Friday, June 29, 2012

Abbey's Tips: Dog Mauling Strategy

Abbey's Tip #1: If you are on a walk with your kids, and are attacked by a dog, throw your kids into a trash can.

My commentary: Every mother (I think) has a fear of dog attacks.  When you are walking with your kid in a stroller, they're right at dog-mouth height.  Every so often you hear those dog mauling stories on the news, and why shouldn't there be a crazy dog at the park?  Even if you are wearing your kid- wait- no, you ARE safer if you are wearing your kid!  Because you'll have time to run to the trash can!
The only flaw in Abbey's tip is that you're not guaranteed to be close to a trash can- but if you are babywearing, the dog has to drag YOU down to get to your kid, and of course your supermom strength will prevent or at least delay that. So, a corollary of this safety tip is, "Babywear your baby anywhere you might encounter dogs."  Surely that's reasonable?  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How Cloth Diapering Made Me a Better Mom

Before anyone gets offended, I don't feel like I'm a better mom than anyone else; I just feel like a better mom than I was before. I recently jumped into cloth diapering with my second child, and I've been very pleased at the ripples it has caused in my life.  For me, cloth diapering helped me get off my butt, literally and figuratively.

My stash after my first purchases
My gorgeous cloth diapers that I wash every two days (I could get away with three if I bought a few more, but I'm enjoying seeing how few diapers I can get away with) keep me on a schedule.  I am a person who needs a schedule, or I get nothing done.  My cloth diapers keep me active.  Go downstairs, put diapers in for ten minute cold rinse.  Go back down, wash on warm.  Go back down, put in dryer for 45 minutes on low. Go back down, take out my (beautiful) PUL covers and put them on rack to dry, dry rest of diapers/inserts for a hour on regular.  (Some moms dry all the diapers/inserts, but I'm too paranoid about ruining my beautiful bumGenius 4.0 PUL covers).  It's easy to be motivated to do this multistep wash because if I don't, my baby has no cloth diapers to wear, and her mommy doesn't have adorable cloth diapers to revel in all day. I wake up with a purpose: are my cloth diapers clean?   

Diapers loaned by friend
Cloth diapering also helped me get off my butt, health-wise.  I started cloth diapering because I read that disposable diapers have dioxin, a cancer-causing chemical in them.  This was just after I learned that Tide Free, the detergent I've used for YEARS, had unhealthy levels of dioxin.  The amount of dioxin I could be exposing my kids to really freaked me out.  I immediately emailed all my cloth diapering friends and asked how to get started with cloth, and I've been on a roll since!  I did a 3 week trial of 8-9 different diapers from Jillian’s Drawers, and all 3 of my friends loaned me diapers to try; this way, I wouldn't spend money until I knew what worked best for me!  
Once I got the girl in cloth, and saw how easy that change was, I started looking at other things that used to seem hard.  To be able to deal with my children’s poop so easily- with just a washing machine and later, as poop gets more solid, a diaper sprayer, is very empowering! I figured if I could do cloth diapers, I could do anything!  I began learning how to find shampoos and sunscreens that didn't have bad chemicals in them.  I started doing all organic veggies and I'm looking into using safer cleaners in my home. To make sure I use all the organic fruits and veggies that show up at my house every Wednesday, I've had to cook and meal plan more.  I'm hoping this will make my whole family more healthy.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Good Birth Resource: Hypnobirthing of CT

One of my favorite local birth resources is Cynthia Overgard’s HypnoBirthing of CT. I took Cynthia’s HypnoBirthing class just over 3 years ago. It’s great prep for childbirth because, in addition to providing thorough information on all your birthing rights and options, it's based on the fact that your brain is your most important birthing organ. The premise of HypnoBirthing is that fear and tension cause the labor pain experienced by so many women. With simple breathing and visualization techniques, women learn to remain relaxed, just as one would in an intense yoga pose, resulting in a quicker and more comfortable birth. (If I hadn't seen my sister have two births like that, I wouldn't have believed it was possible... but it is.) Although the goal is not natural childbirth, approximately 80 percent of Cynthia's clients birthed completely naturally last year.

Cynthia teaches the 12 hour course out of her spacious studio in Westport. It’s a comfortable, friendly atmosphere, thanks to Cynthia’s warm nature and obsession with feeding people. (There is a table full of delicious food at every class she teaches.) Before realizing her calling as a birth educator, Cynthia was a corporate executive and finance professor at UConn in Stamford. Her childbirth class reflects both her meticulous attention to detail and her passion for empowering couples to have a satisfying birth experience. The class is organized, engaging, and enjoyable.

I recently got back in touch with Cynthia while planning the birth of my second baby, and I’m more aware now of what an amazing resource she herself is. From her experience with hundreds of local pregnant couples and new parents, Cynthia knows an enormous amount about birth options and resources in the area. Cynthia counseled me on the various birthing options for birthing my second baby, and to have her calm guidance was, well, pretty priceless. I can say for certain that she helped guide me to have the birth I hoped for.