'Mastering' Motherhood...Natural Urban Mama Style.

There are some things that as a parent I am not sure I could have lived without.

Ok, well I probably could have lived without them, but it would have been a much more difficult journey into parenthood.

I thought I would share them with you...

Cloth Diapers.

What?

Yes, you read that right. Cloth diapering. This was not something that I considered at first with my son, but after talking with a few other mamas and experiencing a few not so pleasant disposable diaper 'blow-outs', we made the plunge. We went slowly at first and used a local diaper service to make it an easy transition for all of us, but eventually I started buying diapers of our own and by the time the Lil' Princess was born we were ready to go full-time all on our own.

I did a lot of 'market research' (read 'spent a lot of money')to find the perfect cloth diapering system for us and through trial and error found the ones that I think are not only the best on the market today, but also allow you to cloth diaper in the most economic way possible.

We used the Annie Marie Padorie (AMP) diapers and your basic unbleached cotton prefolds or bamboo trifolds for inserts. I was able to use these diapers successfully for both of our kids and then pass them on to my sister for her baby too!

Cloth diapering made our lives easier for a few different reasons. It eliminated my 'I just need diapers, so how did I just spend $150.oo?" trips to Walmart or Superstore on a weekly basis AND it made the decision to start doing some elimination communication that much easier as well. And the ultimate pay-off...

.....both of my kids were COMPLETELY potty learn-ed by 26 and 27 months respectively! SCORE!!

Baltic Amber

This magical tree resin has been a god-send in our house. Both my kids and have worn amber necklaces for most of their little lives and have benefited from the natural analgesic effects of these wonderful beads.  My son was a very late teether (his first tooth did not show up until he was almost 11 months old), but when his pearly whites did start to come in, they did so in groups of 3 or 4 at a time! THIS was not fun for any of us and I am not sure how we would have gotten any sleep at all without the help of his amber necklace. And bonus, he was the kid that really did not need anything more than the necklace to deal with his teething pain/drool/diaper rash. My daughter on the other hand did not have a good go with teething. We doubled up on her necklaces early on with her and I don't even want to imagine what our teething nights would have been without them!

I personally wear amber necklaces and bracelets to alleviate some of the pain and inflammation from my rheumatoid arthritis and lately, I have been wearing them on a more regular basis and I have really noticed the difference. Plus I really like the way they look too!

Nursing Tops

I have been breastfeeding since December of 2006. I have done it (and still do) whenever and wherever my children have needed too. Over the years I have found that the best way to do so comfortably and discreetly is by wearing functional and fashionable nursing wear. The good thing is that manufacturers and designers are now tapping into this growing market of modern breastfeeding mamas. Gone are the days of the MuuMuu looking tops and unflattering floral print disasters that once where our only choices in nursing wear.

My favourite go-to brands are the Canadian ones of course and [bis.kot] and Momzelle have both created maternity/nursing tops that are truly flattering to moms of all shapes and sizes. The tops from Boob, a Swedish company, are also on my top three list of awesome nursing wear and you really can't go wrong with the quality or comfort of any of these products!

Now the top only gets you so far and some good nursing undergarments are a must for any new mom. Nursing tank tops are a given and I highly recommend at least a couple of these in your wardrobe. And please, please, PLEASE invest in a couple of decent nursing bras. I can't say enough about a couple of top notch brands including the Bella Materna* line of nursing bras and my ultimate favourite, the Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra.

(*Bella Materna available at Bellies in Spruce Grove)

Nursing Necklaces

And continuing in the nursing vein, the other product that I am so glad to have found are Mommy Necklaces®. These necklaces are a favourite because I love fashion with a function. Nurslings can be a very distractable group and they tend to like to DO something with their hands while nursing. Most often this involves some combination of pinching, scratching, hair pulling and "twiddling".  My daughter was (and still is) a hair puller and wearing my necklaces gave her something else to do with her hands and gave me something NICE and pretty to wear without ruining my 'good' jewelry.  These are also a great gift for a new mom and a lovely pick-me-up for anyone needing a little something something to accessorize motherhood a bit!

Babywearing

This is kind of a given right? Babywearing started out as a life sustaining practice with our teeny tiny baby boy in the NICU and quickly became a way of life for us, an integral part of our parenting and the foundation for my business. I am not sure what else to say that I have not said before about babywearing. It is such a part of our day to day lives that I really, honestly don't know how I could have survived this long without it!

