Bonding with baby

 

I was reading an article online about breastfeeding, and the effect it has in regards to bonding with your baby.  And it sparked me to write this post.  I’ll keep it short and sweet, otherwise I’ll feel like I’m rambling on, and I just wanted to express my thought(s) on this topic.

I was (or am) fortunate enough to first of all have children, and secondly to produce sufficient milk for them to thrive on.  With my first son, I exclusively breastfed and didn’t pump on the strong recommendation of my doctor at the time.  When it came time for him to transition into solids, I wasn’t able to pump enough milk to mix with his rice cereals, and the purées that we made for him.  With our second son, because of unforeseen circumstances, I am now exclusively pumping (and he is not latched or breastfed, although he is on 100% breastmilk pumped from me).  After he was born, he lost a lot of weight, which led to my doctor’s recommendation to breastfeed, followed by pumping to make sure I had enough milk for him.  (It turned out that I was making lots of milk, he just wasn’t absorbing it properly and efficiently enough to gain weight).  So I’m a mom who both exclusively breastfed my first, and exclusively bottle fed my second, so I feel like I can have an opinion on this topic since I’ve experienced both.  And here’s my conclusion:

What causes a bond between a parent and child, isn’t breastfeeding, or your ability (or inability for that matter) to provide breastmilk to your child, its about unconditional love, and believing in them.  Adoptive parents, dads, foster parents, in-laws, etc., can create bonds much stronger than moms who merely breastfeed but don’t provide in other facets of life, such as giving your children your time and attention.  Being a parent and creating a bond with your child goes far beyond the first year of your child’s life when they’re on breastmilk or formula.  People spend so much time talking about “breast is best”, but one of the doctors I encountered when my second son was ill, said it best: “breast is best, but fed is better”.  No one has spoken more truer words.  Who cares what or how you feed your kid.  I’ve seen my husband interact with my son, and no one can convince me that you need to breastfeed to create a bond with your child.  My husband has a bond with our older son (who was exclusively breastfed) equal to, if not stronger, than the bond I have with him and I can tell you from experience, it takes a lot more time, love and dedication to create and maintain a bond with your child than the act of breastfeeding.

And on another note, breastfeeding hurt like a mofo, so I didn’t bond with my son over breastfeeding, we bonded over other stuff.

With that, I’ll leave you with some humour by David Sopp on the do’s and don’t’s of bonding with your baby.  Enjoy!

Losing my Identity

 

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When I became pregnant with our first child, I was a working woman, had a University degree, and a career at the Surrey School District here in BC.  After our son was born, I still considered myself to be in the work force, even though I was on maternity leave for the following year.  When people would ask what I did, I replied that I was a Safe School Liaison for the Surrey School District.  I had a good job with decent pay, benefits, and I had an identity.  I could identify as someone in the work force.  Ever since I was a teenager, I had an identity – I was a sales associate, a sales manager, a student, a safe school liaison, a hockey referee.  I was always doing something.  When I was scheduled to go back to work in September (after my maternity leave was up), I found out I was pregnant with our second child.  I struggled with the idea that I would probably have to quit my job.  For one, I wouldn’t have been back at work long enough to get another year of maternity pay, and for two, due to the nature of my job, I felt it would be health risk for my pregnancy to go back and work while pregnant.  (For those wondering, my job had me working a lot at a smoke pit with at-risk youth in high school, and I didn’t want to be exposed to the second-hand smoke and occasionally drugs while I was pregnant).

When I gave my notice to quit my job, I suddenly lost my identity – I lost a part of me that I had known all of my adult life.  I became “just a mom”.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to be said about stay at home moms, due to the amount of work we actually do when raising a tiny human.  Because I was freshly off work and pregnant, I didn’t notice anything different until after our second son, Maverick was born.  But now that Maverick is here, and our older son is becoming a little more independent, I suddenly notice my loss of identity.  I can’t relate to anything with many of my peers anymore.  I’m not in the work force, I never made it back to work after our first child, and now here I am, a mother of 2 without a job.  I left my job on good terms, and my boss had made a point to express that when I was done having/raising kids, I would be welcome back to my old position at the School District.

To be totally honest, I don’t know if I would even want to return to my job though.  I worked with troubled youth, which is what I always wanted to do, but now that I have kids, I feel like my time should be spent with them, guiding them, and saving my energy to be raising them rather than other kids.  It sounds selfish I know, but thats how I feel about it.  I think a part of me also feels like I would be a changed person when it comes to my job – I can’t look at kids the same anymore now that I’m actually a mom.  When you become a parent, you change – you feel differently about things and you handle situations different than before you had kids, because now you don’t see kids as just kids anymore, you see them as if your kids were in that situation, and you think of how to deal with it as if it were your kid.  I don’t think I’m mentally strong enough to deal with that day in and day out as my primary focus.

