Monday, December 31, 2012

The many faces of Carter's



 
 Before my baby arrived,  I really didn't know much about baby clothes and brands at all.  I judged everything based on how cute it looked on the hanger. Of course once by baby arrived that all changed. I started realizing that not all baby clothes are equal, they don't all feel or fit the same and they definitely respond differently to repeated washing.  I tried several other brands which I will blog about later, but ultimately my favorite is the Carter's brand. I really had issues with the sizing of other brands, my baby is slim and tall with lots of thick curly hair that makes her head big. So I needed a brand that was long enough in the body and sleeves, without being ridiculously wide, but still be stretchy enough at the neckline to fit her head easily but not look stretched once it was on. Carter's clothing were the perfect fit, and to date they are my favorite brand to buy for her. 

They aren't outrageously expsensive but their prices are more than double that of several other brands and the total cost quickly adds up if you buy everything at full price. When my baby was born I received a lot of clothing as gifts  to add to all the clothes I had bought for her in the months leading up to her birth. I never paid much attention to the brands until she arrived and I had to dress her. As I looked through them I realized that there were several other brands also made by Carter's with similar sizing and fabric as the main Carter's brand.  There are 5 brands in addition to the main Carter's line, they are Precious Firsts, Child of Mine, Just One You, OshKosh B'gosh,  and Genuine Kids. The first three clothing lines listed below are made exclusively for Target, the fourth is made exclusively for Walmart and the last is readily available in stand alone stores.


 
 

 






I've tried clothing in all the brands listed above except the OshKosh B'gosh. At first glance they all appear to be of the same size and quality. They all had the "made by Carter's" stamp of approval so I was pretty pleased with them. However when they were put to the test, they revealed their true colors.  All her clothing gets washed before she wears it the first time (every parent should do this!!) and even after the first wash it was apparent that not all the brands were equal. Not to mention the fact that babies are messy little creatures and can go through multiple clothing changes within a few hours, so their clothing needs to withstand being washed, over and over again, and again and again... you get the point. One thing I love about the original Carter's brand is that even after repeated washing, the clothing still feels soft and maintains its shape. It basically still looks new even after several months, and we do not use fabric softener. 

After a few weeks of using these brands this is what I discovered:

The Precious Firsts brands is the lowest quality and my least favorite. I bought her a few packs of plain white long sleeved onesies when the temperature started dropping. I wanted to layer these under her summer dresses and sleeveless tops. Within less than a month, every single one of these developed a hole or rip in the stitching, especially under the arms. This hasn't happened with any other brand in her closet. Aside from the low quality stitching, the fabric itself isn't as soft or thick as the others and now after less than 3 months, it looks old and tattered like she has been wearing it for years. I most definitely will not be buying this brand again. Ever.

The Just One You brand is the one I get the most access to since I am a Target Addict. I mistakenly thought that this brand was the same as the Child of Mine line from walmart which I like a lot. So I bought a lot of clothing especially 'sleep & plays' but I realized later on that I don't really like this brand much either. Despite the fact that they are all made out of cotton. The clothing by Just One You are much thinner and less soft than other brands, especially their sleep &plays. So my baby  is not as warm in these at night.

The Child of Mine brand is my favorite sub brand. I find that a lot of the clothing she has in that brand are just as soft, thick and durable as the original Carter's line. I don't really like shopping at Walmart because their customer service is appalling but every now and then I'll go there specifically to get a good deal on the Child of Mine clothing. The prices are much better than the full price Carter's clothing.

The Genuine Kids brand is just okay. I don't go out of my way to buy it or avoid it. If I see something that fits her style in that brand and it seems worth the price then I'll get it.

Overall the Original Carter's brand is one of my all time favorites for her entire wardrobe, I try to only ever buy it on sale or from outlets like Kohl's, TJ Maxx, ... etc. This way I never have to pay full price for it!





Baby Gear: Bath time

Bath time always seemed like such a fun time for babies, so I was really excited to buy gear in this category. I expected it would be an easy shopping experience and was pretty surprised by all the options available in this department. Who would have thought that bathing babies would involve so many choices? The bath time gear I own or have considered are:


Bathtub - I have often seen baby bath tubs in the baby aisle at supermarkets or at a friend's house and I always thought they were all basically the same thing in different colors. I had no idea there were so many different types available. The main thing I realized was that newborns have different bath needs from older infants, so some bath tubs, only catered to tiny newborns, whilst others were for older babies or both. And by newborns I mean babies who are at least 2 weeks or older because that's usually the time when their belly button is healed up, and they shouldn't have a full bath before then.

