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...
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!!
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!
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)
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!
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!