Friday, May 31, 2013

Emergency Babywearing

In light of the terrible and terrifying natural events taking place in OK, someone sent around an old but superinformative blog post about babywearing in emergency situations. It is short and sweet and has pictures for easy comprehension. I will be adding this article to my 'Babywearing' page.

Diaper Stripping

On the local cloth diaper swap and chat Facebook page that I admin, there is a lot of talk about how to strip diapers. To strip your diapers means to, essentially, sanitize them in a particular way in an effort to rid them of bacteria or yeast, etc. Honestly, I think it is the number 1 topic that comes up and I am so perplexed. I have cloth diapered for over 3 years now. I have only stripped my diapers ONCE because Lydia developed a yeast rash. Diaper stripping is not something to take lightly. It is a harsh procedure that can shorten the life of your CDs. Just because a diaper may smell funny or baby develops a rash it does not automatically mean that your diapers need to be stripped.

I am convinced that the majority of the time people's issues with their diapers have to do with their detergent or wash cycle. Their diapers simply are not clean enough. It is usually a matter of too much detergent, not enough detergent, the wrong kind of detergent, or a wash routine that is not thorough enough that is the culprit. This is always something that has bothered me. It makes cloth diaper seem so complicated and turns people off to it so I take it personally. Luckily for me, I do not have to do any research to convince you of this because someone else already did! I am so happy to be including this article in my Cloth Diapering page. I hope it will save many mothers from needless frustration.

Detergent is a hot topic, as well. I recently switched to the Allens Naturally powder. I am LOVING it! I was using my own DIY detergent and it was working well, at first, but then the diapers strated to get stinky. I beleive they were just not getting clean enough. Then I was using the Melaleuca liquid detergent that I was using on the rest of my clothes. However, I did not like how scented the diapers were when they came out of the wash. I always felt like it was not rinsing well enough and was probably too harsh for the diapers. Allens is really popular at luvaboos, so I thought I would give it a try. I prefer powder detergents because they tend to be gentler. I highly recommend the Allens. I know women who use it on all of their laundry, even. It is good stuff.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Birth, Babywearing, and Breatfeeding continued...

So onto another one of my favorite 'B' words (probably my favorite word of all time!): 'birth'. I recently discovered when I saw this article floating around many of the mindful mama groups I belong to. First of all, what a fantastic organization! It's mission is not unique, I know, but it's so important that it warrants repeating. What's sad is that it speaks to how badly the cause needs recognition that so many organizations are popping up and rallying for the SAME thing. Something needs to change but it's obviously not happening fast enough.

What I appreciated most about this article is that it is written better than any blog post I have written about the same topic. It's clear to me that this author is just as passionate as I but she has a gentler tone, which I'm sure is appreciated by a wider audience. She's saying the same thing as I am but probably reaching more people, and I am grateful for that. I admit that I let my emotions get in the way and color my words. I never want to come across as passionate but not COMpassionate and that canand does happen.

My birth experiences were so positive and had such a beautiful, positive impact on my life that I just want others to be able to share in and find their own joy that way. I believe that the vast majority of women are capable of that but have not been shown the way or given the tools and that makes me furious. I am furious with doctors and mainstream media, etc. who tell a woman how dangerous pregnancy and birth is and how delicate and weak she is when that is a lie. Do SOME women have complications? Obviously. But I believe, because research shows, that the number of women who have true complications who tuly need interventions is drastically less than the number of women who are made to feel like their pregnancies are complicated and are made to feel like their labors need medical interventions. THAT'S what gets me all fired up. Please know that I am rarely angry with my fellow mama.
In other news, I have discovered Melaleuca. My DIY cleaning products were starting to fail me. I live in an older home with older appliances and years of collected dirt and grime. I am disappointed but I just need something more. However, I don't trust the products in the big box stores, no matter how many flowers or trees are on the labels. Meanwhile, a very dear friend of mine discovered she has an allergy to formaldehyde - a chemical that is hidden in all sorts of American products under all sorts of different names. Truly, it is disturbing. It has also been banned in most European countries. The US is slow to ban because it is a cheap product and America has always valued American companies over American consumers. DH discovered this a couple years ago and that's why we don't use any Johnson and Johnson products on our children.
Anyway, in her search for cleaning and personal care items that do not contain formaldehyde, my friend was introduced to Melaleuca. Why I bring this up here is because Melaleuca prides itself in offering high-quality products with honest ingredients. I was first drawn to it for the cleaning products. They contain no bleach and don't even require safety caps because nobody will die if they are ingested. Not that they recommend that people go around purposely drinking from their bottles, but that is still impressive! The best part, for me, is that the products really work. I have been so pleased with the products that, at the risk of sound like an advertisement, I had to bring it up here. I feel like I have found a happy medium between trying to be as 'all-natural' as possible while still using something powerful enough to really get my home clean!
Full disclosure, I am not superexcited to be supporting a company run by Frank VanderSloot. He's a superconservative and a bajillionaire, two things I never admire in a person. There also can be a lot of pressure to sell the products yourself. It is set up on a Tupperware or Avon or PartyLite model where there are no brick and mortar stores but, rather, representatives who sell to individual people. They obviously get a bonus if they are able to sign-up other reps. Luckily for me, my rep is a good friend so she does not pressure me. I jsut want to buy buy buy. There is also a membership fee. Youa required to spend a certain amount of money on the products every month, which can appear daunting to people at first. But the prices are fair and, so far, I've only been buying thing I need, having never felt the pressure to have to buy things to meet my 'quota'. So it may not be for everyone, but it's definitely working for me.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Birth, Babywearing, and Breastfeeding

