Desmond's Mom

Just sayin…

Cloth Diapers

November7

When you think about cloth diapering, what comes to mind?  Diaper pins and rubber pants?  Well these are things of the past.  Now cloth diapering is adorable and much healthier for your baby and the environment.  Disposable diapers contain many chemicals that are banned in other countries because they are known to be linked to cancer, hormonal problems, bacteria, toxins and reproductive problems.  Cloth is a safe alternative.

A lot of people budge because it’s expensive to get started.  It doesn’t have to be.  There are cost effective ways to diaper on a dime but if you think about it, the average child uses 6,000 disposable diapers, or 25 cloth diapers.  Cloth can also be used for more than one child and sold once you are done with them for a bit of a return on your investment.  I had a cloth diaper registry for my shower and got all I needed.  Although if I find a good deal, I still pick up some second hand diapers here and there.

Some mommas get concerned about the ick factor.  It’s really not that bad.  If you breast feed, your baby’s poop is water soluble and you can just run a rinse cycle with your diapers before washing to remove poop.  Then they bleach out like new with just a few hours of sunlight.  Once baby starts solids, you just shake solids into the toilet or you can install a diaper sprayer.  But you’ve got a long time to worry about all that.

Others complain that it’s more work.  Yes, it’s a little more laundry.  It beats running to Walmart to pick up more diapers or exchange sizes or taking out the trash all the time.  It’s also fun laundry.  I promise I’m not crazy, ask any cloth diapering momma, they enjoy washing and hanging up diapers.  It’s an excuse to get outside and get some sunshine and fresh air and play with pretty fabric.  We still hate washing the clothes though ;)

Some ask, “Does the water bill go up?”  A little, but not as much as you would think or enough to even come close to the cost of disposables over time.  I do spend a little more on natural detergent but I make up for it by not needing to buy fabric softener.

Also mommas who are curious about cloth get overwhelmed when they search it out online.  There are so many options, so many acronyms, and since cloth mommas enjoy talking about diapers, we complicate things.  It’s not nearly as complicated as we make it sound but it’s important to know what you like and don’t like so that you know how to integrate the right type of diapers into your life.  I’ve broke it down into a few show and tell videos.  I hope that this simplifies things but feel free to leave questions in the comments.

Flats:

Prefolds:

Fitteds:

Pockets:

All in Ones:

All in Twos:

Night time:

posted under Natural Baby | 1 Comment »

Natural ways to cure a cold

October21

The best ways to prevent colds/flu is to eat clean, wash your hands frequently, and take vitamins. Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re past that stage and need help getting over it. I believe doctors have a time and place and general colds aren’t their territory. They will either tell you it’s viral and you need to wait it out, or it’s bacterial and give you antibiotics. Or give you antibiotics regardless because either they will work or they will have a placebo effect until the cold runs its course. Antibiotics do horrible things to your body. They destroy your healthy gut flora, harm your body’s natural resistance, and sometimes have other damaging side effects and reactions. They’re good for serious infections, not colds.

Disclaimer: this is my experience only. I am no doctor/herbalist/healer. I just know what works for me.

Before cold season, stock your cabinet with some essentials:

  • Elderberry syrup
  • Echinacea with goldenseal
  • Emergen C packets or vitamins C, D, E and zinc
  • Neti pot
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Wool socks
  • A tea you like and local honey
  • Epsom salt
  • Bone broth
  • Colloidal silver or breast milk
  • Garlic
  • Probiotics
  • Soft cloth tissues
  • Snuggle jammies, a blanket and a good Netflix queue

I believe when you get a cold you need to stop everything and focus on fighting the sickness. Quarantine the healthy from the unhealthy (except nurslings who will be protected by the antibiotic qualities of your breast milk). Then take this immune boosting proactive approach:

If you have been exposed to sickness or it’s simply cold/flu season, take a tablespoon of elderberry syrup daily for prevention. If you are currently sick take that dose every 2-3 hours. A child’s dose is 1 teaspoon. Do not give to children under the age of 1 as it contains honey.

Make a twice daily cup of Emergen C. You can find the packets over the counter. I like to mix the orange flavored one in a large glass of orange juice. The idea is to boost your immune system. This can also be done with taking therapeutic doses of vitamin C, D, E and Zinc. I also take 2 echinacea with goldenseal tablets 3 times a day for up to two weeks. Warning: taking herbal supplements may render your birth control useless, as will any antibiotic. Use a barrier method as a backup.

