Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Car Seat Safety: My Forward Facing 2.5 Year Old

One day last week we went out to grab some quick dinner and run a couple errands. Baby Bear, my 2.5 year old was being extra difficult to get into his car seat. He wanted to play around in the back seat of the van instead. While my husband was picking a movie to put in for them to be entertained, we joked about him (Baby Bear) being turned around so he could watch without having to use his mirror. So I went for it. I turned his seat around and had him climb up. My husband didn't even notice until Baby Bear was buckled in. We did what we needed to do and returned home. So it was a quick trip. The next day we made a very last minute decision (actually it was my husband who decided) to go to Louisville to Toys R Us and run around the mall. I let him forward face during that trip as well. As we were leaving the mall headed to grab a bite of food before leaving to go back home, Baby Bear fell asleep. We carried him out to the car and laid him in the back for a diaper change- which he slept through, then put him in his car seat. He stayed sleeping. As we started driving, that's when I noticed just how tiny he still looked. His head fell forward and the only thing I could think of was internal decapitation. If we got into a horrible accident, I was worried about internal decapitation. I have read enough articles to know that it usually results in death. However, I did a quick google search for statistics. First off, internal decapitation describes ligamentous separation of the spinal column from the skull base. It does say that it's possible for a human to survive this injury, however only about 30% of cases DO NOT result in death. That means that for 70% of those who sustain this injury have instant death. It goes on to say that 15% who do survive to the emergency room do not survive their hospital stay.
I knew that this was a big risk, especially for children who were forward facing too soon. But it really hit home at that moment. When I saw his neck stretched, his head forward while sleeping in his car seat- forward facing. After that, I turned his seat back around so he could be rear facing again. It turns out, he actually really likes rear facing better than forward facing anyway. It's a lot more comfortable for him to be rear facing. When he sleeps, he just rests his head on the side of his seat and it doesn't fall forward like it does when he was forward facing. 

After all this, it makes me wish I could rear face my Monkey still. He was forward facing at around three years old. However, they say it's safest to rear face as close to four years old as possible. Of course, you should absolutely rear face until your kiddo outgrows the weight and height restrictions. For Monkey, he hit the weight restriction pretty quickly since he gained weight during nursing. He got all that fatty newborn milk after Baby Bear was born. However, now that he is almost five, I worry a little less. Even if only slightly. We still have him in his five point harness (Nautilus) and if we ever forget his buckles (it's happened once or twice) he will always remind us. He will remain harnessed until he can no longer use the harness.
As for Baby Bear, he's going to be rear facing forever. Forever! Okay, okay. He'll rear face until he hits the height and the weight limit for his current seat. I tend to get negative comments occasionally about Baby Bear rear facing for so long, but I just don't care much about their opinions. Even more so now though after I saw just how tiny and fragile he looked forward facing.

Do you practice "extended rear facing"? If so, do you get negative or supportive comments? What is your favorite seat for extended rear facing? 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

These Are a Few of My FAVORITE Things!

When you look at those two little lines on a pregnancy test, so many things run through your mind. One of the first things I thought about was all of the cute little baby things that would start taking over our home. With our first son, I made a huge list of everything I would need to buy and the things I would ask for at our baby shower. I was so cute then. I didn't realize how many of those things were completely unnecessary and end up taking up space. So with my second, we nixed the majority of "needs" we would put on our list. Luckily, we kept pretty much everything we knew we would use the second time around. So we actually didn't need a single thing.
Fast forward to now, I have a two and an almost five year old. There are no more cute little baby things in our home since we purged from moving twice since my second son was born. Chances are when we have another baby, we won't need much of anything either. However, there are still some things we use daily that I would absolutely put on a baby registry, because we love them.

Cloth diapers:
Now, I know it's not for everyone and that's totally fine. Whatever works for you and your family, no judgement here. For us though, cloth diapers have save so much money. At this point, I'm fairly certain we've at least broken even. What that means is that I've sold enough diapers, I've recouped the money we spent on our original bundle purchase from The Green Nursery back in 2012. We have purchased more diapers since then, but that's because I'm buying as a hobby and a collector now. I know, it's totally weird, but I love cute prints on diapers. Sometimes I don't really want to show off my diaper stash, because I don't want people assuming cloth diapering isn't affordable. My stash is giant. This is not an affordable way to cloth diaper starting out. I actually recently totaled up the cost of cloth diaper as cheap as I could find. This was brand new diapers though. You can totally cloth diaper cheaper if you buy used. For some people, that's not their thing and again, that's totally fine. I ended up finding a buy one get one free sale on covers through Cottonbabies.com along with some prefolds. I was able to put a pretty decent package together of diapers for around $100. This is what I estimated would be spent only in the first month on disposable diapers. Granted, I used the price of a box of newborn Pampers. You can use cheaper disposables and the size will probably change, which changes the price as well. So this is just an estimate of how much one would spend on disposables. So cloth diapers are definitely on my favorite list. They're cute, save money and are great for the environment. Our stash has grown so much in the 4 (almost 5) years we've been cloth diapering. At one point we had two kids in diapers, so that was really helpful. I also like that my diapers aren't getting too much wear and tear on them. I'll be sad when our diapering days are done, because I love my cloth diapers. However, I look forward to selling some to make some extra money and donating a lot of them to help families in need cloth diaper their babies. 

