 is on the way before you buy the additional seat if you want to!

http://philandteds.com/us/products/push

A Few of my Favorite Things

My Breastfriend - breastfeeding pillow. This feeding pillow rocks. I had something similar to a Boppy with Abi and because it was rounded and also continuously pulled away from my body it constantly needed to be adjusted.  The difference with My Breastfriend is that it not only has back support but it also has a belt that is adjustable and clip to the front of the pillow so it never moves away from your body.  It also has a flat soft surface that the baby lays on that help him or her stay in a perfect feeding position. The cover is also removable and machine washable which is great.

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The Medela Breast Pump. Again with Abi I had a different pump and it wasn’t great. Pumping took an age and the pump actually damaged my nipples (ripped them in fact) quite badly.  The lactation consultant recommended the Medela and I borrowed one from a friend.  It was awesome and you can get it with different “breastshield” sizes as not everyone has the same size nipples! This particular electric breast pump comes in a back back and is quite compact.  It can run on batteries or be plugged in and works like a charm.  Little tip for you: With any breast pump if you put a little coconut oil on the inside on the breastshield or cup that fits against your breast (Especially where it transitions from being wide and flat to a tube) it minimizes the pulling in the nipple tissue and lessons or eliminates the risk of damaging that tissue. Also coconut oil is anti bacterial and anti fungal and will not do any harm should any of the oil make it into the milk.

The Summer Infant Best View handheld color video monitor.  You do not technically need a video monitor I just prefer them.  There is something comforting about being able to check in and see that little sleeping face and know everything is OK. It is also helpful when baby start doing things like rolling over or might have escaped it’s swaddle and is cold to be able to quickly access the needs of the baby without disturbing it. It’s also really helpful as they get older to be able to look in without going in the room and see what they are up to in the crib!!! In addition the handheld unit can redirect the camera on the fly so if you have a mover or a shaker you can follow him/her around the crib. You can also zoom in!

Grobag - These sleep sacks are the best. They come in several different weights (in terms of warmth) and from newborn to 6 years old if you can believe that! Newborn babies love to be swaddled and usually tightly but when they transition out of wanting to be swaddled into wanting a little kicking freedom these bags are great for knowing that your baby will stay warm and comfortable!

On Becoming Babywise

When we were expecting Abigail I started paying attention to the kids of my friends and family and how things seemed to be going for them.  I found the moms who seemed to enjoy being a mom were less stressed, their kids were a pleasure to be around, and life just seemed more at peace for them. When I asked them for mommying advice, without fail, every single mom said "Babywise! Read it and do it." So I did. I read it, followed it, and it worked great for us.  Now, having said that, Alyn and I are both left-brained, scheduled types so it really appealed to us. We asked the grandparents to read it so they understood what we were trying to achieve when they visited and we stuck to it like glue.  For us, it worked great! We travelled the world with Abi and with Tia (to a lesser extent) and were able to easily switch them into new time zones with sometimes more than a 12 hour difference. 

My advice is to read the book through at least twice before they baby arrives and then download the cheat sheets I have posted on this site to help with quick reference.  The reason I say read it at least twice is because for any new adventure that is going to make your whole world different it's wise to know what you are trying to do and why.  That's why it's so important that, in the tough moments of parenting (and there will be some)  you don't loose focus or give up. You and your spouse both need to do this and agree to do it because, that way, you can support one another in moments of weakness and you are headed in a direction together with knowledge of the goal and the prize.

As with any book or program there are contrary opinions on what is good for a baby and what program is the best. I have observed many people who were into demand feeding and Dr Sears but it just didn't appeal to me, and many (not all) of the families I observed doing demand feeding seemed to struggle a lot more than the Babywise families and got a lot less sleep! Did I mention I both like to sleep and need it?  My cousin's four girls began sleeping through the night (7-8 hours) by 7-9 weeks. My girls were both premature (one by 5.5 weeks and one just under 4) and they managed to start the longer sleeps of 7 to 8 hours by 9 weeks.

My girls are now 5 and 3 years old. We can take them anywhere, to any restaurant, and not worry abut bad behavior.  They are both very cuddly, well adjusted, know they are loved, and rarely fight.  I honestly think a lot of it came from starting them off with Babywise.  Babywise babies never learn to run the home, they are part of a family.  They don't dictate the schedule or cry to get their own way because that behavior is never rewarded. When you do Babywise and read the book  thoroughly you learn the difference between a hungry cry, a tired cry, a frustrated cry or just a cry because babies cry! (They are supposed to cry incidentally... it's how God designed their lungs to strengthen!) I have also never seen a Babywise baby that ever had colic which in itself is enough of a reason to do it! So, yes, I am obviously a big fan and yes we will be doing Babywise with our son.