Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cloth Diapering Info

It is sort of hard to weed through the information and figure out exactly how many diapers you will need and which types you will like. It sort of takes some getting used to in the beginning but then you catch on quickly.

How many will you need?

Babies nurse a lot in the early months and they eliminate very frequently – like every 20 minutes they can go pee and they poo about 5 times a day until 3-5 months. We were diligent about changing Jonah’s diapers and were using around 12-14 a day with a diaper service.

Most people typically recommend 2-3 dozen diapers depending on how frequently you want to do washing. I have 28 diapers and I wash just about every other day – we switched to using our own cloth prefold diapers a year ago because they are thicker and washing them didn’t seem like a big deal.

If you use prefolds then you will need to purchase covers as well, about 4-6 covers should be enough, you let them air out in-between uses and don’t need to wash them until they are soiled or smell. We also used a Snappi ( which helps contain poop and holds the diaper on better than just the cover – but you can just use the cover.

We recommend doing a little elimination communication because it was really nice to not have to contend with that many poopy diapers – he just went in the toilet or potty. (infant potty learning -

Diaper Care

To keep your diapers clean and smelling nice, mostly you just have to do an extra rinse cycle when washing diapers and then just follow the care instructions for the type of diaper you are using (for hot or warm water requirements).

Breastfed baby poo doesn’t smell that much and you don’t have to do anything special to the diapers, you can just keep them in a bucket with water until you are ready to wash – or even just toss them in the pail/bag with the other wet diapers.

Usually you will have the best results with a more ecological washing powder – no perfumes or softeners as they can cause irritation and make the diapers less absorbent.

Some Popular Diaper Brands

Links - example photos using prefold diapers – discussion forum

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fibroid Embolization (UFE/UAE) - Finding an Interventional Radiologist

I just did a search of my blog and couldn't find any info (though I know I researched it) related to how to find an interventional radiologist (IR) if you are interested in UFE/UAE. Here are some links to learn more:

ASK4UFE IR Locator

Society of Interventional Radiologist - Doctor Finder

Here's an informational link about UFE and fibroid treatment options:
Uterine Fibroid Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Why nurse past a year?

These are some of the reasons why I continue to nurse my baby, now 22 months old. I manage to do this in spite of working 3/4 time out of home.


Human babies are designed to nurse until at least 2.5 years.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for AT LEAST a year; a year being the minimum recommended.

The WHO recommends for AT LEAST two years, noting that not doing so increases the health risks to the infant.

Some 80% of brain development occurs during the first two years. Recent studies are also pointing out the affect of nursing duration on behavioral development. Wouldn't you want to give your baby the best nutrition possible during this critical time?

Nursing is tied to decreased disease risk for women. The longer you do it, the more the benefit. A total win-win.

Here are some sites with helpful information for learning more about the benefits of extending nursing past the first year:

Handling criticism about breastfeeding

Nursing After the First Year

Not Just for Babies: 10 Good Reasons to Breastfeed Your Toddler


Our nursing schedule at 21 months is:

after dinner

He's dropped a couple sessions since earlier in the year. I'm always confused when women post online to say they are only nursing 2-4 times a day -- I don't see how that is possible without purposeful nudging but then again my little one does love nursing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

miscarriage as a process

I read someone's comment to my miscarriage tips post today and it got me thinking. In having been through two miscarriages, and recalling the fearful period between knowing it has failed and actually miscarrying, that it is important to understand the process.

I think miscarriage is something you have to go THROUGH. It isn't like pullIng out stitches while sewing, or hitting undo on the computer. The process of becoming pregnant and then unpregnant do not mirror each other. There are some hormones common to each, but chemicals and processes unique to each.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

My diaper bags

We've used only bags we already owned for hauling around diapers and other essentials.

Bag #1 - Oilcloth bag bought in Amsterdam in 2003
Kitsch Kitchen Messenger Bag in Patchwork

Tote from LoveShine that was a gift from a friend (different pattern)

Eddie Bauer Backpack - purchased on sale (for $20) years ago, which I use mostly for travel

We have also used other various tote bags when needed. We never did the $70+ mothership route in this regard.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Dairy Not So Good

My baby had a suspected dairy sensitivity but it has morphed into a full on case of eczema now. We're doing elimination and some probiotics and I'm hoping to see a change for the better soon. My sister is allergic to cow's milk so that is a possiblity.

You might want to check out this articles about the not so good things about dairy:

Milk: Does it Really Do a Body Good?

These links are more about organic vs. regular american production of aairy:
Seven Reasons Why Kids Should Drink Organic Milk

Organic Dairy Production

This site talks about rBST and I found this:
Milk from rBST-treated cows contains higher concentrations of IGF-I. The importance of the increased amounts of IGF-I in milk from rBST-treated cows is uncertain. The amount of IGF-I ingested in 1 liter of milk approximates the amount of IGF-I in saliva swallowed daily by adults. Young children and infants already ingest IGF-I in commercially available cows' milk or in mother's milk. Whether the small additional amount of IGF-I in milk from rBST-treated cows has a significant local effect on the esophagus, stomach, or intestine is unknown. The gut of the very young infant is an immature organ that can absorb intact proteins, although in relatively small amounts. However, most infants are either breast fed or fed commercially prepared infant formulas that contain no more than trace amounts of IGF-I or growth hormone.

So they basically don't know the affects of the hormones on very small children. Other portions of that site talk about other differences in milk between humans and cows and rBST treated cows.

