How to Make a Pocket Diaper

Since my diaper making post was so popular I’ll share how I made my son’s diapers.  I was inspired to make them after reading this blog.  It was my first attempt ever at making a cloth diaper much less anything else.  Little did I know that they would still be going strong after over three years of use.  My original post documenting all this can be found here.

Now these instructions can be adapted in number of ways.  I realize that people just starting out may need more concrete instructions so I’ll share how to make the pocket version.  I’ll Read More >>

My Path to Becoming a Doula

I had the pleasure of sharing my doula journey with Brio Birth.  Ever since attending my first birth as a doula I’ve been wanting to write about this.  I’ve grown so much, and my perspective has changed quite a bit along the way.  I knew that writing it out would give me the opportunity to work through my thoughts and feelings better.

When I was asked to write a guest post Read More >>

Colored Rice

This is super easy and what kid wouldn’t love it.  I got the idea from a friend a while back, and have finally gotten around to trying it.

First decide how many colors you want to make.  We were limited on rice and containers so we were only able to make three different colors; reddish orange, purple and green.   Put 1-2 cups of white rice in each container.  Then add the food coloring as desired, put lid back on back on and shake until the the color is absorbed evenly in the rice.  My kids loved this part.  I let it air dry, but the rice can also be put the oven at 250 degrees for 15-20 minutes to speed up the process.  Make sure it is cool before letting the kids play with it.
Waiting for it to dry:

Here are my kids

Fun with Playsilks

The imaginative play possibilities with dyed playsilks are endless.  They can serve as the grassy floor of a forest or expansive blue ocean.  They can aid a super hero as a cape or be used as a princess veil.  They can be waved in the air or used as a blanket.  You get the idea 😉

For Christmas two years ago I had purchased some smaller playsilks from Beneath the Rowan Tree on Etsy.  They were nice and affordable, but limited as far as imaginative play goes. 

A couple months ago I got the idea from The Read More >>

New Play Kitchen!

Well used.  Still, new to us!

I’ve been wanting to get one for the kids for a while now.  I’ve kept my eye on Craigslist, and finally a week ago one popped up.  It was handcrafted in Maine by Elves and Angels.  Never heard of the brand, but the workmanship is beautiful. 

It has a stove top with burners and a sink.  The sink basin doubles as a mixing bowl.  The opening below can be used as an oven or pantry.  The knobs turn making it all the more fun. 😀

Here are some pictures of my daughter using it… 

  Some soft play fruit & veggies I picked up from IKEA months ago. The banana peels, and the lettuce leaves come off.  So neat!   Wood bowls, utensils, fruit/veggies, meat and dairy pieces that the play kitchen came with.   T is wearing one of two hand made aprons that were also included.  

I think this is just as exciting

My son taught me a lesson last night

Last night I was sewing a sling for a custom order that needs to be filled.  I noticed one of my sewing needles was missing.  I asked Logan if he knew where it was and he replied, “I put it in the machine”, while pointing to the holes on the side.  I sighed heavily and responded, “I’m not sure why you would put the needle in there”, as I inspected the device to see if I could retrieve the needle.  It was the last 80/11 needle that I had left.  I was very annoyed at how my child had inconvenienced me.

As I continued to sew, the machine started skipping stitches.  I huffed and puffed as I tried to remedy the situation, wondering in the back of my mind if the lodged needle had anything to do with it.  Once I got the machine working again it hit me…I had replayed one of my dad’s old records.  He used to act the same way when frustrated with me.  In fact, the first part of my initial response was one of his more common sayings, verbatim. 

Some time passed after I had the realization.  I didn’t say anything to Logan because I wasn’t sure how to approach the situation.  He was the first to break the ice by apologizing for breaking my machine.  I quickly let him know that the machine was not broken.  That only a needle was lost which can easily be replaced.  I told him how I know he was just trying to help, and I apologized for overreacting.  I explained to him how I was treated in a similar way as a child which makes it harder for me to not do the same at times.  He ended up saying sorry a number of times after that which made it painstakingly obvious that my initial reaction got to him.  I now see that the problem was with my perception, not his behavior.  If I had looked beyond my frustration with the situation I would have seen how his motive was good.  After all, he was just trying to help me.  I could have approached the situation differently by showing him where the needles go, and how they work.  Instead of connecting with him I created a struggle.     Still, it was not in vain.  When all was said and done a lesson was learned.  Ironically, the lesson was learned by me. 

