Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thoughts on Traveling with a Child

Now that I am getting ready to become a parent I am spending more time thinking about the parenting that I see in the world around me.  I have always been opinionated about traveling with small children. In my opinion children are very rarely taught how to behave in public and when it comes to long travel trips by plan or to resorts and vacation destinations small children are completely up rooted and taken away from their norms. Everyone gets a little on edge when they are out of their comfort zone but little children don’t have the life skills to cope with these changes well. While sitting on the plane on our way to Hawaii for our “Baby Moon” there was several people on the plane with their small children. Some of the children made their presence known before they even got on the plane. While in flight the entire coach section of the plane was disturbed and inconvenienced by these children. Aside from the distressing noise (I am really glad they were not sitting behind me) that they continuously made they were running up and down the aisles of the plane too. My favorite part of the trip was when the whole family tried to cram into the bathroom to change the smallest child’s diaper. It was then that I realized that there are no changing tables on the airplane. The parents left the door to the bathroom open (so that they could all fit in there) the entire time, exposing us all the airplane bathroom smell and to the smell of the contents of the diaper for several minutes. Let me just say that neither of these smalls was welcome or pleasant!  In contemplating this situation which I had the unpleasant chance to experience, I realized the only other options would be to change the diaper on the floor of the plane or the seat of the plane which would still expose the plane to the smell of the diaper…Still not a pleasant alternative!!! This strengthened my resolve not to fly with my children until they are old enough to understand how to behave and entertain themselves but also use the bathroom on the plane.

This led me to thinking about the fact that both my family and my husband’s family all live on the opposite coast from us. If I am stubborn and refuse to fly with a small child that means grandparents and aunts and uncles will not get to see our child for several years unless they fly to us. I also have to ask the question of what do I do if we have another child before the first one is ready to fly? I have to face the reality that both of my children may miss out on building a relationship with their family. Although it may seem easier for them to fly then for us there is also an age and health factor to take into account. Our parents are aging and with that comes a natural decline in health. Is it fair for me to withhold visitation with their grandchildren unless they subject themselves to a flight? At the same time, my small child has not built up immunity to all of germs and viruses that travel through the closed air systems on the plane, not to mention the change in altitude and what that does to your sinuses, is it fair to put mom and baby through all that stress?

I don’t want to be unfair to my children or to my family, however, I don’t feel the need to place my child or myself under undo stress or risk. Is this a no win parenting situation? How much of this is myselfish wish not to experience more stress then I need to and how much of this is truly thinking about my child and others?  How do I compromise without completely giving into my personal standards? 
I think that I will be spending much more time in thought and prayer on this subject...           

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Staying at Home with Baby

This article "Life is for Love" is a great read!

A friend of mine from high school had a beautiful baby in June. She is currently on the search for a quality childcare facility to take care of her son when she returns to work. One of her facebook friends posted the link above for her to read as she makes this decision. Being a curious sort I clicked on the link and was not disappointed with the read. Plus the article gives a shout out to a Cal. State University Long Beach professor.

It is a huge decision for a woman to decide to stay home with her children, especially if she has invested in her education. However, this article made me feel better about my decision and will likely be an article I turn to for comfort when I am regretting the loss of income to my family. I hope it brings you comfort and insight as well.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Preventing Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

Oh the joys of pregnancy! Just when I thought that I was getting settled into my new state as a pregnant woman and I am getting used to my middle expanding...I realize that my tummy is itching and my skin feels tight. The next day I realize that there are some new scars on my hips. I remember getting some stretch marks when my hips first came in and my breasts first appeared but I thought that I might be through with that...sadly, pregnancy brings back some of the traumatic events of puberty. At least I don't have to deal with my period for a few more months...

Being the proactive pregnant woman that I am I went looking for the best way to prevent and treat stretch marks. The key to preventing stretch marks is to keep your skin moisturized so that it does not damage when it stretches.

Helpful Tips for an an itchy belly:
  • Stretch marks are a lot easier to prevent then they are to get rid of; so the key should be on prevention.
  • Keep a bottle of lotion in your purse and when your tummy gets itchy putting a layer of lotion on when I go to the bathroom.
  • Layer-up! Put some lotion on after the shower and when you go to bed at night.
  • If you are itchy and can't get to the bathroom, DON'T SCRATCH the itch- MASSAGE IT!!! When you scratch the itch you actually damage the skin cells which opens them up to stretching. By massaging the itch gently you are not creating any damage but increasing blood flow to the area.  
Picking the Right Product- Oh the choices!

