Thursday, April 28, 2011


Tonight I learned that Mothering magazine is no longer in publication and they have now become a web only company: MotheringDotCommunity (MDC).

You can read Peggy O'Mara's editorial, "How We Became a Web Company" which explains the long road to this decision to cease printing.

I'm glad to see they will continue the online community with articles, resources and forums but I will dearly miss the print editions.  It was the only parenting magazine wherein I found full support, education and reflections on many of the 'natural parenting' ideals I believe so strongly in and I considered it an important resource.

The importance of having a circle of support be it family, friends, service providers and access to supportive resources is a vital component to parenting to the best of my ability and making informed decisions.  We are not meant to do this alone.

I will certainly miss having access to this incredible publication but will make a point to follow them at their online community.

I encourage you to check them out as well as Mothering is a treasure trove of information and connections for our journey in motherhood.

Monday, April 25, 2011

How to be sick and be prepared

Came across this post today on ohdeedoh called 5 Survival Tips for Being Sick at Home With Kids which was pretty timely considering I'm just now on the mend from a nasty cold, the likes of which I'd never experienced before let alone with a baby.

As a single mom I don't have a partner to shoulder the load once the door closes (I do have the eagerly sweet help from my own parents who are Fantastic) so amongst the several things I thought were great about the post was the fact that she found herself sick while her husband was away which meant her tips were easily relatable for single parents.

I too rarely keep cash around but when the 3 block walk to the store with a baby means getting you both in a state that will pass public approval, dragging yourself through the store and walking back you'd faster sign up for a commitment to the marathon 6 months from now than that when you are on your last gasp.  And after being advised on which over the counters that were safe for breastfeeding I realized none of it was of use to me still on the shelf as it was at Rite Aid. I'd never maintained a medicine cabinet pre-mommy hood but I assure you that long walk will be our last if I can help it.

If there are any ways I can save time and make things easier while maintaining our quality of life I'm all ears and eyes so this was a welcome gold nugget.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The price of cloth

I really enjoy reading the personal finance blog Money Ning and just this week there was a post on clothing diapering: How Much Do Cloth Diapers Really Cost? Of course any time I see writing on cloth diapering it piques my interest. In the end the writer did say there is a cost advantage to cloth diapers if you wash them yourself but it brings me here to share that there is a HUGE spending divide in the world of cloth diapering. One extreme is hilariously touched on in the article Why I will Never by a Good Mama Cloth Diaper and the depths one can go to however you can do cloth diapering super cheap by getting all your diapers secondhand or just getting 2 dozen flat diapers and a few covers with pins or snappis. As little as $50 to $500 setting yourself up given all the options. I think I've spent in the range of $350-500 primarily because I tried several things and bought about 18 pocket diapers (which is the most expensive style of cloth diapers with price ranges within that) because we use cloth 24/7 and I thought that would be easiest (and has proven to be best choice) for daycare and grandma, grandpapa and auntie to use. I have been able to sell off my stash as we outgrow things and retire ones I got as trial runs so that is new found savings as well. Also I now use the marketplace on Diaper Swappers to buy diapers gently used and had I known of this at the start I would have built my whole stash from the fluff there and bought handmade ones from one of the many WAHM (work at home mom) shops online.

When considering the price of cloth know that aside from being a means to significant reduction in new baby expenses it most importantly offers a tremendous savings of environmental resources.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Peas please?

For such a huge milestone its incredible how little guidance in starting solids there seems to be beyond "begin rice cereal". I suppose if you are buying store bought baby food there is a greater chance at feeling a sense of direction in how to begin because it's labeled by stages etc.

I've chosen to make my own baby food and so far at the end of week one I found applesauce, sweet potatoes and banana were GREAT first foods because they blend smoothly and easily.

Our nemesis at the moment is peas. Such a shame because they are in season at the farmer's market but after 2 batches I admit it just doesn't seem to be coming out fully pureed no matter what. Batch 1: I pulled out everything I had in the arsenal, steaming, blending, food mill, straining, boiling all of it still left me with a lumpy mess I wouldn't serve without my hand hovered over the mobile ready to dial 911 upon entry. But tonight we are closer; I steamed, then blended with water and went ahead and froze the puree that resulted however pausing to serve it because it still had a few soft partial peas throughout.

