Tags: PostPartum

5 Baby Items You’ll Never Regret

By Julie Stockman

Why do new babies have their own rooms? Because you need somewhere to go with all that stuff. The morning after your baby shower, you might be shocked by the sheer mass of stuff that suddenly takes over your house.

You don’t have to forgo a baby shower to remain ecologically responsible. As a mom of three, I have found that there are some bigger ticket baby items that take up little space and are much needed. Some pay for themselves over time. Some have amazing longevity. Here are the five baby items you won’t later regret.

A cloth diaper stash

Even if you don’t plan to use cloth diapers, you’ll never regret having a stash on hand. I promise there will come a day when it’s 11:00 p.m. and you’re putting the last diaper on the baby. The last thing anyone wants to do is run out to the store, and guess what? You don’t have to. You can use cloth until you get to the store.

If you are planning to use cloth diapers full-time, this is the perfect baby shower registry addition. Guests can pick out one or two diapers or diaper covers with cute designs for very little money, but added together you could end up with a sizable stash, each personally chosen by someone you love.

A baby carrier

Strollers are nice sometimes, particularly for longer excursions, but for everyday use, you just can’t beat a good baby carrier. Ergos are extremely popular and can be purchased with an infant insert to maximize their use. I waited until my third child to buy an Ergo, but now I wish I’d done so from the start. I’ve never known a more comfortable carrier.

When mine were still tiny infants, I loved having a wide sling. It was perfect for quick trips in and out of a store or for running outside to grab the mail. An added benefit was that a nice, wide sling could double as a nursing cover. When I was still learning how to nurse, I appreciated having a little privacy when taking my time to latch properly.

A bassinet

A well-designed, well-chosen bassinet is one of those items that can serve many purposes. I would suggest one that rocks automatically in lieu of a swing. If you opt for a lighter weight model, you can move it around the house rather easily, so it can reside by the bed at night and in the kitchen by day.

If you spend a lot of time in the garden, you could choose a bassinet with a detachable cradle, such as the Moses basket style with a frame. This way, you won’t have to wake a sleeping baby to head outside for a bit.

Before I had children, I was adamant that they would sleep in their own beds. Ah…my children. They had such an ability to make me blush at all the (loud) opinions I had before they came along. The truth was, none of my children ever spent a single night in their own beds when they were babies.

But it’s hard not to buy a crib, especially if it’s your first child. If you do buy a crib, consider the convertible kind. Ours converted from a crib to a full-sized headboard and footboard. Others convert to a toddler bed. This way, even if the crib ends up holding toys instead of the baby, it’s still a useful purchase.

High chair

I found our high chair to be useful for many times besides breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I discovered it was the perfect safe place to put my older babies and toddlers when I needed them to be off the floor. I would stock the tray with toys or finger foods or puzzles while I did any number of tasks: clean up after the dog or sweep the floor or even take a shower. I knew the babies were safe and they were usually amused by the tray items for at least 10 minutes.

Because our high chairs were so well used, I preferred a wooden chair rather than a plastic one. There are convertible plastic high chairs, however, that become booster seats later.

Car seat

If you drive a car, the need for a car seat is obvious. But what kind of seat will you get? The multi-age, multi-position seats certainly have their advantages. These seats can face backward while your baby is young and turn forward when she is ready. Many models have different levels of reclining as well, which allows a finer adjustment for her comfort.

But they also have two major drawbacks. First, they are usually much heavier and bulkier than a regular car seat. This makes them an annoying choice for switching between vehicles. Also, they aren’t made to be carried around like a bucket seat. If you think you will often want to take a sleeping baby out of the car inside the carrier, these types wouldn’t be the right option.

If you plan to keep the seat only in the car as a safe place for the baby to ride in the vehicle, and you don’t plan to move it much from its spot, these seats will definitely save money and resources.

In the end, it’s surprising how little you actually need for your new baby, how few things you end up using. Stuffing a house to the brim with equipment makes it feel crowded to everyone and isn’t an ecologically sustainable lifestyle. By researching and choosing carefully, you can be a good steward of your money, your home, and ultimately, your family.

Other posts from Julie:

Caffeine During Pregnancy: Is it really a no-no?

Spring Tonics

Julie Stockman lives in Farmland, Indiana where she homeschools her children with her husband, Jeff. She spends her days baking, gardening, keeping chickens, listening to the nature around them, practicing gratitude and faithfulness, and stealing minutes to write about it all.

Charts Showing a Depleted Body and the Recovery with Herbs and Time

By @FertilityFlower

You can read a lot in a woman’s chart.

The following is a picture of a depleted body (my body):

You can see that 3 years and 3 pregnancies took their toll on my body. Temps are more erratic and at a new lower average temperature in both phases of my cycle.

