Saturday, January 9, 2010

Baby wearing information

A lot of moms and moms-to-be have expressed interest in wraps and slings. Though I've learned almost all I know from my friends Rene and Beth, here is some information on baby carriers.

Wraps

“Moby” style wraps are long, wide pieces of fabric that utilize your back and shoulders together to support baby. They are versatile and easy to use. You can use them to carry newborns through toddlers up to 35 pounds. Baby can be carried on your front facing in or facing out, on your hip and on your back. You can even use this style wrap to carry twins!



To make your own “Moby” style wrap:

1. Buy 5- 5 ½ yards of knit fabric (this should have some stretch to it).
a. This seems really long but it is better to give yourself a bit of extra fabric to play with. You can always cut off extra when you are an expert at tying but you can NEVER sew on extra fabric.
b. You can find knit fabric at JoAnn’s, Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart, etc., for 4.99-13.99 a yard. You can also find fabric online. Keep in mind that good quality knits—like Interlock—are more expensive but will last longer.
2. Cut the fabric lengthwise.
a. If the fabric is 45 inches wide, cut it in half lengthwise. One length of fabric makes 2 wraps.
b. If the fabric is 60 inches wide then cut it two times lengthwise. One length makes 3 wraps that are 20 inches wide.
3. Hem the edges (optional).
4. Wear one, wash one OR wear one, give one to a friend!
5. Learn how to wear it!



Ring Slings

Ring Slings are the most well known type of baby sling. These slings are simple to use, offer quick and easy in-out, and there are many uses for that long tail (like covering baby up when nursing in public). Most people can wear any size - the size simply dictates the length of the tail.



Recommended slings:
  • Padded or unpadded Maya Wraps from www.mayawrap.com
  • Zolowear slings at www.zolowear.com
Ring slings can be home made. HOWEVER this is recommended only for confident and experienced seamstresses. Also, you CAN NOT use rings that you buy at craft stores. Only use rings that have been tested for human use.

Here is a site that offers free directions to help you make a ring sling

Get rings from this site

Learn to use your sling:



MeiTais

MeiTai carriers can be used on newborns through toddlers. Baby can be worn front-facing, facing out, and on your back. These are quick and easy to wear.


My favorite brand is mei tai baby but there are a lot of great SAHMs on Etsy you could check out too!


Some MeiTai brands use clips rather than ties. I don’t prefer those but it is personal preference.

MeiTais can be home made but again, this should be reserved for experienced seamstresses.

If you’d like to make your own, check out this link and look under Asian-style carriers.

If you choose to make a no-sew meitai you MUST use expensive, quality fleece. Do not trust your child’s safety to thin fleece purchased at Wal-Mart.

Other Information and Tips

  • In general, this link is a detailed and helpful website. Look on it for suggestions on what type of carrier is best for you, links to brand-name carriers, links to mom-made carriers, and information on DIY carriers.
  • Safety must be your #1 concern for baby even when using a carrier. Make sure to watch baby’s head as you move about and support baby when leaning or bending over.
  • When in a carrier, baby should be where you would normally carry them. When a newborn is cradled in your arms, he/she is up high—it should be the same in a carrier. If baby IS NOT where you would hold him or her than you should assume that baby is not in a safe position.
  • Most big-box stores offer carriers and pouches. Be cautious; these are not always comfortable for you or safe for baby (and they are pricey too!)
  • When in doubt, ask! Other baby wearers will be happy to help.
  • Don’t be surprised when a new baby wearer asks you for help. You don’t have to carry for long before you become an expert.

What to buy for baby

When I was pregnant with my first, my best friend Kim and her sister Stacy created this list of baby items for me. They itemized it based on what was necessary, nice to have, and a frill. They also offered advice on how to set up breast-feeding and diaper changing stations, steps on closet organization (trust me, those little socks will take over your house), and resources that might be worth looking into.

