Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Milkbank: It Does A Baby Good

If you're not a nursing mom - or a mom, period - then the genius of this breastmilk storage system is probably going to fly right over your head. If, that is, your eyes didn't automatically glaze over at the words 'nursing mom' or 'breastmilk storage system.' I know: it's hardly glamorous, and it's not going to make your ankles look skinny. But if you have or ever intend to have a baby at your boob - or know someone who does - then you should read this.

Milkbank is new-fangled, fancy-dancy, backed-by-science (patented! clinically-proven!) system for storing breastmilk and keeping it fresher - which is to say, more replete with all of its critical nutritional goodness - longer. Sure, we've always been told that we can pump that liquid gold and just seal it up in bottles or baggies or whatever and stash it in the freezer, but guess what? It just doesn't come out as good after it's been frozen - or even refrigerated - for any length of time. (If you doubt that, try freezing a batch of your favorite eggnog, or a Shamrock Shake, or any other milk product of your choice. Then thaw it, and drink it. Does it taste as good as before you forze the bejeebus out of it? Thought not.) And because you're storing that breastmilk precisely because of all that precious nutritional oomph - and it's nummy, baby-friendly flavor (this, according to my infant son) - you want to do whatever you cna to preserve it, right? Right.

Enter the Milkbank system. It vacuums out excess air - which breaks down the nutritional elements that you don't want to lose - and seals the breastmilk into the Milkbank containers (which conveniently slip into bottles, and moderate temperature when the breastmilk is warmed), so that what your baby is getting is pretty much as good as what came out of your boob in the first place.

This is proving to be a sanity saver for me, because my baby won't take bottles, yet. Which means that when the ol' boobies get overfull, I produce breastmilk that he won't take. I've been dumping gallons of it, and weeping all the while, because I know that he'll take a bottle one day, and I would have loved to have that golden elixir on hand for that day. But because I now have Milkbank technology on hand, I am freely pumping and storing to my heart's content, secure in the knowledge that that precious elixir isn't getting freezer burned and robbed of nutrients. Which, silly as it sounds, is helping me to sleep at night.

Also? The entire MilkBank system—including the packaging—is free of lead, phthalates, PVC, and BPA. Buy it for your favorite expecting mom as a shower gift and trust me - she will thank you profusly one day. Or! WIN HER ONE! One commenter on this post will one full MilkBank Storage System - comment before February 23rd to be eligible. (Thanks to the Parent Bloggers Network for setting up this promotion!)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Beauty To Go

I've always been in a bind when it comes to beauty products. I love beauty products, but I hate the process of shopping for beauty products anywhere but in a totally anonymous drugstore, because I hate - loathe - being chatted up by cosmetics salespeople. You know, the ones that are all, like, oh, dear, you have dry skin you MUST try this moisturizer and oh, dear, you have oily skin you must try this astringent and you're not using SOAP on your face are you? and why on earth do you not use blush?

I hate that. I hate that so much that I avoid beauty counters at all costs. Which is why I was more than eager to test-drive Estee Lauder's new virtual beauty counter, where you can shop and explore secure in the knowledge that no overly-friendly woman with too much eyeshadow will corner you and bully you into buying the latest eyelash curling technology. Happily, the virtual Estee Lauder experience was so user-friendly that I may never need to brave the wilds of the cosmetic counter again.

The primary reason to visit a cosmetics counter - with its roaming packs of cosmetics-wielding saleswomen - is to get advice on what cosmetics best suit your skin type and your coloring and your lifestyle etc, etc. The Estee Lauder site provides a Skincare Finder and a Foundation Finder that assess your needs with a brief questionnaire, and thereby eliminates the need for real life assistance - which, if you're anything like me, is tremendously appealing. Both are easy to use and about as accurate as you would expect any salesperson to be. And there's something tremendously satisfying about creating your own skin/foundation profile (I have Fair, Combination Skin and Would Like To Prevent Future Signs Of Aging. If you're interested.) I had a lot of fun using the site (I actually plugged in all sorts of variation on skin needs, just to see what they would suggest, because it was just fun to pretend that I was shopping for every conceivable cosmetic need, and because, also, one just never knows when one might suddenly develop dry, flaky skin and need to identify a night cream, fast) and ended up filling my virtual shopping basket pretty quickly.

The site carries the same promotions that you'd find at a department store counter (the much-coveted gift with the purchase, the holiday gift packs, etc), so you're not missing out on any potential deals or goodies, and again, did I mention the complete absence of salespeople? Also, you can buy lipstick while wearing your pajamas. I might be addicted.

I haven't received my order yet - I didn't opt for overnight shipping - but I'm certain (being well and happily acquainted with EL products already) that it will be everything that I expect. But I didn't have to run the cosmetics salesperson gauntlet to get it, and that makes me very, very happy.

