TLB Comic- How Was Your Day?

 

by Jennie Bernstein

Parenting how was your day mom and dad with baby

 

We love our babies and sometimes we love a shower in peace and quiet.

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The Purpose of Baby Shows and Parenting Conferences

by Jessica Martin-Weber
This post made possible by the generous sponsorship of The Baby Show.

When my first baby was born I was overwhelmed with the amount of information I needed to learn when it came to caring for my baby. Initially I thought it wouldn’t be too difficult but then I learned I had to be careful how I laid her down, that car seat installation should be checked by a professional (and that there are professionals for that!), that there was a right and wrong way to introduce foods, and that there were products that would help me parent but could potentially harm my baby so Jeremy and I agonized over picking out a bouncy seat, carrier, swing, stroller, and even crib sheets. Let alone how we were going to raise our child.

So when baby number two came along I was relieved I wouldn’t have that anxiety to deal with, I had figured everything out, right? Wrong. Recommendations had changed, even laws had been updated, and some of the products I had for my first I learned had been recalled! Not to mention the things it turns out I never knew and did “wrong” with my first. Then she was born and was such a completely different little person she hated the carrier that my first had loved, our breastfeeding journey was filled with challenges and I needed a better pump, her sleep needs completely upended what we thought we did and had us scrambling for a different solution beyond “more coffee.”

With the third I wondered what could be next and the only thing I was really confident about was that I only kind of knew what I was doing and that everything could be drastically different territory.  I needed a different way of figuring out my options depending on what was thrown my way.

Now, mom to 6 kids, I’ve learned that there are few silver bullet products out there (almost none) and lots of different favorites, nor is there one specific method that will make everything just so for parents. Every child, every parent, every situation is different. Sometimes we can’t get or do the “best” because the “best” changes depending on circumstances. The three most valuable acquisitions I’ve made for my parenting are information, community, and confidence. The last two of which can be very challenging to come by as a new parent.

For years I was uncomfortable with the idea of mom-targeted events. The idea of hanging out with a bunch of moms talking about pregnancy, birth, and parenting, just sounded kind of terrifying. I wasn’t sure how much there could possibly be to say on those matters and it sounded potentially very emotional, competitive, and expensive. But I was wrong. Though I shied away from such events for a long time, eventually I realized I needed to connect with other parents on the parenting journey and hear from those not only more experienced but also more informed as well as those just figuring things out along the way. Information within the context of community was so much easier to absorb, I discovered. Even better when that community was fun and a mix of people with different backgrounds, areas of interests, and access to various professional experts from health care to product functionality.

Which is why now I love events targeted at helping build community amongst parents with information sharing, education, and connecting with brands that prioritize education for parents to be confident in their decision making. As I’ve experienced and learned more of such events, I get excited when I see more and more parents having access to these opportunities. The online support community is incredible and needed but I can’t deny that there is something about being able to touch each other, get hands on help, hear the voices of those on a similar journey, and look into the eyes of someone that understands. Being in a room buzzing with people excited to grow for their children is a bit intoxicating, awakening the power we all already hold within ourselves as the right parents for our children.

Not all events are created equal and not all events are the right fit for every parent but venturing out into the unknown for a real live connection is worth the risk that it won’t be what you’re really looking for as part of your journey.  Even if you’re not sure, taking time to explore your options and figure out how to get to them can be energizing, the actual experience even revitalizing.

I talk often about different events happening in the States because that’s where I am but today I’m excited to share with you an event taking place in Toronto, Canada in just a week, September 27th and 28th.  The Baby Show, Toronto, brings together the parenting community, speakers and workshop teachers, and brands with products and services that support families focusing on the prenatal and baby and toddler stages of parenting.  We tried to work it out for me to be there this time but it’s just not able to happen so I’ve teamed up with The Baby Show to send SIX pairs of Toronto Leakies (value of $30 each prize) to the show to go and give me the scoop. I want to hear all about this event so grab your partner or a friend and head over there and let me know what you think. The Baby Show features workshops and seminars covering a range of topics from sleep, infant massage, prenatal yoga, starting solids, birth and beyond, breastfeeding, mommy baby dance workout, first aid basics for parents, and more as well as entertainment, contests, giveaways, and shopping.

