Sunday, March 29, 2009

Klean Kanteen Sippy Cup Review

We have been using the Klean Kanteen sippy cups for a few days now. We have 2 of them. I am happy with them thus far.

Clean-tasting water
Easy to clean – clean with vinegar and baking soda or put them in the dishwasher
Good size for toddlers and children in general
If baby drops it, it makes noise because it is metal, so you are less likely to lose it! We already tested this hypothesis!
No leaks, unless child has it upside-down, of course!

There are a few parts to clean: the bottle, the adapter, and the sippy spout.
They are pricey ($15.95 for a color sippy).
If it is upside-down, it will leak. Be warned!

Overall, I am extremely satisfied with them. I am willing to take the extra time to wash the different parts if it means Amor Chiquito has clean water to drink.

Here is a link to the sippy:

A silly little story – last Friday, the 3 of us went on a walk on the Mount Holyoke College campus, where I am doing my undergraduate degree. You should have seen us! We were the Klean Kanteen family! The Crazy Entrepreneur had his stainless steel 27oz bottle on his shoulder. I had my pink 27oz bottle around my neck (I already lost one and refuse to lose it again!). Amor Chiquito was in her stroller, with cheerios on her tray, and hugging her pink Klean Kanteen! The husband won't let me live it down!

I got us these nylon slings so we can't lose our bottles as easily:

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Adventures of Amor Chiquito

Here is the weekly update on what Amor Chiquito is up to!

One of her favorite things to do these days is to bring her chair to the kitchen door. Once there, she stands on the chair and works on trying to figure out how to unlock and open the door. She has not succeeded yet. I am happy about that, for now.

Another thing she loves to do is to sit on the floor with her activity table. She puts a pillow against the wall, sits on the floor resting her back on the pillow, and puts the table in front of her. I kept wondering who she was imitating. It turns out that when the Crazy Entrepreneur is in her room waiting for her to fall asleep, he sits on the floor with his laptop and a pillow behind his back. Like father like daughter!

Amor Chiquito also enjoys dancing and clapping any chance she gets! She dances to any song, any commercial, standing, sitting, even while lying down! The Crazy Entrepreneur loves to dance with her! Very cute! Any time she sees other people clapping, she claps too. If we say "muy bien" or "good job," she claps, just like we do! She claps whether we clap or not!

I got her her first swimming pool this week! She is enjoying dragging it around the house and sitting in it, even though there is no water in there. A few days back, we were going out and she wanted to bring the pool with her!

When we change her diaper, she almost always wants a wipe. She either uses it to wipe herself or she wipes down the coffee table with it! If she feels the wipe is not doing the job, she pores some of her water on the coffee table to ensure it is cleaned properly! Yes, the wood is getting damaged! Oh well, bigger things in life to worry about.

She loves washing her hands. She also loves drying them. If you do not offer her the towel, she will go get it and bring it to you! If the towel is not there, she gets frustrated! Today, I showed her that it is ok; she can dry her hands with a paper towel instead.

She loves putting diapers on her, I mean, her father's, stuffed animals (more on the stuffies later!). She just asked for help to put her pink spring jacket on Momo, her favorite stuffie.

Once Momo was in the jacket, she went around the house with groceries in her little shopping cart and Momo on her hip, just like we carry her!

We have a new word: "anana" (banana)!

She is getting quite good at spoon feeding herself. She loves doing so. In fact, she prefers to feed herself than to have a grownup do so.

Teeth 14 and 15 are coming through any day now. We are having rough nights again because of this, but we are almost 75% of the way there. I am not complaining. Teething will be done soon.

She is getting into mischief and the Crazy Entrepreneur is cooking, so I must run!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Do we really have things to complain about?

I just came across this blog:

This family's little one just passed away. He was 8 months old. Dad picked him up to bring him to mom to nurse. He was not breathing. They did CPR, but it was too late. The cause of death is still not known. Apparently, there are no signs of any medical condition. But, clearly, something went wrong.

I don't know what to say or think. If I was in those parents' shoes, I have no idea how I would go on with my life. They have 4 older kids. How do you explain such a thing to the older siblings? Just, how do you go on after such a loss? Why do these things happen? If this baby had a medical condition, why could not there be signs so that the parents could have sought medical help?

