Natural Moms Talk Radio Natural Motherhood, Breastfeeding, Baby Wearing and Green Living. 2011-02-02T23:46:37Z WordPress Copyright © 2011 Natural Moms Talk Radio carrie <![CDATA[Change Is Good]]> 2011-02-02T23:46:37Z 2011-02-02T23:46:37Z a

I have a cup of hot tea in my hand.

My muscles are slightly sore from a workout I just did with weights.

I’m showered and dressed and the kids are all occupied.

Baby is sleeping, deeply, on her Daddy’s chest.

And I’m blogging.

Can you believe it? It’s rare that events coalesce so nicely like this (when they usually conspire against me) enabling me to do something I love to do. After I write this, I’m going to go sit and read SuperFreakonomics. Oh the joy!

Of course, I’ve been choreographing blog posts in my head for weeks. I’m a super prolific blogger. In my mind.

Funny how, when you write about something, it automatically gets better.

The malaise I’ve been feeling for months has lifted. Maybe some of it is just time, but some of it is that I’ve gotten excited about goals again.

I read The Happiness Project, and I’m starting a Happiness Project group with some of my friends. I’m so geeked about it! I’ll be sharing a lot about that as well as a whole lot of other stuff again soon.

Sorry I’ve been so quiet. (Don’t you hate it when bloggers say that?) Truly I’ve thought about you, it’s just been tough. I’ll write more about why very soon.

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

I love this pic I snapped of my Sadie the other day.


carrie <![CDATA[Funky Fermented Food]]> 2011-01-14T18:57:39Z 2011-01-14T18:33:42Z a

One of my goals this year is to eat fermented foods every single day.

kraut and juice
Creative Commons License photo credit: fishermansdaughter


Because I want to improve my gut health.

But “improve my gut health” is vague and imprecise, and vague imprecise goals don’t work so well. One way to improve one’s gut health is to give it lots of healthy bacteria. Eating fermented foods is a big part of that.

Giving up wheat (sometimes I’m bad and cheat, but I feel better when I stay away) helped my tummy troubles immensely, so did switching to raw milk several years ago. But I would really like to get to a place where I can tolerate sprouted or sourdough bread. I do miss bread every once in awhile. Like a slice, slathered with butter, with soup. Ahhh.

Since we’ve been snowed iced in all week here in the ATL, I thought I would take advantage of my homebound status and make up several batches of fermented foods.

So far I’ve made:

Coconut Kefir Water

Coconut kefir water is delicious. It’s a great alternative to milk kefir for those who have issues with dairy products. My first batch got a little mold on top, (probably due to the addition of ginger…?). But my sources tell me that’s ok, just to scoop it off and proceed.

I made a fizzy strawberry slushie drink (coconut kefir water, frozen strawberries, honey) for the kids and everyone either loved it and drank it and asked for more, or they weren’t sure if they liked it, so kept drinking to find out.  ‘sall good.

It reminded me of a strawberry margarita. So you know I was game. :)

Excited to take my handy-dandy Vegetable Fermentation Master a spin, I made:

homemade pickles
Creative Commons License photo credit: little blue hen

Homemade Lacto-Fermented Pickles

These would be different from pickles that get their pickliness from vinegar or that are cooked. These are raw, and therefore have intact enzymes, like traditional condiments did.

Then I made:


Made from raw milk, this got its culture from a starter. I let my real kefir grains die a long time ago. Oops. (Who, me?!)



I’ll post recipes and whatnot later.

What did you do for your gut today?


carrie <![CDATA[Review: EIO Glass Kids Cup]]> 2011-01-09T18:06:51Z 2011-01-10T18:00:27Z a


EIO Glass Kids Cup

The Basics:

The EIO Glass Kids Cup is an alternative to plastic sippy cups for kids 2 years and up. It was thought of and designed by a mom who was fed up with plastic sippy cups with chewed spouts, mismatched lids and missing valves. It consists of a lid and a silicone sleeve that fit on most 8 oz jelly sized canning jars.  It may be purchased with a glass jar or without.  (Cost is slightly less for the latter.) Lids are made of #5 plastic and are BPA-free.  Sleeves are made in China; lids and glasses are made in the USA.  They come with minimal packaging (no plastic).  There are no spouts to be chewed and no valves to be lost.

Things to note:

This is not a shatter proof/leak proof system.  Because there are no valves, the liquid comes out like that of a “normal” cup (i.e. no sucking mechanism).  This is recommended by experts for children over one year of age for proper dental formation.

Personal Opinion:

I was very excited to hear of this product.  I used jelly jars for awhile but got tired of all of the spills.  So brilliant idea!  I prefer my kids drinking out of glass over plastic.
Even though there are BPA-free materials available, how are we to know that there is not another BPA-like ingredient yet to be discovered.  I prefer not to take the gamble and used glass or stainless when possible.  I also try to reduce my plastic consumption in general.

The packaging, overall design and colors are cute and appealing.  I ordered (from Amazon) one for my five year old and one for my 2 year old as x-mas stocking stuffers.  I ordered them without jars and picked up 4 jelly jars for 20 cents each at the thrift store.  The kids were both excited for them.  I give them an A+ for kid appeal.

Both liked them and had no troubles using them.  I still thought they were great.

I did notice that one seemed to be leaking out through the grooves and out the bottom of the cap.  I tried all of the jars I had and it leaked consistently.  The other was fine.

I contacted the company and was contacted back by the owner in less than a day.  She was kind, considerate, and helpful.  I would by again in a second just to support that- as it is such a rarity today.  She is going to send a replacement and a shipping label to send back the leaky lid so it can be checked out. SO, overall great concept, great green product and safe product, and great company.
I say they are definitely worth a try!


carrie <![CDATA[Not Like The Rest]]> 2011-01-09T20:09:09Z 2011-01-09T20:09:09Z a

It’s taken me long enough to figure this out.

About 35 years.

But it’s _always_ been there.

This feeling that I’m always on the outside of things.

I’m not like other people.

Instead of making me feel special and wonderful and all those things,

it just feels incredibly lonely

Creative Commons License photo credit: quinn.anya

As a young person I felt like everyone else was always having more fun than me. Always.

They all knew stuff I didn’t.

People I didn’t.

Music I didn’t.


Is that why I have a seriously curious nature?

Like I have to figure it all out. So then I can be one of the cool kids.

Is it why I have a big huge wrinkle crater in the middle of my forehead?

Always squinting.

It’s hard for me to make friends.

It’s not that I don’t try.

I’m always trying.

It’s that I’m more interested, fascinated really, with other people than they are in me.

Is that an illusion?


Does everyone feel this way?

I’m always hungry ….. for …. something.

An itch I can’t scratch.

And I don’t know what it is.

I try to look. I try to keep learning.

But there are some things I absolutely know.

(Like I don’t envy. I never have. Even when my friend was blonder, fitter, bubblier, tanner than me. Her farts didn’t even stink. I never kept people away because of envy. It is an incredibly stupid waste of time.)

I feel stuck. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

At 35 I should have this figured out, no?

Is it a postpartum thing? Do I need more sleep? Will it go away when the baby is older and I have more freedom?

And if it is, then I don’t remember feeling this way, for this long, with my other babies.

Is it because I’m older? Is it because I had begun to taste the life of a mom with older kids and the perks that go along with that? (Like, being skinny. And being able to go out at night.)

It’s lonelyhere.

Is this a mid-life crisis?

Is this the problem that has no name?

(And I don’t consider myself a feminist, despite the fact that economic dependence terrifies me utterly. I feel that I’m doing the absolute most important thing in the world, shaping these young people to be the best citizens that they can be.)

Why is it that the last time I remember feeling truly, deliriously happy for a long period of time was 13 years ago? The last time I remember being so eager to jump out of bed. Shouldn’t that be really sad?

And yet I have truly few regrets about my life.

It’s just that I can’t get excited about anything anymore.

Is this depression? Maybe. Maybe it’s a seasonal thing.

But I think it’s deeper than that.

And I have no category for this post.

Just Misc.


carrie <![CDATA[Naturally Boosting Your Kids Immune System]]> 2011-01-09T17:27:54Z 2011-01-09T17:27:54Z a

Manon malade

Creative Commons License photo credit: Spigoo

The following is a guest post by Eileen Blackburn of

Naturally Boosting Your Kid’s Immune System

Its that time of year again….Snotty Nose season. It always seems to happen around the Holiday when your kids getting whatever funk is going around. I like to nip the nasties in the bud before they happen, which doesn’t always work, but so far this year we have had great success.

1. Cod Liver Oil: This fish oil is sooooo good for you, not just an immune booster. I will devote a whole post to this later, because it deserves it. But as far as immune boosting powers, it has vitamins A&D. Vitamin D naturally boosts your immune system, it is like sunshine in a bottle. NOTE: Please do not buy the cheapo stuff at the grocery store, this stuff is full of pesticides and rancid fish…gross. We really like Nordic Naturals Childrens DHA and Carlsons Kids Chewable.

2. Vitamin D-3: Your body produces cathelicidin, which is a natural antibiotic. During the winter (because of the less sunshine) or when there is a lack of vitamin D your body stops making it. So we supplement with Vitamin D tablets in the winter to increase this natural antibiotic. We use Carlson Kids Vitamin D.

3. Probiotics: Probiotics is the beneficial and good bacteria this is in some foods (ex. yogurt) or supplements. Basically your gut has good bacteria, this bacteria helps fight the yeast, harmful bacteria and mold(yes i said mold) in your intestines. There are times when this ratio gets knocked out of balance and the nasties take over. This is where probiotics come it. They help support the bacteria already in your belly, which in turn supports your immune system. You can use supplements like Garden of Life or Udos Choice. Another way to get good probiotics is through the food you eat. Fermented foods like yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, sauerkraut, pickles and Kombucha Tea.

I know that some of you are looking at the cost of some of these vitamins and thinking they are pretty pricey. I think of them like insurance, it will help prevent a lot of silly things that could potentially end us up at the doctor. Plus, no one really likes it when their kiddos are sick.

The best part about these 3 things is that anyone can use them. Even as adults, you will benefit from these immune boosters.


carrie <![CDATA[Mendy’s Birth]]> 2010-12-21T00:34:22Z 2010-12-21T00:34:22Z a

“Hi Carrie,

Attached is my first child’s birth story along with a few photos.  Thanks for the opportunity to share. I love your site and your podcast, I’ve been a listener for several years and it has been such a great resource.”


Thanks so much for sharing this Mendy! (Her home birth story follows.)


I was seven months pregnant and had cumulatively spent less than three hours thinking about giving birth.  In my first trimester I’d perused some of the last chapters of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, read some troubling snippets about epidurals, episiotomies and enemas, and decided to focus my attention on “lighter” subjects like fetal development and nursery themes.

Seven months later I sat across from my friend Bekah in the same home where I’d witnessed the incredible birth of her son less than a year before.

She was asking me some pretty direct questions regarding my feelings and plans about birth, and I really didn’t have much to say.  She reminded me, “Mendy, you ARE going to have this baby, you know.”

I cried all the way home.

Thoughts of childbirth only filled me with dread.  Bekah’s serene home birth had been one of the most incredible events I’d ever witnessed.  Why would I not want the same thing for my baby?

I had chosen to have a hospital birth with a certified nurse midwife thinking it would be the best of both worlds, but I just couldn’t feel peaceful about it.  I remembered how instantly comfortable I had felt with Bekah’s midwife, K, and how impressed I’d been by the way she interacted with Bekah as she labored.  I knew they had a special relationship and lengthy appointments leading up to the birth.  Though my experiences at the women’s health center had been positive, I’d probably seen my midwife a whole 20 minutes.

I decided to get busy working on my birth plan.

As Bekah had pointed out, having a hospital birth would mean that I would need to be assertive and stand up for what I wanted in terms of procedures and interventions—especially in a hospital with a 25% cesarean rate.  Up to this time, I hadn’t really even bothered to learn about these choices and possibilities.  I found some sample birth plans online and as I began to go through the options a pattern began to emerge:  basically, I wanted to turn down just about every procedure the hospital had to offer while at the same time, requesting accommodations that might not be permitted.

As I learned about the comfort measures that promoted natural childbirth—and how important it was to be in a place where I’d feel safe and relaxed—it became obvious that a home birth was definitely the best choice for me.  I shared what I’d learned with my husband, Clyde, who let me know that he’d support whatever choice I made.  I contacted K and was overjoyed to learn that she would be able to be our midwife!

We met with K and her apprentice and we began to prepare for our home birth.  They spent so much time with us, answering our questions, giving guidance about nutrition and fitness, monitoring my health and the baby’s progress.  It was obvious that they really cared and were invested in us.

They recommended that Clyde and I take a childbirth class geared specifically for homebirthers.  This was a wonderful experience, especially for Clyde.  Although I’d been sharing highlights from books I’d been reading, this class really helped him know what to expect and how he could help, even how to catch the baby himself, if needed or desired.  I was encouraged and empowered as we learned about the stages of labor and birth and the different strategies that could help throughout the process.


I began leaking fluid around 3 in the morning.  I took a shower and tried to follow the early labor advice I’d received from my childbirth class—try to ignore labor as long as you can and GO TO BED!  I slept until around 5 when I woke Clyde to tell him I didn’t think he’d be going to work that morning.  Amidst mild contractions we remade the bed and started hauling out supplies.

I called our birth team while Clyde made me a comfy spot on the couch and started putting the birth tub together.   K reminded me to “think marathon” (first-time moms often have lengthy labors) and encouraged me to rest.  By 6 the contractions began requiring my full attention.

I tried lying on my side on the couch, then all fours on the floor, leaning over an exercise ball, but about the only thing that seemed to bring relief was Clyde massaging and putting pressure on my lower back.  This was a challenge because he was also busy filling up the tub (we’d opted for a water birth) and had discovered that we’d already maxed out the hot water tank.  While Clyde continued boiling water and rubbing my back, I called for reinforcements and my dad came by to take over water hauling duties.

My contractions were feeling pretty intense and though I knew their frequency and duration was speeding up, I was afraid that I still had a long way to go and hoped I’d be able to handle it.  I was a noisy laborer, and when K’s apprentice called to check on us the intensity of my moans in the background let her know she’d better come on over.  When she arrived around 9 I was 7 cm dilated and was finally able to get in the tub.  The warm water felt great on my back and I felt more relief as I was able to move my hips more easily with the water supporting me.

Bekah and K arrived soon afterward.  Bekah made sure I kept hydrated and began praying for and coaching me to help my breathing and moaning relaxed and productive.  K and her apprentice prepared the supplies for the birth and monitored my progress and the baby’s heart rate.

