You got mail…from the President?

Little mister was able to get a presidential greeting from the POTUS and FLOTUS.
Little mister was able to get a presidential greeting from the POTUS and FLOTUS.

 

When I saw an acquaintance post a photo of a wedding greeting from the President of the United Staes and First Lady of the United States, I decided to see if they did birth greetings.  In addition to wedding greetings, you can request greetings for wedding anniversaries, retirements, birthdays, and oh yes, birth greetings.  Who wouldn’t want to get mail from the President let alone a Presidential greeting?

I remember getting so excited when O received his first piece of mail.  Mind you it was from the Social Security Administration and contained his social security card but I was excited.  I know, I know, babies are so young, they don’t know how to read, why get excited about mail?  I’m a sentimental, I love firsts, almost all kinds.  I also like saving any firsts that I can.  The first outfit for a holiday, the first pair of shoes O walked in, the first drawing O made, well you get the idea.

You can’t just request a card from the POTUS for anything.  There are specific guidelines (as stated on the site):

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen
  • Birth greetings are only available within a year of the baby’s birth date.
  • Birthday greetings are for those that are celebrating a birthday that is 80 years or greater. However for Veterans it starts at 70 years of age.
  • Retirement greetings are for service of 20 years or longer.
  • Wedding greetings should be made at least 6 weeks in advanced of the wedding date.
  • Wedding anniversary greetings are done for 50 years or greater and also must be requested 6 weeks in advance.

I only provided an overview there are other specifics that you can check out here.

I do wish they had a greeting for those adopting because I would assume that is just as much of a joyous event as a birth!  So new moms or soon-to-be parents go and request your presidential greeting.  Bear in mind it does take awhile for you to receive the card.  I requested mine in January and received it a few days ago.

I’ll be keeping W’s in his memory box.  I’m not sure if he’ll appreciate it but I still think it’s pretty darn cool to get mail from the POTUS!

 

Wrap, Sling, Carrier – a review

 

Wrap, Sling, Carrier?Disclaimer: By no means is this post sponsored by any of the businesses listed below.

Between two kids, I have accumulated a variety of ways to babywear.  It was short lived with my first as he never really liked being wrapped or in a carrier.  You would think that this time around I would be ready to throw my hands up in the air but here we are at almost 5 months and little man loves it.  I’m not complaining at all because I love it too.  It took me a while to purchase any of these products (except the Baby Bjorn as that was one of the many gifts from O’s generous Godfather).

The Wrap Part 1 – K’Tan Original
I purchased this wrap from Amazon after reading the reviews.  O was still too small to be placed in the Baby Bjorn.   It comes in two pieces – a loop and a wrap portion.  The loop is like a base and where the baby is placed in and the wrap portion adds security.  There are different sizes, from XS to XL.  I found this to be a con as my husband and I are not the same size so we weren’t able to share this wrap.  The material was not breathable and caused O to sweat a lot.  I’m beginning to think this was why he disliked being in a wrap so much.  O in the wrap was shortlived as additionally the material didn’t seem to stretch.

Unfortunately I don’t have a personal product photo as I only have one of the two pieces.

The Wrap Part 2 – Sollybaby
Solly Baby wrapI have to admit that an added plus was that I saw that the founder/owner Elle was, at the time, living in my hometown of San Diego, California.  I’m a firm believer of supporting local businesses and mompreneurs too.  The wrap material is so soft and you can tell that it’s light and breathable unlike the K’Tan.  Think of it as if your baby was wearing a lightweight cardigan.  The wrap is one long piece of fabric that comes in a variety of different colors.  Sollybaby also tends to do collaborations.

I’m not sure exactly how I stumbled upon Sollybaby on Instagram.  I purchased a wrap several months prior to the arrival of W.  This was only after going through the majority of Sollybaby’s Instagram account, the website, and the videos.  The videos were especially helpful.  I’m a visual learner so sometimes step-by-step photo directions are not enough. I also was intrigued that there was a pocket (where Sophie the Giraffe is tucked into in the above photo) to hold items like your phone, a pacifier, etc.  Not only did it come in cute packaging but the box they mailed it in also had the Sollybaby text on it.

Sollybaby wrap pt 2

It should be noted that this is not to be used as means to carry your baby front-facing or on your back.  This is indicated on the information page of the website as well.  It also mentions that this ideally the wrap is best used for children 9 to 12 months of age or up to 25 pounds.  There is an ability to put newborns in the wrap as well but I never felt comfortable to do this.  I also have yet to try and nurse in my wrap.

