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“I’m sorry…but I need help.” Those were some of the hardest words I’ve had to say. I still remember how hard it was to smile and how difficult every simple task was. Now only was I dealing with a newborn, but I had no desire to actually parent. Those of you that know me personally know that I am usually very ambitious and driven – which I thank my parents and family for providing me with many opportunities growing up. However, after the birth of my second child, I was transformed into someone else.
On 8/4/13 at 3:30pm, baby boy #2 was born. He weighed 6 lbs 8 oz and was 19 inches long. I was thrilled! He was not only bigger and longer than our first, but he was not tongue-tied OR jaundiced. The first two weeks postpartum were a dream! My husband took time off, was home helping with the diaper changes and feedings. I was full of energy and LOVED being a mother to two beautiful children. However, the two week “honeymoon” ended too quickly. Even though I was already a parent to a beautiful and smart toddler, I was completely unprepared for the overwhelming neediness of a newborn.
My husband went back to work, the lack of sleep was catching up with me, and my body began to ache from childbirth. The baby was eating every hour to two hours (if I was lucky) and pooped almost just as often. Breastfeeding was not easy for me, despite having breastfed my first son for 15 months. Every day felt longer and longer and the baby’s cries grew louder and louder. I began to stay indoors more during the day, ignored calls and messages and pushed family and friends away. Once my husband was home, I refused to breastfeed the baby. I preferred to pump and let my husband bottle feed him. On the weekends, I pumped enough milk, raced out the door to “run errands” and would spend as much time as I could away from my new baby. When I was home, I would be so angry. Angry at my husband for going to work. Angry at my toddler for wanting to play. Angry at my new baby for wanting to eat. Angry at everyone and everything. And if I wasn’t angry, I was sad. Sad that I couldn’t appreciate my beautiful child. Sad that I wasn’t being a good partner. Sad that I hated being a parent.
During my four-week postpartum visit, they diagnosed me with postpartum depression. I cried and ignored their offer for medication. I thought I could “handle” it myself with exercise and self-care. I was wrong. I felt myself continue to spiral down, deeper and further into depression. I applied for jobs and even went on a job interview in hopes of escaping my new baby. Finally, one night it clicked. I needed help. I emailed my doctor that evening and began to take medication the next day. I finally began to feel “normal.”
It’s hard to believe that three months had passed before I really began to SEE my baby. One morning, while my husband and toddler were still fast asleep, I sat in bed with my baby and we “played.” He smiled and cooed and even tried to laugh as I made funny faces. I couldn’t believe that it had taken me that long to appreciate being a parent again.
Once I began to treat my depression, I started to feel better. I even resumed teaching, which allowed me to get into a semi-normal routine (despite the unpredictable nature of an infant). However, even today, while I am able to leave the house, socialize and feel comfortable in public, there are still days where I would rather avoid public situations where I have to talk to other people. Despite my overall happy days. I still find myself forgetting simple things on a regular basis and have an extremely difficult time concentrating.
Now that I feel I am over the hump, I now know how important my husband’s support really is. While he did the best he could (with the information he had), I wish I had thought to give him more resources in the beginning. Even though most resources online are directed towards “dads,” I found this particular article helpful for anyone close to someone experiencing postpartum depression: For Dads: What To Do, What Not To Do. (On a side note, did you know dads can also get postpartum depression?)
The journey has been difficult and to say I am 100% better would be a lie. I have my days where I can’t focus on anything and don’t feel like holding my baby, but there are other days I can’t get enough kisses from my two beautiful loving children. The one thing that keeps me going every morning is the fact that I know this will pass and I will be that ambitious and happy woman again. Until then, I am not ashamed to admit that I needed help.
We all need help from time to time, so whether you are suffering from postpartum depression or are just feeling overwhelmed and stressed out…don’t be afraid to ask for help! You will be surprised at how many people are willing to support you and be there for you.
Thank you to our fabulous guest blogger for this informative insight into biking with babies and car-free life with children.
By: Elle Bustamante, Bike/Pedestrian Educator and amazing car-free mama of 2 at Tiny Helmets Big Bikes.
Bicycling is awesome! Remember the freedom it gave you as a child–the wind in your face, exploring new neighborhoods, getting tired and sweaty, and riding around with a big, giant grin plastered to your face? But then we grow up, we buy cars because we need to go farther and faster and that’s what we’re told to do. We lose freedom to responsibility and the bikes get tucked away in the garage to get dusty.
After my second child, I decided I wanted a change. I didn’t want to be schlepping my children around in a car anymore. I wanted my freedom back. I got back on my bike, children in tow, and started pedaling. Those feelings came back and I was happy! It didn’t matter if I was doing a mundane chore like picking up groceries if I was on my bike. Weekend picnics didn’t involve piling into a car, driving in traffic-filled streets, going round and round to find parking, only to be totally exhausted before we even sat down at the park. Instead, we rode. The boys were noticing the world around them, smelling dinners as we passed houses in the evening or pointing out the funny purple house with the tiny dog out front. We were talking and singing and smiling again–no more shouting at the backseat to get them to stop fighting so I could concentrate.
