Sunday, December 9, 2012

Crotch Danglers read right.  I said Crotch Danglers.  A term I never in my life thought I'd be uttering much less researching and worrying about but alas I am now well educated about the perils of overuse of crotch danglers with babies.

"What is a crotch dangler?" you might ask...well it's one of the millions of baby carriers, car seats, exersaucers, jumpers, walkers, etc that we modern day moms trust our children for hours on end every day.  Did you know that there is an International Hip Dysplasia Institute?  Me neither...but now we both know.  Here is what they have to say about proper hip positioning for babies...

Education Statement:
 The IHDI recommends healthy hip positioning for all babies to encourage normal hip development. Within the womb, a baby spends a long time tucked in the fetal position, in which both hips and knees are bent or flexed.
Baby in a normal womb position.
Baby in normal (fetal) womb position.
After birth, it takes several months for the joints to stretch out naturally. Babies that have been in the breech (bottom first) position may need even more time to stretch out naturally. The hip joint is a ball and socket joint. During the first few months of life the ball is more likely to be loose within the socket because babies are naturally flexible and because the edges of the socket are made of soft cartilage like the cartilage in the ear. If the hips are forced into a stretched-out position too early, the ball is at risk of permanently deforming the edges of the cup shaped socket (hip dysplasia) or gradually slipping out of the socket altogether (hip dislocation). Hip dysplasia or dislocation in babies is not painful so this may go undetected until walking age and may also result in painful arthritis during adulthood. The risk of hip dysplasia or dislocation is greatest in the first few months of life. By six months of age, most babies have nearly doubled in size, the hips are more developed and the ligaments are stronger, so are less susceptible to developing hip dysplasia.
The most unhealthy position for the hips during infancy is when the legs are held in extension with the hips and knees straight and the legs brought together, which is the opposite of the fetal position. The risk to the hips is greater when this unhealthy position is maintained for a long time. Healthy hip positioning avoids positions that may cause or contribute to development of hip dysplasia or dislocation. The healthiest position for the hips is for the hips to fall or spread (naturally) apart to the side, with the thighs supported and the hips and knees bent. This position has been called the jockey position, straddle position, frog position, spread-squat position or human position. Free movement of the hips without forcing them together promotes natural hip development.
Some types of baby carriers and other equipment may interfere with healthy hip positioning. Such devices include but are not limited to baby carriers, slings, wraps, pouches, car seats, exercisers, rockers, jumpers, swings, bouncers and walkers, and molded seating items. These devices could inadvertently place hips in an unhealthy position, especially when used for extended periods of time. Any device that restrains a baby’s legs in an unhealthy position should be considered a potential risk for abnormal hip development. It is also important to assess the size of the baby and match the device and carrier to the size of the child so that the hips can be in a healthy position during transport. Parents are advised to research the general safety and risks of any device they wish to use. When in doubt, we recommend involving your primary health-care provider in any further decision-making that may be medically relevant.
These series of drawings demonstrate typical devices that allow healthier hip positioning in comparison to those which do not.

Car Seat Positioning

Not Recommended:
Tight car seats may contribute to causing hip dysplasia.
Tight car seats prevent legs from spreading apart.
Better:Car seats with leg room to help prevent hip dysplasia.
Wider car seats provide room for legs to be apart, putting the hips in a better position.

Baby Harnesses

Not Recommended:
Dangling legs in baby carriers may contribute to hip dysplasia.
Hip joint forces promote hip dysplasia in dangling leg style baby carriers.Thigh NOT supported to the knee joint. The resulting forces on the hip joint may contribute to hip dysplasia.
Baby carrier should support the entire thigh to the knee joint.
Forces on the hip joint with thigh-supporting baby harness.
Thigh is supported to the knee joint. The forces on the hip joint are minimal because the legs are spread, supported, and the hip is in a more stable position.

Baby Slings

Not Recommended:
Tightly wrapped baby carriers may contribute to hip dysplasia.

Baby carriers that force the baby’s legs to stay together may contribute to hip dysplasia.
Baby carriers should support the thigh and allow the legs to spread to prevent hip dysplasia.
Baby carriers should support the thigh and allow the legs to spread to keep the hip in a stable position

Regarding Baby Carriers: When I was registering for baby gifts I am embarrassed to admit that I had NO clue that there were any options for baby carriers other than the Baby Bjorn.  They had a trusted name and all sorts of medical testaments on their website so I thought I was good to go.   I never realized how often I would like using the carrier so didn't put as much thought into it as other items on our registry.  Hindsight as they say is 20/20.  I love to put N in the carrier and beebop in the kitchen, do some light cleaning, go for walks, etc, etc, etc.  And she LOVES it!  She's my little monkey, always hanging on me in some form or fashion.  Now that I've done more research I've swapped out my Bjorn for a more ergonomically friendly Boba 3g (yes, they give these things names like cars...totally bizarre - our stroller is the BOB Revolution SE, that's sports edition :) ).  I digress...There are 2 main differences between the Boba and the Bjorn...

