Thursday, September 10, 2015

In Praise of Babywearing

Before Baby A was born, I knew I wanted to wear him. I had my stretchy orange Boba Wrap all ready to go and had already started eyeing soft structured carriers. Intellectually, I knew baby wearing was practical and convenient. But, I had no idea what essential tools our carriers would become and how much Baby A and I would both love using them.

Baby A was born in December, and as a winter baby, he was warm and snuggly in his stretchy wrap all season until he hit about 15 pounds. I wore him in that wrap every day, for many, many hours from the time he was a week old until he stretched it out so much I couldn’t keep him “kissably close” anymore. He napped, I drank coffee. He snuggled in and sucked on his pacifier, I ate sandwiches and brushed the crumbs out of his hair. We went to Costco and out to weekend brunch. It allowed him to be warm and safe out in the world, and even served as a barrier between him and all of the little old ladies who wanted to touch him during flu season! I daily said that we wouldn’t have made it out of the newborn stage with sanity (mostly) intact without babywearing.

Once Baby A was sagging in his stretchy wrap, we move to our soft structured carrier. I chose a Tula in Rockets because of the cute pattern (I’m a sucker for aesthetics), but there are so many awesome soft structured carriers on the market. Right now I’m coveting the Lillebaby Embossed (so pretty!) My little guy doesn’t sit up all that well still, so the Tula lets us run errands without having to worry if he can stay upright in the cart or having to wrangle the stroller. The Tula let me have a successful garage sale this spring with a baby strapped to me the whole time. And just this past weekend, it came in handy as we took Baby A on his first flight. Navigating the airport was so much easier thanks to babywearing!

For Mother’s Day, my husband gave me a beautiful Dolcino woven wrap (in Sumatra—it’s like a rainbow of orange, my favorite color!). I was initially intimidated, but the wonderful volunteers of the Babywearing International of North Central Illinois helped me get the hang of the front cross carry and Robin’s hip carry.  If you have any questions at all about babywearing, I can't recommend highly enough attending a meeting. Now, the Tula lives in the car, and I use my woven wrap to keep Baby A cozy and content during his cranky afternoon pre-dinner hour.
Baby A is nine months and nearly 20 pounds, and we’re still babywearing daily. I’m a full-fledged babywearing fanatic. And perhaps a little bit of an addict. I just picked up a short woven wrap, since my Dolcino is really long, and I’m trying to figure out an excuse to pick one of the exquisite Sakura Bloom Ring Slings. I've also become a member of Babywearing International so I can try out all kinds of carriers and wraps available in the lending library without breaking the bank! #WearAlltheBabies

Monday, August 24, 2015

Celebrating C-Section Moms

I love the beautiful c-section picture that it making the social media rounds right now. Baby A is almost nine months old, but I’m still coming to terms with my own c-section. Fluff Envy is starting a VBAC/c-section support group, so it’s been on my mind. My story is below—feel free to share yours with us in the comments.

It took us more than five years and major medical intervention to conceive Baby A. After enduring all the poking, prodding, and pricks it took to get and stay pregnant, I was determined to have as natural a birth experience as possible.

I chose a terrific midwife group, took a hypnobirthing class, and planned on a water birth. I practiced my hypno and breathing diligently, I scrupulously wrote down my birth plan, and at my 31 week check up, my midwife told me that baby boy was head down.

That night, I was sitting on the couch, and I felt him flip. I knew at that moment that he was breech. It was confirmed at my check the following week. My midwife referred me to a variety of natural practitioners, and project flip the baby began.

I tried everything. I saw an acupuncturist and chiropractor twice a week. My husband helped me do moxibustion twice a day at home. We worked with the rebozo and I tried every position on Spinning Babies. I listened to a turn-your-breech-baby hypnosis recording every night.

By 36 weeks, we had discussed and rejected a version, and had reluctantly scheduled a c-section for 39 weeks. I kept up all my efforts to flip my baby, but he hadn’t budged since that night at 31 weeks. By my 37 week appointment, I decided that I needed to get in the right mindset for a c-section. I stopped practicing my hypnobirthing and began listening to a pre-surgical induction.

At 37w 4d, my husband and I attended the c-section class offered at our hospital. I cried the whole class and most of that night, grieving the experience I had planned. It didn’t help that my husband referred to the scheduled c-section as the day I would “give birth” –yes, he used air quotes. I was grateful I had a safe way to bring my baby into the world, but it broke my heart that even his own father didn’t consider it a real birth.

The morning after the c-section class, I went in for an amniotic fluid check and was told my level was too low and that I would be having a baby that day! I walked on over to labor and delivery and later that evening I had my c-section. But most importantly, I had my son, safely.

My c-section was as good as they get—no pain, no pressure, not even any tugging. My husband was there, holding my hand, and as soon as they cut the cord and wiped a little of the goo off, my baby was on my chest.

The physical recovery was brutal, but I’ve finally reached the point where the incision only bothers me two or three times a week, instead of every day. I’m told the pain will go away in the next few months, but the numbness will be for life.