I must have been pretty encouraged by the arrival of our wonderful support team, because I don’t really remember going through a dramatic transition experience.  I got out of the water so that K could check me, but was glad to get back in quickly because it definitely was making a difference in my perception of pain.  Clyde got in with me and continued to put pressure on my back.

Around 10:30 I was able to begin pushing.  I’m not sure what I had thought “pushing” meant, but was somehow surprised to find out that it really meant PUSHING!  (I think I thought my body would do it for me in some involuntary way, but it turns out that it really means “bear down so hard you see stars.”)  It was hard work, but I knew that I was the only one who could push my baby out, so I PUSHED (with no tearing in spite of a hand-presentation)!  In less than 2 ½ hours, we held our beautiful baby boy, Eli, in our arms.

Clyde and I were able to take all of the time we needed to just be amazed by this little person—to meet and touch and make eye contact and hold him close, while K almost imperceptibly assisted and monitored as needed.

He was alert and calm and a champion eater from the start.  It was great to enjoy our first moments and days with Eli in the privacy and comfort of our own home surrounded by close friends and family.

I am thankful for the journey to homebirth that required me to take personal responsibility for my family in a much deeper way and for the opportunity to have a natural birth.

Both of these experiences have been invaluable in preparing and empowering me for the many challenges, decisions and responsibilities of motherhood.

Our choice to birth at home required much more from Clyde as well and my love, respect and connection with him deepened through this experience.  I am unspeakably grateful for the beautiful and peaceful way in which we were able to welcome Eli into the world.  It’s wonderful to be able to personally testify that birth can truly be a serene and sacred event.


carrie <![CDATA[Baby’s First Sick]]> 2010-12-02T16:11:30Z 2010-12-02T16:06:27Z a

Little miss Ruby is sick.


Her first time.

My perfect little baby.

Isn’t it so tragic when a tiny baby gets sick?

It bursts that little bubble you have in your head about your newborn being so perfect and new and fresh.

She hath a widdle code in her nothe.

Her little nose is all red, her eyes watery. She has a hard time working up the mucus. She spits it up, wads of it.

Sadie started feeling poorly on Saturday with the same symptoms. Sadie adores her baby sister of course. Lots of tummy raspberries and such.

“Aaaahhhh …. maa baa bwaaaa”, she says.

(Mommy I feel bad.)

Isn’t breastmilk supposed to be some magical elixir guaranteeing my baby will never ever ever get sick?

Mostly .

Except life isn’t perfect.

There are things you can’t control. Scary things that can hurt your babies.

I remember that 3 of my babies got sick, but only after they started eating lots of solid foods and crawling around. But one, the second born, got bronchiolitis at the tender age of 6 weeks.  (His big brother had croup.)

Of course, this is nothing.

Some families have pictures of hospitalized babies on their blogs, wires and tubes sticking out of them everywhere.

I’m really fortunate.

So I spend a lot of time just holding her and very, very gingerly wiping her nose with warm damp flannel cloths (if you do it one nostril at a time, it’s less upsetting). I had the cool mist humidifier running all night with essential oils in it. A drop of lavender on her tummy.  And mommy sitting up most of the night propped up on several pillows.

Sickness isn’t so bad.

It gives you time (permission?) to just BE with your child. To let other things slide.

You know?


carrie <![CDATA[Time For a Haircut]]> 2010-12-02T15:54:35Z 2010-12-02T15:54:35Z a

Ya think?


carrie <![CDATA[How Not To Spend Too Much at Starbucks]]> 2010-11-11T20:20:35Z 2010-11-12T19:38:51Z a

Na Starbucks com um mocha
Creative Commons License photo credit: CesarCardoso

Step One.

Buy Starbucks Mocha Powder so you can make mochas at home.

Step Two.

Find a copycat recipe for those amazing Pumpkin Cream Cheese muffins.

Step Three.

Buy a like new espresso maker at the consignment shop for $7 so you can make steamed milk and espresso for cappuccinos and mochas.

Step Four.

Get yourself a Starbucks card and register it. Eventually you’ll earn one of those fancy Gold cards and they’ll give you a free drink occasionally. Also useful for keeping yourself on a budget. (Load the card monthly or weekly. )

Step Five.

Buy your Starbucks beans at the grocery store when they go on sale for $6.99 a bag and use those $1 or $1.50 off coupons that occasionally show up in the Sunday paper.

Step Six.

Don’t forget to take your empty coffee bag to Starbucks and get a free tall beverage (the bag is like a coupon).

Step Seven.

Always use your reusable mug, and make sure the barista gives you the .10 discount.

You’re welcome. :-)


carrie <![CDATA[Things I Learned By Watching BABIES]]> 2010-11-11T20:08:18Z 2010-11-11T20:08:18Z a

Have you seen the documentary Babies yet?

It’s pretty adorable. If you have Netflix, you can watch it on instant play.

Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Anyway, since the movie is kind of an educational kind of a thing I thought I would share some gems I learned from it.

(Warning: spoiler alert.)

  • Big brothers can be mean. For example, when mom’s out back milking the ox, they might take the opportunity to slap you repeatedly in the face with a biscuit or their pants. But, they will get quite a tongue lashing afterward by Mom.
  • Babies don’t need toys. Fingers, toes, big sister’s jewelry, empty plastic bottles somebody left in the Sahara Desert… all fair game.
  • When you’re about a year old, you’ll discover another toy. If you play with it around your older brother, he will be embarrassed and try to cover it up.  Thankfully, it’s attached to your body.
  • If Grandma decides to give you a haircut with an 8″ inch knife, BE…VERY… STILL.
  • Water in short supply? Mom spit and breastmilk make fine substitutes.
  • Babysitting? Forget asking mom to pump a bottle. Your other “side” will do nicely.
  • Living in a yurt looks uber cool.
  • Hot Asian chicks look gorgeous while breastfeeding. And babywearing (in 4″ heels no less) through the streets of Tokyo.
  • Dads are sweet but can be clueless. For instance, they may repeatedly jiggle an obnoxious rattle inches above your face tying to keep you quiet during a cellphone call. They also may let you fly over your handlebars at the baby bike play park.
  • Diapers are unnecessary, but be sure to ask mom for one of those fetching belly necklaces.  All the cool Namibian kids are sporting them.
  • Siblings make fine babysitters. So do roosters. And very large cats.
  • If mom is rubbing red dirt stuff on her belly a lot, you’re about to be born.
  • Rocks are perfectly acceptable teething toys.  So are bones plucked from the desert soil.
  • Speaking of Dads again, don’t be surprised if they vacuum inches from your face while you’re on the floor, then use a lint roller to clean you off.
  • If you get a little freaked out when Grandpa starts those curious Mongolian chants at dinner, you’re normal.
  • Babies can drown in an inch of bathwater if you live in the USA. But a stream in the African desert? Totally safe.
  • Everybody knows you can totally walk a cat on a leash!
  • American parents are totally boring overprotective.
  • When you get frustrated by things, throw a play-fit, roll around on the floor and cough to see if anyone notices and comes to your rescue.
  • When mom is preparing the offal,  you should just play with your little white bucket. (Trust me on this one.)
  • Bananas are the BEST. Hand the peels and the nasty brown spots, half chewed, to mom.
  • During bath time, yaks are more fun than rubber duckies, any day.
  • Don’t hit mom. She might pull out that “No Hitting” board book and read it to you for the eleventymillionth time.  (She keeps it right next to the Dr. Sears collection.)

What was your favorite thing about Babies?


carrie <![CDATA[Nursing Manners]]> 2010-11-10T01:02:15Z 2010-11-09T23:10:18Z a

It’s amazing how much stuff you forget from baby to baby.

For example, how quickly they go from being this tiny newborn for whom breastfeeding takes all their attention and energy, to this wiggly, peekaboo playing, grabby-hands creature you have to wrastle and hog-tie in order to get a good feeding in.

At 4 months, Miss Ruby has already developed some bad nursing manners. (She’s so advanced.)

Afternoon snack - 115 days old
Creative Commons License photo credit: jessicafm

Meaning my breasts look like I had a hot and heavy makeout session with Edward Scissorhands.

(In which he gets to second base.)

Big Z looked at me the other day and cringed. “That’s hurting me, and it’s not even happening to me!”

And I certainly don’t want my hubby avoiding my mammary areas in a sweet but misguided attempt to avoid causing me discomfort, so…

Time to teach baby some breastfeeding manners.

Of course, it’s really my fault for letting it get this bad. What starts off as a cute developmental milestone (oh look, she’s patting me!) quickly turns into a painful proposition involving sharp fingernails and increasingly strong fingers pushing against me (with opposing suction coming from the business end).

I can no longer read, type on the computer, or do much of anything while nursing because I have to hold her little hand so she can’t poke, prod, pull, push, scratch or see how many fingers she can suck/chew on while simultaneously being latched on.

One of my children was a dedicated “twiddler“. (Twiddler on the Boob. Sounds like a musical. ) He was so dedicated to his “free hand” activity that when I tried to stop him he would just stop nursing. It just plain hurt his feelings that I wouldn’t allow him to twist, pull, pinch and scratch my helpless “other side” while he took his meal.

He was also a determined biter. It got so bad that at 8 months old, I had to put him down on the floor and walk out of the room (while he cried for a moment) to underscore that mom is not an apple and I would not tolerate being crunched. It only took a few times and he stopped, but I learned to watch for that twinkle in his eye that came right before a bite so I could end the feeding.

I’m sure some of this behavior serves a purpose. It probably causes mom’s milk to let down faster, or makes it flow more quickly. Maybe it even puts more fat in the milk. I’ve seen cats and puppies do the same to their mommies. Even calves butt their little heads against mom to get things flowing.

Of course, teaching nursing manners is very important. Not only for mom’s comfort, but because it is one of the most important lessons in life:

That there are two people in this relationship, and if you want to keep getting the good stuff, then in the words of  Otis Redding, you got to, got to, try a little tenderness.

Like all of us, babies are just a little bit selfish. Greedy, even. We want our milky and we want it nee-owww! Reminding baby that s/he has to get food in a way that doesn’t hurt mom is frustrating for baby at first but will pay off later.

Some more breastfeeding manners I’ve found helpful to teach baby over the years:

  • Euphemisms are good. It’s not so fun when your toddler screams “I wanna nurse!” in the checkout line at Target. But nobody knows what mee-mees or nee-ners are.
  • It’s not ok to reach in, grab and pull it out the neckline of mom’s shirt.
  • Don’t go braless. Keep your nursing bra on and the other side done up- much like husbands, nursing babies can’t resist dangling participles.
  • If mom wants to be modest, you have to deal with a little shirt in your face.
  • Keep your hands to yourself. (One caveat: be careful when nursing an undiapered baby, especially a boy. They really enjoy keeping their hands to themselves. Ahem.)

I’ve also found it handy to busy baby’s hands with something else interesting. The need to twiddle something seems to peak before and right when baby develops the pincer grasp, that skill that will eventually enable him to pick old moldy raisins and lint off the carpet to eat.

In the meantime, this is why God invented nursing necklaces, but anything else will do: a small toy, or something interesting on your clothing (big buttons, appliques, a brooch, etc). I’m told that as a baby, I had a penchant for rubbing my mother’s silky pajamas while nursing.  Whatever works.

What do you think? Did your baby have bad nursing habits? How did you handle it?


carrie <![CDATA[Big Brother]]> 2010-10-21T15:58:47Z 2010-10-21T15:50:08Z a

I try to tear big brother’s lips off.

Oddly, they stay attached to his face.

I find this funny.

Mostly, when I sit with big brother, I just like to chill.


carrie <![CDATA[How To Unspoil Your Child]]> 2010-10-12T13:21:19Z 2010-10-12T13:21:19Z a

When I got a review copy of this book I was quite excited to read it. While I don’t consider any of my children spoiled, I was currently struggling with one of my kids who was clearly in a phase of “disequilibrium”.

(Actually I have to clarify that statement because I believe ALL American children are spoiled in comparison with kids around the world. But I digress.)

The poutiest
Creative Commons License photo credit: elvissa

This particular child was at a place where s/he expected to get his or her way or there would often be whining or pouting.

Not attractive.

It seems that the appearance of the book in the mail corresponded with her naturally growing out of this phase. Sigh. These kids are always changing on us. This situation had caused me some distress for months and then it just improved on its own overnight. Oh well.

Nonetheless, the book is excellent and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Without resorting to spankings, yelling or other authoritarian parenting techniques, it outlines a plan you can begin almost immediately to unspoil a kid.

My favorite chapters were the ones on “Grab Their Attention/Shock and Awe Them“. Basically these point out the fact that sometimes children need a not-to-be-denied reminder of parental authority. This doesn’t mean a screaming Mimi momma fit or grounding for a year. (In fact going overboard or getting emotional AT ALL will ruin the whole plan.)

Unspoiling, according to the author, is not so much about what you DO, it’s about what you don’t do. It’s about calmly taking the child’s allowance back when the child gripes that it’s not enough. It’s about putting the toy back on the shelf when the child begs for two. It’s about not hitting up the Starbucks drive thru for a kid’s hot cocoa every single time you run errands. It’s about not feeling guilty when you take time for yourself and your spouse. It’s about just saying No with love.

In our current culture where people have more wealth and more choices than ever, yet are more discontented and unhappy than ever, this book will help you raise grateful happy kids. (In short, easily digested chapters for parents who don’t have much time to read.)

You can grab a copy of How to Unspoil Your Child Fast: A Speedy, Complete Guide to Contented Children and Happy Parents on Amazon.

Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this review. I did get a copy of the book so I could read it and write this here review. Duh.

Quick question: Would you be interested in hearing an interview of the author for more info about UnSpoiling your child?


carrie <![CDATA[3 Months Old]]> 2010-10-06T16:21:52Z 2010-10-06T16:21:52Z a


You’re 3 months old now.

It’s funny, I can’t really imagine my life without you.

I listed all my maternity clothes on Craigslist yesterday. The time you spent in my belly seems like a blur now.

Your Daddy can hardly believe how happy you are.

You figured out something really cool several weeks ago. It’s called “bringing your hands to the midline”. That’s fancy talk for: You can put your hands to your mouth now! I’ve even seen you put *both* fists in your mouth at the same time!

It also means you can grab fistfuls of mommy’s hair, clutch brother by the collar, and pull your skirt up to your face.

You have a tickle spot on your right side, under your ear. Just like mommy! If I nuzzle you there you go into fits of giggles. Your brother has been convinced for awhile that you are ticklish under your arms, and I saw you get chillbumps the other day when he tickled you so now I believe it.

You have been laughing out loud at me for a long time. Your smile seems to take over your face. It’s as if your entire body smiles. You curl up your legs and bring your hands in front of your face. It’s the sweetest thing.

There is something you don’t like.

