Surviving Reflux

So, you’ve got your sweet bundle of joy in your arms and you’re over the moon excited that they’re happy and whole! But, they’ve started showing signs of reflux. You feel guilty for complaining because in the grand scheme of things, reflux is not a serious medical issue; however, it IS a HUGE pain in the ass and can add HIGH levels of stress to both mom, baby, and the entire family. 

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Infant reflux (sometimes called infant acid reflux) is the condition where the contents of the stomach are spit out, usually shortly after feeding. Spitting up (infant reflux) becomes less common as a baby gets older, and it’s unusual if it’s still occurring after 18 months of age (mayoclinic.com)

Spitting up? That’s it? That’s not that bad, right?

Ha, if you think it’s not that bad, you haven’t experienced it for yourself. The acid from the stomach can burn the sensitive lining of the infant throat during spit up. Ouch! This makes baby mad (hours of nonstop crying mad), can make them not want to eat, which makes them not want to sleep, which makes mom want to play in traffic. That’s a bitch of a domino effect!

So, what can you do to survive reflux if you get the dreaded diagnosis?

  1. See an infant chiropractor

The spine is our lifeline and everything important runs through the spine. If the vertebrae are not adjusted appropriately, there can be a slight blockage to important lines of communication between body parts. An infant chiropractor clears these lines up and can greatly improve reflux symptoms. Dr. Hoffman comes highly recommended for Austin mommies.

2. Meds

I’m not usually one to recommend medicine for newborns (EVER), but reflux is one of those areas where medication is necessary and can be a real life saver. The trick is finding what works for your baby. There’s a heap of options out there and what worked for your friend might not work for you. Try each one, write down reactions, and practice patience. You’ll find the right dosage and “cure”.

3. Lay baby upright for 30 minutes

After you’ve fed your reflux monkey, hold baby upright for at least 30 minutes, or lay at an incline in a bouncy or rock-n-play. It’s more difficult for the acid contents to fight gravity this way and the spit up is more likely to stay down.

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4. Cut out Dairy

I know how much you might love your morning coffee with cream or perhaps you’re a cheese lover, but cutting out dairy of you’re nursing can sometimes help with reflux.

5. Phone a Friend

Unless they’ve experienced it, no one can truly understand what you’re going through, but that doesn’t mean they won’t still provide an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on. Don’t go through this by yourself. Talk to your spouse, your mom, and close friends. Go for long walks, do yoga, get a massage, and practice great self-care because reflux babies are a challenge! The good news? Babies typically grow out of this by 7-9 months. Sometimes it can go past a year, but very very rarely!

You’re doing just fine, mom! You got this! Hold that baby tight, give lots of love, and nurture each other through the tough months.

Stay gold, Ponyboy, 

That Girl

xoxo

Cuckoo for Coconut Oil: 10 Uses You Didn’t Know About

You’ve heard me say it four thousand times, but for some people it just doesn’t stick:

Your skin is your largest organ! Whatever you put on it soaks immediately into your bloodstream and is carried to all major organs. 

So…do you want parabens, pthalates, fragrances, dyes, and other harsh chemicals in your major organs? What about your baby’s major organs? I didn’t think so. 

This is why I’m cuckoo for coconut oil!

It started when we were trying to get pregnant. I learned that all those nasty things hidden in our favorite products have been inextricably linked to infertility. So, to me, it didn’t make sense to spend $2000-3000 a month on fertility drugs and then slather myself with toxic chemicals that counter acted the fertility boosting drugs. In came organic coconut oil!

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  1. Lotion

I use coconut oil by itself at night and cover my body with it. A little goes a long way. I use Trader Joes organic coconut oil and it has a very clean smell and soaks in to your skin within a matter of minutes. I never have scaly skin or itchy skin.

2. Bath Oil

I’m trying to avoid stretch marks during my pregnancy with twin boys who seem to grow a foot every day. My belly looks as though it may explode and I’ll be damned if I get a bunch of red and purple lines at the end of this. Yes, sometimes they’re inevitable, but I’m going to do everything in my power to avoid them so each night (sometimes every other night) I soak in a warm bath with about 1/4 cup of coconut oil. When I get out I just pat dry.