So many thoughts right now… I wish I could do something. But, there is nothing I could do. Nothing is bringing that little baby back.

Sometimes, it feels like parenting is so hard. We have had sleeping issues for about a year now. I am so exhausted. For months, she would not eat well. Reading the blog mentioned above reminds me that I have absolutely nothing to complain about. The fact that she woke up 3 times in one hour last night because she was hot is nothing, absolutely nothing to complain about. The fact that teething gives us a few rough nights almost every month is nothing. Yes, parenting is hard at times. Yes, I am incredibly tired sometimes. Yes, I have a really hard time keeping up with school. Yes, I often do a pathetic job when it comes to keeping up with the house. But, thus far, our daughter appears to be healthy. That is priceless. Let's stop and think next time we are about to open our mouths to complain about things that are not worth complaining about.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Breastfeeding Experience

A certain husband might argue that breastfeeding was the beginning of "the crunchiness"!

Before I became pregnant, I hardly ever thought of breastfeeding. When I was pregnant, I felt that I would give breastfeeding a try. Frankly, I did not think about it all that much. I did a tiny amount of reading and I took a breastfeeding class. That was it, and, that is unlike me. When I am interested in something, I research it heavily. I did not research formula either. So, now that I stop to think about it, what was I thinking?! I was so focused on reading anything and everything about pregnancy, trying to detect any signs that Amor Chiquito was ok in there, that I forgot everything else!

It was not until after Amor Chiquito was born that I realized how determined I was about breastfeeding! The first few months of breastfeeding were very hard, particularly because Amor Chiquito was born tongue-tied and this was not corrected until she was 6 weeks old. That was my fault; I was a paranoid mom, afraid that my daughter would go through unnecessary pain. But, after 6 weeks, I realized that we would not be able to continue if we did not do the procedure. The procedure was quick and she did not show signs of being in great discomfort. Instead, I started noticing a huge difference right away.

Back to what breastfeeding was like during the first few months… She was nursing every 2-3 hours. She needed to learn how to latch. I needed to learn, too, and I found it very difficult because it was so visual. I had to adopt. I tried using my finger to help her latch on properly, but my finger would get on the way. It took weeks before I figured it out. My wonderful husband was there every step of the way. He helped us get her latched on each and every single time. No, I am not exaggerating; he really was there day and night. And, he was supportive each step of the way. He was not pushing formula, but I also know he would have been supportive had I opted to supplement with it.

Each time, when she first latched on, it was very painful for the first 15 seconds or so. Eventually, because of her being tongue-tied, it was painful the entire time. Not to get graphic, but my nipples looked like they were about to start bleeding any second. We tried having me pump instead of breastfeed every now and then because pumping was more comfortable. We also tried nipple shields. These are thin covers, if you will, that you put over your nipples. The idea is that you will not be as sore. These did not really help us, probably because of her being tongue-tied.

Another thing that was very difficult for me was cluster feeding. This is when the baby wants to breastfeed much more often, every half hour instead of every 2-3 hour, for example. Basically, this has to happen, no way out that I know of. As the baby grows, she/he will need more milk. The only way for your body to realize that it needs to produce more milk is for the baby to try to get milk more often. Turning to formula is tempting, but the result of that is that your body will not realize that it needs to make more milk. Of course, when you are at your wits end, you do what you need to do. We gave Amor Chiquito sugar water twice. So, if you end up turning to sugar water or formula, do not think it is the beginning of the end, Do not give up just because you turned to formula once.

The first time we experienced cluster feeding was our first night at home. If there is one thing I wish people had warned me about, that was it! We experienced it a few more times, but I cannot remember when. I know it happened again when Amor Chiquito was 6 weeks old. If I remember right, it did not happen much after that.

During the first two months, I felt that each day we kept on breastfeeding and did not turn to formula was a huge accomplishment. I would tell the Crazy Entrepreneur "we've done it for 2, 5, 12 days…"! Eventually, I switched to weeks, then months! At one point I said "wow, it's been 3 months! I can do this!" I was ecstatic. I started to feel like it was a piece of cake. We were both great at it. Eventually, she started latching on independently. It was and is convenient. We didn't have to buy formula. We didn't have to wash bottles! We did not need to remember to bring formula and bottles when we went out. And, most importantly, I knew it was great for Amor Chiquito!