Please remember as you look over this list that I live in Wyoming where we have 4 seasons: Windy fall, Winter, Windy Winter, and Windy Construction; therefore, this list might not apply to you (unless you really think you'll need a snow suit in Hawaii--your call).

Hope this helps--I found it was a life saver!

Necessary Items for baby
o bottles (4 oz.)—at least 4—more if only bottle feeding
o Newborn diapers and wipes or unscented wipes. Also, you may want to consider getting one package of preemie diapers just in case. We buy the generic brand wipes. (Bum Genius are good cloth diapers if you go that route).
o Rubbing alcohol and q-tips
o Car Seat—Graco has multiple bases so you switch the car seat, not the base which we didn’t do but wish we had!
o Car Seat cover—a winter must
o Receiving blankets (at least 7 to cut down on laundry)
o Fitted sheets (minimum of 4)—Target has nicely decorated ones, Wal-Mart sells white ones in bulk
o Waterproof mattress cover (minimum of 2)—We put a mattress cover and sheet on the mattress and cover it with another mattress cover and sheet. If baby has an accident thru the night, we just pull off the top set and the bottom set is ready to use.
o Washcloths (minimum of 8)
o Burp rags (minimum of 7) I’d get more like 10-12
o Onesies (minimum of 10)
o Gown/Pjs (if they have zippers there will be no button fumbling at 3 a.m.)—as many as possible but at least 5
o Baby hats (4 are sufficient)—for spring think of sun hats
o Socks/mittens (I’d only get 1 pack of mittens just in case baby scratches him/herself)
o Lap pads (these are waterproof pads you can lay baby on in crib, changing pad, etc.)
o Small cooler and ice pack for bottles (many diaper bags come with this)
o Portable wipes carrier
o Diaper bag or backpack
o Small medicine bag for diaper bag stocked with: Tylenol, burp medicine, thermometer, diaper rash ointment, alcohol pads, chapstick, antibacterial hand gel, etc.
o Portable changing pad
o Crib and bumper pads
o Diaper rash cream (Triple Paste is the best)
o Hygiene set—get the best you can find—with clippers, comb/brush, medicine dropper and a trustworthy thermometer
o Medicine for home—Tylenol, burp medicine, nose sucker, nose mist, etc (generic meds are ok)
o Baby bathtub with baby wash, lotion, etc.
o Dresser or changing table. Changing pad to go on either.
o Anti-bacterial hand gel

Recommended
o A few preemie and newborn outfits.
o Nightlight or small lamp
o Boppy/Bosom baby with removable cover (easy cleaning)—I like BOSOM BABY better than Boppy—they are fuller and easier to move/adjust and are better suited if you are a bit heavy.
o Moby wrap
o Portable play pen—get portable crib sheets for this
o Pacifiers
o Bottle warmer (you really shouldn’t microwave—especially breast milk)
o Bottle brush and dry rack
o Nipple holder if using dishwasher
o Trash can with lid for nursery
o Laundry hamper for baby clothes
o Monitor/SIDS monitor (bebe Sounds and Angle Care make a monitor that goes under the crib mattress and sounds if baby stops breathing—great for SIDS peace of mind)
o High chair that straps to one of your kitchen chairs—we do not recommend getting this until baby is 4 mo. + old BUT you might want to register for one. We really don’t recommend free-standing high chairs because they take up so much room.
o Comfortable chair for baby’s room

FruFru stuff you might want:
o A matching crib set (we found pricey crib sets unnecessary—you really don’t use the thick blankets that come with them but they do make the nursery look cute)
o Black-out curtains (Overstock has some good ones)
o A wipe warmer
o Exersaucer
o First toys and books—rattles, teething toys
o Bouncy seat
o Swing
o Gym with toys that hang over baby—helps with tracking and hand/eye coordination
o Lingerie bag—makes it easier to wash and find tiny baby socks, mittens, hats, etc.
o Baby calendar (take pictures to put on top of each month—have the calendar very accessible so you can fill in important events—first smile, etc. Use calendar to refer fill in baby album later.)
o Baby album
o Crib bed-skirt
o Dimmer switch in baby’s room so you don’t have to turn on super-bright room light
o Strollers, bike trailers, hiking packs for baby (Kelty probably has the best)