Additionally, unlike the K’Tan, due to it being one piece of fabric, it can be used by any any of your family members.  Minus your children of course BUT they do sell Solly Dolly wraps for your little to mimic you!  I do have to stress the importance of laying the fabric straight on your shoulders and across your back. I’ve been in a rush at times and have been sloppy with the wrapping to wear it doesn’t feel comfortable for me and W doesn’t feel as secure.

W is as happy as can be in it.  He almost always falls asleep instantly when in the wrap. I love it so much that I considered buying another one as a back-up.  W is actually in our Sollybaby wrap as I type this sound asleep!

The Ring SlingWildbird “Keep your little bird close”

WildbirdWildbird is another Instagram find.  I ultimately decided to purchase this ring sling as I was looking for something that didn’t require the wrapping part of the Sollybaby wrap.  I also was looking for something else to use if I had to wash my Sollybaby.  I went with the double layer anticipating the weight gain of W.  The double layer, is well a double layer of fabric as opposed to the single layer.  There is also a “break in” period to get it nice and comfy for your babe.  I haven’t got to this point as I don’t use it too much.  I’ve been having difficulty perfecting a “good seat” for W and feel that he isn’t too secure.

It was disappointing that at the time of my purchase the site did not have tutorials.  However, taking a look at the site now, there are now tutorials.  I’m planning on viewing them and utilizing my sling more especially now that W is more “solid.”  The website recommends using the sling with a baby up to 35 pounds max.

Another reason why I decided to purchase a Wildbird sling as opposed to the popular Sakura Bloom ones was my love for supporting small businesses and mompreneuers.  The about portion of the website, as I’ve said before, Taylor’s explanation was straightforward, honest, and just relatable.  Additionally, the Wildbird slings were about half the price of a Sakura Bloom ring sling.

Wildbird pt 2

This sling does not have a pocket for extra storage or to fold itself into.  It’s fairly easy to fold up and stick in a bag.  I’ve been able to roll it up, stick it in my diaper bag, and have enough room for everything else I drag around with me.

The carrierBaby Bjorn Carrier Original
This was gifted by one of O’s godfathers.  This was a wishlist item for my husband after he saw another Dad wearing his son in the front facing position.  There is no infant insert needed for this carrier.  I can’t recall when exactly we used this carrier but I know that we waited until O was at least 10 pounds (he was born almost 4 weeks early and was on the small side).  I would have him in this carrier around the house while trying to get things done or while we were out and about.

This is made up of two parts.  I loved that when O fell asleep we were able to just click the front portion off easily without disturbing him.  It is also adjustable so that any family member (minus kids!) are able to use it.  There is a head adjustable strap and a sizing adjustment on the front portion.  We never had difficulty with adjustments.  Of course my husband was happy to be able to carry O front-facing.  This position is recommended for babies that are at least 4 months old and have good head control.

Although we were happy that O was able to fall asleep almost instantly and it was easy to use, I disliked how O’s legs looked like they dangled there.  It also doesn’t have any pockets for extra storage as some other carriers do.  We also registered for an all black one as I’m all about getting gear that is black, grey, etc.  Bad move as spit ups are very noticeable.  It’s fairly easy to clean but I also notice that the color fades fairly easily.

Unfortunately I don’t have a personal product photo of this item as well.  I actually think it may be at one of the grandparents’ homes.

The carrier part 2Ergobaby Original
Ergobaby Original
My husband and I went back and forth about whether to purchase the original, 360, and the 360 cool air. With W, as soon as he was mobile, he didn’t care to be in the carrier and we didn’t utilize the front-facing portion too much.  This is ultimately why we went with the original.  We felt that the tummy-to-tummy, hip position, and backwearing position were sufficient enough for our family.  The 360 and cool air also have a velcro portion around the waist area.  Although I see the benefits of this, I also didn’t want to wake W up if he was asleep in the carrier and I needed to take him out.  My husband is guessing that once W is a lot more mobile, he will more than likely want to be running around with his older brother and the front-facing position won’t even be needed.

This carrier is made up of one piece with clips on the side of the waist and across the back.  I do have difficulty with attaching and detaching the back strap.  You have the ability to move the back strap portion up or down for a better reach but I still find myself struggling.  Due to that I tend to wake W up if he falls asleep.  Unlike in the Baby Bjorn, W looks like his hips are fully supported.  On the Ergobaby website, they indicate that their product is “hip friendly.”   The site also recommends the weight range of 7 to 45 pounds when using the Ergobaby Original. We just recently purchased this item so an infant insert was not needed.  The insert is recommended for babies 0 to 4 months of age.

