Tag Archives: baby

Clearing Baby’s Stuffy Nose Without a Nasal Aspirator

Baby Selene has been really stuffed up with a cold recently. We had 3 nearly sleepless nights because she kept waking up struggling to breathe due to congestion. Babies, if you don’t know, are considered to be obligate nasal breathers, which means they can only breathe through their noses. Heavy congestion is really uncomfortable for them.

We’d been doing as many parents do, dropping in a couple of saline drops to soften the mucus, then suctioning it out with the aspirator. It works, but made her scream and even gave her a bloody nose one time, poor thing.

Finally, I took her to the doctor last Friday to make sure that the congestion was the only problem we were dealing with. Didn’t want to find out that there was something more going on over the weekend after all. He confirmed that it was indeed all just heavy congestion, and told me a kinder way to clear her nose.

It’s really simple too, so I thought I would share.

You still need the saline drops. In fact, you put in more of those than you would for using the aspirator, and you do both nostrils at once, as I understand it. This is uncomfortable for baby, but only lasts a moment.

As soon as all the drops are over, flip baby onto her tummy, and start gently wiggling her bottom. This will gently move the head too, and the saline and loosened mucus will start coming out on their own.

I advise doing this over a burp cloth or something else you can throw into the wash easily.

We don’t get gobs out this way or anything, but it is so much gentler than the aspirator and sometimes a decent amount of mucus does clear out. Far fewer screams and a much happier baby.

You can do it as often as necessary, as the saline solution is very safe. Just be sure you drop the saline in, not spray it, even though most can do both. The spray is too high a pressure for babies.

I figure this is not too different from using nasal irrigation on myself, which I swear by for colds. Somewhat odd feeling, but it really does the job. Makes sense to me that it helps babies too, even if you can’t go so far as to use a Neti pot on a baby.

Can Baby Go Organic?

I’m greener these days than I was when I had my first two kids. It’s amazing how things change once new ideas get on your radar. It makes some things more complex.

I’ve blogged a lot about how we use cloth diapers with our baby. That’s still going really well. We also use a lot more homemade cleaners. But there are a lot more things we want to do this time around.

We’ve resisted the temptation to get organic sheets and such for her bedding. Just about all the baby clothes and other supplies we have are handmedowns, and have likely off gassed pretty much anything there could be to worry about with them. Shopping for organic replacements strikes me as a bit of a waste at this point.

Baby food, on the other hand…

Going organic here is going to be pretty affordable with any luck. We have a garden, and one of the big things I want to do with any excess is prepare it as baby food.

I figure it will be a great way to get cheap, organic baby food. No question of how it was grown or prepared.

We don’t have any fruit trees, so I will still have to buy fruits to prepare for her, but if the garden behaves we’ll be in pretty good shape with certain varieties.

For the early days we have the VitaMix blender. That should make some really good purees. As she gets big enough to have a little texture, our little KidCo baby food mill should do the job at each meal.

Yes, I know organic baby food is fairly easy to buy these days in jars. I’d still rather make what I can. It makes sense financially and I know to be very, very careful about keeping things clean when making baby food, as food poisoning is more dangerous to infants.

I have a bit of time yet before taking this step, but it’s definitely time to get planning. Selene is three months now and I want to be ready to get things started when she’s six months old, not still trying to figure the whole deal out.

How Much Will Cloth Diapering Save Me?

After spending about $350 or so on various cloth diapering supplies (cloth diapers, cloth wipes, wet bags and a diaper sprayer), the question of course comes up as to how long it will take me to earn my money back. I mean, the lack of waste is nice, but it’s a bit of a financial commitment and money’s tight for us. Knowing when the payback is reached is a nice reassurance.

Payback for us won’t come as quickly as for others. We always bought the store brand Target diapers, which are significantly cheaper than name brands such as Pampers. A mid size pack of Target diapers runs under $11 pretax, versus $16-45 for Pampers, depending on the number of diapers in the package.

The number of diapers in a package drops as the diapers get bigger, so that they can keep charging the same price per package. This makes it hard to do more than approximate things.

And I haven’t even tried to figure in the cost of disposable wipes. Diaper costs alone should be sufficient to show the benefit in a reasonable time frame.

$350 is around 32 packs of diapers. Less actually, since that’s pretax, so I’ll call it 30 packs. Still too many but I would rather overestimate than under.

It’s hard to figure out how long to assume each pack will last on average. Call it two packs a month at the size I buy. I’m guessing here, based on a newborn using 8 or so diapers a day while an older child uses 5-6 a day.

So 32 packs would go for 16 months.

I’m skipping a few factors here. On the disposable side, there’s the cost of going to get the diapers, which is small as I can combine it with other errands. However, the need for them in the past often caused trips to Target that could have otherwise been combined with later trips. The more you shop the more you buy, you know?

As noted above, I’m also skipping the cost of disposable wipes.

On the cloth diaper side there’s the cost of doing laundry. Probably a load every other day in the early days, then spread out depending on how well I can stand waiting. Plus the time to handle the laundry, including hanging them out on the clothesline in good weather for them to dry. But I do that with all the laundry these days, so I really don’t think of it as a big deal anymore.