For Mom:
• Nursing bras (if you’ll be BF)
• Lancom breast ointment
• Nursing pads
• Breast pump and attachments (if you can, go with a more expensive electronic model like the Medela Pump-in-Style—it will save lots in formula $$)—Obviously skip this if you don’t plan on breastfeeding
• Soothies—Walgreens sells these. They are gel patches that go on your breasts between feedings—they really help ease pain! I wouldn’t have made it past 3 weeks without them.
• Breast milk storage bags (for freezer)
• Nursing tops or tanks with built in bras
• Robe and slippers (if you don’t have them already)
• Prenatal pills or other vitamins to take if you breastfeed


Stations
It may be helpful to have very organized stations in your home for diaper changing and feeding.

Nursing Station (your house may have 2 areas—like your room and baby’s room or living room, etc.):
o Comfortable chair with pillows for back/neck and foot support
o Boppy/Bosom Baby
o Light
o Clock
o Music/CDs
o A tin or attractive basket to hold disposable nursing pads, Lanacom nursing ointment, chapstick, etc.,
o A draw to hold CDs, snacks, extra burp cloths or lap pads
o A handy water bottle
o High protein snacks (peanut butter crackers, granola bars, etc.)

Changing Station (your house may have 2 areas):
o Changing pad
o Hygiene set
o Anti-bacterial hand gel
o Diaper rash cream
o Tylenol
o Burp medicine
o Diapers and wipes
o Bin or basket to organize all changing supplies
o Alcohol wipes
o Small toy to enthuse baby (if needed)

Dresser/Closet:
o Keep most used stuff near by and have each place clearly labeled so everyone can easily find what they need.
o Divide drawers (or use labeled bins in closet) into sections: onesies, gowns/pjs, socks, hats, washcloths, burp rags, blankets, etc.
o Only keep clothes that fit in the dresser. You can have other clothes readily accessible in bins in closet (labeled 0-3 mo, 3-6 mo, etc.)
o Keep a rubber bin in closet labeled “out-grown.” As baby outgrows clothing, put it in the bin so it will be easy to fold and store.
o Have different colored hangers for different ages of clothes—white for 0-3 months, blue for 3 months, green for 3-6 and so on.

What to pack for the hospital
o Large clothes to wear home (consider a dress incase of c-section)
o Loose pajamas—button shirt and drawstring pants OR gown for c-section--robe
o Heating pad (the microwave kind)/ice packs
o Pillows from home (use pillow cases you don’t care for and make sure they don’t look like hospital pillows). You might want to put pillows in garbage sacks and then pillowcase so blood, etc. doesn’t ruin them.
o Long, warm socks
o Slippers for walking around
o Magazine, book, movie, music, etc.
o Items to focus on
o Lotion for massaging
o Chapstick
o Sugar-free candy
o Body wipes
o Face wipes
o Hair bands or barrettes
o Hand-held mirror
o camera
o Video camera
o Own baby wipes
o Special outfit for baby to wear home
o Special blanket for baby
o Boppy
o Nursing pads (I like Johnson brand)
o Nursing bra (or larger sized bra)
o Tennis balls and socks (for massages)
o Phone call and cell phone
o Phone list
o Snacks for birthing partner
o Roll of quarters for vending machines
o Tums
o Tylenol
o Toiletries—brush, make-up, etc.
o Car seat and car seat cover
o Birth Plan

Strongly recommended:
o Get a small notebook and write down what to expect from each phase of labor. Have a list of things your husband can do to help you and comfort you—massages, touching, prayer, Bible verses, etc. Also include a list of phone numbers, the order people should be called in, and WHEN people should be called.

o Have a small sign ready to hang on your room door letting people know whether or not you are taking visitors.

o Look into ONCE UPON A CHILD. This is a chain of second hand kids stuff. They have gently used baby clothes and equipment (exersaucer, bouncy seat, toys, cribs …) in great condition for great prices.

