03.13.2007

Bubble: Aden and Anais - the end to all your swaddling problems

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One of my favorite findings at Bubble this week were the ingenious muslin baby wraps from Aden and Anais. These wont seem like anything new for Aussie mums, but for Stateside parents, they're a breakthrough. When Australian natives, Claudia Schwartz and Raegan Moya-Jones, became pregnant in the US, out they went in search of the muslin wraps that were so popular Down Under, only to find that they were nowhere to be found. Thus, along with their children, Aden and Anais, the eponymous company was born.

What is so amazing about these swaddling cloths is their use of versatile, 100% cotton, muslin fabric. Lightweight and breathable, it's perfect for summer babies who often overheat in other cottons or synthetics. Yet these oversized wraps are substantial enough to keep winter babies perfectly snug without extra layers. No more double swaddling! And the unique large size and stretchiness of the muslin makes swaddling so easy that even, well, a first-time mom can do it. Since both our babies resisted swaddling altogether, Jenna and I were most impressed, when Claudia demonstrated how to wrap "the baby who hates to be swaddled." One thin layer of muslin over the hands keeps fingernails off the face, but still allows for freedom of movement and even finger sucking.

Continue reading "Bubble: Aden and Anais - the end to all your swaddling problems"

Posted by Justine    Category: parenting
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02.18.2007

Offset your nappy usage

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I was Green before the term even became mainstream. I was a tofu-munching, car-eschewing recycler years before climate change hit the news. So I assumed - and held on to this belief all the way through pregnancy - that we would be using cloth nappies. Out of our plans for a home water-birth, breast-feeding, and cloth nappies, we achieved one out of the three. Yep, if you want to make a baby laugh, tell her your plans.

A washing machine that broke down repeatedly was our downfall when it came to the nappies. But believe me, I still feel guilt about it to this day, especially when I see the tell-tale bulky bottoms of my more successful friends' children. So that puts me squarely in the market for Carbon Clear's nappy offset package. Like other carbon-neutral deals, it allows you to assuage your guilt by paying for your damage to be made good with tree-planting and sustainable agriculture projects elsewhere.

My biggest surprise was that the offset for two and a half years of 'sposies costs only £5.85. Meanwhile, there's a comparable package for reusables, and that's £5.13. I feel traitorous for even saying this, but was all this guilt just for 72p? Spread over 30 months? 2.4p a month?? Yes, I know it all adds up when you think of the world's population. But I might just concentrate on the good our no-car family is doing, rather than the bad we're doing with our garbage, in the future.

Meanwhile, the good news is that it's eminently affordable, so, really, what's stopping you?

Posted by Myf    Category: parenting
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01.29.2007

The Babysitter Journal keeps all your notes together

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Ah, organizational aids. I know a lot of people will argue that many organizational products can be replaced by a pad of paper, but I like something that helps me lay out a lot of information for myself or others. And when is that more important than when you're dealing with a babysitter? The Journal for the Babysitter helps you by reminding you of exactly what information needs to be written down, and of course this will keep you from having to make a list every time. I'm always second-guessing myself over whether or not I forgot something; a big empty slot helps me remember that I need to give that information.

With a four year-old and a three year-old in the house, we have many little rituals and ways of doing things that the kids are comfortable with, and having all that written down for the babysitter would do a lot to ease my mind and help me enjoy the rare times I get to go out and enjoy the company of other adults.

Posted by ben    Category: parenting
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12.15.2006

Tap into your friends' goodwill with Helpmakers

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"Do let me know if I can be any help..."

I heard that a lot during late pregnancy and after the birth, but I didn't follow any of the offers up. Well, it's the British way, isn't it? People offer to be polite; they don't really mean it. Or maybe they do mean it, but how can you tell?

Well, these cards from The Mothers' Milk Marketing Board (the UK's very own lactivist site) will clear that one up. The idea is that when anyone offers, you can hand them a card with details of the exact kind of help that would be useful. That way, they won't forget their promise.

Would it work? I think I'd still feel a bit awkward handing them over, but maybe a partner could do it on the mother's behalf. Yeah - that'd work.

Posted by Myf    Category: parenting
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11.27.2006

Feeding in public...the Mamaway

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Like many mothers, I got rather passionate about the breastfeeding issue once I'd had a kid of my own. Oftentimes, conversation between us new mums would turn to how hard it can be to feed in public and how awkward we felt trying to do so discreetly. Yeah! We were going to change the world... and then we got too busy.

Mother-of-two Deborah (just Deborah, by the looks of the site) is obviously a can-do type. When she found that feeding could be embarrassing, she created a whole range of clothing to tackle the issue.

With a byline of '"nursing in comfort, discretion and style," the Mamaway clothes feature a special double-layer that apparently prevents that everything on display feeling. What I liked best was that there's nothing frumpy: in fact, I'd happily choose to wear many of these styles whether I was nursing or not.

Posted by Myf    Category: fashion | parenting
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10.24.2006

Theraline Caesarean Belt

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Ive had two major surgeries in my life. The first time I lay in bed pumped full of morphine for five days while I recovered. The second, on day two I was unceremoniously told to get up and start taking care of a newborn child with nothing but 600mg of Motrin between me and the pain! Perhaps if Id had this Caesarean belt, it would have been slightly easier.