Bicycling not only gave me back my freedom, but also my connection with our community, and a slower-paced lifestyle so I could fully focus on my family. We enjoy the adventure of getting somewhere, we’re not just rushing to the next destination.
The number one comment I hear is always regarding safety. “Is that safe?” The short answer: yes. The longer answer: nothing in life is safe. Living life will eventually lead to dying, in one way or another. Sitting on your chair all day will kill you. Stairs kill more people each year than bicycles. The number one killer of children that no one talks about is cars. Cars are deadly yet no one thinks of the danger as they’re strapping their children down into styrofoam seats with nylon straps and plastic buckles then hurdling down the freeway at 70mph. Mile for mile, bicycling is safer than driving your car. The best way to minimize your risks while riding is to take a class in traffic safety which will help give you the confidence to bike safely and legally.
Getting started is hard and possibly even scary. Find a friend who is already riding to help hold your hand in the beginning. Join local bike groups, especially ones geared towards casual riders or families (Kidical Mass). Talk to your local bike shop about their suggestions, although if they give you grief, find a different shop. There are great resources online, (R)evolutions Per Minute is a FaceBook group whose members are always happy to give encouraging words or helpful suggestions for different situations. You are certainly not alone in your desire to bike with your family.
Finding a set-up that works well for your family is the first step. My children both started riding at 6 months old in a trailer behind my bike. I checked with our pediatrician first and waited until they could sit up and hold a helmet on their head. Our trailer, although we found it used on Craigslist, was top of the line and had suspension to minimize vibrations–one of the main concerns regarding riding with very young children. Other people have started with their children much younger and others have chosen to wait longer. This is a decision that is best made between you, your partner, and your child’s doctor.
CARGO BIKES are in a class of their own. These are often viewed as car-replacement vehicles. Children under 4 years old must be strapped into a child seat (according to California vehicle code), those over 4 still need to be sitting on a designated “seat” that is designed for that purpose. Cargo bikes make riding with multiple children incredibly easy. It’s important to test ride a few different styles as this kind of bike is an investment at $800-5000.
For my family, we started with trailers until we realized that we wanted to make biking our main form of transportation. We committed to using our bikes for ALL trips that were “bikeable.” At first, we started with a 2-4 mile radius, excluding some routes that we weren’t comfortable on, yet. Slowly, we started finding longer distances doable and ways to get to previously uncharted territory. Our car sat in the driveway for longer and longer periods of time and we started paying attention to our savings for each mile ridden as opposed to driven.
After about 8 months, we made the leap into car-freedom by selling our Prius. Our cargo bike, a Yuba Mundo, made biking easier than using the trailer had been. In a pinch, we’ve been known to borrow my parents’ or a friend’s car and we have a membership to Zip Car, a car sharing program. We’ve found that biking can get us to about 90% of all our necessary destinations and made it 1000% more fun.
You can learn more about our journey by checking out our website: tinyhelmetsbigbikes.com. We document the good days and the not-so-good days, document what has been working and what hasn’t, and write about lots of our fun adventures going bicycle camping and touring. You can also find us riding around Sacramento and at our monthly Kidical Mass rides. We’re happy to answer any questions that could help get you into family bicycling.
While most of the time, conventional pregnancy and parenting emails usually go straight to my Trash, WhatToExpect sent me an email that I actually felt worthy of my reading time. They are offering three FREE nursing-friendly items – you just pay shipping costs – in honor of World Breastfeeding Week! Since this seems like such a great deal, I wanted to share with all of you!
Using the coupon code “WTE,” you have the option of getting 100% off FOUR different baby/new parent focused products – you only pay shipping costs.
First, Seven™ offers a one-piece sling that can carry a Newborn (8 lbs) up to toddlers (35 lbs) in THREE different ways! You do have to measure from shoulder to hip to get the right size, however they offer sizing insurance for only $3.5o more, which covers shipping both ways. Normally, this sling costs $39.95 + shipping, however with the “WTE” code, you only pay shipping costs! This is a great option for new parents who are testing out slings and don’t want to pay full-price!
Second, NursingPillow is just that – a nursing pillow. It features a curved bean-like shape, similar to the Boppy, to help support baby during nursing sessions. Like the sling, this pillow usually costs $39.95 + shipping, however by entering the “WTE” code, you only pay shipping costs! Even though I own a Boppy pillow, I remember hating that I had to tote the one pillow from room to room with me with my first son, so I am excited to try this new pillow with our second son, who is “due” in the next few weeks!
