7.31.2014

what claire wore


So full disclosure - when you had a baby less than 8 weeks ago, taking photos of yourself for style posts is not the most  fun thing in the world.  But, I really miss style posts!  They were some of my favorite things to work on for the blog, and I plan to pick them up soon.  For now though, since my child has so much clothing that she may not get through it all before growing out of it, I thought I'd start a little series called "what Claire wore" because sometimes I think her clothes are cuter than mine anyways!  You're not tired of baby pictures yet, right?  


Top: Gap Outlet, Leggings: Baby Gap, Headband: Bohemian Babies

Blogger Tricks

7.30.2014

what type of parent are you?


So, I feel a little odd about my parenting style so far.  When you have kids (if you had kids, or if you’re thinking about it) all of sudden there is the big question: what kind of a parent will you be?  Attachment?  Authoritative?  French?  Helicopter?  Tiger Mom?  Intuitive?  Baby Led?  Seriously, those are all parenting styles.  It’s a little insane - and there’s no conclusive research that says “this one makes the best baby” because no two babies are the same!

I read SO many books about parenting when I was pregnant, and I have three favorites:

Baby Wise

Bringing Up Bebe

The Kind Mama

Here’s the funny thing about those being my favorites - they’re not at all similar to one another.  There are things I love and hate in each book, so I thought I would share a little bit about each, and what we’re pulling from each philosophy.

Baby Wise 

Baby Wise focuses a lot on the scheduling of children.  It encourages child led feeding and sleeping for the first few weeks, and then gently nudging baby onto a schedule.  Here’s the thing….I feel like a very observant mother, and I feed Claire on demand most of the time, but she still isn’t on much of a schedule.  In fact, I use an app to track my nursing and her feedings are pretty erratic.  In general, about 3-4 hours apart, but sometimes 2.

What I do like?  It encourages you to let you baby learn to fall asleep on her own.  The author pushes a baby schedule of sleep, feed, wake.  What this means is that you don’t nurse baby to sleep, you let baby learn to fall asleep on her own by putting her to bed awake.  It sounds very strange to parents who do the dance of feed, rock to sleep, place baby genttttttttly in the crib, pray they don’t wake up on impact, repeat x10 until it works.  We have never done that, not since the day Claire was born (knock on wood!!) and now have a nice system where Claire will go to bed sometime between 8:30 - 10:30 (like I said, she’s not on much of a schedule) and calm herself to sleep for the night.  I also try to let her take at least one nap each day where she falls asleep on her own, be it in the stroller or her crib.

Bringing Up Bebe 

This is probably my favorite parenting book by far.  I’m only going to speak to the baby portion of the book, because I obviously haven’t tried any of the toddler techniques.

Probably the most important technique in Bringing Up Bebe is learning to do “The Pause.”  In case you didn’t know, most French babies sleep through the night (8 hours) by 4 months old.  Sounds like a dream, right?  We’re not there yet of course, Claire is only 1.5 months.  But, we do practice the pause.  I don’t get up to respond to Claire at every whimper - in fact, I wait until she’s actually crying.  First of all, if she isn’t properly awake, she won’t eat well!  Second of all, if I do, I’m robbing her of the chance to learn how to soothe herself.  French parents believe a baby should be able to be alone & happy in their crib, and that doing such is a skill.  In fact, I believe that babies NEED that sometimes after doing it myself!  One morning, Claire was fussy no matter what I did - she’d been fed, I’d swaddled her, unswaddled her, put her in the swing, changed her diaper, and rocked/bounced her.  Nothing was working!  So I laid her in her crib and walked away.  She fussed for a second, and then went silent.  When I peeked in a few moments later, she was silently staring at the wall, and shortly afterwards fell asleep.  She just needed a moment alone!  So now I try to practice that every day, usually for her afternoon nap.  I lay her down, awake, maybe with a pacifier and let her work it out by herself.  This is NOT TO SAY that I let her cry it out, I don’t.  I’ve never let her cry (full on CRY) for longer than 5 minutes.  That’s never worked anyways - when Claire is full on wailing, she needs something.  But there’s a distinct difference between the cry of a lonely baby and a hungry/needy baby - Claire makes a “nyah” sound when she really needs something, and a “wah” sound otherwise.  I would never have noticed the difference between these two cries had I not started doing the pause, and I’m willing to bet other babies have separate cries for these reasons as well.  And as for how it's affecting her ability to sleep, she's recently begun going about 6 hours at her longest stretch at night, and we're thrilled with that.  

The main principle of Bringing Up Bebe is that the French teach their children patience, and that children who are able to practice patience are able to be happier.  I really believe that to be true, and the author backs it up with scientific evidence.  Have you ever heard of the marshmallow experiment?  Chances are if you took Intro to Psychology in college, you have.  

Essentially, a study was done on children's patience using marshmallows (or pretzels or chocolate, child's choice) as motivation at Stanford in the late 1960s.  About 600 kids ages 4-6 were presented with a marshmallow in a room, and told that if they ate the marshmallow immediately, that would be their only one.  If they could wait 15 minutes to eat it, they would receive a second marshmallow.  Most of the children failed to wait - only 1/3 made it, mostly the older children.  In follow-up studies, the researchers found that children who were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes, as measured by SAT scores, educational attainment, body mass index, and other life measures.  