Some of the bath tub options I came across were very unique, interesting or just plain weird. Take for instance the Blooming bath.



As you can see, it is a plush fabric flower that you place inside your kitchen sink and it cradles the baby while you bathe them. It sounds like a great idea in theory and is definitely visually appealing, but in reality it's a little ridiculous if you think about it properly.  The petals are too soft to properly support a newborn baby, especially when wet and they soak up all the water so you constantly have to keep the water running otherwise the baby will feel cold. The plush fabric takes forever to dry after a bath, unless you follow the instructions on their site and put it in the dryer,  but that's not very eco-friendly to turn your dryer on every day just to dry your baby's  "bath".  I am also not a big fan of bathing babies in the kitchen sink. No matter how well you clean your kitchen sink, I worry about cross contamination. The whole thing seems more of a gimmick than a practical product and considering that it retails for about $40, it didn't seem worth it to me and I decided to pass on this.


Another popular infant tub is the Puj. It is a soft infant tub made out of flexible, non slip material that fits into the bathroom sink.



I did like the idea of this bath, especially the fact that is can be wiped dry and stored flat on a hook.  Bathing a newborn can be intimidating to say the least so I found this Puj tub to be quite appealing, it seemed like it would make the whole process really easy. They claim the recommended age is 0-6 months but I think most babies will outgrow this long before 6 months, not to mention that you need to have a relatively large and deep bathroom sink for this to work. Ultimately I decided not to get it, because  I didn't like the fact that it doesn't hold much water so the baby will be cold unless you keep the water running constantly. I also didn't think it was worth $45 and didn't want a bath that I could only use for a few months.

I considered several other tubs but finally decided on the Whale of a tub by Fisher-Price.






Although it's nothing fancy, I chose this tub because it combines all the features I was looking for in a baby bath tub.
  • It transitions from newborn to toddler with the help of the green seat. As a newborn, the baby can sit on the seat and recline comfortably. Once they are older the seat can be removed and they can sit up by themselves.
  • It has the green soft grip foam surface in the back so the baby can be comfortable leaning back in the tub and won't slip down into the water
  • It has legs on the back of the tub to support it , and it can be used inside a regular bath tub or over the kitchen sink
  • It has a plug so the water can easily be drained out of the tub, while the baby is still sitting in it.
  • It comes with one orange baby whale bath toy.
Overall I have no complaints about this tub except that at that time I bought it, the green seat didn't have the tunnel in the center for water to flow easily, so moisture could build up under the seat and lead to mildew or mould build up. I found this out from an amazon reviewer and for this reason I regularly removed the seat and cleaned underneath it.   Aside from that, we love this tub and are still using it now that my little one is over 8 months old. We permanently removed the seat about a month ago since she can sit up with  no assistance now and doesn't need the seat. It retails for about $20 which is half the price of the puj or blooming bath.


Towels


There is nothing sweeter or cuter than hooded baby towels, I wanted to buy tons of different styles, but decided to just start out with one set in a neutral color. I bought this yellow duck hooded set from Target, it is made by the Carter's brand Just One You and I was very excited to use it.

 All I can tell you is that this towel set is 100% useless. I don't know why I didn't notice it before but it isn't really a towel in the strict sense of the word. It isn't made out of the thick terry fabric you would expect from a towel. Instead it is thin and not very absorbent and it just keeps the baby wet and cold. I went out to a few stores to look at other brands of hooded towels and realized that they are all the same; none of them are real towels. They are just a cutesy slightly plush thin fabric that looks great in pictures but isn't functional. After each bath my baby would be shivering like a leaf and I would frantically rush her to the room to get her dressed as fast as possible. It occurred to us after day 2 that there something was wrong with these towels. My husband suggested that we try using a regular towel instead and as soon as we switched to using normal towels, the problem was solved. I would wrap her in a full size adult towel which was big enough to cover her body and her head, and she would dry up very fast and stay warm in the towel.

Baby bath robes are much the same as the hooded towels. Many of them aren't really practical considering how long it takes to get their arms into the sleeves. Not to mention the fact that a lot of them aren't as absorbent as regular bath robes. These are cute for a photo, but that's about all they are good for.