I just don't get it.

Or maybe I do and just don't realize that's good as it gets.

Thank goodness for 2 very helpful resources:

The Starting Solids forum at Diaper Swappers and a site called Wholesome Baby Foods.

Of course asking friends, family, and other moms etc. will help. I also think it’s interesting how much culture affects this important milestone too and in having a few conversations with moms recently about what they served first etc. it was incredible the range of answers I received. Every one of them were what they felt were right for their baby so I guess with this it’s like everything on this journey. Find your groove and find what's best for you and yours.

So about those the 3rd try the charm? To be continued...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

On my honor, I will try...

to avoid plastic! Plastic is scary and the more I see the result of where it ends up once we throw it out I become more afraid at the idea of contributing to the madness. Every time I'm at a store and I see the sales clerk snapping open a fresh plastic bag I feel a momentary wave of please stooooooop bubbling to my lips before I manage to say as nicely as possible that I will just carry whatever it is we are getting.

Our home is certainly not plastic free, it’s hard to avoid it 100% so what I advocate for is not extremity but mindful use. I admit, I did breakdown and get Winter a plastic key ring set, her own personal set of keys since she seemed so very interested in the brightly colored ones dangling from her rocker.

For example, we do have a few toys with plastic components that I got at a consignment shop in Brooklyn before she was born. We also receive gifts that may have or be plastic and lastly we do have a newborn/toddler rocker which has plastic components but I am making a vow from this point onwards especially as we are in the toy stage to not personally purchase any plastic toys. Wood ones are more expensive I see but there are some plush options and other handmade toys I've seen out of cloth etc. on Etsy. I'm also taking Winnie's cues, right now she happily engaged with a big wad of paper. Never mind that I need it for my school work as reference the point is I do see how basic household items that we already have are and can be objects of affection.

I admit I'm struggling with the high chair situation but realizing the best option would be to find one 2nd hand or get something in one if new is really what's wanted.

Reuse recycle reduce! That's our mantra that and sometimes less is more although sometimes more is more but we'll cross that bridge at a later point?

So as I start creating my daughter's new bed/playroom in our tiny suite it will be these motivations in mind. I've been trawling the backlogs of looking at all the adorable vintage sweet playrooms and bedroom spaces that use something old, something new and put it all together in a tiny space to create a kid friendly place that's warm and inviting.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Eco tip: reuseable nursing pads

I got into the habit of using our cloth baby wipes for nursing pads as an emergency stash then it became my daily choice.  The 1st 3 months I would need to change 2-3 times in a 24 hour period so you can see how quickly you can blow through a box of disposables even if you are just using 1 pair a day.

My absolute favorite reusable nursing pads are the Danish wool pads by Lanacare.  They are pricey but the pads are so soft and incredibly absorbent.  Where I tripped up is that as a heavy leaker I often fell behind in the upkeep, I had two pairs and the recommend 2-3 pairs, I could not keep up the hand washing required to maintain them.  Wool pads do not have to be washed daily, you wash them when they start to feel stiff which can be several days or more for some women.  I tried another pad that was non wool and while OK it was the wipes from our cloth stash that have proven to be long lasting and the best. What I do is fold the square wipe into a triangle and then a 2nd time then stick that into my bra.  I bring extra wipes in my pump bag and they are great as an extra pad, clean-up item or sometimes I put a wipe on my lap to protect my clothes at work.

Here's a pic showing how I fold them for nursing wipes: 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rapunzel post partum

About a month ago I noticed my hair line was receding and I panicked. It seemed like it happened over night and as the days progressed I realized most of the hair along my temples was thinning and falling out.  When I went to my loctician (a hair dresser who specializes in natural hair, in my case "dread"locs) and was received warmly by a chorus of "it's normal!" I at last felt some ease. 

