Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Macaroni Kid Rocks!

Do you know about Macaroni Kid?

This is a site that lists all kinds of upcoming events and info relating to kids & parents in Amherst, Northampton and the entire Pioneer Valley. It's great!

My favorite part is that you can sign up to get weekly emails of all upcoming events. I'm all about weekly emails. Those rock my world.

When I first started looking at the events I thought they were all geared toward kids that were a little older than Ruby, at least a couple years old. But upon closer inspection of this week's events, I found a listing for Tummy Time at Forbes Library in Northampton on Monday mornings from 11:00-12:30. Because it was for all non-crawling/walking babies, we gave it a try (more on this coming soon...) and we met other parents of babies, made connections and had a great time! So it seems Macaroni Kid has something for everyone in the child/parent world.

I hope you find something fun to explore soon!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Breastfeeding Issues in the Pioneer Valley

When I was pregnant, I had every intention to breastfeed. And, when Ruby was born I did breastfeed. And I still do. BUT...

In between Ruby's birth and today, there's been a lot of drama surrounding all that breastfeeding.
Hysteria is the only word that truly reflects what my husband and I went through that first week of Ruby's life. The baby was losing too much weight and the doctor was freaking us out about it BIG TIME (we've since switched pediatricians). We were new parents who were worried and terrified about our daughter's health.

It was hell.

I wanted my daughter to grow and be healthy, which is why I wanted to breastfeed her! I wanted her to get the benefits of breast milk, I wanted to do whatever I could that was natural for her and me, as well as the bonding... I didn't understand what was going wrong!

Luckily, we were directed to Mary Carey of Pioneer Valley Lactation Consulting. I called her on a Thursday afternoon and she was at our house the next morning.

Mary was SO kind and friendly, and in about a minute of seeing Ruby and talking with us she was able to offer answers and solutions about our issues, which were with latching AND low supply.

Mary's visits (and follow up calls) were so amazing and helpful. I truly believe that, had I not met with her, I would have given up on breastfeeding, which would have absolutely broken my heart. But she gave me such great information and tips, and was just so supportive of everything, including what we eventually found to be the best way to feed Ruby. Her overall approach was also so relaxed and calming, and that made such a difference when we were initially so terrified.
I recommend Pioneer Valley Lactation Consulting to anyone in Western Massachusetts who is looking for breastfeeding education, regardless of whether or not you are having any issues.

Ultimately, nothing we tried - not power pumping, prescription drugs, oatmeal, fenugreek or More Milk Plus - could get me to make enough milk for my baby. They all helped up my supply a bit, but never to the point where I didn't have to supplement with formula. Now I breastfeed and supplement with Earth's Best formula.

I know now that not every woman can breastfeed, no matter how badly they want to or try. I also think that time hooked to a pump can be more detrimental to bonding with your baby than giving them a bottle of formula. I think the day I returned the rented pump to the hospital was the day I started building a relaxed and wonderful relationship with my daughter.

Finding a Community, Revisited

I'm totally lame! I didn't do any baby-related things last week. Will try again this week!
See the original post to know what I'm talking about here, to know what the heck I'm talking about. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Green Garlic??

Speaking of CSA's (see previous post)...
today I got some "Green Garlic" from Mountain View Farm.

Not knowing much about this stuff, I referred to my Mountain View Farm newsletter. Here's what it said:  
"Also known as fresh garlic, this seasonal treat is only available for a few weeks. Before you can store garlic, it must be cured, or dried. We do this by hanging it in a barn or a greenhouse where it can have the proper temperature and ventilation. Garlic that hasn't been cured is known as green garlic. Green garlic must be refrigerated until used. It has a much milder flavor than storage garlic. You can use your green garlic the same way you would use garlic that has been dried. Check out the recipe below or epicurious for more ideas."

Epicurious is fine, but I wanted real experience. So I went onto a EFF (Eco-Friendly Family) message board, asking if anyone had any experience with this.

No one knew what I was talking about!

People kept thinking I was talking about garlic scapes (my new love of the season! Here's an education AND the awesome garlic scape pesto recipe I've made a zillion batches of and froze!), but it's not the same thing.

Here's garlic scapes:
and here's green garlic (or "fresh garlic"):
So, what about you? Do you have any experience with "green" or "fresh" garlic? What the heck do you do with this?

Mountain View Farm

We became members of a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) this year! Mountain View Farm is here in Easthampton, MA, and so far it's going great.

We had never done the farm share thing before, especially coming from NYC, although apparently they are available there, too - we have friends in Astoria who just started theirs as well.

We weren't sure we wanted to spend the money (that fear of spending a good amount of money up front is terrifying!), but we decided to go for it one day a few months ago. We were in the mood for grilled vegetables, so we stopped at our local Big Y (in Southampton, it's the closest store to us) to pick up some squash and other veggies. That one trip to the grocery store cost nearly $50! That's when we decided we'd rather spend our money to get locally grown produce straight from the farm (and, ultimately, we're saving a ton of money!).

Since we started getting our shares, we've been so pleased. It's been a great opportunity to a) eat more healthfully since we're BOTH trying to get back to our pre-pregnancy weight, b) feel like part of a community and c) experiment with things I might never have heard of or gotten otherwise, like garlic scapes, turnips and green garlic!

Also, there are always parents with kids there, picking flowers and learning new things. I can't wait until Ruby is old enough to enjoy it.

All this, and the farm is in a gorgeous setting and it always feels calm and relaxed there - it's like therapy!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Finding a Community

Now that Ruby and I are finding our groove, I'm interested in branching out.

I have yet to explore the opportunities in the area for a new mother and baby. This is going to change now. My goal this week is to go to just one parent-oriented "thing" - whether it's a class, group, get together - whatever

So I started my research with Cradle, a pretty cool store/space in Northampton where they hold different classes and events. Judging by the calendar, the event that sounds like a good possibility for me this week is "Mom's Cafe: Open Play." The description is: Need a place to just hang out with baby, relax, socialize and meet other parents? This is an open studio time for moms or dads to come into the studio and enjoy our space and toys and hopefully make some new friends. This time is not facilitated but a Cradle staff member is always available to assist you.
Hm. This might be the one. And it's free! That's always good!

Next I looked at A Child's Garden, a neat children's store I've written about before (mainly because they sell cloth diapers, and this is where I got my awesome babywearing tutorial). But, alas, they have no events other than the babywearing clinic. Their site says they are starting a Cloth Diaper group, but there's no meeting time or anything. I'll have to look into that later.

Cooley Dickinson Hospital has a Beyond Birth class ("A Gathering of New Parents with Their Babies"), as well as Momma and Baby Yoga. I've heard good things about Beyond Birth, and I'd have to pay for the yoga, so I think BB is a likelier choice for me.    

Finally, I know that on Tuesday mornings there is a group of stroller people that meet at Mt Tom to walk around the pond there. I'll have to find a recent issue of The Summit to find the details, but that's a good possibility too (why not enjoy the glorious outdoors this summer?!).

So - which community event will I go to? Decisions, decisions.

I'll report back at the end of the week. If you are in the area and know of any ones I'm not aware of, please share!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Huggies vs Pampers

In case you haven't heard, Huggies has jeans diapers now, and apparently Pampers are coming out with diapers designed by fashion designer Cynthia Rowley.

You know what's cuter?

How about polka dots?

Ice cream?


These are just a few super cute cloth diapers we've gotten so far...