Books and internet sources:
• Bradley Method is an all natural form of child birth-- www.bradleybirth.com
• Babycenter.com
• Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by sleep expert Mark Weisbluth (this book was the key to getting ME to sleep thru the night). Of all the books, this is the one we liked and most highly recommend.
• Baby Wise by Gary Ezzo—this book is controversial but we used its basic ideas. You just have to use it with common sense. If you don’t want to read it, here are 2 main points: 1. Your marriage is most important. Spend time together as a couple without baby. If your marriage isn’t unified your parenting won’t be either. 2. Try to get baby in a routine of eat/sleep/play (this won’t happen until at least 6 weeks)
• What to Expect When you are Expecting and What to Expect the First Year
• The Pediatric’s Association has a book about Baby’s First Year that has some good info.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Spy School Task #1

Write your husband an e-mail, letter or text explaining Bond Spy School for Hot Dads and then present him with his first challenge:


Your first mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take three pictures of me today without my knowledge whatsoever.  This challenge may require covert operation, trickery and/or ninja skills
You might want to indicate how he'll show you the photos, if they are for "your eyes only", and you could give him a time frame (48 hours to complete).

(On a fun note, this actually WAS my first mission which I completed easily.  However, I did call on the help of a friend--'cuz girls stick together.  Don't be shocked if your husband thinks outside the box.)  

Spy School Intro Letter

Use this letter to introduce your hubby to his spy school adventure.

Welcome to the Bond Spy School for Hot Dads.

You are among the most elite men chosen to enter this spy school. At this school you will be given a variety of tasks and challenges to complete. Each task is designed to expand your knowledge, skill set, or intimacy level. Some tasks may be difficult, others silly, and others might push you out of your comfort zone. But do not give up for each task completed is rewarded.

Be prepared to work alone or together with your Bond Girl. Be prepared for danger, adventure, and fun. Be prepared to think outside of the box, to go where you've never gone before, and to give into spontaneity. Do not be faint of heart. A life of romance and intimacy with your Bond Girl requires steadfastness, loyalty, and fearlessness. You can do it.

Good luck with your training.

You are more than parents--Date your man!



Matt and I have been married for seven years but together for ten.  It was just the two of us (well, and two slightly dysfunctional dogs we played "house" with) for six years.  In that time we were given to weekend trips to New York, moving to Vegas for the summer, and recklessly wasting time and resources dining out, going to the movies, and sleeping in until ten.
My how things have changed since we had children!  Most of the changes have been good but a few times I've looked at my husband and tried to remember the husband he was before he became a father.
Let me say that no man has been or will be as great of a father as Matt is (I expect you to disagree so we'll just agree to disagree).  He plays with our children, changes diapers, makes toys, plays dress-up, cooks, carries, cleans vomit ... He is not of of those men who comes home from a long day at work and is "done" for the day. He finishes his day when I finish mine, and sometimes later.
Though I love and admire the father in him, I also yearn for the Matt who wasn't a dad--fearless, reckless, spontaneous, dangerous, carefree.  Deep down he still is all those things but the daily routine grinds him down.  What I realized this December is that he felt the same way about me. And what we learned was that the key to igniting the pre-parent passions we had for each other was within our grasp.
What follows is an excerpt from an e-mail Matt sent to me on December 1, 2009 in preparation for our anniversary.
I tell you all the time that you are beautiful, and I tell you often that you are a wonderful mother.  What I don’t tell you all the time is that you are so mysterious…and I love that about you.  Though you tell yourself and others that you like to plan, play things safe and keep control at all times, one of the mysteries of you is that those things are not entirely true.  Even though you would never admit to it, I have come to realize your secret affinity for adventure and more importantly… spontaneity. 
One of the things I committed to you nearly seven years ago was that I would make you happy.  And while I know that you are happy in a general sense, it bothers me that we so easily get bogged down in the routineness of being married, of being parents and of life tasks.  Every time I have asked you in the past three months about your happiness and what about life is causing you stress, it is the daily reality that is grindingly numbing.  You are so tough.  You raise our children with excellence, you care for your family and you are a wonderful friend.  But deep down, I know that a little adventure….a little romance…..a little passion and a little spontaneity just might create an opportunity for us.
Every day from now until our anniversary, I am going to present you with at least one opportunity to do something completely spontaneous.  There is no pressure on your part to accept each opportunity.  Some will be more adventurous than others.  Some may even stretch your comfort level.  But deep down I know there is an inner Bond girl dying to escape…
Thus was born the Legacy Parkway Spy School.  For the next twenty days Matt sent me on wild goose chases taking secret photos of him, creating movies, practicing "Unagi" (we love Friends), and learning how to box. These games, these spontaneous "assignments" were nothing more than little thoughts meant to brighten my day by reminding me that before I was a mom, I was a sexy, confident woman and still could be.  
When I share this with friends I always get comments like "I wish my husband would d stuff like that."  All I can say is this, do it first.  

