Posts Tagged ‘baby shower’

My Pregnancy: Week 30

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Week 30We made a list this week of the few things we want to pick up before this baby arrives. With the first baby the list was quite long, filled with must-haves from all the top lists. With baby number two, our parents and a few friends purchased us a little something, and with baby number three we’ve spent almost nothing. As the stores are full of 30-week pregnant women finishing up their registries, I’ll offer our take on the a few of the things that were worth every penny and used all three babes. More importantly I’ll say why they worked for us. Next week I’ll take note of those things that just weren’t for us.

Crib and pack ‘n play: I’ve seen people put the crib on their list of useless items. Not the case for us! We’ve kept all the babes in our bedroom until they were sleeping through the night (8-10 weeks for us). The pack ‘n play served our purposes just fine and was clutch for numerous trips to grandparents, friends, hotels, and even outside. Co-sleeping works for many. I nursed at night but didn’t have space for baby in bed. I found I (and possibly baby) get better rest when baby is a few feet away in the crib. The crib also has kept each of our kids safe and comfy in their rooms until beyond age two, and I imagine this will be the same for baby three.

I am very excited and wish I’d known about it with the other babes. It’s small enough to go right by the couch, chair, or our bed (and comes with secure attachments). It also has a short, secure drop down side that I hope will ease the transitions for me as a c-section mama in those first weeks. With two older kids, I also appreciate the “mini” size and wheels that allow me to safely move her to a quiet space in our house with ease for nap time.

Swing: The rock ‘n play and other gadgets are also on the market now but we pulled out our trusty old Graco swing from 2011 that only swings in one direction for all three babies. It’s an oldie and a goodie for a reason in this house and includes a vibrating bouncer with the click of a button. Hubby loves to swing the babe manually (it also swings itself with motor) and as baby grows, the seat can be less reclined to offer a great view of the room. If I had an extra $150 perhaps I would prefer a model that didn’t have the classic swing style where my sons could possibly catch their arms but this is unlikely and was not an issue up to this point.

Cloth diapers: Two cloth diapers of ours have worn out but the rest (in a moderately large stash of 60) made it from previous babes to this last one. We use disposables sometimes but, especially those exclusively breastfed six months, enjoy the ease of washing cloth. We even invested in some smaller diapers (either size small/one or newborns that fit to 15 pounds) and used them plenty even on our babes born nine and ten pounds at birth.

Carriers: We used a wrap for those first few months and look forward to using it again to keep our sanity especially in the evening hours as the house bustles with dinner and bedtime routines. After much research I chose a CatBird pikkolo soft structured carrier in 2011 and it will see us through baby three. Once babe had head stable we came to prefer the structured carrier for all carrying.

Changing table: A lot of people will say it’s not necessary and that may be the case for you too. You can change a baby anywhere really (and you probably will!). We like the changing table because it offers storage for cloth diapers and baby things. It also is at a great height for daddy whose injury-prone back can’t just plop on the floor with little effort.  We still use it in spite of not really having a babe in diapers to change toddler’s clothes. It also stores two toy bins on the bottom shelf. The only thing I may have preferred over the changing table would be a dresser that could also serve as a changing table space. We already had a dresser and did not have the money to invest in this more expensive piece of furniture, so the changing table has served us well for multiple children.

Simple monitor: Also not necessary, especially as we live in a home about 1000 square feet. I liked the monitor though because it allowed me to pick up on early cues of a waking baby instead of waiting until baby was yelling or crying loudly for me. We bought the most basic monitor as the bells and whistles of video and other perks were unnecessary for our purposes.

Nursing support pillow: I invested in a new pillow this third time around as the two previous babes flattened our previous pillow out a bit. This one also has an additional inch or two of height and support. I found the nursing pillow critical in those first few months with a c-section. As I am taller, I also found myself hunched over midnight hour after midnight hour without it. Once we hit 3ish months I found I could sit more relaxed to nurse without it, but the pillow was crutch to our nursing success in those early months.

Annie is a mom of two boys, ages two and three. She enjoys the finer things in life, like compression socks and a full night’s rest.

My Pregnancy: Week 24

Monday, February 1st, 2016

week 24I have a bent toward minimalism. I previously shared my inclination toward being low-key and keeping minimalism or just plain practicality in mind when it comes to babies. I, of course, must admit my deep love of Target with its perky red walls, coupon apps, and tidy surroundings. My preschooler knows when we pull into the “bullseye store” an icee may soon arrive in his hands, a special treat. Walking its aisles on Saturday morning while hubby is hanging out with the kids at home brings deep, indescribable satisfaction to my soul.

Let’s get back to minimalism though. With the first pregnancy the excitement of it all is quite overwhelming. I am, to clear the air, very excited about this third pregnancy. It’s different though. The newness of everything isn’t dampened but rather more relaxed. Like my doctor said about this pregnancy so many weeks ago, it’s not my first rodeo. When asked what we “need,” I can say essentially nothing. Maybe some patience if you have some to spare. In general people are looking for more tangible things. At family’s request I put together a registry at the bullseye store for treats.