Wash cloths   I started out with a set of Circo wash cloths from Target. The set included a toy terry duck. I then realized that I needed more than three washcloths so I added a few more washcloths from Babies R us brand and Luvable friends. They are all okay except the Luvable friends brand, which are extremely thin and quite rough on one side. I use the Luvable friends wash cloths as cloth wipes, and they are okay for that purpose, but they are not good for bathing.
Circo

Babies R Us
Luvable friends washcloths


  Bath toys    In the beginning, we didn't really use any bath toys, my little one was too young to be interested in playing with toys during her bath. But as she got older and mastered her grip on things, she would splash around in the bath and try to grab everything in reach. At first I tried to avoid giving her any toys because most of them didn't seem very hygienic to me and she always wanted to put them in her mouth. I kept worrying about her ingesting the bath water or mildew building up inside of them. In short I don't really like bath toys for babies, but now that she is 8 months old I've tried to lighten up on that a bit and let her have some fun as long as the toys are easy to clean and can't build up mould inside. Currently she only has a few toys for the bath;

  • The terry duck that came with the wash cloth set that I mentioned earlier. This is her favorite toy and my least favorite. It soaks up all the water and then she tries to suck up all the water from it. I now only let her play with this in her crib where the duck can stay dry, rather than in the bath.


  • The orange baby whale toy that came with the bath tub
This toy is basically a little cup and has holes on the bottom so water sprays out of it like a mini shower. She doesn't really know what to do with it yet so it goes straight to her mouth. I'm not a big fan of this toy.

  • Garanimals bath ball
She really likes this toy because it does a lot of things to keep her occupied, It is basically a small ball inside of a bigger ball. It has easy to grip soft handles on the top and it floats in the bath. It also has holes on the bottom so the water sprays out. It rattles when shaken. This is one of my favorites it is easy to clean, it keeps her occupied and she doesn't put it in her mouth as much as her other toys.

  • Quack quack bath book

My daughter received this set of books as a Christmas present and it includes a quack quack  bath book that she loves already. The front page squeaks which gets her squealing in delight. This is my favorite bath toy so far. Water runs right off the pages, so even when she puts it in her mouth she isn't ingesting a lot of the bath water. It is super easy to clean and doesn't have any holes that can build up mildew.


  • Little Tikes Squirt bath toys

We just received  these as a Christmas present too, but as of right now I'm not letting her play with them because they are quite small and the recommended age for these is 2 years and up. I'm not a huge fan of squirt toys because it's hard to clean the insides of them thoroughly. I've seen that other blogging moms use hot glue guns to seal up the holes so that water can't get inside. I feel kinda mean doing this because it takes all the fun out of the squirt toy but I guess it's gotta be done. I still have a few months to think about it though.


Shampoo Rinser cup

For me this is an absolute essential, not only do I use this for rinsing the sinful amount of hair my baby has but also for her whole body. I basically bathe her by filling up a bucket with water and then pouring that water on her with a rinse cup.  Its so much easier that way and also safer because I can be sure of the water temperature before it touches her. 

I started out with a rinse cup by Munchkin and I really liked it in the beginning.


The entire cup is really flexible and soft so you can press it against the babies head or skin without it hurting her. It was such an easy to use rinse cup and I was pretty happy with it for the first few months, until I realized there was mildew building up inside the handle! The handle is integrated into the cup and its hollow, so every time you use the cup the inside of the handle gets wet. The bad thing about it, is that due to the shape of the handle, you can never get the inside of the handle completely dry. Even if you turn the cup upside down, a few droplets of water are still trapped inside the handle. The handle is quite narrow so you can't get your finger all the way in there. Its pretty much a nightmare to clean. I tried everything I could think of to clean the handle, but ultimately I decided it was too much effort and threw the cup out.

I then went on the lookout for a rinse cup that didn't have a hollow integrated handle. While I was at walmart I came across the Garanimals rinse cup


This cup is bigger than the munchkin cup, and has two inner compartments for even distribution of water all over the baby's head or body. This cup isn't flexible all over; the main body of the cup is hard plastic and only the contrasting front "edge" of the cup is soft and supposedly forms a watertight bond with the forehead to prevent water from going into the eyes.  So far this feature hasn't really worked for me but I do still like this cup and my daughter is obsessed with it! She thinks this is her bath toy and always tries to grab it and drink out of it.



