Why I Chose a Loose Leaf Baby Book

Baby books. The easiest thing in the world to find and select for your little one to be, right? Or, so I thought. I was surprised at how difficult the search was to me. I looked at books in store and on line, but nothing I found has enough of the moments I wanted to capture. Then I discovered loose leaf baby books and realized that this was the answer I’d been looking for. 

For, if and when the book didn’t have specific pages I wanted to include, all I had to do was add one of my own!

Like with my pregnancy journal, I didn’t have time to design a baby book myself, but I knew I should be able to handle adding to the book without too much of an issue. This proved to be a great alternative for me and there were only two main things I ended up being disappointed with about the book I now have – this was the fact that there were no loose leaf baby books that I could find with a pocket on the cover for both a picture and baby foot print, and there were no additional blank page packs I could locate for the books. Both were things that could be overlooked or overcome.

I still wanted to check out all my options before purchasing, but because of an early delivery I ended up asking my sister to find a loose leaf baby book in town (I’d originally planned to purchase online.) She was able to get me one at our local Hallmark store and it ended up being as good as I could have found anywhere. I’ve still added pleanty to the book and plan to add a few more things before I consider it ‘perfect’ for me. But that is what makes the binder so great!

One thing I absolutely love about the book is that it is  not just through the first year – it’s a five year memory keepsake! This was a must on my list and, so far, I haven’t regretted this decision for a moment. The longer our daughter lives, the more important it is to me that she have special keepsakes like this to have and show her own children some day. As a person who never had a baby book even purchased for (that I know of), it’s something I want to do a good job at completing for our children. Only time can tell how well oil actually do though.

So what are some of the pages I’ve added myself? Well, i did have several things in mind, for sure, but the first thing I did was browse online to get a few more ideas on what I might want to add. I also looked through my husband’s baby book to see if it had anything I’d like to see in our kid’s. Being a first time Mom and not having a book of my own to compare it to, I wasn’t really sure what was normal to have or even what direction to think. But, I finally settled on a list of things. her are some pages I knew I wanted to add (and have):

1. Baby’s first 10 days. Here you log things like hire their breathing is, if they cry a lot, how nursing is going, etc.

2. A family year in review of the year of her birth. This is not anything normal you will see in anytime else’s books. Usually these are used as Christmas cards, but I thought our kids might enjoy seeing what was going on in our lives the year of their birth. So, it got added too. 

3. A one year milestone page that recordsow many teeth, words, favorite toys words, songs, etc., etc.

4. I made and added some paper pockets to keep things like baby’s hospital bracelets and ultrasound pictures, some there were none (only a labeled spot.)

5. I also added a place to keep some loose, but special items down the road

6. There was only room to record 2 showers, but we’d had 3, plus a list of non shower gifts, so I added pages to accommodate

7. I added a page that will be a yearly interview. Each year you ask your child the same questions and watch them grow. For the first year, since I can’t interview or daughter yet, I opted to go ahead and complete the questionnaire, but made note that it was “according to Mom!”

My biggest fear with this binder will be running out of room! Especially since I plan to add a few more pages to the other years in the book (only one page to record birthday celebrations after 12 months.) There is still so much that happens after the first birthday though. Am I going overboard or setting myself up for failure? Perhaps. But regardless, I am still going to do my very best to finish a book for each of our children. 

Are you expecting and looking for the perfect baby book/memory keepsake for your little one? Stay tuned. Perhaps I can help you locate the perfect one for you!

A Perfect Pregnancy Journal – The Great Search!

Not everyone knows or cares what a Pregnancy Journal is, and if you are like me, you didn’t even know it existed until someone mentioned it in conversation or found it while browsing the web. But when I leaned of them, it didn’t take long to decide that I wanted to have them to pass onto my children. But, I knew I didn’t have the time to create my own. And so began my own search!

While journals for this special time are amazing books you can some day gift your children, not all journals are created equal. Shocking, right? I’m not sure if it was pregnancy brain, or something else that originally made me think funding the perfect Journal would be as easy as 1, 2, 3, but it wasn’t… At least not for me. There were several questions I found I needed to ask myself to figure out what I was really looking for in a journal. Once I did, it helped, though some of these questions didn’t get answered until some time after purchase. 

And so, friends, with this post, my goal is to help you get a feel for what’s out there, what to expect, what to look for…and hopefully, I can help you find the perfect Pregnancy Journal for you to pass on to your little ones. 