  1. The Boba has support at the waist, the Bjorn puts all of the support on your upper back so it does hurt your back after a while or as your baby gets heavier.  
  2. The Boba supports the babies thighs all the way to the knee keeping her hips stable.  The Bjorn does not so you'll notice that your baby's legs will dangle pretty much straight down (hence the term "crotch dangler").   

Before having Nicolette I would have had no idea where to begin as far as researching baby carriers.  Luckily I'm blessed to be a part of an amazing support group of July Mommies on Facebook and someone in the group introduced me to a website to help compare many of the baby carriers.  I HIGHLY recommend that anyone with a little one (or expecting a little one soon) to check out this website HERE to help pick out your baby carrier. (I also highly recommend that any mommy-to-bes hook up with a similar online support group with tons of Baby Mamas during your baby's expected birth month...I've had many a question at 2am and was able to easily send it out into cyberspace to my 250+member mommy group and know that at least 1 person (and usually 50 or more mommies) was also awake and had faced the same situation at some other point in time and was ready and willing to offer advice, support and encouragement.)

Sadly, the exersaucers (and jumparoos for those who have them) are also considered "crotch danglers").  This is sad because Nicolette LOVES and I mean LOVES her exersaucer!!!!  I'm not going to take this joy away from her, but I'm also not going to use it as a babysitter.  I keep an eye on her and if she starts to get lazy or tired and start sitting in it rather than standing I take her out and we move on to something else.  This little girl LOVES to stand and has had legs strong enough to push to a standing position ever since she was a wee six weeks old.  So the crotch dangling exersaucer will remain :)

I hope someone finds this information helpful.  I know I would have appreciated knowing all this stuff before our little bambino arrived.  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

4 Month Recap

Month 4 was a total many changes and I think the beginning of teething (ick).  A necessary evil I guess.    

We made our first visit to meet the Randazzo Family in Connecticut for Thanksgiving.  We stayed with Gram and Papa and Nicolette was such a good girl!!  Gram & Papa couldn't believe that she didn't cry or fuss one time for the first 3 days that we were there...then the teething pain started and we had little fussies for a couple of days...nothing too traumatic but Nicolette has never been a fussy baby so it was an adjustment for us and I just felt awful for her.  She'd wince and scrunch her little face up and grab the back of her head or her ears and then crunch her little body up.  It's pitiful.  At first I was worried that she had an ear infection but after reviewing ear infection symptoms and noting that she has not had a cold or anything leading up to this behavior I feel sure that she doesn't .  The ear grabbing is VERY intermittent.  We'll go days without it and the doc said that if it were an ear infection it would be consistent and persistent.  

with Gram & Papa Randazzo
3 Generations - Dave, Nick (Papa) & Nicolette
with Papa Randazzo
with Cousin Kyra - she LOOOOVES Nicolette
Some of the cousins
with Uncle Nick
Playing with Daddy at Gram & Papa's
Entertaining all of my relatives is exhausting work
There aren't many baby pictures of the Italian (we have NONE at our house) but I was able to take a pic of his 1 year picture that is still hanging on the wall in his parent's home.  I think I see a lot of similarities between daddy and Nicolette...  
The Italian - 1 year old
Nicolette found her feet right at 4 months and her toes found her mouth (and nose) at 4 1/2 months!

Nicolette started sitting unassisted for minutes at a time on December 2nd.   Sunday morning I would set her up to see if she could balance and she would immediately topple over.  Then that same afternoon I sat her up just to see if she could balance for a couple of seconds and she sat for about 3 minutes just playing with her toy as if she'd been doing this all along!!!!  I was shouting frantically for the Italian to come in and watch her and N managed to keep her balance through all of that excitement.

She started reaching out both arms to mommy to pick her up and hold her on December 3rd.  She was sitting in her little Boppy on the floor and I walked over to her and put my arms out and said, "Can Mommy pick you up" and out came her sweet little arms and she looked up at me to pick her up.  (sigh) This was my favorite milestone...such a sweet girl.

