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Monday, July 31, 2006
The Wonder of Ronald McDonald
Last year when our baby arrived early our family was introduced to the Ronald McDonald House in Hamilton, Ontario.

When the hospital's social worker had first offered me the opportunity to stay at the house I immediately said "No". I envisioned a hostel(hotel for travelers) style environment where I was sharing facilities with people I had never met before. Once we realized our baby would be staying at the hospital for a long time I decided to check into the house for a few nights just to see. All I have to say is WOW!! My husband and I have stayed at many beautiful hotels during our travels, but none as nice as this house. The rooms were not only spacious, but newly decorated and very clean. The first floor had a huge kitchen with facilities for 3 families to cook at a time plus a patio with a barbecue. There was a huge family room, laundry room, dining room (10 tables) and a games room in the basement. All for $10.00 per day.

Each house is run with the same goal of providing a compassionate and safe "home away from home" for families of seriously ill children who are receiving treatment at local children's hospitals. They cater to over 600 families per year. Twenty percent of their funding comes from McDonald's Corporation and the rest is made up with donations from various corporations and individuals. A stay at the house would usually be 75.00 per night but it is subsidized so that families can stay near their children. The cost varies with each location from $10.00 - $15.00 per night. Volunteers are the heart of the house with many assisting guests, cleaning the common rooms and preparing dinner for the families.

During our three months at the RMH we met many families who had babies in the NICU like us. It was comforting to have other people in the same situation to talk to after a hectic day was over. Some of the people we met will be our friend for years to come. Our son was able to have us close to him every day. We were able to spend 12 hours a day with him without having to worry about driving 1 hour there and back. RMH gave us a pager so that the hospital could get a hold of us day or night if necessary. I don't know what we would have done if this house wasn't there for us to stay in.

In Canada, there are 12 Ronald McDonald Houses and each one is owned and operated by a local community non-profit with a volunteer board of directors. While each house has the "home away from home" atmosphere amenities may vary from house to house.

You never know when you are going to need to stay at a Ronald McDonald House. Take some time to learn about the charity. Donations keep the house going and each location has a list of amenities you can donate as well. Small things such as gift certificates to local stores, DVDs for the families to watch, or movie passes for a night away are always welcome.

Ronald McDonald Canada
Ronald McDonald U.S.