When I was doing research into the affects of estrogen on cyclic breast pain (mastalgia) I came across tons of more links related to hormonal induction of milk in cows using estrogens. The residues can appear in meat and dairy products I believe. This page lists a ton of papers related to hormones in the food we eat and affects on health (beyond the topic of breast cancer)

Environmental Estrogens

I gathered these links about environmental estrogens (xenestrogens) some time ago. I saw an online discussion about precocious puberty but realized that I didn't have anything up to share. Hope these are helpful for you. They are pertinent for fibroid treatment, infertility and cancer/precancerous diet clean-up as well.

Are Plastic Bowls and Plastic Wraps Microwave Safe?

The perils of plastic: your cling wrap could be leaching chemicals

Is It Unhealthy To Reuse A Plastic Water Bottle? [this is from way before the recent concerns raised about BPA]

That plastic water bottle's taste

Our Stolen Future -- companion website to the book that raises concerns about environmental contaminants and our health

Pew Charitable Trusts - Environmental Health
The Kid-Safe Chemicals Act: Protecting the Most Vulnerable

Xenoestrogens the cause of Cervical Dysplasia

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Eczema - some success

My brother and sister had bad eczema when they were growing up so I was used to it and not alarmed when my baby got a little. It was barely anything and didn't itch him so I just left it alone. Then it flared up and I made an appt with our ped who is also an ND and we went last week. That wasn't helpful at all as all she did was ask me a little bit about his diet and tell me to put on a cream like Eucerin.

What I knew from my brother and sister is that eczema:
* is related to food allergies
* can be hard to treat
* oil of primrose and vitamin E can help sometimes
* hydrocortisone is often prescribed (but didn't seem to be an answer in itself)

I went home and read up all my alternative medicine books and looked at some links as well, guided in part by a report from someone on my neighborhood parenting list (elsewhere) about probiotics helping her little one with eczema.

What I learned from reading was that eczema:
* has been linked with a reaction to an overgrowth of certain bacteria in the gut
* is often found in individuals who later go on to have allergies such as hay fever (nothing more serious than that)
* can be related to zinc deficiency sometimes
* is often related to common allergies -- peanuts, eggs, milk, orange juice, etc.
* can have some improvement from increasing omega-3 intake
* that promoting good bacteria (through injesting certain strains and helper strains) can help readjust the gut flora
* can improve when you eliminate simple carbs (refined wheat products, sugar, juices)
* can benefit from diet changes similar to what one does to try to heal from yeast infections (stay away from sugar, fermented foods, etc.)

I stumbled a little with the diet, so my sitter and I started keeping a log and I helped give her more direction on what to feed him so he wasn't just eating carbs with her. We also cut back on juice and dairy some. I also bought some fish oil, probiotic meant for children 0-5 years, and sunflower seeds.

I also tried putting a lotion on his rash that he was fine with previously on winter dry skin but on the eczema it made the rash get worse. Eczema is akin to broken skin so don't make that mistake. You can use Eucerin, Aquaphor, Vasoline, or even lanolin to help keep it covered.

After a week of treatment it is finally starting to heal up. I've been thinking about what caused it to flare and I think it was related to his love of gorgonzola cheese. He had some earlier in the month and it was a particularly bloomy one and I think it threw things off in his system a little.

I just wanted to share in case this helps anyone else.

Monday, September 29, 2008

19.5 months -- a little breakthrough

I wanted to give an update on our progress, or lack thereof, as we have been in an extended potty pause.

I've been continuing to offer with no pressure just things like:

"Let me know if you need to go potty"
"Here is where the potty is. If you need to go just let me know"
"We don't pee [whereever the miss was]. We pee in the potty"

I really can't thank my local diaper-free baby group enough for the knowledge that this is just how things can progress and we're not doing anything wrong. It has been so helpful to understand that he is reorganizing himself. In some ways I wonder if I would have been as tuned in to this big developmental reorganization stages (and others prior) without practicing E.C. -- it gives such a clear view into the complex changes our little ones are going through.

So anyway, last night when he was in his bath I reminded him not to pee in the bath, and he pointed to the potty to let me know that was where to go. After I got him dried off and dressed he was passing gas and I asked him if he had to go potty, if he had to have a poo and he answered "Dat." Which meant yes, I got it spot on. I said let's go and then he headed down the hall and went to the toilet.

I helped him get the seat reducer in place and he indicated that he wanted me to help him undress (and with some urgency). I helped him on the toilet and after a few minutes he went and announced "I-doot" which for Jonah means "I did it". I double-checked and he told me he was all done. He barely let me wipe him off, almost like he thought that if he hadn't soiled himself he didn't need to be cleaned off. It was all good though. I'm so pleased but I tried not to make too much of it. He seemed pleased with himself as well.

I was reminded of our early successes which started with #2 so I'm
feeling like maybe soon we will have a bit of a renaissance.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Jonah had his fashionably late 18 month WBV on Monday and here are his stats -- 31 lbs, 35" long and 51 cm head circumference. He's around 95 percentile except for his head which is greater than. Jonah has started extending into size 3 now. I'm amazed at how much he has grown.

Even though he had a minor head cold I opted to get him his final Hib and polio shots as we are working on our very delayed schedule. I asked the nurse about giving him Tylenol after we got home as he had a bad reaction to the Hib the first time and she said no. A few hours later and it was the same deal of a baby in pain and crying for hours. Dumbass nurse. Last time I listen to her. I also asked the doc (a P.A. who is also an ND) about his touch of eczema and she told me to put Eucerin on it. Um yeah, like I could figure that out . I wasn't that impressed. I have some natural medicine books and so I'm going to try my own approach to it including fish oil supplement, some diet modifications, probiotics and yes, some topical cream (but not hydrocortisone).

