What Someone Shoulda Told You…

ABOUT CAR SEAT SAFETY

We have three kids, and we are still learning we are “doin’ it wrong” all the time. So, don’t take this post as, “You are a failure as a parent. Shame on you. You obviously don’t love or deserve that child.”  This is how some parents take information that is perceived as criticism (e.g. the woman at Trader Joe’s whom I offered my awesome advice to). Take this as, “I know you love your kid(s). You want them to be as safe as possible. There’s always more to learn.”
Okay, here we go…

car seat requirements poster_n

1) The child seat on shopping carts is no place to perch your car seat.
Car seat manufactures, American Academy of Pediatrics, the CPSC, shopping carts themselves, etc all warn parents NOT to do this.. yet, I see it all the time. Car seats were not designed to latch onto carts. Latching your seat to something, other than the base or stroller it’s designed for, can cause harm to the latching system. From 2003 to 2008 there were approximately 122,000 shopping cart injuries to children under five. 86% of these were children falling from the cart, or the cart tipping over. Children die from this. Why risk it if it’s preventable?
What to do instead?
Wear your baby in a baby carrier or wrap. Have baby ride in a stroller with a large basket. Push a stroller and a shopping cart. Bring someone to hold baby, or to push the cart. Schedule trips around times when someone can watch your kids (the last three can be super practical.. I know). Last resort? Put the car seat into the main cart basket. The cart is less likely to tip this way.
AAP’s Warning Regarding Shopping Cart Safety

shopping cart warning

2) Extended Rear Facing is Where it’s at!
All the cool toddlers are doing it. But, seriously.. it’s safest. Consider how large a baby’s head is. Now consider that their spines are not fused until the age of four. In a crash their necks stretch inches further than an adults. It takes only a stretch of 1/4 inch to break a neck. Combine this with a huge baby head = internal decapitation. In an accident where the child is rear facing, the back of their seat absorbs the brunt of the impact.. not their spine.

Current recommendations state a child faces the rear of the car until a MINIMUM of age two, but ideally age four.  Many car seats now allow for rear facing until 40+ pounds. I often hear concerns for the safety of the child’s folded legs (i.e. how children often sit naturally). Another concern? My child is bored/unhappy/complaining facing the back of the car. Know this, a child has never died from crossed legs or boredom.. plenty have died, and been paralyzed, from front facing too early.
Watch this: Joel’s Story

3) Keep them in the Five-Point Harness as Long as Possible!
The average minimum requirement (by law) to graduate to a belt positioning high-back booster is four years and forty pounds. The recommended minimum age to graduate to a belt positioning high-back booster is five to six years of age. Only, guess what? Age and weight are not the only factors when it comes to car seat safety. What matters is the internal development of the child’s skeletal system. Also, maturity of the child.

When it comes to being ready to graduate to a booster seat, maturity is key. If your child moves around, the seat belt doesn’t ALWAYS stay in the appropriate position, they fall asleep and slump, reach for things in the car, etc THEY ARE NOT READY FOR A HIGH-BACK BOOSTER. Children are safest in a five-point harness until they outgrow their seat.  Many car seats are now manufactured with an internal five-point harness for children 70-90 pounds.
These videos illustrate this point better than I can:
Kyle’s Story
Isabelle’s Story
Simulated Crash
Five Pt Harness Vs Booster

4) Boosters are for Big Kids!
A child is not ready for a high-back booster until at least ages five or six. If they cannot keep the seat belt in the proper position for the entire trip, then they are not ready for a high-back booster.  A child isn’t ready for a backless booster until they can sit with their head properly supported by the car’s headrest, sit with the shoulder belt across their shoulder and torso (not near the neck), sit up straight without slouching, and have the lap belt across their thighs.

Backless boosters come with a strap to properly position the seat belt away from the child’s neck. Read your manual, and use this piece. If you have to use the seat belt clip to keep the seat belt in proper position (otherwise the belt is too high and the child is uncomfortable), then staying in a high-back booster is safest. Children are generally ready for a backless booster around ages eight-ten. Children should remain in a backless booster until around age twelve.