  • Date your husband.  
  • Wow him.  
  • Remind him that he is a sexy and confident man.
  • Remind him that before he was your children's father, he was your lover.  
If you'd like to send your husband to the "Bond Spy School for Hot Dads" check back here for ideas.




Thursday, January 7, 2010

Resources

Welcome to Where is the ME in Mommy? and thank you for your interest in using this site for PR or Advertising.  



I'm honestly not a huge fan of sites that only do giveaways/reviews; however, I do love to give things to my readers AND will happily review items that would be of interest to my readers who tend to be moms.
I have a house with both male and female children ages 3 and 6. Items that appeal to these age ranges and moms/women are welcome. 
Compensation for reviews/giveaways is expected either in product or monetary compensation.
I pride myself on honesty and integrity; therefore, I will be honest in my review of products.  To be fair, however, I will contact you before a negative review.
Advertising is also available. Please contact me for rates.
whereisthemeinmommy@gmail.com


Ideas

"Partner.  What does that mean?"


Partner means to join me on this journey called life.  You can partner with WITMIM? by joining becoming a follower through Google.

You can partner by reading and commenting.

You can partner by sharing your story.

"What's that?  You'll let me write a post for your blog?"


I love guest posts!  I want to hear about what you are thinking, what you love, what fashion trend you love (or hate).  I want to know you so if you have something to say, contact me at whereisthemeinmommy@gmail.com

Some post ideas: Fashion advice, vent about an in-law (or cold season or judgmental moms at the grocery store ... whatever), book review, encouraging spiritual word, funny story, great recipe, etc.

If you want to write with me, please remember my audience--this blog is about women, wives, and moms so your topic should resound with that group

The fine print:  I reserve the right to refuse and/or edit submissions that do not fit the feel/theme of this blog.  {Can you tell I'm NOT a lawyer?}

If you want to partner, contact reagan at whereisthemeinmommy@gmail.com



about

Welcome to Where is the ME in Mommy?

About this Blog
For some reason several women asked me to start a blog sharing parenting tips and stories, reading lists, date ideas, and recipes.

While this blog will contain all of that and more, eventually, I hope that it will do more than help us be better wives and moms--I hope that through sharing and camaraderie building, this blog will allow us to encourage one another to celebrate who we are as women!

Topics
Below are some topics and subtopics I hope to cover in this blog.