We had our first day back at our class at the community college today and after a little initial hesitation, Jonah got familiar with the surroundings and toys again. Almost 75% of our class was in it last Spring so that's nice for me and for Jonah for developing friendships. Boy how the babies have changed -- there were toys everywhere. They pulled everything down off all the shelves and then some. When we started in Jan., Jonah was still crawling. This evening I can see a little change in his demeanor -- we went to a restaurant with a play area and he finally wasn't so shy about playing there around the other kids. My partner is going to take him to a music class on Monday mornings. It is more creative music rather than learning how to play.

Jonah has his own guitar, I don't know if I mentioned it. My partner got it for him in Peru last Christmas. It is a mini-guitar, a real one. He has been getting more into it lately. He hands it to me and I strum the strings and sing Old Mac Donald and Oh Susanna and he thinks it is great (even though I'm not really playing the song). I want to encourage him to explore and play. He also has his dad play for him, more fancy classical fingerwork stuff.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I took Jonah in for a check- up yesterday and it went all right. He didn't like being undressed while they measured him at all and he was ready to go before the doc even came into see us. "All done" he said emphatically while trying to push me to get up to leave, as the doc came in and sat down. I had to help her hold the stethoscope in place so she could check his heart and lungs.

I mentioned his recent eczema flare-up and she just suggested using Eucerin on it. I was hoping for something a little more thoughtful than that as she is a naturopath as well. I'm going to try some other things on my own, including consulting my ND books.

I opted to have his third and final polio and Hib shots given even though he has a cold. He did good and didn't cry or anything. Stupid Hib though, just like the first time, about four hours after he was in a lot of pain at the injection site. I asked the assistant who gave the shot about giving him some Tylenol and she said it wasn't necessary. She also went on about how Tylenol was not an anti- inflammatory, only Motron was. Whatever, it says on the label that it is a pain reliever, I checked when I gave him some.

The poor baby came into the kitchen as I was finishing dinner and gestured that he had a boo-boo, that he hurt his leg and wanted a kiss. At first I thought he bumped himself but then I realized it was his shot. He was so upset that it wouldn't stop hurting him and he kept crying and saying "all done" because he wanted it to stop hurting. It makes me sad to think of it. It was hard to get him to sleep after that as he was so agitated. I think the Tylenol did finally take the edge off some. It should feel better for him in the morning.

When we did go to bed finally be pushed for me not to lay next to him so I put a pillow on that side and got in on the opposite side of the bed. Not sure what was up with that. Now I'm up in the middle of the night and starving so I'll have to get up and grab something, perhaps a bowl of cereal.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I was thinking over the weekend about the presidential race. I was talking to someone at work about how we don't feel that Obama has really reached out for our support and that stuck with me. Why do I feel this way and what would it take to change it.

I thought about all the news and commentary I've been reading, about how in some regards Obama and McCain's policy directions and positions aren't always that far apart. So I thought some more... what did I care about as a woman? What would make me feel more excited about Obama and his "pro-woman" agenda? Here's what I came up with:

Work with Congress to pass the late Stephanie Tubbs-Jones Fibroid Research and Education Act. This has been stalled out in committee for years and yet it is so needed. Fibroids affecting between 25-80% of all women (and their families), and a disproportionate amount of women of African-American descent. This would be great for women and it would also be a nice gesture in remembrance of Tubbs-Jones legacy.

Work to better support women who want to breastfeed
Breastfeeding and working is a hard deal, not impossible but surely challenging for the best of us. Greater flexibility in working arrangements, possibly thought family leave, could help more women be able to offer their children this best start in life. Since Obama says he's for preventative health care, this is the best preventative care option around. (see the Breastfeeding Promotion Act)

Provide mandatory access to optional supplementary insurance plans to cover infertility treatments
After trying so long for my own child, I was lucky enough that my particular condition (fibroids) fell within the purview of my health insurance coverage. Also, I was able to conceive on my own after a good stint of work with alternative care providers. Many couples aren't so lucky and for them assisted reproduction is the best path towards achieving a successful pregnancy yet most health insurance plans don't cover these treatments. The plans themselves would be optional and supplementary, sort of like how you can get a catastrophic plan in case of disability/dismemberment. Since insurance is currently handled on a state by state basis, federal plans would have to be put in place to incentivize the creation of these plans. See Family Building Act of 2007

Expand support for small businesses to offer childcare benefits
I looked into it for our business and there is a federal tax break for offering a childcare benefit but it wasn't that comprehensive. Perhaps the tax break is enough but additional support for how to structure the benefits could go a long way to helping more families out. (see Employer-Supported Child Care and Starting Early Starting Right Act)

How about increasing support for HeadStart programming?

Expanding surviving widows to claim a greater portion of their deceased husband social security?

I'm going to keep thinking of other things that might fall on my women's agenda. Add your ideas as well -- what can the government do to help you meet your priorities?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The last issue of Mothering Magazine mentioned that co-sleeping and breastfeeding work together are the best combo as the mother and infant get into the same sleep rhythms.


Helen Ball, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and director of the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab at Durham University, UK, discovered some significant differences between these two groups in research published in 2004 and 2005. Ball's observations were consistent with the observations of previous sleep-lab studies in regard to mother-infant bed-sharing behaviors. Significant differences were found, however, between formula and breastfed infants. Breastfeeding mothers shared a bed with their infants in a characteristic manner that provides several safety benefits. For example, their sleep positions are oriented to one another, and they experience synchronous arousal during sleep; that is, they wake up spontaneously at the same time for feedings. Formula-feeding mothers, on the other hand, shared a bed in a more variable and thus unpredictable manner, with possible negative consequences for infant safety.

