Motherhood For Dummies :: Paper Napkins Are Not Toys

 

In case you thought paper napkins were safe for baby to play with while you’re eating at a restaurant, well, they are not. Emma was peacefully sucking/chewing on a paper napkin when she suddenly started choking oh so slightly. At first I thought, oh well, it’s gonna come out eventually. But when she continued to choke and got tears in her eyes, I knew I had to do something about it quickly.

So I stuck my finger into her mouth which made her throw up. And out came a square inch big piece of paper napkin.

Lesson learned. I’m gonna let her play with the knife next time. Seems safer…

Little Miss Sunshine :: Sunscreen For Babies

Apparently, it was four degrees warmer in Daly City than in San Francisco today. Ha, take that, you haters! :-)

My little Miss Sunshine and me.

On that note, allow me to preach a bit about the use of sunscreen for your baby’s sensitive skin.

It used to be advised that you should not use sunscreen on babies less than six months old, but the American Academy of Pediatrics now states that sunscreen is probably safe to use on younger children, especially if you just use it on small areas of your baby’s skin that is exposed to the sun and not protected by clothing, such as the infant’s hands and face.

Still, younger children should be kept out of direct sunlight because they can burn easily and may not be able to handle getting overheated as well as older children. So even though it is likely safe to use sunscreen on kids less than six months old, it is safer to keep them out of the sun. ~ Source: About. Pediatrics.com

I am an avid advocate of using sunscreen instead of body lotion during the summer months for myself. That way, you get enough moisturizer for your skin but more importantly, you’re already protected before you step out into the sun. And for Emma I’m doing the same. I don’t care if we just head to the mall – I want her to be protected even on the short way from the car to the mall. I believe an adorable sun hat should be an essential item to your diaper bag during those summer days. And here’s why…

Ultra cool UPF 50+ sun protection hat by Comfykid.com

What Is Sunburn?

Sunburn is the result of an ‘overdose’ of UV rays. A first degree sunburn is not noticeable while you’re in the sun. It only shows through a painful, itchy red rash on your skin later. Often, you only see the damage after you brought baby back into the shade. A sun burn can be pretty painful for your baby, and the implications can be even more serious: Dermatological studies show that frequent sun exposure and sun burn in their early childhood can lead to a higher risk for skin cancer.

I have to admit that it happened to me, well, Emma. She got sunburned. I never felt worse in my life when I saw her cheeks turn red after a sunny day during our Easter vacay in Germany. And I did use sun screen! I guess I didn’t use enough or she had wiped it off and I didn’t reapply it soon enough. Lesson learned. For sure.

Should Baby Be In The Sun At All?

Baby skin is extremely thin and sensitive. Therefore, babies should never be exposed to direct sun light. Their skin is still in the process of developing a protection against UV rays. Only 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure (without sun protection) is enough, to burn baby’s skin. Especially, between 11am and 3pm, when sun rays are most intensive, you should keep baby in the shade (or inside).

So The Shade Is Safe, Right?

Not so fast. Even on a cloudy day, you should keep an eye on baby’s skin. Clouds don’t detain UV rays, the ones who cause sun burn. Who would have known? Parents also often underestimate the intensity of sun light in Spring and Fall. The proper use of pretective sunscreen doesn’t just apply to the summer vacays at the beach but also to play time in the sandbox, the playground, the Sunday picnic with the family or a visit to the zoo.

And did you know that Baby besides being protected from the risk of getting sunburned can also benefit from chilling out in the shade? – 10 to 15 minutes of indirect sun light already prevents Vitamin D deficiency.

Cover Up!

You may not think about the fact that UV rays can get through normal clothing and burn the skin. Clothing with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of 50+ can offer extra protection and peace of mind. The outdoor experts at REI have a thing or two to say about that.

Don’t forget about baby sun hats with a bring. They can be worn in the water or anytime there is direct exposure to the sun to protect your baby’s vulnerable scalp. Go ahead, add those cool shades to baby’s beach outfit. But make sure the sun glasses offer 100 percent UV filtration.

Adventure BanZ Baby sunglasses offer 100% UVA/UVB protection.

How To Use Sunscreen?

  1. Sunscreens should block both UVA and UVB rays. These are called broad-spectrum sunscreens, which should also be hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic so it doesn’t cause a rash or clog the pores, which can cause acne.
  2. Shake the bottle well before you squirt any sunscreen out. This mixes up all the particles and distributes them evenly in the container.
  3. Most adults should use about 35 ml or 1 oz. of sunscreen to cover their whole body. That’s the same amount that would fit into a shot glass. It’s also about the same as an adult handful. Remember, most people don’t apply enough sunscreen. It’s OK to use more than you think you should.
  4. Apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before going out in the sun. This gives the ingredients time to attach to the skin.
  5. Cover all of your skin that’s exposed to the sun. This includes your back, ears, behind your knees and your legs.
  6. Some studies say it’s a good idea to reapply your sunscreen after you’ve been in the sun for 30 minutes. This makes it more likely you’ll get the places you might have missed.
  7. Definitely reapply the same amount of sunscreen every two hours, even if you haven’t been sweating or in the water.
  8. Reapply sunscreen as soon as you get done swimming, toweling off, or sweating heavily. Yep, the whole 1 oz.

