Monday, May 19, 2014

Babywearing: Wrap Conversion Mei Tai (Didytai)

Didytai by Didymos

The third baby wearing product I'm going to talk about is a Wrap Conversion Mei Tai (WCMT).  I know that's a mouthful and it sounds intimidating, so let me break it down.  Like I've said before there are tons and tons of babywearing options out there, I'll only be writing about the ones I have, and love.  The brand of WCMT that I have is the Didytai.  A WCMT is a mei tai that is made from a woven wrap.

When I first had Ethan I was sleep deprived, my hair was falling out, I didn't fit into any of my clothes, and had to deal with colic until he was 3 months old.  On top of that Ethan refused to sleep unless he was on me.  I was going crazy, and had no idea what to do.  I had received a Moby but I couldn't figure out how to use it, and an Ergo, but Ethan was still too small for it.  I heard about a babywearing 101 class that Ivonne Gonz was teaching in Ventura, CA and I said to myself, "What do I have to lose?"  I went to the class and the whole time Ethan was having a fit.  I couldn't even hear what Ivonne was saying, and I was mortified that the other parents probably couldn't hear over Ethan's screams either.  Halfway through the class Ethan had a diaper blow out, but he was so upset I only had time to wipe all of the poo off, and change his diaper.  I wrapped him in a blanket because he wouldn't let me put his clothes on, and just held him to my chest.  Later on Ivonne told me that she thought it was sweet that I was doing skin to skin in order to calm him down (which I had not even thought of in my frazzled state), and we both had a good laugh.

The reason I go into this lengthy story about the beginning of my babywearing journey is that at the end of the class I went up to Ivonne and told her about the difficulties I had faced with babywearing.  Throughout the class she had shown us numerous babywearing options like soft structure carriers, ring slings, wraps, and mei tais.  For some reason the mei tai caught my attention and looked like something I could easily use.  Up to this point anytime I would try to wrap Ethan in the Moby he would scream his head off, I would rip it off, throw it on the ground, and kick it.  Ivonne showed me how to put on the Wrap Conversion Mei Tai; it was as if the angels sang, and the heavens opened up.  Ethan was more comfortable than I had ever seen him, he may have even dozed off while in it.  At that point I thought I don't care what it costs I'm wearing it out! This is the only product I have bought at full price, but let me tell you, at that time it was worth every penny.  From the moment I bought it I used it everywhere, at the grocery store, church, home, parties.  Any time Ethan became upset I would wrap him and he'd calm down and usually go to sleep.  My experience taught me that everyone's babywearing preferences are very different, I know people that absolutely love the Moby and hate Soft Structure carriers, or babies that love soft structure carriers and hate to be wrapped.  For this reason I highly recommend trying a bunch of products before you commit to one, so that you can find one that works for you and your baby.
This is what the Didytai looks like when
layed out.  As you can see it has more of
a structure than a wrap but there is still
some wrapping involved due to the
long straps.

Didytai Pros:

  1. It has an adjustable seat that allows you to use it with your newborn, but it also fits much older children.  Ethan is 1 year old and still fits in it, and there's even room for him to grow.
  2. It is easier to use than a woven wrap or Moby because it has somewhat of a structure already, instead of being a long piece of cloth.
  3. Comes in beautiful colors and patters
This is the widest the seat goes.  Ethan is 1 and the widest
setting is still too big for him, so this will fit your child
well into their toddler years.

This is the smallest the seat will go once you pull the
drawstring.  This would be the size you would use with a
newborn baby.

Didytai Cons:
  1. As Ethan got older I found that it was not as comfortable for me to wear him in it.  The straps are not as supportive as when I use my woven wrap.  I now keep it in the car in case I need my hands free when I'm out, but it's a backup product because my back can't take the strain for too long.
  2. It is more difficult to use than the ring sling, another newborn friendly option because it does involve some wrapping.
  3. It is one of the more expensive options, but there are many affordable mei tais out there the didytai brand is just pricier than some of the others.
I was trying to include the video for a Didytai tutorial on here but it wouldn't load, so click on the link below to view the video.

*Since I'm new to babywearing, each of my babywearing posts will be a short intro to the products I use and really like. I'm a beginner in all of this myself and therefore don't feel comfortable giving long tutorials; I highly recommend you continue to research any products you might be interested in, and try to find babywearing groups in your area that can offer support.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Pumping Journey Part 2: Pumping at Work

These are the 5 oz. bottles I would pump ino

*I am not a lactation consultant or medical expert; everything that I share about breastfeeding comes from my experience, and personal research.  Please feel free to pick and choose what you think will work best for you and your baby, and good luck mama!

