Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What's in your diaper bag?

Only the good Lord knows how women fit so many things in such a small place… in their purse, in their suitcases, in their glove compartments in the car… and all these little pockets inside of little pouches that you keep inside of the compartments, it’s amazing we ever know where anything is.
I am a master of not only fitting a thousand items into compact compartments, but having it all organized and labeled and sometimes marked with instructions. (Don’t judge, I told you I’m a little OCD!)

So as I was packing for our first long trip with a baby, I figured I would log everything that I was packing for our trip and how I fit it all into our luggage.

I have a Skip Hop diaper bag which I L.O.V.E! It’s not huge and the material is quite stiff. These may sound like negative qualities, but they are two of the reasons I love this bag. The bag is not bulky, but it has a ton of room to put everything you can imagine for a day trip. The strap is adjustable and fits perfectly around the handle of our stroller, making it one less thing we have to carry around. The material is stiff, but I like this because I hate a droopy bag. When I set it on the floor, it stays put in an upright position… meaning whatever I put in my bag stays exactly where I put it and not strewn all over the floor from the bag tipping over. Also, they come in great prints and solids that don't look cheesy or ridiculous or embarrassing for my husband to carry around sometimes. I didn't want a bag that really looked like a diaper bag, but I didn't want one that looked like a humongous purse that Paris Hilton would be carrying around (although they do offer more girly, purse looking diaper bag options as well)! Even bigger brownie point for this brand, they are so reasonably priced. Sure, they have some fancier bag options that are kind of up there on the cost chart, but I wouldn't mind paying that for the quality you get.

So here is a list of everything that is in my diaper bag on a normal day (as seen in the picture below starting at the bottom right):
-          2 cloth diapers (stuffed with microfiber inserts and lined)
-          1 small wet bag
-          To-go pack of 40 pacifier wipes (to clean off bottle nipples and his Gerry)
-          4 x 4 oz. formula packets
-          Formula dispenser  (filled with 4 x 5 oz. formula servings)
-          Honest Healing Balm (travel size; my fave product... I could do a whole blog post on this product alone)
-          Gerry the Giraffe Wubbanub
-          Arm and Hammer disposable diaper bags (for dirty wet wipes, boogie wipes, disposable liners, etc.)
-          Basal thermometer
-          Sandals (that I always forget to put on him, he’s a barefoot kinda kid)
-          4’ x 4’ Seersucker blanket (Sesame Street, rolled up)
-          2 extra onesies, pair of socks and baby soap (folded in a gallon sized ziplock)
-          CJ’s Butter Stick in Pixie Pie (in case he gets a chapped booty, and it smells very nice)
-          Coconut oil (in a travel size bottle, for diaper and skin rashes and dry skin)
-          4 oz. Gerber Pear Juice
-          Aveeno Baby Sunblock Stick
-          16 oz bottle of water
-          Burp cloth
-          Gas drops
-          1 x 2 pack of pacifiers (that he never uses, but just in case)
-          Honest Hand Soap (travel size; again, one of my fave product lines - I hate public bathroom soap)
-          Bac-Out spray (in a travel size spray bottle)
-          3 folded Target grocery bags (thousands of uses)
-          3 extra disposable liners (folded and in a zip-lock snack bag)
-          3 Honest disposable diapers (for emergencies; have I told you I really love The Honest Company yet? They are the only disposables I would use, and no, this is not a paid review!)
-          1 x 80 pack of Honest wet wipes (I swear, I'm not reviewing them for free stuff... but that would be nice!)
-          1 x 12 oz. bottle of sterile foam hand sanitizer
-          Lite-On Shoulder Ring Sling
-          Folding diaper changing pad (not pictured; came with the bag)
-          2 x 8 oz. bottles with 5 oz. of distilled water in each (not pictured; for formula feedings)
-          1 x 5 oz. bottle with 2 oz. of distilled water (not pictured; to mix with 1 oz. of juice)
-          My wallet (not pictured; big enough to hold my checkbook, cash, credit cards and license)
-          My adult, lady essentials (not pictured; small lip gloss, Chapstick, 2 panty liners, 1 tampon, mascara, eye drops… hey, it’s all you need to look and feel a little fresher when on the run)
I fit all of this in the bag, and still had plenty of room in the top. Once I finally packed this in the car, I added a couple more things that I thought we might need easy access to on our 5+ hour car ride to Houston (but didn’t want scattered all over the back seats). Everything has its own little pocket and is easy to reach, remove and put back in place… which means it’s not just stuffed in there. This tote really was a pleasant surprise. I read all the reviews online about how compact and sleek it was, yet could hold a massive amount of baby gear. I went ahead and bought it because it wasn’t so expensive that I would regret the purchase. I figured if it was too small, I would just put it away until Tuff got a little older and we didn’t need to lug around so much stuff. When I opened the box, I was very skeptical about how much or what I could fit in it. I was still pregnant and had no idea what you would put in a baby bag besides a couple diapers and some wet wipes. Now I know a little better, but I still don’t think you need a huge suitcase to haul all this baby stuff around.

It’s like a form of therapy. Listing all of these items out like this is kind of like logging your food for the day, you see how much you have and most of it is probably not necessary (but I’d rather be safe than sorry - about the items in the diaper bag, not the food log). I go through my diaper bag at least once a week to make sure everything is stocked and clean and all up to date. At the beginning of the month, I take everything out and lay it on the floor so I can evaluate if we are still using/needing certain things.

