Month: July 2017

Product Must-Haves for Newborns (0-12 months): Redmon Deluxe “Weight to Grow” Digital Baby Scale with Memory

Product name: Redmon Deluxe “Weigh to Grow” Digital Baby Scale with Memory

Where can I get it? I purchased my scale from target.com, however, I have also seen it being sold on such sites as amazon.com, walmart.com, and bedbathandbeyond.com.

How much does it cost? I have mostly seen the scale being sold online for $79.99, which is what I paid for mine on target.com.

Why do I like this product? I purchased this scale when Nya was having some issues with weight gain (around 5-6 weeks). While I, at the time, was receiving weight checks at Nya’s doctor’s appointments (at 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 16 weeks, etc.), which provided me with a general understanding of how she was or was not growing, I decided to purchase a scale so that I could keep track of her week gain in between appointments.

Furthermore, my doctor’s office annoyingly only allows (though I now understand why they do it) parents to come in for weight checks if the child has a scheduled appointment or if the child is sick.

Perhaps, most importantly, in my experience, this scale has proven to be very accurate. Often, I will weigh Nya before an appointment to compare what is said on our scale at home versus the doctor’s office scale. So, far, it has never been wrong.

How does it work? After turning the power “on,” you should wait for the scale to read 0:0. At this point, you can place your child on the scale. When the weight is determined, it will appear on the screen. By pressing “m,” or the memory button, you can store this weight in the scale’s memory so that when you weigh your child again, you can more easily chart their progress.

How do you use this product? In the beginning, perhaps to my own detriment, I used this scale a lot! In checking Nya’s weight every day, I would stress over every detail, wondering if something I did that day, hour, minute could have led to such-and-such result on the scale.

Once, however, I began my new approach to parenting and motherhood, I used the scale less, mainly to chart her weight (in months that she does not have doctor’s appointments) for baby books, journals, scrapbooks, etc.

Would you recommend this product to others? I would definitely recommend this product for any moms who would like to have another resource for charting their baby’s weight gain. I say this, however, with one caveat. Unless advised by your pediatrician, I would advise that you NOT weigh your baby every day or, even, every week. As my experience will demonstrate, by focusing too heavily on the daily or weekly fluctuations (or lack of fluctuations) of your baby’s weight, you will not only stress yourself out, but you will also lose sight of the bigger picture.

I would also recommend this product to moms who, like me, would like to keep track of their baby’s weight for the sake of charting it in baby journals, etc.

Product Must-Haves for Newborns (0-12 months): Avent: Express II, Microwave Sterilizer (BPA Free)

Product name: Avent: Express II, Microwave Sterilzer (BPA free)

Where can I get it? I purchased my sterilizer from Burlington Coat Factory, however, I have also seen it being sold at Babies R’ Us, BuyBuy Baby, Target, Walmart (online), etc.

How much does it cost? I have mostly seen the sterilizer being sold for around $29.99, which is what I paid for mine.
Why do I like this product? This sterilizer is super easy to use, super fast, and very convenient. As a breastfeeding, (at the moment) stay-at-home mom, I rarely use bottles to feed Nya. When I do use bottles, it is on occasions when I have to leave Nya with my husband or mom (i.e., to have lunch dates with friends on the weekends, doctor appointments, etc.). Given that I imagined only rarely using the sterilizer for my 5 oz Medela bottles and pump accessories, I wanted an affordable option that would work just as well as the more expensive sterilizers. So far, this product has worked wonderfully!

How does it work? First, you arrange the bottles, nipples, accessories, etc. in the tray. (The instructions for the sterilizer contains pictures showing various options for doing this step.) Then, you fill the basin with 200 ml of water and insert the tray. The instructions contain the wattage requirements and heating times necessary. After about a few minutes, you take the sterilizer out of the microwave, allow it to cool (cooling times are found in the instructions), and then you are ready to use the sterilized parts. It is just that easy!

How do you use this product? In addition to using it for bottles and pump accessories, I, now also use the sterilizer for pacifiers and small toys.

Would you recommend this product to others? I would definitely recommend this product for any moms who are looking for an affordable and convenient option to sterilize their baby’s bottles, pacifiers, breast pump accessories, etc.

Product Must Haves for Newborns: Chicco Cortina Travel System Stroller-Luna

Product name: Chicco Cortina Travel System Stroller- Luna


Where can I get it? I purchased my travel system at Babies R’ Us, however, I have also seen it available on target.com, Amazon.com, buybuybaby.com, etc.

How much does it cost? I have mostly seen the travel system being sold for around $299.99, which is what I paid for mine.

Why do I like this product?
 When I went to the store to purchase this travel system, I was about 36 weeks pregnant. While not an expert in what to look for in a “great” travel system, I did know that I wanted something 1) durable, 2) lightweight, 3) easy to assemble, 4) versatile, and 5) affordable. I considered the Graco travel systems, but given the overwhelming amount of favorable reviews on the Chicco brand, I decided to go with it.