For those that don’t win, there’s a discount code for Leakies as well for $3 off online tickets using the code: LB14

To be entered, use the widget below and for once, this giveaway is open to Canadian Leakies only! Please note that all winners will be responsible for their own transportation and the winners will be announced on Wednesday, September 24, 2014. Good luck!

The Baby Show Toronto, Canada

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Ergobaby Postpartum and Newborn care chat and giveaway

Ergobaby knows the importance of those first few days, weeks, and months with a new baby and that taking good care of mom is part of taking good care of baby.  That’s why they are sponsoring a live chat on The Leaky Boob Facebook page with postpartum doula and IBCLC Marcy Sauter.  That’s also why they are giving away some carriers and their new Ergobaby swaddlers (designed to allow freedom of movement while still providing a safe, snuggly swaddle), because supporting families from day one is what they’re all about.

Ergo mom cuddle

To check out our chat and the wealth of information and support shared there, check out these links:

Introduction

Preparing for the postpartum and newborn period

Postpartum depression and mom care with breastfeeding

Postpartum and newborn care with older children and family

Postpartum mom and newborn care in special circumstances

What postpartum physical changes moms found surprising

Baby care essentials

Crazy new mom

The importance of rest postpartum and societal support

Moving beyond the postpartum and newborn phase

 

To be entered into the giveaways, click on the widgets below:
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Help them help you- new baby sign with ways for visitors to help

Sugarbaby, minutes old. Photo by Debra Parker

For my last 2 babies, my midwife had a piece of paper she taped to my front door before she left after the birth.  Announcing to visitors that there was a new baby in the house, it shared birth facts such as weight, length, name, date, etc.  That part was nice but what I really loved was the part about what visitors could do.  Informing them that a new baby means help is needed and that their visit should be brief, this little piece of paper taped to my front door encouraged those that loved us and wanted to celebrate with us to keep their voices low, limit their time, understand if we needed to be alone, and give them ideas of how to help such as offering to do the dishes, sweep a floor, run the vacuum, or take the bigger kids to the park.  In short, it helped our visitors figure out how to be the best kind of visitors and I discovered that I didn’t mind having people stop by as much as I did with my older kids simply because they helped more and were more understanding of our needs.  Knowing they already saw a notice of sorts on the front door before they came in made it easier for me to respect my own boundaries, excusing myself to rest or not feeling awkward about them asking if they could help with something around the house.

There are far too many expectations on families when they have a new baby.  Respecting the postpartum recovery and the important bonding that needs to happen with the new family member sets up families to continue on well for the long haul.  If you’re breastfeeding, this time is crucial to establishing your breastfeeding relationship and focusing on that will have a long term pay off.  Pushing for too much too soon, other people interfering with the bonding, can leave moms feeling burnt out and unwell months, maybe even years later.  Having true support and help to take the time to really heal leads to endurance in the parenting journey.  That, and knowing we’re not alone along the way.

So my gift to you is my version of this life-saving piece of paper.  Ask your care provider to sign it complete with the appropriate initials behind their name then stick it on your front door when your little one arrives and leave it there for at least 6 weeks (8 if you birth via c-section).  Be a good friend and print it off to give others that are expecting for them to put on their front door.  Don’t hesitate to point out the note, referring to it by asking if they saw how much baby weighed or how long she was and if they didn’t notice, encourage them to go check out the info posted on the front door.  It can be hard to ask for help yet not allowing others to help ends up creating isolation and robbing others of the joy of offering support and encouragement by helping. This little bit of guidance can help not only the new mom and family but the friends and family that want to offer quality support but just aren’t sure what is needed.  Take the guess work out of the picture and everyone wins.

new baby help sign for front door

 new baby sign and help list for front door

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Gear up, baby!