If you have a sore throat, mix up a kettle of hot water and keep it going all day. Pour as many cups of tea as you can drink. I like an orange spice (Constant Comment makes a great one) and add local honey (coats the throat and local helps with allergens from local pollen) and lemon juice (kills bacteria). I sometimes sprinkle some cinnamon on top too. This has the bonus effect of opening up the sinuses.

If your sinuses are still clogged or your muscles are sore, draw a hot bath and add Epsom salts (their magnesium content helps sooth muscles) and eucalyptus essential oil to open the sinuses.

Once your nose is good and runny, blow out all you can and mix some saline into your neti pot. Have a handful of tissues ready and proceed with a sinus flush. The trick here is to make sure you turn your head completely upside down. If you just bend over, the solution will run out your mouth. Gross! Continue to neti throughout the day when your nose clogs. This will keep bacteria from growing and will help you get well fast. I also like to shoot a few drops of colloidal silver or breast milk up the nose if it’s persistent. Same for in the ears if you feel an earache coming on.

Proceed to do nothing throughout the day or at least take necessities slow. Get in some warm pajamas with a blanket and spend some time catching up on your favorite tv show or a good book. Eat bone broth soup and drink warm tea. Lots of fluids.

If you have a fever, and it’s not terrifyingly high, do nothing. Fevers are the body’s natural response to illness and a part of the healing process.

Now this is important – before bed, saturate a pair of cotton socks with water and put them in the fridge. Get a towel and dry pair of wool socks handy. Then make a pan of hot water. I like to add rosemary essential oil to it, although it isn’t necessary. Soak your feet for about 20 mins or until the water is no longer warm. Put on the cold wet socks followed immediately by the dry wool socks. I know this sounds like the last thing you want to do, but I promise your body will warm your feet in no time. Go straight to bed with extra blankets. No, I’m not crazy, this really works. It revs up your circulation which aids your immune system. You will wake up with dry feet feeling better but feel free to repeat if necessary the following night.

If you don’t see improvement in 2-3 days then it could be bacterial. At this point I reach for a natural antibiotic. If you are not nursing, take a clove of garlic and cut it into about 6 cubes. Swallow them like pills with water or juice. Do this 3 times a day. If you are nursing this will change the flavor of your milk and I don’t recommend it. Instead, take colloidal silver orally using these guidelines.

Anytime you take an antibiotic, whether natural or not, take a probiotic with it to protect the healthy bacteria in your body. I have found that you get what you pay for with probiotics. You want a high quality refrigerated brand. Or you can save money by making your own fermented beverages like kefir or kombucha.

Get well soon!

How to recycle Cappuccino K Cups

October18

Crunchy in the fact that we’re recycling, not crunchy by health factor.  But every momma needs a pick me up now and then and we all deserve a treat.  Especially when we can save money with our expensive coffeemaker ;)

posted under Recycle | No Comments »

Breast feeding isn’t always easy

October7

While I was pregnant I researched breast feeding. I knew it was the only option for our family. I kept being reassured that if you have an unmedicated birth and put baby skin to skin right away that it will just happen. That it shouldn’t hurt unless something is wrong. I felt confident.

I got slapped in the face by reality very quickly. My baby wasn’t able to nurse for two and a half of the longest weeks of my life. I had such an empowering birth and was reduced to an emotional mess with nursing. I remember looking at my husband with tears in my eyes and said, “This is the first thing that I’ve ever failed at that I’ve really put my mind to.” and he almost cried too because he knows how driven I am and how much this meant to me.

My midwifes website says that she won’t leave until baby gets a good latch, but it never happened. He was born the night before Easter and she told me to go see a lactation consultant right away but they would be closed for the holiday. I found out later that was incorrect but at the time thought the statement made sense. So he went over 24 hours with jaundice and hardly any food. It was the scariest time of my life.