It scares you when Mom or Dad holds you facing out and walks down stairs. Mommy knows to face you to her chest and hold you really tight. But sometimes Daddy forgets. The other day you got so mad at him! You threw your arms out and stiffened up and screamed and your face turned all red.

Your older sibs still line up in the morning to see who can hold you first.

Who can blame them?


carrie <![CDATA[Character Development and Free Printable Worksheets]]> 2010-09-29T16:09:42Z 2010-09-29T15:42:18Z a

I told Sadie, 5, that I was working on a curriculum for character development for our homeschool.

She said:

“I want my character to be Dora!”

“No sweetie I don’t mean a cartoon character. Character development means the kind of person you are.”

“I know what kind of person I am!”

“I know honey. I mean being an even better person, the best person you can be.

If you’re like most homeschoolers, your children’s character development is every bit as important to you (perhaps more important) as their academic success.

scratch test
Creative Commons License photo credit: jimmiehomeschoolmom

I decided that this year we were going to spend one week delving into one character trait. Initially I wrote down a whole list of character traits that I wanted to study. But then, I stumbled upon this site:  Character Counts. I realized that the characteristics I had listed all fell under the 6 pillars.

So I created a curriculum for us. It’s really quite simple, and I am sharing the character development worksheet I typed out. (It’s a Google doc.)

Our character development curriculum will look something like this:

  1. I introduce the character trait of the week by reading a definition of it.
  2. We discuss and fill out the worksheet together.
  3. Through the week we read stories and books (aloud as a group and separately) about people who demonstrated this trait – whether that be Bible stories, fictional characters, or biographies of real people in history. (Even animals demonstrate character in a sense – ants are diligent, lions courageous, etc.) Since we go to the library once a week, I’m going to reserve books ahead of time so they’ll be waiting for us when we go.
  4. Sadie (who is too young to fill out the worksheet) will draw a picture of someone demonstrating the characteristic. (A kid cleaning their room would demonstrate Responsibility, a sister sharing is demonstrating Caring, etc). The other kids can do this in addition to the worksheet if they like.
  5. During the week we look for examples of how we can demonstrate the character trait and of how we may have failed to do so (that part is mostly my job. :-) I’m hoping that this repetition will help the kids internalize the meaning of good character as well as help them with vocabulary.

I got a file folder for each of the kids and inside it put 6 copies of the worksheet (one for each character trait) and the printout of the definition of the 6 pillars.  They can also put notes, booklists, journal pages, drawings etc in there.The kids will keep these all year for review as needed. ( Read: when they’re being naughty and need a reminder!)

Please feel free to share the worksheet with anyone you wish, you can also edit it if you like (not via Google docs, you’ll have to copy and paste it to create a new one).

Here’s the link again: Free printable character development worksheet for homeschoolers. (If you aren’t Christian, you could easily remove the references to God and scripture and replace them with something appropriate for your family.)

How do you do character development in your homeschool? Do you have any resources to recommend?


carrie <![CDATA[Potty Training Question]]> 2010-09-26T17:58:43Z 2010-09-26T17:57:24Z a

A reader emailed me with the following question:

I read your article, ‘How To Potty Train a Toddler In Two Days‘ and I fell in love with your advice. I have a two year old, and it is time to potty train him! You said in your article to sit him on the potty every 10 minute, but you did not say for how long. So how long should the child sit on the potty? I am very excited about potty training him the way you said b/c before I read your article it was a hit and miss on the potty training! Thanks in advance.”
Site Owner, Blog Consultant at UrbanChik
An Urban Blog with a Southern Belle Twist!
Creative Commons License photo credit: juhansonin
Thanks for the compliment Tonya and I’m glad the method is working for you. With my toddlers,  I found that sitting them on the potty about every 20 minutes or so worked well.
Sometimes I set a timer and when it would go off, I would say “The timer went off, it’s time to sit on the potty!”. It removes any power struggle that might come up when you’re asking a young child to interrupt their activities.
I also required the toddler to sit for just a moment. If they wanted to jump up right away I would encourage them to sit still for just a bit. I had books available next to the potty for them to look at so they would be willing to sit. This gives their bodies time to relax for a minute.
Hope that helps. Happy potty training!


carrie <![CDATA[How To Have Natural Childbirth]]> 2010-09-23T15:32:25Z 2010-09-23T15:23:32Z a

The other day a young friend of mine, who is pregnant with her first child, posted something about her desire to have a natural childbirth on her Facebook page.


You know what really upsets me?

When a woman states her desire to have a natural childbirth experience and immediately other moms come out of the woodwork to discourage her.

If a woman doesn’t want to experience unmedicated birth, fine. And sometimes there are complicated pregnancies and births that require special circumstances. And well I’m surely grateful we have the technology to help women and babies when it’s truly needed.

But please. Why discourage a mother who does want a natural birth?

If an engaged woman told her friends she wanted to have a happy marriage, would she be regaled with tales of her friend’s grisly divorces? Would she hear, “Well that’s nice, but that’s not realistic. Have a lawyer handy, just in case. Nobody has a happy marriage, half of marriages fail and most people cheat and blah blah blah blah my uterus exploded.”

See what I’m getting at? It reminds me of the proverbial arrel of monkeys. The monkey on top tries to escape but the other ones pull him back down into the barrel.

So this post is dedicated to my friend. I’ll call it:

How To Have Natural Childbirth

Creative Commons License photo credit: eyeliam

Read, read, read.

In order to have natural childbirth you need to normalize birth in your mind. Most people these days have a medical concept of childbirth. They think of pregnancy and birth as dangerous.

Yet for a healthy woman having an uneventful pregnancy (morning sickness is not an event by the way), birth is as safe as life gets.

Birth is what our bodies were designed to do, just like they were designed to digest food and walk.

One exception: DON’T read What To Expect When You’re Expecting. That book will have you waking up with night terrors at all the obscure nobody’s-ever-heard-of-it-pregnancy-and-birth-complications. You don’t need to feed your brain on that.

Read books that support natural childbirth and alternative birth options. Ina May Gaskin’s books are wonderful. Read birth stories, especially the ones that appear on a site like this.

Birth with a midwife.

A lay or direct entry midwife is preferable, but a Certified Nurse Midwife is also an excellent option over an OB. Why?

An OB is trained to deal with complicated pregnancies and births, and are needed… for complicated pregnancies and births. But for a healthy woman having an uncomplicated pregnancy, an OB is overkill. You know the expression “When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail?” Umm, yeah.

Midwives have a different worldview. They believe that birth is natural and normal, and they also minimize the amount of tests that you will be asked to take during your pregnancy. Tests that have a high rate of false positives that can freak you out totally.

Stay active.

Exercise and stay as active as possible. It’s good for you, good for the baby and helps make labor easier and shorter. Keep having sex too. Women who are sexually active at the end of their pregnancies are less likely to deliver prematurely or to go post dates.

Exercise also makes you feel good about your body and more confident, two qualities that are essential for natural childbirth.

Close Other Options.

Consider homebirth. Since medication for pain relief is simply not an option, you won’t be able to choose it. A professional midwife will be able to help you manage pain naturally. She might encourage you to labor in a pool of warm water, use essential oils that are analgesic and relaxing, take herbs that strengthen the uterus, use massage and other comfort techniques.

Even if you wouldn’t consider homebirth, simply decide that you won’t use medications. If that is your goal and determination, you’ll hit it. If you have a “wait and see” attitude, you’re aiming at nothing… and you’ll probably hit it.

My first child was the only one born in a hospital, but I posted a labor plan on the wall and politely grunted and pointed to everyone who came into the room to read it. I wasn’t going to let stuff just happen to me. I had decided ahead of time and was determined to stick with my plan unless a true emergency came up.

Educate yourself on the risks of interventions.

Yes, there are risks to every birth intervention. Yes, the medication does affect the baby (and you). Sometimes pain meds don’t “take”. They also complicate labor, leading to a slippery slope of interventions. When your body is drugged it can’t labor as effectively.

Watch natural childbirth videos.

Along with reading stories of normal, intervention-free births, watching videos of natural birth will also normalize it for you. “If she can do it, so can I” kinda thing.

Keep it in perspective.

One of the most helpful things anyone did or said to me during labor to help me deal with the pain was two sentences my Aunt-In-Law said to me on the phone when I was in labor with my first.

Remember Carrie, billions of other women have done this before you. You can do it too.”

That totally puts it into perspective, doesn’t it? A laboring woman isn’t special. She isn’t climbing Mt. Everest. She’s doing something that billions of other women have done, without painkillers, since the beginning of time.

Yes, it hurts. Yes, you can do it. The pain of childbirth actually serves a useful purpose: it sets you up for a lovely cascade of endorphins as soon as the pain ends. When the baby is born these feel-good hormones help you bond with your baby and fall in love with him. What’s more, not all women describe labor as painful. Some describe it as “interesting”. Some describe it as merely hard work. Some have called it pleasurable or even orgasmic. If you ask me, it feels a lot like bad period cramps. Painful but not intolerable.

Talk to other moms who have had the birth you desire.

You probably already know who these women are but if you don’t have them in your own community, seek them out at places like La Leche League meetings, Holistic Moms groups, etc. Ask them about their birth and what they did to prepare themselves physically and emotionally for natural childbirth.

Avoid the topic with women who you know are negative about birth, mothering, breastfeeding or just whiny negative types in general. Steer the conversation away. You have to understand that some women feel guilt about their birth experience and their negativity is coming from that place. It’s a good thing to try to honor their feelings without getting sucked into their fear and guilt. (This is especially true of your female relatives.)

What about you? If you had natural childbirth, what helped you have the birth experience you wanted?


carrie <![CDATA[You Might Be The Baby In a Large Family]]> 2010-09-22T20:28:38Z 2010-09-22T18:31:16Z a


photo credit: Valocity StudiosCreative Commons License

(By the way, this isn’t my family. This is just a nice looking family I found by searching stock photos.)

You Might Be The Baby In a Large Family If…

  • If your wardrobe is monstrously huge (so huge that mom just throws away pieces that get stained instead of bothering with stain removal), but not one piece of it new, you might be the baby in a large family.
  • And if you have several Rubbermaid containers full of clothing in the basement to grow into.
  • If you say your first word at one week of age (both my youngest baby and my youngest nephew said their first words, clear as a bell, as tiny newborns).
  • If you have several people lined up first thing in the morning asking if they can be first to hold you.
  • If you have no baby book or scrapbook, and all the pics snapped of you were taken by grandparents or older siblings, you might be the baby in a large family.
  • If your mom never bothered to show up for her 6 week postpartum checkup.
  • If you can’t fall asleep when it’s too quiet.
  • If your every spit up, fart and poop happen before an audience of spectators (with accompanying commentary).
  • If your Mom was at Home Depot, the grocery store, or IKEA while in labor just minutes before you were born.
  • If the midwife barely made it to your birth.
  • If 3 or more siblings help you get strapped into your car seat.
  • If all your cloth diapers are stained. Before you started wearing them.
  • If the question of “Who gets to cut the cord?” requires a family meeting.
  • If Mom can’t remember your name most of the time (or calls you by your sister’s name(s).
  • If your Mom wouldn’t let anyone throw her a baby shower.
  • If your older siblings could lead a breastfeeding education meeting.
  • If your arrival meant that your parents had to buy a larger vehicle.
  • If your Mom did nothing but lie about and hold you until you were two weeks old because your older siblings did the cooking, cleaning and laundry.
  • And finally, if you’re 10 weeks old and your Mom still hasn’t gotten around to giving you your first bath, you might be the baby in a large family.


carrie <![CDATA[TTT: 10 Ways to Earn Amazon Commissions with Your Blog]]> 2010-09-07T16:17:47Z 2010-09-07T16:17:47Z a

how to earn amazon commissions with your mom blog

Amazon is one of the largest online retailers and while their affiliate program doesn’t pay the highest commissions, it’s easy to use and their offerings are vast.

Even if you’re not a full time affiliate marketer, you can make money with your mom blog as an Amazon affiliate. In fact, if you plan and create a solid strategy, you can make a nice income as an Amazon affiliate.

Here are ten ways to earn (or increase) your Amazon affiliate commissions.

How to Earn Amazon Commissions With Your Mom Blog

#1  Choose products that interest your target market. You could promote lawn mowers for a hefty commission, but if you talk about mom topics, it’s unlikely that that product will convert well. It’s tempting to slap an Amazon banner on your website and hope someone will buy, however it rarely works that way. Instead, you need to promote specific products that relate to your blog’s main topics.

#2 Take note of trends. What are the bestselling books and products in your niche? Search Amazon’s bestsellers and figure out how to integrate them into your content.

#3 Think seasonal. What are people interested in now? Currently it’s back to school and other topics that are relevant in early Autumn. How about a Top Ten tips list that mentions some helpful product that can solve a mom’s problem? Use your Amazon affiliate link when you mention that product.

#4 Do product reviews. If you’ve been blogging for any length of time, it’s likely that you’re being pitched by marketers who want you to review their product. Even if you’re paid to do so, why not use an affiliate link when you mention the product (assuming Amazon offers it)? If you really like the product, (and even if you don’t- some people will buy the product even if you hated it) , your post will earn you income over and over.

#5 Look around your home. One way to quickly boost your Amazon earnings is to go around your home with a pen and paper. Write down the names of products you use every day and love. Your favorite cloth diaper, a book that’s been very helpful to you, your favorite cookbook, even food and cleaning products – then look for these items on Amazon. Commit to publishing a really well written review on these products and link to them frequently in the upcoming weeks and months.

#6  Provide great content. People visit your blog to learn, to solve their problems and to be entertained. Great content can accomplish this and keep people coming back. Instead of just randomly linking to products on Amazon, naturally interweave your affiliate link where appropriate. People will respect you more if they know you’re sincere.

Mom and the Birthday Girl
Creative Commons License photo credit: Sugar Pond

#7 Free ebooks and downloads. Why not collect together some of your best reviews, blog posts, recipes or tips (populated with Amazon affiliate links of course) and offer them as a free download? Some people would rather read and or print an ebook than search through your archives.  It’s also a nice incentive for newsletter or RSS subscribers. Some mom bloggers have had great success with gift guides. Try it!

#8 Just Ask! There is nothing wrong with asking your faithful readers to buy through your Amazon link. I always make a point to go to a friend’s blog and searching for their Amazon link before I purchase an item. I don’t want the commission to be wasted when I could be helping out another mom blogger. Show your Amazon link prominently and remind your readers that they can “tip” you (without costing themselves an extra penny) by buying through your Amazon link.

#9 Test and track. Measure your results. Don’t just cut and paste and hope, track which links get high click throughs, conversions and track which banner ads people actually click on. Amazon makes this easy with their affiliate user interface. When you know what your readers are most interested in buying, you can use this information to increase your affiliate income AND it will give you useful info if you decide to create your OWN product to sell.

