July 30, 2010 (5:04 pm)

DTaP Vaccine and Whooping Cough Epidemic – What to Do?

topics: Vaccines
by Kristen Suzanne

What do you think about vaccinations, or DTaP in particular with whooping cough (Pertussis) seeing a resurgence? Share your story below.

I stated reading about vaccines even before I became pregnant. It’s not an easy topic, neither the science nor the emotions. So I wanted to have a handle on it before pregnancy. Well, funny thing… I’m learning that with children, you can think you have it all figured out but it can change pretty quickly once your precious little baby is in your arms.

(I’m not a doctor so I’m not prescribing a plan for you in this post. I ALWAYS recommend doing your own research as well as discussing this with your child’s pediatrician so you can make an informed decision.)

The first thing I came to realize is that not all vaccines are the same. Some carry more risk than others. Some protect against diseases with different risks than others. For instance, take Polio… super unlikely but a terrible disease. And then there’s the joke of the vaccine world, Rotavirus… everyone gets this bug when they’re a kid but, LOL, it’s just plain old diarrhea. (The risk is if you get too dehydrated and are a hundred miles from an IV drip, like in Africa.) And some vaccines are simply more effective than others at offering protection. I quickly came to see that, while vaccines have polarized a lot of people (“pro” vs. “anti” vaccine), the reality is just not black-and-white. It’s more complicated.

Most complex of all.. nobody really knows the cumulative risk of loading up on so many vaccines at such an early age. The science is weak here. The current CDC vaccine schedule calls for a lot more vaccines than we adults had when we were kids (and, despite this, I don’t recall many terrible epidemics as a kid).  It also calls for more vaccinations than many other industrialized nations, such as Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. These countries schedule far fewer vaccines… also seemingly without zombie hordes of infected people taking over their little Nordic utopia. And call me cynical, but when the CDC’s advisory committee that writes the schedule has members who are the ones selling the vaccines… well, that’s just dumb.

This brings me to today… there is an outbreak of whooping cough in California. Read More »

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July 26, 2010 (2:30 am)

Breastfeeding Pillow Wars

by Kristen Suzanne

As a green mommy, I like to get as many things as possible organic (and/or sustainably made) for my family… especially my baby. When I was researching breastfeeding pillows, I came upon this groovy pillow which looked great. It’s filled with organic buckwheat hulls (this helps keep baby cool and not over heat I’ve heard) and organic fabrics. Sweet! So, I ordered one before Kamea was born. My husband took an immediate liking to it for sleeping, so I ordered another (this time for Kamea!).

However, I wasn’t sure how much I loved it after using it for a week or so. The issue was that because I was a first time breastfeeding mommy, I was still learning the ropes to breastfeeding. Basically what would happen is… Kamea would latch on and I’d be so grateful that I didn’t take time to get comfortable myself. Hence, neck and back aches and major uncomfortableness while breastfeeding. I also wasn’t great at positioning her on the pillow.. it’s very pliable as you can imagine since it’s filled with buckwheat.

As a tired and anxious new mom, I was (and still am) quite willing to buy whatever I can to make life easier right now (you have something to make my baby more comfy or to make my life easier – I’M SOLD!). Therefore, I started researching other breastfeeding pillow options. I decided to check out the Breast Friend pillow, which I’d heard many great things about. I bought one – of course. After it arrived I put it on and felt downright silly wearing it – lol. It’s like a tu-tu. I still laugh when I put it on. I was also disheartened that it’s not organic and far from sustainable from what I can tell… which I pretty much knew going in. Still, I wanted to try it. After getting used to the Blessed Nest pillow above, the Breast Friend was very stiff. I pretty much had to hold on to Kamea while she was on it because I feared she’d roll off. On the Blessed Nest pillow, she settles right in. However, I did notice that the first few times I used the Breast Friend, it was indeed quite nice on my back. I was excited to experience that. But, as with many things… trade one issue for another. Give up organic, quality manufacturing, and softness for Kamea versus relax my back. Read More »

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July 25, 2010 (8:42 am)

Can’t Wait To Homeschool

topics: Homeschool
by Kristen Suzanne

Greg and I can’t wait to homeschool, especially when we see cool videos like this!