Anyways, through all that, I feel like I need to have some sort of identity back.  I signed up to teach the Baby Signs® Program, although I don’t know if thats something I’d actually be interested in doing.  I love signing with my kids, but (to be totally honest), holding classes isn’t really up my ally.  I feel that because of my background though, it would be great to have it on my resumé, and if I can potentially hold single classes or maybe even occasionally teach the full 6-week program to help other moms, I’d love to be able to do that.  I also looked into taking my real estate license – sounds like a perfect job – working from home, make your own hours – the only downfall is the instability of having a pay check every couple of weeks.  Then I thought of the possibility of spending more time on my blog, and becoming a “professional blogger” (whatever that means), but it seems like everyone’s doing it these days!  Realistically though, I feel like I don’t have that much to write about, and even if I did, who wants to hear or read about my thoughts anyway?

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I’m still undecided about what I want to do with my life, with my career, and with my identity.  I don’t know if I’m ok with being “just a mom”.  But for now, I’m open to suggestions, and keeping my mind, eyes and ears open for any new opportunities that could arise.  I’m sure there’s new moms out there who are probably going through the same thing that I am, so I thought I’d post about it to show you that you’re not alone in the thought.  I wish I had a more defined ending to this post, but I really don’t, so until I figure it out, wish me luck!

Our newborn’s story: And our experience with the dangers of bilirubin

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When we found out we were pregnant with our second child, we could not have been happier.  We were a little surprised that it happened so quick, but we were happy nonetheless.  At an early doctors appointment, I remember my maternity doctor telling me that as long as my first pregnancy was normal and without complications, second pregnancies are usually the easiest.  Boy, did that turn out to be furthest from the truth!  (Well, if you consider just the pregnancy, she was somewhat right, but after the baby was born, we were in for a whole new world of parenting and emotions).

At 32 weeks, I was told our baby was breech.  I knew what a breech baby was (meaning, I knew the baby was head up, instead of the normal head down position), but I didn’t know what it meant for the delivery.  So I asked.  And she said, “well, if he doesn’t turn, you will need a c-section”.  My husband and I walked out of the doctor’s office thinking, wow this really sucks.  I had a natural (vaginal) birth with our first son, and figured we could or should expect the same for this one.  The thought of the recovery from a c-section, with a 20 month old toddler at home just wasn’t something I had even considered this entire pregnancy.  I was told that the baby could possibly still turn on his own, and an ultrasound was ordered at 35 weeks, followed by an appointment with an OB.  The OB gave us 3 options:  The first was to try to have a breech vaginal delivery, but they would only be able to accommodate us at 2 hospitals in the lower mainland – Langley Memorial, or BC Women’s & Children’s.  The second option was to try to turn the baby with a method called an ECV (external cephalic version), where an OB attempts to turn the baby by feeling around the outside of your belly (bump) and just pushing on it until it moves.  The success rate we were told, was 50%.  The last option, was to opt for an elective c-section.  The ultrasound had reported that the baby’s head was in the ninetieth  percentile and the OB was under the impression that the baby was measuring closer to 39 weeks rather than the 36 weeks that my due date had implied.  After a lot of discussion, contemplating, weighing out pros and cons, and taking a couple of days to sleep on it, my husband and I decided that the c-section would be the best option for the family, and the safest for the baby.

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My baby bump…with a breech baby

On April 6, Maverick was born via c-section.  He was a chunky monkey at 9lbs 2oz, and we were told that he most likely would not have turned, given the way his legs were positioned while in the breech position.  (His legs, or his knees were pointed outwards almost in a frog-style position).  Anyways, he was given a clear bill of health at delivery, and the following day, both myself and our son were discharged from the hospital.  Since they don’t normally discharge c-section patients that quickly, we were told to come back in 2 days to see our maternity doctor so she could follow up with Maverick.   When we brought Mav in, he had lost a fair amount of weight, more than the normal newborn weight loss, and enough that they were concerned.  She had me breastfeed him in the office, and did a pre- and post- feed weight.  She was satisfied with the amount that Maverick ate, and sent us on our way, with strict orders to feed him every 2 hours and top up with a bottle, but we were told to come in the following day for another weight check.  The next morning we came in, and he had lost weight again.  The doctor this time was more concerned about his colour, and jaundice, but it wasn’t anything alarming.  She wanted us to continue with the 2 hour feeds, bottle top ups and we were ordered to come back for another check up 2 days later.  When we came in this time, he had lost even more weight despite being fed every 2 hours and being topped up with a bottle for the last 5 days – he had now lost 600 grams.  He was down to 7lbs.  The doctor made a call to the paediatrician working in the maternity ward that day, and he ordered some blood work.  We were told to hurry into the hospital (which is located right next door to the maternity clinic), to have the blood work done.  Maverick was wearing only a diaper, and here I am running outside with a one-week old baby in just his diaper, I’m hobbling through the pain and discomfort of the stitches from my c-section, and all I can think of is, “wow, it must look like I’m stealing a baby right now”, running through a hospital with a half naked baby!  The results came back with Maverick’s bilirubin levels dangerously high, and a phone call from the paediatrician told us we needed to make our way to Langley Memorial Hospital within the hour.  Bilirubin can apparently cause permanent brain damage in infants (among other things), so we were lucky that it was caught and treated right away.  Who knew jaundice could have such serious effects on a baby?  I mean, when you really think about it, I suppose it affects their liver, so it can totally  have very serious consequences, but even as a second time mom, I always thought of jaundice as something where your kid just needs some natural sunlight, some vitamin D drops and it’ll go away.  Well, I was wrong.  Bilirubin occurs when your baby’s organs are unable to get rid of excess bilirubin in the body/blood.  Natural sunlight and vitamin D would not have prevented what Maverick went through.  Regardless, Maverick spent the next 18 hours in an incubator under phototherapy lights, where the special lights in the incubator are absorbed by the skin, and excreted out of the body through urine.  We couldn’t even take him out to feed him.