Now, here we are! Amor Chiquito is 18 months old and she is still breastfeeding. She breastfeeds when she wakes up in the morning, before her nap, when she sees me after being apart for a few hours, and, sometimes, before bed. She also breastfeeds when she is in pain or uncomfortable, after getting her shots or when she is sick, for example. I can tell that I do not produce as much milk as I used to, but I know that she is still getting the immune system boost, so, to me, it is more than worth it.

My goal was to make it to her first birthday. Now, I have no idea when she will wean herself completely. And, frankly, I am in no rush!

I am starting to wonder if I'll be one of those rare moms who is breastfeeding a 3-year-old. I do not know how I feel about that. But I do know that neither her or I are ready to wean right now. So I have decided to play it by ear.

I am very happy that I have been able to do this for my daughter. I cannot believe that she never tasted formula. I am, still, amazed at how our bodies can do this, how they can provide all the nourishment a child needs during the first six months of her life.

Suggestions for Future Breastfeeding Moms

Here are some suggestions for future breastfeeding moms:

Get a breastfeeding pillow. They wrap around your middle and make it easier and more comfortable for you to hold the baby. The My Breast Friend pillow worked great for me. I used it until Amor Chiquito was 8 months.

Meet with a lactation consultant as soon as possible, while you are still at the hospital, if possible.

Ask for help from the nurses if you cannot get the baby to latch on. Not all nurses are trained or good at helping a new breastfeeding mom. If your nurse is not helping, politely speak up for yourself and request help from someone else.

Some pediatricians have a lactation consultant at the office. Find out if there is one at your pediatrician's office, and, if so, make a point of meeting her, even if you do not feel like you are having a problem. They can help you with technique, can answer many of your questions, and are typically very motivated to help breastfeeding moms succeed.

Ask the lactation consultant or the pediatrician if your child is tongue-tied. If she/he is, get it corrected ASAP. The process is very quick and it will not keep the baby from breastfeeding or anything like that.

Write down at what time the baby started nursing and what breast she/he nursed on last.

Alternate which breast you start with. If you do not alternate breasts, you could get mastitis if the baby did not empty both breasts. Mastitis is an infection of the breast. If you get it, it will most likely be during the first few weeks.

Offer the baby the breast every 2 or 3 hours. Wake up the baby after 3 hours if she/he does not wake up on her/his own. If you do not do so, the baby may not gain weight properly. Ideal weight gain during the first three months is an ounce a day.

You will be told that you should not give the baby the pacifier or the bottle during the first 6 weeks. Here is what our pediatrician said: if your baby is nursing well and she needs the pacifier, give it to her. If she stops nursing well, take it away. But don't make things harder on yourselves.

Start pumping and introducing the bottle as soon as you can. Offer the bottle once or twice a week. If you introduce the bottle after the baby is about 2 months old, she/he might not want it! This is really hard, as you cannot get a break. And, you will need it, I promise!

The Medela Pump in Style pumps work great. You can see reviews at the Babies R Us website.

Remember to eat well and drink lots of water, 10 cups of water or more. Having a cup of water each time you breastfeed will help ensure that you are properly hydrated.

Cluster feeding is normal and will happen. If you need to supplement with formula, do it every now and then, but if you make a habbit of it, your body will end up being confused, so to speak, as it will have no way of knowing that it needs to make more milk.

Make sure you have breast pads. You will leak a fair bit during the first few months. I liked the Lansinoh and the Medela disposable pads the best. Of course, now that we do cloth diapers, I might look into cloth breast pads if we do this again!

Get comfortable nursing bras. Buy them after the baby is born because your breasts will be larger once your milk comes in. Motherhood Maternity fits you free of charge. They have a nice selection of comfortable and affordable bras.

Nightgowns with zippers or buttons or t-shirts work best for nighttime.