The next cycle, I started a tincture of red clover, red raspberry and grape leaves/tendrils – 30 drops, 3x daily. I also ditched my synthetic prenatals and started taking a raw food multivitamin in the pre-ovulatory phase and drinking 3-5 cups of nettle tea in the post-ovulatory phase.*

*I didn’t have access to a raw food prenatal when I started this ‘experiment’. My multivitamin could work as a prenatal…it hits all of the key components of a prenatal…however, it also has a little bit of borage in it. Borage isn’t safe during the bulk of pregnancy. It can cause contractions which is not what you want in early pregnancy. The only time that it’s OK to take Borage during pregnancy is at the end (as in, the last month or so). In small doses, it can help ripen the cervix, etc in preparation for birth.

This was the effect on my temps after 1 month of my regimen:

By the next month, you can see that my temperatures are settling down and coming closer to my 2008 levels:

I still have some dips here and there but it much fewer!

Finally, my current cycle (3 cycles out) is still underway but you can see that my temperatures have basically returned to the 2008 levels and aren’t bouncing around crazily like before.

Neat ;)

Charting Tip: Charting After Giving Birth

By @FertilityFlower

While you observe dry vaginal sensation and dry (meaning ‘no’) cervical fluid during the postpartum period, you don’t need to chart. Ah….I actually said it! I’ll say it again – you don’t need to chart as long as you have no cervical fluid and have ‘dry’ vaginal sensation. New mothers who are nursing on demand day-and-night, babywearing, etc., and otherwise following the 7-standards of ecological breastfeeding (a stricter form of the Lactational Amenorrhea Method) find that this infertile state can last for quite a while. Shiela Kippley (Founder of the Couple to Couple League with her husband, John) states that ˝the average return of menstruation for ecological breastfeeding mothers is between 14 and 15 months˝ but it can range anywhere from 8 to 30 months (Sheila Kippley, CCL Family Foundations, May-June 1999).

However, once you notice wetness either in terms of cervical fluid or as a sensation of wetness of any kind, you need to begin charting again. And, certainly if you experience a postpartum period (meaning, bleeding that occurs past the first 56 postpartum days), you need to start charting again. However, you should be aware that bleeding in the postpartum stage does not necessarily mean a return to fertility. You can experience several months of anovulatory bleeding (no ovulation) in which case you are not fertile. Whether your cycles are ovulatory or anovulatory will be easily discerned by charting.

With that said, charting during the postpartum period is a special case. The mantra for this period should be: when in doubt, DON’T. Meaning, the postpartum period is fraught with hormonal changes that can result in some ambiguity in terms of your fertility signals. Charting your waking temperature will not help you determine when you are fertile during this period (or any period) but it will help you figure out if you’re ovulating. If your other fertility signals (such as cervical fluid, cervical position, vaginal sensation, etc…) don’t match up nicely, for the sake of safety abide by the one that keeps you waiting. For example, if your cervix is soft, high or open (indicating potential fertility) on a day that you experience dry vaginal sensation and no cervical fluid, your cervical position overrides the signals from your cervical fluid/sensation. Meaning, you are potentially fertile. Therefore, postpone intercourse until you can confirm ovulation (via a temperature shift) or the return of your cervix to a position of infertility.

Since vaginal sensation and cervical fluid will ultimately herald the return of your fertility. Here are some guidelines to internalize:

  • If you have one or two days of any kind of wetness (sensation or cervical fluid) and the next two days are dry, consider yourself potentially fertile on the wet days. You would be safe for intercourse on the second evening that you’ve been dry all day.
  • If your wet cervical fluid lasts for three days, you’re potentially fertile on those days. Count four days of dryness after your last day of wetness and you’re safe to resume intercourse on the fourth evening.

The more of these peak days (your last day of wet vaginal sensation or wet cervical fluid) that you experience, the more likely that you are approaching a return to fertility.

Charting in the Post-Partum Period

By @FertilityFlower

I often receive questions about charting in the post-partum period. Very simply: The key to charting in the post-partum period is to monitor your cervical fluid. Look for changes in your everyday post-partum status. Cerivcal fluid is going to tell you when you are approaching your fertile phase – now, just like always. If you are not breastfeeding, you can expect to start cycling again soon (within a couple months of giving birth). While you are not necessarily going to be fertile soon after giving birth, you should consider any bleeding after 56 days a menstrual period as opposed to post-partum bleeding (lochia). If your first post-partum cycle is fertile (ovulatory), you will notice your cervical fluid becoming wetter and wetter as you approach ovulation, leading up to something that (in many women) is stretchy and resembles eggwhite. Your waking temperatures might be rocky during the post-partum period due to a variety of things (e.g., hormones, waking up multiple times in the night to feed the baby, etc.) but it doesn’t matter. The quality of your cervical fluid is the key to identifying approaching ovulation.

