Friday, January 12, 2007

Baby Product Ratings: Our Power Plus Swing

My friend Trish and I were recently discussing the numerous gadgets and gizmos we've bought for our infants (here daughter Olivia is 4 months old) and what we think of all of them. We agreed that the product reviews by other parents for these items were very helpful and we'd likely add our own reviews to sites like and such that offer the option of reviewing products. She just loves the baby swing she bought, the Fisher Price Papasan Swing. It has a nice cushy seat and Olivia always looks so comfortable in it from the pictures I've seen on their blog. I, on the otherhand, would rate our swing only so-so. It is the Fisher Price Power Plus model, and the selling feature for me was that it plugs into the wall instead of solely running on batteries. I also liked its lower price tag, its neutral color scheme, and the music it played. My main problem with it has been that it didn't really fit Nicky when he was a newborn, and that kid was not small either then or now. The seat reclines in 3 different positions (none of which recline very far) but the seat is neither cushioned very well nor sized appropriately for a newborn. Nicky slumps over when he falls asleep in the swing which is most of the time. He is now big enough that he fills out more of the seat, but his head still nods to one side. When he was a new guy, his whole body slumped over and it did not look comfortable at all! I figure by the time he completely fills out the swing, he'll probably be about done with it. Also, I wish the mobile that comes with it would move. It is stationary and doesn't rotate. Finally, it only moves back-and-forth like a regular swing, while the papasan models also swing side-to-side.

So, I kept telling myself that at least this thing plugged into the wall - an option that no other swing had last year. Well now I see on that the new models of the papason chair also plug into the wall! So, if Nicky had been born just a few months later, I might have been able to get the nice pillow-seat swing with the cool mobile that also plugs into the wall. It also has this weird new feature where it projects a light show onto the sheer canopy that covers the swing - that might be cool. For those of you who are currently pregnant or hope to be soon and are in the market to buy a new swing. Go with the new Starlight or Butterfly Garden Papsan Swing or for a bit less money, there's the very similar Rainforest Cradle Swing which also plugs into the wall but has the same plush seat and both back-and-forth and side-to-side motion. Yes, these are the top of the line and most expensive swings, but they are worth it!

Nicky in his swing today

Olivia enjoying her swing

Thursday, January 11, 2007

In Other News...

I am typing this entry with one hand as Nicky is sleeping in my other arm. I am cutting the kid a break because he is recovering from his first set of 4 vaccinations yesterday and his fever just broke.

To continue my New Year's update started in my last entry, I can sum it up by saying that I'm actually getting out of the house and seeing adult faces on a much more consistent basis now. On the 3rd, I had my 6 week post partum check-up which really ended up being at 8 weeks because my midwife was out of the office over the holidays. Everything checked out fine. I weighed in at only 5 pounds over what I weighed at my initial prenatal visit back when I was 8 weeks pregnant. However, I think I had gained a few pounds during those first weeks of pregnancy (or right before:) so I am thinking that I need to lose about 10 pounds. How did I lose 30 pounds in 2 months - the New Mommy Diet which consists of breastfeeding, skipping breakfast, hurriedly shoveling down a bare-bones lunch when your child will let you, and shoving in as many calories at supper and after because you are starving and likely won't get a chance to eat again until the next afternoon. I don't recommend it. It really isn't good for your metabolism long term because your body thinks you are starving (you basically are) so it slows down your metabolism to help you survive. Now that I am getting into more of a routine with Nicky and can fit in breakfast and lunch better, I am trying not too eat too much and put the weight back on. I also need to cut out all the ice cream I became accustomed to while pregnant... There is no ice cream in the house right now, but that's because we ate it all:( I really need to start exercising more consistently, too. I have gone on a few stroller walks and did some extended errand trips but I have yet to pop in my pilates DVD like I promised myself at the beginning of the year. My other New Years resolution was to start a journal which I did. I am not setting the unrealistic expectation for myself of writing in it every night though, because that just wouldn't happen. I do look forward to having a record of my most private thoughts from my first full year of motherhood. This blog was a good first step toward getting myself to chronicle my thoughts and feelings, but there are things even I won't put out there on the web for the whole world to read!