*Remember to buckle unoccupied boosters into the car. In the event of an accident, they could become projectiles.

5) The Chest Clip Goes on their.. CHEST
It does not go on their stomach or waist. The seat straps should be TIGHT, and the chest clip at armpit level. If rear facing, harness straps should be at or below shoulder level. If forward facing, seat straps/belt should be at or above shoulder level. No aftermarket accessories should be added to the seat. This will void your seat’s warranty.

I often hear, “We didn’t even have car seats/seat belts/laws/etc, and I survived.” Well, congrats! You’re lucky. But, why put your child in harm’s way unnecessarily? Why is the minimum requirement good enough for your child? Don’t you want the BEST for them? Think how you would feel if your toddler was decapitated internally while forward facing in a crash. What would you say to your paralyzed preschooler when they ask why they can’t walk, and if they were in a five-point harness they’d be running? WHEN WE KNOW BETTER, WE DO BETTER. So, go do better.

Join Car Seats For the Littles on Facebook:
Car Seats for the Littles

Reference on shopping cart stats:
https://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/99031/shopcart2008.pdf

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Louis CK’s Life Lessons

What Louis CK can’t teach you about adulthood, ain’t worth knowing. In honor of his birthday today, here are some of my favorite Louie Life Lessons..

Differences Between the Sexes?

Life After 40?

No Money?

Gaining Weight?

Your Kid Won’t Eat?

Your Worth?

Gay Marriage?

When a Girl Becomes a Woman?

Why?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LOUIS CK!

(not that you’ll ever read my blog.. but, you’re super fucking awesome)

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Do Me One Favor…

secret imageAll the grandparents, aunts, uncles and well-meaning caregivers out there, please listen up. Don’t ever, EVER ask a child to keep a secret from their parents. I mean it. As a parent, there is almost nothing that gets to me more than this.

In case the reason behind this isn’t obvious to you, I’ll spell it out. You know who tells kids to keep things on the down low? Child molesters. I’m not saying that by asking a kid to not tell, you are abusing them. But, someday someone just might be. And the foundation of hiding things from Mom and Dad has then been laid out.

Your, “I’ll give you an extra cookie, but don’t tell Mom!” Or, “Okay, you can watch Samurai Ninja Bear VI, but it’s our little secret!” Might one day prime my kid to not run to me when something serious happens. When Coach ExtraLessonsAfterPractice is grooming Sonny Boy, and warns him not to tell, keeping secrets will be old habit.

Not only do parents need to worry about sexual predators, they also need to know about bullies. We need our children to feel they can talk to us about everything under the sun. As they get older, sexuality and relationships are also key topics for conversation. So many kids commit suicide, or turn to substance abuse, because they are being teased, hurt or are afraid to talk about who they really are. Open communication is the tool we need to prevent this.

A main rule in our house is: You can ALWAYS, and should always, tell Mom and/or Dad everything. We are here to love and protect you. We can’t do this if we don’t have all the information. We want to help you, and make sure you are safe. You are our business.. 24/7. We will love you no matter what. The things that are hardest to talk about, are often the things parents need to know most.

Please, keep this in mind. Share this information. It’s not often something we think about. I’m aware it’s often done in jest, or with harmless intentions. But, the secrets need to stop.
Thanks

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What Someone Shoulda Told You..

ABOUT BREASTFEEDING

breastfeeding blog pic

Until you’ve attempted the fine art of nourishing your baby via breastfeeding, it’s impossible to really know what you’re in for. Here’s the top advice I wish someone would’ve told me..

1) It’s most likely not going to be all rainbows and unicorns.
Breastfeeding can come with its challenges (engorgement, latches gone wrong, waiting for your milk to come in, supply issues, and on and on). It’s OKAY. You aren’t failing. This is normal.

2) KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)
This is what I had to tell myself with my last two babies. A new mom can get overwhelmed with all the advice.. pump after feedings, don’t pump, only feed this often, don’t eat _____, only feed x minutes per side, etc. Don’t worry about needing to pump, timing your feedings, or stressing over how much you are producing.