Another great milestone that we reached is taking naps somewhere besides ON MOMMY!  I still hold her and cuddle for some naps cause I love it, but it is nice to know that she can sleep elsewhere.  I've been careful not to worry about creating a perfectly quiet environment for her to sleep in because I still want her to be able to konk out and crash if we're out and about.  She takes about 3 naps per day now at least 2 1 hour+ naps and then 1 (sometimes 2) 20-30 minute cat naps).    

So that sums up month 4...looking forward to seeing what month 5 brings!!! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Happy 5 Month Birthversary!

That's right - little Nicolette is 5 months old today!!!!  Stupid laptop keeps freezing up on me so pictures are all you get!  Happy birthversary baby!!!!

Getting so big!
(And happy about it!)
Cheezin' for the camera
Nicolette's serious pose
End of Photoshoot...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music

Oh how I love bedtime with little Nicolette.  She's gotten to the point where she actually recognizes and seems to enjoy having me sing to her.  As soon as I start to sing she stops and immediately turns her face to mine.  Melts my heart.  

I sing to her every night while we're in bed getting ready to go to sleep.  We'll lay together nose to nose and I'll go through a whole laundry list of songs and she'll just stare at me and sometimes reach her tiny hand up to my cheek.  Sigh...I hope I never forget moments like this.

My nighttime view
Singing also comes in handy any time the princess starts to get fussy...this evening during dinner she started to whine a little bit so the Italian and I both burst into "You Are My Sunshine" and she totally stopped and started smiling and giggling.  So if you see (or hear me) walking around Target or the Mall singing "This Little Light of Mine" just know that there's a reason and I haven't totally lost my mind.  

Here's our current repertoire...if you have suggestions for other sweet songs we can sing together please share!  I'm still not totally "with it" on kids songs.  Disney Radio and Toddler Radio on Pandora are helping (and I have to admit that I LOVE listening to Disney Radio...even if N is napping in the other room :) 

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
Jesus Loves Me
Go to Sleepy Little Baby
Edelweiss (Sound of Music)
You Are My Sunshine
This Little Light of Mine
Sleep Little Child
Come Just as You Are
Amazing Grace
Jesus Loves the Little Children
Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid - one of my FAVORITE movies)
Do-Re-Mi (Sound of Music)
If You're Happy and You Know It
Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Wizard of Oz)

And special additions for the holidays include: 
Silent Night
Oh Holy Night 
Away in a Manger
Joy to the World

Speaking of the Sound of Music...I was stoked to hear that NBC will be broadcasting a LIVE production of the Sound of Music in 2013 starring Carrie Underwood as Maria VonTrapp.  I love me some Carrie Underwood, but NO ONE will ever compare to Julie Andrews.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

4 Month Check Up and Our First Shots! (and mommy survived!)

Today was Nicolette's 4 month check girl is still "long and lean" - up to 13lbs 14 1/2oz (38th percentile) and 26 inches long (94th percentile) :)  The doctor said not to be surprised if people say that she's a little baby but that she really isn't.  She's obviously "big" height-wise.  I did ask if she was healthy since her weight was below 50th percentile and she said, "Oh my goodness, yes.  Her rolls are BEAUTIFUL!"  Ahhhhh, if only it were still beautiful to have rolls at the age of 35.  :)  

*The Italian was convinced that we're going to have a 7 foot tall daughter so out of curiosity I looked back in my baby book and I was 26 1/4" at my 4 month check up, so she's about on the same pace as her mama was at her age.   

Mommy was super nervous about this appointment because we've chosen to go with a delayed vaccination schedule along with our Doctor's guidance and today was the first of the vaccines.  The Italian was traveling for work so I was going through this alone...or so I thought.  About 10 minutes after we checked in and were still in the waiting room guess who walked through the door???  DADDY!  I literally had tears in my eyes when he walked in.  We got to the end of the appointment (i.e. time for the "shot") and Nicolette was totally passing out asleep in my arms.  I felt so guilty knowing what she was getting ready to endure.  The nurse prepped the area and went ahead and had the bandaid placed on her chubby little leg and said "One, two, three..." and in the needle went.  It didn't take long for it to register with Nicolette...her little face turned red and out came the bottom lip.  She looked at me like, "You TRAITOR!".  As soon as the nurse pulled the needle out, I popped Nicolette on to nurse and she immediately forgot all about it.  She whimpered a little bit when I put her back in her carseat but was fast asleep by the time we pulled out of the parking lot.  

