HOT: Love Me Baby Wrap

After a week’s observation, I have to say that I think babies have a number of design flaws. Far be it from me to argue against tens of thousands of years of natural selection, but there are some characteristics of babies that just don’t add up for me.

The one that’s perturbed me the most is the Moro or Startle Reflex. Basically the Moro Reflex causes a tot to quickly spread and then unspread their arms in response to any surprise. Allegedly it’s intended to help prevent baby apes from falling off their mothers while moving. I’m not sure how effective that would be…

Anyway, the problem with this reflex is two-fold. Firstly, the most frequent trigger for NKOTB’s Startle Reflex is her dreams. Most of the time she is startled by her unconscious rather than moving monkeys. Secondly, her Startle Reflex generally causes her to knock her face with her hands, which, when she is sleeping, causes the NKOTB to wake herself up. As a result, the only function for the Startle Reflex that I can see is to disrupt parents’ sleep patterns.

Originally, we tried swaddling the NKOTB with cloth to pin her arms to her sides. While the swaddle stayed on, this seemed to work fine, but unfortunately, NKOTB can pull off a pretty convincing Harry Houdini impersonation – she’d inevitably free herself from the swaddle at some point during her nap and then it was only a matter of time before Moro struck to wake her, and her parents.

Thankfully, a friend of ours put us onto wearable swaddles and the Love Me Baby Wrap has saved the day. To put it bluntly, the Love Me Baby Wrap is an elasticised baby straight jacket that prevents your kids from hitting themselves in the face.   While it may seem odd to dress your kid like a Glo Worm (does anyone else remember them?), it definitely works. NKOTB’s arms are effectively pinned away from her head and escape is impossible from the chin to toe zippered elastic cocoon. Brilliant.

The only problem is that we’ve only got one at the moment and as soon as it’s covered in baby spew (once a day it seems), we’re back to 17th century swaddling.  Given that we can’t live without these now, we’ve ordered two Woombie’s, which look pretty similar, to try as well. We’ll let you know how they go…

HOT: Massive Attack

So NKOTB has been home for a few days now and we’re trying to establish a routine to make day to day life manageable.  So far, we haven’t made much progress. NKOTB does what she wants to do, when she wants to, and no amount of prodding or cajoling will convince her to do otherwise.

All this has meant that we’ve had a couple of periods of restlessness while trying to get her to settle (Joyce would want me to note at this point that on the whole NKOTB has been adorably placid – her being grumpy is definitely the exception).  Unfortunately, these periods of restlessness all seem to have occurred during my ‘shift’ so I’ve already had to experiment with a few different ways of settling her.

Pleasingly enough, the most successful way of settling the NKOTB when she’s really upset has been turning the lights down low and playing Massive Attack at low volume.

Why on earth NKOTB would be into the Bristol Trip Hop scene at seven days of age is beyond me, but as soon as I put it on, the crying stops and her eyes focus and slowly move around the room as though she’s trying to identify the source. After about then minutes, the eyelids start becoming droopy and she’s ready to be put down!

Given that Joyce and I are big enough fans that she briefly considered skipping out on our wedding night to go to their Melbourne gig, we’re quietly pleased by this state of affairs.

What I can’t work out though is that Portishead doesn’t work at all…

HOT: Data Driven Parenting

Being that I work in IT (and am an all around gadget geek) and Joyce is a fan of structure and organisation in the home, we’ve decided to try to take advantage of the age of technological wonder in which we live and adopt a data driven approach to parenting.

No, I’m not taking the piss. Bear with my while I explain.

As I’ve written about in other contexts, increases in both digital data storage capacity and the mobility of technology has dramatically reduced the cost and difficulty of collecting and storing data. Parallel increases in processing power has also made analysing this data much more straight forward. This has made it feasible to collect and analyse data about a whole range of subjects that wouldn’t have been worth the hassle in the past.