#10 Book reviews. Last but not least, write great book reviews. Cookbooks, fiction, non-fiction, kid’s books, homeschool books, you name it – Moms are readers. Probably every book you’ve read can be found at Amazon, why not write a monthly book review and provide useful and interesting content to your readers and earn Amazon commissions over and over from that review?

Extra tip for good behavior:

#11 Fundraising. This isn’t really a way for YOU to earn money with your Amazon commission, but you might be able to help your local nonprofit group earn easy money by helping them set up an Amazon affiliate id. I did this for a La Leche League group. Every month they earn a little money with no work by simply mentioning to the moms who attend their meetings that they can help out the group by buying through their Amazon link (posted prominently on the group’s website). has been a tidy source of affiliate income for me for several years now. Almost all of my earnings come passively now, from content I wrote months and years ago. It’s a nice thing! With a little planning and work, you can earn or grow your Amazon check. (Or direct deposit. Love that!)

Do you have a mom blog? What are your favorite Amazon tips?


carrie <![CDATA[Ennui]]> 2010-09-02T16:31:40Z 2010-09-02T16:18:57Z a



— n
a feeling of listlessness and general dissatisfaction resulting from lack of activity or excitement.

I am so bored.

Maybe even a teensy bit depressed.

But not sad really, just …


I have no motivation. I want to do things (rearrange furniture, get ready for a huge yard sale, plan some field trips, sell a bunch of stuff on eBay and Craigslist, blog every single day, work on my websites, get together with some new homeschool moms I met, etc) but I can’t seem to strum up the oomph to actually DO any of it.

I’m so boring right now. I can’t stand myself.

I’m not sleeping too much or too little or eating too much or too little. I just feel this vague ennui.

Do you ever feel like that?

What do you do about it?

It may be a kind of postpartum letdown, I suppose. There’s all this excitement and stuff to DO around having a baby.

Then, everything is kind of the same for awhile.

I was really good at slowing down postpartum this time. Unlike my other births, I really forced myself to sit down and rest. I let things go. I’m glad of that, because I don’t feel exhausted now. I took care of myself.

But now, I spend a lot of time sitting. And nursing. And sitting. And holding a baby.

Which is wonderful. Don’t get me wrong.

It’s just…. sameness.

Sameness in a Lois Lowry kind of way.

So much routine. Doing the same things over and over again.

Ruby smiles at me, and my whole day lights up. It’s wonderful.I love being her mother. And a mom, in general.

But I need something else.

More exercise, probably. I’m trying to do it. It’s not easy when you have a baby who wants to nurse every 30 minutes. I can scarcely manage a shower until big Z comes home.

So that it doesn’t turn into something more serious, I’m trying to take care of myself. I’m taking my fish oil and tyrosine. I’m eating protein and avoiding too many carbs and sugars. It’s just that I feel myself craving caffeine for the antidepressant effects, and I don’t want to get addicted to it again. I’ve been caffeine free for a year now.

I want to work more on my business (including this blog).  I know it would make me feel better. But I don’t want to take time away from the baby when she’s awake. And I have a homeschool schedule to keep up. And a husband and house to serve.

I know it’s probably at this point when some women start to feel “crazy” at home. They start thinking about getting an outside job. Not me. I couldn’t leave my kids to do that.

I miss my friends.

It’s hard to have a social life and be the kind of mom I want to be. Things were different before, when my kids went to their Dad’s overnight every other weekend. I got to play, to let my hair down and be me.

Now I have a baby.

And I love it, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t change a thing.

It’s just…..

hard sometimes to meet your need for adult interaction and stimulation and challenge.

When you have a large family, people don’t invite you over.

How can I get together with the mommies-with-new-babies when I have several other children in tow?

I see the moms hanging out, post stroller workout, at Starbucks. A coffee klatch.

How nice.I’m so envious.

But I can’t do that. It’s  not my life.

How do mothers of larger broods deal with this challenge?

It’s hard when you have older kids with needs and new babies with needs. All different kinds of needs. And you have needs too.

I know.

It has to fall on me. I have to be the one to reach out, to invite people to my home. That means I have to plan ahead. That seems hard right now. Hard but worth it.

I have to get out and walk for the exercise and sunshine, even if it means letting something else slide. I have to take the kids to the park so I can get out of the house more, even if it means spending a little less time on schoolwork. I  have to invite someone over even if the house isn’t perfect and I’m still fat. I have to set some goals and get excited about meeting them.

What do you do when you have a case of the blahs?

More I’ve written on this topic:

What the Funk

4 Ways to Get Out of a Bad Mood


carrie <![CDATA[Sadie]]> 2010-09-02T01:39:21Z 2010-09-02T01:30:35Z a

5 years ago today my Sadie was born.

Hers was my easiest birth.

Quick too.

(The midwife almost didn’t make it.)

She is spunk personified.

She has more personality in her pinky finger than most people have in their whole body.

There have been proposals of marriage.


She is inquisitive and curious.

And totally fearless.

She’s always singing.

She composes songs and accompanies herself on the piano or guitar.

(Not many people have a Beatles song with their name in it.)

A shameless flirt.

And not the least bit modest.

(When you got it, flaunt it!)

Her name is Hebrew for “Princess”.

She has stolen my heart utterly.


carrie <![CDATA[Colic and the Breastfed Baby]]> 2010-08-31T19:13:04Z 2010-08-31T18:59:34Z a

Here’s another great question from a reader:

What is the best suggestion you have for a colic baby that is breastfed?

colic and the breastfed baby
Creative Commons License photo credit: iskir

Colic usually refers to babies who cry for long periods of time, especially in the evenings, typically starting a few weeks after birth. Some experts say that colic doesn’t exist, and there is a legitimate reason for the crying, that it will resolve when the issue is addressed. Others insist on using colic as a catch-all diagnosis. Either way, a mom would be highly motivated to try to help her baby.

Colicky babies are nearly inconsolable during their crying spells. Although breastfed babies tend to experience colic less than their formula-fed counterparts, it is still very much possible for a breastfed baby to have colic. Even though opinions differ as to what causes colic, there are some things that may be contributing to a breastfed baby’s crying and pain that parents may want to know of.

Colic and The Breastfed Baby

One reason for a breastfed baby’s crying may be that they are not getting the adequate amount of fat during a feeding. Breastfeeding mothers are often taught to breastfeed on each breast during each feeding session. This is done to relieve engorgement of the breasts and stimulate mom’s milk supply. However, what this can also do is prevent the baby from receiving enough of the healthy fats in the breast milk.

During letdown in the beginning of a feeding, the baby receives foremilk, which is a lower-fat consistency of milk (kind of like skim milk). The foremilk quenches the baby’s thirst and immediate hunger.

But as the feeding goes on, fat globules begin to make their way down the ducts toward the nipple. The baby then receives hind milk, which has a higher fat content and can keep the baby feeling fuller longer (like cream). If the mother feeds on one breast at a time during feedings, she is ensuring their baby receives hind milk, which can help reduce colic.

For a newborn or young baby, switching breasts during feedings can be especially problematic because their appetite is smaller. The hind milk tends to come after mom’s milk has letdown more than once.

How can you tell if this might be a problem? Baby has green poops. Green poops can indicate that baby is getting too much foremilk and not enough hind milk.

This was an issue with my oldest child. Since I had never nursed a baby before and was insecure about him getting enough, I switched sides too often. This led to him becoming fussy and having green poops. When I learned to keep him on ONE side for an entire feeding, sometimes even two feedings, the problem went away.

If this is uncomfortable for mom since the other breast remains full, the mother can pump the other side or hand express a small amount to relieve engorgement before the next feeding.

Some mothers may also have a rapid letdown, which can release a lot of milk into the baby’s mouth at once, causing them to cough and spit, struggling to keep up and swallowing a lot of air in the process. Mothers with an overactive letdown can pump out a small amount of milk before putting their baby on the breast, to reduce the rapid amount of milk going into the mouth when the baby first latches on. Nursing while lying down can help, as can sitting baby up (as in a football hold) for feeds. Burping can also help some babies.

Although nursing mothers are not prohibited from eating certain foods in their diet, some mothers may notice that some foods can cause their baby to become gassy. Colic will usually pass on its own but if there is a family history of dairy allergy she could try cutting out dairy. Eating fiber and vegetables like beans, onions or spices do NOT cause colic or gas. This is actually impossible, since it’s undigested carbohydrates that causes gas pain in the Mom, and these cannot pass into breastmilk.

Wearing a baby sling can help comfort a crying baby.

Babies who are “worn” cry less according to research.

It’s important to remember that unlike formula-fed babies who are often fed on a schedule, breastfed babies often have their own schedule. Nursing on demand can help reduce colic, because they will be fed when hungry and not force fed when not hungry.

Iron supplements (like those in prenatal vitamins) can bother some babies. When my second child, who was very calm by nature starting crying, I called my Naturopath who advised that I stop taking my prenatals for this reason. When I did, the crying stopped.

Did your breastfed baby experience colic? How did you help him or her feel better?


Crying baby, stressed mom


carrie <![CDATA[To My Husband, On Our First Anniversary]]> 2010-08-24T19:46:52Z 2010-08-24T19:43:11Z a

My Dear Z,

I want you to know how much I appreciate you and all the things you do for our family.

This might sound odd, but I’ve been thinking of that young woman you dated before you met me. The one from Colorado, who said you “weren’t sophisticated enough”.

What a silly little fool she is.

What she doesn’t know is that she might go on to meet and marry that sophisticated guy. And that he’ll flirt with every other woman he sees. He might be arrogant and insist on always having his way. He might be narcissistic and vain, not allowing her to express herself when they disagree, always interrupting. He might be too immature to get along with a boss in order to make a decent living. He might not be faithful to her, and he might break her heart over and over again.

I’m a whole lot smarter than her, and I know what’s important.

Love isn’t silly fairy tales and butterflies and breaking up with someone just because they listen to country music and you don’t.

Love is remembering that she wanted to go see Dave Ramsey live and buying her tickets. Love is taking her to eat Indian on your anniversary because it’s her favorite. It’s being challenged and sick and even bored together yet still supporting each other. It’s holding hands and telling her she’s a wonderful mother. It’s filling her tank with gas and washing the car on Friday night.  Love is telling her she’s beautiful when she’s a week postpartum. It’s offering to rub her back every time she mentions it hurts. It’s in letting her pick the chick flick when you would rather see the action thriller, and her suggesting you go mountain biking when you’re stressed.  Love is brushing your teeth and putting lipstick on before he comes home from work. It’s not raising your voice when you’re angry. 

Love means saying you’re sorry.

What’s real and what’s important is having someone who will brew his coffee downstairs in the basement and give up bacon for months because the smell of it is unbearable to your pregnant nose. Someone who brings you breakfast in bed because cooking made you so sick.

What’s important is having someone who listens when you talk, who is kind, who is patient with children, and who works to earn a good living. Someone who changes diapers and cries when his baby comes into the world. (Yes, you did.)

Shortly after we got married, a never-been-married single friend asked me how I knew you were The One.

My response?

“He makes me feel safe.”

I know that you would never hurt me or my children.

I’m so thankful that you work hard for our family so that I don’t have to. I’m able to spend more time with my children since I don’t have to be the primary income earner. I’m thankful that you are a spiritual man and that you are humble and allow Him to shape you. I’m grateful that you are willing to admit when you’ve been wrong.

Not many men would have married a woman with 4 children, but you did. I couldn’t ask for a better stepfather. I’m grateful that you don’t have a bad temper, that you are kind and loving to children that aren’t your own flesh and blood. I’m very fortunate.

We’ve been through a lot in a year.

We’ve had spiritual crisis, financial difficulties, sickness and legal trouble, emotional turmoil and drama from people who would love to see our family torn apart.  We’ve merged two families and created a new baby.

I think we could get through just about anything now.

As the saying goes, some places are nice to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there. People are like that too.

You’re a good place to live.

I’m glad I chose you.

photo: marianne taylor photography


carrie <![CDATA[These Eyes]]> 2010-08-19T17:59:28Z 2010-08-19T17:59:00Z a

She is still my baby.

She is spunk personified.

She has a dimple in her left cheek.

And two beauty marks.

Just in case you get lost.

Couldn’t you get lost in these eyes?


carrie <![CDATA[Big Sister]]> 2010-08-16T15:57:03Z 2010-08-16T15:47:38Z a


Today it’s just me and my girls.

The boys are spending the night with Grandma and little Z is at school.

Ilana Rose is very enamored with her baby sister Ruby Zofia.

Obviously the feeling is mutual.

I love the conversation that is taking place here.

If I hadn’t snapped these pictures, I wouldn’t have seen it.

“Shh, shh, it’s ok baby.”

“I’ll take care of you.”

Sometimes she’s a bit overconfident.

Little Mama.

She thinks she can do what I do.

She makes Big Z a little nervous.

Ruby is trying so hard to tell her big sister something.

Something important.

Maybe a secret.

A secret whispered among sisters.

Can you hear it?


carrie <![CDATA[10 Month Old Nursing/Sleeping Issues]]> 2010-08-15T14:34:40Z 2010-08-15T14:04:39Z a

I got this email from a friend and thought I would post it here in case anyone else had some ideas for this mom.

Dear Carrie,

Aidan (not his real name) is almost 10 months and I am still nursing. I have noticed that over the past month or so he nurses more and more for comfort and for going to sleep. He nurses about 3-4 times during the day and it usually coincides with napping.

Snooze.  027/365
Creative Commons License photo credit: //amy//

At night I have to nurse for him to go to sleep and each time he wakes up he will not go back to sleep until I nurse him again. You can’t just pat him or console him.

He sleeps with us and has since he was born. He wakes up to nurse anywhere for 2 to 4 times a night. The only times he will fall asleep without nursing is while in the car  or the rare cases when we are out and rocking him (these times though take a long time and he is really so tired he passes out).

Here are my two major concerns:

1. He goes to sleep before we do and also naps alone. This is now really unsafe because he is mobile! He can sit up and crawl so leaving him in our bed is very dangerous. But he is a very light sleeper. I am unable to move him once he is asleep….he wakes up each time and wants to nurse again. I have tried many things and nothing is working, any suggestions?

These are a few of things I have tried so far:

- Nursing while holding him and once he is asleep putting him in his own bed – he wakes up each time as I’m putting him down….screams and cries (to the point he throws up) until I pick him up.

- Nursing him the same way he is used to (while I am laying beside him)…once asleep picking him up and moving him.  I can get him all the way to the new bed and he wakes up.

- Rocking him to sleep – this takes a couple of hours – then once he is asleep we are unable to put him down without him waking up. (the couple of times I was able to put him down without him waking up he only slept for about 10 mins and then woke up screaming until I got him)

2. He will not take a pacifier or suck his thumb…..nursing is the only thing the “pacifies” him. Which means I am the only one that puts him to bed. Also, as I start weaning him from nursing for nourishment I am also faced with the fact that he uses nursing as a comfort to go to sleep.

