C-Section Sucks...

yes, you had a healthy baby... yes, that is all that is important...

...then why did I still feel so bad?
No matter what people told me, no matter how much I rationalized I still felt cheated...

To this day I feel there is a little gap between being pregnant and having a baby on my lap... some piece of the puzzle missing.

I was very well prepared for birth... having done months of training with hypnobabies  home training (strongly recommend it)  I felt ready for everything... well almost everything...

After having the c-section I found myself in the only position I hadn't research in advance.

It was nice to find Jeanne's site on c-section recovery.
FAQ's, forums and books that made me feel less lonely.

The most important piece of advice I found is the c-scar massage.
Treating scar tissue is not just about aesthetics, c-scars can lead from lower back to bladder problems.

Doing yoga daily and massaging my scar at least twice a week has helped me a lot. I can feel my belly again although the feeling is kind of like when you have only just woken up.... for the time being.

Cloth Diapers - Long Term Test - 6 months

After 6 months of continuous use I couldn't be happier with cloth diapers.
All of them are holding up pretty nicely, we've never experienced a diaper leak or a bum rash.

If at first I was happy to share my enthusiasm for cloth, now am I surely singing in praise.

The few times we had to use throw-aways (pampers and libero) not only did we have to clean up pooped clothes but also there was something very wrong with the smell...
Pee smells like burned rubber and poo always smells much stronger than in cloth diapers.

The 6 months mark:
pop-in by close parent The bamboo edition is still going strong although when I first got them they looked frail. Works wonder in the summer, but I wouldn't recommend bamboo for colder climates as they take more time to dry.

oh katy Still my favorite kind of pocket style microfiber. The inserts are still very absorbent and they have little extra buttons that helped the first months.

blueberry Minky shell are soft but I don't recommend them for warmer climates. The most expensive but great quality inserts.

happy heinys maybe the best microfiber inserts of the lot... after everyday washing for months they still absorb like new...

fuzzibunz The waterproof fabric looked thin but to date they are still going strong.

rumparooz while big for a newborn, great for a 6 month old as the insert shape isn't rectangular but is "shaved" on the sides reducing the bulk around the legs.

bumgenius still my least favorites... The only ones of the bunch I wouldn't buy again. The inserts have become super thin and don't absorb anything anymore.

Lastly GroVia have retreated to the back of the shelf as they still take forever to dry (in 38c summer!)

We used to wash every day at first but have been washing every other day after the first 3 months. 
We do not use a pail as we found that the best way to keep the diapers from stinking is washing them by hand to get the pee/poo off (for poo we use a toothbrush) and keep them in a open container in the bathroom. Even in the summer heat we have never had a problem with smell.

The organic bamboo velour wipes are also still in great shape after daily use! (we use them for pretty much everything! (vomit, sweat, napkins, wipes) 

Along with the homemade wipe solution:
4 cups of chamomile infusion, 15 drops of lavender oil and 10 drops of tea tree oil.

I have been using a homemade cream:
1 ounce olive oil, 1 ounce shea butter ,1 ounce cocoa butter and 1/2 ounce beeswax.

The bottom line:
My six month old uses around 4-6 diapers per 24 hours. One of them at night.


Elimination Communication or infant potty training

Quite a fancy title for such a simple idea.

But lets digress for a moment...

When I was pregnant I started noticing baby ads.
We are all aware of the impossible standards of "beauty" imposed by marketeers but never until now had I thought about how babies are portrayed.
I found out that "ad babies" are happy all the time and sleep all night long - and if my baby is crying or not sleeping I'm a bad parent who's missing some product. Top it up with peer pressure "is she sleeping through the night yet?" and your hormonally challenged and sleep deprived mind begins to think that there's something wrong with either you or your heir.

But the facts of nature point to the contrary.
Babies are not supposed to sleep all night. They have to wake up to feed which is why their circadian rhythm is not set and their sleep cycles are much smaller than ours.
Babies are supposed to cry. Its their only means of communication and f you listen closely instead of trying to hush, you can learn the subtle differences of each call and tend to the need faster minimizing the fuss.

One of those "happy baby" products is super absorbent diapers. Your baby won't fuss as it will not feel wet. Unfortunately not feeling wet leaves the baby unaware of its bodily functions making it harder to potty train. 

The facts speak for themselves, as diapers became more absorbent over the years, babies potty train at a later age.

According to elimination communication theory, right from the start, babies instinctively dislike soiling themselves even if the control of their elimination system is still immature. By using diapers and shushing them when they signal an elimination need, we teach them its o.k. to soil themselves.
After months of this, suddenly we start training them to do the opposite... confusing? definitely!

Elimination communication is about raising your baby without diapers - or with minimal use of diapers.

I read about the method from EC Simplified  and found the e-book to be excellent. I didn't read the "original" books byIngrid Bauer, as reading the amazon reviews made me reluctant to purchase them. I like ideas that can help my baby to experience life more naturally but I dislike hippy-tree hugging-new age weird stuff.

So here is my take on EC:

  • She wears diapers except a brief time in the morning when we lay on the bed with an under-pad for baby's morning exercise.