I am also interested in the Lil Rinser Splashguard


I recently ordered this from Amazon and I'm waiting to receive it and I really hope it works. My baby has lots of hair and its pretty tricky to wash her hair thoroughly without getting water in her eyes or ears. When she was smaller, she would sit on the reclining infant seat in her tub and it was easier to just wash her hair backwards as she was kind of leaning back. Now that she sits up and plays, its a real challenge to keep the water out of her eyes and ears, so I can't wait to see if this contraption will help.




Bath Seat
Bath seats are notoriously unsafe


I did consider getting a bath seat once my daughter was able to sit up on her own. I liked the look of them when I saw them online but there are so many safety concerns that I decided they are not worth the risk. These bath seats are usually secured to the bath tub by form of suction pads and they run the risk of coming loose, tipping over, and thereby seriously injuring or even drowning the child. Several hundred injuries and deaths have been reported relating to bath seats, so I've decided to keep her in her infant tub until she out grows it.



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Adventures in solids: Applesauce & Pear

Applesauce

At the very beginning of this adventure in solids, I had made up my mind to try and hold off on sweet tasting foods especially fruits until after my baby had a chance to try several vegetables. But I realized that with the exception of green beans, most vegetables that are suitable for stage 1 and stage 2 baby foods are sweet tasting anyway; such as carrots, squash, sweet potato... so I guess I needn't have bothered?  Anyway after trying green beans, squash, oatmeal & carrots (in that order) I decided to introduce her first fruit; apples. 

Ideally fruits are most nutritious when they are raw, but I decided to make the apples into applesauce rather than try to feed them to her raw. Mainly because, she didn't have any teeth at the time so it would take a long time for her to eat just a tiny bit of raw apple and also because cooked applesauce is so much easier on the digestive system of a 7 month old. 

I had never made applesauce before, but it sounded relatively easy, so I was sure I would have no trouble with it, plus I love trying new things! There are many types of apples out there, and not all of them are good for applesauce, I read that the best apples for applesauce were Fuji, Gala and McIntosh. I decided to go with Fuji apples, since they are one of my favorites anyway.  I prepped them by washing, peeling, coring and slicing them into wedges, and honestly it was a bit tedious because I don't own a fancy corer or slicer. So I had to do it the old fashioned way with a regular knife and peeler. I definitely think its worth investing in a corer at some point to save me prep time.   I could have left the skin on them, but since these were regular apples from the supermarket, rather than from the local farmers market, I decided to just get rid of the peel rather than spending an eternity washing & scrubbing them in an attempt to get them as clean as possible.  When I was finally done prepping them,  I cooked the apple wedges in a little bit of water in a stainless saucepan as usual.



I let them cook until they felt soft and mushy so they would be easier to blend. I scooped them out of the water and placed them in the blender. Within minutes I had fresh homemade applesauce! So incredibly easy and it tasted great too. I was actually surprised at how sweet it was, almost as if I had added sugar to it.
 
 
 
 
As usual I spooned it into the freezing trays and poured the left over directly into the 4oz canning jars. I love that these applesauce cubes are so much easier to remove from the trays than the frozen vegetable purees I had tried prior. They also defrost much faster, which is great for days when I forget to take the cubes out of the freezer ahead of time. My guess is, this is because of the naturally high sugar and water content of apples as compared with green beans or carrots.
 

My daughter absolutely loved this applesauce, and happily gobbled it down. Because of how sweet it is, it is an excellent sweetener for other foods such as oatmeal or yogurt.


 
Pears

Making the pear puree was much the same as the applesauce. The main difference is that unlike apples, pears are usually not ready to eat and have to be left to ripen after purchase. The pears I bought from the farmers market were no exception. They were pretty firm when I bought them so I placed them on a tray  for several days to ripen. I decided to go with bosc pears for no other reason than that they are the only ones I've ever tried and I wanted to play it safe! But I have found out since then that bartlett pears are better for cooking so I'll probably try those next time. I do know some people cook their pears while they are still hard, but I wanted them to get soft, in the hope that I might not have to cook them and could puree them raw. After a week, these pears were still pretty firm to touch, but I decide to bite into one anyway because it smelt so good and inviting; to my surprise they were deliciously juicy inside. I cut up a few small pieces of the raw pear for my daughter to try since she was looking at me hungrily as I ate up her pear. She did okay with the raw pear but it did take her a while to eat it so I decided to go ahead and cook the rest of the pears because I wasn't sure she could handle eating large quantities of raw fruit at that point.