I am totally lost here and as more time goes by I feel that the remedy will be harder and harder. Please let me know what you think. Thank you so much!

Mommy M

My response:

Hey M,

There is a great book that I recommend by Elizabeth Pantley called The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night.

It has tons of great suggestions and is very breastfeeding-mom friendly.  It doesn’t encourage a cry it out approach like some of the other books about sleep.

Nighttime Parenting: How to Get Your Baby and Child to Sleep by Dr and Mrs Sears would also be great.

Anyway… been there done that! I’ve been in a similar situation a couple of times. Is it a problem for your family meaning you and hubby) that he needs you at night? Because if it isn’t, he’ll eventually grow out of it, I promise!

A baby that age is going through so many changes. Teething, getting mobile, etc… that waking (and therefore, nursing) more at night is their way of coping. Two steps forward, one step back… you’ve figured out that it’s MUCH more than just milk (nourishment) for them.

I know it’s sometimes hard to get everyone’s needs met. Baby needs comfort, mama needs sleep, daddy needs… attention.  Have you thought of getting him a toddler or twin bed in his own room and nursing him to sleep there then sneaking off? You could buy one of those little youth beds (like the ones from IKEA) that is low to the ground and has side rails. That might be an option.

Let me know if any of that helps. Time tends to fix all these issues, all babies eventually become independent at night. I promise!


She responded with another great idea of her own:

Mommy M:

Thank you so much….I guess just hearing a mommy say that he will grow out of it on his own makes me feel better. We do not like the cry it out method at all….so I will for sure look into those books.

My hubby just said last night that we should pull the mattress out of his crib and put it on the floor so I can put him to bed there and prevent the fall out of our bed. We still love him sleeping with us at night so most likely once we go to bed I will bring him in with us.

Do you have any other suggestions for helping an older baby learn to fall asleep?


carrie <![CDATA[Homeschool, 2010-2011]]> 2010-08-09T19:02:49Z 2010-08-09T18:37:40Z a

1:35 pm. It’s quiet time.

The kids are in their beds writing in their journals and reading books.

civil rights notebooking4
Creative Commons License photo credit: jimmiehomeschoolmom

The 12 year old has done vocabulary (he’s studying Latin and Greek root words) and sign language.

The 9 year old did math, language arts and reading. He helped his little sister with regrouping.

The 7 year old has completed her science, math and reading work.

The almost 5 year old practiced her letters and recited from memory “read” two books to me (ahem).

We haven’t done history yet (which we do altogether as a group), because I’m waiting for our history curriculum to arrive in the mail.

We read a chapter of the Bible together and discussed it.

We even managed to squeeze in grocery shopping.

Did I mention how much I love homeschooling?

A couple of things we’re doing differently this year:

I’ve been reading about Charlotte Mason and her educational philosophies, and I like what I’m learning. I’m adapting a few of her methods to our homeschool day. We’ll try it on for size and see how it works for us. I like the idea of short, ultra focused lessons that last 20 minutes. I like the idea of dictation, something we haven’t done before.

Are you doing anything new this year?


carrie <![CDATA[Handy Spray Review]]> 2010-08-05T15:32:31Z 2010-08-06T15:09:28Z a

handy sprayWhile I was pregnant, I was contacted about reviewing the Handy Spray. In a nutshell, Handy Spray is a hand-held “bidet” that hooks right on to your toilet and doesn’t require a plumber to install. It took my husband about 15 minutes to rig the thing. (In fact I could have done it myself, but my big pregnant belly got wouldn’t fit in the tiny space between my commode and the wall!)

I love this thing.

You know how often you have to visit the bathroom when you’re pregnant, right? So often that sometimes you develop a bit of a rash from toilet tissue? Not only is it more comfortable to clean yourself with water, it’s far more hygienic. (After all, if you got pee or poo on your *hands*, you wouldn’t rub them with dry paper to clean them, would you?)

After I had the baby, I found the Handy Spray really nice during the early postpartum period to soothe my, um.. perineal area. It’s also super nice for, um… freshening up after, um… certain activities involving hubby exercise. If you are troubled with hemorrhoids during pregnancy or postpartum, the water would be quite soothing for cleaning yourself too.

The only caveat with this product is that during winter, the water that comes from the sprayer is c-c-c-c-c-cold! It feels refreshing during the hot months but it can be a bit joltinghandy spray2 otherwise. Still, I used it frequently even during the winter months.

My thought that in addition to being used for its intended purpose, it will be awesome for cleaning cloth diapers once Ruby is eating solid foods and her poops are more formed.  Some companies market a similar device just for cloth diaper use. (A quick rinse will plop the poop into the toilet before you stash the diaper in the pail.)

You can see more about the Handy Spray here on It’s very affordable.

Disclaimer: I received no compensation for reviewing this product other than a sample of the item itself to facilitate the review. If you purchase the product through my link I will receive an affiliate commission.


carrie <![CDATA[Wordless Wednesday: Ruby Grins]]> 2010-08-05T18:14:27Z 2010-08-05T18:14:27Z a



carrie <![CDATA[Review: Motherlove Birth and Baby Oil]]> 2010-08-05T15:05:59Z 2010-08-05T15:05:59Z a

Motherlove Birth and Baby Oil

Review submitted by: Kirstan Graham

motherlove birth and baby oil
Motherlove Birth and Baby Oil is an organic apricot oil with a touch of lavender for multiple uses throughout pregnancy, birth and baby’s tender years. The oil itself is light and non-greasy. It easily rubs into skin leaving it smooth and infused with the delicate apricot and lavender scents minus the toxic ingredients of many other skin care products on the market.

The Birth and Baby oil has many lovely uses including moisturizing dry hormonal skin. A light amount rubbed into tight and itchy belly skin is a great relief from late pregnancy irritation.

Leading up to the big day the oil is a great choice for perineal massage if the mother has chosen to do so. The ingredients are natural and organic so they are safe for those most delicate areas and will not introduce questionable ingredients into the birth canal.

Primarily a great oil for baby massage, the added bonus as a treatment for cradle cap is where this product shines. Used much like a traditional olive oil treatment, rubbed on the scalp prior to bath time, left for 5-10 minutes to settle in and then washed out, the oils succeeds in breaking up the flakes and moisturizing the baby’s scalp. I found with my daughter that this treatment alone was sufficient in clearing up her rather extreme case of cradle cap. With only a few treatments her scalp has cleared up considerable, only producing a few isolated flakes here and there occasionally that are cleared right up with a fresh treatment when needed. Although the extra virgin olive oil is similarly effective, it leaves a greasy residue and is a more difficult to rinse out along with the strong Italian restaurant smell. In comparison the lighter apricot oil rinses out more thoroughly as well as leaving a fresh light aroma of fruity lavender that is by far more appealing.

I highly recommend this versatile oil for all of its pregnancy, birth and baby uses


carrie <![CDATA[Natural Moms Podcast #142]]> 2010-08-09T13:20:37Z 2010-08-05T14:29:38Z a

michal's website photo 2010My guest this week is Dr. Michal Regev. She is a Registered Psychologist and a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist.  Her website is at

Our topic is mood disorders and depression during pregnancy.

We discuss why women get depressed during pregnancy, symptoms that present and what treatment options are available.

While postpartum depression has received much media attention, many of us are in the dark regarding mood disorders during pregnancy.

According to Dr. Regev, “Between 10-15% of pregnant women develop serious depression while some struggle with anxiety, panic, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bi-polar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Health care professionals (and families) often fail to recognize the symptoms, so it’s important that we educate ourselves for the well-being of ourselves and our babies.


carrie <![CDATA[Quiet Time]]> 2010-07-20T20:15:43Z 2010-07-20T20:13:33Z a

Leave me in peace...I'm trying to read

Quiet Time

One of the most helpful routines I’ve added to our day since baby’s arrival is an hour long “Quiet Time”.

Do your kids still nap?

None of mine do (except, of course, the baby). Every Mom grieves the end of naptime!

I needed a guaranteed, solid block of time to rest, to have peace and quiet around the house. Especially with a newborn. (At 2 weeks postpartum, I’m still napping once or twice a day.)

Enter Quiet Time.

The concept is simple:

From 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM, the kids are required to stay in their beds and rest. They may read or sleep if they like, or play quietly with toys. No electronics allowed. And for sibs who share a room, no talking.

Interestingly, the two oldest seem to love quiet time the most, and often stay in their rooms for closer to 2 hours. Little Z, who is 10, uses the time to sleep. So does Sadie, almost 5 – who gave up napping two years ago.

The middles sometimes complain about it (frequent opening of doors, going potty every 20 minutes, asking to watch a movie instead, etc), but they still comply. To help them out, my Mom (while she was here helping out) started giving them a little treat/snack as a reward for staying in their rooms and “doing” quiet time.

I’ve definitely noticed a positive change in the kids – they seem to enjoy having a little break from one another. Of course the rest and quiet are good for their mood. They aren’t as hyper before bedtime either. For me, quiet time is a wonderful example of positive, proactive, gentle discipline. It prevents problems before they start, provides structure, and helps the children be their best.

During the homeschool year, I plan on having the 3 older kids read or journal during quiet time. They may be finishing up their schoolwork at that time, but it will be something “light” and enjoyable.

Do you have quiet time at your house?

photo credit: phil wood photo


carrie <![CDATA[Ten Reasons to Have Children]]> 2010-07-20T14:04:17Z 2010-07-20T13:28:04Z a

(This post was inspired by Kim at Life in a Shoe. I like her list but thought of a few reasons of my own so I’m adding them here.)

Top Ten Reasons to Have Children

  1. Birth. It’s one of the most amazing experiences in life. There’s nothing in the world like it.
  2. Falling in Love. We usually only get to feel this a few times in our life. That heady rush of emotions, the sleeplessness, the bliss, only existing for each other … you get to feel that every time you bring a new baby into the world.
  3. The Smell. You might think I’m weird if you don’t have children, but if you do you understand. Birth smells amazing. There’s nothing like it. It’s sweet, salty, earthy, bloody. Not to mention new baby smell. :-)
  4. Curves. I didn’t get them until after I had kids. :-)
  5. Growth. Children grow you like nothing else. Even marriage doesn’t challenge you as much as parenting does. It pushes you and pushes you some more until you’re forced to stretch and grow.
  6. Spirituality. Parenting brings you closer to your Creator. (How else could you fully appreciate what God did in sacrificing his only begotten son, if you don’t have one?)
  7. Passion. Having children makes a woman care more about the entire world of children. It forces her to think more about the future and the long term consequences of hers (and everyone else’s) actions.
  8. Sleep. It ain’t all that. Becoming a mother helps you have a healthy attitude towards sleep. Sometimes, there are more important things to do.
  9. Breastfeeding. It’s totally empowering to be able to provide milk for your baby. Breastfeeding is fun! (See #4)
  10. Fun. Having kids gives you permission to play, to have fun, to laugh and to remember what’s truly important in life.

    (I know, technically I am supposed to stop at 10 for the purposes of Top Ten Tuesday. But how could I stop at only 10?)

  11. Homeschooling. I realize that not every parent chooses to homeschool, but you have to be a parent in order to do so. Homeschooling is fun! You get to buy cheap school supplies on clearance (because everyone is already back to school), you get to feed your addiction to books, you get to go on field trips as often as you want! And you get to watch your kids learn things they were never “taught”. Too cool.
  12. Efficiency. Being a mom helps you learn how to do things with one hand (like cook), and in less time. Because you have to be more efficient, you become more efficient.

What would you add to the list?


carrie <![CDATA[The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face]]> 2010-07-12T13:31:57Z 2010-07-07T20:17:10Z a



carrie <![CDATA[July 4 Baby]]> 2010-07-07T22:12:19Z 2010-07-07T19:33:00Z a

It seems pretty likely that I’ll be having a baby today.

3 AM – Contractions about 7-10 minutes apart for a few hours since I went to bed. They’re strong enough to keep me awake. Eventually I just get out of bed and did some laundry.

4 AM – Big Z wakes up. My getting up every 20 minutes to pee had awakened him.  I don’t want him getting excited and losing sleep too early, so I tell him the best thing for him to do was to try to go back to sleep.

6 AM -  We get up and go for a walk. It was cool out, there was a nice breeze. I have strong contractions and pressure, feeling the baby move lower and lower.

9:30 AM – My ex came by to pick up the kids for a few hours. It felt nice to have some quiet.

Big Z and I go to breakfast together. The place, Flying Biscuit Cafe, was full of people refueling after having run the Peachtree Road Race this morning. I was hoping to be fueling up for the marathon ahead. :)

11:00 – We decide to run to IKEA to buy a loveseat that was on sale.

1 PM – Back at home, I start timing the contractions. They’re 4-7 minutes apart, but only about a 3 on an intensity scale. They feel like strong menstrual cramps.

2:30 – Contractions coming 3 minutes apart. My mom and big Z are suggesting I call my midwife, but I want to make sure the contractions are regular first.

I put on my labor outfit: a Weezer t-shirt and a short maternity skirt that allows for plenty of movement but just covers my bottom when I drop to the floor during contractions. Zeke and I strip the bed and put the plastic sheet on it and the pillows and remake it. Zeke notices that some of the contractions are only 2 minutes apart.

3:00 – I call my midwife to put her on the alert. At this point I told my husband that it would probably be around 8 o clock when we would see a baby. He starts filling the birth pool with water.

It feels good to drop to the floor in a deep squat, rocking from side to side during contractions. Or I lean over and hold on to a chair to let my belly hang down.

It’s too bright in the room. I’ve never labored in bright light like this. It feels a little strange. I ask my husband to get some dark sheets and tape them over the windows.

Ah. That’s better.

5:10 – I call my midwife and ask her to come. According to my cell phone, the conversation lasted 14 seconds. I said breathlessly “They’re…. 3 …. minutes ….. apart” and that’s it. :)

Some of the contractions come one on top of the other. I don’t have time to recuperate from one before another comes. No time for conversation.

I hug my husband’s neck and hang from his shoulders during contractions. I can’t stand for anyone to touch my back, when earlier I wanted him or my mom to put pressure on my lower back. I’m vaguely aware that my Dad has arrived on the scene.

I’m beginning to feel like I’m in transition. A few tears come. The contractions are intense and I can’t get on top of them. I feel a little out of control.

I’m afraid of the pain that’s ahead. In my mind I’m wondering why this has to hurt so damn badly?

I tell my mom I’m scared. She reminds me that I’m strong and that I’m halfway there (I was actually way more than halfway!) She convinces me to get in the pool. I’ve been trying to wait until my water breaks, scared to get in too soon lest my contractions slow down, but at this point I would welcome that very thing.