Third, Udder Covers™ is another one of the featured FREE items for Breastfeeding Awareness Month. This is a great little nursing cover – my sister owns one – to cover you (and baby) up while nursing in public. These typically cost #34.95, however by using the coupon code “WTE,” you only pay shipping costs. As many seasoned parents know, you can never have enough nursing covers. I liked to leave one in the diaper bag and one in my car, just in case I forgot my bag!
Finally, after ordering any of the above three options, you will receive a code for FREE Carseat Canopy! These cute and colorful covers fit over most portable car seats and usually costs $49.95. However, again, by using a coupon code, you only pay shipping costs!
In the end, I ordered one Seven Sling, one Nursing Pillow, and one Udder Cover. For all three, I only paid $35.80 (or $39.30, including $3.50 sizing insurance for the sling). Not bad! These are all GREAT option for all parents (or gifts for new parents) with minimal costs. Even though I am not a new parent, it has been a few years since I nursed my son and I was excited to get some new “things” to help me transition back into my normal life after birth.
1. Visit sevenslings.com, UdderCovers.com, or Nursingpillow.com.
2. Click on “Shop Now” and select any baby carrier, nursing cover or nursing pillow you like.
3. Once you’ve made your selection, you’ll be taken automatically to your shopping bag. Enter the promo code “WTE” and each company will deduct 100% of the cost of the carrier, nursing cover, and pillow — all you pay are the shipping fees!
You can use promo code “WTE” for all 4 offers— just open a new browser window each time you do.
After my son was born and my maternity leave dwindled away, I struggled as most new moms did: choosing between my working career or staying home with my new baby. For almost a year, I flip-flopped between working full-time, to part-time, to being home, then back to part-time work. however, whatever option I chose left me feeling guilty: either for leaving my baby in the care of someone else, or for putting my career on hold. It seemed as if either option left me feeling empty and sad.
In Fall of 2012 I decided to quit my job and stay home with my toddler. I became an Independent Certified Instructor (ICI) with the Baby Signs® program in 2011, but did not have the time (or energy) to focus on the classes and marketing. However, after I decided to quit my job outside the home, I began to funnel more efforts into the Baby Signs® classes. Today, Abigail and I are not only successful Baby Signs® Instructors – only teaching between 2-4 hours week – but I honestly can say I LOVE what I do!
I am able to schedule classes around my schedule, bring in some extra income, and have time left-over to spend with my family My stress levels have dropped drastically. It is no longer a battle between my husband and me over who will empty the dishwasher or fold laundry. I have time to focus on my work, my family, and myself (which is something I have never had enough time to do in the past).
By becoming a Baby Signs® ICI, you can have fun and earn additional income teaching Baby Signs® classes and workshops in your own community. The Baby Signs® Independent Certified Instructor Program is designed to train, certify and support our growing team of Instructors as they build their own home businesses.
Join our worldwide network of instructors – we will provide you with comprehensive training – in both infant sign language, early childhood development and a certification to teach the Baby Signs® Program. You can also count on our on-going support to start and grow a thriving Baby Signs® Program in your community.
The Baby Signs® Program is the world’s leading sign language program for babies because it’s the only
So, if you would like to SET your own hours, OWN your own business, INCREASE your family’s income, and MAKE a difference in the lives of babies and families in your community, then join us as a Baby Signs® Independent Certified Instructor. (Click Here to learn more about the Baby Signs® Program)
For more information or to receive an informational packet and application, please contact Elizabeth!
My daughter is currently 10 months old and while she is walking fairly consistently, I’m not comfortable letting her free to run around outside. I love baby wearing because it eliminates the need for a stroller and keeps my hands free. Because let’s face it… babies nap better and longer when they’re closer to a parent. Before I know it, I won’t be able to carry her around so I’m enjoying it now!
Baby K’tan recently sent us one of their amazing carriers to review*. While we reviewed quite a few baby wearing carriers, Baby K’tan wasn’t on our list simply because we hadn’t had the opportunity to try it! Retailing at $49.95, I couldn’t justify buying one when no one I know had tried it. Yes, we moms rely on word-of-mouth referrals.
So even though this carrier is fairly new on the market, it has quickly become one of my favorites. In fact, as I’m typing up this review, my daughter is currently asleep comfortably in the Baby K’tan. When I pop her in, she’s asleep within minutes! The closeness and snuggle factor this wrap provides is very comforting for baby and comfortable for me. Want one? Enter our Giveaway below!
Check out the video below comparing the Baby K’Tan to a traditional wrap style baby carrier!
Thanks to Baby K’tan, we have one carrier to giveaway. The GIVEAWAY starts 5/14/2013. The winner will be selected by random and we will announce the winner on our blog and Facebook page after the deadline of 5/26/2013. The winner will be emailed instructions how to claim their selected size and color of the Baby K’tan carrier.
We will be contacting the winner at the end of the month! Good luck!
*NOTE: Baby K’Tan sent us a carrier to review and we are not being compensated for this review.