Baby should start off with little fists, will begin gulping after a minute (when milk lets down), will eventually relax into open hands and should be content afterwards (not screaming in frustration). If this is happening, you are most likely having successful nursing sessions. If baby is having frequent wet and dirty dipes, is gaining weight (after the initial newborn weight loss) and is (in general) happy, then keep it up and don’t over complicate things!

3) Feed often
Feed baby on demand for the first months. The best way to make more milk? Let baby suckle as often as possible. Yes, you may feel like a human pacifier, but this is temporary. Baby looks to you for comfort. This is comforting for baby and establishes a healthy milk supply.

4) If it hurts, get PROFESSIONAL help!
Find a pediatrician who is an IBCLC and specializes in breastfeeding issues. They should be very educated and supportive of nursing. If you are having any pain or bleeding, get in to see this doctor ASAP. Have baby’s lip and tongue checked by this doctor.

With my third baby, I was in PAIN. He began spitting up blood before we left the hospital. I was told he didn’t have a tongue tie from the hospital CLC. I scheduled an appointment with an IBCLC pediatrician for the following morning. And guess what? He did have one! We had it clipped in office, put him right to my boo and retrained his latch. We have had a successful breastfeeding relationship since!
*On the contrary: If you feel your healthcare professionals are not being 100% supportive of breastfeeding, find another provider! Run, don’t walk.

5) Stay hydrated
Drink lots of water… like really, lots and lots! Push the fluids, even if you don’t think you are thirsty. Increased fluid intake can help increase milk production.

6) DO wake a sleeping baby
Newborns sleep a lot. They will fall asleep at the boo often. Make sure the room is under 80 degrees. Strip baby down to a diaper. Skin to skin contact helps a lot. Make sure baby is feeding often throughout the day.

7) Have green cabbage on hand
When your milk comes in you will become engorged. Just stick a leaf of cold cabbage in your bra to help with the swelling and pain. You might stink a bit, but it can really help!
*If you are having supply issues, don’t do this. It could dry you up… only if you’re overflowing.

8) Coconut oil is fantastic
For me this worked better on my scabbed up battle wounds than the prescription stuff. Plus, baby could nurse without having to worry about washing the goods first. A bonus? Coconut oil is an anti-fungal and will keep away thrush.

9) Know your rights!
Please, do not be embarrassed to breastfeed in public. Baby has every right to eat when baby is hungry. Outdated ideas about feeding baby in a disgusting bathroom stall, or a hot car, are inconsiderate to you and your little one. Be confident in your decision to do what’s best for your sweet baby. By nursing in public, other moms will see this, and you may just spread the breastfeeding love! Each state has varying laws to protect nursing moms. To find out laws in your state click HERE

10) Eat!
Make sure you are getting enough calories. We all want to lose that baby weight, but nursing already burns extra calories. Don’t diet too heavily, because this could dwindle your supply.
Unless you have a history of food allergies in your immediate family, eat as normal. No need to unnecessarily complicate things or deprive yourself. Women throughout history, from all cultures, have enjoyed spices, seasonings, vegetation and foods of all kinds while nursing. Unless baby is having abnormal stools, or reactions, just stick with what you like (see #2).

11) Find support
Talk to friends who have breastfed successfully. Seek other nursing moms in your area. Join Natural Parenting or Breastfeeding Support groups on Facebook. Establish a relationship with a CLC/IBCLC in your area. Join a local chapter of Le Leche League (to find a chapter in the states: HERE,  Internationally: HERE).

12) It gets easier
Nursing a newborn, heck having a newborn, can be very challenging. They are accustomed to floating in dark, warm wetness. The first three months have often been called baby’s “fourth trimester.” They are still like floppy, little fetuses.. only out in the bright lights and loud noises. Try to put yourself in baby’s position. They may want to nurse more often than you’d like. They may cluster feed at certain times of the day. But, they are growing like mad! They need the calories and the comfort. After 8-12 weeks, a routine should begin to emerge. Feedings will become less frequent, and not as lengthy. Hold on to this.. you can make it!