Fast forward 18 hours – they finally take Maverick out of the incubator, and test his bilirubin levels.  They are now at a more normal level, and they’re happy with the results.  Less than 24 hours later, they weigh him, and again, he’s lost weight, despite the constant feedings (every 2 hours) by the nurses measuring out his feeds and making sure he was getting the amount he needed in order to gain weight.  When the paediatrician asked what his birth weight was, and I replied with “4140 grams”, she couldn’t believe how much weight he had lost as he was now at 3444 grams.  She immediately ordered us to stop all breast and bottle feeds, and he was only to be fed through a nasal-gastric feeding tube (which went down his nose to his stomach).  This was how he was fed for the next 2 days.  2 days later, we were allowed to let him take a bottle again, which he was finally able todo, and ate an entire feed in the time he was supposed to.  They
suspect the problem with IMG_4085his weight loss was due to the fact that he was taking too long to eat (which makes babies burn a ton of calories), which was making him lose weight.  On top of that, the longer he would take to eat, the less time he had to sleep and rest, which led to poor eating habits – you can see the vicious cycle here.  The tube feeds allowed him to catch up on his sleep without having to make him work for his food.  He literally slept for 48 hours straight
while he was being tube fed – almost comatose.  He was now finally starting to put on 20 grams over each 24 hour period.  4 more days of slowly introducing the bottle back to him, with a couple of tube feeds in between, and we were finally discharged from the hospital.

 

Free from hospitals at last!  We were at Langley Memorial for exactly 7 days.  Plus the 2 days from when Maverick was born, and the kid had officially spent more time in a hospital than he had at home.  It was nice to finally be reunited with my husband and Linden (our 20 month old toddler at home).  By the way, my husband stayed at home and was parenting Linden, trying to keep things as normal and as stable for him as we could while I was in the hospital with Maverick.  We would have taken turns, but I had to pump every 2 hours so they could feed Mav, so we just figured it was easier for me to stay in the hospital with him.  Our family was now a family of 4 (or 5 if you include Snowy).  That first breath of fresh air walking out of the hospital was emotional.  Listening to other kids crying in the ward for the last 7 days, not knowing how your infant was doing, watching them poke and prod him with needles taking and testing blood, conducting ultrasounds on his brain, takes a toll on a new mom, or any parent for that matter.  But it definitely makes me appreciate everything we have that much more.  Makes you even more thankful for your kids and their health, makes you appreciate the fact that we are able to walk out of the hospital with our kids, because you just know, there’s parents and families out there who aren’t so fortunate.

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A week later, and although Maverick is still quite lethargic, he’s at least eating on his own for all feeds.  We still have to wake him up every 3 hours or he literally won’t even wake up to eat.  I’m pumping every 4 hours to be able to offer him the benefits of breastmilk, but its definitely taken a toll on me both physically and emotionally.  He is now back up to his birth weight, and almost 2 weeks after being discharged from Langley Memorial, he’s starting to be more alert and awake, is enjoying tummy time, and can even hold his head up on his own, and can lift his legs and hips during tummy time – all things that are a huge accomplishment considering his slow(-ish) start in life.

After going through all this, I can’t say enough good things about the doctors, specialists and nurses we have had the good fortune of meeting.  They save lives everyday (and I’m not just referring to our situation, but all the other people we came across in the hospital), they make the hardest days of our lives that much more bearable, tolerable and comfortable.  They stay up over night so you can get an extra hour of sleep.  They are the most selfless people around, and don’t get the credit they deserve.  We are truly grateful and appreciative to have been in the care of the doctors and nurses at Peace Arch Hospital and Langley Memorial Hospital.  Who knows what could have happened to baby Maverick if it weren’t for the diligence and care from all the doctors involved.  All we know is that we are lucky to not have to think about what could have been.

We are happy to report that Maverick is now healthy, and we are ecstatic to welcome the newest addition to the family!  Thanks to everyone who sent us well wishes, and supported us over the last couple of weeks – from other mom bloggers, to followers on social media, to our friends and family.  Your support and kind words helped us through some of the happiest, and most stressful times of our lives!

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The difference a week can make in a newborn.  On the left, is Maverick at birth (9lbs2oz), and on the right, is Maverick a week and a half later (7lbs).

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Maverick, healthy and home now, where he should be.

Baby Monitor Review: Project Nursery

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We originally had the Motorola 36S Baby Monitor, which we loved, but the cables ended up breaking on us, and since we are expecting our second child in April 2017, we decided it was time for an upgrade to a baby monitor that would support split screen capabilities.  For anyone interested in a basic baby monitor, the Motorola 36S is a great monitor, and we highly recommend it.  You can read my review on it here.