I’m a simple kind of gal.  There is very little I feel we need for a new baby and then some things I want for a new baby.  Really it comes down to something for the pee/poop, boobs, and something to keep the newbie tied to me.  But there are somethings beyond that we get to help care for our newest little person.  Some are our basics, others make it easier, and still others are a luxury.  Most of this can be found at yard sales, thrift stores, craigslist, consignment shops, and hand-me-downs from friends, we rarely buy brand new. Everyone’s list will look a bit different, what works for one family won’t for another.  Here’s our breakdown.

Basics:

diapers- we cloth diaper, here’s what we find essential

  • snappis
  • prefolds, hand-me-downs and from Green Mountain Diapers
  • wool covers- mostly homemade hand knit or repurposed wool, some PUL covers from Thirsties (I ordered some new Duo Wraps from Lullaby Kisses)
  • detergent- trying Thirsties Super Wash this time, also ordered from Lullaby Kisses as well as Rockin’ Green.
  • cloth wipes- flannel squares work well as do baby wash cloths
  • diaper ointment- my babies always have sensitive skin, I love Motherlove Herbal’s Diaper Rash and Thrush, cloth diaper safe, works well, gentle on my babies’ sensitive skin, and you can’t beat these ingredients.  Oh, and a pot of it lasts forever!
  • Wetbags- dirty diapers need a designated spot.  Wetbags do the job without nasty pails of soaking diapers.  We have one big one (from Goodmama ages ago) and 2 medium ones for the diaper bag, and 1 small one to hold wipes, all WAHM ones. (Lullaby Kisses has a good selection of these too.)

clothes

  • 5 or so gowns- baby in a bag, easy for changing in the middle of the night
  • 5 or so footed PJs
  • 5+ t-shirts
  • dozen socks (because there is always one missing)
  • 3 hats (1 on their head, 1 in the laundry, 1 ready- because they somehow get poop on them)
  • 8 or so bottoms- most of ours are hand knits, have extras for poop accidents

sleep

  • Moses basket- typically a hand-me-down or borrowed, can be moved room to room or outside.
  • carrier- because they usually sleep on me or their daddy and with work and family I need to be able to multitask.  You really only need one versatile carrier.  We already have a Moby, my go-to carrier for a newborn (also available at Lullaby Kisses), a Beco, my go-to carrier for longer excursions when they are a bit bigger; a homemade mei-tai, and was recently gifted my first woven wrap (a Didymos– so pretty).  I lost my ring sling (that I’ve had for years!) and so I’m getting a new one from Paxbaby.com (they carry EVERYTHING and have great personalized service) because it’s my “fast” carrier.
  • baby blankets for light swaddling, warmth, and to throw down wherever baby ends up sleeping when not on mommy or daddy.

bath

  • water- breastmilk poop is water soluble, doesn’t even need a cleaning agent besides water.
  • bath tub- I usually bathe with my babies the first few weeks so I just hold them on my lap in the tub.
  • 2-3 wash clothes to gently scrub the neck folds.
  • 2 hooded towels, because they WILL poop on one leading to another bath and the need for another towel.

travel- leaving the house

  • Car seat- no exception.  I’ve never started with a convertible, always an infant car seat AKA bucket.  It stays in the car most of the time.  This time it’s the same Chicco we had with Smunchie and then we’ll be going to clek’s new Foonf when Sugarbaby is ready for a convertible and it will last us years.  It doesn’t have to be the best of the best or top of the line but a good seat with a high safety rating is an essential for our family.  This is one area where we see spending big dollars to be essential for ultimate safety, it’s not a luxury.  As a major yarn lover I’ve sold yarn in the past to be able to afford the kind of seat we could feel good about.
  • carrier- we don’t keep our babies in the bucket seats, they go from the car seat into a carrier.
  • bag for diapers
  • 2 wet bags- wipes and dirty diapers
  • 2 changes of clothes
  • thin blanket- to lay down for changes if need be.
  • top for mom- I’m going to leak and I want to be prepared just in case.
  • breast pads- I have a pair in my bra and a pair in my bag.  This is vital as I leak a lot.  I’ll be wearing Bamboobies most of the time and trying out Posh Pads for the first time.
  • burp cloths- spit up happens.  Whether it’s a diaper or a fancy boutique burp cloth, it’s essential to have something to clean up with.  We already have some special ones that were made for different babies along the way.