I decided on the Luna design over the Discovery design because I liked its geometric print. Also, most of the baby accessories that I have are in shades of browns or other neutrals, so it fit right in.

In addition to fitting right in with all of my other baby products, I also liked that this product was easy to assemble, easy to use, and, relatively, light weight. The stroller is rather large, but it still fits in the back of my hatchback comfortably. The carseat, when I was using it outside of the car, fits in most standard sized grocery store carts.

How do I use this product? Before I had Nya, I assumed that I would be a “stroller-only” mom. I often imagined myself, in the first few weeks of her life,  pushing her through malls and very green parks and playground.  When I had Nya, however, I learned that she did not share my imaginative dream. She hated being in the stroller as it took her away from her favorite people- mommy and daddy. So, I, reluctantly, stopped using the stroller altogether and just relied on my trusty Moby Wrap and Baby Bjorn.

While I had little use for the stroller in the first two months of Nya’s life, I did continue to use the carseat, which Nya also hated, but I loved.

Now that Nya is older, I still prefer to “wear” her when we are in public places. Nonetheless, she has a easier time transitioning from being worn in her Baby Bjorn or Moby Wrap to being pushed in a stroller.


Would you recommend this product to others? I would definitely recommend this product for any moms who are looking for a travel system that is both stylish and effective at the same time.

I love you blogging. I really do…

…but, recently, I haven’t been as committed to this relationship as I should be.

I’ve been sneaking behind your back seeing someone else that I’ve missed. His first name is My, and his last name is Life (gasp).  Yes, he’s back in the picture. That scoundrel. Yes, he’s back putting thoughts into my head about what I could be doing rather than spending quantity quality time with you.

(sigh)

And, I do feel guilty about all of this, all this sneaking around at all hours of the day, the half written, pathetic excuses for posts with gimmicky titles in my drafts folder, and regrets about not thinking too much of you and how I should be spending more time with you when I’m with him.

Can’t you just hear my guilt? Can’t you?!?

While I’ve been unfaithful with My Life, I’ve been taking my daughter to the park more.

I’ve been taking pictures of random trees more.


I’ve been napping more, cooking more, sitting down in doing nothing. more.


I’ve been watching Dr. Phil while eating cheese and crackers more (gasp). I know. I know. You didn’t think I’d stoop to such a level. And, neither did I. Neither. did. I.I am telling you all this because I want you to know that all is well. All that My Life is teaching me right now is only good for us. We’ll be back to the way we once were in no time. Now, you will wait for me, right? (blink blink)Please circle: Yes   No   MaybeLove,
Jessica

Am I the only one having an affair with anything else besides blogging right now? What other interesting things, hobbies, activities are you indulging in right now (besides blogging, of course)?

When technology fails, blogging to-do lists must change

I have so few free hours in a day to myself, so I have learned to take the (free) time that I most often spend doing blogging related tasks very seriously .

I’ve learned that the best way that I can avoid spending too many hours on any particular task (i.e. tweeting, writing posts, or reading blogs) is by creating daily blogging “to-do” lists. Yes, as a mom even my hobbies must be resigned to a list.

It’s sad, but very necessary.

And I love crossing things off my lists, and then creating new lists, often long lists to have a “record” by which to measure my daily blogging productivity. It’s an obsession  of mine, a sad but necessary one that comes, I like to tell myself, with motherhood.

This week’s “to-do” list was particularly large. On that very long list of  things to do were small things like writing posts, editing posts, responding to comments, visiting  blogs, editing pictures writing emails, and large things like creating a header and taking the steps needed to officially change blogging platforms.

It was a lot to do, but, I figured that so long as I did everything in the order planned on my list, starting over the weekend and continuing at 6 AM sharp on Monday morning,  I could do it.

So on Sunday night, I went to bed ready, really ready for Monday to come so that I  could get down to continue the unfinished blogging business from the weekend.

And when Monday came, I was really ready. I woke up at 5 AM, showered, ate my  breakfast of champions: Oatmeal with Blueberries, and sat down in my office chair. Yes! “This feels right!” “I’m going to get so much done!”I thought to myself as I turned on my  computer.

I started by working on an overdue post on marriages post-children and then observed,  casually, that my computer only had a 10% charge. Now, this wouldn’t have been a  problem if my computer charger were in “good” condition, but it wasn’t, mostly as the result of it being Nya’s toy for one too many months. 

After weeks of having issues sustaining a charge, I had learned that to use my  charger, I had to twist, turn, blow on it, pray on it for it to work. And, I did all  this, this Monday morning, however, it didn’t work. It (the charger) died (officially pronounced at 7 AM. Yes, I kept at it for 2 hours) and so did my list of oh so
important blogging tasks.