Just like the apples, I peeled and cored them manually and then placed them in a pan to cook. I didn't cook them for very long since they were already soft to begin with. Once it was cooked, I pureed them in the blender and then poured the puree into the freezer containers. With the exception of the peeling & coring, the whole process was all pretty straight forward and easy.



Much like the applesauce, the pear puree was also a big hit and is also great for sweetening other foods in place of sugar.




Friday, December 21, 2012

The elf on the shelf...


 
As a christian I aim to teach my child that Christmas is a date chosen to celebrate the birth of Christ. Although it isn't the actual date that Jesus is born, it has now become the popularly recognised day to remember his birth. These days it seems that Christ is gradually fading from the whole picture of Christmas, instead the focus is all on gift giving, Christmas trees, string lights, reindeer and of course good old Santa. Now the cherry on the top of it all is the newest Christmas trend; the elf on the shelf.  For those that don't know much about it, I just posted an article on the topic here. But basically it is a book and toy elf that watches over the home and essentially "spies" on the kids to keep them in line. At night he flies off home to the north pole to update Santa on what the kids have been up to that day, then he returns in the morning but always in a different part of the house than the day before. This is supposed to be a fun tradition to repeat every Christmas and it helps keep children in line.


I don't know about you, but the first time I saw the elf, I was a little creeped out, there is just something about his face that seems almost sinister. And if I'll be honest I don't really understand why parents need yet another lie at Christmas? Is Santa not enough anymore? Suddenly Santa feels the need to have 24 hour surveillance over these kids to get an accurate report of every single thing they say and do.  It just seems like such a cheap ploy to  trick kids into behaving better. I guess the moral of the story is that good behaviour should only be exhibited when there is a spy watching and a promise of a reward? 

I was at the supermarket the other day and I heard a mother telling her son to behave because Santa wouldn't bring his gift otherwise, and then the little boy, who couldn't be more than 4 years old retorted that the elf was at home so he couldn't see what was going on at the store. That is how kids are, always trying to be one step ahead. This kid had figured out a loop hole in the system, he would be "good" at home but then be a terror when the elf wasn't there to witness it. There are many other flaws with this toy such as the fact that since it is a relatively new tradition, not every home has an elf. How do you then explain it to your child when they realize their friends don't have an elf but still get toys from Santa? And what if they catch you moving the toy at night or someone accidentally touches it in their presence, since the rules state that touching the elf will void its magical powers? Many kids these days ask more and more questions about how the things work and won't just accept the answer that it is magical. You will constantly be forced to keep making up more lies to protect the authenticity of this disturbing little elf.

I think this is the creepiest, most unnecessary Christmas tradition to date. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My birth story... PART 2

Continued from Part 1...

After seeing my baby briefly while I was still in surgery. She was taken from me yet again. My husband went with them, I'm not sure where they were headed, I'm sure they told me but I didn't pay much attention. All I wanted to do was hold her in my arms, I suddenly felt so protective of her.  It was really hard to lay there and listen to the doctors and staff have casual conversation about trivial things while my baby was in some room and not in my arms where she belonged! Once they were done, they wheeled me over to a temporary recovery room I had to remain on the monitors for an hour. While in recovery my husband came to meet me and said they were getting some blood samples from our baby. After what felt like several lifetimes they finally brought her to me!! My face lit up like a kid on Christmas morning; my gift had finally arrived. The nurse who brought her to me also had a mini bottle of newborn premixed formula in her hand.




She told me that my baby needed to be fed right away because she was shaking due to having low blood sugar which could have been caused by any combination of complications such as the low fluid, the failed induction, the c-section or maybe just because I hadn't eaten in over 24 hours. She told me to try breastfeeding first and tried to help me briefly but then we quickly switched over to the bottle since the baby wasn't able to latch on correctly.  My little one also struggled with the bottle at first, but because the nipples on the bottle are more rigid than a real nipple it was easier to push it into her tiny mouth. She was really drowsy at this point as a lot of newborns are so the biggest challenge was keeping her awake. The nurse told me to try to get her to drink at least 10 -15ml of formula which wasn't a lot but she barely managed to drink half that amount.. As soon as I got the nipple in her mouth she would suck on it for half a second and then seem to fall asleep. Once we got her to drink about 5ml or so another nurse said it was okay for now.
I must say that those premixed bottles of formula are so convenient for the newborn stage! I loved them and was glad for all the free samples I got. No mixing, measuring or washing required, they are ready to serve right out of the bottle. (This was before my disechantment with Enfamil which I will be posting about soon)

The 24 hours that followed went by like a blur. My family and in-laws arrived to wish us well and see the baby. She got her first bath and everything seemed to be going well, until the anesthesia started wearing off. Three things became increasingly apparent to me:
  1.  The pain was horrible,
  2.  I was extremely itchy,  and
  3. The compression boots were evil.