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July 21, 2010 (4:22 pm)

The Story of Cosmetics

topics: Beauty
by Kristen Suzanne

This is a great little video talking about the toxins in cosmetics and what it can mean for you and the environment. It’s an important topic that needs more attention in my opinion.

For details about beauty products I like and use that are earth and animal friendly, check out this Kristen’s Raw post.

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July 19, 2010 (12:30 am)

Kamea’s 1st Bath, 1st Cloth Diaper, Cloth Wipes Warmer Rocks!

by Kristen Suzanne

We gave Kamea a bath last week and she didn’t take too kindly to it. My sweet baby girl wasn’t excited (ummm… she’s pissed) – how sad is that picture!?!? I hope they get easier – after all… baths are so awesome, right?! Her belly button is still healing and after it’s good to go, I look forward to bathing with her in the tub together. That might be more fun for her. Although, that seems a bit scary, too! Do any of you bathe with your newborns? Any tips or tricks for it? Kamea is just a little over 3 weeks now.

I also decided to go ahead and try a cloth diaper on Sunday. She’s about 8 1/2 pounds now (she’s gaining weight like a champ!), but her legs are quite skinny. I tried a Kissaluv organic cloth diaper, fitted I think is what it was… supposed to be good for a baby 5-15 pounds. I figured it’d fit great. Well, it wasn’t long until she dirtied it and it was all wet and went through her clothes. It wasn’t a blow out per se, it was just soaked through and she didn’t even have it on that long. I washed it 3 times before using it to increase the absorbency, but maybe I need to wash it more? Or perhaps I need to use a cover over it? I was a tad disappointed and quickly reverted back to my 7th Generation disposables (at least for now). I have not had one problem with those, even when she poops all watery and messy. It keeps it contained. I think I’ll tackle cloth diapers in a couple more weeks… perhaps when she’s a little bigger and I’ve had more sleep. ;)

I also am using organic BabyKicks cloth wipes. The challenge with that is using one hand to get it wet (preferably with warm water at the sink so it’s not cold on her girly bits – this takes time to get the water warm – or with a spray bottle, which requires more than one hand and isn’t warm either). I went ahead on the advice of a good friend and bought this cloth wipe warmer and boy are we LOVING it! It keeps the wipes nice and warm and wet. Ready to use. Many people said I wouldn’t need it, but I’m so glad we bought it and highly recommend it if you’re using cloth wipes (it comes with a few bamboo wipes, but I also use the organic BabyKicks cloth wipes linked above). It only takes a few minutes to get it set up each day.

We have our 1 month check up in about a week and I’m looking forward to that. I can’t wait to see how much more weight she’s gained drinking up her mama’s plant-powered breast milk. It’s been a crazy, long, fun, exciting, and exhausting 3 weeks so far. What an adventure!

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July 18, 2010 (4:04 pm)

Congrats Optimistic Jessica! You WIN!

topics: Giveaway
by Kristen Suzanne

Yay! I have a winner… it’s Optimistic Jessica! Simply email me with your address and I’ll ship the book to you.

When asked why she’d like a copy of Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth, here is what she wrote:

I would absolutely adore this book as I am a sponge soaking up information and I am expecting a baby due in Feb!!! And this time around I am a high raw vegan :)

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July 15, 2010 (5:53 pm)

Lil Giveaway – Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth

by Kristen Suzanne

I’d like to treat someone to a copy of Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth. It’s one of my favorite books for pregnancy / childbirth preparation (as are all of these books I blogged about here). Simply write a comment in today’s post telling me why you’d like the book. I’ll randomly select a winner on Sunday, July 18. *Please note this contest is for people living in the United States only.