play time

  • blankets- all types: thick, thin, big, little, homemade, store bought, etc.  I like to have a nice stack of blankets for time on the floor, making a nest in a basket for time outside, for peek-a-boo, and for anything else that seems useful.
  • toy/lovey- no, they aren’t playing or interacting with these things yet but I have found one way to help older siblings respect the new baby and their space is to have something that is brand new for them, set apart as “theirs.”  Often my big girls pick out the item and often the item (sometimes items) actually do become the lovey object of choice.

feeding

  • my boobs
Nice to have

diapers- cloth

  • different styles- while the basic prefold is our workhorse diaper, it’s nice to have different styles.  We have some fitteds, a couple of pockets (LolliDoo’s eco pockets are great!), and an all-in-one.
  • cloth wipes, specifically for wiping up little bums, these are thicker than wash clothes.  Happy Heinys has some nice basic wipes you just throw in with your diaper laundry.

clothes

  • a few special pieces, just for the new baby, something I’ll save to give them for their children one day.
  • a couple of cute outfits they can poop on for you.
  • a few handmade/hand knitted/hand sewn items from me and other family member/friends.
  • extras of everything so I don’t have to do laundry as often.

Sleep

  • a special blanket designated as new for the baby, usually handmade.  My mom has a friend that loves to crochet blankets and so I pick out the yarn, my mom buys it, and this friend makes something beautiful with it.  I love this more than I can say.  It helps a lot too, everyone knows it’s the baby’s blanket, and it gives the new big sisters a way to help take care of the baby too.  Then, as the baby gets older, they love hearing about how it was made for them, why I picked the colors I did, and how it’s all their own.  These are treasures in our home.  But if you don’t have someone to make you a handmade blanket and won’t be making one yourself, I love these blankets from Sarah’s Silks and have quite a few friends whose children grow up loving their special soft blankets.  But since you don’t lay babies down with blankets anyway, these really aren’t for sleep in the first year, more like for cuddling to sleep.
  • cosleeper- we borrowed one of these from a friend with Squiggle Bug, loved it.  It was particularly nice when my hormones went crazy and I was having the night sweats.  We haven’t been able to budget for one since but it was really nice to have then.
  • I also think one of those moses basket stands would be nice to have though the cosleeper and the stand would be overkill.  Either one would be nice.
  • a variety of carriers.  Since I’m going to be wearing my baby more than I am anything else, it’s nice to have some options in carriers.  Like maybe something that will go with everything: a Girasol Rainbow wrap. (I might lust after that one.)

bath

Travel- leaving the house

  • diaper bag- something with lots of pockets and compartments and I really like to have a big one for longer outings with room for a carrier, and a small one for shorter outings.
  • stroller- I usually wear my babies, it’s true, but sometimes I like to put them in a stroller for various reasons (i.e. bra shopping while babywearing is a tad difficult) and sometimes it’s for nothing more than holding various paraphernalia including the diaper bag.  We’ve had the same stroller for ages, it’s falling apart so I’m hoping it makes it through one more baby before we trash it.  If not I’ll be checking out craigslist, thrift stores, and yard sales.

Play time

  • swing or bouncy seat- while we wear our babies most of the time, sometimes I have to set them down for my own sanity, shower, or just a change of pace for all of us.
  • play gym or activity bar- they can’t really do anything with it but throw down a blanket and put them on their back under that toy bar and I get enough time to cook up some bacon as they stare in wonder, particularly at the one with the mirror.  But my favorite thing?  How the older siblings get in on the action by talking to baby, jingling the toys dangling, and showing them how it all works.
  • a couple of natural wood rattles like this one, this one, this international breastfeeding symbol one, or the classic favorite Sofie.  These become heirlooms and fun to share.

Breastfeeding

  • as far as baby is concerned, nothing is nicer to have than boobies.