From: Who Wants to Sleep Alone?
Issue 149 - July/August 2008
by Peggy O'Mara, Editor and Publisher

Try a search on for articles about "cosleep", this one is also quite good:

Breastfeeding & Bedsharing Still Useful (and Important) after All These Years
By James J. McKenna
Issue 114 September/October 2002
My little guy knows how to use the potty as we started doing EC with him from 9 weeks old. He's recently entered the next phase of cognitive development and now won't use the toilet at all. Even though he hasn't forgotten, it is as if his mind is having a hard time managing his need to have control over when he goes with his body's need to go if that makes any sense.

I've had to just back off and accept that as he continues to develop and mature that things change. I always knew that there was going to be some transistion between my offering and him being potty-trained. I still have no idea how it will play out but after 14 months of success I'm having no pottying successes and lots of poopy diapers (where I used to have one a month!) Eventually he will get there; synchronizing need, want, action, anticipation, etc. I can't make it happen for him.

Here's some info from Diaperaps about Potty Training that I reference now and again. We use their training pants on Jonah:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Breastfeeding and Cavities -- AAP says no correlation

I found this a couple weeks ago and thought that it might be useful for others. One of my BG friends said her doc told her to stop night nursing to prevent cavities... but the AAP report didn't find a correlation...

Association Between Infant Breastfeeding and Early Childhood Caries in the United States


These data provide no evidence that breastfeeding or its duration are independently associated with an increased risk for ECC, S-ECC, or a greater number of decayed or filled tooth surfaces among children ages 2 to 5 years in the United States. In contrast, they corroborate that children living in poverty and Mexican American children are at increased risk for poor oral health in the early years, and they indicate that maternal smoking is another such potential risk factor. Clearly, there is a need for more research to identify specific characteristics of poverty and Mexican American ethnicity that contribute to or cause ECC, and the same applies to children prenatally or postnatally exposed to cigarette smoke. Despite the need for more understanding of how these factors may be causally related to ECC, the findings reported do not indicate any reason to delay action to improve the oral health of children. Rather, they highlight the need to target children living in poverty, those who are Mexican American, and those whose mothers smoke or smoked during pregnancy for timely caries risk assessment and regular preventive dental visits.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I've been super busy with work lately and I'm super run down. My partner and I are trying to figure out how to get me some down time as I'm absolutely bleary eyed.

Part of it is Jonah too. He's been going through some serious separation anxiety, only wanting mama and that has been making it hard for me to take a break and take care of myself. He's also thoroughly off pottying at the moment which is adding to the fun. I'm guessing its a bunch of things that aren't working for him but I'm not sure how much I can accomodate his needs right now due to work demands. I'm doing my best. He does get to nurse during the day and still sleeps with me so it isn't like he is being deprived.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Breech Delivery Notes

I saw on the Business of Being Born Facebook group that Gina was having a rough time of it with her doctor about her baby being breech at 37 weeks.

I was reminded of Coyote Medicine, Lewis Mehl-Madrona's book where he talks about breech delivery and how it requires a lot of patience but there is no reason it can't be successful much of the time.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Last night Jonah couldn't get to sleep so finally at 10pm, just as the fireworks were about to get started (they start late here in Seattle due to it being lighter at night at our higher latitude), we decided to just go with the flow and took him to the park down the street to see his first fireworks. He had on his pajamas, slippers and a wool sweater. He snacked on cereal while we watched the exposions and kept signing "more". They were far enough away that the loug bangs didn't scare him. Finally we got him to bed at 11pm.

Here are some of his latest accomplishments:

* getting in and out of his little car by himself (facing the correct way)
* sitting on the bottom step of the stairs to have his shoes put on (he's liking sitting on anything his height right now)
* turning around in circles
* giving hugs to us and his stuffed animals, he's also started giving kisses again (he had stopped for a good long while)
* putting keys into keyholes -- he will go into our downstairs bathroom and close the door and practice putting a key into the keyhole (no chance of him locking himself in, the keyhold is huge and old and the key he is using is short and small)
* walking backwards

That's all that I can think of right now. He's becoming a total little kid now.

Monday, June 23, 2008

He's been off pottying a bit since being sick for a few weeks. If I'm able to give him more attention then I can potty him around 5 times a day. I've been way too busy to do so lately though, catching up after all that illness.
I've been super swamped at work and before that Jonah and I (and my partner) were sick for a few weeks. I just learned on Friday that we likely had Adenovirus. We are recovered finally.

The funny thing is that since he has been feeling better Jonah seems to have grown a bit and his appetite is up as well. He is working on his canines and first molars at the same time right now. I think he has gotten one little bit of one of the molars broken through. He hasn't had any new teeth in since February when he got his 8th tooth. I'm thinking in the next few weeks there should be a lot more.

I feel like I can barely keep up as I've been having to work so much and the work just keeps piling on. Jonah has just started getting into that stage where he is dragging stuff all over the house so it feels cluttered at home -- on top of any housework that needs tending to as well. I told my partner that we will just have to live with it for a few more weeks as we are smack in the middle of our busy season and we are also moving into a new office next weekend.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Sick, sick, sick

My nose is dripping as I write this. Baby and I have the flu. We had a cold last weekend and the week before that I had a sinus infection. This is no fun. I think we caught the flu from my partner who thought he had our cold but this is definately a little flu-like bug and we only had a head cold before.

Poor baby has been really feeling poorly. Diarrhea, a cough, and a bit lethargic today with a running nose. At the end of last week he had a fever that lasted a few days as well, along with vomiting and diarrhea. I'm thinking that it is just a mish-mash of viruses. I asked our sitter and she confirmed that she had not been washing his hands after they went to the park so that might be one way that we are all getting exposed. It seems as though there are a series of bugs working their way through Seattle at the moment.

