Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Better Late..

...Than Never!

Wishing you a pot o' gold, and all the joy your heart can hold. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Our Little Mummy!

Wishing you a pot o' gold, and all the joy your heart can hold. Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stages of Development

The more interactions we are allowed in the nursing program and the more skills we develop has truly shown me the importance of understanding the different stages of human development in providing care in the most appropriate manner given the age of a client. For the purposes of this post and blog I thought I would share some of the neurological, cognitive, language, emotional, social and self/gender/identity developments of children from birth to approximately 15 years of age. Understanding the developments that are associated with each age group are a beneficial tool to parenting; I have caught myself on several occasions expecting Trayton to know he can't touch the stove when it's cooking because its hot, although I've explained it several times or understand a concept that is beyond his developmental capabilities given his age. I have to remind myself not to assume or expect that he knows things that are or may be beyond his stage of development, even though he seems like such a little grown up person, learning new things daily!

Here is a chart of development for various ages from adapted from my Developmental Psychology class and  Human Development, 11th ed. by Diane E. Papalia, Sally Wendkos Olds, and Ruth Duskin Feldman.

Wishing you a pot o' gold, and all the joy your heart can hold. Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Pumpkin Fun!

Wishing you a pot o' gold, and all the joy your heart can hold. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Summer Fun

A while ago I posted about places I wanted to take Tray this summer. We knocked a few off of the list and are hoping to visit a few more before the end of the year. Life has been busy as usual around the farm with chopping silage and the beginning of harvest and I recently passed my nursing assessment to performing a full head to toe physical exam! It seems as if time never stands still anymore. Enjoy!

Playing in the gazebo at the arboretum

He was fascinated with the water feature at the Jester Park Playscape!

Goofing around at the Iowa State Fair! The giant yellow slide was by far his favorite part aside from watching daddy show the cattle.

Wishing you a pot o' gold, and all the joy your heart can hold. Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 12, 2011

My Breastfeeding Essentials

Throughout my breastfeeding journey I have found that there are things that I couldn't have made it this far without. Some I started out with and others I acquired along the way. I wanted to share them here in hopes that you too may benefit!
  • A support network or person:  whether it be a spouse, partner, friend, family, local group at the hospital or online community, support is important. It provides you encouragement through the tough times, resources and reassurance.
  • Boppy pillow:  this provided the perfect height for me to comfortably feed my son no matter where I was sitting. When I had him Simplisse had not yet come out with their Gia Angled Pillow which I also hear very good things about and would like to try with the next child we have!
  • My double electric pump: when I left the hospital, my OB wrote me a prescription for my pump since I would be returning to work after 6 weeks. It is wonderful that insurance companies are now starting to cover such items! Our home health care/pharmacy only carries Medela, so I got the Pump in Style Advance Tote and it, the cooler and accessories have worked well for me. 
  • My hand pump: there were times where I was on the go but didn't quite need the electric pump, so I invested in a Simplisse Manual Breastfeeding Companion and its cup is amazingly comfortable and efficient.
  • Breastmilk storage bagsa must have if you ever have to be away from your little one. I really like the storage bags by Simplisse and NUK-Gerber because of their durability and double zip seals. They both hold a fair amount of milk, stand upright and work great in the freezer.
  • Breast pads: these are a must have if you want to leave the house and not have a small wet ring on your clothing 5 minutes after stepping out the door! My husband's cousin made me some great reusable ones made from super soft flannel and I wore these any time I was at home. When I went out, I wanted something a little more discrete yet something that would keep me dry. The Simplisse Disposable Breast Pads were my secret weapon! They are very soft, flexible, thin and very absorbent.
  • Simplisse HydroGel Soothing Pads and Lanolin-Free Nipple Cream: the soothing pads are wonderful for those times when the girls get sore and need a little tlc! The lanolin-free nipple cream is also wonderful. There is no sticky, goopy, greasy mess, just a silky-smooth  finish that helps heal nipples. It is hypoallergenic, paraben free and absolutely my favorite out of all of the nipple creams I have tried!
  • Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Bottles: when I had to be away from my son for work or class and he stayed with my husband or at our friend's for daycare these bottles made switching back and forth between breast and a bottle of breastmilk incredibly simple. The nipples are very flexible and supple, much like a human breast and not your typical nipple. They are a little more expensive than some but worth every penny if you are going to breastfeed but may have times you need to be away from your little one.  
Wishing you a pot o' gold, and all the joy your heart can hold. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

EMAB Organic Milkmaid Tea

Earth Mama Angel Baby Organics is a company based in Oregon with a firm foundation in providing natural, certified organic (the real deal), toxin and cruelty-free, products for pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, baby, family and support loss. The  "Mama" and team behind the company have extensive, practical and professional knowledge about using the gifts nature provides for us as remedies and plant medicine. They are an extremely eco-conscious and friendly company and a credible, reliable source for information, including that for support of a baby loss.