Now, without further ado, here are the questions (according to me) that you should be asking yourself:

1. Do I want totally blank pages or a pre-prepared pages? If you are a writer, and know you’ll have the time to dedicate to journaling every step of the way for nine months, this will make your selection process the simplest of all. But if you know you need or want pre-prepared pages in the journal, your search may not be that easy. 

2. Do I care more about cover appearance, content, or both? One of the things I felt was a roadblock for me in selecting a journal was the fact that some covered were girly in appearance, some boyish, and others gender neutral. But each seemed completely different from the next content wise. And since I was purchasing the journal prior to finding out gender, I felt as though it would be appropriate to stock with a gender neutral cover, making my task feel especially difficult and limited. 

3. Do I want lots of blank space to write a midst the prepared questions, or do I only want blanks to fill in? Some journals may shock you on how little or how much space they offer you for writing. 

4. Do I want a scrapbook, or non-scrapbook format? There are journals that offer easy to fill scrapbook formats, while still maintaining the special journal content options for you. 

5. Do I trust the journal to convert everything I consider to be important milestones in my pregnancy journey?

6. Do I care what order/time some of the questions are asked? Some journals that ask specific questions throughout will be focus them on specific weeks… But this may not be the week you experience those milestones.

7. Do I have a good enough memory to wait until gender discovery to purchase? If so, you may want to go ahead and scout out the journal that you think would be the best for for either gender and then order immediately after your ultrasound. But as soon as it’s in your hands, be sure to set aside time to document your journey. You don’t even have to to it in chronological order if you think your work best doing the opposite, out mixing it up!

8. Do I just want a Pregnancy Journal / Baby Book combination? The benefits of having this could be that you have everything in one place and don’t have multiple books to keep track of!

9. Is this my first pregnancy or do I need to shy away from journals that focus more one first time mom’s? 

10. Am I looking for something different than the norm? Like informational pages along with journaling pages? 

11. Is it important to me to have intentional pages for father environment? It may surprise you how few of these there can be. 

12. Are you a single mom? If so, you’ll be wanting a book geared towards you, without questions focusing on this you discuss with “your partner”.
So, do you have a better idea of what you are looking for now? If so, here are some related items to each question that may aid in your search:

1. For those interested in blank page journals, you might check out this one, this one, or this one. 

2. If you care about outward appearance: Boyish covered journals like thisthis, or this may interest you; or girly covers like thisthis, or that may be just the thing for you. However, if you don’t want to wait for Gender knowledge to purchase, you may decide gender neutral covers like one of these four (option onetwothreefour) fit you best.

3. If you are looking for a fill in the blank/decent journaling combo, you might check out this book. Or, you might even look at this one right before taking a peek here

4. If you are looking for scrapbook formats, while pricey, this book may be just the tool you are looking for! Or perhaps you would rather something like this.

5. If you want to be super cautious to insure your important milestones etc., are covered, you might check out this journal. 

6. Now, if you care about being accurate and neat in the precisness of when certain milestones are reached, I’m just going to encourage you to plan to stear clear of journals that are completely or mostly all guided journals (with full in blanks/check boxes, and very little room for journaling) you may find you are weeks behind or ahead in what they choose to cover each week, and that you haven’t been left space to alter or add. These can also have questions or sentences prepared for you to complete that just don’t make any sense for you or fit with your story. So, just beware.

7. Want to purposely choose gender specific colored book covers? See options on #2!

8. For those searching for a journal/baby book combination, never fear! These journals are here! (option oneoption two)

9. If you are a first time Mom, there are plenty of journals meant just for you! (This one being one among them.)But for second and third time mom’s, etc., it’s a little harder to find just the right one. This journal will accommodate any number of pregnancies. In the first page, below your name, there is a blank for you to document the what pregnancy number this is for you! And this journal also accommodates multiple pregnancies according to the product description. 

10. This calendar journal may fit the bill if you are looking for something unique. Or if you really want to do something even more so, you should check out this devotional journal for expecting mother’s that can record prayers, notes, and reflections. And here a new and unique angle not everyone thinks about; a book that includes a section for preparing for pregnancy, child care searching and classes, in addition to the normal sections.

11. And for those looking for a special place in the book for dad to join in, check out this journal, or even this one. But, while pricey, this one had dad in the tile and may be the one for you. Or better yet, check out some of the books specifically designed for dad! This journal, while reviewed as being blank inside, was created with dad in mind. So, if dad is a writer, and journaling fan it may be perfect for him. 