  • She wears less absorbent bamboo diapers during the day and more absorbent microfiber ones when we go outside for long and at night.

  • After feeding and naps I put her briefly on the potty. (only by day)

  • Stay on the potty for a brief time without encouraging or reprimanding.

  • No expectations.

For 2 months now, EC has been working on and off... some days we just synchronise - some days are just misses... 

The last few weeks recognizing "poo signals" has become easier but pee is still a mystery.

I don't expect the kid to stop wearing diapers or to have EC working perfectly, but I find its a useful tool to help her understand how her body works and by the time she starts having control over the matter to have her wanting to get rid of diapers and make the effort.


Diapers: short term cloth diapering review

Another chaotic subject is diapers. Regular diapers? Cloth ones? Which brand?
I decided to go with cloth.

Marketed as a solution for eco-conscious people to minimise waste, cloth diapers have come a long way from what people remember from the 60s and 70s. New materials make the cloth diaper as versatile and practical as throw-aways.

Personally I chose cloth because it is easier on the skin (I have had my share of skin problems from hygiene  products and wanted to make sure the little one doesn't suffer the same) and the huge difference in cost. Saving something around 3.000 euro is a big deal to me especially in these troubled times. The ecological aspect is a plus of course.

People made fun of me - although in many countries cloth is widely used and even subsidized by municipalities in some cases- here in Athens it is considered an eco-nut quirk.
I was soon vindicated, coming out of the maternity ward the kid had already a red bum covered with tons of cream which went away after the first day with a cloth diaper.

People will tell you, I am by no means famous for my housework... I'm rather lazy and will try anything to get out of household duty. So with this in mind, rest assured that when I say that cloth diapering is EASY it's because IT IS!
Caring for a baby will have you using a washing machine at least every 2 days, so its no big deal just to throw in a few extra diapers in there.

Still here? Cool!

The stash:
I chose one size diapers (baby from 3kg to 15kg) from various sellers. As the baby grows there are times that one brand or the other will not fit well for a few weeks (in between button setting stage) so having different brands in the stash helps avoid leaks.

My two favorite fabric for inserts are microfiber and bamboo. They both dry incredibly fast. I use pocket diapers with microfiber inserts for the night as they absorb the moisture better and leave the skin dry and mommy well rested. For the day I switch to bamboo because we are using the infant potty training method, elimination communication, and we want her to feel the difference between wet and dry.

All in all I have 26 diapers and here is what I think of them...

The scoop:
pop-in by close parent the bamboo edition left me so satisfied I added a pack of ten more to the first two I purchased. Used as a day diaper. Would love to see them with pression buttons on the waist instead of velcro, it looks frail but I could be wrong, time will tell...

oh katy less known but excellent! Never had a leak with this pocket diaper! If I could buy pocket diapers all over again, I would definitely have chosen this one over the others. 

blueberry not a bargain by any means, but so cute! A good addition to the stash for those summer days when the diapers will be visible...  The ones with the minky shell are so soft!

happy heinys I got the pocket diapers with pression buttons. my second choice after oh katy.

fuzzibunz love the adjustable elastic around the thighs (replacement included).  The waterproof fabric looks a little thin compared to the others, but again, time will tell...

rumparooz was very happy with them until last week when we had leakage issues. I'm waiting for the kid to grow a bit and change the button settings...

bumgenius my least favorite of the bunch. The pocket one leaks often, (probably because of the few setting options in the buttons) and its insert is thinner than the rest. The all-in-one takes forever to dry.

Lastly I have two GroVia shells with four inserts. I like the fact that the shell can be reused but the cotton inserts dry slower than the microfibers. I'm hoping to use them more in the summer when its hotter and they can dry in the sun.

The accessories:
-a waterproof bag for the soiled diapers (got one as a gift with the grovia diapers)
-organic bamboo velour wipes (fabric form here) with homemade wipe solution (receipes here)

The bottom line:
My one month old uses around 8 diapers per 24 hours. 2-3 of them at night.
She also use the potty after every nap, so I guess we save a few diapers there.

Stay tuned for the long term review in a few months time!


Digital Papercut: sifting through books

Trying to sift through the tons of baby books in amazon took an impressive amount of my time while pregnant. Most of my disappointment stemmed from the fact that books on pregnancy and parenthood have rather dogmatic authors.

From delivery to lactation options, from sleeping habits to "einstein baby" gimmicks, you can find data supporting every possible angle of any given subject. What I really appreciated in the books I'm posting was the writing style of the authors. Open minded, accepting that different things work for different people, discussing multiple sides of every subject - all in all helpful and non-judgemental.

Without any further ado, I present the "favorite books" list

My favorite book on delivery:
The big book of birth by Erica Lyon
( I felt so reassured and relieved after reading this book that I e-mailed a thank you note to the author).

My favorite book on baby sleep:
Better Baby Sleep: A handbook for parents by Jane Stockly

My favorite book on breastfeeding:
The Breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Making More Milk by Diana West

My favorite "smart" baby book:
Brain Rules for Babies: How to raise a smart and happy child from zero to five by John Medina

My favorite infant potty training book:
ECSimplified by Andrea Olson