I know that people have a LOT of opinions about vaccinations and I hope that we can agree to disagree when it comes to this topic.  I'll certainly respect the opinions and choices of those who choose to follow the proposed schedule and hope that I'll be given the same respect.  I would encourage EVERYONE to do their own research on the topic and to research BOTH sides of the matter so that as a parent you can feel confident that you are making an INFORMED decision.  I literally spent 7-8 months researching vaccinations and talking to parents who have vaccinated per schedule, parents who are not vaccinating at all and parents going with the delayed schedule.  Some books that were helpful to me were: 

Knowledge is power - you shouldn't just blindly trust the medical industry...remember that it is a business as well and there are BIG BUCKS being made by these vaccines so that has to be taken into account as well. my soap box now.  

This week I started trying to work harder at getting Nicolette to nap on her own.  I was able to get her down for 3 naps on her own yesterday for about 30 minutes each.  The doctor said that we could/should work towards 2 naps per day.  I'm not sure exactly how to make that happen but we'll see.    Any tips would be appreciated.  Nicolette currently naps 4-5 times per day anywhere from 20-30 minutes (on her own) up to 2 hours (if she's on me).  The goal is to get her napping longer on her own. She currently goes to bed between 7 and 8 at night and sleeps until around 7 in the morning.  As I mentioned earlier, we bed share so she'll fuss maybe twice per night and I'll feed her and she goes right back out.  Hoping to be able to cut out the night time fussing/feeding over the next few months as well. The doctor thinks that getting better with the naps will help with that. 

Nicolette "found her feet" this weekend.  It's so cute how she grabs her toes, especially at diaper changing time now!  She hasn't really gotten them into her mouth yet but was really working on it yesterday :)  

She is a PRO at rolling from her back to her belly!  I can't leave her on her back for more than a minute before she's already flipped onto her tummy!  But somehow in the meantime she's forgotten how to roll from her belly to her back.  So she'll be on her tummy "playing" for 10 minutes or so and then all of a sudden go all "Hulk" on me.  When she's finished, she is FINISHED!  

We've also started using the Exersaucer and she LOVES it!!!!  This girl has loved standing since she was a month old so now to be able to "stand" on her own in the Exersaucer she's in heaven!  The Exersaucer has a mirror on it and she REALLY loves staring at that beautiful baby in the mirror.  Every time we look in a mirror she smiles and I tell her to look at that pretty baby in the mirror....that baby must really like us because she follows us everywhere!  All over the house, to Gramma and Grampa's, in the car...she was even at the doctor's office today :)  Speaking of that pretty are a few photos from the past week!

These eyes!  I can't get enough of them!!!
Enjoying a cat nap with daddy
Just playin' my piano 
Celebrating Grampa's birthday this week!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Looking Back - Month 3 in Review

Gosh...I feel so behind and have totally neglected updating my blog...I know many or you could care less but this has also been serving as my digital baby book until I have time to sit down and update that.   It's been difficult to keep up online because my stupid MacBookPro has some sort of a glitzch where the screen slowly fades to white shortly after being turned on and no amount of shutting down and restarting seems to fix it...very annoying (and of course when I took it to the Apple store it wasn't acting up at all and the only thing they could tell me was to ship it off to the magical Apple store repair facility which costs $250 or $300 just to have it looked it). Oh well...if anyone has any tips on how to remedy that little problem please let me know.  In the meantime I'm stuck working on the laptop in very short intervals...most of the time I only have 5 minutes or so before the stupid white screen appears...#firstworldproblems

Anyway on to more important topics... Nicolette's third month has been a whirlwind.  At the end of month 2 Nicolette had started rolling from her tummy to her back.  And before the end of month 3 (on Halloween actually!) Nicolette was rolling from her back to her I had no idea what might me a normal timeframe for that to happen but when I looked it up online most sites said that it would be month 5 or 6 before a baby starts rolling from back to tummy so my child of course has superhuman strength and is an absolute genius. Apparently it takes much more back and neck strength to roll that way.  We're not surprised in the least since Nicolette popped her sweet head straight up to look at me as soon as they placed her on my chest.  She's always been really strong and was never a "floppy baby" like most newborns are.  Daddy is very proud of how strong his little girl is.  He still tells people that her heartbeat was like something out of the movie "Gattaca" throughout the delivery (you have to have seen the movie to get the reference.  Her heartbeat was like a metronome, never sped up or slowed down.  The nurses were amazed!). 