What I don’t like about Bringing Up Bebe?  Well, it doesn’t discuss breast-feeding as a priority very often, but that’s pretty much it!  I basically thought that every other aspect of the book was dead-on.

The Kind Mama 
(Attachment Parenting)

I’ll probably get a lot of flack for promoting this book, so let me get out of the way what I DON’T like about it:

I will vaccinate Claire, and it bothers me that Silverstone suggests you shouldn’t and that you shouldn’t take your child to the doctor unless they’re very sick.  I will take Claire to each and every suggested check-up.

I do not practice elimination communication - we use Honest organic diapers, and I love them.  

She's strongly advocates having a natural home birth.  I have no real issues with home birthing, if you're close to a hospital and have a low risk pregnancy and a midwife attending.  HOWEVER, she tells her birth story in the book, and at the end she's forced to go to a hospital (while crowning) because her baby won't descend and needed medical intervention to be born safely.  After all that, she still pushes for natural home birth, even though the unthinkable could have happened had her own son not been born at a hospital.  As I said in our birth story, I was induced with Claire and had an epidural, and I wouldn't change a thing.  I don't like it when books are pushy with what they think is the "right" way to have a baby.

I don’t eat a vegan diet, although I am pescatarian.  I do believe that loading up a breastfeeding mother’s diet with the best possible foods will make better eaters in the long run, and I don’t believe eating meat is a part of that.

Phew!  So lots of things.

What I do like:

Silverstone goes in-depth about the importance of breastfeeding and how to troubleshoot any problems you’re having with it.  I strongly believe in the importance of breastfeeding, and I plan to do it with Claire….well, I’m not entirely sure how long.*  I can’t say I’d be surprised if we breastfeed until she’s 2, and although that seems strange to Americans, it's actually recommended.  In fact: "
the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reaffirms its recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months of a baby's life, followed by breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of complementary foods until at least 12 months of age, and continuation of breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby."  And okay, the mother on the cover of Time may have taken it a bit far, but I think it's time we drop the notion that breastfeeding a baby beyond a year old is weird......because it's just not.  

*I do want to note that this book is a bit militant about its recommendation to breastfeed, and could make some women who have trouble with it feel a bit bad about themselves.  I understand that it isn't possible for every mother and child, is sometimes very difficult, and I strongly believe that a happy mother makes a good mother.  If breastfeeding doesn't or didn't make you happy and you fed your baby formula, more power to you.  

Co-Sleeping. Claire sleeps in her crib each night from her “bedtime” until about 5 or 6 am, but after that she comes into bed with me.  I can’t say I see myself stopping this practice, I really enjoy having her in bed with me, and she sleeps much later in the morning if we do this.  Even if I get up and leave her there, she’s more likely to sleep in if she’s in our bed.  Cuddling with Claire in the morning is probably my favorite time of day,  and hers as well.  She actually smiled for the first time one morning laying next to me, and it's where she's smiled the most ever since.  The Kind Mama advocates full time co-sleeping, and although we don't practice that, I can't say that I hate the idea.  The media demonizes it because of some horrifying stories, but studies actually show that when a breastfeeding (non-smoking) mother and child sleep next to one another with very light bedding and baby's face away from the pillows, & with ZERO drugs or alcohol involved co-sleeping is safe and actually promotes healthier sleep for everyone involved.

Baby-wearing: It's been well-documented on this blog, I adore babywearing.  I think that so far, it has been a tremendous source of comfort for Claire, and has also enabled her to have the confidence to fall asleep on her own.  It allows us to really experience the world together - she can see nature from my vantage point, rather than from on her back on a stroller - and she's quickly calmed by the motion of my walking.  It keeps her from being overstimulated, a common problem that causes fussy babies.  Claire usually takes one nap each day laying on my chest in the sling, and there's just nothing better than that.  We can bond, even while I'm reaching around her to my laptop keyboard.  Baby carriers provide an easy way to breastfeed discreetly in public, which is fantastic if you're modest.  Claire also gets stressed out if she's passed around too much, especially with strangers, so if I have her in the sling it's easy for me to say "oh, it's kind of a pain to take her out, sorry!"  The Kind Mama goes even more in depth about the benefits of baby-wearing, and although attachment parenting advocates wearing your baby pretty much all the time, I don't take it quite that far.  In fact, as I said, Claire sometimes WANTS to be laid down by herself.  But I attribute that independence to the confidence she's gained from my being responsive to her and keeping her close much of the rest of the time, and that is a principle of attachment parenting - responsiveness to a real need breeds confidence in a child.  


So, those are the main things I've chosen to run with from the books I've read!  I guess that makes me a French/BabyWise/Attachment Parent?  That's probably the most ridiculous descriptor of a parenting style I've ever heard.  

Did any of you read these books?  Did you have other favorites?  I'd love to hear which parenting style or styles you most identified with!  

If you'd like to join the discussion, please leave a comment or follow me on....