Moms Want More Help....But Can't Let Go.
Time.com has an article about moms wanting more help from their husbands. It goes on to say that when they do get help mom is always looking over dad's shoulder making sure it's done her way. A power struggle then develops with mom being called a "Gatekeeper". One dad is even being quoted as saying, "My wife treats me like an au pair she is always on the verge of firing." I agree with this article. In our defense, all we do all day is look after the kids. In doing so we have figured out the best and most efficient way to do it. When we see it done a different way we cannot fathom that there could possibly be a better way than the one we have spent months perfecting. Dads, by nature, are not as good with diapers and pablum. With a little practice and some time alone with the kids they will be able to make things happen. What we don't want to happen is for dad's to decide to not help at all just to keep the peace.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Can You Spoil a Baby?
Many times you hear people say "Don't hold him so much. You're going to spoil him" or "Let him cry a bit. He can't always get what he wants." I wonder to myself can I really spoil a baby that is not able to walk yet? I know a lot of people belive in tough love but can you get the same results with lots of love? Dr. Greene.com believes that:
Very young children cannot be spoiled. Some babies have greater needs than others due to their own physical condition, but all babies are very needy! Crying is their only way of communicating these needs to us. If babies didn't cry when they are hungry, or when they need their diaper to be changed, we wouldn't know what and when they need something. As babies grow, they begin to communicate things other than physical needs. This includes the desire to be held or comforted and the desire to be stimulated. These are healthy desires! A child is spoiled only if they express a desire and someone (usually Mom or Dad, but it can be a Grandparent or other caregiver) gives them what they want each and every time. If your child has a need, you will not spoil them by meeting that need. In fact, it is very important for you to meet their needs in order to build security, love, and trust. You will not even spoil them by giving them what they desire, unless you always give it to them, even when you don't want to. This is the hard part - it is good to give a baby what he or she wants sometimes, but not all the time. So how do you know when to do so? A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you are giving your baby what they want or if you are giving into what they want. In most cases if you are giving just because you want to give, you will be doing the best thing for your baby.
Daddy's Little Golfer
These are for the diehard golfer who is grooming their little one to take over the tour! PGA GOLF CART ROCKING CHAIR - 79.99 LIL DRIVER GOLF CART - motorized -249.95 BIG DRIVER 2- SEAT GOLF CART - motorized - 349.95
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Bits and Bites
Embryos to go to research - A survey of couples who underwent in-vitro fertilization (IVF) at a large Australian clinic found that the majority preferred that their unused embryos go to "some use" rather than be discarded -- with most wanting that use to be scientific research. (Reuters) Study Quashes Birth Month Autism Theory - One of the largest studies to date to look at the issue has found no relationship between the month a person was born and his or her risk of autism. (Reuters) Pollutants and Pesticides in Cord Blood - In the month leading up to a baby's birth, the umbilical cord pulses with the equivalent of at least 300 quarts of blood each day, pumped back and forth from the nutrient- and oxygen-rich placenta to the rapidly growing child cradled in a sac of amniotic fluid. This cord is a lifeline between mother and baby, bearing nutrients that sustain life and propel growth. (EWG)
Baby Talk Cover Controversy
I am all of breastfeeding. I am all for breastfeeding in public. I usually wear a cover just so that people don't stop and stare, but I have seen many women feed their babies without one and I don't give it a second thought. With this being said I am not sure what all of the craziness is about on the cover of babytalk magazine. The baby is eating and looking up at his mommy. You can't even see any nipple. What is the problem people?

Baby Talk, a free magazine, received 700 letters concerning their recent cover. Some calling it gross and inappropriate. Most still associate the breast with sex and are not mature enough to realize that a baby also needs it to grow.

I think it's common knowledge that if you are going to read a Pregnancy or Baby Magazine somewhere within it's pages you will see a nursing baby. The controversy rests in the fact that with the image being on the cover you will see it weither you plan to or not.

Full Article - CNN


Personalized Baby
I love clothes that have your child's name on it. It lets them know that you had this made special for them and no one can wear it after. You can buy a lot of personalized stuff online blankets, plates, bibs, t-shirts, toys and even books. These three items I found were unique so I thought I'd share them. Pink Onesie sizes 3m-12m 34.00, Green Turtle John John sizes 3m-4t 39.00, Birthday T-shirt sizes 2t-children's 8 19.95
Friday, July 28, 2006
Photo of the Week

Photo Taken by Sheila Braam www.sheilabraam.com
Thursday, July 27, 2006
The Goods on the Baby Walker
When I was small I used to scoot around the house and even the driveway in my baby walker. So naturally after I had my son I looked into getting one for him and hit a wall. They're BANNED in Canada (where I live). Banned? Why? At first it appeared that too many kids were rolling down stairs in them so the Canadian Government pulled them off the shelves. They have been deemed a hazardous product. I'm confused - a hazardous product? The Health Canada website says that if you have one you must destroy it. Are they that bad?

On my last trip over the border shopping Babies R Us had 3 different models. I was tempted to just buy one then our Occupational Therapist said that they are in fact bad for development. They reduce the opportunity to learn to crawl, gain a sense of balance, stand up on their own and lifts the baby up to a level that they are not prepared to be at. This makes them now able to grab a scalding cup of coffee or hazardous chemicals. 30-40% of infants who use walkers will have an accident. Infants are able to move at speeds of 1 meter/second and not even the most attentive parent can react fast enough to prevent an injury. Could the Canadian Government be onto something? They are the first country to ban the safe importation and advertisement of baby walkers. This also extends to second hand and modified walkers.