While my heart beats strongest for simplicity, I also like giving others the opportunity to celebrate in this pregnancy. I think celebrating in pregnancy does not require gifts, and many of them agree. But gifts are fun, and I don’t want to take away from their chance to give in the way they enjoy. Plus we don’t have many pink or purple things that the boys wore. Adding a few of those to our collection is useful to replace the “little buck” and other gender-specific clothing we paid forward to another family.

This minimalist bent also comes out in my excitement of it all. I don’t do big sex or gender reveals, intricate pregnancy announcements, or overly creative portraiture to capture my growing belly bump. Again, I’ve nothing against people who invest their time in these endeavors if they bring satisfaction and enjoyment to their hearts. All those things make me feel very tired. Hubby and I announced our first pregnancy to Facebook friends by changing our profile pictures to a snapshot of a bottle of Preggo brand spaghetti sauce. Most of them knew anyway. Done.

This also speaks on the subject of milestones. Maybe I’m now speaking not so much of minimalism as familiarity. As we’ve been pregnant before we already know most of the ins and outs of it. My pregnancies have all been typical or “normal,” so I refresh my mind each week by scanning an article on baby’s development this week. Otherwise though, I find my thoughts pretty chill. I remember staying up late with the previous pregnancies research single strollers, then double strollers, car seats, cloth diapers, carriers, and more. In part, I don’t have to do that now as I’ve already done that legwork in previous pregnancies. Now the word that comes to mind is abide. I am soaking in the presence of this baby in all the most wonderful ways I can, biding my time until this last little one arrives.

Annie is a mom of two toddlers finding joy in the simple kick in her belly, the tightening of her waistband. 

Ideas for a Planning Mother’s Blessing Ceremony

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Beautiful mama at her Blessingway

Traditionally when a woman is expecting a baby her family members and/or friends will throw her a baby shower. The central focus of most baby showers is opening gifts for the new baby. Commonly I see the mother-to-be leave her baby shower feeling thankful but also overwhelmed at the mountain of stuff before her. Perhaps the presence of all the unfamiliar baby gear can make the idea of motherhood seem even more daunting and mysterious than ever before. I often see the father’s eyes grow wide looking at all the stuff and overhear comments between the couple such as where will we put all of this? How can someone so little need so much stuff? Sometimes there’s an unspoken look of what in the world have we gotten ourselves into?

The ritual of a baby shower began with the intention of ‘showering’ the mother to be with love and to help her approach mothering with confidence, but I sometimes wonder if we are actually doing that? Is there an alternative approach to a baby shower that might offer a deeper sense of fulfillment for the expecting mother? What can we do to support our loved ones as they prepare for the transformative journey of birth and mothering? How can we meet their emotional and spiritual needs during this sacred time? A Mother’s Blessingway Ceremony is one way!

What is a Mother’s Blessing[way]?
It’s a ceremony that celebrates and honors a pregnant woman with the purpose of cultivating love, support, and empowerment for all who attend. A blessingway originated as a Navajo ceremony celebrating a woman’s passage into motherhood. Our experiences with these meaningful ceremonies may be very limited. And because this type of ritual is not prevalent in our society, planning one can be difficult. Here are some ideas from a recent Blessingway I attended.

Create a Birth Alter:
Have each attendee bring an object that symbolizes the strength, wisdom, and nurturing capacity of motherhood. It can be an item they share for the day, one that they let the mother borrow for a period of time, or a gift to the mother. Allow the opportunity for each person to explain the significance of the object they brought. The objects can be placed in the middle of the circle so their importance is felt throughout the ceremony.

Bead Ceremony:
Have each attendee bring a bead to string into a necklace for the expecting mother to wear during the final days of pregnancy, during labor, or the early postpartum period. The purpose of the necklace is to provide strength and encouragement to the new mother and act as a reminder of her existing support system.

Candle Lighting Ceremony:
Have one candle for each person present. Ask the attendees to individually light their candles at the beginning of the ceremony. During that time encourage the pregnant mother to share any fears or concerns she has about giving birth or mothering. Let the candles continue to burn until the ceremony is over. At the end when you blow out the candles encourage the mother to imagine any residual fears or concerns being extinguished with the flames. Have each person take a candle home to light whenever they think of the mother and want to send her positive energy.

Making prayer flags

Make Prayer Flags:
Prayer Flags originated in Tibet Buddhism however they can be adapted to accommodate various spiritual or religious beliefs. One easy way to make prayer flags is by using plain white bandanas and fabric markers. Each guest can write an affirmation, words of encouragement, or draw a symbol or picture on their flag. The mother-to-be can use a string and clothespins to hang them in her birthing environment, baby’s room, or any significant location of her choice.

These are just a few simple ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Each Blessingway is as unique and individual as the women it supports.

Have you attended a Blessingway? If so what activities were meaningful to you? Please share your experiences with Mother’s Blessingway Ceremonies as a guest or guest of honor.