The good thing is that with the continued nursing I can help my little baby both stay hydrated and fed even when he isn't really hungry for solid food. Nursing also provides him with extra cuddles and comfort when he isn't feeling good. I really see the value in nursing past a year. Honestly, my whole take on babyhood is that infancy lasts through at least the first two years.

The other thing that I think about is how the American Academy of Pediatrics says to nurse for at least a year -- that's at the minimum. The World Health Organization, not known for being a really progressive organization, advocates nursing for at least the first two years. Still so many women abandon nursing after one calendar year feeling like they put their time in. We are mammals though and isn't that what mammals do -- nurse their young? It seems crazy to me that gorillas and bears take better, more instinctive care of their young than we do as humans.

We were watching a program on cable this evening, about gorillas in captivity in comparison to the wild. The zoologists have been spending a lot of time trying to help support nature behavior and development in their captive populations. Makes me wonder what a human habitat would look like. Not our post-modern industrial homes but something that would support our natural behavior and development. I guess I would start by looking to what more simplistic societies do. Then maybe take a cue from camping. It sure as heck wouldn't involve including cribs for the babies.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

References to Fertility while Breastfeeding

I was reading a bit of this book, Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers at my BIL's while away last weekend and came across a section about fertility while breast feeding.

Apparently researchers studying hunter/gatherer groups of humans noticed 3-4 years child-spacing for mothers. At first they thought it was due to poor diet but that wasn't true. Finally they realized it was due to the extended, readily available, nursing on demand, done by the mothers of their babies until about 3yrs. It talked more about how prolactin works to prohibit progesterone from functioning properly during the LP which inhibits implantation. It also mentions that the reason BF as contraception fails for some is that Western moms try to feed on a schedule rather than on-demand which compromises the effect of the hormones released during nursing.

Makes me think I might be in for a little bit longer ride if I'm not going to wean....

That said, Jonah is almost 16 months now and recently he has shifted his nursing behavior some. He has cut back a bit and while he will reach for the girls if he wants to nurse he will equally pull my shirt down when he is finished and say "alllll done! allllll done1"

Also, another gal in a group I'm on came across a reference to a greater chance of twins for conceptions while nursing. Something like 12 times more likely to have twins. Evidently it is partly the effect of lower blood calcium levels in nursing moms as well as a higher level of FSH also due to nursing.

(The higher FSH must be our brains yelling at our ovaries over the sound of the prolactin.)

Share Your Co-sleeping Story

I came across this on the forums tonight. It seems interesting to try to counter negative comments and attitudes towards co-sleeping. I wish it was a little more scientific in its approach but it was nice to read the affirmative comments from the participants.

Co-sleeping Survey Logo

Monday, May 26, 2008

Fertility While Nursing

I found this a couple weeks ago and it explains rather reasonably how fertility returns post-partum, while breastfeeding:

The greatest level of suppression is not ovulating, but as your prolactin levels go up, your fertility will gradually return. First you will ovulate, but not have the proper hormone levels for fertilization; then you will ovulate and fertilization may occur, but you still may not have the proper hormone levels for implantation; finally, you may ovulate, be fertilized, and implant, but not have the proper hormone levels for continuing the pregnancy, so you have a very early miscarriage, probably along the lines of minutes or hours after implantation, so you wouldn't know you had been pregnant. It is also possible to ovulate without having the right hormonal levels in the right combinations for the uterus to have been preparing for implantation, so yes, it is possible to ovulate without menstruating. For all of these stages, there seems to be incredible individual variation between women. Some women get pregnant again the first time they ovulate, with no intervening menstrual periods. I knew a woman in Indiana years ago who had three children in six years with no menstrual periods! Her doctor couldn't figure out when to predict her due date

The author, Kathy Dettwyler, has studied a lot of different aspect of nursing. Her site is pretty interesting to poke around:

I found her mentions about the natural ages of weaning amongst other large mammals to be affirming of what I have been observing with my little one.

I love E.C.

This morning I was getting dressed and I heard the baby walk down the hall from his room. I called to him to see where he was and then found him holding onto the toilet seat. He looked up at me and signed for "more" and then I got him undressed and set him on his seat reducer and he proceeded to have a big poop. Yeah for no poopy diapers! Yeah for baby!

The no poopy diapers is pretty commonplace but the baby initiated trips to the bathroom are still relatively new. We invested in a second toilet seat reducer and a foldable seat for use when we are out. The foldable seat has come in handy and the second seat means that we are totally ready whenever he is.

We have a sitter come help care for the baby a few afternoons a week now as I need to get more work done and baby is ready for more than just hanging with mom and dad at the office. He will potty for her as well which is super and great for her as well as no one likes to change a poopy diaper.

Live and Learn

I've been going through my posts from 2005, the time between my myo and TTC again and then my second miscarriage. In there I found a reference I made to having headaches in my luteal phase, and for some reason I made the connection to them being related to prolactin levels. The reason this seems so odd to me is that in the middle of my past luteal phase I also had a killer headache, and since I'm nursing prolactin is easily related, though I'm not sure. That was the cycle I tried Vitex and while a little helped a lot, more didn't help at all, it rather delayed my ovulation.

Now that I'm TTC while nursing my cycles are a little more unpredicatable. I was loosely charting the start of my period since I first got my first post-partum AF in September. I've just started using Ovusoft's Taking Charge of Your Fertility software again to track it in a little more finer detail. I'm just tracking symptoms but not yet have I delved into basel temp taking. I know my little guy would be fascinated by the beeping of the thermometer and want to take it out of my mouth so I don't know that it would be a practical thing to do while co-sleeping. I also pulled out my fertility monitor from the back of the closet and took a look at it again. It might come in handy though now my thought is of all those little plastic sticks and their foil envelopes and the impact on the environment.