With this all being old news why am I posting this now? Most new parents grew up scooting all over the place in their walkers. Their parents probably have pictures of them standing in their walkers so naturally you would want that to be a part of your babies' memories as well. There have been many ideas as to why Canadians were not able to buy them. I personally had no idea the little monkeys could go so fast in them. That alone could take off a toe. Everything else makes sense and I am glad that we went with the exersaucer because I take comfort in knowing that my son will be where I left him when I come back.

Related: Ivillage article
American Academy of Pediatrics article



Waterbirth? Is it an option?
You are now 6 months pregnant and knee deep in baby decisions. When surfing the net you come across alternative forms of birthing. There are more than one? Waterbirths are increasingly becoming popular due to the comfort factor for mom. They are also believed to be a gentler, slower introduction to life for the baby. I have seen the waterbirths done on T.V. but didn't give it a second thought until I saw that only 10% of women who do a water birth need painkillers during labour. Could that be right?

Yup! Water is said to be a natural pain killer. 80% of women who have done a water birth say they would give birth that way again and rate their overall experience as positive. There were no differences in APGAR scores, NICU admissions, and neonatal infections when comparing water immersion births to regular deliveries.

Potential Advantages of Water Immersion

  • The buoyancy of water enables a mother to move more easily;
  • Blood pressure is lowered;
  • Comfort & relaxation may be enhanced;
  • Maternal sense of control may increase, which in turn enhances emotional well-being;
  • Pain may be diminished;
  • The need for pharmacological pain relief may be reduced;
  • Length of labour may be reduced;
  • Improved perineal stretching may reduce trauma;
  • Operative births may be reduced.
  • Potential Disadvantages

  • Decrease in uterine contraction strength and frequency, especially if used before active labour is established;
  • Neonatal water aspiration; at least two cases have been recorded
  • Maternal hyperthermia may contribute to fetal hypoxemia (water should be kept at 36-37.5 and monitored by a floating thermometer)
  • Neonatal hypothermia is possible if water temperature is too cool;
  • Cord immersion in warm water may delay vasoconstriction, increasing red cell transfusion to the newborn and promoting jaundice;
  • Blood loss estimation and assessment is difficult in the water;
  • Maternal and Neonatal infection may be increased; not supported by the evidence
  • Theoretical risk of maternal water embolus;
  • Risk of acquiring blood born infection or sustaining back injury for caregivers.
  • Rules:

    1. Fetal heat should be monitored by waterproof doppler.
    2. Shouldn't enter tub until active labour has begun.
    3. Must drink lots of fluid and leave tub to urine.
    4. Alternative birth place must be set up outside the tub.
    5. Placenta must be delivered outside the tub.
    6. The baby should be born completely underwater with no air contact until the head is brought to the surface, as air and temperature change may stimulate breathing and lead to water aspiration.
    7. At birth the baby's head must be brought to the surface immediately.
    8. Watch baby's temperature carefully to prevent hypothermia.
    Where is this done? While most hospitals have tub in some of the rooms for comfort the actual delivery is done outside the tub. Most are performed at home with midwives. SOURCE SOURCE