The third month of breastfeeding my son was the toughest month I've ever had since he has entered our lives. I had returned to my full time job and was under an incredible amount of stress from the part time business I own. I know I shouldn't have let it get to that point but there was just no stopping the stress. My milk supply took a HUGE hit because of it and I nearly lost it; no matter how much I tried to calm down, drink fluids, get a massage, nurse my son and was supported by my family, I couldn't bring it back. Then I was introduced to Earth Mama Angel Baby's wonderful site by a dear friend. I checked out their breastfeeding page and found their Organic Milkmaid Tea. I ordered three boxes to start with and I am happy to say it worked wonders in helping me to bring back my supply after the first box!

The tea is 100% organic and Kosher, made with the perfect amount of herbal galactagogues (herbs that are used to increase milk supply) such as organic fennel seed, fenugreek, milk thistle ad many more. It tastes great iced or hot (I prefer it hot and with a tsp of honey) and comes in a completely biodegradable wrapper and box. I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a little help with their milk supply; it truly saved me from loosing mine completely and helped me to build it back along with continuing to nurse my son frequently.

Earth Mama Angel Baby also has a free downloadable Ebook from the Mama herself titled A Comprehensive Guide to Herbs and Breastfeeding which is  great resource for  breastfeeding tips, and knowledge about what herbs are safe and which re not to use while breastfeeding. Check out their site for breastfeeding support, products and other goodies to pamper yourself, baby or a friend/loved one!

This post was in no way sponsored by Earth Mama Angel Baby or their affiliates. This post is solely my own opinion on a great product.

Wishing you a pot o' gold, and all the joy your heart can hold. Thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: 16 months BFing

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I have breastfed my son for 16 months!

Wishing you a pot o' gold, and all the joy your heart can hold. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Breastfeeding Resources

The journey through breastfeeding is as individualistic as the advocates themselves. Sometimes it's a struggle, and others it's nothing short of sheer bliss. My own journey started out as a bit of a struggle. Before I had Tray I did lots of research and talked with friends who had been through and were currently experiencing their breastfeeding journey. I was prepared in terms of education but when it came to application I struggled those first few weeks at home; about the first 6 weeks actually. Tray was an attentive, eager and willing eater; he could not have been more textbook in terms of intervals feeding, sleep-wake cycles for eating, the amount he consumed etc. Where we struggled at first was obtaining  proper latch. He was SO excited about eating he would squirm and nuzzle his little head around when it was right in front of him and then pop on and off to the point where my nipples hurt. bad. and cracked. Then he wanted nothing to do with my left breast, only the right one. After trying things in the books, I finally got smart and called the breastfeeding support group at our hospital for advice. They were wonderful in answering questions and directed me to the La Leche League website for resources. By the end of 6 weeks breastfeeding had turned a complete 180 and entered that state of sheer bliss I was talking about above! I could have easily given up and switched to formula feeding but I was determined to breastfeed my son and with a little help, we found our sync together. It isn't the easiest thing in the world to adjust to, sometimes it hurts, sometimes (ok a lot of times) it can be frustrating but the two important things to keep in mind are: 1. By breastfeeding you are providing the best nourishment for your baby/child and 2. There are TONS of resources out there to help you through the pitfalls and avoid the traps that formula companies capitalize on.

Education and knowledge are powerful. Here are some of my favorite resources for breastfeeding:
  • La Leche League International - a great place to get all kinds of questions answered 
  • Best for Babes - a great resource and place to learn about misinformation and the "Booby Traps" associated with breastfeeding
  • Breastfeeding  - another place with lots of good information
  • -  well respected breastfeeding information site (some old links and a little outdated info but great nonetheless)
  • Infant Risk Center - for what medications are safe to take during breastfeeding and pregnancy
  • Shari Criso and My Baby Experts - Shari Criso is an international board certified lactation consultant, who has produced an amazing DVD and CD for breastfeeding mothers
  • Nurtured Child - Fleur Bickford is another international board certified lactation consultant and her blog is full of helpful information  
  • Check out your community and hospitals for breastfeeding support groups
Good luck on your journey and hats off to you mamas for your hard work and dedication!