12. Single moms, there are journals or there for you to: reviews state this one doesn’t mention dad anywhere.

I hope this article has been helpful to you in finding a list of journals  you would like to explore more, but even so, I want to stress that before making your selection I recommend checking them out in person if at all possible and do your own research. Read the descriptions, read the reviews, both good and bad; find it why people rated then with a 2 or 5 star. Sometimes the con’s are pro’s to you and the pro’s are con’s!

I’d like to share at this point that I’m hoping to have a follow up article to go hand in hand with this one. Keep your eyes peeled!

So, in your own great search for the perfect pregnancy journal, what are you looking for? Do you look for the basics? Do you look for uniqueness/diversity; and what do you have in mind for that? If really be interested to know what things are important to you to share with your little one in you keepsakes. 

My Abnormal Breastfeeding Journey, Episode 1: A Full Blown, Hard Core, No Excuses Breastfeeding Mom!!….??

My Abnormal Breastfeeding Journey, Episode 1: A Full Blown, Hard Core, No Excuses Breastfeeding Mom!!….??

Hello, friends! Before my story begins, I want to clarify that this story is long enough I felt it should be broken up into 3 parts (aka episodes!) Now, without further ado, let the story begin!

For as long as I can remember, my mother was an avid believer in breastfeeding, especially when it came to her own four babies. During the early days of her motherhood, it was the age of formula and many people were judgmental because of her choice to breastfeed rather than use formula. She spent several years as a single mother, which also meant she was working to provide for her little ones. So, while pursuing her career as a beautician she would extract her milk (by hand) during her breaks. Some days she even brought my older brother to work with her to play on the floor in a corner out of the way.

Those were different times, for sure!

Today it is a very different world than it was some 30 odd years ago. Today, while we may not have opportunity to carry out infants to work with us, you might have noticed that breastfeeding is again becoming popular, and for a good many reasons. There are just so many benefits to breastfeeding verses formula feeding, and I grew up with a solid belief in those benefits and desire to be that” mom!

So, after finding that I was pregnant with our first child I excitedly began making preparations to live out my desire to be a full blown, hard core, no excuses breastfeeding mom!

I read article after article and forum after forum of various breastfeeding related experiences. I took a breastfeeding class, talked to friends, and my own mother about their own breastfeeding journeys making mental notes all along the way. So, after I finally went into labor and later sat in the hospital waiting for the nurses to bring me my baby, I felt pretty confident, excited, and ready to start breastfeeding our newborn. But, who knew that after all my preparations, and even acquired knowledge over the years (starting as early as childhood), I was still unprepared for what was about to come!

When the nurses finally brought our baby to me and placed her in my arms, it was almost 3 hours after her birth! (Verging on the end of the recommended time for first feeding!) Needless to say, she was very hungry, but (of course) didn’t understand what was going on or why her tummy was sending a new and startling message to her brain.

I quickly did skin to skin with her, which was in itself difficult since she was crying, flailing, and not wanting to stay close to my body for warmth, etc. Sound familiar to all you moms so far? Not the “perfect” start to a first time feeding…but then again, how many of us actually get that perfect experience as a first time mom?

It was literally minutes into my attempt to get a latch that the nurses decided I needed to use a nipple shield if I wanted to continue. One of the girls brought one in and popped it on me… That was so weird. It still took a little while to get a latch, but we finally managed to get it done.

Throughout my hospital stay the nurses and the lactation consultants all seemed to lean more towards encouraging me to use a nipple shield and trying to convince me that I would continue to be unsuccessful if I tried to nurse without it. It was only after months of research and talking with other mothers that I learned some tricks that could have been a deal changer for me early on. However, by the time I learned and attempted to implement any of them our baby was so use to the shield that she wouldn’t accept me without the shield more than a random time here and there (maybe 4 times total). Can you imagine my disappointment?

Why did the nurses and lactation consultants believe it was necessary for me to use the shield instead of nursing without? I’m not really sure why it breastfeeding seemed completely hopeless for me specifically without it. I do know now that there are several reasons why the shield is recommended:

1. Flat, inverted or large nipples. This can prevent baby from finding you at all.

2. Babies with an unusually small mouth

3. Babies with other compressing issues (thanks to lip tie, tongue tie, etc.)

4. Some nurses recommend it for hungry newborns at the first feeding if they haven’t had time to root around and figure it out before getting insanely hungry

There are probably more reasons that I’ve forgotten, but we had at least two of the issues listed above working against us. Even so, looking back, I don’t think that I should have been lead to believe that I would be fully dependent on the shield to master breastfeeding. 

I completely believe that, had I had the proper information from the beginning, I could have weaned her successfully off of the shield and began nursing in the way God designed. 

To Be Continued……………….

