Wednesday, August 29, 2012

DYRN: Teething Tablets

Do you really need teething tablets? Yes because at some point your baby will cut teeth and be miserable which will make you feel miserable and helpless.  The best piece of advice I have ever gotten came from a total stranger. I don’t remember where I was, maybe I was in line for something and she just happened by. Orion wasn't being fussy and was really quite small at the time. This woman told me about Hyland’s teething tablets and spelled out the name. Orion wasn't teething at the time but I made a mental note and filed that advice away for later.

When Orion did start teething, I went to CVS, bought the teething tablets and a razberry teething pacifier.  Both turned out to be good investments but I would be lost without Hyland’s.  These teething tablets have helped to soothe my baby when he has a mouthful of ouch.  When I first started giving him the tablets, he would fight me and not open his mouth.  After the first few days of giving him the tablets, he would happily open his mouth for me.  Now, I can put 3 tablets in the palm of my hand and he will pick them up and put them in his mouth all by himself.  He knows what they are for and he knows they help.

I really wish babies would get their teeth all at once or in the span of a week or month.  It is an ongoing process and whenever Orion has on his tightest fussy pants, I wash my hands and check his gums with my finger. This has become more dangerous with each new tooth but it is the best way to check for swollen gums and new teeth.  When we have new teeth on the way, I give him 3 Hyland’s tablets and try to cut him some slack.  Extra cuddles, even more nursing, and a bit more of his favorite TV show.

In October 2010 there was a voluntary recall of these teething tables.  The original concern was the amount of Belladonna in the tablets.  What is the risk of overdosing?

"From Dr. Iris Bell, Hyland’s Medical Director: We have added child- resistant caps to Hyland’s Baby Teething Tablets to make it harder for children to accidentally dose themselves. Additionally, with the prior formula, a 10-pound child would need to have ingested at least six bottles of 125 Teething Tablets at once before experiencing the first mild side effect of dry mouth. Today, a child would have to ingest, at the same time, more than a dozen bottles of 135 Teething Tablets before experiencing dry mouth from the product. The body clears Belladonna alkaloids from any dose in a matter of hours (it is unlikely to build up in the system when taken as directed on the package label)."

The tablets came back on the market in 2011 and there was much rejoicing among moms.  Hyland’s are homeopathic which is something my husband is very distrustful of but he loves Hyland’s teething tablets and believes in the effect they have.  I am so glad we are able to use these tablets to provide some relief when Orion is teething.   I really think Hyland's teething tablets are the only option when it comes to taking care of a teething baby.  Thank you random stranger for that bit of advice which i have shared every chance I get!   

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Was the Great Nurse-In a total bust?

This was the site of the Nurse-In as we left just before 2pm. 

The First Annual Great Nurse-In was held on August 4th in Washington DC.  The event took place on the west lawn of the Capital Building.  No, it was not a total bust but how could I resist that cheesy headline! I did find the event a little disappointing but that was mostly because I did not educate myself on the event before I went.  I just saw this was happening and went.  In typical Charlotte fashion, I did not read the details. 

We were there from noon until 2 and the place was pretty empty.  The event started at 9am and was scheduled till 4pm. People came and went throughout the day but it was pretty empty when we were there.  It was in the upper 90’s which may have kept some people away.  Since it wasn’t crowded, we were able to find a nice spot in the shade.  Their facebook page listed  an unofficial attendance of 600 people.  We did not register because we never thought to (more on that later).

The area on the west lawn was difficult to access with a stroller because the lower part of the lawn was closed for turf restoration.  There were metal steps set up over the small wall for people to walk over.  I was very glad to be there with a friend because we could work together to hoist our strollers over the wall without too much difficulty.  Of course, Orion became obsessed with the dirty old rusty stairs and they were all he wanted to play with during the event.  There were baby pools set up which I had thought belonged to an individual but were actually apart of the event.  Had I realized this before we were about to leave, Orion would have enjoyed splashing and I could have chased him less.