    Stylish Diaper Bags
    Now that you have a baby it doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your personal style in order to lug around all of their gear. Diaper bags are now being designed to look like trendy purses with baby perks inside. These great diaper bags are stylish and all have bottle holders, a place to hold diapers and a change mat too!! Fleurville "Mothership" - PVC free - Great for mommies with one than one baby, spacious - comes in 11 different patterns. Retail 139.99 U.S. Fleurville - Sling Tote - PVC Free - Great for mommies on the go can be worn over your shouder or it clips onto your stroller - comes in 16 patterns. Retail 139.95 U.S. Kate Spade - Dot Noel Large Baby Messenger - Sling over the shoulder bag appropriate for special events - colors pink(shown) and Chocolate. Retail 193.00(sale) OiOi - Floral Back and Charcoal Carry-All - an Australian company - Has a Manhattan Girl Feel - Comes in 4 colours/patterns. Retail 159.00 Aus
    JPLizzy - Chocolate classic Tote - Big , Spacious and classy - colors Baby Blue(shown) and Brown. Retail 94.00 Petunia Pickle Bottom - Blossom Roll - Very Chic and easy to tote - Comes in 6 designs. Retail 175.00 U.S. Bugaboo - Diaper Bag - A trendy bag to match your stroller - Base of the bag is grey but the flap comes in red, green, sand, blue(shown)and grey. Retail 150.00 cdn Daddy Diaper Bags for the dad that like to take the baby out and about without looking cute and frilly. Diaper Dude - Black Bag - very popular comes with various symbols on the bag in many prints most of which are sold out. Retail 55.00 U.S. Fleurville - "DJ" (diaper jam) Bag - PVC free over the shoulder model - comes in black and camouflage (shown). Retail 119.95 U.S. Eddie Bauer - Medina Backpack Diaper Bag - Keeps hands free for handling of more than than one child - Comes in the color shown. Retail 34.99 U.S. Baby Bjorn Diaper Bag - Very spacious and inconspicuous looks almost like a camera bag - comes in Grey, Navy, Black (all shown). Retail 79.99 U.S.
    Wednesday, July 26, 2006
    Morning Sickness
    Usually a sure sign that your are pregnant is Morning Sickness. Occurring usually between the weeks of 4 and 12 of your pregnancy, morning sickness can strike at anytime. It is believed to be an increased amount of hCG(human chorionic gonadotopin) in your body. hCG is produced after implantation and increases until around the 12th week of pregnancy.

    Another possible cause is that progestorone, a dominant hormone during pregnancy, relaxes the workings of the whole digestive track which makes the elimination of bodily wastes slower. This can lead to a slow emptying of the stomach which leads to excess stomach acids.

    While I never got morning sickness the poor girl in the bed beside me after I had my son had it bad. She was pregnant with triplets and couldn't keep anything down - not even water. She was so bad that the hospital had put a PICC line into her arm so that she would continue to get nutrients through TPN.

    There are many products on the market that claim to help with morning sickness. Preggie Pops(vitamin b6 and sucrose), seabands that use natural pressure to control nausea and even morning sickness CD's which contains specific tones, frequencies and pulses concealed by an overlayer of music. Ginger has also been mentioned as possible relief stating it reduces vomiting by 63%. Hence the reason your mom used to give you ginger ale when you were sick. Seabands - 6.95 U.S. Preggie pops 9.95 U.S. Morning Well Cd 18.99Pounds Source

    Daddy styles!!
    So why should all of the great maternity wear be just for women. 2chix.com has introduced some cute shirts for daddy's to be. They all retail for 38.00 U.S.
    Tuesday, July 25, 2006
    Breastfeeding Helps Pain for Infants
    Just another reason why Breastfeeding is the best way to go.

    According to a review of previous research, by Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, it apprears that the best baby painkiller, is breastfeeding

    The research compared babies who were swaddled, cuddled, or given a placebo, and it found that the babies who were breastfed experienced the least pain, and it's thought that the mother's presence was the key.

    The research illustrates that permature babies who had to undergo many painful procedures during the first weeks of their life could be helped by breastfeeding. At best it was the most inexpensive and effective way to relieve baby's pain.

    The researchers thought that it could be linked to the sweetness of breast milk, and a concentrated sugar solution has been found to soothe them just as well

    Baby's pain was measured by their breathing, heartrate and the length of time the baby cried after the injection.

    This makes sense to me because before vacinations or shots the nurses would give my son sugar water to soothe him and for the most part it worked. While I have never tried Breast milk I hear it is sweet but that is also dependant on your diet. Fruit will make your breastmilk sweeter while some spices give it a different taste that babies sometimes don't care for. source


    Breastfeeding Friendly Fashions
    Designers are now making breastfeeding friendly fashions that look great and allow you to feed your baby quickly and discreetly.

    This sundress from milkdudz looks simular to the kind of stuff Gwen Stefani was wearing while pregnant with Kingston. It has a clasp over each breast so that each side can be opened for discreet feeding. I love this dress. Retail 120.00

    The Godess Top - You can nurse under the front crop layer or push overlapping layers aside to access a built in spaghetti strap tank. Nursing is also pssible throught the enlarged arm holes. Retail 36.00 U.S.

