Reviving Motherhood

Learning on the Journey

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Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper, Ergo Baby Carrier, and Boudreaux’s Butt Paste: My 3 Fave Baby Products!

I’m pretty minimal when it comes to baby supplies, but after going around the baby block 5 times, here are several products I have found to be well worth the investment.

Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper

I know co-sleeping can be done safely, but it has never worked for us. I’ll admit, this littlest wiggle worm spends more time in the bed with me than not, but it’s not my preference.  On the other hand, I nurse my babies during the night for quite a while, so I like them close.  The Arm’s Reach Co-sleeper has provided the best of both worlds.

It straps nicely to the side of the bed (strap runs between the mattress and box spring in a simple but effective design) and has a bassinet layer for when baby is tiny and immobile, which you remove once baby gets bigger.  It is so nice to not have to climb out of bed multiple times a night, to be able to reach over and put my hand on the little one while he sleeps, and just to feel like I can keep a close eye on him, all the while having our own space in the grown-up bed.  (Theoretically, ha!)

Pricey–but well worth it!

Ergo Baby Carrier

I tried several different slings and baby carrier, and the Ergo wins hands down.  Every other one I used pulled on my back and shoulders so much that I had to quit.  The Ergo distributes weight over your hips instead, making for a very comfortable and practical carrier, even as baby grows heavier.

The benefits of babywearing are untold for bonding between mom and baby.  I like to have my little babies in a carrier because it discourages random strangers from touching, kissing, or scooping them up without my permission.  (It amazes me that people feel free to do this.)  The Ergo has also saved me many, many times when baby needed to be close but I also needed to have my hands free.  It’s a pretty sweet feeling to be doing dishes or laundry with a warm baby asleep on my back!

The one downside for me is that I’m too uncoordinated to put baby in by myself.  For the front carry I have to have someone snap the buckle in the back, and for the back carry I have to have the kids help me.  I’m not sure how anyone would get a baby in the back carry position on their own—but apparently it can be done.  It would probably help if I had watched the how-to video that comes with the carrier.

I will add that I have only used the Ergo once my babies got a little bigger.  There is an additional infant insert for very tiny babies that I have heard good things about, but I don’t have any experience with it personally.

Again–this costs a pretty penny, and my frugal self rarely shells out this much for an item I’ll use for a short time–but the Ergo is worth every penny!

Boudreaux’s Butt Paste

I don’t know if this is available in all parts of the country, but you can get it from Amazon.  This magical diaper rash cream beats any other one I’ve tried, and it even smells fairly pleasant.  There is nothing worse than to have a red-bottomed baby screaming in pain, and Boudreaux’s has come to the rescue lots of times.


So those are my favorite 3 items for baby!

What about you?  What baby products would you hate to live without?

For more baby encouragement, check out my Babies and Birth categories!


How to Get a Shower With a New Baby

One of the most common complaints from new moms is that they can’t seem to find a way to get a shower with a new baby.  (Truthfully, I find it a lot harder to get a shower with a mischievous toddler!)  I think it is so important to find little minutes to take care of ourselves, even when we are busy with little ones.  With a new baby, here’s what works for me.  I just put baby in his car seat or bouncy seat and take him in the bathroom with me.  I can keep an eye on him (and save him from over-loving siblings), and my babies have all loved the sound of running water.  Usually they are quiet.  But if they do cry…I am a huge proponent of responsive mothering and I don’ t let my little babies cry.  I pick them up and snuggle them.  But really and truly, it won’t kill your baby to cry for the few minutes it takes to get a super quick shower.  Then throw on some clothes and pick him up!  Mama is clean and baby is happy.  Later, you can take another 5 minutes to throw on some makeup and simple accessories or do your hair.  You’ll feel so much better!

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Red Raspberry Leaf Tea for Mamas!

I was sipping my red raspberry leaf tea today and thinking how much I love it–or more accurately, love what it seems to do for me.  I hear that it’s good for women any time, but I especially try to drink it in the later months of pregnancy.  This eHow article quotes the American Pregnancy Association’s website:

“Medical studies have shown that red raspberry leaf can be consumed safely during pregnancy and can decrease the length of labor and decrease the number of interventions used such as artificial rupture of membranes, assisted delivery, and cesarean delivery…”

All I know is that my first birth was a textbook first labor–18 hours–and my second was about half that time, but nearly unbearable (partly, I think, because I was induced due to a membrane tear…I’d do things differently if it happened again, but that’s another story).
My last 2 births have been 2 and 4 hours of active labor respectively, and much, MUCH easier than the previous 2 in terms of pain and intensity, as well as length.  I didn’t drink RRL during my first 2 pregnancies, but I’ve made sure to consume it during the last 2.  (To be completely honest it tastes kind of like leaves and sticks, but I find that when I sweeten it with a small amount of honey, it has grown on me to the point that I crave it.)  I’m convinced there’s a connection between RRL and faster, easier births.  Just passing on my experience in case it might be helpful to other moms!
In case any of you mamas are interested, here’s where I usually buy it.  A half pound goes a LONG way!
***Sorry about the goofy paragraph non-breaks.  WordPress won’t let me edit them and it’s driving me crazy!***


Pregnancy Diet

My sister and I were talking about the best foods to eat during pregnancy and she shared what her midwife (who’s delivered somewhere around 1,200 babies) told her.  I found it helpful, since I’ve never ever had a doctor give me any kind of nutritional info throughout my 4 pregnancies.  (And yeah, I’m officially jealous that she gets to have a midwife!)