 

Luxury

diapers- cloth

  • some fun, fancy diapers in fun fancy prints or with embroidery.  There are so many brands out there, I just picked a few to try and bought the prints I liked.  We’ve had ours for years though and didn’t buy any for Sugarbaby this time.
  • pretty colors, super soft fabric, maybe even custom made… velour wipes are so pretty, clean up so well, and are quite the splurge.  Hazelbee Baby has a great selection in all the colors of the rainbow and then some.  Simply beautiful.

clothes

  • a line of clothing- picking a line from a company and getting a few pieces from that line.  I fell hard for some stuff from Zutano this time around and was so excited when it came up on Zulily.  Plus, this incredible company truly supports breastfeeding and has a breastfeeding/baby friendly work environment for the moms that work for them.  Beautiful clothes and an amazing company that supports a cause close to my heart?  Yes please!
  • special yarn that gets made into a special outfit.  Luxury for both me and baby plus it becomes a keepsake.
  • soft shoes- they don’t walk anywhere but they sure are cute!  Plus, they help keep those baby socks on that we’re losing otherwise.

sleep

  • I have long admired, though never been able to afford, a baby hammock like this one.  We cosleep but in a combination of room sharing and bed sharing and since we often still have company from our big kids in the middle of the night, I would love something like this for Sugarbaby.  This is definitely one of my luxury wish list items.
  • I’m big on blankets I’m noticing.  The last 3 of our babies (including Sugarbaby) have gotten a custom bamboo velour blanket from Zaichiki Baby.  We pick out the colors as a family and order them a toddler size blanket.  So they get the handmade crochet blanket and one bamboo blanket.  These become best sleeping buds as time goes by and let me tell you, the bamboo velour is divine.  This one is Smunchie’s and this one is Squiggle Bug’s.

bath

  • these and these– can you imagine?  We don’t have them but they sure seem nice!
  • hooded baby bathrobe/sack- someone gave us one of these when Earth Baby was born and I was surprised to discover I loved it.  Put her in it right out of the bath, zip it up, and snuggle!  One of the cutest things and it seemed to instantly calm her.  We’ve had it ever since, it’s a little worn looking these days.
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby Bundle of Suds and/or the Non-scents Head to Toe wash, and the Angel Baby Oil because baby massage is awesome.  I also really love all of Weleda’s baby products (and then some) and am so grateful we were given the Baby Starter Kit with an earlier baby and now a couple of Weleda products are on our wish list with our new babies.  (Pssst… they have a baby massage video on their site plus if you buy 2 baby products and use the code “BABYDOLL” at check out they’ll include a cute little free baby doll with your order!)
Travel- leaving the house
  • Ness Diaper Bag– because they’re gorgeous and incredibly well designed! (I want one, totally drooling over these bags.)
  • JuJu-Be Diaper Bag– because they’re fun!  This hip messenger style would probably be my pick.
  • I got to play with some luxury strollers at the ABC Expo this past fall and wow, I had no idea what I was missing.  Still way out of my price range but totally dreamy, I loved most of the ones I got to try.  Check out Phil and Teds, iCandy, and Bugaboo, if you’re in the market for a stroller that really does make your life easier.
Play time
  • Lambskin cuddle rug- I have wanted one of these for a long time and this past fall even figured out what brand I’d get if I could.  I love the short cut of the Lamby cuddle rug and this would be my choice to have to lay down for play times and sleepy time.  On my wishlist!
Breastfeeding
  • my boobs

 

As Sugarbaby is expected any day now I find myself checking to be sure everything is ready for having a new baby, even things I know won’t be used right away.  “Stuff” doesn’t make a home ready for a new baby but there is a lot of “stuff” that helps a family care for their new arrival including helping with the transition of adding a family member.  The tangible preparations can go a long way in helping with the mental and emotional preparations for a new baby.  Sugarbaby won’t be interested in playing with the new wood rattle waiting on the shelf in our room but every time I look at it I look forward a little bit more to my sweet babe being in my arms.  Coming up I’ll be sharing my lists for me and for the family because having a baby isn’t just about the baby, you have to take care of everyone.

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What does your list look like?  Basic, nice to have, and luxury, what would you put on your list of baby gear to have?

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