Check their site out HERE.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sleep Is For The Weak. Mommyblogging Is For The Strong

Wcsleep2 Okay, so I'm biased. I'm a mommyblogger. Some of my best friends are mommybloggers. Some of my best friends who are mommybloggers are in this book. Which is why I'm not going to tell you that you should buy this book for the brilliance and wit contained therein* - even though it is a FACT that such brilliance and wit spill in abundance from its pages - because you will think that I'm just saying that. Even though I'm totally not.

No, I will, instead, tell you that you should buy this book for this reason: because it is made of paper. Which is to say, it is a handy-dandy way of reading an excellent sampling of mommyblogger writing without having to power up your computer and sit with it scorching your lap and zapping your ovaries with its computer-zappy-rays. The greener choice for reading mommy blogs! The healthier choice for reading mom-blogs!


*If you do need convincing about the brilliance and wit contained therein, there will be a bunch of no-doubt brilliant and witty and substantially more substantive reviews of Sleep Is For The Weak at the Parent Bloggers Network - you can follow those reviews HERE.

'Sleep Is For The Weak', $11.95 @ Amazon

(cross-posted at WeCovet)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Who's A Rookie?

When the opportunity to review The Rookie Mom's Handbook came up, I thought, well, 'rookie' doesn't really apply to me, seeing as I'm about to - OH PLEASE GOD SOON - become a mom again for the second time, but maybe it would be a good recommend for first-time pregnant friends.

So when I began reading it, it was with that in mind: to consider whether a first-time pregnant woman or brand new mom would find it useful. I hadn't really expected that I would find it useful.

But I did.

Granted, a lot of the tips (and can I say? I LOVE the flip-open numbered-tip format. It made it fun to just occasionally pick the book up while grabbing a coffee or something and flip through for inspiration) (but I digress)... a lot of the tips are very been-there/done-that for a second-time mom, but again, this book isn't pitched at second-time moms. Which is why it was a nice surprise for me to a) find tips for activities that I'd never thought of (host an ugly baby clothes party, take a picture in the same spot once a month over a period of months), and b) find some inspiration in ideas for activities that I already knew about (go swimming - this time around, I'm having a warm-weather baby; enjoy art - I meant to go to galleries and museums last time around, but, um...)

I also enjoyed the book because it validated something that I didn't fully appreciate with my first baby - the idea that these creatures are highly portable and user-friendly in a way that toddlers very often (*cough*) are not. I struggled with PPD the first time around and spent a lot of time huddled on the sofa being terrified of everything - the very idea of an excursion out of doors filled me with tremendous anxiety. Looking back, I wish that I'd been of sound enough mind and strong enough will to just get my ass out that door - and into shopping malls and art galleries and cafes and airplanes and bars (those last two? On the agenda for this time, because I'm going to BlogHer with this kid strapped to me kangaroo-style NO MATTER WHAT and I am definitely hitting those parties. So.) This book validates - more than validates, encourages - that approach to early motherhood, and this time around, I was ready for that message.

And, hell yeah I'm gonna spread that message around.

You can find more reviews of The Rookie Mom Handbook at PBN. And consider joining in on the Rookie Mom blog blast this coming weekend!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Barney Is A Dinosaur, Who I No Longer Mind So Much

Okay, so, full disclosure: before becoming a parent, I thought that Barney was a great purple harbinger of the decline of western civilization. Then I became a parent, and decided that it wasn't Barney that was the harbinger of our civilization's decline, it was show's kid-performers (just a little too slick and rehearsed for comfort, always comporting themselves as though their mothers-slash-managers were standing by backstage with agents on speed-dial). I made efforts to change the channel when the show came on television.

But Wonderbaby loved it. LOVED. IT. She'd squeal the minute the big purple dinosaur lumbered onscreen. She had learned the words to the opening theme within one or two viewings. It was like twenty-odd minutes of sing-songy purple crack for her - and twenty-odd minutes of alone-time for me. So I caved. I let her watch it.

I avoided, however, buying the DVDs or seeking it out in the TV listings. If it came on during specified TV times, then fine, she could watch it. But I wasn't going to encourage the watching.

So, when the opportunity arose to review a new Barney DVD - Barney ABCs - I hemmed and hawed. No big fan of Barney myself, I thought it only reasonable and fair to not review it. On the other hand, Wonderbaby is undeniably a huge Barney fan, and it's her opinion that matters, right? Also, this one was about ABCs, and ABCs are good, so why not give it a try. And maybe watch it myself, for a change.

So I did. And yes, I still found Barney himself a bit too goofy, and the kids a bit too cloying, but you know what? It wasn't unendurable (unlike, say, Wonderpets, which make me want to rip my ears off). And, of course, Wonderbaby loved it. The revelation, though, was that as far from my personal tastes as Barney is, I really had to admit that it's really pretty good children's programming. It really encourages a certain amount of interaction from the viewer, in the form of song and dance and movement: WB and I sang every song together (one can, of course, sing along to any show with a musical component, but these songs are EASY. I like EASY) and marched and moved along with Barney and friends and there was much clapping and cheering and discussing and when it was all over? WB was sufficiently stimulated and satisfied with her TV fix that she happily turned off the TV and asked if we could go do marching outside.