Lastly, be patient with yourself and with your baby. And, remember, if you end up turning to formula one night, it does not mean that you are a quitter or that you can't do this.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Bit About my Attachment Project

I am wrapping up my undergraduate degree. This is my last semester. I am doing an independent study on attachment and sleep disturbances. Basically, I am reading articles published by psychologists and writing a paper on the findings.

This weekend, I started reading a book called "Becoming Attached." The first section focuses on what the author calls "maternal deprivation." This refers to the mother/primary care giver and the child being separated for an extended period of time. As I had imagined, this was beyond hard for the mothers and the children, particularly for the children. The book shares the results of many case studies. In some cases, it seemed like the separation caused irreversible damage.

Can you imagine leaving your child for weeks, seeing him/her for an hour once a week, bring him/her home at last, only to find out that your own child is indifferent to you and no longer has a sense of trust in you?

Did you know that up until the 1970's parents were not allowed to stay with their children if the children were hospitalized? In many cases, the parents could go see the children for an hour once a week, that was it.

Call me squishy, but I am sitting here almost in tears! We are lucky to live during these times. I cannot even imagine leaving my Amor Chiquito anywhere for that long, with people who she does not know, people who would not love her and give her the attention that she needs and deserves.

Oops, she woke up! More later!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Thinking of Cancer Patients

We all know that cancer is a scary thing. Some of us know people who have had cancer.

I follow the blogs of two people whose young son has cancer.

Cancer sucks, but I am sure it is even harder when the patient is a little guy who is too young to understand what is going on and why.

I would like to take a moment to urge anyone who reads this to keep this beautiful, strong, and amazing family in your thoughts, prayers, whatever you believe in. I know you do not know them. Neither do I, really. I have interacted with the mother of this child on message boards several times, but that is about it. Whether we know them personally or not is irrelevant. Let's do what we can: let's support cancer research, and, when someone you know is facing cancer, do whatever you can to help, whether it is positive thoughts, prayers, moral support, donating your hair… I am sure it makes a difference.

The Adventures of Amor Chiquito

I have decided that I will post an Amor Chiquito update every week. She is doing so many new, cute things!

Here are the highlights of this week:

She learned how to put her pants on.

She also learned how to take them off! So, this means that she is now able to completely strip while in the crib, which, by the way, she loves to do! I guess it is her way of protesting or keeping herself entertained when she is not ready or interested in going to sleep.

She grabbed my deodorant and put it under her arm, as though she was about to put some on!

She said "mamos" (nos vamos, Spanish for we are going). One morning, she said, "mommy, uh mamo," and handed me the car keys!

Shoes are "shooshoos," sucks are "sus," and sweater is "sehseh."

She got in the tub on her own once.

I gave her her breakfast and she said, "cheejios."

She enjoyed scribbling on Abuela's (Spanish for grandma) notebook today.

A sweet story:

I am visually impaired, very low vision. Here is a brief description of what I can/cannot see: I can tell if someone is wearing light/dark colors, pants/skirt, etc. But I can't tell people's eye color, cannot see birthmarks, etc., unless they are essentially right on my face. I can recognize familiar buildings, so I can get around well in areas that I know. I have no depth perception whatsoever, so I tend to not notice when I need to step down.

I am lucky in that, while my vision is very limited, I am able to see Amor Chiquito's gorgeous, big, brown eyes.

So, the story… Amor Chiquito had been playing with my cell phone. She likes looking at the picture of herself and saying "Aid," for Ari, her nickname. I had no idea where she left it, so I asked her to please find my phone. She ran out of her room, looked around, found it at her daddy's office, ran to me, and put it in my hand.

I thanked her, hugged her for a while, and, what can I say?… I almost cried. I cannot believe that she is aware of this at such an early age, and, furthermore, that she is so understanding and helpful.

Another little story: today, at my mom's house, Amor Chiquito was wearing a hat. Abuela said, "show mommy." Amor Chiquito came over to me and put her head down, so I could touch the hat on her head.

Lastly, hearing her say "mommy" every day, many times a day is one of the coolest things ever! She started saying mommy the day of my birthday, 2 weeks ago.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sippy Cups

I figured I would start by sharing our experiences with breastfeeding. Seemed like the natural thing to do. It is the #1 thing the second the baby is born, after all. But, I am worried about what sorts of chemicals are getting into our kids via sippy cups. So, lets start with sippy cups instead!