My brother purchased the Project Nursery Baby Monitor for us for Christmas, and also got us the extra camera (which is sold separately).  You can purchase this direct from BuyBuy Baby (and walk out of the store with it), or you can order it online either from Amazon.com or direct from Project Nursery.

The camera has quite the price tag on it, retailing at CAD$379.99, with extra cameras setting you back CAD$129.99.  With this however, you get a 5″ parent unit/screen, as well as the mini monitor which also comes with a watch strap or carabiner so you can either wear it or clip it on you somewhere (such as a belt hoop or something).   The mini monitor is a great addition to the overall baby monitor, as I find it super convenient if you need to do chores around the house (such as laundry, vacuuming, general cleaning), where you can’t be holding on to a 5″ parent unit.  The mini monitor basically allows you to be hands free, while still having your baby/child in sight.  This is a unique feature exclusive to Project Nursery, and is what I would consider the reason for the hefty price tag.  If you can afford it, or if you can request this monitor for a baby shower/gift from a loving relative, I would highly recommend it.

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Unboxing of the Project Nursery 5-inch Baby Monitor 

The overall unit is very easy to set up, you could do it without even reading the instructions, but instructions are always a good idea.  It comes out of the box basically ready to go.  You just have to plug it in and away you go.  The unit runs on its own secured network, meaning it does not run on wifi – which is more secure, and prevents other people/strangers/creeps from tapping in to your baby monitor and doing weird sh*t.  And apparently, there’s actually creeps out there who do this, and even go so far as to communicate with the baby by accessing the microphone on the units.  I legit did not think people did this, but I guess there’s all sorts of crazies out there.

The Parent Unit
The parent unit for this particular model comes with a 5″ screen, but is also available in a 4.3″ screen for CAD$249.99.  There’s pros and cons with the large 5″ screen.  The obvious pro is that its big – so you can see easily, you’re not straining to look at details, etc.  This is especially helpful when using multiple monitors on the split screen option, since you aren’t sharing the small space with multiple cameras.  The major problem that I have with the size of this monitor however, is that because its so big, its very bright.  We use the monitor primarily at night, so when my husband and I are sleeping, we have the monitor on.  When you have such a large screen, it gives off quite a bit of light or glow in a dark bedroom which can totally suck if you like a nice dark room.  Although there is an option to “dim” the brightness on the parent unit, when you do so, the infrared doesn’t seem to work as well and the whole screen almost goes blurry. There is also a button right on the parent unit where you can turn the video feature off, so the screen is black, but that kinda defeated the purpose of a video monitor for us.  You can still hear everything from baby unit though, so if your baby is crying, you’ll still hear that with the video turned off (not the monitor).  The other problem that I have with the parent unit is that it emits a fairly loud sound (probably from transmitting or some sort of interference).  This poses a problem when we are trying to sleep.  Its very annoying, and the only way to make it stop is to turn the sound all the way down.  When you do this however, you compromise the actual sounds coming from your child’s room.  When I contacted Project Nursery about this, their response was that they wanted to have a super sensitive microphone so that the parent unit would basically pick everything up.  I have posted a short video of the sound on YouTube here, so you have an idea what I’m talking about.  Its a 14 second video with our dog as the test subject (instead of our kid), and you can hear almost like a “ticking” sound coming from the monitor.  So, thats the pros and cons of the parent unit in a nutshell.

The parent unit is super easy to maneuver through.  There are buttons on the unit, and they are easy to figure out and use.  The main screen on the parent unit displays signal strength, room temperature, which camera(s) are connected, night time mode, and the time.  I love that it shows the time, as our previous baby monitor (the Motorola 36S) did not.  The battery on the parent unit lasts a long time which is a plus, especially if you’re a lucky parent who has a baby who naps/sleeps for long periods of time.  While we’re on the topic of battery life, the baby monitor comes with cables that are almost like a rope, rather than the usual plasticky cables.  I prefer this, as I find this “rope” material more flexible and more durable.  The parent unit also has alerts that you can set up, such as motion, sound, temperature and battery alerts.  Basically, if the temperature in the room falls below a certain temperature, or rises above a certain temperature, you can have the monitor alert you to this.  This monitor also supports an SD Card so you can record stuff if you need/want to as well.

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Project Nursery 5-inch Baby Monitor in Split Screen

The split screen capability on this monitor is the main reason we were interested in it.  As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, we are expecting our second child in 4 months, so we wanted to make sure that we had a monitor that would accommodate more than one camera, and not one that you had to scroll through.  This was huge for us, and I hadn’t seen any reviews about the split screen anywhere online, so I wanted to make sure that I posted a picture (above) so you can see what it looks like.  I only have the 2 cameras, but my understanding is that this monitor can display up to 4 cameras all on the one screen, without having to scroll between cameras.