There’s another factor to consider. One site I saw said it’s an average of 30 months of diapering with babies. However, I’ve also heard that cloth diaper babies tend to potty train earlier. I like that benefit, even if there’s no obvious cost savings with cloth. But it does mean that the financial cost of disposables adds up for longer.

And one more subtle cost factor. This is absolutely my last baby, so I can’t spread the cost out over multiple children. I had my OB make sure of that with a tubal ligation during my C-section. Too bad I didn’t discover cloth diapers sooner.

But cloth diapers have a resale value if they remain in decent condition. When the time comes, I can go to a forum such as Diaper Swappers and get something back for what I’ve spent already. That can bring the payback time frame way down.

Overall, I’m enjoying these early days of my cloth diapering adventures. I hope it continues to go well for us. The money saved and the decreased waste make the extra work worth it for me.

I’ll Stick with Breastfeeding, Thanks!

I have to admit, I’m very fortunate. Breastfeeding is once again going quite smoothly for me. It’s one of those areas where I’ve not had serious problems. It’s a bit of effort to get started, occasionally painful, physically exhausting at times, but really not bad at all.

I know I’m quite fortunate.

Selene is one of those babies who just took a look in the hospital and just latched right on. No hesitation from that girl! She didn’t master the right latch immediately, but did well enough to quickly get milk.

Our one problem these days is that I produce well enough that she can be a lazy nurser at times. We should all have such problems, right?

I have to be pretty firm with her about that, though, as when she gets lazy she can leave me in pain. Poor latch at those times, and just enough stimulation to really get that milk production flowing.

She’s also one of those kids who falls asleep halfway through a feeding, then wakes up a half hour later wanting more. Sweet rascal is a pretty deep sleeper after a feed, and so far I can’t wake her up to finish the job with any consistency, at least not if I’m being gentle with her.

I’m just starting pumping these days so that she can learn to take a bottle. No formula needed in this house. But I do like to be able to run errands with NO children along. Nearest thing I get to a break most of the time. Showing off the baby is fun, but there comes a time when you just want to get things done by yourself and not have random strangers talking to you, even about a favorite topic.

The convenience and money saved is nice too. I know what formula costs, and must say I am very glad to not need to be paying for that! Pumping supplies cost a little, but especially since I have the pump from my other babies, pumping breastmilk isn’t much of an expense at all.

Overall, I love the connection created by breastfeeding. There’s a reason why I put up with the long nights, occasional pain, and chronic exhaustion. How can I not enjoy having those little eyes staring into mine as she gets started each time?

But some don’t feel so good about breastfeeding, particularly Hanna Rosin in her article “The Case Against Breastfeeding”. She sees it as not so feminist and not as beneficial as most people in the medical industry say.

Honestly, I think the problem is more about division of labor than breastfeeding. I’ve always thought formula feeding would be more inconvenient. All the preparation and cleanup involved. Maybe I’m too lazy to formula feed.

I certainly don’t consider breastfeeding to be a problem for a feminist. It’s a genuine difference between men and women. And if you’re really determined and your body cooperates, you can work while breastfeeding.

I do so at home. Two of my sisters did it while working outside the home, for about a year with each of their kids.

Even though I’m at home, I want workplaces to make more accommodations for women who are breastfeeding. It’s not that complex. A place that isn’t a bathroom set aside for pumping is ideal, if not possible for all businesses. A reasonable attitude toward the time it takes a mother to pump is also quite helpful.

That’s the part of breastfeeding that is relevant to feminism. The more comfortable it is for a mother to provide breast milk for her baby while at work, the easier it becomes for her to choose to work after starting a family.

The United States is well behind other countries in both maternity and paternity leave. Too many jobs are quite simply not family friendly at all.

No, being more family friendly won’t cause all women to breastfeed. It just doesn’t work out for everyone, for a variety of reasons. But giving up shouldn’t be about your work.

I know some will say that I’m biased, as working from home does make breastfeeding easier than trying to do it from outside the home. That’s true enough. But given all the benefits to both mother and child of breastfeeding, I’m firmly on the side of making it more possible. One less reason for women to give up careers they love. One less reason for employers to lose great employees.

Loving the Handmedowns

We took a little trip this weekend up to my sister’s house. Not a big drive, it would have just been an hour if it weren’t for the non-injury accident that shut the freeway down to one lane on our way up there. Took us an hour just to get through that point.

But the trip was worth it. We have the handmedowns for Selene now. Bags of clothes that my sister’s daughter has outgrown, our old Exersaucer that we had handed down to her, and a dance pad game that she no longer wants that our older two are having a blast with. Plus a few other random supplies.

It’s the wonderful part about my sisters and I having our families in so much the same time frame. Tons and tons of stuff has gone through 4 girls already, and has now been handed down to the fifth.

I love that about baby clothes. Most get worn so little that they can go through a lot of kids. Each cycle the most worn out ones are cycled out, but that still leaves a ton of baby clothes that we’re reusing. Hardly anything new is needed at this point.

Although I must say it’s really hard to resist all the cute clothes when I pass by the baby department at Target. Baby girl clothes are just so cute! But so far I’ve been good.