For about a year, I have had Bisphenol-A (BPA- in my mind. I read up on it. So far as I can tell, there is no definite answer. So, just in case, I made sure that the bottles I pumped into were BPA free. The sippy cups I got Amor Chiquito are BPA-free as well.

A few days ago, for whatever reason, I decided to taste the water in her sippy cup. I was disgusted. I could not believe how horrible the water tasted. It was not water that had been sitting still in a sippy cup all day either. I had given her the sippy cup maybe half an hour earlier. The water was in a Take and Toss sippy ( I later tried drinking from a BornFree sippy ( Same thing, unfortunately. Not as bad, but still tasted weird.

I could understand water tasting weird from a Take and Toss sippy. They are very convenient, but cheap. So, one could argue they might lack in quality. BornFree, though? I paid $10 for that one sippy! Not cool!

So, what can I say?! The reluctant crunchy mama struck again!

I had come across stainless steel bottles on the website where I got Amor Chiquito's cloth diapers. The bottles sounded interesting, so I did a search on Google and found a good deal.

So, Klean Kanteen bottles… They are made of stainless steel. Nothing gets into your water. They are easy to clean and dishwasher safe. You can clean them quickly with vinegar and baking soda. Wide enough mouths, in case you want to put ice cubes in there. They come in several sizes: 12oz bottle with sippy adapter, 18oz, 27oz, and 40oz. They are available in the original stainless steel finish and in several other colors: pink, blue, green, orange, black and a few others…

They range in price from around $10 to $22. The 12oz with the sippy adopter is $15.95 if it is a specific color and $14 if you get it with the stainless steel finish.

Unfortunately, these are pricey. But, if you think about it, if you often buy cases of bottled water, the Klean Kanteens will pay for themselves in no time. It is an investment. For me, knowing that we are not putting who knows what in our bodies is worth it.

I got 2 27oz bottles for the grownups, a 40oz for when we are on the road, and I'll be getting the 12oz sippy for Amor Chiquito tonight. I had not tried water from her sippy until after I ordered ours. I am looking forward to getting hers, though. When I do, I'll let you know if the sippy adapter works well. Good reviews from customers on the website, though, so I have a feeling it will work well.

I'll have you know, I got me a pink bottle! This is, of course, a very important topic I must write about! You see, my husband kept stealing my old plastic bottle! And, I figured, and I know I'm right because he admitted it, that he would not want to be seen in public with a pink bottle! Amor Chiquito loved stealing it, too! In fact, she even broke it; she hit the floor with it many times, until it broke! And, that was her daddy's fault because he was reading his scifi book instead of watching her! And, no, I'm not bitter!

Actually, great move, Crazy Entrepreneur! You gave me just the excuse I needed to get a new bottle of water! You had no idea what you were getting into! Before you knew it, I spent $50 on 3 stainless steel bottles! Poor man! And, as if that was not bad enough, I saw hammocks on that website! So, what can I say?! I have new ideas! Wouldn't a hammock on our porch be cool and comfie?!

So, back to what really matters… Below is a link to where I got our Klean Kanteens. By the way, if you think you might want a few, you'll get free shipping if you spend $50.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

An Intro

I had been thinking about starting a blog for months. Actually, I think my husband, who I will refer to as The Geeky Entrepreneur, came up with the idea. I actually created the blog a while ago, but I finally got around to going through all the settings and getting this boat on the show, so to speak!

I will be writing about how having a child has changed our lives about all the things we do differently; all the things I said I would never do but do now; and, about all the different things I think about that I never thought of before.

Of course, you will find many posts/updates, I am sure, about what my Amor Chiquito (Spanish for little love) is up to!

My hope is that my sharing little bits about our lives might provide someone out there information, tips, whatever she/he is looking for.

A little bit about us... We are a family of three: The Geeky Entrepreneur, The Reluctant Crunchy Mama, and Ari, AKA Amor Chiquito. Amor Chiquito will be 18 months tomorrow, March 18.