I'm trying to be diligent about taking my prenatal vitamins as you are supposed to do while nursing. I try to eat a balanced diet, eating a good 3-4 meals a day plus snacks to keep my calorie count up for nursing. The baby is growing well and my energy level has been good so I think we are doing okay in that regard. My partner is back taking Acetyl-l-Carnetine and Arginine again, plus his daily vitamin. We held off on grape seed extract for now and we have talked about getting some more Preseed again, that's the really expensive lube that doesn't hurt the sperm. I think one of the cheapest places to get that is through Ovusoft

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Trying Not to Relive the Past...

I recently switched to the newer version of Blogger and I'm trying to help improve access to my earlier blog postings by adding in tags. I started at the oldest posts and was working my way forward but I hit the ones around my first pregnancy -- which is now 4 years later (amazing that it is so far behind me now) -- and I feel like it is going to be tough to categorize those really well. I think I'm going to have to just quickly tag and move on those loss posts and not get too particular about what I'm writing about in the individual ones -- it is a little too sensitive for me to read through them again.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Possible Signs of Pending Ovulation
* Slightly more "in the mood"
* About that time based on past cycles
* Nipples start to hurt while nursing
* Slightly irritable
* Hair and skin start to get oily, chance of a pimple or two
* Feeling a little more damp than usual (CM)
* Feeling a little softened up during BD

Signs that Ovulation Might Have Occured
* Feeling slightly more irritable
* Even more oily hair and skin
* More pimples showing up
* Can't find a thing to wear that I like

* Headache mid-LP
* Not "in the mood" really
* Slightly drier
* Possibly having odd waves of CM (damp/not so damp)
* Nipples hurt slightly less
* It is about that time based on past cycle
* AF shows up

Thursday, May 08, 2008

New Mom's - Watch Out for "Mommy Thumb" (deQuervain's Tendonitis)

You can put yourself at risk of developing repetitive stress injuries if you don't pick up your baby properly.

deQuervain's Tendonitis

New mothers are especially prone to this type of tendonitis: caring for an infant often creates awkward hand positioning, and hormonal fluctuations associated with pregnancy and nursing further contribute to its occurrence.

Last April (my baby was 2.5 months old) I recall seeing a discussion about someone's thumbs hurting and the next day it happened to me. In the space of one day I developed deQuervain's Tendonitis in both my wrists/thumbs. I had to go for physical therapy, take ibuprofen, ice my wrists, try to get my partner to give me wrist massages, wear hand braces and it severely limited what I was able to do.

It can evidently emerge slowly or all at once so you need to try to prevent it if you can. I don't know how common it is but it was very painful -- my thumbs felt like they were going to fall off for a bit that was how weak they were, small movements in the wrong direction would give me shriekingly bad pains running down into my hands, even while sleeping. I almost dropped him on the floor a couple times because it was so bad. It took about 6 months before my hands were significantly improved and that largely was related to my baby learning how to crawl.

Prevention Tips

* When picking up your baby try not to hook your hands under their arms to lift
* If you have to pick the baby up under the arms then bear the weight more on your hand and less on your thumb
* Try not to lift up your baby from lying down to upright using that hold as it increases the likelihood of injury (said my physical therapist)
* Lift your baby by cradling their head and butt with your forearms and lift that way.
* Try to limit how much you have to move the baby around -- don't go to the changing table if you can just do the diaper change where you are.

I had to severely limit how much I moved the baby around so diaper changes were whereever we were -- on the floor, on the bed, etc. I had to bail on handwashing dishes and I would have to have my partner assist with getting the baby into and out of the bath. I also started cosleeping full-time as it really helped cut down on the amount of carrying I had to do.

Here are some shots of my wrist brace, I got two but found I only needed to really wear it on my left wrist which was the more badly injured. The braces are totally worth it as the normal sleeping position of most people involves curling your hands in, a position that actually aggravates the condition. The braces help protect the inflamed and swollen area of the wrist and hold your hands in a neutral position. Ace bandages actually add pressure and contribute to more pain.

Oh, and I wanted to add that the doctor I consulted with, a hand specialist, said that they usually see this emerge in mothers of older infants/toddlers. My baby grew really fast though and I think that contributed to it -- my body couldn't adapt fast enough to the weight I was lifting.

Note: My health insurance didn't cover the physical therapy, plus it was just one more thing to try to manage to fit in with the baby that I could have done without. Do try to protect yourself and avoid developing this condition -- you will thank yourself later.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

On a pottying kick

Jonah's been on a pottying kick since the weekend. It seems as though now that he's mastered walking he can now devote a little more energy to communicating about when he needs to go. I broke out the training pants as I was getting tired of taking his prefold and cover off and on so much. He's been holding for long periods of time, communicating about when he needs to go, and staying fairly dry. Lots of trips to the bathroom and he love washing his hands so much that mine are soooo dry. We are still diapering him but I'm trying to make it easier when I'm able to focus on helping with the pottying.

The Diaperaps Training pants in 2T fit perfectly and are way easier off and on. I've been using them with Babylegs when we are just around the house.

Ack, moodiness

The longer I go post-partum the more my body gets its cycle hormones back into gear and the more I start to feel the affects again. Blah. I'm just sitting here minding my own business after ovulating on Monday and a wave of despair just passed right over me.