By 7:30 AM, my 10% charge was depleted along with my hope to conquer some of my elephant  to-do list.

I was devastated. I felt as if the world were going to end.

I wanted to cry, and just be miserable the whole day, but I couldn’t. My daughter, who woke up around 8 AM, and my other, unwritten to-do list of laundry, dishes, and  errands wouldn’t let me.

In spite of my disappointment, I had to keep going.

And, keep going, I did.

Instead of editing pictures, tweeting, or editing posts during my daughter’s nap, I took a much needed catnap and managed to write this post by hand (i.e., with paper and pen) when I awoke.

And, I survived, survived much of my day (until my husband returned from work with his computer) without my beloved laptop, my blogging weapon of choice.

And, the sky didn’t fall because I couldn’t check things off my list.

Really.

While very stressed out yesterday morning at the thought of not being able to follow  through with my original plans, it all worked out in the end.

And through the experience, I learned something.

I learned how important it is in life to not allow what’s not working or what’s broken or what’s lost (and this could be anything, a relationship, a job, a charger) to overshadow the things that are. I was reminded of how important it is to be open to (and receptive of) changed plans, other options, and alternatives. 

My blogging to-do list is still long, but that’s OK. I know that I’ll conquer it in time.

***

Anyone else have a blogging to-so list? Has failed technology stood in a way of you accomplishing things on that list? 

***

Oh, and until my new charger gets here (and because I refuse to use my smart phone), I’ll be mostly “out-of-commission” during the day. Still, feel free to contact me by email or twitter or through a comment. I’ll be sure to respond as soon as I can.

An experiment in doing it all (I’m a stay at home mom, again)

Before motherhood, I had read much about how to balance it all, or the marriage, children, job, and sexy figure. “It will be tough,” they often said, “but, you can do it. It can be done.”

I guess in choosing to take on “it all,” you could say that I believed them, or the voices that said it could be done.

The stakes, it seemed, of not believing, or not being able to balance it all as a woman in the 21st century appeared too high. So, I gave “it all” a try. I worked a full time job, breastfed, rocked, and burped a child, exercised every other day of the week, and remained married, all evidence that it all was possible.Image result for stay at home mom

“Yes! I did it,” I told myself in the first few weeks of my project of “it all.” “I did it all.”

(sigh)

When times got tough, I stuck it out, convinced that was what any woman who wanted it all would (and should) do. I found “strength” in the images of those celebrity moms who managed it all so easily.

The wrench in my plans of continuing to do it all came soon after my proclamation of “success.”

Fatigue.

I was tired, dead tired.

Doing it all, as I assumed everyone else was doing it, was exhausting. I couldn’t think straight. My skin seemed to show premature signs of aging. I found another gray hair. I sometimes forgot my keys atop my car when taking trips with Nya to Target. Oh, and doing it all was also expensive, what with childcare, convenient foods to save time, and creams to mask those aging eyes.

Despite these inconvenient truths of doing it all, I wanted to continue to prove to myself that if anyone could it, I could. I wanted to set an example for my daughters (and sons). I wanted to know that on my grave someone could engrave “She was the woman who did it all!”

So, I went on until I could no longer fool myself into believing that everything was ok beneath my picture of “having it all.”

No longer fooled, I changed my mind about having it all and gave a big part of my picture of “it all” up, namely my job.

So, I write this in the same place that I started this job as a stay at home mom with a renewed sense of what having it all really means. (sigh)

My statement on being a stay at home mom

It’s one question that used to make me sweat profusely and get all hot and bothered. Asked with an ease and nonchalance, “So, what are you doing now?” The one doing the asking, of course, is employed, my age, and interested in knowing my career status. “What are you doing now?”

(sigh)

For some reason, even writing it out makes me cringe.Image result for My statement on being a stay at home mom

While perfectly OK with being a stay-at-home mom on most days, whenever asked about my career status (or lack thereof) I once got defensive, very defensive. No. I didn’t sound defensive or even look it. I just felt it (or defensive.)

“I’m raising my daughter!” There, is that what you wanted to hear?!? (deep breath)

Of course not.

To most of my twenty-something, college graduate peers on the up-and-up in their careers, the thought of leaving a job to stay home with a child is mostly unfathomable.

I know because I once thought my current life circumstance unfathomable for any woman of “promise.” So, my old thoughts on the matter drove my insecurity in twenty-something settings. If attending a friend’s engagement party, I would wonder, “Will they ask what I do for a living?” “Will there be an awkward silence when I respond honestly.” “Will they somehow think less of me for choosing this path?”

And, there would always be an awkward silence, then tripping over words to cover the silence, words about “daycare being expensive” or something else about it being good that we’re able to afford all that we have on one income or “good for you!”