Wishing you a pot o' gold, and all the joy your heart can hold. Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 1, 2011

World Breastfeeding Week!

Welcome to the kick-off of World Breastfeeding Week and Breastfeeding Awareness Month! The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action along with advocates across the globe are celebrating the 19th year of World Breastfeeding Week. World Breastfeeding Week takes place annually from August 1-7 and the entire month of August has been deemed National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. To honor both of these, the majority of this month's posts will focus on breastfeeding, bf products and the like. 

Here are some of the benefits and facts to breastfeeding for both children and mothers, from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Best for Babes Foundation.
  • Less likely to contract infectious illnesses such as diarrhea, respiratory infections, otitis media, staph bacterial, viral and urinary tract infections
  • Lower risk of SIDS and post neonatal death, helps regulate breathing
  • Less risk of inflammatory bowel disease
  • Have better visual acuity, neurological development and long term cardiovascular health, including cholesterol levels
  • Are less likely to develop obesity, asthma, eczema, diabetes, lymphoma, childhood leukemia, Hodgkin's disease,
  • Are less likely to show language and motor skill delays
  • Score higher on cognitive tests at school age and into young adulthood
  • Have fewer cavities and are less likely to need braces
  • Reduces girls' lifetime risk of developing breast cancer by as much as 25%
  • Helps mature baby's digestive system, makes stomach lining approximately 15 times thicker than formula fed babies thus allowing them them to absorb food quicker and grow better
  • Helps develop baby's immune system by providing healthy bacteria, antibodies, white blood cells, antimicrobials, cell wall protectors
  • Breast milk contains the perfect amount of fat, carbs and protein; as your child grows, breast milk changes to accommodate baby's nutritional needs, even during times of illness when hydration is crucial
  • Breast milk helps calm babies, serves as a pain reliever and soother (vaccinations) and induces sleep all which are critical for proper neurological development
  • Breastfed babies are better eaters as toddlers because milk is flavored with what the mother eats, introducing flavors to babies before they even take their first bite of solid food
  • Children are better able to cope with stressful situations later in life because of learned self-soothing and self-regulating skills, both of which are social and emotional development tools
  • Breast milk is more easily digested which leads to less spit-up, stomach discomfort and constipation
  • Human breasts can detect even 1 degree of change in your baby and heat up or cool down to adjust to a perfect incubation temperature for baby when spending skin-to-skin contact time; in turn baby will expend fewer calories trying to regulate their body temperature
  • Grown children needing organ transplants from their mother or siblings have a better acceptance rate
  • Increased vaccine effectiveness
  • Helps pass meconium
  • Enjoy quicker recovery from childbirth with less of a risk of postpartum bleeding
  • Are more likely to return to their pre-pregnancy weight and less likely to develop long term obesity
  • Have a reduced risk of anemia
  • Are less likely to develop Osteoporosis, Ovarian and Premenopausal Breast Cancer
  • Are calmer, sleep better and have a lower risk of developing Postpartum Depression due to released oxytocin - Dads sleep better too!
  • Dirty diapers from breastfed babies don't smell as bad
  • Breast milk can be left at room temperature for several hours rather than being rushed to the refrigerator due to the antimicrobials it contains
  • Breastfeeding promotes bonding between mother and baby
  • Breast milk is readily available and is served from mom at the perfect temperature every time
  • Breast milk is free! Or it can be purchased through milk banks (adoptions etc.)
  • Spend less time and money on doctor visits
  • No recalls, just observance by the mother of what she puts into her body
  • Form follows function - feeding human infants is the function breasts and breast milk were designed to perform
For more information, check out the American Academy of Pediatrics: Breastfeeding Initiative, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action and the Best for Babes Foundation

Wishing you a pot o' gold, and all the joy your heart can hold. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Our Journey to Baby #2

Ryan and I have been talking a while about when we would like to have our next child; since late January approximately when my friend Emily over at Baby Dickey  wrote a post about baby fever! It really got me thinking about the right time for us, age spacing and then the list making started about all of the things I want to accomplish before we start ttc (trying to conceive) and before baby #2 arrives. I'm sure I will have things to add, and I welcome any suggestions you all may have!

