Word Winding

attempting to spin cacophony into sanity

Archive for the tag “Woombie”

All you need is…

For some reason, lately expectant parents have been asking me what they need to buy. Here’s my advice: forget Amazon’s endless list-makers. Parents-to-be, let me be the first to give it to you straight — the fact is, you’re going to need very little. And for good reason — like any animal, our species would have flopped promptly into extinction if it actually needed endless mounds of specialized items for each child to reach adulthood. Let’s break it down! You need:

Food source!
My advice:
0-24+ months: boobs (possible backup plans include lactation consultant, donor milk, formula. Note: lactation consultant is not a food source. Do not attempt to feed your lactation consultant to your baby.)
6+ months: scraps from your plate by baby request plus a few easy mashers and finger foods lead seamlessly into a child-size helping of whatever you usually eat (assuming you eat healthily — at least when under surveillance). You can get a high chair, but if your kid is like ours they will spend a few minutes in it and the majority of the time in your lap. Don’t force plate-finishing and your kid will hopefully retain the ability to stop when full. No tiny pricey jars needed.

Place to sleep!
My advice:
Don’t buy it till you need it, and borrow if offered. You do not know what you and your baby are going to prefer ahead of time. Read about safe bed-sharing even if you think you aren’t going to so if you change your mind at 4AM no one gets smothered by big fluffy pillows or comforters. Swaddling worked well for both of our kids; you can learn the ins and outs of proper swaddling technique like we did with Owlet… or you could just get a few Woombies, which we learned about after Platypup began swaddle-breaking. I strongly recommend sharing a room, whether in the same bed or in a bassinet or crib; research indicates sleeping infants rely on the breathing of nearby adults to help regulate their own. Within your budget, do your best to make all sleeping surfaces toxin-free.

Someplace for Excrement!
My advice:
Register for cloth diapers and try out E.C. Nowhere is your friends and family’s money better spent than on high quality reusable diapers and the vast range of adorable options will help appease everyone who would rather buy cute than useful. If you go for disposable, find the least-toxic kind and don’t buy too many before the birth — remember, your baby’s size is TBD.

Clothing!
My advice:
Don’t buy any. Ok, get one ceremonial “we’re having a baby!” item and maybe do some thrift shopping. But most people give clothes regardless of registry, and believe it or not you probably know someone who is about to chuck three garbage bags full of outgrown clothes at you and run away cackling.

20130623-130423.jpg
Owlet lounging on a box of previously loved items from the family I used to babysit for — thanks so much, guys! We have been working our way through the sizes and will soon finally fit into the coveted cowboy boots.

Toiletries/First Aid!
My advice:
Babies don’t need soap or shampoo. They hardly even need baths until they can crawl! We’ve preferred just hopping in the big bathtub with baby in-arms. Coconut oil and olive oil are great for diaper rash and post-bath massage. For first aid, all you need is a thermometer, band-aids, and breast milk (works as lotion, antiseptic, eye and ear drops, rehydration, etc. This is by no means an exhaustive list of human milk’s magical properties!) Anything else you might need is going to be by doctor recommendation anyway.

Entertainment!
My advice:
This is where our culture goes insane. Trust me when I say you have five years’ supply of toys in one kitchen drawer. Which is not to say don’t buy anything; just be realistic. Blocks, books, a few stuffed animals (don’t buy these; they are present-runner-up only to clothing), percussion instruments, and a ball or two go a long way. If you can, avoid Toys-R-Plasticrap; that place gives me hives. And do us all a favor: just say “no!” to anything that makes electronic noise. That stuff is proven to shorten attention spans, and it personally drives me insane.

Transportation
My advice:
Car seat: For safety reasons get your car seat new, if possible, or handed down from close trusted friends/family only if within recommended year range for that seat. If you can only afford one seat for the next few years, skip the bucket/basket infant seat and get a Diano Radian — works rear-facing up to 45 lbs and forward facing to 80 lbs and can be used as a booster seat, too.
Walking transport: if you want a stroller, buy it used! We got one on Craig’s List for $40 and while we used it occasionally during the infant period for both kids, if we had gotten it new it would definitely not have been worth the money. More essential for us was a good carrier: check out slings, Baby K’Tan, and Moby for the infant period and Ergo or Beco for both babies and toddlers. Borrow, buy used, or add to your registry. If you are only going to purchase one, as with the car seat, skip the infant option and get an Ergo or Beco.

All of this is not to say you can’t buy bundles of clothes, a designer stroller, and a zillion toys that go beep. You can use a crib and baby food and wash your little one with baby shampoo every night. If it’s working for you and your baby, great, keep going! But just as a wedding does not require a caterer, florist, and expensive gown to be beautiful and meaningful, a baby does not require much beyond love and milk in order to not just survive but thrive.