The Mini Monitor 
The mini monitor is a great addition to this monitor, and personally I think is the reason for the extra money that you spend on it.  Put it this way, if you were to purchase a baby monitor and be able to purchase an extra parent unit, then it would probably all work out to around the same price.  The mini monitor is a little bulky to wear as a watch (and it does come with a watch strap), but if you don’t care what it looks like and you’re just into the practicality of it, then its awesome.

The Baby Unit
The baby unit or the main camera has a very good range of motion for the pan/tilt function.  It is much better than the Motorola 36S.  It also has better baby lullabies or white noise options if this is something of interest.  The zoom is about the same as the Motorola, basically showing the regular view, or a 2x zoom feature.  The baby unit also has a very bright blue light that comes off the camera (see picture below), and literally almost lights up the room, but they do provide stickers for you to place over top of this light if you find that it does bother your baby.

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Here is the blue light I mentioned, coming from the Project Nursery Baby Unit

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Project Nursery Parent Unit vs. Motorola 36S Parent unit. This is shown without the infrared, so the baby unit was filming in a well-lit room.  

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Project Nursery vs. Motorola MBPS38-2.  This was taken with the baby units in a completely dark room, with the infrared working.

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View # 2 of the Project Nursery Baby Monitor (behind) vs. Motorola MBPS38-2 (in front)

And that pretty much wraps up my review of the Project Nursery 5-inch Baby Monitor.  If you have any questions, or want more pictures/video, please feel free to contact me and I can provide those to you.  Also, if you have anything to add to this review, please feel free to leave comments below!  Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Discount: Binxy Baby – Shopping Cart Hammock

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Binxy Baby is a shopping cart hammock designed to keep your baby safe and secure in the shopping cart, while still giving you optimal space in your cart to finish your shopping.

Binxy Baby®’s patented design quickly and easily clips onto most carts, the seat hangs elevated so you have plenty of room underneath for groceries, then it rolls up to fit in your purse or diaper bag when finished. You can even put two right next to each other for multiples! It also has a strap to secure infant car seats!

Get 10% off when you use this link! Or click here:  http://binxybaby.refr.cc/wtfparent. The link is good until February 28, 2017.

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Binxy Baby for multiples!

Baby Monitor Review: Motorola MBP 36S

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I’m on a mission to find the best baby monitor on the market.  We currently own the Motorola 36S baby monitor, and are very happy with it thus far.  It does the job for what you will need, and has some extra features that you wouldn’t think you need, but end up being pretty useful and you’ll be thankful are there.  This first review is going to be a basic review of the 36S, as we have the unit with only one camera, and one parent unit.  I’m hoping to eventually get another camera so that I can review this for parents with multiples, or parents who are expecting baby number 2 or more.

The Motorola 36S baby monitor runs on its on network.  In the beginning, I couldn’t have cared less about this feature.  But as time went on, I saw more and more articles popping up on social media and in the news about people hacking into wifi networks in regards to baby monitors, and watching your baby, and in some instances talking to your baby.  Creepy, I know, and again, at the beginning, I thought “yeah right, who would even care about your baby sleeping?!” but I guess there’s some crazies out there, or people who maybe have mental issues.  So, this feature is really not something to be overlooked, and is something you at least will want to consider when choosing a baby monitor for your baby/family.  The disadvantage to it not working on a wifi network is that you can’t use it with a smart phone or other similar device.

The camera itself was super easy to set up – no fiddling around with wifi networks or anything like that.  You basically take it out of the box, plug it in and its ready to go.  Easy as pie.  The range on the monitor goes up to 800 metres, which is fairly decent.  Our son can be asleep in his room, and I can take our dog out for a pee on the corner of the street and still be able to watch the parent unit without it cutting out.

The infrared on the camera is awesome.  It moves along with the pan/tilt/zoom features in the camera, meaning that when you’re using the camera at night, you’ll get good quality regardless of the position of the camera.  If you need to place the camera somewhere on a shelf for example, and tilt the camera downwards to be able to watch your baby who is positioned lower in a crib, or a toddler bed, the infrared moves with the camera, and the picture quality and lighting is not jeopardized.

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A photo of our 15 month old, asleep at night (this is the view with the infrared, in pitch darkness)

Video quality is far superior to some of the other brands on the market, particularly at night with the night vision or infrared.  The microphone on the baby unit is super sensitive, and you can literally hear a pin drop, which is awesome.  You can obviously turn the volume down if you need to, but you can hear everything from blankets swishing around to your baby sitting up (even if they’re quiet).  There is no audio or visual static interference, so you don’t get any annoying and unwanted sounds through the parent unit, which is a bonus if you’re using the monitor overnight when you’re trying to sleep.  The only noise you will hear from the monitor is your baby.

The camera comes with some additional features, such as temperature, lullabies, ability to speak to your baby from the parent unit, and alarms.  Although I have yet to see a review of this, I believe you can also purchase extra cameras to use with this model.  However, beware that the camera models are very particular, meaning if you have the 36S model, the camera for the 36 will not pair/work with the parent unit.  Also, my understanding of this baby monitor with multiple cameras, is that it does not offer up a split screen option, so you will have to scroll from one camera to the next, which may not be ideal when you’re trying to keep an eye on a newborn.