I am realizing that parenthood involves a lot of 'b' words. There are several articles I have come across during the past couple weeks that I have been dying to share and discuss with you all but, man, life has been hectic! Here is a rare, quiet moment when both kids are asleep and DH is not home so let's try to at least get this started, shall we?

First comes this amazingly and understandably controversial article called Every Parent Should Know the Scandalous History of Infant Formula. I know I have mentioned before on this blog, several times at least, about how my family does NOT purchase any Nestle products (or any of the brands that they own - found here). I usually just link to Wikipedia because those articles, while often containing some errors, are short and easy to comprehend. Let me be clear in saying that Wikipedia was NOT where I learned about the Nestle scandal. This Jill Krasny article is not new but it was new to me. I love the breakdown. It is not short, but certainly not that long and because of the format of her writing, it is comprehensible to the average person.

I know that the initial reaction to this, and articles like it, is a largely defensive response from mothers who formula feed. They get in line, one-by-one, to share their devastating stories of why they had to formula feed; each story more heartbreaking than the one before. However, I don't see an attack on mothers who formula feed here. I see an attack on the formula companies.

If and when women have to formula feed, hell even if they CHOOSE to formula feed, shouldn't we demand more for their babies? Should THEY be demanding more for their babies? Instead of getting defensive, shouldn't they be rallying and breaking down the doors of the Nestle corporation to demand better ingredients and more ethical practices from a company whose job is to help mothers and feed babies? I know I would be.

Now is not the time to debate formula feeding overall. I have made my stance on the issue clear, ad nauseam even. Today I am here to stand up for the FFing mamas. I am here to shout to the skies that their babies deserve a nutritious formula. I am here to demand that formula company giants stop putting cheap crap in there to earn an extra buck (on top of the millions they are already making). I want formula companies to be outed for the frauds they are. They are not selling "milk", they are selling a cheap chemical concoction. They are not supporting moms who cannot breastfeed, they are preying on moms whose deepest fear is that they will not be able to breastfeed. And I, for one, will not be party to it.

Everybody's up and screaming so this will have to be continued...

Monday, May 6, 2013

Prenatal and Postpartum Exercise

I have mentioned before about the incredible women I am meeting through Rochester Area Birth Network. Colleen Flaherty ranks high among them. This is exactly the kind of forward-thinking, high-energy youth that Rochester needs to keep this city progressive and keep labor and birth here natural and low-risk. Anyone who has met her knows that the future holds great things in store for Colleen. At just 26 years old, she has recently started a business focused on prenatal and postpartum health and fitness. What an awesome resource for women in our area!

What is the name of your company and what is its philosophy?

Baby Bump Academy

Every woman deserves the opportunity to be her strongest self.

Where is BBA located?

Currently, I train in Physikos in Village Gate Square.
(302 North Goodman Street, Rochester, New York 14607)

How did you get the idea to start this company?