If you are breastfeeding and satisfying all of your baby’s nutritional and emotional needs at the breast (and not using pacifiers)*, you are likely to experience a long pause in your fertility – on average, 14.6 months. Your waking temperatures may be all over the place during that time but again – watch for changes in the quality of your cervical fluid. Since your body has been through several months of hormonal upheavel, your basic infertility pattern – which is your non-fertile ‘everyday’ level of wetness (which for many women is ‘dry’) – after giving birth, might be different than it was before your pregnancy. You’re looking for a change in your cervical fluid, from a drier/stickier state to wetter. Once you notice a change from drier to wetter, then standard charting rules for avoiding a pregnancy apply. You can review the temperature shift and peak day rules to avoid a pregnancy here.

The good news is that after your first post-partum menstrual period, your temperatures should return to a more discernable bi-phasic pattern (low temperatures in the follicular phase followed by high temps in the luteal phase).

*Satisfying all of your baby’s needs at the breast (both physical and emotional) is called Ecological Breastfeeding. KellyMom.com has a nice write up on Ecological Breastfeeding and post-partum fertility here.

Sources:

Consensus Statement, “Breastfeeding as a Family Planning Method,” The Lancet (November 19, 1988), 1204-1205.

You might also be interested in:

The Sympto-Thermal Method for Birth Control

Regaining Normalcy After A Baby



Regaining Normalcy After A Baby

I’m chewing on a lot these days, more than ever before. Between the Fertility Flower project and my family life, I have a lot to process. But, in the last week or so and for whatever reason, I am starting to feel more like myself – competent, making progress, organized. The house is what I would even call ‘clean’. Prior to Blanka, I had heaps of motivation, ideas, plans, etc. and that didn’t change after Blanka’s arrival. What did change for me was my ability to execute those plans, bring those ideas to light.

Her schedule is now my schedule. Her needs are my needs. Same ‘ole story. And yes, there are times that I wish (and even plead) for a few more minutes so that ‘mommy can finish this sentence’ but more often than not, the sentence remains a fragment until the next nap. C’est la vie. This is what Jessi Arias-Cooper was talking about in her post Origins of a Real Mom Revolution.

I know all new parents go through this – the period of adjustment after a new family member enters the picture. The re-alignment occurs for many around the first birthday, according to our discussion of the topic on the Fertility Flower Facebook page. For me, with Blanka at 10 months, I’m enjoying the sense that I am finally starting to claw my way back to the surface. I still don’t complete all that I’d like. I think I can kiss those days goodbye. In fact, most of my projects/ideas don’t even get started these days. But there is the perception of a wisp of change in the air and for me, that might be the most important thing.

So, chin up new mommies. The disaster area that is your life right now doesn’t last forever!

For you experienced moms, how long did it take for post-partum normalcy to return?

Transformative Power of Birth

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about birth experiences and breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


Getting our nursing 'issues' ironed out

The more I learn about the world of mothering, the more I recognize that a woman’s birth experience has effects that extend way past the actual event. I see that feelings of disappointment, fear or powerlessness within the context of the birth itself have great power over what happens next. Depending on the basic ‘stuff’ of the mother, those feelings could resurface as a lack of confidence within the breastfeeding relationship (‘I don’t know what I’m doing…’I must be doing it wrong’…’the baby doesn’t like my milk’) or it might spur someone to make up for it – just powering through whatever obstacles are put in her way IN SPITE of the birth experience.

My 8 1/2 pound chunk

I’m a bit of a pushover by nature. My husband calls me ‘Midwestern Nice.’ But this natural predisposition toward not-making-waves is intensified by the fact that we live in a foreign country where my command of the launguage is ’casual’ at best.  Unable to REALLY convey my thoughts exactly or to the depth that I would be able to in English, I lack confidence when I speak.  Even my speaking voice is smaller, as if to subconsciously suggest to the listener -  ‘what I’m actually saying to you is but a pale version of what it would’ve been otherwise…don’t bother listening.’ Add unto that the pain of childbirth and I couldn’t put a sentence together to save my life let alone advocate for myself at the birth.

After the birth, though, I was transformed. Whereas I’m inclined to be a wimp on matters pertaining to me, with regard to my daughter – I was fierce and completely shocked by it. And when Blanka didn’t seem interested in nursing or we had some trouble latching on in the first 24 hours (probably all normal but I worried about it anyway), I persevered like crazy because it was important for her and thus it became all-important to me. So much so that when a nursing session was interrupted by a nurse who came to our room to weigh the babies, I shewed her away – don’t call me, I’ll call you. I thought, ‘Who is this woman? This can’t be me…’ but sister, it was! I felt that since the birth had been out of my hands, I would be damned if the care of my daughter would be too.


Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.