Aesthetically, the design is really nice looking.  We went with the black twill.  I do like the pockets, this was another reason why we purchased the original.  The padding on the shoulders are great, there is enough without it feeling too bulky or that you have shoulder pads on.  I also like the adjustable hood that you can tuck in a pocket when it’s not being used.  This has been especially useful when I went on a walk with the boys when it was sunny outside.  W appreciates it to as he isn’t blinded by the sun.  It’s also fairly easy to clean with a wipe if food happens to stain it.  Yes, I’ve already dropped food on it while eating with W in it.

Right now it’s hard to say which type is my favorite.  Each has provided a benefit on this babywearing journey of mine.  I mean, who doesn’t like forever hugs from your little one?

Not so terrible toddler.

Toddler life

Oh to be a toddler. O is almost 4 months in as a big brother and he’s doing a great job. I was concerned at one point since he would just ignore W. Lately he’s been more attentive to his brother. I let him take charge during tummy time and he points out shapes and colors (those that he does know) out. O also has been wanting to hold his brother so we have a process when he does ask or motion to hold W. He knows that he has to sit on the couch, we the place W on his lap and he gently puts his arms around him. There are moments where he wants to carry W and has tried to pick him up himself but he has done so much better about W.

His little brother loves it and I can tell there is a growing admiration. W usually follows wherever O moves to and has a gummy grin. I’m excited to see how their interaction will change once W crawls.

Mom view
Toddler life is hard on the both of us but moments where I see them both enjoying each others company, well, having two so close in age doesn’t seem that bad.

Enjoymamahood Journey : Breastfeeding

4am feedings
With my first, there were so many complications, breastfeeding only lasted about a month. We tried working through a tongue tie, a poor latch, and through two procedures to “fix” the tongue tie. When my first was about a day old, a frenulectomy was done. We were told that the frenulum was preventing him from sticking his tongue out and getting a good latch. It was cut to help with a good latch. I remember how uneasy I felt about it but did not know any better so my husband and I put our trust in the nurses and the lactationist.  After meeting with a lactationist, we were told the procedure was not done correctly and it had to be redone. What ended up happening was the first procedure didn’t heal so they used a laser to do the cut again.

His body responded by forming a ball-like form under his tongue. He refused to latch and bottle feeding was our only option at that point.  My husband and I felt horrible.  I was feeling helpless because I felt like I lost the only way I would be able to connect to my son – through breastfeeding.  At the time I also felt that the lactationist helping us gave up once she saw the ball under his tongue.  I remember emailing her or calling her trying to get advice and she just stopped responding.  I attempted to at least pump but even after taking supplements and such, I still could not produce enough milk.

It also did not help that my mother-in-law would joke around about breastfeeding my son while holding him if he started rooting.  She may not have realized it at the time but it not only felt like a jab at how I was doing as a mother but me as a person.  I felt like I could not talk to anyone.  I also felt like I was being judged because I had to formula bottle feed my son.

We were referred to a Head, Neck, and Ears specialist to make sure that the ball wasn’t tissue forming over itself and would later hinder our son’s speech.  I felt like he was the only person, besides our pediatrician, that was up front with us.  He assured us that “the ball” was not tissue or pus filled and it would eventually subside.

My husband and I decided that when we had our next child things would be different.  If they told us our child was tongue-tied, we would get a second opinion.  We were not going to rely solely on the nurses or lactationists suggestions in the hospital.  He knew how important it was to me to at least try and breastfeed and he wanted to help make that happen for me.

My choice to breastfeed is not due to what people are telling me is the right thing to do.  It is something I want to do.  For me, it’s not only knowing that I’m providing the nutrients for my child, it’s also that bond.  During my first pregnancy I researched the benefits of breastfeeding for the child and mother.  I guess I knew in my heart that I needed that bond and connection through breastfeeding just as much as my child.  I do contribute my postpartum depression with my first due to the fact that I was only able to breastfeed for three weeks. I felt like I lost that connection.  Although I will say that my first is a happy and healthy little boy and you would not be able to tell what he endured nor would you be able to tell that he was strictly formula-fed.

This time around, my second latched on immediately.  We’ve had to work through a couple of bumps in terms of positions (cradle, football hold, etc.).  I’m at the point where I want to make sure that I can keep up my milk production so I have been researching ways to do so.  Breastfeeding has been completely different as opposed to bottle-formula feeding.  He’s been feeding on-demand so 3am-4am wake-up times are necessary.

I’m still navigating my way through breastfeeding but so far I’m happy with my decision.  I was and have been wary about lactationists this time around.  Luckily the one I met with after my second child was born was so understanding and respected our decision to not correct the supposed tongue-tie baby no. 2 has.

So far, W (baby no.2) is gaining weight steadily and seems content.  His pediatrician is happy with his growth and assured me that I’m doing a good job.  We’re going to keep at this breastfeeding thing as long as W will let us.