 

Breastfeeding and La Leche League

Who knew that my boobs could do so much? They nourish, they fix booboos, they cure boredom, they provide liquid love, they soothe hurt feelings, they send babies off to dreamland, and the milk they produce is often only thing a sick baby can keep down. They can feed two babies at once and sometimes they can feed another mama's baby too. I am not giong to lie..., my breasts are forever changed and breastfeeding has forever changed me as a mother and as a woman. I owe a lot of my confidence as a mama and breastfeeding advocate to my La Leche League leaders and the other amazing mamas that I met at my local LLL meeting. I would highly recommend that all mothers attend an LLL meeting both before baby arrives and again and often afterwards. The words of wisdom and support that you get from La Leche League leaders and the other moms goes a long way to keeping your spirits up and your breastfeeding efforts going, especially when things get tough and all you can think of is giving up! (Please don't give up.)

So there you have it everyone, my list of must haves for motherhood. The things that have kept me sane (or as close to it as possible!!) and made the journey a little less bumpy and a lot more enjoyable.

'Cause it's supposed to be fun too you know!

Cheers Everyone!

Natasha~

{Disclaimer: I have not received compensation in any form for the products and companies mentioned above.}

Birth Experience. Maybe. Cheering Squad. Definitely!

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival! This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about how birth experiences influence breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


I have been thinking about this post a lot for the past day or so. Beyond just my own birth experiences  (which by the way were like night and day and you can read all about them here) to birthing in general and how we put a lot of emphasis on HOW we birth our children and how this affects our breastfeeding relationships.

I won't go into a whole lot of details, but suffice it to day that, YES, there are many factors during childbirth that can hinder the beginnings of breastfeeding. The most common culprits being, medications, induction, use of forceps and vacuum extraction, cesarean section, early separation of mom and newborn, suctioning, bathing,and premature births. But that being said, there are plenty of mothers who have had one or more of the above interventions and then gone on to have very successful breastfeeding relationships. So, is there really a guaranteed way to make sure breastfeeding 'works'?

What if you do everything 'RIGHT' and then breastfeeding still doesn't work for you? My good friend, Shannon, did just that. She had issues with breastfeeding her first two and attributed it to the not so ideal hospital births she had had with them. The birth of her third child was the complete opposite. It was a beautiful home birth,surrounded by her family, her birthing team and her closest friend. She did everything right! A natural water birth, immediate skin to skin contact with her beautiful newborn baby girl, no medications or interventions whatsoever. And then......another unsuccessful go at breastfeeding. Or maybe not... please read all about Shannon's amazing story of perseverance HERE and decide for yourself.

I think it is a mother's duty to be and get informed. About her choices in childbirth and about breastfeeding. And sometimes that stuff is just not in the books. Seek outside advice and help. Hire a doula to be an advocate for you and your birth and your immediate breastfeeding choices.  Attend a La Leche League meeting BEFORE you have a baby and ask the mothers there what they wish they had known about birth and breastfeeding before they had their babies. Learn from the mothers before you.

And do have a plan! With my firstborn, we did not have the option of having a birth plan. It was a high risk pregnancy and we were just prepared for whatever needed to be done for the baby's safety and for mine. That ended up being an induction at 35 weeks and a 3 and a half pound baby who was taken to NICU within minutes of his birth. Breastfeeding that child was not an easy task for a multitude of reasons, but we persevered, eventually got the hang of it and kept it up for three whole years! With my second child I had a PLAN! A full page of typed out requests from my birthing team. It was signed by my doula, my OB and my husband and I and I know for a fact that it was read by every nurse and resident who took care of us that day.

Did everything go according to plan that day? Well, no, not everything. But my wishes were well known by everyone involved. I did not want any medications and I did not want my child to have any interventions (suctioning, bathing, Vitamin K eye gel) before I had a chance to hold and breastfeed her. In the end, I needed some Nitrous Oxide to make it from 8 to 10 cm, and my baby did need some suctioning because there was meconium in the amniotic fluid. They held of on the eye gel and bathing her until much later and I am happy to say that she latched on like a pro, just 40 minutes after she was born!

Mamas,I guess what I am trying to say here is that I truly believe that the key to breastfeeding is support. Not necessarily how or where you birth your child, but who you have to turn to when you need help with breastfeeding. Be it your spouse/partner, your doula, your doctor, your lactation consultant, your LLL leader , generous milk donors or your other mama friends, just please have a support network, your proverbial 'cheering squad' in place. And also know that my "cyber" door is always open if you are struggling and need someone to go to for a sympathetic ear, for resources, for a point in the right direction or for a simple "You CAN do this!"

Because I have been there.

Natasha~


Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.