When we got there we took a stroll past all the tables. The first table we visited had a display of nursing bras and tops. The woman working the table was very engaging and explained where they were from and that they can’t sell anything on the National mall.  The next few tables had face painting, crafts for kids, and bubbles for the kids to play with.  Orion is a bit young for face painting and crafts but I am glad they had activities for the kids.  Both sides of the lawn had water stations set up with a couple of cisterns and cups.  I made sure to bring extra water but was happy to see a spot to refill my bottles.  I also witnessed a cyclist who just happened to be in the area take advantage of the water.  Ti was such a hot day that staying hydrated was vital especially when you are breastfeeding.   

There was a first aid table set up which I am glad we did not need.  The next table had samples of Milkmakers cookies and Happy Baby snacks.  We picked up the sunny buddies and mixed fruit yogis.  Orion likes them both and I only wish we had grabbed more! The cookies were decent but I make pretty great lactation boosting cookies.  So far pretty awesome and off to a good start!

There was a nice wind blowing which was good for us but not so good for the tables they had set up.  The blue plastic table cloths would blow away from the table and whatever was on them would fly off.  We were camped out near two tables with laminated maps and no one sitting there.  One map you could put a sticker to note where you were from and the other where you had breastfed.  They had sharpie markers and stickers which kept blowing away and being destroyed by toddlers, mine included.

A few of the tables were not engaging.  I saw a sign on one table about letters to a nursing mom but I wasn’t drawn in to investigate it further.  It is hard to take the time to write something when chasing or holding a toddler.  No one asked us to register our attendance at any of the tables so we never thought to register.  I did end up talking with a few of the event organizers at the water station who thanked me for coming out which was very nice to hear.  I thanked them for having the event and think it will get better every year. 

We saw people walking around with buttons and temporary tattoos and wanted to know where we could get some.  I asked the mom next to us who told me she got her’s at last night’s latch party but I could ask at the volunteer table.  I went to the volunteer table and asked for a button.  I was given one by someone who did not have very much to say, I felt like I was getting away with something. I was very happy to score a button and what can I say, I like free stuff.  i would have bought a T-shirt or bumper sticker if they had any for sale.

There was a stage set up and speakers playing music.  The music stopped for a while and I was afraid they were packing up early.  I guess it was just a lunch break and shorty the music resumed.  We saw Marsha Goodman preform and enjoyed her fun songs like Why Can’t you Dance on Jupiter, Sheep Don’t Wear Shoes, and Ninja School.  If I was a performer I would have been shitting my pants.  It was like playing for no one or a bunch of vampires because very few ventured out of the shade.  She did not let that stop her and put on a nice show.

I did not know about the BigLatch-On which took place at 10:30am.  This was a public breast feeding record attempt which takes place every year.  I missed it last year but the chances are pretty good that Orion will still be nursing next year so I will defiantly want to participate.  The record to beat was last year's world record of 5,867 woman breastfeeding children.  This year the record has been set at 8,862 breastfeeders in 626 locations over 23 different countries around the world.     That is pretty awesome!

The Nurse-In’s mission is to normalize breastfeeding.  This topic has been all over the news since the attachment parenting article graced the cover of Time magazine with a mom nursing her 4 year old.  That image had very little to do with the article but it was a sure way to increase dwindling magazine sales.  I think it is funny that in the US we have to normalize breastfeeding.  This was the norm before the invention of formula in 1867 and its increase in popularity in 1907.  I am amazed by how prudish Americans are when it comes to flashing a bit of female nipple.   

I do believe that breast is best.  Mothers need to know that there is support for them if they want to breastfeed and the laws supporting breastfeeding in public.  Not every mother chooses or is able to breastfeed and it is their personal choice.  (I read this post today and it totally made me cry) Babies can be raised happily and healthily on formula.    Each individual mother needs to assess their situation, their body, and their child to decide what is best for them.  I think they will always chose to do what is best for their family.  Breastfeeding can seem like a daunting task.  There are pumps, special bras and tops, nursing pads, and creams.  WIC will pay for formula but not for supplies that assist in breastfeeding. 