There are a few set backs that I’ve noticed with this particular unit however.  First of all, the screen on the parent unit only stays on for 60 minutes.  After that, it shuts off, so you’ll have to physically turn the screen back on.  This only happens when its not plugged in, so this isn’t an issue if you’re using the monitor over night and it remains plugged in.  The battery life doesn’t last very long even with a full charge, but so far, it has lasted longer than our 15 month old naps.  The other thing that I would like to have seen on the parent unit is the time.  It shows the temperature in the room, the signal strength, which camera it is looking at (if you have more than one paired), and it shows the battery life.  Lastly, after about 6-7 months of everyday use (overnight plugged in use, and probably a 2 hour/day nap, unplugged) the cable to charge the parent unit is starting to wear.  What I mean by this is, when the parent unit is plugged in, it’ll show that its charging, and maybe 10 minutes later, it will stop charging, and suddenly start charging again.  The best thing I can relate this to is when your iPhone cable is frayed and it keeps getting and losing a charge, even though it is plugged in.  This is a huge problem for us, since, as I mentioned just before, that the battery doesn’t last very long on the parent unit when its unplugged.  So, if the cable shorts out, and the parent unit isn’t being constantly charged overnight, when my husband and I are sleeping, we won’t know if/when the unit battery dies.

Overall, an awesome baby camera, on the top of our list for sure when it comes to baby monitors.  The only reason we are replacing it, is because we are expecting baby number two and we really want to get one that has a split screen option.

 

Swimming Lessons for a Baby

Here is a bit of background information before I blog about our experience with swimming lessons with our baby:

When Linden was 3 months old, I started to realize how boring babies are, and was trying desperately to find something to do with a newborn.  He couldn’t sit up on his own, he couldn’t crawl – he couldn’t do much of anything, really.  So, short of circle time and rolling a ball to him and basically playing fetch by myself, I looked into getting him into swimming.  There was nothing available in my area at the time for babies under 6 months of age.  All the community centres started them at 6 months.  I was talking to my neighbour at New Years, and she suggested a place called Swim Clo Aquatics which is a private swim school in BC.  As soon as the holidays were over, I called them enquiring about whether they would take a 4 month old, and they did!  I got Linden enrolled (and by this time, he was just under 5 months), and we now had an activity!  Swim Clo works out of the Best Western hotel in South Surrey, and they offer private lessons, which was awesome for us, being new parents and all, and really not knowing what to expect in regards to taking a baby swimming.  It was comforting to know that we would be the only people in the pool, and both my husband and I were invited (and encouraged) to come in the pool with our son.  It was also a heated pool, which was really nice for our son since he was so young.  We started him out twice a week for the first few months, just so he would get used to the water, and then dialled back to once a week.  The lessons were good for Linden, and for us as parents, as we were taught how to properly hold our son in the water, how to properly submerge him, how to teach him to swim, proper water safety, etc.  It was very repetitive, basically swimming from one end of the pool to the other for more than half the class, then we would do “Humpty-Dumpty’s” which is when we sat him on the edge of the pool, did the Humpty Dumpty song, and then submerged him and taught him to swim back to the edge, and then finally we would end off with him playing with some water toys, which he absolutely loved!

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When he turned 9 months, we were able to get him into swimming lessons at the community pool near our house.  They follow the same program (the Red Cross Swim Preschool Program), but its a group session with kids ranging from 4 months to 36 months (I know, now they take 4 month olds!).  Linden was the second youngest in the class, with most of the kids being closer to the 30-36 month age range, and the youngest one being 5 months old.  The classes were super fun for Linden, lots of songs in the pool like Purple Stew, The Wheels on the Bus, Fishies in the Middle, Hokey Pokey, etc., which Linden just loved.  The songs are interactive and fun for the little ones, and the kids had a great time.  I did notice however, that they didn’t “teach” as much swimming stuff to the kids or the parents.  Although everything we did in the classes were safety related, teaching them to be comfortable on their backs, blowing bubbles, etc., they didn’t teach the fundamentals of each step, such as rollovers (how to get them onto their backs, and teaching the babies to roll onto their backs) for water safety.  This wasn’t a problem for us since we had already been taking lessons with Swim Clo, so this was actually good practice for us.  We did notice however, that the parents of the other baby in the class were kind of left out.  They didn’t really know what to do, and felt uncomfortable and nervous when we had to submerge our babies/kids because they had never done it before, nor been shown how to do so safely or properly.  Long story short, the community centre swim program is a great tool for practice, but not a great place to learn how to swim.

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When we look back now, Swim Clo was an expensive alternative at the time, but now that we see Linden’s progress and see him with
other peers in his “age group” (although most were older), we could see that he was actually better in some aspects than some of the 3 year olds.  Although expensive, Swim Clo was worth every penny, and I’m glad we enrolled him.  I’m not trying to show off that our son is better at swimming than the 3 year olds, because he’s not – he still obviously needs us to hold him – but what I am trying to get at, is he is comfortable in the water, he’s not afraid to do things in the water, and he knows how to do  things in the pool that I think other kids his age may not be able to do.  For example, he is totally fine with, and in fact enjoys getting his face wet.  There’s a lot of kids who are afraid of getting splashed in the face with water, or getting their faces wet, or dunked underwater.  Linden also (with the help and the consistency of Swim Clo), can kick his legs 100% on his own, can splash his hands in the water when you tell him to, and reaches for the edge of the pool when you tell him to (which is great for water safety).  He is even starting to try a swimming stroke with his arms now, which I think is awesome for an 11 month old.