I spent the entire time putting him to the breast but he just couldn’t do it. I pumped and syringe fed him the best I could, but it wasn’t that effective and I could only get a few drops of colustrum at a time. We raced to the lactation consultants office first thing Monday morning. The car ride was almost unbearable on my stitches from a second degree internal tear and I silently cried the whole ride there and back. I started to regret my home birth. Not for the birth itself but for being 45 minutes away from lactation support after the fact. I know now after hearing other people’s stories that home or hospital, it wouldn’t have made a difference, other than that first day. Some babies just have a hard time. I didn’t understand though, he was full term and we had done everything right.

The lactation consultant met with me and we started finger feeding him through a tube on our finger in his mouth. The idea was to teach him how to suck. The new problem we faced was that I was only producing colostrum, which was too thick to go down the tube. She had me add sugar water to thin it out. I was devastated. I couldn’t believe I was feeding syrup to my newborn! I should have reached out for a milk donor for a couple ounces to get us started but was in such a haze that I didn’t think of that. It was only for a short time though. My amazing husband let me get some rest and my milk came in on day four.

I had no support system then like I do now. I was at the LC office every other day. Every hour and a half I woke up, tried to nurse the baby for 10 minutes, then I passed him to my husband or mother to finger feed him while I pumped. I took solace that I had a good supply and it would be ready when he was.

One day the LC told me he had to start using a bottle because he was burning too many calories finger feeding. Again, I was devastated. I knew this is how nipple confusion and preference for faster milk flow begins. I refused. I rented a baby scale and went home that day to lay out everything baby would need in a semi circle on the floor, strapped the breast friend pillow on, and told Desmond I wasn’t moving until we got this. 4 hours later he was crying for food and I gave in and finger fed him. My nipples were cracked and bleeding (they are flat and drawing them out to feed a baby wasn’t easy on them). The next time the LC gave me a nipple shield to try and insisted that I use a bottle. I gave in since the bottle nipple looked like the shield and maybe it would help with the transition. We were persistent about trying to nurse first with the shield, then used paced bottle feeding after it didn’t happen.

One day I realized he was sucking. Milk was filing his mouth but he was spitting it out! I couldn’t for the life of me understand why this was happening. He also had horrible reflux so I worried it was spit up but after watching closely I realized that he just wasn’t swallowing right. On an unrelated note (or so I thought at the time) I heard that chiropractic could help with reflux, so I made an appointment. After I left the chiropractors office I went and saw the lactation consultants again. I tried without the shield and little man drank 3 oz! I was elated!  Apparently his neck was out of alignment from having an arm by his face in the womb which caused his swallow to be off pattern. Once we got him adjusted, things got better.

His reflux and tummy problems continued. I learned that I had created oversupply by pumping too long each time. The LC said to pump for 15 mins each time, and after a while 15 mins would yield 10oz when baby only drank 2-3.  I didn’t think about it, I just did what I was told.  I built an insane freezer stock, but it wasn’t doing any favors for his tummy by getting too much formilk. I slowly weened off the pump. A miserable process that gave me mastitis twice and several plugged ducts. This helped his tummy but something still wasn’t right. I tried an elimination diet and learned that dairywas problematic. Suddenly no more spitting up, hardly at all. And the gas wasn’t nearly as painful for him.

Nursing

He has developed a preference for the breast and he won’t have anything to do with a bottle anymore. I haven’t turned the pump on in ages. I have been donating our freezer stash to supplementing mommas to help keep their babies off formula. My son is happy, healthy, and strong. I’m thankful every day to be able to work with him beside me so that I can feed on demand. We still have latch issues because he has a lip tie that we haven’t had corrected yet. Although we had a rough start with so many problems combined (lip tie, flat nipples, reflux, swallow reflex being off, we were clueless and had no help for a day and a half), we were determined and I’m SO proud of officially hitting 6 months and going strong. In the long run, those first few weeks were short and worth every second.