    This dress from Mommy Gear has a built in light bra, crisscross front that is full lined for breastfeeding. It is a polyester/Lycra mix that can be dressed up or down. Retail 80.00 U.S.

    Boob Nursing Dress - Thre is a double layer of fabris over the bust so that an overlapping opening is formed. The nursing opening is accessed by lifting the top layer and pushing down the bottom layer to access the horizontal opening. The bottom layer extends over the bust. Retail 100.00 cad


    Is a girdle necessary after pregnancy?
    You have seen them in the department stores, your mom may even wear one. Many suggest that a girdle after 9 months of stretching and pulling will help pull your waist back into shape. It helps relieve the strain of gravity pull and gives the appearance of a flatter trimmer tummy. If you look good you will feel good.

    Gwyenth Paltrow said recently that her secret to looking so trim after her newest baby Moses was her girdle. Diet also play a big part and having a personal chef probably wouldn't hurt. After having Apple (her 1st child) she admitted to wearing 2 girdles at one time. "That's how all the Hollywood girls do it."

    Girdle of choice: SPANX. I don't have one of these but I have come this close to buying one on many occasions. I am going to start with the power panties and If I'm impressed I will move onto their other products. It's just that little bit of flab on my lower ab that I would like to suck in.

    Higher power with Tummy Control Power Panties with Tummy Control source


    Old Fashioned Toys
    This toy is fun and simple. It is made in france with non toxic paint so you won't have to worry about your baby chewing on it and getting sick. It takes me back to when I used to play with toys that didn't always need batteries to be great. Browny retails for 34.95 and ChaCha 29.95 U.S.
    Monday, July 24, 2006
    Private 3D/4D Ultrasounds
    You are 22 weeks pregnant, really starting to show and the baby is beginning to flutter around like a good thing. It's been a couple weeks since you have seen the baby (2nd Ultrasound) and you want to see him/her again. Now! What do you do? Some people have been able to satisfy their cravings for more baby by visiting private 3D/4D clinics. These places have been popping up all over and they are causing some controversy.

    There has always been some question whether or not too many ultrasounds are good for the baby. An ultrasound involves transmitting high frequency sound waves through the uterus. These bounce off the baby and the returning echoes are translated by a computer into an image on a screen that reveals the baby's position and movements.

    While there is no current proof that too many ultrasounds will cause problems later on some small-scale studies show that pre-term labor was increased in women who were given weekly ultrasounds.

    Not only is it a possible hazard to the baby, private ultrasounds are expensive. To have a peek at the baby for 20 minutes you will pay 135.00 cad, 30 mins 150.00. Gender determination 125.00, to have it all put on a dvd 25.00. There are some packages that have some extras thrown in like pictures, a heartrate monitoring and discounts for 2nd visits but they start around 200.00.

    I loved seeing our baby on the screen when we had our ultrasounds. I just could never bring myself to spend that kind of money knowing that we needed so many things for him when he arrived. While it's very exciting to see your baby inside your belly, ultrasounds we designed to help monitor the growth and development of your child. They were never meant to be used as entertainment. There is still a lot about the technology that is not known.

    source source


    Barbershop Baby

    This product is wonderful!! A fashionable highchair that any modern parent would be proud to have as furniture in their house with a Pneumatic lift. That's right no weird height adjustments, no getting your fingers stuck between the pole and switch. Your baby will zip up and down with ease just like in the barbers chair.

    It's a little pricey at 399.00 U.S. (Elite Model) more reasonable at 199.00 (Flair Model) but for the ease of use and safety features it offers how can you go wrong??

    The company also donates 10% of profits to charities.

    Flair Elite 399.00 Flair 199.00


    Sunday, July 23, 2006
    Eco-Baby - Bamboo Fabric Baby Clothes
    We have Bamboo floors, cutting boards, furniture and place mats. The newest edition to the very popular, environmentially friendly grass is baby clothes.