He still can’t swim on his own, but I’m confident that day is coming soon.  What I can say though, is that he loves the water, and isn’t afraid of it, which is all I’m asking for.  Both my husband and I want our kids to grow up being active, playing outside, doing physical activities because we feel its good for them and important for their physical (and mental) well being.  We hope to be able to continue Linden in classes both at Swim Clo as well as at the community centre without getting too overwhelmed with all his other activities, and with him starting daycare when he turns 1!

 

10 Month Update

This is a little late, but here is my blog post about our son’s development at 10-months.

Linden weighed in at 17lbs 13oz and 27.5″ at his 10-month check up with the doctor.  He is a little guy, but is growing well, and is healthy so we have nothing to worry about in that regard.  He is no longer breastfeeding – he is purely on puréed foods and drinking water (no milk or juice).  We do give him homemade popsicles made of apple or pear water (the left over water from when we steam his food) to help with his teething.  This also ensures he gets lots of fluids for these hot summer days.  Stopping breastfeeding was actually a lot easier than I had anticipated.  We were feeding him puréed foods 3 times a day, and breastfeeding pretty much just before bed to help him to fall asleep.  Usually, my husband gives him a bath before bed, and while he’s doing that, I’ll go have a shower.  One day, I took longer in the shower (or Linden was quicker in the bath), so my husband sat with our son, and Linden just fell asleep for the night.  And that was the end of breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding was always a horrible experience for me – it was painful and uncomfortable – so I definitely do not have any thoughts of missing the “bonding”.  Bonding – schmonding.  It hurt, it was a pain (literally and figuratively), and it just downright sucked. Good riddance to that!

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Family Photo at the Beach

He is still on puréed foods, which I thought he would be moving on to more solid foods by now.  I think he just got a slightly later start because he didn’t get his first tooth till he was 9.5 months old.  We have tried giving him small cut up pieces of soft foods (like banana and avocado), but he just swallowed them whole which almost ended up in a trip to emergency.  He managed to get it down though since it was a softer fruit, so all was good.  We have decided not to push the issue until he is ready.  He eats Baby Mum-mums though, and knows to chew those (although they mostly dissolve).  He didn’t take a liking at all to meats, so he’s eating quinoa mixed in with his vegetables, and flavoured tofu (an awesome suggestion from a friend of ours who had the same experience with their baby not liking meat).

He now has 4 teeth – 2 at the top, and 2 at the bottom.  The bottom ones came in first, and we didn’t even know they were breaking through until he put my finger in his mouth and bit my finger.  I was surprised to find two little teeth at the bottom.  They never seemed to really bother him.  The first top tooth however, bled a fair amount when it broke through the gum, and the second top tooth gave him a bit of a rough time.  Although after we saw it, we know why – the thing is huge!  He had a few restless nights because of that beast!  I’m sure every baby is different, they all get their teeth at different times/ages, and they all react differently when the teeth come through.  Linden (and we) were fortunate that they didn’t hurt him that much.

For those of you following my blog, we enrolled Linden in a Baby Sign Language program when he was 6 months old, and we have been going since then.  He absolutely loves the classes, and has (finally) made some progress.  His first sign was ‘milk’ (at about 8 months old), and he now can sign ‘light’, ‘dog’ (although since our dog’s name is Snowy, he signs ‘dog’ when you say ‘Snowy’), he waives hello and can clap.  We are currently working on getting him to sign ‘book’, and ‘thank you’.  He also loves music, and “dances” whenever he hears music or if you sing to him.


He is doing really well in swimming, and private lessons have paid off – although the
lessons were expensive, they were worth every penny.  We enrolled Linden in private swim lessons with Swim Clo Aquatics since they were the only swim school I could find who would take babies under 6 months.  Now that he’s older and enrolled in public classes, he’s miles ahead of the other kids who are much older than him.  (I’m not trying to brag, I’m just explaining why the private lessons were worth it).  In the pool, he can swim (short distances, maybe like 5-7 feet) from my husband to me and vice versa, he can turn over from his back to his front and vice versa, he can be fully submerged, he kicks his legs (to actually swim), he splashes his hands on the surface of the water if you tell him to, and if you say “reach for the edge”, he reaches for the edge of the pool and hangs on.  The main difference between the private lessons and the lessons from the local community centres, is that in the private lessons, they focus a lot on water safety and actually getting your child to learn to swim and learn the basics.  Its very repetitive, but the results show.  In the community centre program, they’re more about having a ton of fun, lots of songs and games for the little ones.  They both run the same program (Red Cross Preschool program from Starfish to Whale).

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Linden’s First Canada Day (he didn’t consume any alcohol – the beer can is sealed).  Plus, we wouldn’t waste a beer on him!