I thought it was cool to see a pregnant woman 8,9 months pregnant in the gym with their big bellies waddling around lifting weights. Granted, it was a very rare occasion. So I researched it. And I was hooked. I've always been obsessed with learning how things work. I just question everything. So when I learned that the human body is able to grow another human and train at the same time it was like a light bulb. I knew not many women exercised during pregnancy and I knew how I felt being an avid gym junkie and athlete; I made it my mission to inspire women to feel fabulous at any stage. Being in the weight room since I was a teenager has given me so much confidence. Looking back, I've learned a lot about society and stigmas being one of a couple girls in a male dominated arena. No wonder more women weren't training during pregnancy. It wasn't a 'normal' thing to workout in the first place! I'm not one to go with the flow. As soon as I saw there was no one in Rochester supporting pregnant women, Baby Bump Academy was conceived. (pun intended)

What kind of training have you yourself received?

I am a AFPA Certified Prenatal Exercise Specialist, a NSCA Certified Personal Trainer, a NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, and a NYSW Certified Soccer Coach.

Why is health and fitness so important to you, personally?

When I was younger, probably because I had to be the best. I played soccer. I was fast. I was coachable. I was good. And I always wanted to be better. That work ethic is part of me and it showed in athletics. So when I tore both my ACLs in high school - I went to a dark place. It took me a while to figure out how I could be the best without being an athlete. As I've aged, training is something I can always go back to and I know how it's going to make me feel. It's going to make me feel like Super Woman! It's going to make me more alert, energized, and sexy. It feels incredible! It's addicting because our bodies naturally crave movement to thrive that's why you feel SO GOOD when you do it. Your body is saying, "ooooh, that's the stuff!"

What makes your company unique?

BBA is the only business in Rochester focused on purposeful movement and nutrition of women before, during, and after pregnancy.

What need does your company fulfill in our community?

Sure, there are prenatal yoga classes and birth classes, but there aren't birth strength classes anywhere in Rochester. The need is so great! What about women after birth? Where are the post-birth classes? BBA trains women in every stage. As a woman, I feel a draw to empower other women to be their strongest self. We all deserve it. We selflessly do so much for others - we need this one thing for us. Exercising, I call it 'training', is more than just iron and machines in a weight room with sweaty dudes. As hot as that sounds, every workout is an accomplishment. You just tortured your body to make it better. You challenged your mind to be quicker and more coordinated. There is so so much more to training then just looking good naked. That's just the result! It's about the pride after a great session. It's about growth and adaptation. It's about being a better person for yourself so you can be there for your family.

What makes you so passionate about the health and wellness of pregnant women?

Oh man, I could literally talk about this topic endlessly. I began BBA as a business move, finding a niche that no one else was capitalizing on. But when I joined Rochester Area Birth Network, met so many inspiring birth professionals, and mothers, my job became more clear. I was and am still like, "holy wow, I was meant to be in this role". Every day there is this fire that grows inside me to advocate for my fellow woman. There is so much going on in the world of birth; politics, education, resources, emotions; I am driven to help women FEEL strong and ready to take on anything. Cassie, a registered dietician, works along side me to provide women nutritional guidance because adapting a healthy lifestyle starts with what you put in your body.

How do you plan on connecting with your pregnant clients even though you yourself have never been pregnant?
Great question. And honestly a fact that I fear the most. It's a disadvantage. It's something that I don't want women to hold against me but I definitely acknowledge that it could be a deal breaker. Everyone is entitled to feel safe and connected to a professional they are seeking guidance from. At the same time, a lot of women seek the support of professionals that haven't gone through what they're going through; a male OB/GYN or wedding planner who's never been married, for example. I know the human body. I know a pregnant human body. I know women. As with any professional, my knowledge will grow with my experience and I hope the good things people say about training will be enough to convince women they should give me a shot.

What can a woman expect when she comes to one of your classes?

To be sore the next day. In a good way obviously! To answer the question another way - one on ones and group classes run pretty much the same way except in private sessions women get the added benefit of asking me all their questions, I can watch their technique more closely, we build a respectful relationship more quickly, and the workout is created for her needs. I like interchanging circuit training with timed rounds, mini sets, long sets, certain equipment, & more!

Describe your instruction style in three words:

1. fun
2. interactive
3. educational

What's the difference between a woman exercising at home by following a video and a woman coming to the BBA to exercise?

It's a million dollar business selling pregnancy workout DVDs and magazines. Those DVDs are for women who can hold themselves accountable AND know what they're doing. This is the second most important reason as to why I created BBA. I want to be the real life, 3D person women can come to. Women band together in joint efforts and companionship. We go to the bathroom in groups! I want to hug them, welcome them into a safe training space they can call their own, talk with them, answer all their questions, and support them in any way I can. Can a DVD do that for you?