New moms.  I am not writing this story to discourage you.  I’m writing it so that you know you may have to fight for this if it’s what you want.  You need to find a good support system and start learning early.  I implore you, please do not give up. I know that if I could do it, with all our struggles, that anyone can. Less than 1% of the population is physically unable to breast feed. Babies are so little and everything is so new, be patient with them. They need you, and your milk has so much more to offer their growing bodies than formula. If you struggle, ask for help. The total cost was $35 for as many visits to the lactation consultants as we wanted to go to (not much more than the cost of a can of formula).  Free options include the Breast Friends Facebook group, your local Le Leche League chapter, WIC has breast feeding help whether you qualify for their program or not, or by asking other nursing moms.  The Breastfeeding Book by Dr. Sears is fantastic if you have the time to read (like, while you’re pregnant lol).  Sometimes it’s easy and just happens, but when it isn’t, remember that your baby is worth it.  Breastfeeding may not be for every mom, but it is for every baby.  Breastfeeding is like a natural vaccine to protect against illness, allergies, obesity, SIDS, and certain cancers in the mother.  It really is a win win once you get established and comfortable with it.  If you absolutely can’t make it work, exclusive pumping is an option.  If you struggle with supply or you’re an adoptive parent, check out Human Milk for Human Babies for donor milk.

Desmond’s Birth Story

September29

Welcome

 The house was bustling the sacred night before.  We had someone to represent many stages of life: a little girl, a maiden, an expecting mother and father, a mother and a grandmother.  Everyone had gathered at the Tucker house to celebrate Laci’s pregnancy and prepare her for the birth of her son.  The maiden prepared fresh fruits, hot cocoa and treats that she served with kindness and love.  The grandmother cooked henna paste in a traditional fashion, heating it with candle flame and intentions.  The little girl and the expecting father played games together, sprinkling the room with laughter.  All the while, the expecting mother was in a calm and blissful state, listening to the wise stories from the mother and grandmother as her tummy was ornamented with henna artwork while people spoke to the baby through her, telling him that they loved him already and that they couldn’t wait to meet him.  The word “Welcome” was written upon her.  She knew it would not be long.

Come out baby

After a long night of stories, decadence and laugher, the expecting mother and father went to sleep.  The mother and child went home.  The maiden and grandmother stayed overnight to tend to the henna in the morning.  Laci slept restlessly that night, as she had many nights before.  Her hips ached from the weight of her womb and her arms ached to hold her baby.  She awoke many times.  At 9:30am she crawled back into bed once more and felt a surge of warm water.  She knew it was time.  She awoke her husband and told him her water had broke.  He sat bolt upright in bed, awake immediately.  Although the baby was due in two days, they both felt like he would go a little longer since the full moon had come and gone 3 days prior without bringing on labor.  The midwife had also told them that first time moms typically go past their due dates, probably to keep them from being anxious.  The excitement and the contractions began.  John helped Laci to soak her tummy and wash off the artwork from the night before.  The stain didn’t reside on the skin, rather the magic had soaked in.

The others were notified of the good news and they quickly started to straighten and prepare the living room for the birth, bringing up baskets Laci had lovingly assembled in the nursery and setting up the birth pool.  They went downstairs to check on her, but were halted by the house cats, two calicos sat guarding the bathroom as if to say, “Do not pass”.  Laci assured them that she was fine and thanked them for all their help.

Laci called the midwife and had two contractions while on the phone.  The midwife assured her that she would be coming soon.  Laci made her way to the shower and John came in with her.  He supported her when the contractions came and they both were glowing with excitement.  They would be meeting  their baby soon.  They kept smiling and laughing with happiness for this long awaited time.  After he helped her out of the shower, she put on her black labor gown she had been saving for this time, brushed her hair and put it back into a headband.  About the time she stepped out of the bathroom, the midwife had arrived.  She hugged and kissed her friends goodbye as they poured verbal blessings upon her day.

Her midwife checked her, smiled and said, “I think he’s got a lot of hair.”  She began to work at her computer and Laci paced around the living room for a while, stopping on occasion at a door frame to feel her body tighten.  John was taking a moment to collect himself and calm his nerves.    When he began to hear her vocalize the waves, he was immediately by her side and mentally prepared for what was to come.  This was a new side of her husband that Laci had never seen before.  She looked in his eyes and could see all the love he had for her in his gaze.  He looked at her with those eyes for weeks.  It was the most beautiful she had ever felt, despite her condition.  She held onto him for support, and he was her rock.