If you want to breastfeed exclusively, do not keep formula in the house as it will make it so easy to cave in and use it when you are having a rough day.  You could choose keep it in your attic, basement, or garage but not in the kitchen staring you in the face taunting you.  You could even ask a friend to hold it for you in case of an emergency.  Formula companies market heavily towards mothers who choose to breastfeed.  If you want more coupons for formula, tell Motherhood Maternity that you plan to breastfed when checking out and you will get more coupons than you would if you were to tell them your plans to use formula.  This post by the Feminist Breeder on this topic is awesome!  Breastfeeding is not easy but it helps to have a great lactation consultant or support group to reach out to when you are having a hard time or have questions. 

I look forward to the Great Nurse-In and the Big Latch On next year and hope to be more involved and informed about these events.  I think they will get bigger and better every year!  I also expect it will educate many women on their rights as a breastfeeding mom and the resources that are available to them.

You can read more about this event here, here, and here.   

Saturday, August 11, 2012

10 reasons why I no longer use a nursing cover

I have a beautiful nursing cover that was a shower gift from my amazing Aunt Mary.  I used this cover frequently when Orion was little.  Early in our breast feeding relationship, I was very nervous about nursing in public.  This cover provided me with some modesty and privacy.  Now, I no longer use this lovely cover and here’s why:

1.      Orion no longer likes it when I use the cover.
2.      It can get hot under that cover.
3.      Orion likes to use it as a flag.
4.      If hairy men with man boobs can walk around topless why can’t I whip out a nipple to feed my baby?
5.      I think it draws more attention, why is that lady wearing a tent and why is it wiggling, instead of just a mom holding her baby.
6.      I don’t want to always have to carry around one more thing.
7.      If we are out, at say the indoor playground, and my baby falls, hurts himself, cries, and wants to nurse I don’t want to have to make him wait while I go get my nursing cover or have to carry it on my person at all times.
8.      They are just boobs!
9.      A flash of nipple for 10 seconds before my baby latches on and obscures everything and the 10 seconds it takes me to cover up after won’t traumatize anyone.
10.   Because I do not have to.

Know your rights and don't let anyone stop you from feeding your baby in whatever why YOU are comfortable with and if they don't like it they can look away, close their eyes, or move along! The following information came from here 

"Forty-five states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.)

Twenty-eight states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws. (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.)

Twenty-four states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace. (Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.)

Twelve states and Puerto Rico exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty. (California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon and Virginia.)

Five states and Puerto Rico have implemented or encouraged the development of a breastfeeding awareness education campaign. (California, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri and Vermont.)

Several states have unique laws related to breastfeeding. For instance,

Virginia allows women to breastfeed on any land or property owned by the state. Puerto Rico requires shopping malls, airports, public service government centers and other select locations to have accessible areas designed for breastfeeding and diaper changing that are not bathrooms.

At least two states have laws related to child care facilities and breastfeeding. Louisiana prohibits any child care facility from discriminating against breastfed babies. Mississippi requires licensed child care facilities to provide breastfeeding mothers with a sanitary place that is not a toilet stall to breastfeed their children or express milk, to provide a refrigerator to store expressed milk, to train staff in the safe and proper storage and handling of human milk, and to display breastfeeding promotion information to the clients of the facility.

California requires the Department of Public Health to develop a training course of hospital policies and recommendations that promote exclusive breastfeeding and specify staff for whom this model training is appropriate. The recommendation is targeted at hospitals with patients who ranked in the lowest 25 percent of the state for exclusive breastfeeding rates.

Maryland exempts the sale of tangible personal property that is manufactured for the purpose of initiating, supporting or sustaining breastfeeding from the sales and use tax.

California, New York and Texas have laws related to the procurement, processing, distribution or use of human milk.

New York created a Breastfeeding Mothers Bill of Rights, which is required to be posted in maternal health care facilities. New York also created a law that allows a child under one year of age to accompany the mother to a correctional facility if the mother is breastfeeding at the time she is committed.”