You may be asking yourself, if Luanita's such a breastfeeding advocate why is she writing a series on pumping and not breastfeeding?  The main reason is that when I was breastfeeding I had an overwhelming amount of support, from my mom to lactation consultants, and endless amounts of articles online.  When I went back to work and started pumping it was a very different story.  I didn't know anyone who had worked full-time and given their baby breastmilk only.  Everyone I knew had ended up supplementing with formula, worked part-time, or was a stay at home mom. Like with anything there's a lot of information online, but I still felt very alone on my journey. Although this is also online I would like to invite anyone that needs encouragement or wants to ask questions to send me a message, and I'm happy to help, and I also feel as if it's encouraging for moms to know that there are moms out there working full-time and breastfeeding, and that it is possible.

Top Tips for Pumping at Work 

  1. Drink A LOT of water.  When my pumping was at it's highest I was drinking a gallon of water a day.  I am not exaggerating, I actually added up all of the ounces of water that I was drinking and it was a gallon.
  2. Do not go more than 3 hours without pumping.  When I first started I was pumping every 4 hours, to save time at work, and I ended up with clogged milk ducts (which are incredibly painful).  By the time I went to the doctor I was on the verge of an infection and she said that I could not go more than 3 hours without pumping.  Every woman's body is different so yours may not be as susceptible to the clogged ducts, but consult with your physician on this matter.  If you do not pump often enough, you not only risk infection, you also risk lowering your milk supply.  Remember that milk production is all about supply and demand.  So if you go from nursing your baby every 2 hours, to only pumping every 4 hours your body will think that the baby doesn't need as much milk anymore, and will stop producing the amount that you need for your baby's bottle feedings.  Just in case you are worried about your employer, know that there are laws that protect working mothers who wish to pump.  Follow this link: for further information.
  3. Have a set schedule for your pumping.  When you are away from your baby your body will not respond the same way, and it may have difficulty letting milk down.  You need to train your body to respond to the pump just as it does your child, and one way to do this is to set a very strict schedule.  When I was at work I would pump at 9:00 AM, 12:00 PM, and 3:00 PM (I also pumped at home but I will mention that in a later post).  If for some reason there was a schedule change and my break was moved, I would talk to my principal to get someone to cover my class. This way I could stay on my schedule because if I did not do this I would develop the clogged milk ducts I discussed earlier.
  4. Stay calm; it is very difficult to pump at work.  You may be worried that someone will walk in on you.  If you become nervous your body will have difficulty letting milk down.  I made a sign that I would put on my door that said DO NOT DISTURB, please return in 15 minutes. 
  5. Look at pictures and videos of your baby.  Especially in the beginning when everything inside of me was telling me that I NEEDED to be with Ethan this was very helpful.
  6. Have a nursing cover with your pump supplies.  I co-teach and therefore share my room with another teacher a few periods a day.  One of those periods is my prep when I would pump.  I told my co-teacher the situation and asked her if she was comfortable with me pumping with a cover on during our prep.  She was very understanding and supportive.  So while we planned and discussed our students I would put my cover on and pump.  It allowed me to get work done with a co-worker, and it still gave me privacy.  Of course it is part of the law that your employer will give you a private space to pump, but because I needed to get work done, if my co-teacher was O.K. with it I preferred being able to pump and plan with her at the same time. 
  7. Have an extra set of tubing, breastshield, valve, membrane, and 2 bottles that you keep at
    breastshield, valve, and membrane
    work at all times.  When I first started pumping I kept reading to do this and I thought to myself, please, without that I can't pump, of course I'm not going to forget it.  Well, the first time I opened my pump and realized i'd forgotten to pack my pump supplies because I was in a hurry I felt my heart drop.  Poor Jeff had to drive 40 minutes to my work to bring me the stuff.  So then I thought, OK, I've done it once, I won't do it again, WRONG! So after the second time I bought an extra set of everything and I always leave it in my classroom. This extra set is also good in case any of your parts get damaged and you don't realize it until you get to work (this actually happened to me today, and my extra set saved the day).
  8. Eat well balanced hearty meals.  On the days that I would eat meals packed with protein, carbohydrates, and a good serving of vegetables I definitely noticed a huge increase in my milk production.  After having a baby it's tempting to eat small amounts or diet to loose that baby weight, but your body needs all of the nutrition and callories it can get to make milk.  I've read that a woman's body can burn 600-700 calories a day by breastfeeding, so eat up mama!

There is so much information out there it can be overwhelming.  I've listed the things that really worked for me but if these things haven't worked for you, or you just want to know everything you can so that you can try as many things as possible try visiting the link below.

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