Baby Carriers:
I wore my first son here and there, but it didn't seem like we wore him much. When he was first born, we had one of those cheap $20 carriers that are not comfortable at all. Looking back at the pictures, he looked so miserable in it. So after looking into babywearing a bit more, I decided to try out a Moby, because the price point wasn't too bad. Oh my gosh, I hated that thing worse than the cheap uncomfortable carrier. I tried it out because someone in my family recommended it. Do not even bother if you have chunky babies and they're not newborns. My son was so big and so heavy, we would get way too hot and it just wasn't very supportive or comfortable. After that, we decided that SSCs were definitely more our style. So our local cloth diaper shop was having a grand reopening and had some pretty awesome sales. I took my little guy with me and picked up the Galaxy Gray Ergo for 30% off. We used that thing so much. I knew I was a buckle carrier kind of girl as soon as I put the Ergo on. However, that sent me down the rabbit hole of babywearing. I ended up with a Boba and two Ergo carriers before seeing the Tula. Oh man, I saw a Tula and knew I had to have one of them. 
Shortly after my second son was born, I entered a giveaway for a Tula wrap conversion. It was an anniversary giveaway. I was so shocked and excited when I was contacted and told I was the winner. It showed up just a few short days after getting the exciting news. However, I couldn't use it right away with my newbie since I didn't have an insert. I was using a ringsling until he could start fitting in the SSCs without an infant insert because I didn't want to buy one. Especially since my boys get huge fast. Once he was able to fit in the Tula, I didn't use another carrier. It was the most comfortable carrier I had ever used. I ended up selling my Boba and both of my Ergo carriers after some time. After some time, there was a Dear Diary Tula posted on our local babywearing page and since I have no self control, I bought it. I had been saving up after selling diapers and my other carriers so I immediately scooped it up. I have a thing for purple carriers and I really loved the rainbows and unicorns. My husband wasn't fond of it because of just how girly it was. I actually just recently got him to finally use it the other day. I then decided after some time that I really wanted to try woven wraps out. Again, going down a dangerous rabbit hole because once you start... I was really surprised at how easy it was to wrap. Nothing like using the Moby! I got the Hero Ardent wrap from Dearest Diapers and really loved it. Then I found Paxbaby and oh my goodness you guys, I was in serious trouble. I saw their gorgeous Sally wrap and knew I had to have that one. (You can see a pattern here right? The self control issue. I'm seriously obsessed with my carriers you guys.) The problem was that it was out of stock and the market value for it was insane. I will never pay market value. Never.
Then they made the announcement that they were going to have another run. Luckily it was around tax time and we had the extra money for me to snag that lovely wrap. Oh man, I was definitely meant to have that wrap. It's gorgeous! So there's a problem though. (Not really a problem if you have self control though.) Paxbaby makes the very best wraps. They've been making Disney themed wraps lately and I'm totally obsessed. Part of Your World came out and I bought it. A wrap centered around Little Mermaid, you bet I had to have that bad boy. It looks lovely with my other carriers too. Now here I sit with two Tulas and three woven wraps. I have no promised my husband I will sell my Hero Ardent wrap since it doesn't get used too much anymore. But also because Paxbaby will have a Beauty and the Beast themed wrap coming out soon and since that's one of my other absolute favorite Disney movies, I'm going to end up buying that one as well. Now, if you need just one carrier for you know- babywearing for necessity, I definitely recommend trying on the different carriers out there if you can. You'll get a feel for what you like and you can go from there. My son is two now and we use our carriers pretty much daily. I've even tossed my four year old up in the Tula a few times. 

Swaddle Blankets:

When you think of swaddle blankets, you think of swaddling sweet, tiny, little newborn babies. But what do you do after your baby is done being swaddled? Pack them away for the next baby? Nope! Definitely not. I currently have an embarrassing collection of swaddle blankets in my closet. Mostly gifts of course, because people love to give babies blankets. We also have a million of those hospital swaddles, even though they're not that big and didn't work well for swaddling my giant babies. They're cute though, so we'll keep them around. My personal favorite are Aden+Anais swaddles and the new Tula blankets! (I know what you're thinking, but I swear I'm not a brand snob. Tula just makes super cute things and the mermaid blanket called out to me!) The A+A swaddles are soft and lightweight. They make perfect blankets for summer snuggles, laying out on the grass for non-walking babies, laying in hot swings, adding warmth in the car during the winter time along with covering infant seats to protect from rain and wind. Swaddles have so many great uses long after your baby has grown. We use them for both my two and four year old boys. They're both super obsessed with our new Tula blanket as well. 

I think that may be mostly because I'm pretty obsessed with it myself- I'm currently snuggled up on the couch with it right now. But also because this blanket is ridiculously soft. It's like the silky soft muslin swaddles that A+A has. But the Tula blanket is also pretty huge! I would definitely order more Tula blankets if there were more prints I really loved. I mean, there's one I really like- Winter Solstice, but I refuse to pay market value for that thing. 

So here are a few of my favorite baby items that I still use even though my boys are older. And all the things I will use for future babies, of course. What are some of your must have items that you find yourself still using even though your little ones aren't babies anymore?