Anyway, I digress...month 3 also brought lots of chatter.  Nicolette talks to us all the time now.  I love how animated her little face is while she's talking...she clearly has some very important and interesting things to say!  We've joined a local playgroup and have been getting more involved in weekly activities.  Once a week we go walk the Greenway with other mommies and babies.  We had to move our walk indoors to the mall one time due to rain.  Here's a pic of Nicolette and her BFF Leela checking each other out after our walk that day.  
Leela and Nicolette - checking each other out
 Nicolette is getting better and better with tummy time!

 Nicolette can sit up on her own (when supported) on the couch or bed.  :)

Daddy likes to teach Nicolette to crawl...He'll lay down and put her on his belly and hold her feet and tell her to "push, Push Nicolette" and she'll muster up every bit of energy she has and she always makes it all the way up to daddy's face for a kiss!  :)  It's her new favorite game.  I'm so thankful for my husband...daddy's play with their babies in ways that mommies just don't quite's very sweet to watch.

We had our first vacation as a family...a short trip to Hilton Head Island.  Daddy played in a golf tournament and mommy and Nicolette slept in every day and went for nice long walks!  Nicolette also had her first little cold while we were in HHI.  Just some sniffles, a runny nose and the most pitiful little cough.  Her temp was about one degree higher than usual and she was pretty cranky for about the first 12 hours we were there but she healed up real quick!  I dread the first time she's really sick...those little sniffles and cough nearly broke my heart. (note to self...Nicolette HATES the bulb syringe...Screaming. Bloody. Murder). 
Chillin' poolside with mommy after one of our walks

Our sweet family on the beach
Lunch by the pool with mommy and daddy
Nicolette big pimpin' in her suite at Hilton Head
First time in a big girl stroller (i.e. the umbrella stroller)
During Month 2 Nicolette had discovered her hands and loved rubbing them together (she looked like a precious little evil genius wringing her hands together :) and while we were in Hilton Head Nicolette also started realizing that her hands could be used to pick up stuff...namely mommy's hair and her toys!  It was so fun to watch how quickly she realized that she could pick up a toy and shake it around!  Her hand eye coordination was still a little off so we had a few occasions where she'd bang her head with a toy but no tears were shed in the process.

We also went to the sweetest little pumpkin patch near our house!  I hope this will become an annual tradition for us.  They have a corn maize, hay rides and all sorts of fun little games for the kiddos.  This year we just picked out a pumpkin and didn't play but as she gets older I'm sure we'll get into all the "extras".
Our family!
Silly Nicolette
We also had a fun play date with Leela and Tiffany.  They came to our house to play and eat some delicious Bum's Rum Cake that I won in a Facebook contest.  You HAVE to check this cake is PHE-NOM!  You can check out their website HERE.  I highly recommend the chocolate but all of the flavors are amazeballs!  Anywho...Leela was trying to teach Nicolette to crawl during our playdate....she didn't pick it up this go round but maybe next time!

We also went to a fun Halloween Party as a part of our mommy group.  Nicolette made a picture frame and showed off her costume.  She had so much fun that she was a bit of a cranky pants when it was time to get back into the car seat to go home...

Month 3 also included Halloween!  We were dressed as characters from Petere Pan.  The Italian was a dashing Peter Pan, mommy was Wendy and Nicolette was a sweet little Tinkerbell.  We had a few friends over for a Trick or Treating party...our neighborhood is usually PACKED with Trick or Treaters but the traffic was way down this year...I was a little bummed cause I really like seeing all the kiddos dressed up for Halloween...stupid Wednesday night Halloween...I still say that Halloween should always be the last Saturday in October...kinda like how Thanksgiving is always the fourth Thursday in November...not sure who I need to talk to about that...I've already got our costumes planned for just have to make sure the Italian buys in and we'll have to celebrate with the Sayeghs again because I know they're guaranteed to dress up and play with us!  
Daddy (Peter Pan), Mommy (Wendy) & Nicolette (Tinkerbell)

Our buddies, The Sayegh of best costume for 2012 - Big Bad Wolf Victor, Granny Tiffany and Little Red Leela
Leela and Nicolette - Nicolette had something very important to say, apparently)
Come on Nicolette, give us a smile!
So here we are in the month of November and time is flying by more quickly than I ever could have imagined.  I'm really enjoying every second of motherhood and don't want to wish any of my time away.  She's my best little buddy and I love spending all my time with her!   I wouldn't have it any other way!  I LOVE MY LIFE!