September 28, 2010 (8:49 pm)

Jumperoo Or Not?

by Kristen Suzanne

A couple of weeks back I asked my Facebook friends (parents) what they thought about using a jumperoo for their kids. The overwhelming majority loved it for their kids. But, there were a few who weren’t sure as to whether they were healthy for babies and their hips.

One friend in particular pointed me to this discussion here where a pediatric physical therapist did not like them. The contribution to the forum detailing this is a a few entries down in purple once you click the link. I’ve copied and pasted it here:

I have heard that physical therapists don’t like jumparoos and exersaucers because they place too much weight on babies legs, which aren’t supposed to be weight bearing at this point. And I guess with the crotch-support seats it wouldn’t be good on hips, either.
Do we have any physical therapists on our board?!!

I guess what I’ve heard is that babies are supposed to be in arms or on the floor as much as possible – the two best places for development at this age.

Editing to add, here’s something helpful I found from a mama on a different message board (her words, not mine, but helpful to understand what might be going on):

I worked as a pediatric physical therapist before my son was born, so this an area near and dear to my heart.

Saucers, jumpers, walkers, etc. do nothing to enhance development, and can actually delay the achievement of milestones by several weeks. Essentially, to give a quick summary, standing in a saucer is not the same as actively standing while say holding onto a couch. The muscles work in a different pattern that is less desirable. This has been backed up by EMG studies, where they read the electrical output of different muscles and look at the patterns in which they are activated. Babies in saucers tend to be pitched forward onto their toes, which isn’t a normal posture and can theoretically lead to tip toe walking down the road (an abnormal gait pattern). Their abdominal muscles aren’t activeley engaged like they would be while actively standing. Their gluteal (butt) muscles aren’t engaged the same way they would be while standing on their own. This allows them to stand with a sway-backed posture that isn’t particularly healthy.

There have been excellent twin studies showing that even in typically-developing kids, the twin that used a walker walked on average 6 weeks later than the non walker using twin. Most therapists would say this can be applied to saucer use as well. Studies have shown saucers to delay sitting, crawling and walking milestones. Many parents will say their child used a saucer and walked early, but that isn’t really a fair assessment, as their child may have walked even earlier if they *didn’t* use one.

In a typically developing kid, it is less of a concern than a child at risk of delays (preemies, low muscle tone, etc.) However, not all parents know if their child is delayed or at risk of delays either.

The recommendation of most pediatric PTs I’ve known is to limit their use entirely if you can. If you insist on using one, don’t use it for more than 20 mins a day, and be aware of how fast that time adds up (10 mins while you shower, 10 mins during a phone call, 30 mins while you make dinner, 10 mins while you clean up, 5 mins while you go to the bathroom…). It adds up more quickly than people realize. Also if the child shows any signs of fatigue (slouching over, slumping, leaning to one side) they should be removed before 20 mins total, and hopefully beforehand.

I know mamas need to shower and do things around the house…I can sympathize, believe me. Just keep in mind saucers are all marketing, and there is no real benefit to be had from your child using them. The manufacturers make parents feel like they really enhance development, when the opposite is true. The best “tool” for helping a child develop motor skills is floor time…supervised tummy time, just playing on the floor w/ your baby. If you need to contain them for safety, a playpen still allows them to practice their motor skills without getting into trouble if you are in the shower and can’t supervise, for example.

I know some people say that they only put their baby in a jumperoo for about 20 minutes a day and it’s hard to imagine much consequence with that small amount of time. That being said, I don’t think I’ll buy something that they literally use for only 20 minutes a day, especially if there are potential problems with my baby using it. However, I can empathize with how precious a 20 minute break in a day can be for a new mama. Wouldn’t a better solution be a playpen or a swing? What do you think?

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September 23, 2010 (7:38 am)

Our First Official Outing With Kamea

by Kristen Suzanne

Since Kamea was born in June, we’ve left home only a handful of times and they were all for doctor and midwife appointments. There were a few reasons that we stayed homebound for this long. For starters, it’s been hot as hell outside in Arizona (typical summer). Taking Kamea for an outing that wasn’t really needed is just plain silly with the temperatures so high. Secondly, I was tired! The last thing I wanted to do was get ready, pack Kamea up, and go out… just to go out. Thirdly, I was still learning and thinking about how I’d breastfeed in public, what to do if she had a meltdown, etc. All of those reasons just added to my stress level when I was already trying to keep it all together as a first time mama. It felt natural and “right” to just stay home and bond with my baby… get to know her… stay snugly all day and relax.

But. When she turned 12 weeks on Saturday, something changed a bit. I woke up that morning and said, “Let’s take Kamea out for a little adventure.” It just felt like the time was right. I felt confident and ready to show her life outside the home.

Kamea having fun at Starbucks

So, where did we go? Well, I wanted to keep it very local and I wanted it to be a short, relaxing trip. We went to our local Starbucks. I know… kind of lame to some people. But, Greg and I actually enjoy spending time there reading, chatting, surfing the web, etc. We work from home, so it’s nice to sometimes move our “office” to Starbucks and work for awhile. Of course, we didn’t bring work with us when we had Kamea.