Finding my center again

My experience with pregnancy and birth varied greatly from my son to my daughter.  I attribute it to the mindset I had going in, as well as how I managed my thoughts as I neared the end.  I hate to credit the difference in experiences to a program (Hypnobabies) since I am usually adverse to gimmicks, but in this case it is true.

No one had ever taught me how to relax.  No one had ever explained in detail why and how our thoughts impact our body.  In this way, the program offered so much more than a way to have a baby comfortably.  It helped me to conceptualize the amazing-ness of the mind/body connection.  It taught me how to align both so that my body could work as designed.   The main tools that help with alignment are affirmations and meditation.  I prefer the word meditation since self-hypnosis is a dirty word to some 😉  Affirmations are a way to re-frame the mind in the moment, and stay focused on the desired outcome(s). They help to hush the negative thoughts that can create anxiety and panic and keep us stressed throughout the day.  Meditation helps to wash away the stress that could not be managed in the moment.  The obsessive thoughts triggered by worries, fears and external pressure have been finding their way back into my daily life.  It’s been increasingly harder for me to just shrug stuff off.  I think a large part of this has to do with me not taking the time to nurture my mind and body.  While I no longer have a relevant program to use, I think I have a pretty good handle on the ideas behind the one I used for pregnancy and birth to do it myself.    To get started, I’ve written down some affirmations that I plan to use throughout the day when I find myself feeling pressured… I trust in my ability to guide these children in a loving, gentle way. I recognize and release all fear or doubt that might prevent me from responding to my children unconditionally. I remain aware and in control of my negative feelings, as I do not want to pass them on to my children. These children are from me, so they can not be stronger than me!  <–That one is more comical in nature. 😉 I also have a few mantras that are specific to what I struggle with as a parent.  What I have below may or may not resonate with you.  I encourage you to reflect on your past and current situation to come up with your own.  My goal as a parent is not to control, but instead to guide. My children are free to experience what they are going through in their own individual way.  My aim is to nurture my child’s emotional development according to his/her timeline. My child’s negative feelings are his/her own.  I have the power to choose how I react. I found this particular quote while browsing Facebook the other day.  I’m not sure who wrote it, but I like it a lot 🙂  I think it’s an interesting way to look at our job as parents.  “Our job [as parents] is not to raise mild mannered, compliant, sleeping children. Our job is to raise happy, healthy, contributing ADULTS, and it’s a long road to get there.” –anonymous Do you use affirmations?  If so, which ones get you through the day? 

Nursing beyond a year

With my son, I had a heck of a time with nursing.  Part of it had to do with me not being mindful of how he was being bottlefed when he was not in my care.  His feedings were rigidly scheduled, and he received more in one sitting from the bottle than he would normally get while nursing.

To keep myself motivated, I kept setting targets for how long I would nurse.  What started as 3 months, turned to 6 months, and then 12.  By the time we hit 9 months the bottles won, and I was left to sort through my conflicting emotions regarding the experience and failure to meet my final target.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I decided to take a more natural approach.  To keep a healthy perspective, I didn’t set any expectations or goals.  I decided to simply nurse when appropriate, and for as long as needed.

Now that my daughter is approaching her first birthday, I’m starting to get a bit uneasy as we chart into unknown territory.  I have been noticing that my usually confident manner is a bit shaky when people ask about when we are going to stop.  Even though I fully intended to nurse beyond a year all along, I have not been able to articulate clearly why I feel convicted to do so.  Whenever this happens, I know it is time to arm myself with knowledge. Fortunately, I purchased The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding for my lending library a while back.  I am finding it to be a wonderfully written book that encourages nursing, all while respecting the autonomy of women.  The other night when I was contemplating the issue at length, I picked up the book and turned to the chapters dealing with extended nursing and weaning to learn more. Benefits of extended nursing

A newborn’s demands are in

How I Converted Taylor’s Flats to Fitteds

What you’ll need to make 1 fitted diaper: 2 birdseye flat diapers An old T-shirt 10 inches of polybraid elastic; either 1/4 or 3/8 inch will work.  I buy mine from Verybaby and Wazoodle. Other supplies needed: Rita’s Rump Pocket Pattern or other preferred pattern Serger Sewing machine Coordinating thread    I recommend watching this video to understand the nature of diaper sewing…