1. Have our house finished (trim, fireplace, porch, 2nd bathroom and kitchen). Most of these are relatively small but just time consuming, except for the second bathroom. I don't necessarily have to have the house decorated but the construction has to be finished. This has been going on almost two years and I want to be able to enjoy it with my family rather than working on it.
2. Make a will. As much as I hate to think about this, I really feel it is something we should have in place just in case something would ever happen. I would rather over prepare than leave things unattended.
3. Continue to exercise and get to a more healthy weight. I would like to lose about 15-20 more pounds which would put me at the weight I was my first few years in college (back when I worked out almost every day!) I'm continuing to find new activities for Tray and I to do together which makes it more fun for both of us.
4. Transition Tray to his own bed. We still bedshare but he falls asleep on his own after nursing and is sleeping well through the night. I'm in no rush to do this, just gradually before we have #2.
5. Continue to educate myself about pregnancy, births, c-sections and postpartum options. You can never learn enough in my opinion and you can never be too prepared to make educated choices. If there is one thing I learned from my dear friend Emily, it is this.
6.Discuss with Ryan and look in to hiring a postpartum doula. A post is coming soon about this. When Trayton was born Ryan was VERY busy with the farm calving, planting etc. He had to leave the hospital to do things at home and couldn't take any time off for us to smoothly transition in to having a baby at home like a normal job with leave. It put a lot of stress on us and I felt overwhelmed trying to recover myself and figure out a new baby. I want to make sure the needs of my family are met stress free, especially with Trayton if we have another; it should be a positive experience not something to worry about. A postpartum doula might be an option for us with their specialized training.
7. Learn even more about and look for a specialist to have placenta encapsulated. Posts are coming soon about this too. Now before you go thinking I've gone off the deep end, hear me out. The research behind ingesting the placenta speaks for itself. It is highly beneficial because it is made by you, tailored to what your body needs. It helps in faster recovery, more energy, boosts breast milk production, and my main concern, it helps with preventing postpartum depression. Dried and encapsulated it can be taken for  longer period of time to the benefits can be reaped longer. My baby blues were bad but other factors were also in play with Ryan not being available, and looking back I can't help but wonder if maybe I did have signs of PPD. In any case I am going to do everything possible to be healthy the next time around. I will be discussing it with my  OB who is very supportive and also knowledgeable about alternative and natural practices.
8.Have at least a two month grocery supply stocked up and meals frozen for two weeks after coming home. I really wanted to do this with Trayton and I just ran out of time working right up to the day I got induced and getting other things ready.
9. Learn more about cord blood banking. Another thing that we wanted to do with Trayton but didn't have the finances to undertake. I plan to do  lot of research on this for the next one.
10. Look for a birth education class that Trayton can attend. I want to make sure he is involved as much as possible. He's my little shadow, helper and deserves to know everything that is going on.
11.  Have all the necessary baby items stocked up. A post is coming soon about this. I want to hear your opinions about what is essential to have for #2 and/or what you wished you would have had with #1 :)
12. Take a babymoon before #2 arrives. Even if its just an over night trip somewhere close with our little family :)
13. Get more massages during pregnancy and a pedicure before my due date. Even if its just one  trimester, they are wonderful and a great way to keep the body cleansed! I only had one while pregnant with Trayton and I wish I had went more often. I was painting my toes the day I was to be induced and next time I want to have them done before (might have to make a trip with Miss Gabbie!)
14. Update my birth plan.15. Get a 3D ultrasound
16. Get family maternity pictures and let Tray paint my belly. We have a wonderful photographer AG Design Photography and I can't wait to have her take some.
17. Get a few more maternity clothes and nursing clothes. I was able to stay in my regular clothes until about 6 months with Trayton but I hear you start showing sooner after the first. I also had hardly any nursing clothes which was ok until I went out in public. I don't want to have to fight my clothes next time.

Wishing you a pot o' gold, and all the joy your heart can hold. Thanks for reading!

Tray's First Trip to the Zoo!

A few weeks ago we took Trayton to the zoo in Omaha for his very first time and he had a blast despite the scorching heat! He loved making the noises of the animals he knew and his favorite new animal is the penguin; I'll try to upload the video from that exhibit once I figure out how to do so!

Wishing you a pot o' gold, and all the joy your heart can hold. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: County Fair!

Wishing you a pot o' gold, and all the joy your heart can hold. Thanks for reading!