Made by Gro-group in the UK, the Theraline Caesarean Belt is designed to protect, support and soothe in the weeks after a c-section. First, it provides much needed back support. I could not believe how much mine hurt after the surgery. No wonder, it had to do double duty, not only making up for lost tummy muscles, but also hefting a baby. Newborns may not weigh much, but they might as well be 95lbs after surgery. I wore my husbands weight belt for weeks. It was not a pretty sight.

Furthermore, the Theraline belt comes with handy pockets in which you can insert various hot or cool packs to ease the pain and swelling, or a pillow to prevent accidental bumps. Seems this would especially come in handy if you had a toddler around. In fact the belt promotes itself for use in easing back pain even after youve healed. Again, the toddler comes to mind.

These belts are available on various UK websites so you can shop around for the best price, about 20.

Next time, I hope to experience natural child birth. But if I cant, Ill certainly have one of these on hand!

Posted by Justine    Category: parenting
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10.18.2006

Slimline Milk Trays

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Sometimes the simple ideas are the best. The Milk Tray is no more than a freezer tray for storing expressed breastmilk, but it's clear that a lot of thought has gone into the small details that make it as practical as possible.

I look back on my milk-expressing months as a blur of freezer bags falling out every time I opened the freezer, and precious, unused milk being tipped down the sink because it hadn't been drunk. Expressing milk and working full-time is quite stressful enough, so any product that makes things easier just has to be worth buying.

So what makes these Milk Trays so good? Well, the main thing is that each of the eight compartments takes precisely one ounce of milk. That makes it supremely easy to dole out the precise amount you need, with no wastage.

Because the frozen milk is in such small chunks, it will melt quickly, too - a definite bonus if your child is screaming with impatience. The eco-conscious will of course note that the trays are endlessly reusable, making them a better option than either freezer bags or the dedicated bags that you can buy with pumping systems. And they are small and neat, so they won't take up much room.

However, at 12.99 for two, they are a little costly. I suppose you'd need at least six trays when you think that two might be in use, two in the wash, and two ready for the next stash.


Posted by Myf    Category: parenting
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10.13.2006

Utterly Yours breast pillow

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Here's a product designed for the larger-breasted woman who finds breastfeeding difficult or tiresome because she constantly has to hold or readjust the breast.

It's a simple design: it's made of 'memory foam', so you squeeze it before positioning it below the bustline, whereupon it returns to its original shape, lifting the breast and allowing the mother to nurse hands-free.

Now, I classify myself as part of the target market here (yes, that's a coy way of saying I'm busty. And after my milk came in...? Beyond belief. Ahem). I have to say, I never found it a problem to position my baby or to keep her latched on. In all honestly, I think that if I'd had to get to grips with a product like this, as well as learning all the 'tummy to mummy' stuff, it might have been a step too far.

But, of course, I'm in favour of anything that lets more mothers breastfeed with less trouble. And the Utterly Yours website is bursting with happy testimonials from healthcare workers and mothers, so clearly there is a demand for it. Even more so now that it's rebranded.

Yes, you might have already guessed its original name: Udderly Yours.

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Posted by Myf    Category: parenting
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10.12.2006

Baby Daze helps keep you organized

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Suddenly I find myself only 5 weeks away from my due date and I'm wondering if I will be as obsessive about certain things like I was with my first. I spent what seemed like months, for example, obsessing about her sleep habits (she was one of those 30 minute nappers until she consolidated to 1 nap at about 14 months, arghh!), reading every sleep book there was, and agonizing over why she still nursed every 2 hours even at 4-5 months. I'm not a scrapbooker, and I'm not even inclined to keep a Baby Book. The only reason we have one for the toddler is because I had received one as a shower gift (a pretty cheesy Pooh Bear one at that), and the empty pages beckoned me with guilt to fill them with milestones and pictures.

I'm not planning to keep a Baby Book for this little one (who the hell has time with work and 2 kids??), but I probably will log sleep and feeding habits like I did with my first so I can figure out a schedule. Sure, I don't need a fancy book to do this, but since I'm a sucker for paper products and an organizational freak, I'm probably going to use the Baby Daze organizer to keep all this information.

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It's got sections for feeding, sleep, pumping (ugh, pumping!), milestones, gifts (to keep track so you can send out thank you notes - which I wasn't very good at the first time around - horrors!), food diary, medical info like weight, heigth growth, and contact info. The book is thick and I won't ever fill it out or use every section, but it is nice to keep organized in one place...at least until life gets too hectic and sleep-deprived.

Posted by Jenna    Category: parenting
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08.22.2006

drgreene.com

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If you want to know pretty much anything about kids and their health and wellbeing, then you should be reading drgreene.com on a regular basis. I do and it has become an indispensable resource not only for me but for about 50 million parents who visit the site each month, some even from as far away as Antarctica. Dr. Greene himself runs the site providing an amazing volume of information available to all for FREE. drgreene.com uses "information technology to make pediatric wisdom more accessible than ever before ... to improve children's health by informing and inspring those who care for them." What a mission statement that is. Dr. Greene has been online, doing his thing, (along with running an overwhelmingly popular, full-time pediatric practice in Northern California and raising four kids), since 1995- making drgreene.com THE pioneer physician website. Just check it out and be amazed. Trust me.

Go to Dr. Greene.

Posted by Gabriela    Category: parenting
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