Here’s Kamea in her groovy Orbit stroller / infant car seat system. I love how the seat rotates 360 degrees so I can push her closer up to the table (I rotated it 90 degrees here). We also bought the stroller seat for walks and LOVE it. Actually, Kamea loves the stroller seat – lol – it rotates 360 degrees like the car seat, but also reclines three levels and is made of materials that are a little “cooler” since she doesn’t have to be protected in it like she does the car. I’ll write more on the Orbit system in a future post with a video. Check out how “green” Orbit is here.

The little trip to Starbucks was a big success. Kamea loved it… she looked around at new things and smelled new smells. It was fun. I can’t wait to do it again!

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September 18, 2010 (3:46 pm)

Organic Cloth Wipes Solution For Diaper Changes

by Kristen Suzanne

Here is a quick video showing you the solution I use when making up Kamea’s organic cloth wipes for diaper changes. I mention in the video about a great place for quality organic jojoba oil. Here is the link. In my correspondence with the company, they told me that the following are many uses for their organic jojoba oil: diaper rash, cradle cap, mosquito bites, poison oak/ivey, stretch marks, acne, eczema, etc (more details here). Amazing stuff!

Here are the organic cloth wipes I use and the cloth wipe warmer.

Enjoy the video!

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September 13, 2010 (10:37 am)

My Birth Story

by Kristen Suzanne

Let me start with the following: If you’re pregnant, you might want to skip this post. That said, it was a lesson for me and might be for you if you find yourself in a similar situation.

When I was taking our Hynobirthing birth prep classes, we learned that it’s best to only listen to positive and happy birth stories. In fact, we were given a pin to wear that said, “Only happy stories please. My baby is listening.” It makes sense. The last thing any pregnant woman needs to hear is yet another hard or sad or terrifying birth story (depictions in ALL movies are already bad enough), as these will cause fear, which will impede labor. After all, I knew from reading and YouTube that not all births are painful. It is possible to have one without pain. Heck, some women orgasm with it! Especially birthing at home, right? The ability to walk around, wear my own clothes or be buck naked if I want. Eat, drink, dance, etc. A pain-free birth, although rare, may be possible. And a low-pain birth is also possible.

In telling my story, I don’t want to turn pregnant ladies off because I think the story is still a good one. Good not only because I have a healthy and happy baby, but also good because I learned a lot that might be useful for expecting moms.

Not every part of the story is good and happy — my total labor from start to finish was about 31 hours, and almost nothing went as planned. Here we go… Read More »

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September 8, 2010 (12:25 pm)

Working Our Way Into Cloth Diapers

by Kristen Suzanne

A small cloth diaper update: Kamea is 10.5 weeks old now. We’re just starting to work our way into some cloth diapers. It’s taken this long because they have been too big in my opinion. Yes, too big. Even the AIO – snapping them down to fit simply makes them thicker and even more uncomfortable looking on her. But, this past week, I’m starting to see some potential with one brand (understand though, I have not tried them all, and I know there are a lot out there, but I have tried a few. I’d probably go broke trying all of the different brands and styles  - lol. I have heard some good things about gdiapers because they apparently have a really small size available for newborns but the whole gdiaper system wasn’t attractive to me… it was just one more thing to learn as a tired 1st time new mama).

Kamea wearing BabyKicks cloth diaper

Right now, I like BabyKicks - this one in particular, shown in the picture. (I have this other version of theirs, but prefer the “bumboo” diaper because it doesn’t require a cover. Covers add extra bulk). I like the bumboo because it fits her better at this age / size than some other brands I have, which I predict will fit well when she’s 3-4 months (I’ll post on those when the time comes). However, even with BabyKicks, the only way I like the look of them is when she’s wearing just the cloth diaper and a tshirt (or just the cloth diaper alone) – serious cuteness! But, honestly, how many people go out in public with just that on a baby? There are some adorable cloth diaper prints available, but who sees those other than me? Or am I missing something? Do people take babies out in a cloth diaper and tshirt alone? I presume clothes should be worn and so I am still of the opinion that clothes look silly on her when covering a cloth diaper. She looks like a giant pear (or as another reader wrote “a hockey goalie” lmao). Therefore, we’ll stick to cloth at home for now, where she’s chilling out in her cloth diaper and organic tshirt (we still use eco-friendly disposables too, especially at night).

Keeping things honest and real… there is one brand so far that I don’t think I like. It’s Flip. I want to like them! To be fair, I’ll try it again in case I was doing something wrong, but I wasn’t in love with it during our first go with it. Perhaps I used it incorrectly? From what I can tell, it’s a cover and you fold a cloth diaper and lay it inside. I’m guessing that the cloth is folded lengthwise and simply placed down the middle. The system seems promising in that you can use the cover multiple times and just change out the organic cloth part, but it didn’t fit well. That being said, maybe I’ll like it more when she’s bigger. UPDATE (10/26/10): Kamea is 4 months now, bigger in weight and length from when I first wrote this post. The Flip are better than when I first tried them, but they’re still not my favorite. I love the concept though.

I get asked frequently about which soap I use for her clothes (ours, too). This is the soap that was recommended we use to wash the cloth diapers, which can be used for all clothes: Country Save.

Update: After the first comment from Amy on this post, I’m back to checking out gdiapers – lol.

Update #2: I just read a gdiaper review on Amazon where a lady said the gdiaper insert worked better in the Flip cover than the gdiaper. Go figure. Maybe I’ll try that.

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