The Pain
I had really horrible pain on one side of my belly. The incision hurt as well  (of course) but the pain in my side was excruciatingly unbearable. One of the nurses who ended up being my favorite, told me that even though the doctors  might deny it, from her experience this was caused by the retractors that they use to hold open the incision during the surgery. She explained to me that sometimes it will be held too tight on one side and that would cause the type of pain I was describing. As the night wore on the pain got worse and worse.   I get shivers just remembering it.

The itching
Words cannot describe how awful this part was. The itching was by far worse than the pain! No one ever told me that the spinal anesthesia used in c-sections and epidurals can cause an extreme itchy reaction. Not one single person ever warned me of this and it never came up in any of the research I had done. But once I started complaining about being itchy a nurse calmly told me it was a very common reaction. The itching was UNBEARABLE. Pure agony.  I was itchy all over!! Most especially on my back and legs. What made it even worse was that I couldn't really move much to scratch myself due to the pain in my belly. I also couldn't scratch my legs because I still had on the compression boots. The majority of the itching was on my lower back and legs but I had no other choice but to sleep on my back as I wasn't able to lie on my side because of the pain in my belly. Lying on my back for such a long time really restricted the circulation in my back making the itching even worse! One angelic nurse, God bless her, suggested dipping wash cloths in cold water and rubbing it over my back. Of course I couldn't reach my own back, but my husband did this for me every few hours and it felt good while it lasted and really eased the itchy feeling. They had to give me some type of anti-itch medication as well, but it really didn't do much for me at all.
Without a doubt this itchy reaction was the worst part of the whole experience

The compression boots
I wish I had taken a picture of those evil things but this is the best picture I found online.

Oh how I hated them!!! The purpose of these boots is to prevent or lower the risk of deadly blood clots. Moms who deliver by c-section have a much higher risk of developing blood clots in their legs which if not noticed quickly can lead to death. The compression boots are a life saver in that regard. They work similar to the strap of a blood pressure gauge in that air is pumped in and then sucked out of the boots. So they fill up with air and it feels really tight on your legs and then the air is released and it loosens up. It repeats this tightening and releasing constantly which didn't bother me at all in the beginning. The nurse who put the boots on me warned me that some people really hated them, but at that point I  didn't have a problem with them.  I think I would have tolerated these a lot better if I didn't get the itchy reaction, but these boots combined with the intense itching was just awful.It was really taunting me having the compression boots tighten and relax over my itchy legs. They told me I had to keep these on for at least 24 hours following the surgery and they would only take it off once I was able to walk around.

Between the itching, the pain, the boots and my inability to get up out of the bed plus all the pain meds and anti-itch meds, I was pretty much out of it for the first night. I didn't really feel like I did much in terms of caring for the baby that night. My husband did everything.  They kept bringing her to us from the nursery and I would see him walking up and down with her, changing her diaper, trying to feed her, her even put her inside his shirt to try out the skin-to-skin contact we had discussed prior to the birth. He basically did everything I couldn't do, while I lay there helplessly drifting in and out of consciousness. I really wanted to do more to help out but wasn't allowed to get out of  bed and could not even keep my eyes open.