My 7 year old daughter Ilana is lying on the sofa, moaning and complaining that her belly hurts. Later, when I’m pushing, I hear her making loud grunt pushing sounds. I think she’s trying to transfer some of the pain from me onto herself. The moment the baby is born, she makes an instant recovery. :-)

I somehow find a quick second to lean down and kiss her and offer some comfort. Maybe her uterus is hurting like mine.

5:40 – I step in the pool. The water feels good but it doesn’t bring the relief I remember from my other births. Big Z kneels in front of me and I grab his hands and squeeze during contractions.

I am sitting upright. Being on my hands and knees, leaning over the side of the pool, crawling like a crab – none of those things feels good like in my previous births. I can only sit upright and push up on the side of the pool with my arms, like I’m trying to push away from the pain. I worry that I’m not relaxing, but I’m resisting the pain too much. But later I would find that it doesn’t matter. I’m moments away from giving birth.

6:00 – My midwife arrives. She tries to listen to the baby’s heartbeat. I don’t know if she ever did manage to hear it. I kept having contractions and couldn’t keep still. I realize her apprentice has also arrived.

I hear myself calling out to God for help. Zeke hears me and says a prayer with me. A few minutes later my dad comes over and does the same. I kiss my husband. I hear myself telling him, “I love you a lot you know. More than I let on.” More tears. From both of us.

Labor is so weird. You hear yourself saying corny things and making crazy sounds and you have no control over it. It just overcomes you. You’re aware of it remotely, as if you’re hovering above your body watching it. The pain keeps coming, centering you in the experience.

It huuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrts.

I want a nap. I say over and over, “Baby please come. Baby please hurry up. Come on, baby.”

I reach inside and feel something very soft and round. It’s the amniotic sack. I’ve never reached inside to feel for things during a birth before. I don’t know why I did that.

Debbie must notice me doing that. She asks if I feel the bag of waters bulging.


A moment later I feel a pop and a surge of water rush out of me.

“My water just broke.”

I feel tremendous pressure in my rectum, like the world’s biggest poop. I’m scared to start pushing. How can I be ready this soon? I just started. I don’t want to poop in the water. I feel embarrassed.I don’t want to poop in front of my new husband. I’ve never even peed in front of him.

I tell someone that I need to push. Or poop. Or something. Someone answers me.

It will be ok, go ahead and poop, remember how it was when Julien was born? We just cleaned it out of the water. I think it’s my mother talking.

I hear myself making those elephant noises that come from somewhere deep inside that only comes out when there is the intense power of a baby coming out of you. My throat opens up like the baby is coming out of there. It must be helping the other end open up.

A few seconds later I feel burning and stinging. Can I be crowning already? No way. I feel frantic. I see Debbie’s face. I tell her “The baby’s cooooming… It’s happening too faaaaast!”

She reassures me that it’s ok. That I’m doing great.

My Mom asks if I want the kids to come around to watch. They were on the other side of a screen we set up separating the pool from the rest of the living room.

“No!” I said. Everything was happening so fast and was so intense. I was afraid that I would lose my cool if they were watching.

I can’t be crowning already.

It doesn’t hurt bad enough. Maybe this baby’s small or has a small head. A little burning and stinging, then a little relief.

Is the head out?” I ask someone.

Yes” comes the answer.

Thank you God. The worst is over.

I didn’t even have time to get out of the water. I’ve never given birth in the water. My body always told me to get out during transition. This time, transition was over before I got in.

Her head hangs there for a moment between my legs. I hear Zeke making funny noises. He can see his baby and I can’t yet. I think he’s starting to lose it a little. The midwife asks him if he wants to catch the baby. He puts his hands on her but loses his cool. He asks her to do it. She talks to him for a minute which seems to reassure him. My mom sees the baby hanging there and comes closer. My midwife asks her if she wants to catch the baby.

I want to say, “Will SOMEONE please catch the baby?!” but don’t. I know she’s fine.

Zeke regains his composure and puts his hands back on our daughter as she comes out of my body. Somehow she gets into my arms.

6:30 PM


carrie <![CDATA[38 Weeks]]> 2010-06-29T10:09:19Z 2010-06-29T10:02:59Z a

Saturday, June 26

Super busy mama. I felt pretty good today, and had a real burst of energy. Was up early, making breakfast for the crew. Headed to my mom and dad’s house. Hubby had plans all day so it was just me and the kids.

Lunch with the kids and my dad, then I headed to IKEA to pick up some things I had been needing for the house. I got a wardrobe for myself, a bookcase for the girl’s room, shoe racks, pots and pans, some other odds and ends.

Came home and put the wardrobe together. I messed up on the door handle (stripped the screws), so it’s a good thing I know a furniture guy. ;)

By the end of the day I was exhausted and sore, but I’m having insomnia. It’s hard to settle down and sleep. I’m also having crampy contractions at night that make it hard to sleep. I wake up Sunday morning with a sore throat.

Sunday, June 27

The kids and hubby go about their day and I’m mostly putzing around, tired from not sleeping well.


Is it the Five Guys burger and fries I had for dinner, or is my body making way for a baby? (I always get diarrhea early in my labors.)

I’ve been having what feels like menstrual cramps for days. At night I can feel them tugging at my cervix. They feel different than Braxton Hicks contractions, which seem to start from a different place and pull down on my lungs. These I feel way down low. I visualize myself dilating.

Baby has been wiggling lower and is sitting right on top of my cervix. It’s a new kind of uncomfortable. Walking is easier (probably thanks to the visits to the Chiropractor), but the poking of my cervix feels twinge-y and weird.

Today is 16 days before my due date. My oldest child came 16 days early.

Monday, June 28

4 PM – The kids have been trying to call my Mom all day and her phone goes to voicemail. I walk towards my phone, intending to call my Mom and cry, and it rings. I pick up and she says, “What’s wrong?!

Nothing. I just don’t want to be pregnant one more minute and I’m totally miserable. You must have heard my distress call.”

She told me that she had just told my father to keep his schedule open, that we were going to have a baby within the next 2 or 3 days.

6 PM – Dinner with hubby at Scalini’s. This is not insignificant. Their eggplant parmesan is purported to bring on labor. They actually write down my name and phone number. If baby shows up within 48 hours,  s/he gets a cute little onesie and I get a $25 gift certificate. Come on baby!

Of course, it’s probably all hogwash. But I need the distraction, and hubs and I haven’t had a date night in weeks. So we go out. It will be awhile before we have another date. I see 3 very pregnant women in the restaurant without even trying. :)

8 PM – Walk around the neighborhood. I have one contraction after the other, with lots of low back pressure. This doesn’t get me excited though because it’s been this way for several weeks.

9 PM – Shower and into bed. I take a dose of liquid calcium to help me sleep and to ease the cramps.

Big Z reads stories and puts the kids to bed. I’m tired and nauseated. Too much garlic (which I haven’t been able to tolerate the entire pregnancy but which I ate massive quantities of tonight) is making me more queasy than normal.

Tuesday, June 29

4:30 AM – I am up. I can’t sleep through these cramps/contractions.

I keep sitting on the toilet thinking I’m going to have a bowel movement, but nothing happens. It feels good to sit there. It feels good to rub my belly and have my knees spread apart. I feel like pushing a little. Weird.

I do laundry, my favorite distraction of late. (It isn’t too exhausting, feels productive, and there’s always plenty of it to do. Plus, I get to be alone downstairs in the basement. :) The kids are so energetic lately (it’s too hot to spend much time outside) and they are wearing me out a bit running around in the house.)

Plus, I want empty hampers when the baby arrives.

There will be extra laundry when the birth happens – dirty sheets, bloody towels, wet clothes, cloth diapers..

And I won’t be climbing those stairs for a week or two. Oldest knows how to do laundry, but I posted instructions for using the washer and dryer for the others. I want them to do their own for a little while. :)

6 AM – I have a prenatal appointment with the midwife in 4 hours.

I get an email from a friend who lives over an hour away. She’s going to be passing my exit on the highway in the morning, and do I want to meet her so she can give me some baby stuff?


carrie <![CDATA[Best Laundry Detergent for Cloth Diapers?]]> 2010-06-23T18:14:37Z 2010-06-23T17:51:06Z a

My cloth diaper stash, at least for the newborn period, is complete.

Except for one thing.

a've got a zanussi!
Creative Commons License photo credit: meemal

I make my own homemade laundry detergent, which I love because it’s so cheap and easy and I go months without running out.

But since it’s got soap in it, I don’t think I should use it on my cloth diapers. I’m thinking it would eventually impact absorbency.

A detergent based product seems best.

(In years past, I washed my diapers with whatever I used on my clothes… usually, something like All Free & Clear.)

Anyone know of a homemade laundry detergent that’s soapless?

(I found one that calls for equal parts: Borax, Washing Soda and Oxy-Clean “free”.)

What do you use to clean your diapers?

I also want to avoid brighteners and enzymes, two things that even “natural” laundry detergents often contain.


Diaper Jungle has an excellent page of recommendations.  A couple of the top ranking products aren’t available at my local Whole Foods or health food grocery store.

I don’t necessarily want to do mail order either.

What’s your favorite detergent for washing cloth diapers?


carrie <![CDATA[37 Weeks]]> 2010-06-23T17:29:47Z 2010-06-23T17:27:27Z a

Rina et Bébé Bernard
Creative Commons License photo credit: Esther Gibbons

I’m officially over it.

I was 37 weeks yesterday.

The homevisit with the midwife is done. I’ve got the thumbs up to have this baby.

My nest is ready.


I’m too antsy to sleep well at night. I can’t get comfortable no matter what position I’m.

But I’m too tired to get up and do something else.

I’m grumpy and irritable.

And hot.

Most of my maternity clothes have been packed up because they don’t fit. My belly has dropped. It hangs below my shirts. It even makes my skirts hike up.

Even my face looks pregnant.

My hands and feet hurt. I can’t get enough to drink.

I wish I could hang out at the pool all day. But with the heat index it’s 100 degrees outside.

I’m planning something to do every day to keep my mind occupied.

Reading birth stories and diaries of midwives.
Taking the kids out to lunch.
Taking the kids to the free movie.
Getting a pedicure. (The leg massage is the best part right now, I nearly fall asleep in the chair.)
Going to the chiropractor.
Watching a movie at home. (Sherlock Holmes was good. Ahhh, Jude Law!)
Last minute runs to the health food store for juice, electrolyte powder, calcium and magnesium.
Working on my sites. (A little. My brains are all in my pelvis at the moment.)
Going to the library.
Organizing my recipes.
Organizing closets.
Fussing at big Z to get organized.
eBay shopping for last minute baby items (wet sacks for cloth diapers, for instance).

What did you do to pass the time during your final weeks of pregnancy?


carrie <![CDATA[Nesting]]> 2010-06-20T14:16:20Z 2010-06-20T14:06:41Z a

Zachary's laundry
Creative Commons License photo credit: susansimon


Yesterday saw me in a frenzy of last minute baby stuff gathering, yard sale-ing, cloth diaper obtaining, cleaning and baby clothes laundering.

Seems my long awaited “nesting” instinct has finally kicked in.

I’ve been looking around the house for weeks taking note of things that I wanted to do, but just didn’t have the energy to take care of them.

So I made lists. :-)

Yesterday I went to a couple of great yard sales.

I got a like new Moses basket with extra sheets (for $12!), a set of nursing PJs and a nursing gown and robe ($2 for the lot!) and a few newborn baby layette items (like those snap lap tees and cotton gowns – a buck for the bag!).

awww. little poppet.
Creative Commons License photo credit: philcampbell

I also snapped up several Swaddlebees, 4 ProRap diaper covers and a couple of And Such Is Life diapers (these are sooo cute!) for a song thanks to a local mom who had listed them on Craigslist. (From my communications with other sellers, cloth diapers don’t seem to “move” so well on Craigslist so that may be a great place to find good deals.)

I went through the bags and Rubbermaid containers full of previously loved baby clothes friends have given me (curiously, all of them boy clothes) and organized them by size, and washed the newborn stuff to set aside for the baby.

(Hmm, why hasn’t anyone given me girl hand me downs?;-)

I’ve cleaned out the master bedroom closet and moved all my clothes to another closet (the secret to a happy marriage? Separate bathrooms and separate closets. LOL!). Our closets aren’t designed well and this was the best solution. Eventually big Z will move all his clothes downstairs to the laundry room since he often changes clothes down there anyway.

We rearranged the girl’s rooms.

Previously little Z and Ilana (10 and 7) were rooming together in the larger bedroom, and Sadie (almost 5) had her own room (where we also store the baby’s things).

We’ve put Ilana and Sadie back together, which is the arrangement I had before marrying big Z. It seems to be working out well. Little Z is the only kid in public school (long story, it’s her mother’s wishes) so instead of her having to tiptoe around a sleeping sib to get ready in the morning she’ll have a little more breathing room.

Also Ilana and Sadie were having trouble getting along, and the move seems to have helped with that already. They’re acting like friends again.

Not to mention Sadie had never slept alone until she had her own room, and it wasn’t going well. Mama was getting awakened in the night which was difficult. Since being back with her big sister she’s doing much better.

I’ve been organizing the basement a bit.

I wanted to have a huge yard sale before the baby came, but fatigue and the heat just made it too difficult. (It’s been over 100 degrees here lately with the heat index.) So downstairs there are dozens of trash bags full of outgrown/discarded kid’s clothes, dh’s tools, and general junk treasures to sell at our huge yard sale in the late summer. I moved it all to a more out of the way location down there and created some space.

I made another batch of homemade laundry detergent so I won’t run out.

I put together a small “postpartum wardrobe” to wear the first few weeks after baby (because it’s going to be a long time before my size 4 skinny jeans fit. Waaah!). There are nursing bras, nursing gowns and PJs, two stretchy skirts, a dress and several tops that are a bit baggier than what I would ordinarily wear (to fit the postpartum boobs).

I have two Belly Bandits waiting in the wings. :-) This is the first time I’ve ever done postpartum belly binding. I’m hoping it helps with the intense after birth pains I get (and these get worse with each baby!) as well as baby belly shrinkage.

My cloth postpartum pads, cloth diapers, newborn baby clothes are set out in my bedroom. My Moby Wrap, BabyHawk Mei Tai, and Peanut Shell pouch are ready to tuck a sweet little baby into. :)

The diaper pail (which is actually a large kitchen trash can with flip up lid that I snagged from a neighbor for free when she moved out!), wipes warmer (I like using warm cloth wipes for my newborn, it’s my way of spoiling my baby :) ) and such are ready on top of my dresser (a changing spot/cloth diaper station).