Outside of the pool, he’s gotten really good at crawling, and can climb up 2 whole flights of stairs.  In fact, he loves to climb the stairs, that if you pick him up, he lets you know of his dismay.  So we just follow closely behind him and let him tire himself out!  He loves going to MyGym where he gets to sing and do circle time, and then I take him and let him climb up all their apparatus and crawl through wobbly tunnels, play on their swings, go zip-lining, climb ladders and go down slides, and then has his independent time (which he totally sucks at).  He does however, love to share, which we normally encourage, but he loves to share his food (particularly Baby Mum-mums with our dog Snowy), so although he don’t want our dog taking his food, we figure that sharing is a good thing for him to learn for now.

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Linden rock climbing at MyGym

Lastly, he’s sleeping through the night, from 8:30pm till about 6:30 (sometimes 7) am.  Its been so nice to be able to sleep again!

And thats about it for his updates!

Adding Quinoa – Recipes

We haven’t had very much luck feeding our 10 month old (meat) proteins such as chicken, fish, turkey, etc so we decided we would try adding quinoa to most of his purees, and this was a success.  This is a great option for any other parents out there who are at a loss of how to feed your infant protein.

We use the Beaba Babybook machine for almost all of our cooking.  We purchased a rice/pasta/grain insert for the Babycook for $6.99 and it has been awesome.  Having a 10 month old who literally can’t sit still, makes it extremely difficult to cook quinoa on a stovetop – I burnt the first batch because I wasn’t watching it and the water all got absorbed, and when I finished the second batch (properly cooked), I left it on the counter and didn’t get a chance to “prep” it and put it away, so I ended up having to throw it out.  So, having the insert for the Babycook has been a lifesaver.

I found the best ratios for cooking quinoa in the Beaba was 1/4 cup of (raw) quinoa, to 1/2 cup of water (in with the quinoa in the insert), and then fill the Beaba Babycook to level 3.  (Yes, you need to add water to the quinoa as well as the Babycook).  It takes about 15 min for it to finish steaming, and voila, you have perfectly cooked quinoa!  (If you want it more el dante, just add less water to the quinoa, but the ratio provided above was perfect for baby food).  While this was steaming, I cut up some carrots and put it on the other side of the Beaba to cook/steam.  When those were done, I added the quinoa to the carrots, and then pureed it all together.  It was seriously the easiest thing.  And Linden doesn’t mind it, in fact he loves it.  The quinoa thickens the carrots (or anything else you mix it with such as apples, pears, etc) so keep that in mind when mixing it with other foods.  It adds 6 grams of protein per cup – not that he gets that much quinoa in the amount of food he eats, but it definitely adds something so that helps.

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So, there you have it – adding protein into their diet without adding meat (if you have an infant who won’t eat meat yet).

 

About this blog

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Well, I figured I should write a post about this blog to anyone who’s following or interested in following.

First off, Thank You to everyone already following my blog.  It really means a lot to me that someone is interested in what I have to say, or that others can relate to what I’m experiencing, so it’s nice to know I’m not the only one with these experiences. In other words, this blog serves my selfish needs!

Second, I’d like to give you some insight to my plans with the blog.  I am new to the blogging world – I started blogging in the wee hours of the night when my newborn would wake up for a feed, and TV literally was horrible. My blog is mainly on baby product reviews, because I know that as a new mom, there’s so much stuff on the market and buying things that you need for baby can get confusing, overwhelming and downright stressful.  So, I’m sharing my experiences with baby products so you’re not wasting money on either crappy or poorly made items, or on unnecessary gear.  Also, we are fortunate in that my family and my husband’s family are generous and loving enough to help out in spooling our son, showering him with amazing gifts, enabling me to write lots of reviews. In doing this blog, I’ve reached out to some companies to exchange my services for product.  My goal however, is to maintain my integrity and to continue giving honest reviews on items, whether they were gifted to me or not.

So far, I’ve been lucky to team up with Yoomi Bottles which is a self-warming bottle company.  They’re my first. In partnering up with them, I will be able to offer you (my readers) a discount code on their products, as well as being able to possibly host a giveaway! Please share this blog so that I can get more followers to be able to host more of these giveaways and discount codes! The more followers I have, the more discounts and giveaways!

IMG_0285-0I run an apparel company for my passion which is officiating ice hockey, which has sparked me to begin selling baby onesies, since I already have everything set up.  Please check out my store, Onezzzies, and if there’s any specific designs or styles you’re interested in, please feel free to contact me and I can have them made up for you.

This blog has also inspired me to create a segment called Parents in Cars Getting Coffee, which is a spin off from Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.  You can check it out at http://www.parentsincarsgettingcoffee.com – basically, I go out and enjoy a cup of coffee with another parent, and discuss everything around parenting – advice, tips, the headaches and the joys.

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You can urge your friends to follow me on Twitter and Instagram with my username @WTFParent and to Like my Facebook Page (which I just started) at http://www.facebook.com/WTFParent or they can follow on WordPress or via email.

Thanks for your support, and for reading, and sharing my blog!