13) When you need to pump for stored milk, a good pump is priceless!
Top recommendations?
For Electric: The Ameda Purely Yours Double Electric Pump
For Manual: The Medela Harmony
Thanks to the Affordable Healthcare Act, breast pumps are now covered under many insurance plans! Be sure to contact your insurance provider prior to purchasing to find out specifics.

For your entertainment, and because I could not love this more:

Questions or comments? Please, do :)

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Fluff Junky

I’m going to go ahead and say it.. cloth diapers are a gateway fluff. It starts out with sampling a few brands, maybe a fitted or two. Next thing you know your showing off your mama cloth to a stranger at Whole Foods, while your baby is strapped to your back in a $500 woven wrap. Yeah, that’s right. Things get crunchy fast.

Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating (slightly). But, one addiction does lead to another. The latest obsession? Baby wearing. Yeah, I’ve been dabbling for years now. We had a crotch dangler for our first, before we knew better. Then a friend bought us a Sleepy Wrap. At first, I was a bit intimidated by all that fabric. But, before I knew it my husband and I were both wrapping and wearing our first-born no problem. The stretchy wrap was SO much more comfortable. Once you get the basic wrapping down, it takes no time or thought at all.

The flood gates had opened. It was only a matter of time before getting swept up in the tide of wovens, soft structured carriers (SSC), Mei Tais (MT), ring slings (RS) and, the granddaddy of them all, WRAP CONVERSIONS *dun dun dun* (my lame attempt at the scary music noise).

Like cloth diapering, there is much to know, Young Jedi. First off, all the crazy abbreviations! Rather than prints to learn, you have weaves, patterns and the like. Instead of type of diaper (AIO, fitted, pocket, AI2 etc), you have type of carrier (SSC, RS, MT, WCHB, etc). There is the sizing to learn. There are material weaves, wefts and weights. Where to buy? Groups to join? Same game, different equipment.

Well, I’m in. I’m in deep. The world of “expensive” $30 diapers seems like a small safe place, compared to $400 wrap conversions and limited edition weaves. That being said, I’m happy I’m here!

custom topa top

BUT, my favorite purchase thus far didn’t even have to break the bank! It is a Wrap Conversion Mei Tai (WCMT) from Topa Top Slings. Quality wrap conversions can cost easily cost $200, $300, $500+. Alina at Topa Top constructs beautiful, handmade Mei Tai’s and carriers at her shop in Israel. The workmanship is GORGEOUS! The best part? She has a carrier for every budget!

Topa Top Mei Tai carriers can easily adjust to fit from newborns to preschoolers. There is a pull string at the waist. This cinches in, or extends out, to create a customized seat for your little one. For fun, I’ve even carried my 27 pound toddler, and 40 pound preschooler, around in our Topa Top WCMT.

Alina takes custom orders, and is very willing to work with you until you have constructed the carrier of your dreams! Keep in mind, there is a time difference. Communications can have a day or two lag. But, this is completely understandable.

If customs aren’t your thing, then you’re in luck! Her shop is stocked with wonderful carrier combinations ripe for the pickin’. She will ship worldwide from Israel.

Out of all our carrier options, and we have quite a few these days, I grab for my Topa Top daily. I can throw my 17 week old up on my back in a minute. He falls asleep immediately, and I get some work done. Win/Win!
I really can’t say enough great things about Topa Top! Every time I wear Thrie in our WCMT, I get tons of compliments and questions. I wish I had business cards to hand out for her!

* I was neither compensated for this review, nor solicited to write it

Custom in Action

Custom in Action

Feel like shopping?
Topa Top Slings Etsy Shop
Topa Top Online Site

Some reading from two of my fave baby wearing sites:

PAXbaby

Becoming Mamas

Comments or questions? Go for it!

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Five Minute Bread.. You’re Welcome

five min bread done

I LOVE homemade bread.. well, who doesn’t? But, since my bread machine crapped out, it’s been scarce around these parts. That is, until my friend passed this recipe along! Now you can have warm, delicious bread with just minutes of work. That’s right. No kneading, no special tricks. Just mix the ingredients, let it rise, and store in the fridge for homemade bread at your convenience! Mix and store in the same 4 qt container (w/ a lid), for very little clean up.. easy peasy!