Happy tanning!

 

 

Disclaimer:

The opinion expressed in this post is my own. I am not a doctor and claim no medical expertise. What works for me, may not work for you. Blog owner will not be held liable for the use of any information found on this blog post.

A Clean Heart

Today, I deleted my Facebook account.

No more status updates, 'Like' buttons, tags and comments.

Today, I also had a revelation about who I am. Or better: Who I am not. Which is part of my decision to remove ‘Wiebke (Struck) Thrasher’ from Facebook.

I am not always as happy as my photos on Facebook made me look. My marriage is not perfect. There are days where I wish I wasn’t a mother. My dog doesn’t always listen. I am not a compassionate person. God has been taken a backseat in my life (because I put Him there). I use cake mix for my banana bread. Sometimes I go to bed without brushing my teeth. I am jealous. A lot. Instead of being grateful for the things I have, I create wish lists online with more things I want. I tithe. But I have been holding back on my offerings. I always drive faster than the speed limit. Most nights, I am too exhausted and just nurse Emma to sleep instead of teaching her to fall asleep on her own. Prayer hasn’t been part of my daily routine. I am easily offended. My expectations in friends are too high. For the past year, I haven’t shown my husband enough respect. Sometimes I wear a pair of jeans for an entire week. As of late, I am struggling to honor my stepfather. I don’t like some of our neighbors. Often, I find myself being envious of other people’s lives. I want to lose weight but can’t stop eating ice cream. I keep starting projects but never see them through. I still feel like I failed with my business. I get angry. Things I say inside our home should never be heard outside.

And what has all of this to do with Facebook, you wonder?

First, I felt that I was representing a person that wasn’t me. Second, I also felt utterly distracted from dealing with myself. I realized I need to get rid of ‘stuff’ and shift my focus on important things like God, my husband, my baby, my dog. I desperately need a clean slate and a renewed spirit.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. ~ Psalm 51:10

Today was the beginning of my personal clean-up. Facebook was the first step, I no longer have wish lists on Amazon, Crate and Barrel or Etsy (Favorites). I even went as far as unsubscribing from all those blogs that make me want more stuff.

Tomorrow, I’ll drop off all of Emma’s outgrown baby clothes at the Homeless Prenatal Program.

Next step, selling my business inventory. And starting therapy.

Wow, even this blog post was like striptease for my soul. I promise the next post will be cheery and chirpy again. So, don’t leave me.

 

Can I Complain Just For A Minute? :: My Pregnancy

We’re friends, no? So can I please complain for a minute?
I’m so done with being pregnant! I still have 22 days (+/-) to go. 22 days is nothing you may say. Or 22 days is still more than three weeks. Potato, potatoe. Back to me.

Yesterday it suddenly hit me: I am indeed VERY pregnant at 37 weeks and I do have to take it easy. I had some trouble during my preggo months. Nothing serious but I did get to check off everything a pregnant woman may suffer from: nausea for the first 7 (!) months, hemorrhoids (sorry, but we’re friends, remember?), constipation (while we’re at it), migraines with nasty vertigo attacks, lower back pain, leg cramps, carpal tunnel, the obligatory ten pee breaks per night, slight changes in vision, preggo brain, balance issues (emotional AND physical), and recently high blood pressure. Hallelujah!

My friends and especially my husband have been telling me for a while to put up my feet every now and then and take a nap. But, honestly, I suck at resting!

So what happened? Glad you asked.

Thursday morning, I had the best intentions to attend my prenatal yoga class when my sciatic nerve decided it was time to draw even more attention to it. The pain was killing me! I could barely move! Nonetheless, I drove my husband and Griffin to work since I needed the car to run a few errands. What a trooper (or idiot, one may wants to argue).

Later that day, I had plans to hit sexy stores like Costco and Target with a friend.

As we were having lunch, I realized there was no way I would be able to walk, not even waddle, around much. Instead I told my friend that I’d have to lay down and rest.

Thankfully, my lovely sister and experienced mother Meike was on Skype so I got to cry a bit as she encouraged me to hang in there and remind me jokingly that the ‘worst’ is yet to come.

Today, I am feeling a bit better. Yet, I am still lying down on my left side trying to release pressure from that stupid nerve. It’s been quite hard for me to admit that I have reached a point where I have no choice but let go and relax.

On that note, allow me to share the remedies that have helped me (more or less) throughout the pregnancy:

Mostly inexpensive pregnancy wellness tools.