The birth kit and other supplies (herbs, juice, flash light, etc) are tucked into a kitchen cabinet. Ready for inspection by the midwife, who is coming Tuesday for the home visit (when I’m 37 weeks and get the thumbs up for a home birth).

The only thing I’m missing is my labor pool, which I ordered in May but is on back order. Yikes! It better arrive before I go into labor!

I still need to sterilize the extra sheets and towels for the birth. I’ll do that Monday. Find the video camera and film and organize the boy’s bedroom are also on my list.

What kinds of things did you do to get ready for baby?

The “nesting” thing fascinates me. In previous pregnancies I would find myself up at 3 A.M, restless and cleaning out closets, scrubbing baseboards with a toothbrush and organizing spices. LOL.

This time I’m not so interested in cleaning stuff (maybe I’m a bit older, have more kids and a little tired?).  Yesterday I did go to a Chiropractor and felt *much* better after an adjustment, maybe that helped me be more comfortable so I could get some things done.

What did nesting look like for you?


carrie <![CDATA[Need Cloth Diaper Recommendations]]> 2010-06-15T13:35:41Z 2010-06-14T13:37:24Z a


Creative Commons License photo credit: MissMessie

I’m 36 weeks pregnant today and realized that I don’t have enough cloth diapers in my stash.

Since I haven’t had a baby in diapers in almost 3 years, I’m out of the cloth diapering “loop”. I don’t know anything about the latest greatest wahm made diapers and covers.

So I’m asking for your help.  : )

Right now, I have a dozen “pocket” diapers with microfiber liners. I like these a lot. They’re great for husbands and grandparents since they’re just one piece (once stuffed, which I tend to do as soon as they come out of the dryer) and resemble a disposable diaper. But they’re one-size, which doesn’t tend to fit a newborn well. One-size diapers don’t fit well under the baby’s clothes and just look plain funny to me, a huge diaper butt on a tiny newborn. So I prefer to use those when the baby gets a bit bigger.

For the newborn period all I have are a dozen prefolds and one Bummi Whisper Wrap. That’s not nearly enough!

I need another dozen diapers and half a dozen covers (or a dozen all in ones). What are your favorites?

p.s. I’m looking for genuine, honest to goodness product recommendations. Please don’t spam the comments section with your own cloth diaper business. However, if you want to send me a diaper you’ve made in exchange for a review, let’s talk!


carrie <![CDATA[TTT: 10 Reasons to Have Your Baby at Home]]> 2010-05-25T19:11:38Z 2010-05-25T19:11:38Z a


I’m 33 weeks pregnant today.

This means that (if everything goes as planned) in 4-7 weeks (I’ve never gone to my due date – but of course there’s always a first time) I’ll be having a baby here at my home with the help of my midwife, her apprentice, a doula, my husband, my parents and 5 children. (Think I have enough helpers?)

This week for Top Ten Tuesday I thought I would share some of the little known (if you’ve never experienced homebirth) benefits of having a planned home birth.

Top Ten Reasons to Have Your Baby at Home

  1. You’re the boss. Nobody tells you what to do when you have a home birth. If you want to putz around doing household chores until things get really serious, you can. If you want to labor in bed, you can. If you want to bounce on a big ball, you can. If you want to listen to Simon & Garfunkel or Patsy Cline (or like a friend of mine, Buddy Holly), you can. You’re in control. Noone is going to tie you down on your back in a small bed for “monitoring”. You can move, wiggle, crawl, squat, sleep, walk, make out with your husband or do whatever you want that’s helping move the baby out.
  2. You can invite who you want. Your kids can be present if you want them there. This is an awesome experience for them. Instead of being scary, they will learn what birth is really like (not how it is in the movies!). They will begin to bond with the newborn immediately instead of it being a stranger who comes home with mom. Your parents or parents in law can be there to help with your children or to run errands, get food, clean up and to be part of the experience of welcoming their grandchild into the world.
  3. You can kick people out if they’re not helpful. Midwives are good for this. They even tell people to be quiet and not bug you during a contraction! If someone is bringing bad mojo to your birth or impeding your progress, you can ask them to leave. (In a hospital, this person may be the could-pass-for-a-Nazi-death-camp-Labor-and-delivery-nurse or the Doctor.)
  4. No slippery slope of interventions. Interventions muck with nature and most of them have never been proven to improve outcomes (meaning, more live babies and moms). Induction leads to more painful contractions which leads to labor meds which leads to sleepy babies which leads to C-section which leads to breastfeeding difficulties.
  5. Eat, drink, have baby. Did I mention you can eat and drink freely instead of being restricted by hospital regulations (which again haven’t been proven to be helpful and may lead to low blood sugar and ineffective/prolonged labor?). How are you going to get through the most intense physical work of your life without sustenance? Noone would expect you to climb a mountain without food and water yet that’s about how much energy you expend in a typical birth.
  6. You can labor or birth in water. If it floats your boat, you can labor in a big kiddie pool and enjoy the pain relief it gives you. You can also give birth in water if you like, something that your hospital may not be willing to go along with.
  7. No scary drive home from the hospital. That white knuckled drive home from the hospital with an hours old newborn was one of the most stressful situations of my life. It’s so nice to give birth to your baby and snuggle in to get to know each other in your own bed!
  8. Nobody takes your baby away from you. There are no concerns about your baby getting kidnapped or switched with someone else’s child when your baby is born at home. Most new mothers feel an intense need to be physically near their newborn and experience distress when the child is away from them. With a homebirth, the newborn exam takes place right there with the midwife. Your baby never has to leave your sight.
  9. Less pain. Fear increases labor pain. The comfort and familiarity of home decrease it. Most people associate hospitals with pain and death, therefore when they step foot into one, their body goes into an altered state that isn’t conducive to birthing (high adrenaline, stress hormones). At home around the things you know, you are free to be yourself. There are no frightening sounds and sights, no harsh lights, and everyone is there by invitation only.
  10. Confidence. Giving birth naturally – and with homebirth this is especially so – is a very empowering experience for a woman, and it makes the stuff that comes after it (breastfeeding, caring for a baby, toddler, child etc) easier because you’ve learned to trust yourself.

Meeting Carter
Creative Commons License photo credit: amcdawes


carrie <![CDATA[Natural Moms Podcast #141]]> 2010-05-18T18:37:56Z 2010-05-18T18:33:12Z a

ingreedientsMy guest for this episode is David Burton. David is a registered nurse who works in Tampa, FL at an acute care cardiac ward.

David is also the director of a new movie called InGREEDients, a documentary about chemical food additives and nutrition in America.

InGREEDients is educational for the whole family (although you might want to be careful when viewing certain scenes with some sensitive children). My children have even told some of their friends and grandparents about its message and have become even more avid label readers. InGREEDients exposes the shocking lack of education in the medical community about how food affects our health, and the manufacturer’s refusal to be honest about what’s in their products.

* Friend InGREEDients on Facebook

* If you want to buy the DVD, enter the code “naturalmom” at checkout to get another copy for a friend FREE! (Buy one get one free)


carrie <![CDATA[Internet Start Up Guide for Moms]]> 2010-05-05T15:05:03Z 2010-05-05T15:05:03Z a


Kelly McCausey (@kellymccausey on Twitter) just announced that her Complete Internet Marketing Moms Start Up Guide is now available as a digital download.

Kelly has been a longtime mentor and online friend of mine. I discovered her Wahm Talk Radio show very early on as I stumbled around the internet looking for ways to earn an income online.

She always has solid, no nonsense and most of all trustworthy advice! If you’re interested in learning more about the different ways to earn money using the internet, check out her book.

If you can swing it, I also highly recommend her coaching as well. :-) Go here to find out more: The Complete Internet Marketing Moms Start Up Guide

Start Up Guide


carrie <![CDATA[Pregnancy Depression]]> 2010-05-02T15:42:35Z 2010-05-02T15:12:23Z a

Have you ever experienced depression during a pregnancy? I certainly have. In fact this pregnancy has found me fighting a lot of sad and depressive feelings.

We’ve all heard of, maybe even suffered from (or known someone who did) Post Partum Depression. Thankfully there’s much more awareness these days of the problem. There isn’t as much stigma attached to PPD. Women are more likely to get help now, and their loved ones have been taught to recognize the symptoms.

My suspicion is that depression during pregnancy is a lot more common than we want to believe. It’s just that noone really talks about it.

If you’re depressed during pregnancy, you may shy away from sharing that with others because you’re afraid they might think you don’t want the baby. Or you’ll be shamed for not “counting your blessings” (after all some women struggle with fertility), or whatever.

Creative Commons License photo credit: AmandaLouise

If you have a family history of mental illness, depression is more likely to rear its ugly head during pregnancy or postpartum. It’s so important to get the help you need. After researching this topic for years I’m convinced that self care measures are just as, if not better, than medications. If you have a tendency towards depression you may have to fight the demon every day of your life – for your whole life. But in the process you empower yourself and learn that you have much more control over your emotional state than you realize.

After thinking about this topic for months, I’ve come up with several factors that probably contribute to depression during pregnancy. Then I list a few things that have been helpful to me in overcoming it.

I hope it’s helpful to you or someone you care about.

Sense of Loss of Control

Pregnancy, birth, new motherhood – it really isn’t about us, is it? A lot of things are happening during this time that are beyond our control. No matter how much you exercise and eat well, your body is going to change – dramatically.

You might have illness or have to go on bedrest. Despite the joys of looking forward to the baby’s arrival, some of this is just plain depressing.

Your relationships will change. Your finances and employment will change. LIFE will change. Some of this change is a little scary, especially because so much changes so quickly. (And with the built in “deadline” of pregnancy, you’ve only got several months to adjust to it all!)

Mental health experts tell us that when a person feels in control of their life, their surroundings, and their future, they fare better emotionally.

So it makes perfect sense that having to give up this control during pregnancy can affect our emotional state. As adults, we’re accustomed to being mostly in control of our lives, and this gives us a sense of power and mastery. This is probably one reason why new moms struggle so much when living with a new baby. Despite their overwhelming love for the baby, they have to relinquish control in order to be the kind of mother they want to be.

*Be a planner. Be (as much as I sometimes hate this overused word) proactive. As much as you can, take steps to meet your goals. Don’t be too hard on yourself. During my first trimester, my online business came to a screeching halt and my income took a nosedive. That’s not easy to deal with. But it forced me to prioritize and make some tough decisions, which is a good thing. Take baby steps (how appropriate!) every day towards your goals. Remember that the most important thing you’re doing is growing a new human being. Everything else can take a backseat.

Body Changes During Pregnancy

I mentioned this already, but specifically for some mothers who struggle with body image issues (and um, who doesn’t?), the changes pregnancy brings about to your body can be unsettling.

Last summer, really for the first time in my entire adult life, I liked the way I looked in a bathing suit. I was in great shape. My youngest child was 3. It’s a little depressing thinking it’s going to take me that long to get back into shape. My old clothes aren’t going to fit for a loooong time, and that’s hard to deal with.

I also find it difficult to maintain my sense of style during pregnancy. I’m not one of these women who can get away with wearing “regular” clothes when she’s pregnant. Nor am I interested in buying larger sizes that are baggy all over. Maternity clothes (unless you have a lot of money to spend at the upscale maternity boutiques) all kind of look the same. Not only are you gaining weight but you can’t shop at your favorite stores or wear vintage or your cute favorite wardrobe items!

* It’s definitely worth it to budget for a little beauty and pampering. Get a stylish new haircut, get your toes done (at least if your ankles are swollen your toes can be pretty!), buy a new lipstick, treat yourself to some new skin care products. (A good excuse to do this is because you’re clearing out anything that may be bad for the baby.)

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes definitely play a role here. The increased estrogen that’s coursing through your veins during pregnancy can cause irritability and anxiety as side effects. No wonder we can be a little moody.  If you’re being grouchy with your loved ones, you feel guilty and disappointed with yourself.

* Good nutrition and avoiding low blood sugar by eating more frequently can help with this. Go ahead and have a good cry. Pray and ask for help. Tell your spouse that you need him to overlook grouchiness and love you anyway. Touch the people you love to get endorphins flowing. Exercise if you can. Ask for what you need whether it be a back rub or help with the household chores.

Nutrition Deficiency

Especially if you have several kids already,  it can be tricky sometimes to make sure you’re getting all of your nutritional needs met. I had a prenatal appointment the other day and found that I had LOST 2 pounds in a month. Since I’m not overweight, this isn’t appropriate at all. I also had ketones in my urine. My midwife told me that I was not getting enough calories so my body was burning fat for energy. (This is what happens when you diet.)

Since (other than the occasional visit to the swimming pool) I’m not exercising right now, I found this difficult to believe. But for several days in the previous week I felt like I simply couldn’t get full enough. I also noticed that I suddenly had NO tolerance for one of the kids asking for a bite of my food. I reminded them that I’m *already* sharing my food with the baby. (If you want to have your hand stabbed with a fork, take food from a very pregnant or nursing mother!) Obviously my body was trying to tell me something.

* It might be helpful to keep a food diary. For a week, write down everything you eat and drink. For me, eating a little something every couple of hours is necessary. I simply can’t do 3 meals a day and meet my nutritional needs during pregnancy or lactation. Preparing meals and snacks take up more time than I would like, but it’s too important to be lax in this area.

Have your health care provider take a look at your food diary, or count up your protein grams yourself and see if they are high enough. Make sure you’re getting enough healthy fats (which feed your brain and help stave off depression). For me personally, cod liver oil makes a difference. Especially during the worst of my morning/noon/night sickness last winter, I could tell the difference in my mood when I took my cod liver oil. I was probably deficient in Vitamin D.

When the sun is out, spend a few minutes just basking in it every day. It does wonders for your mood.

Eat organic butter (from grass fed cows if you can locate it, KerryGold is a brand sold in many grocery stores) and lots of it for Vitamin A.

Lack of Energy

Talk to anyone who suffers from a chronic illness, and they’ll tell you that it’s depressing when you’re unable to accomplish what you used to do. Being tired in the middle of the day,  requiring a nap, and then feeling dead dog tired by 8 p.m. at night isn’t uncommon during pregnancy. You can’t gogogo all day long like you used to.

*Eating well and enough can help, as can appropriate exercise. But the bottom line is that fatigue is one of the most common pregnancy symptoms. Your body is using an incredible amount of energy growing a placenta, extra blood, and a new PERSON. Adjust your expectations. Now (before baby’s arrival) is a good time to create simpler routines for housework and cooking.

Unplanned Pregnancy

I told a friend the other day that I’ve never had an unwanted baby, but I’ve sure had some unwanted pregnancies! No matter how much you love children and view them as a blessing, sometimes babies happen when you weren’t planning them or expecting them (or actively trying to avoid them).