Ingredients:
6 1/2 cups flour (all purpose, unbleached.. or I used white whole wheat)
1 1/2 TBSP yeast (or two packets)
1 1/2 TBSP salt
3 cups warm water

Directions:
-Whisk together the dry ingredients (the first three)
-Whisk in the warm water until moist (sticky) and all dry ingredients incorporated
-Place lid on your 4 qt container, but don’t close all the way
-Let rise in warm place, until doubled (about 1 1/2 hours)
-Pop on the lid and stick in the fridge until you are ready to bake!
*OR bake some right away..

I divided my dough into two smaller containers instead

I divided my dough into two smaller containers instead

Here’s How to Bake:
-Sprinkle flour on a corner of the top of the dough
-Reach in and pull out a grapefruit sized hunk (or however much you want)
-Smooth the top and tuck it under (so rounded ball)
(The bottom doesn’t have to look smooth)
-Place on parchment paper
*IF just out of fridge, then set covered with towel to rise for about 45 mins
*IF you just made the dough, it doesn’t have to rise again.. so skip that
-When the dough has warmed and risen for about 30 minutes, get your oven ready
-Place baking stone inside, heat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
(If you don’t have a baking/pizza stone, use a cookie sheet)
-When the oven is ready, dust the top of dough with flour, slash a few lines across the top with a knife
-Place a shallow pan of water on the rack under your baking stone
-Transfer parchment with dough to the baking stone
-Bake 20-25 mins
-Remove from parchment and bake on stone for 5 mins to brown the bottom
-Remove from oven, cool, and enjoy!

I made a loaf, rather than a ball (Note the tray of water under the baking stone.. Hard to see, I know)

I made a loaf, rather than a ball
(Note the tray of water under the baking stone.. Hard to see, I know)

*This is a sourdough type recipe.. the longer the dough sits in your fridge, the more it will have that sourdough flavor
*White flour will be lighter, the ‘white’ whole wheat had a denser feel
*This is a recipe by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. For more delicious five minute bread recipes visit their site: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

My boys devoured the entire loaf straight out of the oven!

My boys devoured the entire loaf straight out of the oven!

Comments or questions? Do it..

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The Great Cloth Diaper Change 2013!

great cloth diaper logo

Artwork Courtesy of Christine O’Brien

What is it?
To sum it up, it’s when a bunch of people get together at a given location, and change a baby’s cloth diaper, at a given time.

Why would they do that?
To raise cloth diaper awareness. It’s surprising (to me anyway) how many people don’t know about modern cloth diapers. The prefolds and puffy plastic pants of the past soiled cloth diapering’s image (hehe.. pun intended). Everyone should know how easy, cute, environmentally friendly and affordable cloth diapering can be these days!

Who can attend?
Anyone who wishes! You just have to be at least 18 years old, have one child under 39″ to change (I’m assuming this is due to space constraints.. maybe age..?), and have available a 100% reusable (no disposable inserts, etc) cloth diaper to change said child into. Most events require you to pre-register, so check the link below!

When is this awesome event?
This Saturday, April 20th, at 11am! Last year the event took place at the exact same time worldwide. That means bums were getting wiped in the middle of the night in some parts of the world. This year they are changing things up. The event will roll around the world. So, wherever you are in the world your event will be at 11am your time.

Where can I attend?!
There are locations are all around the globe! To find a location near you click here: http://greatclothdiaperchange.com/?page_id=5

Last year 15 countries participated, on four continents and at 189 locations! They figure 8,251 participants changed a cloth diaper at the exact same time! This broke the world record. Pretty neat..

Want to know more?
Click here: http://greatclothdiaperchange.com/
Find them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/greatclothdiaperchange?group_id=0

Questions or comments? Have at it!

UPDATE! PHOTOS OF 2013 GCDC IN OMAHA

The event was outside.. it was approximately 30 degrees

The event was outside.. it was approximately 30 degrees

People hiding out in Baby Junk to warm up

People hiding out in Baby Junk to warm up

Free Bummis products

Free Bumkins Products

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