The mental recovery has also been challenging. I never thought I’d be one of those people who was overly attached to my birth plan, but I can’t help feeling like something was stolen from me. After my long battle with infertility, I’m so, so grateful to have a happy, healthy baby. And I’m way too busy being his mommy to dwell on the c-section most days. But, I am deeply grateful for the c-section picture and beautiful reminder that my c-section doesn’t make me any less a mother.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Top Ten Reasons You Need a Newborn Stash

We decided to cloth diaper Baby A long before he was born. So, when he arrived, we had our newborn stash prepped and ready to go. We put on his first cloth (TotsBots TeenyFit) the day we got home from the hospital and never looked back. 

But I've talked to a lot of people who are overwhelmed at the thought of dealing with cloth and a newborn. They decide to use disposables until they've got everything else under control. I've also talked to people who are enthusiastic about cloth diapering from day one, but plan to use one-size diapers on their itty-bitty newborn. 

Disposable diapers and one-size cloth will both get the job done and keep your baby healthy and dry, but I'm here to make the case for a separate newborn stash for your little squish.

The Top Ten Reasons You Need a Newborn Stash

  1. Ease. Cloth diapering is never easier than the newborn stage. Even poopy diapers can go straight from the bum to the washer. It's a great way to get started. 
  2. Better fit. Your one size diapers won't fit properly until your baby is at least 10 pounds and depending on your baby's shape, may not fit perfectly until your baby is 12 or 13 pounds. 
  3. Great value. You will be changing your newborn a lot. A lot. More than you dreamed possible. If you're thinking of cloth for the cost savings, newborn cloth maximizes it because those endless poopy diapers go in the wash, not the trash.  
  4. Preparedness. No late-night runs to the 24 hour Walgreens for overpriced disposables! You'll always have a diaper ready for your baby. 
  5. High resale value. When you're ready to de-stash, newborn diapers get top dollar because they're used for a relatively short time.  
  6. Easy dressing. Cloth diapers make for the cutest outfits! Just add a t-shirt, and maybe some baby legs, and your baby is cute and comfy as can be. 
  7. Fewer leaks. Even if your baby comes home from the hospital at over 10 pounds, one-size diapers are not quite the right shape for many little ones. Newborn diapers fit better around their skinny newborn legs until they can grow those delicious thigh rolls. 
  8. You're awake anyway. It's not hard to throw in an extra load of laundry when you're awake all hours of the day and night feeding your newborn.  
  9. Re-purposeable. One of the most popular newborn diapering combos is a prefold diaper with cover. Once your baby outgrows the prefolds, you can reuse them as doublers for added absorbency. (And I'm told they make great dust cloths many years down the road!)
  10. Cuteness! You can't beat tiny fluffy bums for adorable!

Monday, July 27, 2015

New Faces around Fluff Envy

Sara and Baby A
Welcome to the newly revived Fluff Envy blog! You’re used to hearing from Justine, our fearless leader, but with help from my adorable sidekick, Baby A, I’m co-opting this space to talk about our adventures with cloth diapering, breastfeeding, baby wearing, and all things natural parenting. And, along the way we’ll be sharing some of our favorite products from Fluff Envy.
I’m a new mom to my eight-month-old baby boy. We started cloth diapering because I’m allergic to aloe (weird, I know!) and almost all disposable diapers on the marketing have aloe added to them in an attempt to cancel out all the irritating chemicals. I’m grateful for my bizzaro allergy because I love cloth diapering! I’m also an enthusiastic babywearer and breastfeeder. My little guy is the result of a long journey with infertility and extensive medical intervention. I feel like natural parenting helps me regain some of the sense of self-determination and peace I lost to infertility.

In addition to me (I’m Sara, by the way) there are some other new faces around the store. I’m pleased to introduce Amanda and Tiffany—loyal customers, now officially part of Team Fluff Envy!

Amanda and kids
Amanda is mom to two little boys and a toddler girl. She started baby wearing with her youngest son and cloth diapering with her baby girl. She enjoys an extended breastfeeding relationship with her youngest. Amanda loves spending time with her kids and getting to know their evolving 

Tiffany and family
Tiffany is also mom to three little ones, a little girl, a toddler boy and a baby boy. She embraces co-sleeping, baby-led weaning, baby wearing, breast feeding and cloth diapering. Tiffany’s interest in natural parenting extends to an overall interest in alternative medicine and work with a local chiropractic office. Her kids are her world and everything she does is to improve their lives.

Justine and Sara's Baby A
And, as always, Justine is leading the way. She is mom to three busy little girls and natural parenting mentor to all of her customers. Justine has built Fluff Envy into something that’s about so much more than just cloth diapers (though we’ll always love the fluff!). The store offers a wide variety of natural parenting products beginning with all kinds of gear for expecting mothers and extending all the way through toys and accessories for bigger kids. Fluff Envy has become a gathering place for those interested in natural parenting, hosting cloth diapering classes, Babywearing International and Attachment Parenting International meetings, breastfeeding support groups and more.

If you’re in the Chicagoland area, please stop by and say hello! If you’re further away, I hope you’ll consider this virtual space an extension of our brick and mortar store. Our commitment to natural parenting and community remains the same. So, ask questions, share your experiences, send us fluffy OTB pictures and just generally make yourself at home. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, so jump right in!