From left to right:

  • Ginger ale and salty pretzels were for a long time the only food I managed to keep down.
  • I found my birthing ball (which used to be a simple gymnastic ball before some genius claimed it to be highly useful during labor) at Marshall’s for under $10. Most nights my loving and caring husband comes home, pulls out the ball and demands that he gives me a back massage as learned during our childbirth class. I surrender.
  • Catching up on my favorite TV shows on Hulu (we don’t have cable).
  • My favorite activity during pregnancy and the reason why you and I have met: writing posts for my mommy and design blogs.
  • A healthy and delicious breakfast: Greek yogurt with granola and fresh organic fruit.
  • A good book. Make sure you’ll get a break from pregnancy and parenting books and just read something entertaining.
  • A wrist guard helps relieve carpal tunnel syndrome. One of the many smart investments I made during pregnancy and definitely worth the $25 I paid at Walgreen’s.
  • I borrowed a heating pad from a friend. A life saver! Available at Walgreen’s.
  • Just like Hulu, Netflix has been a faithful companion for the past few months.
  • Simple and cheap: A night light in the bathroom has saved me on my endless pee breaks. Before, the bright bathroom lights blinded me so much that it was harder to fall asleep again.
  • Prenatal yoga has helped me a lot. Whether I took a class or put in a DVD in the comfort of my own living room.
  • I love me some licorice! My pregnancy sweet tooth craving…and it helped with the nausea.

Ok, dear friend, thanks for listening! I hope you found my few tips helpful. What were your secrets to a better pregnancy? Tell me all about it!

 

Back To School :: Why Childbirth Preparation Classes Matter :: My Pregnancy

This past Saturday, the Thrashers went back to school: We took a childbirth class at the hospital where we (well, I) will deliver. After thorough research – you didn’t expect anything else from me, right? – we decided that a class offered by ‘our’ hospital would make the most sense.

Hands on practice during childbirth preparation class.

 

At first, I thought a class wouldn’t be necessary since I’ve been reading a bunch of books, blogs, talked to my girlfriends and was planning on swapping the romantic comedies on my Netflix queue with a few birthing videos. I was really hoping to save the $175 this class would cost us. (Do you know how many diapers you can get for that cash?)

But then I talked to my OB about it and she mentioned a good point: These classes are a good way to involve the father-to-be and get him (even more) excited about the upcoming big event. So when Paul told me a couple of days later that he would really like to take that class, I signed us up.

The verdict? Take that class! Pack your lunch bag, lots of snacks, a bunch of pillows and go back to school for a day! This class was worth every penny. Why it was so great, you ask?

Here are my reasons – in no particular order:

  • Opportunity to meet like-minded expecting parents who occasionally seemed as scared us you
  • Thorough teaching of the actual labor and delivery process with opportunity to ask lots of questions
  • Detailed description of various steps in the labor and delivery process: from stages of labor to pain management to birthing to postpartem recovery
  • Plenty of suggestions (and demonstrations thereof) on how to ease mom’s discomfort and create a relaxing environment > I am so glad I volunteered to be the model for the back pain relief practices. I definitely got a pre-natal massage out of that.
  • Your husband’s undivided attention to the topic (no distraction by dog, video games or cell phone) due to classroom atmosphere
  • Interactive practices like discussing preferences regarding use of pain medication with your partner
  • Interactive discussion with other classmates

You wouldn’t be able to get all of that from watching a video at home or reading a book. The only downside: It was a very, very long day and those chairs got quite uncomfortable towards the end. Also, they don’t provide drinks, snacks or lunch so you’ll have to bring your own.But let’s not talk about discomfort and waiting for hours considering the experience we have ahead of us. Know what I mean?

Let me quickly touch base on a few key learnings of the course so you can get a bit of useful information out of this blog post. Here are the five most important factors that play an important role for an ideal labor and delivery process:

  1. Strong support by birth partner
  2. No judgment policy (as in I don’t want to see a nurse give me a look because I’m a wimp with a low pain tolerance)
  3. Friendly hospital staff (I am actually planning on preparing a little basket with lots of goodies for the staff to bribe them upfront. First of all, that’s what I do. Secondly, Käfer is due on Christmas so it’s not that far-fetched to bring a gift, right?)
  4. A calm MD
  5. The right pain management (if desired)
  6. Having support during the early days after being discharged from hospital (come back for a blog post about Being Prepared)

Of course, we learned a whole lot more: Like how to differentiate between false and true labor, how to time contractions (there’s an app for that and I had downloaded that one months ago), the various stages of labor, how to ask the right questions about pain management or medical interventions, how to add some ‘Martha Stewart’ to your delivery room to make you feel at home (I cannot wait to blog about my ideas to personalize my delivery room), breathing practices, how  a gymnastic or birthing ball can help mom to feel a bit less discomfort during labor, and much more. Here’s a great article that pretty much sums up our class experience.

 

Labor and delivery room (LCR) at our hospital.

 

Truth is, only AFTER giving birth, I’ll be able to tell you if this childbirth preparation class was truly useful but for now, it made me and my baby daddy feel a lot more prepared and that’s a big accomplishment, don’t you think?

What about you? Did you take a class? Are you planning on taking a class? What did you like/not like about it? Tell me!