****
Making the decision to be a stay at home mom is tough and was tough for me. Most women, myself included, don’t as young girls, imagine that they will grow up to wipe their children’s butts all day and have to schedule in “lunch times.”  Most women, no, most human beings who have worked in their life find earning an income and receiving favorable performance reviews empowering.

But many women do choose, in becoming mothers, to become stay at home moms, not because they can’t do anything else or because their husband’s put them up to it, but because they’ve decided that they’d rather stay home. And, there’s nothing wrong with that or with mothers who choose to go to work each day. It’s their choice. Both realities are tough and come with their share of sacrifices. Trust me, I know.

In becoming a stay at home mom, I’ve learned these truths, and it is these truths that I’d most like to get stamped on a card or maybe even a flyer that I can then give to anyone who asks what I am doing now. I’m doing what I think is best for me and my family right now. Please, don’t judge me for that.

This is supposed to be a rant from a stay at home mom feeling misunderstood or unappreciated, but it may appear that way and for that, I apologize.

Moms who work inside and outside of the home for pay or not, what do you wish to tell the world about your lived reality as a “working” woman? Please use the comment field to speak your mind to the world.

10 Lessons Learned about Starting Babies on Solids

For today’s edition of Babyology, I thought I’d offer ten lessons/tips that I have learned about starting infants on solids.

1. In the beginning, it takes 15 or so tries of giving a baby a new food before you can definitively know their opinion on it. After three “unsuccessful” tries and pureed sweet potatoes down the drain, I concluded “Oh, she must hate sweet potatoes.” This “truth,” of course, set in my motherhood paranoia and led me down a mental trip of guilt of her one day becoming that “chubby kid” who only ate McDonalds and couldn’t make it up the hill at camp. (sigh). Over time, I realized in giving her the same foods other and other again that it wasn’t that she didn’t like, for instance sweet potatoes. It was just that sweet potatoes and all the other weird veggies that I was giving her were so different from breastmilk. Once she became used to the texture, taste, smell of these veggies, she loved them. Now that she is older, it is much easier to introduce her to new solids.

2. Solids are ok.  I was (and still am) in denial about my daughter’s interest in solids. I have to tell myself often that in her starting solids, it does not mean that she is rejecting me as her “other food source.”

3. Spoons are weird objects to a baby. Can you imagine someone attempting to shove an unfamiliar object into your mouth? (I hope you answered “no” to this one.) Whenever I would give Nya solids in the beginning, she would attempt to wrestle the spoon out of my hand. I would like to say that she was always unsuccessful in her attempts, but, hey, even for a six month old, she is a strong girl with a very good grip. Once I figured out how weird having a spoon in your mouth for the first time could be, I made an effort to first get her used to the idea. When giving solids, I would take out two spoons, one for her to play around with in her mouth and another for me to use to feed. I also randomly gave her spoons throughout the day for her to play with. She now is less interested in grabbing the spoon and understands that spoons are ok to go in the mouth.

4. Do not give solids on carpeted surfaces. I learned this one the hard way. In the beginning, I thought it would be a good idea to just put Nya in her Bumbo seat in our carpeted living room for each meal. By the end of each meal, needless to say, there would be stains, crumbs, spit up in the surrounding area. If you do feed your baby on carpeted surfaces, use a tarp or towel beneath where the baby is sitting.

5. Babies like peas. Peas were the first (and I think only) food that Nya liked on the first try. If you are not having much success with the standard sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas, or applesauce, give peas a try.

6. Be prepared for stinkier, thicker poop. I miss the days of Nya’s exclusively breastfed poop. In one of my fondest memories in the beginning of her life were changing her very mustard colored, vanilla cake mix smelling poop. (sigh) I can’t say that her poop rivals that released by my uncle after thanksgiving dinner, but it is definitely more smelly than before. The consistency of her poop has also changed from runny yogurt to thick toothpaste/peanut butter.

7. Your baby will always seem more interested in what you are eating than what they have in their colorful bowls. Even if it is the same thing (albeit pureed beyond recognition from its original form).

8. Water proof plastic bibs are the way to go! I used to used the cloth bibs that you can buy in bulk from Babies R’ Us. That is until I realized, as a result of a “necessary” trip to Target, that some genius had invented an alternative. The plastic bibs are easier to clean and seem to “catch” more food.

9. When using solids to complement nursing, it is easiest to create a flexible schedule for yourself. Before creating a schedule, I could never figure out when to offer solids. I always worried that I was feeding her too much or not enough. I used this schedule by mother-2-mother as my guide and revised it to my liking.

10. Make your own rules! Go with what works for your baby. Don’t worry as much about how things should be.

As Nya matures, I continue to learn more and more solids. She is now eating veggie and fruit-based purees, oatmeal, and cereal but I plan to incorporate more textures and protein.

What lessons have you learned about giving solids? What foods did your children enjoy?