3. Cracked Nipples

I’m just going to go on record here (cause I aint skerred) and say that I have (had) perfect nipples. Tiny, cute, pink eraser nipples. But now, preggo with twins, they resemble the same nipples as the African natives in the National Geographic magazines we used to cut articles out of when I was in the fourth grade. I’m not freaking out because I know they’re supposed to change shape for nursing, and color so baby(ies) can see the contrast and feed better. However, they’re growing and changing so fast that they were starting to crack. NOT COOL. So, I add coconut oil to them before I put my gargantuan bra on each morning. I’ll also use the oil after nursing as a nipple cream.

4. Conditioner

I’m a natural blonde, but I’m not naturally a Victoria’s Secret sunkissed streaks blonde. It takes a few visit to the salon throughout the year to obtain that glow and it’s really harsh on my hair. Every now and then I’ll slather my whole head with coconut oil, braid it, and sleep on it. In the morning, after my shower, it’s luscious and well conditioned. I think coconut oil extends the life of my color and helps me avoid breakage.

5. Anti-fungal

Coconuts have natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties so I use it as a cureall. I’ve seen success using coconut oil to cure:

  • UTIs
  • Diaper rash
  • Eczema
  • Toe fungus
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Cuts/Scrapes

6. Sunscreen

Yes, even though it’s an “oil,” this stuff actually protects your skin from sunburns when used both internally and externally. I consume it often when I use it in my cooking so it helps protect my skin that way, but I also will apply it liberally when I’m by the pool or at the lake to avoid sunburns.

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Bonus: Put it on AFTER a sunburn too (when your other sunscreen failed you) mixed with a splash of apple cider vinegar. The vinegar takes the heat out and the coconut oil keeps you from peeling and scarring.

7. Teeth Whitener

I primarily use My Magic Mud as my teeth whitener, but the charcoal can be messy and I don’t always have the time. I’ll either brush with coconut oil or I’ll put a tablespoon of it in my mouth and swish it around to brighten my pearly whites.

8. Pet Health

My dog, Peanut, loves to lick the coconut oil off my skin after a bath, but sometimes I’ll feed her a teeny bit off my fingers just for fun. With it’s detoxifying and anti-fungal properties, I believe it’s keeping her healthy. People are ALWAYS commenting on how soft her skin is and I think she’s getting the moisturizing benefits of the coconut from consuming it orally.

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9. Anti-Aging 

I’m only 32, which I realize is not old, but when I look at old pictures of myself I can’t help but feel insecure about the new life lines under my eyes and around my mouth. I’ll put a teeny bit of coconut oil on my fingers tips at night and gently pat around my eyes and mouth to keep wrinkles from spreading too rapidly.

10. Make-up Remover

This has got to be THE best make-up remover otut there! The oil seeems to melt the build up away without requiring any rubbing or scraping (which causes wrinkles) and then I’ll wash it off with a warm washcloth or mild organic soap.

I’m totally cuckoo for coconut oil and I just remembered I’m out! Yikes, time to hit up Trader Joes and stock up!

 

My Cloth Diaper Wash Routine

It seems like a lot of people shy away from going cloth because they’re scared of the laundry aspect of it. I understand…it definitely sounds disgusting throwing “poopy” diapers into a machine that also washes all of your clothes. This was the reason my own hubby was a cloth skeptic. When I explained how it all worked, he started to see the light and now we are both SO glad we are a cloth family!

(Disclaimer: we do use disposables when we’re traveling or when it may be inconvenient to use cloth & we also use disposables at night because they just seem to hold more without using all the bulky insert layers.)

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Here’s my washing routine in a nutshell:

NEEDS:
*Cloth friendly detergent – Here’s a chart that rates different detergents to be used with your cloth diapers.

*Diaper Liners – We use these…just lay them in the diaper and it allows pee to soak through to the diaper while holding the poo so your clean-up isn’t too bad. They have worked great for us and they are 100% natural!

*Diaper Sprayer – to hose down the poopy diapers if your forgot a liner (been there, done that)…spray the yuck into the toilet then just toss the diaper into your pail to wash later. We use this bumGenius sprayer and it’s a powerful little sucker!

FACT: Before baby starts solids and you are nursing only, breastmilk is water soluble!! You DO NOT have to rinse your poopy diapers first…just throw ‘em right in the washer (so easy, right?!). I know that sounds disgusting, but it’s true! If you are formula feeding or have started solids, you will want to spray with a diaper sprayer first before it makes its way to the pail.