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E.C. — not just about the pee

our boy soprano

Today, I have a six month old! (Also, yesterday Owlet turned exactly two and half years, but I’m trying to write an entire post about Platypup so shush.)

I find it quite odd to consider I was already almost done with the puking portion of pregnancy this time last year. At the same time, I am hard-pressed to remember life before Platypup.

While he has been known to kick up a fuss, occasionally even at night, I believe this is mostly just to remind us that he CAN so we won’t take his smiley, mellow, super-chill self for granted. He wakes up chattering away, making small chirping sounds, odd grunts, or even blowing raspberries. He is an adorable plump little glowworm in his Woombie and writhes upon waking like an cartoon tornado. There are only two conditions upon which he cries his way out of sleep: (1) he is soaking wet, and I mean his overstuffed diaper, his extra diaper cover, his pajamas, his swaddle, and the wool pad underneath him — thankfully wool is a powerhouse so our sheets don’t generally need changing when this happens; or (2) he is in his bouncy seat and starts to roll himself over while sleeping, becoming an adorably grumpy plump writhing upside-down glowworm faceplanted into the bouncy chair. (This is why we only put him in there if we are awake to monitor his position!)

Platypup is a poster child for breastfeeding. He only just got his first food at Thanksgiving last week (sweet potatoes mashed to perfection by Aunt J) and therefore I take total credit for his luscious rolls of baby fat that turn leg warmers into anklets and have on occasion meant his forearms grew out of a shirt before his torso. Especially since he sports cheeks to make a chipmunk swoon as well as a well-padded cloth diapered bum, he looks larger than your average one year old and is certainly already wearing that kid’s size in clothes.

the baby giant at Thanksgiving

I find Platypup’s age hard to fathom because we’re just not doing all of that obsessing-worrying-nit-picking nonsense. I get an email sent to me every week to remind me how old he is, and do actually read it at some point before a month has passed, but I don’t think all that much about what’s in it unless it’s amusing, like predicting that my baby will soon start to hold his head up when he’s had that down for ages, advising me on sleep training (um, no thanks), letting me know I ought to be washing anything that touches the floor with soap and water before he puts it in his mouth (I do sometimes manage to prevent him from mouthing the floor itself), or telling me not to worry because babies are supposed to be fat (duh). I don’t read ahead so I don’t worry over milestone-hitting. I don’t try to “train” him to do stuff like sit or roll or crawl, so instead I get to be pleasantly surprised when those things occur without my unnecessary coaching. If he’s amusing himself, I no longer feel the need to hover the whole time. And one more major difference with the second child — I never, ever find myself trying to think of ways to entertain him when he’s perfectly content tapping on the unopened fifty pound bag of flour on our kitchen floor, watching one of our cats take a bath, or chewing on his sister’s toy wooden screwdriver. In fact, my only real worry with him is that I don’t worry about him enough or, blissful baby grins to the contrary, give him enough attention. Somehow this became manifest in our lack of focus on E.C.

E.C. stands for “elimination communication” which is a gentle potty learning method you can learn lots about by googling. We had a good experience doing it with Owlet and had no question about taking that route with Platypup. I even caught some meconium in the toilet, so I thought we were a shoo-in for E.C. heaven. Wrong, for two reasons. First, as alluded to above, Platypup is not often the recipient of undivided attention. Second, possibly due to starting solid food later, Platypup still poops randomly, sometimes at the crack of dawn without warning and often at least once more, where his sister had developed a once a day, first thing in the not-crazy-early morning habit that allows us to number her poopy diapers from 3-4 months to the present in the single digits. (Jealous you are, yes?) About a month ago, we were only taking him to the loo maybe one or two times a day and not even looking for signs that he needed to go, so Thor and I agreed to make a greater effort before he turned six months, especially with crawling impending. But with a week to go we were still not doing all that much better. I decided drastic action was in order — I joined three E.C. groups on Facebook and trusted my mild FB addiction to do the job.

And it has. A low level of FB interaction on the subject has been enough to foster a nearly effortless transformation. One to two times a day skyrocketed into almost every diaper change plus at least one diaper-free period per day, aided in part by Platypup’s stiff legs of steel and increasingly mighty wails of protest during diaper changes. It was immediately apparent that the mild fussing we had previously been solving by offering milk or changing his position was happening right before every pee, in contrast with Owlet who never seemed to give any reliable signals, and as a bonus he is starting to squirm for longer in the morning prior to pooping, though the hour is still less than desirable.

Tangible progress aside, I love that this process is giving me a little sliver of one-on-one time with my small son. When he tilts his head back in the crook of my elbow and grins up at me, I could care less whether he subsequently pees.

real babies use the loo, yo!

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