What do you think is the number one reason that women put fitness on the back burner?

#1: Selflessness
#2: Education
Women do so much for other people that we forget to put ourselves first. A lot of women are uneducated or misinformed when it comes to how they should be moving their bodies. More so when it comes to working out during pregnancy and postpartum.

If you could give only one piece of advice to pregnant women about keeping fit during her pregnancy, what would it be and why?
Never underestimate the power of your breath. It will help you through resistance. It will calm you. It will play a huge role during your birth. Practice belly breathing - it will help keep your core strong. 

Any last words?
Women need to stop being afraid or hesitant to invest in themselves. Starting something new is scary. But when we're uncomfortable, changes happen. Everyone finds time to watch TV or get drinks with a friend. Everyone spends money on a new phone or slimmer TV. Only a few invest the time and money into bettering the ONE body they will have forever. Every woman deserves to feel unstoppable. Every baby deserves a healthy womb to grow in. Every kid deserves a mom that can hug, and jump, and run around the yard.
You can really feel her passion. And let me tell you, this is actually what it is like to speak with Colleen. She truly believes in this mission. What a gift to have felt such a calling so young. I encourage all moms and moms-to-be to check out what the Baby Bump Academy has to offer!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

what's going on?

Here are some odds and ends about what's going on with me these days:

1. I am officially a (provisional) Bradley teacher. Here's the proof:
Now is the hard part. Now I sit and wait for a lovely couple to contact me about attending my class. If they don't...well, it happens. I just keep moving the date back until it strikes someone's fancy. I'm sure I could work harder at self-promoting but I am just so overwhelmed. When we were pregnant with Lydia, I had heard about the Bradley Method from a cousin. I looked it up online and found a teacher in my area who was holding classes on a day that worked for us. That was it. Nothing poetic about that. I thought, and another Bradley teacher agreed, that holding a Saturday morning class would fulfill a unique need in the community, since classes are generally held in the late evenings. I know that, as a pregnant woman, it was completely exhausting to go to work all day and then go to a two-hour class once a week afterwards. It complete worth it, obviously, but I was so tired! I hope that a Saturday morning class will appeal to some people the way it appeals to me.

2. I would like to get a DBA. As a Bradley teacher, I am also technically certified as a Doula. However, Rochester has a HUGE doula community, particularly relative to its size. I would LOVE to participate in the births of my students' little ones but I recognize that others before me have paid their dues and will be more skilled. However, I would like to offer some other birth services. For example, another veteran Bradley teacher in the area is an expert in prenatal nutrition. She gives talks, writes papers, etc. on the subject. I think that is awesome! I think I would like to investigate baby nutrition - particularly in the realm of extended BFing and BLW. I could write some articles and maybe set up a class at luvaboos!

3. That being said, I need to think of a clever business name! Jeff says simple is best. However, all of the other birth services businesses around here have these lovely, romantic, peaceful names. I have to think of a way to stand out or, at least, join ranks. Jeff keeps suggesting sweet but silly names, which is not the flavor I am going for. We shall see. I want to make a Facebook page and, more importantly, an email address so I can keep all of my Bradley business separate and safe from other emails.

4. Elliott and I are still going strong nursing at almost 1 year now! I asked at my LLL meeting about what toddler nursing looks like. They had me borrow a very helpful book called Mothering Your Nursing Toddler. Sure, the cover art is outdated but the information is proving to be very relevant. It has given me a lot to think about it, some things I had never even considered! I feel very empowered.

5. Elliott is a signing fool! He signs 'milk', 'eat', 'all done', 'doggy', 'kitty', 'ball', 'mommy', 'daddy', and 'shoes' so far. He is also trying to talk! It is so cute! I cannot believe that my baby will be 1 in a few short weeks! We are also SO unprepared for his upcoming party. Hoepfully we'll be able to pull this off!

6. Lydia is becoming wuite the little lady. We went for a walk last night and she made the choice to WALK the whole time! We had the wagon (which Elliott was riding in) but she walked independently the whole time. It was just like you see in the movies. She alternated holding my hand and her Daddy's hand, she touched every bush/flower/tree/living thing we passed, she alternated between walking, running, hopping. It was so precious.

Babywearin' on the Farm - We had a fun Sunday at a good friend's uncle's farm. Elliott loved all of the "kitties" and Lydia got to feed a baby goat with a bottle and collect some chicken eggs!