We use Ecos Free & Clear Detergent, which is a 4-star detergent for cloth diapers and is easy to buy at Target or Wal-Mart. We also have pretty hard water so I put in a tablespoon of Calgon Water Softener with it as well. You should NOT use fabric softeners with cloth diapers (it can cause a build up that will repel liquid and cause leaks).

Here’s my wash cycle (front load washer):
1. Rinse & Spin on cold/cold. Low spin (no detergent yet)
2. Put in Ecos detergent (filled to the lowest line) and about 1 Tbs. Calgon
3. Run the “normal” cycle on hot/cold, low spin, heavy soil, water-plus, with an extra rinse
4. Line dry in the sun (magically, stains lift right out) – just use the dryer on medium if it’s raining on wash day
5. Once a month add 1/4 cup bleach to the normal cycle.

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Now, you’re done!! I hope this takes some of the anxiety out of going cloth and helps encourage you to give it a whirl!  I think you’ll be glad you did (not to mention the $$ you’ll save)! 🙂

ShopWholeHeart.com sells top brands such as TotsBots, BottomBumpers, Blueberry, and Kangacare diapers! Check them out HERE

Push, Push, Push…Is That for Me?

Push Presents. Yes, this is a real thing. For centuries, men have been gifting their partner with something special after they birth a child, only now we have a catchy name for it called a “push present”. It’s not something the Kardashians invented with the help of a few commercial friends either. It’s a gift from the father to the mother as a thank you for what they’ve put their bodies and minds through for the last 9 months.

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Isn’t the baby the gift?

Ugh! This question is infuriating to me. It’s implying in some way that the mother is not acknowledging the priceless gift she’s received at the end of pregnancy- the baby. The baby is what motivated us to become pregnant in the beginning. We endured morning sickness, flatulance, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, weight gain, muscle spasms, stretch marks, sleepless nights, achy joints, breast tenderness, back pain, bleeding gums, mood swings, constipation, and fatigue because we wanted a baby. And, we’re thrilled when we finally get to hold that sweet chunk of love and squishy flesh in our arms!

That being said, it would also be nice for that endurance to be acknowledged by the father and after a grueling labor, painful contractions, and a tummy or vagina that’s been split to shreds, a gift can’t hurt, right?

So, what makes a good push present?

First, know your partner! Think about the types of gifts you’ve given them in the past and which type of gifts they’ve liked the most. Think through comments you’ve heard them make about things that are special to them, experience they’ve longed for, etc., and decide what type of gift would be best and go from there.

Do they value sentimental, timeless gifts such as keepsakes and jewelry? 

  • Rattle from Tiffany & Co. and get it engraved
  • Sterling silver or gold jewelry box with a quote about the babies (or your love) etched on it
  • A necklace or bracelet with your child’s initials
  • Upgrade their engagement ring or wedding ring, or design a right hand ring with baby’s birthstone

Does your partner prefer experiences?

  • Plan the first family vacation
  • Book a spa day for mom (and her best friend) for a few months after the birth
  • Buy tickets to a broadway show or concert coming to town (and secure the babysitter in advance)
  • Arrange for them to have the dance lessons or piano lessons they’ve always wanted

Do they tend to like practical gifts?

  • Pay off a bill that’s been nagging them
  • Upgrade your vehicle for one that suits the new family
  • Spring for the jogging stroller and new sneakers
  • Surprise her with a glider/rocker for the nursery

The purpose of the Push Present is not to “keep up with the Jones'” or show off to friends; it’s a gift that shows your partner you’re thankful for them, grateful for what they put their body through, and head over heels in love with them for giving you the most precious gift of all- a baby. Or, in my case, TWO babies!

Boys Just Wanna Have Fun

I’m familiar with the pop culture classic, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, but what about boys? Boys are a blast! The night I found out I was carrying twin boys I laid in bed that night thinking of all the boys I’ve taught, known, and loved. Nate, Ray, Miles, Fisher, Oliver, James, Knox, just to name a few. Each of these boys taught me something fabulous about myself, and life, through my experiences with them.

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I want to raise boys who are full of character! I want the boys that are up for anything anytime, invite challenges, and are always seeking adventure. Sure, much of their curiosity will turn into total destruction, but who cares? They’re boys, they’re young, and they’re destructive, loud, and rowdy because they’re learning through exploration, trial, and error.

I can’t wait to have prank wars, food fights in the kitchen, water balloon wars, and Nerf Gun attacks. I look forward to trying the experiments from their science books with them, building forts and tree houses, and camping in the backyard telling ghost stories and laughing at farts and burps together. Yes, I LOVE the gross stuff, too.