There are a million websites out there that will tell you about great stretch mark creams, lotions, balms, sprays, and body butters. There is no shortage of product for this malady, complete with testimonies about how great they work. However, when I started looking for the "top rated" products I was shocked by the prices of these products. I might be desperate to prevent stretch marks but I am not going to spend a fortune to do it. This led me on a different search. So I started to look at what the main ingredients in the over priced products were. What I found was that some of the old faithful products that my grandmother used to keep in the house for general use. These products are simply over priced Aloe, coco butter, mineral oil, and Shea butter. Most of these products you can find for under $10.

Armed with this knowledge I didn't have to go very far to find a good moisturizer. Target, Whole Foods Market, and Trader Joe's all offer the simple form of these products and they do so in a cost affective manner. So far at 32 weeks I have not gotten any additional stretch marks and my skin feels great! From using these products my hands are also softer. My advice to any woman looking for a good stretch mark cream: keep it simple and stick to the old faithful, natural products!

My Product of Choice

My personal favorite is Palmer's  company brand of products. I have used the regular Cocoa Butter Lotion since I was a teenager spending too much time in the sun and have always enjoyed this product. It usually sells for under $10 and is easy to find just about anywhere (Bed Bath and Beyond actually has great prices and selection of Palmer's products). Palmer's carries a whole line of pregnancy and post-pregnancy products. My favorite product is still the regular Cocoa Butter with Vitamin E. 

I have been using the Palmer's Tummy Butter for a few weeks and I do enjoy the this product. It has a light lavender scent to it. My only criticism is that it is a little difficult to get get out of the jar at first but once you rub it and warm it up with your fingers it is just fine. Amazon lists this product for $17 but I bought it at Bed Bath and Beyond for around $6.
Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Tummy Butter For Stretch Marks, 4.4-Ounce Units (Pack of 3)

I have also tried the Palmer's Cocoa Butter Cream for Stretch Marks. This product is not as think and it I personally do not like the smell of this lotion. It has a rather clinical smell but it doesn't linger after it dries. I like this product for my tummy but and stretch march prone areas but with the regular Cocoa Butter the best because I can put it all over my body. Both products work great cost about the same.

Palmers Palmers Cocoa Butter Lotion for Stretch Marks

Areas to Moisturize

Now that you have the right product do the job right! When you are getting all buttered up make sure that get all the areas that are going to be affected by the stretching process.

Be sure to moisturize:
  • The belly- don't forget the top of the rib cage and the area below the belly down to the pubic hair 
  • lower back
  • hips
  • thighs (especially the inner thigh) and legs
  • breasts 
I have a girlfriend who only applied lotion to her belly and forgot some of the important areas listed above. Her belly was fine but she got stretch marks up her legs and on her lower back. Remember that all of your skin in connected, it is one large organ, and the pulling and stretching is happening all over your body!

If you are interested in making your daily moisturizing a little more fun...ask your husband to help you get all your stretch mark prone zones! Of all the tasks I am now asking my husband to help me with, this task is by far his favorite!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Prenatal Yoga-Why I love it!

When I first found out that I was pregnant I was training for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk for the cure. I was walking 3-6-9-12 mile walks. At first it wasn't a problem but very soon I was wearing myself out and I wasn't gaining enough weight. My doctor told me that it might be in my best interest to slow down. She recommended that I try prenatal yoga which would also help me prepare for labor. I was a little unsure about starting a new activity but I thought I would give it a try. 

After doing a little research I found that there are some definite benefits to doing yoga during pregnancy and for helping you get through labor. Yoga helps keep you limber and flexible while your body changes. It helps improve your circulation and teaches you to control your breathing. There are also several positions that will help the baby to move into birth canal during labor. Practicing these positions is the best way to prepare to use them in labor. There is also plenty of research on the importance of being able to control your breathing during contractions. 

After attending my first yoga class I didn't feel the need to find a Lamaze class or hypno-birthing class. I really enjoyed the class and could immediately see how yoga can benefit labor. I noticed that my back felt better and so did the rest of my body did too. My favorite part of Yoga was that I could feel my little man in a different way during class. I have to admit that I am starving after class and I need a nap, but I enjoy my yoga time and really wish that the class was at least 2 times a week. I have to yoga with a Netflix video the rest of the week. It is also nice to spend an hour in a room with other women who are also pregnant and although we really don't spend much time talking to each other it is just nice to have a shared experience.    


My yoga instructor Wendy J  posted a couple of prenatal yoga videos on YouTube so I thought that I would post them here for you. They are a great way to get a 20 minute yoga session in each day.

This is Part 1 of Morning Flow

This is Part 2 of Morning Flow