The midwife recommends unlimited fruits and veggies and 75-100 grams of protein daily.  She does not encourage severely limiting any food group, but if weight is an issues it’s permissible to cut back on carbs.

Just thought this might be helpful to others–it was to me.


How Long Should I Breastfeed? Part 2

Jenny Silliman, age 50

My Titus 2 mentors aren’t celebrities.  Most of them are moms in the trenches just like me, godly ladies who are farther down the mothering road than I am.  I’ve written before about my friend Jenny.  She’s a mom of 8 children, some of whom are nearly as old as I am.  When I got pregnant with Elizabeth she called me just to congratulate and encourage me.  What a surprise!  Until that point I had mainly thought of her as my mom’s friend, but that phone call changed my life and cemented our friendship.

Her advice particularly impacted my mothering style.  Before that I had some vague notions about mothering but I didn’t have a lot of concrete goals, especially for the infant stage.  Jenny talked to me about preparing for birth, nutrition, responding to and nurturing my baby, and breastfeeding.  Her advice to try to breastfeed for two years took me a little by surprise.  “Baby’s brain is growing so fast until age two,” she explained.  “And breast milk is the perfect brain food!”  Until then I hadn’t given much thought to how long I would nurse my babies.  A year?  Eighteen months?  I had no idea.  This made sense and gave me a goal to shoot for.

I have to admit that I was the odd girl out among my friends.  Most of them didn’t breastfeed at all, let alone for longer than a year.  And that was fine.  I certainly didn’t (and don’t) judge or criticize them for that, but I was definitely alone in the breastfeeding department.

All the same, I am so glad that I took my wise friend’s advice and aimed for that two-year mark!  I soon learned that many experts agree, breastfeeding past one year is fine for baby and may even confer great benefits.  I found it interesting that Jenny’s rule of thumb was being backed up by medical professionals.  (There are a plethora of studies that have discovered the many benefits of breastfeeding to both baby and mom.)

Personally, I can say that breastfeeding longer than average has benefited my children enormously, especially in the area of immunity.  Elizabeth caught her first virus just weeks after I weaned her.  Our one-time pediatrician (himself a father of eight) concurred that in his observation, it made all the difference in the strength of a small child’s immune system.

Breastfeeding until a certain age is certainly not an issue of right or wrong.  When you choose to wean is not something I’d criticize anyone for. I believe God leads each of us differently in our mothering, and the important thing is to be sensitive to Him, even in something as basic as how to feed our children.

I just share my Jenny story just to encourage you: If you have considered breastfeeding past age 1, it’s OK.  Go right ahead.  Not only will it not hurt anything (even the AAP explicitly states so) but it will probably be beneficial to your little one.  It’s fine to nurse for both nutrition and comfort.  In the Bible, Isaiah 66:10-13 makes reference to a mother nursing her child for comfort: “Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her.  For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance.”  For this is what the LORD says: “I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees.  As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”

It might cause a raised eyebrow or two, but remember that whether you are able to breastfeed for just a little while or whether you choose to go for longer than your friends, what’s important is that you are doing what you believe is best for your baby.  Nourish with confidence!


How Long Should I Breastfeed? Part 1

mother baby

Note:  This isn’t a diatribe against people who can’t/don’t breastfeed or those  who don’t breastfeed for a full  year.  No judgment here! It’s directed toward moms who haven’t decided how long to breastfeed or who have committed to do so at least till the one-year mark and wonder what comes next.

Recently a first-time-mom friend asked me about how long to breastfeed.  Interesting, because I had just been thinking about writing something along those lines.

The main question some moms seem to have is that they plan to wean at one year, but their babies still seems very attached.  They wonder: Is it OK to breastfeed past the first birthday?

The short answer is yes.  Not only is it OK, it’s probably quite beneficial to baby.  Many babies just aren’t ready to wean at 12 months.  In its most recent breastfeeding guidelines, the American Association of Pediatrics says:

“Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother, especially in delaying return of fertility (thereby promoting optimal intervals between births).

There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer.”

Here’s what the World Health Organization recommends:

“Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.”

In The Vaccine Book, Dr. Robert Sears (of the well-respected Sears family of pediatricians) says:

“If you are breastfeeding, plan to do so for a minimum of one year.  Two years is better.  Not only will your baby catch fewer illnesses, but her immune system may be better equipped to handle vaccines.”

So if you’ve ever wondered, experts agree that breastfeeding longer than one year is just fine, even to be encouraged.  If you choose to wean at 12 months, good for you for making it to that point!  But if you choose to continue, go for it!

Look for part 2, the story of my mom mentor Jenny who gave me wonderful breastfeeding advice!