If you are wanting to hear the rest of the story, be sure to either follow me to receive notice of be posts, or check in any time between now and next week. Though I plan for a Sunday or Monday post, it could still happen sooner!

Resources Used while writing this article series:
http://www.sdbfc.com/blog/2015/3/26/dos-and-donts-of-using-the-nipple-shield.html
http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/feeding-eating/breastfeeding/helpful-products/nipple-shields

 

 

Our Bought with Infant Eczema

So, at nearly four months of age, our daughter developed a rash. It was pretty bad and came out of nowhere! I didn’t notice it much until after I gave her a bath and she’d been dry and dressed a couple of hours. Then, bam!! During a diaper change I noticed her whole front was a bright cherry red!!

image

(Forgive the quality of my phone camera mixed with shaky hands and wiggly baby!)

Needless to say I was horrified, of course, and immediately began reading articles and forums. It was a weekend and I didn’t have an after hours number for our pediatrician; I’ve had success in reading mom forums concerning other matters, so it seemed like a good course of action. I read and read, then looked and looked at pictures of other baby rashes. After much research, I decided that Eczema seemed to fit her symptoms best. I then started trying various home remedies to see if we could get the rash under control.

First, I tried coconut oil after another bath; it did help some for a little while, but it didn’t send the rash packing! I then tried an oatmeal bath and that seemed to calm the rash down best.  My husband wasn’t convinced that it was eczema though, so we tried a few rash creams on hand and after some failure there, we started treating it like a heat rash; plain water bath and then leave it alone. The good news was, it didn’t make the rash any worse.

When we finally hit Monday morning and I called the Dr. office, the nurse didn’t seem very concerned. She (like my husband) thought it was a heat rash, told me a few things to try, compiled a bag of free samples for me to pick up and assured me that it would be gone by the next week (baby’s four month check up.) I picked up the samples, bathed her again to try some of the samples, but to no avail. In fact, the product seemed to be irritating the rash all over again. So I ended up washing everything off again and waiting a day or so to try another sample. Long story short, none of the samples worked and I went back to doing nothing but warm water baths. At the four month appointment, the pediatrician told me the rash was Eczema and gave some product names to try for soaps and lotion time.

Can I just say, that I was surprised – no, floored that all of the recommendations (from the nurse and pediatrician) were adult products! I had never heard of such a thing – who knew that anyone would recommend exposing such tender, sensitive skin to (in my opinion) such harsh and strong products?! And surprise, surprise, the adult soaps he recommended were too hard on her skin and made the rash worse all over again! It was then that I decided to pull out the lavender Aveeno Baby wash that had been given to me at a baby shower. Up to that point I’d been using a baby wash brand that my sister loved using with her boys. It wasn’t a bad brand, but I sadly couldn’t use it any longer for her body, but I knew Aveeno Baby was an oatmeal base. I’d had a good response to the oatmeal bath I’d given the prior week, so this was sure to work better than anything else, right?! I also decided to forgo the adult lotion the pediatrician mentioned and only use the adult hemorrhoid cream plus Aveeno Eczema Therapy moisturizing cream; but I didn’t want to use the hemorrhoid cream any longer than absolutely necessary. I’d been instructed to bathe her daily and use the hemorrhoid cream and lotion twice a day. However, I only followed this instruction for a couple of days before I backed down on the hemorrhoid cream to once a day, then cut the it’s use to occasionally during the week and used mainly the Aveeno Baby wash and Eczema Therapy cream. After a couple days more I was also able to reduce use in the Eczema Therapy cream and I only use it when I feel a need. I’ve pulled out the hemorrhoid cream only a couple of times since then, but only if I feel like it’s really necessary. I would always rather use the Aveno first before resorting to adult hemorrhoid cream.

image

(What her tummy looks like today)

The rash that started out so terrible looking has now been reduced to only  to some occasional bumps on her arms and legs. Our experience with baby Eczema is probably mild compared to most, but I can’t help but want to share the story in hopes that, perhaps, you will be encouraged. I also would like to suggest that you try Aveeno if you haven’t yet! Though the bath wash/shampoo isn’t specifically made for Eczema, it is mild in fragrance and the oatmeal base ingredient of the product is so gentle on their skin! The Aveeno Eczema Therapy cream is specifically designed for the condition and it works in a matter of days, and is still made for the sensitive skin of a baby.

image

(What to look for…)

When no other baby product would work (or adult product for that matter,) Aveeno was there for our baby, and hasn’t let her down yet. Here’s hoping for success in your search for relief to your baby’s struggle with Eczema!

Blessings!