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But, although I hope my boys have that wild, rough, and tumbin’ side, I also hope there’s a mama’s boy side and a heart full of love for others. So, yes, I’ll encourage them to catch mudbugs in the gullies in the rain, but I’ll also hope they run to me to kiss their scraped knees and cuddle them on the couch when they’re sick. I look forward to trips to the ER because they thought the spaceship they built in the garage really would work, and I’ll be there to hug their lil’ astronaut heads to my chest as they get their casts.

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I hope I can’t get them to bed for hours those nights they’re just SO excited to go hunting with their daddy in the morning. I’ll crawl sleepily out of bed to make sure they’re bundled up warmly and I’ll send them both off with a warm mug of hot cocoa and a homemade biscuit. Of course I’ll go back to bed, but I’ll hardly be able to sleep as I wait for the phone call that they’ve shot their first dove, deer, hog, what have you and they want me to come watch them gut it. How gross it that? But, as a boy mama, I’ll be there. Then, I’ll fix them pancakes, bacon, and eggs when we get home.

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With girls, I’d be terrified of dating and dances, but with boys, I look forward to that stage too. From early on, they’ll be taught to stand when I stand, open doors for me, and bring me flowers when I’ve had a bad day. We’ll go on dates together and I’ll teach them what being a gentlemen means and how to treat girls with respect. I imagine I’ll also teach them how to tell the good girls from the bad girls, lol.

My head is spinning with ideas for the wonderful things we’ll do together, but I also have a new stack of books by my bedside about raising boys and all the challenges they bring. I’ll turn to these books, I’ll turn to my friends, and I’ll turn to the Bible for guidance on this journey. I don’t plan on raising boys, I plan on raising men and my men will be men of integrity, just like my dad. His influence alone could do the trick for me!

Stay gold, Ponyboy!

That Girl 

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The Big Reveal: Twin Boys!

With a singleton pregnancy, doctors can do a blood test as early as ten weeks to tell you if you’re having a boy or a girl. Or, they can usually tell with an ultrasound by 16 weeks; however, with twins, it can be much more difficult to tell depending on their positions. Well, I wanted the gender reveal to be memorable for us, and our family and friends, so I scheduled a gender reveal party at 20 weeks just in case.

Beaus, Bows OR BOTH

Then, at my 16 week appointment, they knew! I’d grown two tiny penises in my uterus (how sci-fi is that?) and the doctor confirmed the genders. The kicker? He didn’t tell me. Instead, he wrote “I’m a Boy” on both their photos and sealed the photos in an envelope for my best friend Ashley, who accompanied me at the appointment. Now I would have to wait another 4 weeks before I could find out at the party.

I wanted to keep the party “gender neutral”, but be able to easily tell what each guest was either hoping for, or thought we had. So, given that I love all things French, we went with a Parisian black and white striped theme. Each guest was asked to wear black and white with a “pop” of color to indicate their guess. We munched on vanilla and chocolate macaroons, eclairs, tea cookies, meatballs, flatbreads with greyure and prosciutto, and charcuterie board yummies. The vodka, pomegranate punch and wine were flowing heavily for all non preggo guests!

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The excitement and tension was so high from the very beginning that I barely made it an hour into the party before I just had to know! I changed into a long white t-shirt for the reveal and had both pink and blue paint set aside for Ashley. My husband stood behind me while we both faced the guests. Ashley painted his right hand for Baby A and his left hand for Baby B.

After a nerveracking countdown from 10, my husband, Cloudy, placed both hands on my belly to reveal our babies’ genders! I looked down and saw smears of blue on my belly and was flooded with a tsunami of emotions! One of my guests described my reaction by commenting, “I’ve never seen someone’s face contort so fast into tears and laughter at the same time!”

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I’ve ALWAYS wanted to be a boy mama. It may be hard to believe because I’m such a girly girl, but it’s true. I’ve always wanted a boy and now I have two! I grew up with two sisters, and 5 aunts. Our house was always filled with girls and although girls can be fun, I’m looking forward to a change of scenery and boys LOVE their mama!

I’m excited about ALL aspects of boys and I welcome the challenges of raising them to be masculine, adventurous, and wild, but also kind, sensitive, and chivalrous. I’ll be the best boy mama and I can hardly wait to meet my two sweet princes.

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