By the morning we had survived our first night as parents, although we had much assistance from the nurses.  I was so pleased when they brought me a tray of breakfast. It had been over 36 hours since I'd had even seen any food and I was so excited to eat. By lunch time I asked if it was ok to have a chocolate shake  and when they said okay I asked my husband to get me one! My parents looked at me in horror as I slurped on my shake, they really wanted me to eat healthy which I understood, but I had been craving this shake for months!!! That evening they finally removed the compression boots, and the evil catheter and I was promised I would be able to get out of bed soon. I was pumped and ready to be on the move again, but was completely unprepared for how difficult it would be.  I never realized just how many muscles in my abdomen I used to get up from a lying position to a sitting position and from a sitting position to a standing position.  It  took a lot of effort to get up with the assistance of the nurse and I couldn't even stand up straight. By the time I walked across the room I was out of breath. They told me I had to try and walk a lot because that would help relieve the painful gas build up in my belly caused by the surgery.  I was told  that the longer I waited to started walking the harder it would be. So that evening I put on the gown my mom got me and held on to my husband for support as we walked up and down the halls in the maternity ward. By the time we had hit the 24 hours mark (after the surgery) I was walking around with assistance, the itching and pain had subsided to a more manageable level and I was able to focus on my beautiful baby. What an experience!!! As I lay in the hospital bed with my baby in my arms it finally hit me, I was a mommy!!



The not-so-miracle blanket


I've been promising to post a detailed review of my experience with the miracle blanket, and here it is!  I had heard a lot about these types of "easy-on" swaddle blankets during my pregnancy and I thought they were all so clever and convenient. I considered the Woombie but I couldn't get over how odd it  looked and I was a bit worried about the zipper so I decided to try the miracle blanket instead, but never got around to buying it. After the first night home from the hospital, which my husband still refers to as parent boot camp, we both came to the conclusion that our baby slept much better when she was tightly swaddled. At that point we hadn't really gotten the hang of swaddling and every time we used the Aden & Anais muslin blankets she was able to get her arms out.

The very next morning I asked my husband to get me the miracle blanket from the store or anything similar to it.  But the Target store he went to claimed they didn't have carry it nor did they have anything similar in stock. It turns out they did have the Swaddleme blanket by Summer Infant which is kinda similar but the sales rep he spoke to didn't care enough to help him find it. So instead he bought the Garanimals receiving blankets because they reminded him of the hospital blankets and he was convinced we would get tighter swaddle with those over the A&A blankets. He was right but I still wanted the miracle blanket.  I was pretty disappointed when he didn't come home with it so I quickly got online and ordered it. I happily read through all the glowing reviews and I was sure that this miracle blanket would work for us  too help my newborn stay asleep! I eagerly waited for it to arrive in the mail and immediately washed it and hung it to dry. Once it was dry I smiled at my husband and said tonight we will finally get some sleep!!!  But boy was I wrong.

As you can see from the photos below,  the miracle blanket is designed in such a way that it has a pocket in which you place the baby's legs.Then  you wrap the inner flaps over the baby's arms and then under their back. This ensures that they can't break free from the swaddle. Then you  use the outer flaps to wrap around their entire body as you would with a regular blanket. In theory it sounds like a genius fool-proof idea, and all the reviews seemed to agree with this. But I guess it doesn't work for every baby. In fact I can't understand how it works for any baby.

 


Why we hated it: As you can see, the inner flaps that wrap around the arms are very wide, actually wider than the entire length of the arm of a newborn, so when you wrap these flaps over the baby's arm, the fabric bunches up much worse than the photo shows. (The baby in the photo is not a newborn.) By the time you have wrapped both arms with the inner flaps, you have a lot of fabric bunched awkwardly around the arms and under the baby's back which then makes them less likely to fall asleep. This was one of my laughing til I cried moments. I laughed because my baby looked so ridiculously uncomfortable in this overpriced contraption. She was crying and struggling to get out of it, and I was so dissappointed and frustrated with it that I had to laugh.  Another thing I hated about it is that the "pocket" for the baby's legs is huge. This allows them to freely kick their legs around and thus wake themselves up. I also didn't like the fabric of this blanket at all. It felt quite cheap and not soft at all.

 I really wanted to like this product so I tried it many times that night and then watched the demo video on their site several times too. I hated it more with each try. To make matters worse, is the fact that newborns go through many diaper changes, so every time you change their diaper at night you would have to go through the lengthy process of getting them out of this "miracle" blanket and then putting them back in. By the time you are done,the baby will no longer be sleepy or drowsy but instead wide awake and not too pleased about it.

I honestly don't understand why this product has such great reviews.  As far as I am concerned the only miracle about this blanket is the fact that people have given it such glowing reviews.