(Part of PBN's Barney ABCs Campaign. See other reviews here, and learn more about the DVD here.)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sharing Is The New Black

I am seven months-plus pregnant. This is my second pregnancy. I have bought NOTHING for the new baby, nor for my pregnant self (okay, one sweater and a pair of maternity jeans. But THAT'S IT.)

The first time around, I had, by seven months of pregnancy, bought a stroller, two diaper bags, a few pieces of art for the nursery, numerous books - for baby and for anxious pregnant mom-to-be - nursery linens, and tons of baby clothes, to name but a portion of it. I had acquired a secondhand crib (duly inspected for safety, of course) and carseat (ditto) and a lot of hand-me-down baby clothes, which pleased me to no end, but still: I shopped, a lot, for new stuff.

This time around, not so much. It is, in part, because, I already have much of the stuff that we need. But not all of it, by a stretch. This next one is a boy, which means that much of Wonderbaby's wardrobe isn't pass-on-able (I don't mind pink on boys, but her pink stuff is hot punk-rocker pink and a bit over the top.) And he should have some of his own things, things that are just his.

But I'm just not interested, this time around, in dropping tons of cash and acquiring tons of new stuff. The novelty of having a baby that propelled me into the baby shops the first time around just isn't there any more. And I'm feeling a lot more eco-sensitive now that I did two and half years ago. I don't want generate tons more waste. So I've been looking for ways to accommodate the need for stuff for this new baby without, you know, falling into the trap of MORE STUFF.

Recycling and freecycling and searching second-hand stores are all obvious strategies, and ones that I'll employ. Sewing and/or knitting my own stuff? Nope. Not crafty or handy in the least. Also, I'm lazy.

Mostly, though? I'm going to try to make do with less stuff. Which doesn't necessarily mean acquiring less for our new guy, but trading off on what comes into this house. Giving away or freecycling more of the stuff that WB has outgrown (I'm terrible about hanging on to stuff for nostalgic reasons - oh, the first onesie that she barfed on! oh, her seventh vintage-look baby concert tee!), to offset the new stuff coming for the boy. Committing to giving away or freecycling the boy's stuff as soon as it becomes obsolete. Borrowing and/or accepting hand-me-down stuff that we don't already have, rather than buying it new or even second-hand. Being diligent about what we really do need. Paying attention to what others need, and passing more stuff along in that direction.

Sharing, a lot.

Part of the PBN Blog Blast in support of Zwaggle, an online community of socially responsible parents doing their share to give back to other parents, their kids and the environment. (Sign up for Zwaggle HERE.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Can She Watch It? YES SHE CAN!

A new Bob The Builder DVD wasn't a tough sell on my two-year old. She loves Bob The Builder. LOVES. She can sing the whole theme song - which, I know, scary - and has been known to holler YES I CAN in response to any question that includes the words 'can you do this?" This is all to the great delight of her father, who grooves on anything related to home improvement and construction, and he looks forward to the day that he and she can don hard-hats together and build build build.

So, yeah. Present her with a Bob The Builder DVD and she yells OPEN IT OPEN IT! and then breaks into the theme song and I - mercifully, mercifully - am granted 20 minutes of Mommy Time.

But it's not the Mommy Time that sells me on this DVD (okay, it is the Mommy Time. But that's only part of it.) Building Bobland Bay - like all the other BTB shows - deals in realistic portrayals of how things are built, which is awesome in itself inasmuch this teaches kids a little bit about what really goes on on construction sites and how buildings are made, etc., etc., and it deals with portrayals of how things are build with a close emphasis on eco-sensitivity. This is really, really key for me: many children's shows place a lot of emphasis on sending proper messages v.v. kindness and sharing and cooperation (BTB does this too, in spades), but BTB goes a step further by placing eco-friendliness prominently among those messages and does it in a way that isn't remotely preachy. Being environmentally sensitive is just how it's done in the world of BTB - it's presented as a given that any interference with the earth should be done in as gentle and non-invasive a manner as possible. People need to build things - to live in, work in, play in - but they can do so in such a way that minimizes the impact of that building upon the environment. I love this message, and I love that it's presented in such a simple, matter-of-fact way.

So there're the mom props. WB loves this DVD because it has all the old BTB wonderfulness - songs, building, 'mighty machines' - and some new locations and characters (her favorite new character: Splasher. Splasher, I should say, has introduced a new dimension of activity to our bathtime routine, which is a mixed blessing.)

I try to keep WB's TV/DVD time to a minimum, but this is exactly the kind of DVD that makes feel less guilty about turning on the screen. Which, you know: WIN-WIN.

Part of PBN's 'Bob the Builder: Building Bobland Bay' Campaign. (You can get your own copy of Building Bobland Bay HERE.)