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Benefits of Meal Planning

I have been hearing for years now how helpful it is to plan your meals.  Not sure why I waited so long to give it a try.  Most days, I would call Patrick at work and ask if there was anything in particular he was in the mood for dinner.  Then I would stare into our refrigerator waiting for dinner inspiration to jump out at me.  Patrick is better at cooking on the fly then me, I prefer to work from a recipe. Most nights we would be able to pull off a tasty meal, some nights were not so delicious, and other nights we picked up a Peruvian chicken. 
Grocery shopping is something that seems to take place a few times a week.  We would go to super market or farmer’s market and buy what looked good or what was on sale. After the big shopping trip, we would run out a few times a week to pick up things we forgot, ran out of, or needed for a recipe.  I like to shop local and seasonal which is still possible with meal planning.  I think meal planning will help me to shop local more often because I will be better prepared and organized.

When my father passed away I inherited a treasure trove of recipes.  He really enjoyed cooking as did my mother and her mother. Many of their recipes were included in his gigantic recipe box.  I went through the box and picked some out that sounded good and made a mini recipe book.  This past Monday I went through that collection and picked a few to make this week.

I am proud to say that I have cooked or baked every day this week and have been excited to do so.  I was happy to eat my leftovers even though not everything turned put perfectly.  It was nice to attempt my mother’s spinach pie recipe even though the recipe left out what to do with the butter and the eggs.  It also mentioned baking powder in the ingredients and baking soda in the instructions.  I still love this recipe card because it is typed in my father’s words. He talks about being my mother’s “scullery maid, learning from the master, apprenticed under my favorite mother-in-law”.

Food has always been a big part of my family as well as my life with Patrick.  The taste and smell of food can transport you to a time and place and trigger a memory long buried.  On a few occasions, Patrick has come home and remarked that something I was cooking smelled just like something his grandmother Kate had made.  This always makes me feel good about my cooking even before we take our first bite.  I want my son to have an appreciation for food and the recipes of my parents and grandmother.  We have a lot of cookbooks in our house that my husband would read cover to cover.  There are also countless recipes on the internet but there is nothing like a recipe from your childhood or one written in your mother’s handwriting.

When Patrick and I first got together his culinary skills really impressed me.  I had been of the mind set for years that food was fuel and on a few occasions I can remember remarking that I wished I could eat my food in capsule form because it would be quick, easy, and brainless.  I could make a mean grilled cheese but cooking did not interest me.  I am glad that I am no longer that person and I now take great pleasure in cooking.  It really wasn’t until we moved to Virginia over 4 years ago that I started actively cooking.  Patrick was working, I was looking for a job, and I was tasked with getting dinner on the table.  When it comes to meals, I am my harshest critic and can be really disappointed when something does not turn out well.  But I don’t let that stop me from trying new recipes and cooking even if I think Patrick is the better cook.

I want to get in the habit of sitting down with my vast collection of recipes and plan out our meals for the upcoming week.  This will let me get in touch with my parents and my past as well as feed and nurture my family.  I think it will make me more excited to cook dinner and save me time and money.  I won’t have to wonder 5 times a week what too cook and I won’t be tempted to waste money going to the grocery store 5 times in a week.  I also won’t be as tempter to give up and go out to eat or grab a chicken.  I will also be able to plan my shopping and coordinate when the farmer’s market takes place.

Last week, I meal planned on Monday and this is what week one looked like.   

Monday - Pasta with cannellini beans, roasted eggplant, and sautéed yellow squash.
Tuesday – Provencal chicken with tomatoes, olives, and basil, before bed I made steel cut oatmeal in the crock pot.
Wednesday – Lentil and vegetable ragout (Korma) with rice and I made spinach pie.
Thursday - We were supposed to go out to dinner with friends because it is Farm to Fork week but Orion was sick so we ate leftovers and I made banana walnut brownies (my recipe here).
Friday – Tomato and avocado gazpacho and spiced beef cobbler. 

We had a busy weekend with a friend coming to visit and the Great Nurse-In on Saturday.  I have started to keep a food diary to record what we are eating and liking.  I am being very careful to note what Orion seems to enjoy so I know to make it for him in the future.  I am looking forward to sitting down on Monday to find some new recipes for the week ahead.  I hope that this will solidify me as a great and adventurous cook in my son’s mind while putting him in touch with my parents.

What are you cooking this week?  What are your favorite recipes?  What are some of your favorite meals from your childhood?