I am also getting to share Nicky with a whole bunch of people as of late. We went to lunch with Scott and some of his old work colleagues from the Budget office right before New Years. Then, on the 2nd, Nicky and I went to see my friend Jill from grad school. She is currently on internship in San Francisco but was back in town. After our visit with her, we went over to the KU Medical Center and Nicky was able to meet a bunch of my former supervisors over there. Finally, this past Monday, Nicky and I finally made the trip to Topeka to visit everyone from my internship back at FSGC. I had originally planned on going in December but it just didn't work out. Our trip was fun and I was able to see a whole ton of people including my previous supervisors, and Nicky even showed off his smile for a few people before he went back to sleep. On our way back to KC, we stopped in Lawrence and visited with the Rack-Meltons. Their daughter, Cordelia, was born just 5 days after Nicky so it was nice to finally meet her as well. Cordy was 2 pounds lighter than Nicky at birth (but she came early while Nicky arrived late), and she is gaining her weight at a healthy rate just like Nicky. However, she is still 2 pounds lighter than him so it was neat to see what a normal weight infant girl of this age looks like compared to my chub of a baby. She is a cutey! It was also fun to play with their other children, Spencer and Xavier. They are some of my favorite people in the world. Nicky still has a bunch of people left to meet around here, and even more to meet back in North Dakota. But, we are now better up to the task, so if you are around KC and wondering where we disappeared to the last 2 months and if you will ever get to meet this child, please call or email me and we'll arrange a visit or meet-up. I will try to call or email all you, too! For you all back in ND, we will be coming up the beginning of June for my friend Jessica Gunderson's wedding reception. Can't wait!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Catching You Up for the New Year

I haven't done a post since Christmas - that's 2 weeks people! I apologize. I've been having so much fun with Nicky and actually getting out of the house, so I haven't been on the computer as much. Nicky is so interactive now, so I spend lots of his awake time playing with him and trying to keep him entertained. He is smiling at everyone now, not just Scott & me. I just love it! -especially when he wakes up and sees me and then smiles. Its just so cute! I love that he recognizes me like that. He is also able to mimic faces and loves to stick out his tongue at Scott and me. Like I said in my last post, with the start of his social skills at 6 weeks came a decrease in his gassiness/fussiness. He seems better at working out his farts and burps on his own and he also knows how to ask me to help him out by pushing his feet against my hands. He does this to let me know that I should push his little legs back toward his head to help work out the gas. He is also spitting up now, which although unpleasant for Scott & me, seems to help Nicky out when he's eaten too much or is having reflux. He always seems perfectly happy afterward and doesn't seem to mind losing his lunch. Hooray for the developing infant gastrointestinal system! Other developments include Nicky's favorite pastime of blowing bubbles and the drool that goes along with that. Messy but cute. He also enjoys sitting up (with appropriate propping) and stand on our laps. If we hold his hands he can stand there and bounce a bit for a quite awhile and he likes the view. He is also practicing and getting better at head control. During tummy time, he can push up on his hands, although he tires and can't do this for too long, and he also pushes his head up at a 45 degree angle for a few minutes before he poops out and lays it back down. His hand control is getting better as well. He is trying to swat at things sometimes and he is unfolding his hands and desperately trying to figure out how best to put his fingers in his mouth for sucking.

Speaking of sucking. Just a few weeks ago I finally deemed it safe (as instructed by some of my child rearing books) to give Nicky a pacifier. This kid loves to suck for comfort and it helps him get to sleep and calm himself when he gets upset. I had waited until 6 weeks because I didn't want him to have nipple confusion and either reject the breast because the nipple wasn't the same as the pacifier or bottle, or start to suck on the breast the way he does on the nipple or pacifier. While he still enjoys breastfeeding, I can say that I have not exactly enjoyed it myself for the last week or so. Nicky has started to use my nipple like a pacifier instead of opening his mouth wide and taking the whole areola into his mouth. This results in nipple pain for myself. Luckily, he is trainable and I have worked with him to use his wide mouth again when latching on to the breast. Unfortunately, he still often closes his mouth after getting on the breast and sucks mainly on the nipple. This tends to happen at the end of feedings when he is done getting most of his milk. I try to unlatch him and make him get back on the right way, even if that means milk is spurting all over and making a mess of both of us! It is hard to unlatch him and then cap my breast quick enough, especially since he is usually pretty upset with me for pulling him off in the first place. We are working on it though. In the mean time, the pacifiers have been taken away. Just my luck! Here I am so careful and conservative and wait the designated 6 weeks and still the little twerp does this. Frustrating. Other parents give their kids binkies at birth and have no problems with it affecting breastfeeding. Oh well, we'll work through it. Other than the pain, which is of course no fun, this could cause my milk supply to diminish because he is not sucking properly on the breast so I am very invested in correcting it right away. Nicky may be cranky for a while but he'll need to learn to self soothe in another way for now.