I've been grateful for the break that being pregnant and nursing has given me from my awful PMS. Having these alternate hormonal realities really points out to me how it is likely our species, the female of our species, weren't really intended to go on having period after period after period for 22+ years straight. No wonder my hormones were over the top. Whether we like it or not I think our bodies were intended to switch into pregnancy and nursing and get a break from all the mood swings that come with menstruation.

We did give it a good try for this cycle and then I went in for an acupuncture visit on Tuesday. She was only able to tonify as we had tried but it was good to get that going again. If this cycle doesn't work out for us then I'll go back for regular treatment to see about helping get my body more baby ready for #2. Still there's a part of me that wonders what we are in for -- an easier time? more of the same (miscarriages, infertility)? It is hard to say how I will feel if we start to revisit some of the sadder places in TTC land.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Reflections on Co-sleeping

It has been interesting for me to watch as my baby developed in so many ways from the unique vantage point of co-sleeping, especially coupled with our part-time EC.

I learned that just when things were getting to me at night that a few weeks later things would change. That between 3-6 months he was pretty disturbed from his sleep by his elimination but that around 7 months sleep trumped middle of the night diaper changes.

Or how big developmental changes, like learning how to crawl, would really get him going to such a degree that he would be trying to crawl across the bed in his sleep.

At three months you are entering into the window of developing hand control as I recall. I travelled with my little guy last year around that time so it's kinda fixed in my mind as well about how much he was up and down all night long. That was particularly rough since I was alone, without my partner.

A mom of twins I know, who co-slept through the first 18 months or so, said something that for me really helped me put things in perspective -- that her really bad days were ones when she had lists. She realized that setting her expectations too high for what they could get done in a given day would just set her up for conflict, frustration and aggravation. Better to go with the flow.

I also found that when I would consult my baby advice books about what my baby was supposed to be doing that it often set me up for conflict with my little one as well. It's reasonable to test out certain theories and then back off of course, such as my recent try as dropping one feeding during the night with my 14 MO. While no one said it would be easy I realized that it also was majorly disrupting both of our sleep, and my baby sleeps pretty well other than night nursing, so why mess with that.

For you, there could possibly be other causes that you might rule out such as food sensitivities, physical changes, perhaps medical issues like reflux. But it might just be a passing thing.

Co-sleeping can be a challenge at times, and it doesn't work for everyone -- parents, family or baby. Still, it is such a sweet thing to be able to hold your baby near you at night, to be right there to help comfort them and then to watch as they grow in your arms over so many days and months.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

PPAF While Nursing - Return to Fertility

I've just gotten my fifth PPAF at 14 months PP and finally its a little more normal, indicating that my body was able to put up a reasonable lining. My cycles have evened out to be about 5 weeks long, though the time between when I and when arrives is pretty consistently 2 weeks now.

We are wanting to start to TTC for #2 soon so it was rather worrying to me that my lining was so thin. Nothing's really changed in terms of how much I am feeding him I don't think. Perhaps my body is just getting back fully into the swing of things.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

14 Months Old

I can't believe that its been over a year since Jonah joined our family. I also can't believe that he's been pottying for a year as well. I think back to different points over the past year and its funny to my brain when I recall that he was smaller, less developed, had fewer capabilities, etc. Like how sitting up unassisted took forever. Or how tall he was when he first started learning how to slide off the bed backwards.

Jonah is such a sweet little baby boy. Overall he's really even tempered, interactive, conversive, and curious. He's getting more into little tantrums now, mostly when we don't do what he wanted -- such as putting him down when he didn't want to, or if his dad gets him when he wanted me to do something with him. He arches his back dramatically and its hard to hold him up. We either lay him down on the floor and ask him to stop or we pull him in close and hug him for the most part, and that's the best we can do as he learns how to express himself and modulate his feelings. It must be so frustrating to be both independant and dependant and also not fully able to express yourself.

He likes walking around holding our hands or pushing his little Radio Flyer car that he got for Christmas. He also can crawl up and down the stairs really quickly now and some days I have a hard time getting him to wait so I can go with him to help keep him safe. He is also really digging walking the stairs while I hold his hands. He wants to master all these skills and then some. Another favorite is giving him a plastic water bottle with a cap and let him try to figure out how to take it off and put it on all lined up properly. That can keep him occupied for a good half hour or more.

He loves being outside and we try to let him have some good exercise as the weather permits. He does get a good 45 minute stroller walk every day, rain or shine, to our office downtown.

He's still nursing and while he eats solids he still favors milk more. Both for comfort and in place of other foods. He eats, he really does, but he's not yet entered the phase where solids are tops. Also, he needs a good few hours between meals before he's hungry again it seems. He doesn't mind little tastes in between but he can be picky about it as well. We eat dinner in the livingroom as we only have the formal diningroom and no eating area in the kitchen. I sit on the floor by the coffee table and he comes over and stands next to me and shares with me most of the time. He's very interested in learning how to use table cutlery so I try to grab him a teaspoon so he can practice jabbing at the food on my plate. With supervision I will also let him use my fork. It all seems really natural and with our continued nursing realtionship I don't worry too much about him being picky about what he eats.

We go to a class at our local community college once a week and he loves it there. They have a ton of toys and all the other little ones around his age, plus a toddler sized slide and more. We sing songs and when I sing them when we are away from class he gets into it.

He is also a music lover. Most kinds of music will get him waving his hands in the air, even passing cars with their radios on. He has a guitar and a new toy piano, lots of rattles and shakers, some drums and a Leap Frog music table. I have a bunch of music CDs just for him and keep the car CD player loaded up with them for when we are driving around. He also loves when I put his music on to play from my iPhone.