The back labor set in and her legs became weak.  She thought resting on the sofa would help.  She laid down for a mere moment before a birthing wave hit and it was the most painful of the entire day; she knew that laying down was not an option.  She tried to get up but was struck again.  With help she was able to stand and make her way to the birthing ball.  This proved to be MUCH more comfortable.  She held her husband around the waist and clung to his pockets when she felt herself contract.  He was amazing but they both began to have feelings of helplessness.  That this was greater than the two of them.  She called for the midwife in the other room and asked for her doula.  Her requested doula was out of town that weekend so the midwife made a couple calls.  She got a hold of a doula who was also in midwifery school to come from Paoli, an hour and a half away.

When her doula finally made it, relief set in for the couple.  They were comforted by her knowledge and control of the situation.  She began to massage Laci to help her calm her breathing.  She helped her onto her hands and knees to take the pressure off of her back, put fans on her and relaxed her husband with conversation.

After some time, the doula noticed that Laci was beginning to struggle and asked her if she would like some natural pain solutions.  She agreed as long as there were no drugs involved.  The doula asked the midwife to give her tiny saline injections in the skin by her spine to help dull the ache in her back.  The midwife suggested trying a tens unit first.  The tens unit was just the thing.  Relief set in as the vibrations tingled against the skin of her back, massaging the aches into a significantly more manageable state.  She bent over, resting her head on the back of a chair as John offered counter pressure but the touch that had offered her hips relief in the days before, was no longer a welcome feeling.  She just needed him there, reminding her that it wouldn’t be long before they could meet their baby boy.

After about an hour had passed, Laci knew the time was drawing near and she asked if the birth tub could be filled.  The midwife began to fill the tub and quickly ran out of hot water.  In typical Hollywood fashion, they started boiling water on the stove.  It seemed like forever to fill the small pool but Laci could see out the window that it was still daylight, and took solace in the fact she had removed her watch to get into the shower earlier that day.  The last thing she wanted was to be reminded of the minutes.  She was happy just to know that this was her baby’s birthday, and that was all the time that mattered.

When it was half full, she removed her gown and the tens unit and was helped into the warm water.  The weightlessness felt amazing.  Gravity had been amplified on her back and legs, and with this element, gravity was defeated.  She breathed relief.   Laci was bent over the edge of the pool, looking into her doula’s eyes, trying to focus as John rubbed her back.  She knew she was in transition and it felt good to vocalize.  She knew she was very close to meeting her baby and she was ready to hold him.  She rolled over and floated on her back, supported by her husband, and called for her midwife to come.  Laci felt the electricity of life like a lightening rod being struck over and over in a beautiful storm.

birth

Laci began to push.  Soon the door was opened by the birth assistant, who arrived quietly and began to prepare a space for baby.  Laci felt a sharpness unlike before that made her react helplessly.  She was put at ease that the hard part was almost over.  Her midwife asked her to reach down and touch her baby’s head but her hands were held tightly by her doula and husband.  She longed to, but she needed their strength and knew she would hold him soon.  Within a couple pushes, the midwife pulled this tiny body from the water and into Laci’s arms.  Desmond Xavier Tucker was born at 5:03pm.  He cried out a soft sweet little sound and Laci and John were flooded with joy that no words could describe.  They laughed, cried, kissed and held each other as a family of three, for the first time.

Cord Burning

Laci tried to nurse him as soon as possible, but his cord was short.  As soon as she could muster the strength, she was helped  to the couch to nurse and for John and Laci to burn his cord with their unity candles.  A slow, but sweet ritual as momma snuggled her tiny baby.  The placenta was slow to deliver but afterward it was decided that Laci needed to make a calm trip to the ER for stitches.  Desmond had entered the world fist first, like a superhero.  While momma ventured into the rainy night with her midwife, John stayed at home to bond skin to skin with their baby boy, protecting him from the germs at the ER and enjoying their first snuggle.  Momma returned home near midnight.  The house looked like home again and after the birthing team left, they called their family.  Most of them were in bed.  It was a delightful secret we could hardly contain any longer.  Our phones had been shut off until this point.

Newborn Baby Desmond

We dressed him in a special gown and laid him in the sidecar crib we had prepared.  We must have woke up a million times that night to attempt to nurse, make sure he was still breathing, or to just smile while we watched him sleep.  He was so tiny, so beautiful, so perfect.  He was our little Desmond, the greatest gift we have ever received.  The most exquisite thing we had ever made.  He was the manifestation of our love and our hearts grew that day to a size we could have never anticipated.