* The only way I’ve really been able to deal with this is to remind myself of how I’ll feel after the baby comes. I know I’ll feel better physically immediately, and some of the issues I’ve already listed will begin to return to the way I want them. Plus babies are so much fun. If we didn’t have some of this post partum amnesia, we would probably never have more than one child. :)

Change in Schedule/Activities

One of the frustrating things about depression is that it robs you of the ability to pursue the very things that can help you feel better. It creates a vicious cycle.

Let’s say that before your pregnancy you exercised a lot. This relieved stress and elevated your mood. Maybe you frequently went out with friends and had an active social life. If sickness during pregnancy limits your activities, you won’t be doing the things that help you feel better. Loneliness may ensue.

*I’m not sure there is a magic potion for this. One of the things I miss about my life before pregnancy was going out at night with friends to listen to live music. Now, I wouldn’t want to be in a smoky venue breathing secondhand smoke or being out late (too tired!). My concern for my unborn child takes precedence. Try to find other things you enjoy. For me, reading a really great book and spending time outside boosts my mood. Writing, spending time with my mom or a good friend (who is also a mom and has kids in tow) help a lot.

Money/Relationship problems

Pregnancy tends to bring relationship problems to the surface. As mom’s needs change, dad may be reeling to adjust. Even his hormones change during pregnancy (his testosterone levels lower, and his protective/caretaking hormones increase – don’t believe me? Look it up!).

Maybe that’s a good thing. There are probably issues that have been swept under the rug that need to be dealt with before baby’s arrival (when time for communication is more limited).

Pregnancy also brings money concerns with it. While babies raised in a home that values natural parenting don’t cost a lot, there are some unavoidable expenses. There are doctors (with hospital bills) or midwives to pay. There is the maternity clothing mom has to buy. Mom’s income may suddenly change due to pregnancy difficulties. If she’s accustomed to being financially independent, that can bring with it a whole set of emotional struggles for her.

“Nothing is more destined to create deep-seated anxieties in people than the false assumption that life should be free from anxieties.–Fulton J. Sheen”

* Communication is the key here. Life IS going to change after baby. If you pretend that things will be blissful, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. Statistics show that couples are less happy after the arrival of children. Study after study points to couples describing less happiness in their relationship after babies. If you’re going to avoid becoming a divorce statistic, it will take a lot of renegotiating. Mom’s needs will change, and so will dad’s.

When it comes to money struggles, I don’t have any easy answers. But truly, babies don’t have to cost a lot of money and you don’t really need much “stuff” at all to have a happy baby. Buying used, accepting hand-me-downs, asking people for practical gifts when they inquire, etc can help tremendously.

Have you ever experiencing depression during pregnancy? How did you deal with it?

Please share your comments below, and tell a friend about this post if you think it will be helpful.

Recommended Resources:

Cod Liver Oil: Nordic Naturals

Pregnancy Nutrition: The Fit & Healthy Pregnancy Guide
(This book is awesome, so many sources of info about pregnancy nutrition fail miserably and would put a woman into deficiency states. I interviewed the author here. It also has some really good exercises.)


carrie <![CDATA[Giveaway: Whole Foods Body Care]]> 2010-04-28T15:41:56Z 2010-04-28T15:39:29Z a

Whole Foods-Body care**At the end of this post you can enter to win a body care set from Whole Foods**

Whole Foods Market is running a 3-part podcast series promoting the “Premium Body Care” product line they have created.

It’s important to know what is in your skin care products!

The podcasts are on the following topics:
1. Premium Body Care® – A Worthy Challenge- discusses how their standard helps define what “Natural” really means in body care products.
2. In Holding the Bar High in Natural Body Care you’ll hear about why these strict natural guidelines are important. You’ll also learn about Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a national coalition of health and environmental groups that are working to eliminate harmful chemicals from personal care products.

3. Positive Changes for the Industry, for Everyone looks at how these standards raise the bar for the natural body care industry as a whole.

You can check these podcasts out here: Whole Body Care podcast

Now for the giveaway!

* First listen to the podcasts.

* Then come back here and leave a comment letting me know what you think.

* In 2 weeks (Wednesday May 12 at NOON Eastern time), I’ll randomly pick one commenter to win this Whole Body, Body Care package. (Be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment.)


carrie <![CDATA[Frugal Shopping At Natural Food Markets]]> 2010-04-26T17:06:33Z 2010-04-27T16:59:47Z a

This is a guest post from Candi at Family, Stamping and FOOD! Candi is a real, live offline friend of mine and a mom, homeschooler, gardener and frugal living/couponing domestic diva.

natural food markets

You might be thinking to yourself, “Natural Organic Food Markets are EXPENSIVE!” That can be true.  Or you might be thinking, “Those stores rarely have coupons I can use on product.” That may be true too.  But let me put your mind at ease on some of these issues.

Shopping at organic food markets can be thrifty and frugal.  You need to have a plan, a budget and a little know-how.

1.  The Plan.  If you are new to the organic scene, as I am, ask your friends if there are any good quality stores in the area.  My friend Carrie tries to stick to an all natural way of life and she suggested Sevananda.  The first time we went there, I was a little surprised at the size of the store.  It’s not a huge supermarket, like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.  It’s a small store with a wide variety of products.  The prices were very reasonable on many pantry items, though I chose not to purchase any.  My plan was to scope out the bulk bins and see what kind of price I could get on bulk whole wheat pastry flour, bulk whole wheat flour, bulk dried beans, bulk honey, bulk spices and herbs.

2.  The Budget.  I know, don’t groan!  Budgets are set in place for our own good.  Sort of like training our children, they need boundaries and we need boundaries to avoid over-spending.  Currently our budget is $50 a week on grocery and food purchases.  Since it was the first of the month and I hadn’t been shopping for nearly two weeks, my envelope was full.  I know I need to buy milk, eggs and butter and a few other sale items at Publix, so I decided to only take $20 cash with me to Sevananda.

3.  The Know-How.  Here are a few tips and tricks to help you save money on natural foods for your family.

  • Buy from the Bulk Bins.  The bulk bins are a great way to stock up on organic products at reasonable prices.  Beans in bulk usually cost about $1.50 per pound whereas a bag of beans on the shelf in the same store are about $3.00 per pound.  Sometimes they offer sales and you can pick up the dried bean in the bulk bin for as little at $.99 per pound.
  • Buy from the Bulk Spice Jars.  The bulk spice jars are truly heaven-sent!  A regular size jar of dried spices can cost anywhere from $3.00 up to $5.00.  In the bulk spice jars, the price is per pound and since you are only buying barely an ounce or so of the spice or herb, you are paying less than a dollar for them.  For example, I purchased about 30 bay leaves at $23.49 per pound and spent only $.47!  Normally a jar of bay leaves at Walmart can cost around $3.28 and there might be 10 bay leaves in the jar.
  • Buy the Sale Items.  Walk around the store and check out the sale tags.  Once while shopping at Sevananda, the Organic Soy Milk was on sale for $2.99 and there was a tearpad coupon on the shelf for $1.00.  I was so excited I bought two!  Check out the produce and see what’s in season.  Seasonal produce will be less expensive.

Do you have any other saving tips for shopping at a natural organic food market?
Candi is a stay-at-home mommy to 2 preschoolers, learning to live a more frugal life using coupons, and sharing family friendly recipes on her blog Family, Stamping and FOOD!


carrie <![CDATA[Natural Moms Podcast #140]]> 2010-04-26T16:18:23Z 2010-04-26T16:07:52Z a

Sling baby
Creative Commons License photo credit: N.R.

(Does this child look unsafe to you?)

Safe Babywearing

On Friday, March 12, 2010, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning about carrying babies in sling carriers.

Is babywearing dangerous?
Are some baby carriers safe?
How can a parent distinguish which ones are safe and which ones aren’t?

My guest this week is Stephanie Banguilan of Stephanie is a childbirth instructor who also hosts babywearing classes in her Georgia hometown.

safe babywearingWe’re discussing the specifics of the CPSC warning, which baby carriers may be unsafe, some of the benefits to babywearing as well as common sense safety tip for parents who embrace this ancient practice.

Read more posts and interviews on babywearing.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!


carrie <![CDATA[29 Weeks]]> 2010-04-26T15:06:25Z 2010-04-26T15:02:05Z a

21 semanas :)
Creative Commons License photo credit: Andrea Fregnani

(Not my belly. Someone else’s.)

This pregnancy is different from the others. I don’t remember feeling this achy. I didn’t have pain like this, this early. I’m having painful cramps down low.

Not like Braxton-Hicks contractions (although I have lots of those, and always do, from pretty early on.)

I feel too birthy. Too pregnant for this stage. Is it because this is my 5th pregnancy? Or because I’m older this time? (I’ll be 35 next month.)

Today I’m talking very careful, deliberate steps. My pelvis hurts. I wince when I walk.

Usually the pain is down low in the back. It wakes me up at night and shoots down my hips. I thought this might be sciatica, but according to this article, only about 1% of pregnant women have sciatica. It’s more like “posterior pelvic pain”.

Did you have pelvic or back pain during pregnancy? How did you deal with it?

I did some research, some of which was helpful, but comic almost. Suggestions like:

“If you have posterior pelvic pain, avoid climbing stairs.”

I guess that means no more laundry for me! The washer and dryer are in the basement. :)

“Activities that can cause pain include: walking, rolling over in bed, sitting, getting in or out of the tub, bending, lifting, rising or getting into a chair.”

Oh, that narrows it down. So if I can just avoid *those* activities!

“Avoid activities like vacuuming and mopping that require you to bend and twist at the same time”

Yay, another chore I can get out of?

Interestingly the recommended treatments for pelvic or lumbar pain during pregnancy are things I find myself doing instinctively. Such as:

Swimming – Probably the perfect exercise for pregnant women. Walking hurts too much. The last time I went to the pool I had pain all day until I got into the water, then instant relief. Until I got out!

Warm bath – Soaking in a warm tub is the next best thing. It helps with the cramping too.

Stretching -In the middle of the night when the pain wakes me up, I get down on the floor and stretch my hamstrings. Tight hamstrings can lead to back pain too.

Massage – I’ve been doing self massage but I think I’ll treat myself to a professional job. :)

Pelvic rocking – I learned this exercise 12 years ago when I took Bradley childbirth classes. I get on my hands and knees and let the baby’s weight drop away from my spine. It feels great. Rocking gently back and forth works the abdominals too. Great practice for labor.

Chiropractic is also reported to help. I’ve certainly benefited from a visit or two to the Chiropractor during my third trimester. When I had a breech baby, a couple of adjustments helped me create space to flip her around.

What did you do to help your back or pelvic pain during pregnancy?


carrie <![CDATA[You Know It’s Your Third Trimester When…]]> 2010-04-20T16:13:20Z 2010-04-20T16:11:06Z a

Top Ten Ways You Know It’s Your Third Trimester
  1. Whilst attempting to put on or take off shoes, you sound like Bill Cosby’s description of a man with a potbelly doing same. (fast forward to 4:54 – Mashiiiiing!)
  2. You haven’t seen your feet in some time. (Which may be a blessing. Who would actually want to look at their swollen ankles?)
  3. The belly button has popped. Ting! You’re done!
  4. Your body makes odd noises you cannot control. You have newfound gas expelling talents.
  5. Your belly is finally sticking out past your monstrously large prego boobs.
  6. You would rather stay home than face the horrible discomfort known as wearing a bra.
  7. You’re not comfortable standing. Or sitting. Or lying down. (You visit the pool a lot.)
  8. While doing a dead man’s float in said pool, your oldest son says your belly looks like an island, and can he put his diving rings on them for a minute?
  9. You drop $30 on the contraption known as a “maternity support belt” to help you haul around your belly.
  10. You start counting backwards to make yourself feel better. Just 10-12 more weeks to go! Yippee!

Creative Commons License photo credit: spaceodissey


carrie <![CDATA[What You Can Learn at LLL Meetings (Other Than Breastfeeding)]]> 2010-04-19T19:42:35Z 2010-04-15T20:19:15Z a

Most people know that if they want help with breastfeeding, they can look to La Leche League for good information and support. Considered the “world’s foremost authority on breastfeeding”, it’s the first resource many moms look to if they’re experiencing challenges.

But even if you’re not having a nursing challenge, you might enjoy attending an LLL meeting. There is a common misconception that if you’re not currently breastfeeding, or currently having some issue, that you can’t benefit.

So not true.

While LLLI is a breastfeeding organization, the women who attend meetings are an awesome collection of ladies who are a wonderful resource of all kinds of mothering and family topics. There are several things you might get from your local LLL group that may surprise you:

Creative Commons License photo credit: david owen

Hook up with a co-op – At an LLL group I attended years ago, I met a mom who coordinated a buying club. Trying to find a co-op or start your own by searching online can be frustrating. I also found a co-op for raw milk and made a friend who supplied me with kombucha and kefir grains, free of charge!

Find a homebirth midwife – I think it’s pretty safe to assume that there are a higher percentage of women who hang out around LLL who have had homebirths in comparison to the general population. If you’re trying to find a homebirth midwife, ask around before or after an LLL meeting.

Learn the art of babywearing – When I went to my first LLL meeting, it was with the sole purpose of getting help with making my baby sling work for me and my fussy, high need baby. Seeing women who actually used baby carriers was helpful, as was the hands on assistance the moms in the group gave me.

Find a good Pediatrician or Lactation Consultant – LLL leaders aren’t in the business of recommending health care providers. But if you want to find a Pediatrician who will actually be supportive and knowledgeable of breastfeeding, listen up or ask around among the moms. Surprisingly, there are plenty of Lactation Consultants out there who aren’t helpful and who disperse flat out bad advice. But good ones exist. Among the best are retired LLL leaders!

Good reads – How many times have you picked out what you thought would be a helpful parenting book from the library or store that turned out to be totally contrary to your beliefs? LLL groups keep a lending library. Some are open only to members, others to anyone. The books that make up the group library are breastfeeding and “gentle mothering” friendly and won’t lead you astray.

Learn your community – Having babies or small kids and being in a new area can be isolating and depressing. If you’ve just moved, head to an LLL meeting to find out where the good parks, consignment shops, and other cool spots for kids and moms are. Looking for the local homeschooling support group? Ask your friends at an LLL meeting.

Special assistance – While LLL leaders are trained to help moms with “garden variety” breastfeeding challenges, if you have a rare or especially difficult problem, you can also get help. Your local leader has access to a database of leaders who have personal experience with unusual issues. For instance: nursing triplets, nursing with cleft lip/palate, nursing after breast surgery, stubborn thrush, food allergies, nursing while pregnant, tandem nursing, etc. Some leaders also do hospital or home visits to help you if you can’t make it to a meeting. If you’ve just given birth, call your local leader to find one who will visit you in your home to assist you with latching baby on. (LLL leaders do this free of charge.)