So I’m curious, what do you have in your diaper bag right now? Do you over-pack, or do you just pack the essentials for that day? When was the last time you did an inventory check on your diaper bag?

Leave me a message below or, if you have a long list like mine, leave a comment on my Facebook page with your diaper bag stock. Trust me, it’s therapeutic to write it all down and get a good look at what all you carry around with you every day.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

National Breastfeeding Week is over!

Breast is best! Celebrate the ta-ta’s… Let’s all get together and have a breastfeeding MOB in the mall… Mother’s milk is liquid gold… Peace, love, and breastfeeding… Give your child the best that no money can offer!

I know I’m going to get some flack from this post, but I don’t care. The past week has made me feel so angry and jealous, and I am not ashamed to admit that I’m kinda glad it’s over. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy for all you moms out there who can breastfeed, but I’m so tired of it being thrown in my face (not that they are doing it on purpose or targeting me personally, of course, but it felt like that to me last week).

Every time I opened my Gmail, there were at least 3 emails on breastfeeding a day… Open my Facebook page, oh look, an invitation to join a breastfeeding MOB… window shopping on Amazon.com, 3 ads on the side of the page for breast pumps, milk bags and nipple shields… Oh, 30% off Old Navy nursing tanks online… It’s mentioned on the news before we go to bed… It’s on commercials… New York is even preparing to limit access to formula in hospitals and force the breast.

Now please remember, this post is coming from someone who is PRO-BREASTFEEDING, and I support breastfeeding women 150%. But I have some pent up remorse, guilt and a bit of anger from not being able to breastfeed my son. I would give anything to have been able to breastfeed, but after having breast reduction surgery (which left me with only half my milk ducts intact), an unexpected c-section (which included several drugs I had terrible reactions to) and not being able to see my son until 14 hours after birth, it just wasn’t possible. My body could not produce enough milk to sustain my son for even one feeding, I was maybe producing 5 ounces per day, feeding every 2 hours and pumping in between. This, above all things concerning my son’s birth, hurts the most. I thought I had accepted the fact that breastfeeding didn’t work out and I was okay with my son being on formula, but apparently acceptance is still something I’m working on. I remember the look of satisfaction on his face after that first bottle, it was incredibly bittersweet. I was so happy that his little belly was finally full and he was truly content and relaxed, especially after losing 16% of his birth weight in under a week (my attempt at forcing the breast). My shame at that moment was how selfish I was being, wanting to breastfeed so badly that I nearly starved my son to death and causing him to be checked back into the NICU. I felt guilty because I was so relieved that my son and I could have a positive feeding experience in which we could bond… instead of hours of trying different holding positions and getting him to latch on and feed for more than 5 minutes at a time. I also felt guilty because I was relieved that I could put on a regular shirt… clothes were completely pointless considering it took an hour to get my child to latch on properly and feed, and then pumping for 20-45 minutes and then 30 minutes later trying to get him to feed again, 24 hours a day.

I understand that breast is best, and envy mothers that have the ability to breastfeed their children. I remember taking the breastfeeding class and it all sounding so simple, and remember us whispering that we would never give our child formula as long as I could breastfeed. Then the first time Tuff latched on in the hospital, and this incredible wave of ecstasy washed over me as he suckled and looked into my eyes for the first time. I fell in love with my son that night, the deepest love I have ever felt, and looking into my husband’s eyes while feeding our son made me fall in love with him all over again as well. It was the most extraordinary feeling I have ever experienced in my life. Maybe that is why I was so irritated last week, and why I’m so glad that it’s over. It reminded me of what I could not provide for my child.

There are a lot of flaws with formula that we have observed. Most noticeably being Tuff’s stool. He only has a bowel movement every few days, and sometimes he has to strain to get them out. They are very thick, a consistency I can only describe as molding clay, and 99% of the time it is blue green in color from all the iron they have to fortify the formula with. We’ve had to switch to a “gentle”, non-lactose formula that is easier on his digestive tract. We also have to make sure that after each feeding, his face and neck are wiped of all drippings because it causes him to have little rashes in the crease of his neck and chin. Beyond the physical affects, it is a colossal expense to add to your already constricted post-baby budget.

Having said a couple of the cons to feeding my son formula, here is a pro that outweighs any con you can give me. My son is healthy, happy, alive and thriving! If it weren’t for formula, I’m not sure where we would be. (Only thoughts of wet nursing or giving goats milk come to mind, neither of which are encouraging contemplations.) He is the most laid back and happy child you ever would meet. He smiles, and giggles, and is so intelligent and sweet. He has received 5 stars for all of his well-baby visits to date, and we could not be happier.

My rage, of course, is not with breastfeeding women… but with the empty dreams of breastfeeding my son in the park on warm summer days and the fear that he could have had better. It’s not that I did not support national breastfeeding week, it’s that I was hurt that I could not participate.

If you know me, though, you know my rage has a very short lifespan (much like my attention span). I am so grateful for my son, and my family, and how healthy we all are… We are truly blessed with so many positive features in our lives that it’s hard to stay in a slump for too long. The nostalgia of breastfeeding will always be there, and I have confidence that when we have our next child I will be able to breastfeed her.