    Bamboo has been used in China for thousands of years to make all kinds of everyday products, including textiles, building materials, and homewares. There are over 1,000 documented uses for bamboo.

    Bamboo fibers are quickly emerging now in the fashion world. The fabric woven with bamboo yarn is light, almost translucent, and softer than cotton. It has a natural sheen that feels like silk or cashmere, but has the advantage of being machine-washable.

    This natural fiber is hypoallergenic, absorbant, and fast-drying. It is naturally anti-bacterial and will not hold odor. Like other natural fibers, it allows the body to breathe as the fabric absorbs the sweat away from the body.

    It also is the most sustainable of the natural fibers. It is fast-growing--the type of bamboo used for making fabric, commonly known as Moso, can reach a mature height of 75 feet in just 45 to 60 days. Because of it's natural antibacterial properties, it needs no pesticides. If there is sufficient rainfall, no additional irrigation is required. It regenerates naturally through an extensive root system that sends out an average of four to six new shoots per year. Anyone who has ever planted bamboo in their backyard knows it grows fast and abundant. It can be harvested and harvest and it will grow again and again. And when your bamboo garment finishes it's useful life, it can return to nourish the earth, as it is 100% biodegradable.

    Baby cloths, Hats, and Crib sheets I like the fact that bamboo doesn't need pesticides. Of the total amount of pesticides used worldwide, it is estimated that 35% are applied to cotton fields in the United States. Close to 3 billion dollars worth of pesticides are used on cotton worldwide each year. Those figures are scary considering most of us only wear cotton every day.
    source, source & source


    Remember Your Pregnancy Cuteness Forever
    Your pregnacy will be remembered for ever with a Belly Cast. In less than 30 you can have a mould of your beautiflul belly forever. I'm not sure where you would put this after it's done unless you made a special showcase for it. (hang it on the wall??) Who knows? One things for sure - it looks pretty cool. source & source
    Wetsuits for Baby
    I came across these swimsuits a few months ago while looking for something to keep our baby warm in the pool. While he is 8 months old he is still very small and usually doesn't fit into normal 6 or even 8 month clothing. These wetsuits are made to keep the babies temperature while swimming. Another plus is that a diaper is not needed because they are snug around their legs to prevent any accidents from getting into the pool. They make a smaller one for preemies and small babies plus they make a second one for regular sized babies. Both are made from Neoprene. Baby Wrap -Neoprene - made for regular size babies (diaper needed) Baby Snug - neoprene - made for low weight babies and preemies (no diaper needed)
    Friday, July 21, 2006
    Babies and the Sun
    Now that the summer has hit and the weather is nice it's time to figure out which sunscreen is best for your baby. Babies between 0-6 months cannot wear sunscreen therefore you must keep them in the shade with a nice long hat (goofy looking but effective) and possibly a sun blanket covering them.

    Once they have reached 6 months you should use a sunscreen that has at least and spf of 20. It also must contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which start protecting right away and form a barrier on top of the skin to protect against sunburns. While getting a children's sunscreen would be good, it's not necessary an adult one with the right stuff will work just as well. Sunsafe Solarwear Dr. Hauschka Sunscreen

    If baby gets too much sun make sure that you use a cold compress to help reduce the heat on their skin and soak them in a cool bath with oatmeal or cornstarch.

    This all takes me back to a vacation we recently took to Arizona. We had lathered up our 7 month old baby, put a sunscreen t-shirt on him and strapped on his big brimmed hat to go to the pool. The temperature was a teaming 105 deg and we were dying. Making my way through the crowd I noticed a very small baby in the pool (6lbs maybe), no hat and wearing a tiny bikini. My heart almost stopped - there were 2. A set of twins both sitting out in full sun being cradled by mom and aunt like they were toys!! Terrible, sometimes you just don't know what to do.

    Cover up your munchkins for the summer to keep their skin safe for life. A burn when they are small could make them more receptive to skin cancer when hey get older.

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