Fashion
  • 1-2 times a month look for my outfits, fashion tips, fashion blunders, etc.
Date Ideas
  • are geared to help you date your husband.  Get out of the dinner and a movie rut and enjoy adventurous, inexpensive, and romantic time with your lover!  Look specifically at Spy School!  Look for a new date idea every other week!
Days of Play
    • simple ideas and suggestions to help you have engaging and intentional play time with your children. Most ideas that take relatively little planning and few resources. Look for 2-3 new Days of Play posts a week!
    From the Kitchen 
      • a compilation of recipes--not just dinner--that I've tried and loved.  Since I love to OAMC, many of the recipes are geared toward freezing.
      Expecting
        • Congratulations!  Look here for items you might buy for baby, books I found helpful, and advice from someone who very often learns things the hard way. Make sure to look at how to make your own baby wearing devices!
        Motherhood
          • funny stories, encouraging letters, tips to get through the day.
          Wifehood
            • creative ideas to make your marriage adventurous, enjoyable, and sexy.
            Womanhood
              • Don't forget that under that mom and wife there is a woman.  Use these ideas to rediscover the you before you were two (or three or in my case, four).
              Weekly Line-up
              • Tuesday--Days of Play
              • Wednesday What I'm Thinking About
              • Thursday Things I Love
              Contact:

              If you'd like to contact me, please e-mail me at whereisthemeinmommy@gmail.com

              Privacy:
              This blog is equipped with a stat counter that acknowledges IP addresses, ISP, and city/state/country locations.  It is possible for me to match your name with your IP address if you leave comments that aren't anonymous.  If you are uncomfortable with being "seen" I want to encourage you to leave comments anonymously.  (Side note:  How scary is it that someone like me can figure this out?!?!  Imagine what hackers can do!) Just know that when you are on this site, you are being watched (and if you don't know this already, other sites are watching you too!).

              Unless given permission, I will not disclose information gathered from e-mails.  Comments are fair game.

              No Drama Zone:
              For the sake of ease, comment moderation is turned "off."  However, I reserve the right to delete any comments that are disrespectful, snarky, spiteful, divisive, spam, or totally offensive.  Though such comments may be "anonymous" I will use IP tracker to block the IP of any repeat offenders.

              Please disagree without being disagreeable.

              About Me

              My name is Reagan and I love my husband and two children.  We are a Christ-centered family who seeks to share the love of Jesus with everyone we encounter.

              I am a true Wyomingite, right down to my casual disregard of wind and snow and my unconditional love for the Wyoming Cowboys (Wyoming folks live and die for their Pokes!).

              As a wife, I seek to serve my husband by managing our home in a fiscally responsible manner. I strive to create a peaceful environment for him to retreat to and desire to be an intriguing lover.

              As a mother, my heart's desire is to lead my children to a personal and public love of Christ. My children are my life's greatest accomplishments and they bring me unending joy.

              As a woman, I felt like many passions were stifled as I became a wife and mother and I am seeking out ways to balance my roles. I am a mom, but I am more than a mom.

              I love books and making up words. I love the outdoors and have an unhealthy fascination with sharks. I love other moms and seek to empower and encourage them. I love food (and luckily I love to cook)! I love spending intentional quality time with my family. I love social justice.

              I praise God that I was fearfully and wonderfully made to be who I am and I pray that He would give me the courage and freedom to be me in a way that glorifies His name.

              welcome

              Welcome

              If you love your kids but have every wondered, "Really, this is why I was created? Does spit-up have to be part of the uniform?" then this blog is for you!

              In fact, nearly every woman I know struggles with balancing the multiple roles she plays and often times the role of Woman is swallowed up by roles of mom and wife. As a mom and wife, I identify with feelings of guilt when 100% of my time and energies are not devoted to my husband and children. This feeling, however, is dangerous! To be the mom and wife my family deserves, I need to find, explore and celebrate the fullness of the woman God created me to be!

              Is your ME in Mommy lost in diaper changes, low-grade fevers, and temper tantrums? If so, visit this site regularly for parenting bloopers, romantic ideas, great books to read, family night ideas, recipes and more.