Friday, December 14, 2012

My experience at Destination Maternity


{Destination Maternity is a combination of the design labels A Pea in a Pod and Motherhood Maternity, they also carry many other designers such as Heidi Klum, Elle Macpherson and the most recent addition of Jessica Simpson}
For some unknown reason I was really reluctant to buy maternity clothes, maybe because I'm a closet miser and I don't like spending money in the first place. I also didn't want to spend too much on clothes that I could only wear for a few months, and all the maternity stores seemed overpriced to me. By 19 weeks into my pregnancy I still wasn't really showing and with the aid of my bella band and a few hair elastics I could still squeeze into a few of my pre-pregnancy low rise pants. So I guess I was in denial that I would have to buy maternity clothes.   Eventually I decided it was time to get comfortable clothes that fit! I went online to see if I could order a few outfits and I noticed that Destination Maternity had a sale on their site but I didn't really feel like paying for shipping and was really unsure which size to order, so when my husband accidently drove by a Destination Maternity store I excitedly told him we had to come back and shop there. I wasn't even aware we had a location so close to us!


 The very next day we set out on my first ever maternity shopping trip. When I first walked in, it seemed nice and peaceful.  I casually looked at a few dresses here and there, they were all over $100 though, I guess because they have the most expensive garments at the front of the store.  I was happily browsing through the racks when a sales consultant came up to me to ask if I needed help. That was the beginning of what I call the stalker experience;  these people would not leave us alone!!!  I get it that they are trying to help all the pregnant customers find everything they need and be as comfortable as possible in the process, but I am the type that likes to shop at my own pace without someone constantly hovering over me. They were all very nice and pleasant but also extremely irritating. They were constantly offering me free bottles of water, free juice, free food, a free massage... and even though I would politely decline it, the very next minute they would offer it again. What happened to "no means no" ?  As soon as I picked up an oufit they would rush and take it from me and go hang it up in the changing room for me, as if the sheer weight of that one outfit was too burdensome for my pregnanct self to bear.  I do understand that they were just trying to be thoughtful and considerate, but it got old real fast and became really annoying. Sometimes you just want to hold on to an outfit and keep browsing and then decide later if you really want to try it on or not. Sometimes you want to find other garments that coordinate with it color-wise, but these people really confused me by taking all the outfits from me so I could never remember what colors and styles I had already selected . At one point my husband asked me if I thought they were doing that because they suspected I might try to steal something... I doubt it because I saw them doing that to everyone else in the store. I really wish someone would tell them to just back down and leave people alone. It's fine to offer assistance but if the customer politely declines it then just accept that and give them space to shop!!!

Their store was really nice though, they even had a sweet little fenced in play area for kids and a nice comfortable waiting area for guys, complete with a tv. They also offered the free food to my husband as well. They have a nice selection of clothing as well as other pregnancy and nursing supplies. I rummaged through the sale and for just under $100,  I was able to get one pair of black maternity pants, and three knee length dresses. I really liked all 4 garments that I bought; they were stylish and well made but still exceptionally comfortable.  I also thought it was really cute that they provide strap-on foam bumps  hanging in their dressing rooms.  You can strap it to your belly to get a better idea of how the outfit will look on you as you get further along in your pregnancy. I thought it was a bit silly at the time but I wish I had used them because all the dresses I bought ended up being ridiculously short on me by the last trimester. I think part of the problem is that their knee length dresses are way too short to begin with, especially if you are 5ft 11 like me.

Once I had tried on and selected the clothing I was definitely buying, I breathed a sigh of relief, I was convinced they would finally leave me alone. But they weren't quite done with me yet. Once we got to the checkout they requested a lot  personal information, such as address, phone number, email address, due date it was a bit annoying and intrusive. When I tried to decline to give them that information, they preached on and on and on about all the benefits I would get. I gave in and provided my information just to make them stop talking. But in my mind I was thinking,"Y'all will not be seeing me ever again in  this crazy stalker store"  To be honest, I  did get a lot of free stuff from them; I received several full sized sample cans of Enfamil formula and a subscription to Ameriacn Baby magazine. I also got a bag load of coupons and freebies with my purchase, so that was all nice. Even as I was leaving they were still trying to feed me. I don't get it, maybe I looked hungry to them? I gave in and accepted some juice and a Luna bar, which actually made me feel like throwing up. ugh! It was overall a nice shopping trip but they hovered over me so much that I really dreaded going back there and decided not to purchase anything more from them after that. I'm the type that likes to rush in and out of a store and not have a long dragged out shopping experience everytime. The three dresses I bought from them are no longer available on their site, but I chose three others that I would have bought if the price was right. I especially love the first navy dress. It is simple and elegant which is 100% my style!