Someone indicated that because I was nursing all the nutrients were going from me to Winnie and therefore if I just started taking my prenatal vitamins again (which I should have been doing all along) to replace the nutrients my hair would start to grow back.  Alas, I looked into this further and found that it’s not breastfeeding that causes hair loss but rather the rejuvenation of your hair loss/grow cycle to its normal levels post-partum.  During pregnancy your normal hair loss slows and once you are in the post-partum period as your body begins to transition back your head sheds all the hair that it otherwise would have normally during the period you were pregnant. Hence the scare mare of clogged shower drains, creative hair styles and fake outs women are reduced to as they weather the momentary "lightness".

Kelly Mom provides a great explanation here regarding hair loss and its non-relation to breastfeeding.  Also Baby Center enlightens us as to why hair starts shedding at the 4-6 month mark post-partum.

Once I realized what was actually happening I was able to calm down, regain my confidence and embrace it as another marker on the path to that place of wonders, Motherhood. While not the extreme that some experience due to cancer, alopecia etc. it's an opportunity to reflect on the idea, my idea of beauty and the attachment to hair.  In one of my prior posts I briefly mentioned that I am continuing to build my defintion of what it means to be a woman and hair is another feature on the list of what are now archaic defining markers of female from male.  Our society does put a great value mark on hair, all the commercials for hair loss treatments, volumizing shampoos, hair coloring and more is just the tip of the iceberg.  Hair for many is a security blanket, without it, many of us at least, would consider that an extreme transition to contemplate.  I've not lost all my hair but I lost enough to feel shaken and I am trying to reflect, see if there might be something to learn from it all and then move on the better for it.

It's not easy of course, to see yourself holding all hopes that the brink is no further away than the present and regrowth is soon to come but I say this as much to myself as to anyone out there also experiencing the will soon be over and we shall regain our full heads of hair (if you want) again!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Eco tip: earth friendly bath toys

Admittedly struggling to find non-plastic and/or eco friendly bath toys for my daughter who is entering the world of bath time as a joyous occassion.

Here's what I've come across so far:

Green Toys makes their toys from recycled milk jugs and has a tug boat and stacker set that I thought sure funmakers due especially to the strong color combos available for the tug boat.

Green Sprouts is another green friendly company and they have organic cotton splash toys and puppets for the bath which helps us take one more step away from more plastic. 

Rich Frog also has non-plastic tub options. The Tub Toss and Fishin' Game are both cute.

For more ideas see these and other links on the Resources page!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I'm someone's mommy...

I remember the 1st time I heard someone call my daughter's name and I realized, I'm someone's mommy...
We were sitting in the pediatrician's office 2 days after she was born and the nurse came out and said, "Winter?" and I stared at her unmoving. Hearing her name and feeling her sweet smelling limbs move about in my lap was like the tinkling of a bell in a meditation room signaling the start or end of contemplation.
It was only after the 2nd or 3rd time her name was called that the fog of awe around me cleared and I was able to propel myself up and out of the chair so that we could be led to an exam room.
I remember when she was born and in all the hullaballo I still didn't know what she was, he or she and I breathlessly asked the nurse,
"What it is?" and she said, "take a look!"
I remember reaching down to take hold of the tiny warm being that was clinging to me in the crook of my arm.  In her newborn state she was like a little piglet. I remember lifting her leg and near screaming as if I'd never seen one before, "it's a girl!" and another time, to and for myself in reference, "it's a girl".
It was as if an angel had fallen down out of the sky right into my lap and from then onwards I was forever changed.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Reproductive body parts and gendered norms

One of the doulas in a local volunteer group forwarded an article About Purportedly Gendered Body Parts by Dean Spade, founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and Assistant Professor at Seattle University School of Law.  In the article he encourages the use of more sensitive and accurate language with regards to reproductive body parts in work within transgendered and non-traditional clients.

Here's a link to his site to learn more:

In my own work I look forward to working with mothers and parents of ALL backgrounds including the LGBT community. I've always had an interest in Women's Studies, specifically the definition of gender, and the experiences stories of women of color.

What is a woman? We know a woman is still a woman without breasts, without her uterus, without a husband, in a pant suit and without children. So what is a woman?

I do think it's an important concept to meditate on as women go through the cycle of life. I'm still grappling with my own answer to this question and one day I hope to write something I can stand by as my belief on this topic.