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July 10, 2010 (11:09 pm)

Breastfeeding Throne

by Kristen Suzanne

I have set up my breastfeeding throne. I have an awesome reclining chair that I use (I don’t recline while feeding, but after when Kamea lays on my chest, it’s perfect). On both sides of it are tables where I have my iPhone, iPad, water, tiffin full of snacks, Kamea’s nail clippers, breastfeeding pillow, burp cloths, books, lip balm, paper, pen, blanket for Kamea (these blankets are awesome – organic and perfect texture/thickness for the hot weather. I bought 4 of them! I had no idea a baby gets things so dirty so quickly – lol – I needed backups), blanket for me, foot stool (so needed with breastfeeding for me! I’m extremely grateful that Greg’s friend bought this for us as I didn’t know how much I’d love/need it), remote control, and sometimes my computer. Now, most of the time, I just stare at her while she’s feeding, but sometimes I get a little work done, too. It took me a few days to get into my groove, but not that my throne is set up, I’m good to go! We’re getting into our routine and she’s feeding just wonderfully. All on the breast. :)

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July 6, 2010 (1:44 am)

Breastfeeding Mission – Basically Accomplished!

by Kristen Suzanne

On July 4, I decided to go back to solo breastfeeding (i.e., no pumping) and having more confidence in both my body and Kamea. The first few days of having Kamea in our lives, I did some pumping and that was indeed helpful because, as I wrote in the last post… it gave my ta tas a rest from being sore, family members were able to bond and feed her, I was able to catch up on some much needed sleep, and it encouraged my milk supply. But, I decided to stop the pumping because I want my breasts to make enough milk for Kamea, based on her natural feedings, and I want to get back to that closeness I have while breastfeeding her.

So… how are we doing? We’re doing just great! The goal is 8-12 feedings a day which we have accomplished and 6 or more wet diapers a day, which we’re on track for doing as well. I’m so happy about it. We’re getting the hang of things as I get more practice every day of being a mom and Kamea gets stronger. I’ve even ventured into babywearing a bit. I am trying out my Gypsy Mama wrap by putting Kamea into it a few minutes at a time. I’m certainly no expert, but each time it seems to get a little bit better and easier.

Well, I’m off to nap while my sweet darling sleeps. Catching my zzzz’s when I can. :)

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July 2, 2010 (12:47 pm)

Baby Kamea Update

by Kristen Suzanne

Baby Kamea is here! I’m so in love with her. As many of you know from following my Kristen’s Raw blog, Kamea was born on June 26. Apparently, she was born at a powerful time with the eclipse occurring. Personally, I think she was past our estimated due date so she could make a grand entrance at such a special time.

She had her first doctor visit and the good news is that she is gaining weight. Yay! That’s a relief because as a first time mom, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Is she getting enough?” Sometimes she nurses strongly, but other times she just seems to play around. I’m tracking her diapers to help gauge, but again, as a first timer… I can’t help but wonder.

It’s been an awesome, joyful, and anxious adventure so far. I am one heck of a worrier it turns out. But, we’re taking it half day by half day. I had/have all of these plans for things I want to do, but we’re taking it one step at a time. First, I’m getting the hang of breast feeding. It’s been pretty easy so far, but not without its soreness. As a result, I’m pumping to not only relieve them, but to also encourage my breast milk supply. This gives Kamea’s dad and grandmas a chance to feed her, too, while giving my ta-tas a break. Furthermore, I’m able to freeze some in the event of an emergency if we should ever need it. To tell you the truth, I had always planned on solely breastfeeding, but when new information presents itself, being flexible is important. I was a little worried about nipple confusion, but I was more worried that she wasn’t getting enough breast milk. Fortunately, she is taking to both like a champ. All in all, she is mostly at the breast, but gets a little in a bottle at times.

We’re using eco-friendly disposable diapers right now for two reasons: 1) easier until her cord falls off and 2) easier on mom and dad until we get the time to concentrate on trying the different systems I have. So, that means that we’ll focus on cloth diapers next. After that, we’ll start playing with EC.

And, I am eager to babywear, but I tell ya, I feel so lost with using these things. I have a ring sling, ergo with infant (probably too hot right now), kanga-wrap shirt thing, moby, gypsy mama. But, I’m scared to use them! My doula came over the other night and we tried the gypsy mama which was great, but now I have to practice it on my own. Eek! I want to watch some videos on youtube, but I’m so busy with breastfeeding, getting rest, and overall just getting to know Kamea, that I’ll tackle this later. By taking things one project at a time, it helps me manage it all mentally so I’m more calm.

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Kristen Suzanne is a Raw food chef and author who blogs about all things green and mommy-related! More...

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