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7.29.2014

awkward and awesome tuesday


Awkward: 

Um, getting pooped on.  Yeah, on Thursday morning I had just finished feeding Claire, and propped her up on my thighs to play a little bit.  All of a sudden, I feel something warm and…..wet.  Cue running to the nursery in a frenzy all while trying to not spread the poop on the way.  Somehow she managed to do the same thing that afternoon!  I think I might need to be more careful with my diaper application.  

You know what's worse than pregnancy brain?  Mom brain.  I cannot even tell you the number of times this week that I walked into a room and just had no clue what I was in there for.  

My spatial awareness is at an all time low after being at my smallest size ever 11 months ago, then getting pregnant and rather large, and now being somewhere in between.  This resulted in my walking INTO A DOOR HANDLE at my office Wednesday, which then caught on my shirt and put a rather large hole right through it.  Buh-bye, shirt that actually looked cute on my postpartum body.  

Awesome: 

This gummy smile - Claire really started smiling this week, and there's just nothing better.  

Going back to work.  I’d like to preface this by saying that I have what I believe to be the best childcare situation of all time (a combination of friends I’ve known since childhood/grandparents/aunts) but when my boss asked how my first day back had been at the end of the day, I had to be honest and tell her that it sort of felt like a break.  Being a mom is HARD you guys.  It’s the best hard thing in the world, but so is my job!  I LOVE my job. So it was really nice to jump back in this past week and see that I could do both.  I’m sure there will be days when that isn’t the case - days when I just think I can’t keep up and I wonder when our house will ever be clean again, but hey - maybe not!  Our house (apartment) is pretty dang small.

Working at home with Claire on Thursdays.  I know this will not last long (she wants to play a little more each day!) but right now her naps pretty much span the morning and afternoon each day, making it easy for me to get in work & feedings around when she sleeps.

Simple dinners.  Summer produce makes this so easy, right now our menu is basically just a fish + a vegetable (okay, plus some 
rosé) every single night! 

The smell of the top of Claire's head.  I swear, those baby fumes actually get me high.  

*on another note!  I'm interested in creating more engagement with my readers (I want to hear from you!) and I know that commenting on the posts isn't always the best place to have a conversation.  So!  
At the end of each post for the next few weeks I'll be leaving links to my Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter at the bottom of each post to encourage you to tell me what you think about my posts, ask questions, etc.  This will be especially great in regards to what I'm talking about tomorrow....parenting styles.....dun dun dun.  

Follow Me: 


7.28.2014

the weekender

So, we had a pretty great weekend all around, minus the fact that the weather was ridiculously hot.  It was 100 degrees yesterday (and somehow the today high is only 80....where was that Saturday??)

Here's a few quick snaps from how we spent the best two days of the week! 

Friday night we went grocery shopping, and believe it or not, it was pretty fun.  What, you don't take selfies before you go to the grocery store?  Honestly, I just wanted to document the type of outfit I'm living in lately due to a) breastfeeding access and b) ease of wearing with a baby sling.  



We went out for Mexican on Saturday night, and the World Naked Bike Ride parade rode by the restaurant!  (World Naked Bike Ride is just what it sounds like - a silly and fun parade of *mostly naked* bikers, to promote body positivity.  It's pretty awesome.)  

Among the sea of bikers we spotted a couple people we knew, one of them being my rad friend Jess, and she pulled over to take a picture with Claire!  Gotta keep this kind of thing for posterity in the future, just so Claire knows how progressive and awesome we are/were.    Also, I love the look on her face.  


That morning we went to the farmer's market, where I got a popsicle, Fitz got worn out, and Claire took her morning nap in the sling.  





There was also lots of sleeping....lots.  of.  sleeping.  





Nothing better than catching a sleep smile in a photo.  



7.18.2014

friday link love



It's a big weekend for this new mom - my friend & roommate from college Jesi is getting married, and it's bachelorette party time!  So this will definitely be the longest I've ever spent away from Claire.  It will be so so good to get some time with girlfriends to just be silly - although admittedly, I am skipping out on the sleepover portion of the night to go home to my baby girl.  Just not ready for an overnight yet!  

And then....Jack White on Sunday!  I don't know how I got lucky enough to have a father who is so into taking my husband and I to amazing rock concerts, but I definitely won in the dad department.  And Claire won in the Nana/Aunt department, because I've never seen two women so thrilled to babysit in my life.  I think my mom & sister are more excited for us to go to the concert than we are.  

One last thing - I start back to work next week, so in an effort to not overload myself and get stressed out I'm going to take next week off from the blog.  I'll be back week after next hopefully feeling confident in my ability to balance (ish) work & baby.  

Here are my favorite links from this week! 

I made this pasta last weekend, and it was incredible.  Like bagel pasta - which to me is essentially the holy grail of food.  


Do we choose our friends because they share our genes?  

This Weird Al remake of "Blurred Lines" is hilarious and adorable.  

Life, animated: how Disney helped an autistic boy to communicate with his family.  I had read an article about this before, but the live interview with his father is really fantastic.  


Love Humans of New York?  Well someone has started a "Humans of St. Louis," and for a copycat it's pretty great.  

Basically my mom-iform.