Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pain au Chocolat Hack

This is my favorite breakfast treat:
  1. Buy Costco croissants (they're a steal!)
  2. (important!) Freeze them
  3. Take one out, and make knife slits through the middle (as if you were cutting it open like a hot dog bun)
  4. Slide a bit of bittersweet chocolate into the knife slits
  5. Pop in the toaster oven at 300 for 10 mins

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The hardest thing to do...

Sometimes, the hardest thing to do is to say what needs to be said, and then shut up. Not soften, not backpedal, not repeat what you've said and add layers to your argument. And not ask for an immediate response.

In fact, when you say what needs to be said, it often needs to be digested.

So, there are actually three steps. (As a techwriter, oh, how I love a nice process.)
  1. Say what needs to be said
  2. Shut up
  3. Walk away
Not easy.

But I've learned something: just as giving up anger is something you do for yourself, and not necessarily for the person you're angry with, saying what needs to be said is its own reward. Whatever reaction you get is secondary.

Monday, August 11, 2008

PT#22: Leaving the Skin on Your Hands

Having a baby in the house involves a lot of hand-washing. Not only are you suddenly changing (an inordinate number of) diapers, but when you learn about your newborn's immune system (which basically doesn't exist for the first few months) you instantly become a germ-o-phobe. If you want to have skin on your hands by your child's first birthday, stock up on:

  • Gentle soap - Softsoap makes a nice aloe vera version. Antibacterial soaps aren't necessary
  • Ultra-rich, non-scented hand cream. I like this stuff, my brother-in-law swears by this stuff

Friday, August 8, 2008

PT#21: Boppy boppy boppy!!!

Ahhh, the boppy! (There are tons of different colors.)

I'm still using mine, and it's been a godsend. Warning: graphic nursing talk ahead!

It shows a lady sitting cross-legged on the carton, but that doesn't work. The best way to use it is in a chair with arms, to hold the pillow up. We have a gliding rocker in the nursery, and that's heaven! If you want to use it in bed or somewhere where there are no arms, you'll need to put pillows (or what I used - a bunched-up robe) under it to raise the baby's head to the right level, otherwise you'll end up slumping (ow) or the baby will be dragging painfully at your boob (double-ow).

I also always keep a burp cloth draped over whichever side his head is on, to catch spit up and spray (so bizarre when your boobs keep spraying!) The boppy comes with a zip-off cover that you can toss in the wash - and you can get more covers a la carte.

I hope there is a lactation consultant at the hospital for you. If not, consider calling one in for a consult - it was very useful. Insist, if you must. I had to ask three times, because my chart showed that my guy was nursing on schedule, but we had the technique wrong, so it was very painful. It's not supposed to hurt!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

PT#20: Where is the baby going to eat?

While one of the nice things about breastfeeding is that you can feed the baby anywhere, at a moment's notice, it's nice to have a special place set up at home especially for nursing (works equally well for Papa to give bottles.) First of all, you'll need a nice chair. The back should come up behind your head, because there's a very good chance you'll fall asleep in it from time to time. A rocker is really nice, and helpful to calm down fussy babies (My older one wouldn't fall asleep without the rocker; the baby will fall asleep anywhere...) Dutailier is the best brand (made in Canada!)

Around this chair, you'll want a reading light (yes, you can read and nurse!), and a table or shelf for a drink, the bottle, a notepad... y'know, stuff. You might want other things within reach, too, like music and a shelf of baby books.

Finally, you need a boppy. Boppies are wonderful - it's a big crescent-shaped pillow that fits around your waist and holds the baby in the right position. In fact, I'll write a whole boppy tip, tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

PT#19: Where is the baby going to sleep?

For the first few months, at least, you'll probably want the baby in your room, because we're talking feedings every 2 hours or so. Options include crib (if it fits in your room), bassinette (like a cross between a crib and a Moses-basket), a new contraption that has three sides and attaches to your bed, or right in the bed with you.

This is a very personal choice, and it's a good thing to talk about before you come home with the baby. But then remember - when Mama gets home, she has every right to change her mind. As many times as she needs to.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

PT#18: Breastfeeding: A Parent's Guide

Breastfeeding: A Parent's Guide

This is a no-nonsense guide that I referred to over and over. In contrast, I couldn't get through the introduction to the La Leche League tome someone gave me ("If you don't breastfeed you're evil" was the gist.) This is just practical information.

Forgive me for straying into TMI territory, but I had EVERY SINGLE problem in the problems chapter, but I got over them all, and breastfed for longer than some of my in-laws thought proper. You don't need antibiotics for a very mild case of mastitis - a hotpad will do the trick.

And look! Another older edition for a penny!

Monday, August 4, 2008

PT#17: D.W. Winnicott

D.W. Winnicott

There are many books by him on the market. This is the one I have, and it's a nice collection of essays. His very very comforting point (though I can't find the exact chapter right now) is that you know your baby better than anyone, and that your instincts will be correct the vast majority of the time, and you shouldn't subvert your instincts and common sense to whatever "expert" happens to be in vogue.

Friday, August 1, 2008

PT#16: Happiest Baby on the Block

The Happiest Baby on the Block

This doctor set out to figure out colic, and damned if he didn't. Even if your baby doesn't have full-blown colic, these techniques are invaluable, and they work!

Bonus tip: swaddling works, but my babies were so big, they'd squirm out of their baby blankets in two minutes. The solution? A single flat jersey sheet. Wrap it around and around... they're not getting out of that! My oldest still sleeps with his; it's his "summer blanket."