Every Step Along the Way Teaches Us Something, Even the Mistakes

We are all on a journey.  As we learn new things, our perspective and needs evolve.  This is how I have been coming to terms with things that have happened in my past.  In particular, the home birth of our daughter.  When I set out to have a natural birth, I decided to have the baby in a birthing center.  After I spoke with a local midwife, I learned that birthing at home was an option too.  This was a new idea to me so I was a bit nervous at the thought, but decided to look into it more before I shot the idea down.  The more I looked into it, the more it appealed to me.  Films like the Business of Being Born, and Orgasmic Birth sealed the deal.  My next step was choosing a midwife.  I called the first one I had talked to back, and set up an appointment for a consultation.  It went well.  I especially felt at ease with her experience and low transfer rate.  Still, I knew that I needed to look around more before I decided on anything.  After searching the net, I was able to get a hold of a list of midwives.  Only this list meant very little to me since it was only names on a page.  I had no connection to these women, nor did I know where to start.  I felt lost.  I searched some of the names online with little luck.  My instinct at this point told me to get references from the initial midwife.  I did, and they checked out.  I felt that she was a safe bet so I proceeded forward. The midwife was great at every prenatal visit.  She took extra time after each one to talk with me about my concerns, and also to chat about natural birth.   Then at 28 weeks, she suggested that I get an ultrasound for my 32 week consultation with the back-up OB.  I expressed how I was not comfortable getting one given my prior “big baby” experience.  I didn’t want to open any doors to trouble.  Plus, I knew that my baby was healthy.  Still, she pushed the idea saying that it would help rule out complications that could be present at birth.  Her suggestion planted a seed.  By the next visit I was having doubts.  I started to wonder if I should have one done….especially since I would be having the baby at home.  I called to let her know that I would get one done.   As it turned out, my hunch was right.  My baby was right on track to being a 9 pounder by 40 weeks.  According to the OB, this meant that I would need to have the baby by then, or my home birth was out of the question.  I was furious.  I called the midwife, explaining that this was the exact reason that I didn’t want to get one done.  I was angry at her, but most of all, I was angry at myself for allowing “the professional” to cloud my judgment.  I knew what my body was capable of, and was pissed at what I set myself up for when I knew better. I started to get the feeling that she was no longer the right fit for me.  Given all the difficulties of getting the insurance to cover the home birth as well as the bond I had formed with the midwife, I decided to proceed forward.  Basically, I allowed fear to keep me married up with a provider who I was not compatible with.   At the birth, I found my premonition to be true.  She pressured me to break my water very early on.  I was able to hold her off at that point since my surges were still manageable.  Once I hit transition though that changed.  I no longer had the motivation to push her away since, well, things were intense, and quite frankly, I was looking for a way out (transition is a very vulnerable time where the needs of the woman can be confusing).  She proceeded with breaking my water to speed things along, and then stuck her hands inside of me to move my daughter since she was posterior.  Her reasoning for adjusting my daughter’s position was that I would have had to push a lot longer otherwise. 

The reason why these interventions bother me so much now is that there was no good reason to do either of them.  My labor had been progressing very quickly, and I feel like I endured unnecessary pain all in the name of “routine procedures” she had come to adopt from prior births.  There is no telling what my body would have done had she left it alone.

The reason I am sharing all this is I feel that others may be able to take something from my experience.  There may be people who look at my story confused as to why I didn’t make a change when I sensed our differences.  Well, I believe there may be something for those people to learn too as empathy seems to be lost at times when we are reading a birth story.  As birth professionals, we should strive to understand and respect each and every woman’s journey.   I feel that at the beginning of my journey to home birth, I did mesh with my midwife.  I felt at ease with her knowledge of pathology, and her logical nature.  As I learned more, and became more confident with my body and the process that all started to change.  I evolved into an entirely different client.  It was me who had changed, not her.  I was not prepared at 32 weeks to search for and connect with a brand new midwife.  I honestly didn’t know where to even start.  So I settled.  Now that time has gone by, I can see that what I went through was not in vain.   In a way, I feel that she was a stepping stone to where I am today.  Without going through that experience, I might have remained blind to the fact that even home birth midwives intervene with the birth process in the absence of medical necessity.  Because of her, I now understand why some women make the decision to give birth unassisted.   These are lessons I will use as I support other laboring women as well as if we decide to have more children.