Now that Spring is here I've bumped up his wardrobe a bit as he's going to be in the 2T sizes for a while and it's time to learn how to play outside. He loves the parks in our neighborhood, the swings and slide best but he is also learning how to climb around on one with a platform and a tunnel, which has just enough of a structure that he can climb up it with supervision. Some of the parks have shared trucks and sand toys and he loves trying those out as well.

We are expert truck and airplane spotters in our house now as well. Even when he isn't with me I will think -- "oh look, a cement truck!". We've seen cement trucks, tank trucks, bulldozers, dump trucks, bucket trucks, utility trucks, tow trucks towing cars, drilling trucks, flatbed trucks, and so many more. It it funny how your perspective and attention shift when you have a little one around, you notice things that you took for granted before. Our house is also lined up with the most common coorider for plans approaching Seatac from the north. As a result we can look at planes flying overhead day and night, with lights blinking, peeking out from behind the clouds. And all kinds of planes. And helicopters. He also loves buses -- city buses, little buses, school buses.

His language skills are still developing and right now everything is "UTt" but he has tried out the following words - bird, bus, truck, dog, cat, that, yes, daddy, out, up, done, moon, plane. He also signs, in varying degrees of consistency, for: more, milk, eat, done, diaper, potty, sleep, wash/bath. I'm working with him on: airplane, helicopter, friend, moon, open door. He uses the sign for more a lot. I'll ask him if he is all done or if he wants/needs more and he will sign more if he isn't finished -- as in still needs to go potty even though his diaper is wet, still hungry, wants to swing more at the park, wants to nurse more, etc. It is pretty sweet.

Also, I cancelled the diaper service a few weeks ago and we are exclusively using our own diaper stash of prefolds. We wash every other day and it sure helps to keep the smell down compared to the weekly diaper pick-up. He still uses about 10 prefolds a day, but he is also pottying on top of that. He usually pees three times in the morning when he gets up and three times before bed -- so it is hard to convince him to get undressed all that many times which is why we are using so many. He also hates having his diaper changed now. Something about being mad about being wet and being interupted from what he's doing and who knows what else. I try to tell him that if he doesn't want to use a diaper then he will have to use the potty but its too soon for him to be fully trained.

A few weeks ago he transitioned to one nap and it was a little bumpy. Depending on the day though and how his nap falls, some days he still needs a second nap. Most often we just take a rest in bed and nurse and read books for some quiet time before dinner which seems to help take the edge off.

I'll see about posting more soon.

Monday, March 17, 2008

TTC While Nursing

I asked about this on a breastfeeding forum this weekend and didn't get any replies. I had a little extra time so I looked it up on Kellymom.

Breastfeeding and Fertility -

It looks like there are a few factors to consider.

Does your nursing pattern match the conditions for ecological breastfeeding(using nursing for natural birth control? )

* keeping baby close
* breastfeeding on cue (day and night)
* using breastfeeding to comfort your baby
* breastfeeding in a lying-down position for naps and at night
* using no bottles or pacifiers

Are you away from your baby at all during the day?

Does your baby sleep with you? Does your baby sleep for long stretches through the night?

Have you had a return of AF? How regular is it?

Is your baby eating solids? More solids than nursing?

Have you lost too much weight while nursing?

Make sure you have enough body fat and are getting the right nutrients so your body is able to nurse and return to full fertility.

My baby is 13 months old and I've had AF four times now. My flow has been scant and my ovulation signs look to me like my body is struggling to get over that hormonal hill -- waves of EWCM but not quite ovulating (I can kinda tell). I had to bump up how many calories I eat and the frequency, plus adding in extra calcium -- a hormonal building block. The biggest gap between cycles seemed to be related to when I lost the most weight from nursing.

A couple strategies I'm thinking of employing are:

Increasing his intake of solids. While he loves nursing, I'm trying to make the extra effort to offer solids (snacks and meals) and make sure he eats as much food as he wants.

Night-weaning -- trying to eliminate the 3AM feeding seems to be the key definition of night-weaning from what I've read.

If that doesn't work I'm going to see if acupuncture might help.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Yes I've been negligent. I can't make it up to you all but know that taking care of a baby while trying to run a business while working part-time doesn't leave a lot of personal time. What time I do have I end up reading or knitting, just to have a little break.

Jonah is a year old now and super cute as always. He's close to walking, trying to talk, and is getting into mischief more and more. He tries to fake us out and do things he's not supposed to such as playing with the stereo receiver.

My partner and I are starting preparations for trying to conceive another baby starting with taking our vitamins diligently. That really helped with his morphology issues last time. We're shooting for a big effort come May -- it is when we always/only get pregnant.

I also need to visit my OB/Gyn and check out that existing fibroid. It hasn't really bothered me except for the few times I've ovulated since Jonah was born.

We're still nursing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, doing elimination communication part-time, and some sign language. Sounds like a lot of work but it isn't. Pottying the baby is a really good thing though and I definately recommend trying it out.

Talk to you soon.


Monday, January 07, 2008

What's this about? Anxiety around #2 all of the sudden

Here's my big EC challenge. My little guy, almost 11months old will wake up from naps or in the morning and occasionally will have to have a BM. He hasn't been signalling as well for BMs -- though it was the place we started with for EC and he was most consistant about since we started pottying at 2 months old.

Lately it seems I can get half of it in the potty, usually the second half, but just now and one other time it was the first half. I got him to pee and poop and then he started to freak and wanted off the toilet. It seemed like he had to go more but he wanted to have nothing to do with it and then just went in his diaper while playing but didn't say anything about it.

He seemed freaked out by having to go so much or perhaps because we've been feeding him solids more it feels overwelming to him now that things are starting to firm up more. I'm still nursing him quite a lot so things are still on the softer side.