One of these areas is parenting. Believe it or not, there’s a niche community of geek parents who are utilising the proliferation of smart phones to collect data about their babies’ daily routines in the hope of taking an evidence based approach to parenting.  The idea is that by looking at a data set containing the details of your child’s feeding, sleeping and digestion, you can work out what patterns of activity are conducive to keeping your baby happy and settled and identify any changes in routine that have upset things.  It also provides a detailed and accurate record of your child’s bodily functions which can be very handy when it comes time to visit the doctor.

Joyce and I have decided to give it a go. To this end, since we got home from the hospital, we’ve been using the Total Baby iPhone app for real time data collection and analysis.

So far, it’s been great. Total Baby can collected A LOT of very granular data about basic functions in simple drop down menus eg the last time a specific activity (ie sleeping, feeding, nappy ect) was undertaken and  details of the  activity (eg the characterisation of scat by colour, consistency etc). Very usefully, it also contains a series of timers that enable you to record the length of time spent on an activity with a touch of the screen.  It also offers the ability to add customised data collection points and timers so that you can track niche issues that might be specific to your child.

At first we were concerned that we wouldn’t be able to remember to keep up the data collection process – especially once sleep deprivation set in. However, it’s been surprisingly easy. Joyce almost always has her iPhone in hand for email/twitter while she’s breast feeding, so it’s a built in memory aid. Plus, we spend so much time thinking ‘I wonder if it’s time to do XYZ?’ that we’re frequently looking at the app during the course of the day too.

Having a handy record of things like how long it’s been since the last feed and which breast was used for the last feed has been great for keeping us organised and allowing us to plan ahead. Similarly, Total Baby has become our first point of call when trying to work out what’s perturbing NKOTB at any point in time. It’s been a great anxiety reliever in his regard. Instead of just feeling our way in the (metaphorical) dark trying to work out what the problem is, we’re able to engage in some data driven problem solving. It’s not always successful obviously, but the feeling of control you get from having a data set to analyse is reassuring (even if it’s just an illusion).

At only $4.99 – Total Baby been one of the best baby purchases we’ve made.

HOT or NOT? Elaborate Paternal Photography

So I’ve labelled this one a “Hot OR Not?” because while I know that it’s something that I would enjoy,  I’m not so sure whether Joyce or the New Kid On The Block would endorse it.

The popularisation of high quality digital photography and the Photoshop revolution  has really broadened the horizons of what a dad (or a mum) with a penchant for  photography can do with their kids.

As Jason Lee shows, it’s now possible to transcend the ‘Kodak moments’ of the past and create some truly awesome family photos:

As you can see, a little bit of preparation and digital magic can create some really striking family pictures (Ok, so maybe it helps if your kids are really smiley and cute).

I think that it would be a fun and educational Daddy-Daughter project to plan and produce some elaborate and creative family pictures.  However, I suspect that Joyce has reservations about the potential for it to degenerate into an Ann Geddes-esq mess of twee. It’s a fine line, but I think I’m going to be able to win her by showing her that’s it’s possible to be creative and hip as well as cute….

Via: Geekosystem, My Modern Met

NKOTB arrives!

via Allan Peters, AIGA Minnesota

You may find that blog posts are not as frequent in the next few weeks due to some exciting news.  We had a little baby girl, Miss A,  on at 5:45am on Saturday 13/2/2011 (the day before Valentines’ Day )! The New Kid On The Block has arrived!

She’s 3.7kgs of Eurasian cuteness. Blue eyes, double eyelids and thick dark hair.

Everyone is healthy and happy and thank you for all your good wishes and congratulations.

HOT: Cycling while pregnant – Part 2

Earlier on in my pregnancy I wondered out loud via this blog whether it’s a good idea to cycle whilst pregnant.

Well, having now reached 40 weeks + 5 days I can say unequivocally the answer is YES.

The photo above was taken at 40 weeks + 4 days in front of my obstetrician’s surgery. Yes, that’s right, despite my doctor’s suggestion to stop riding at 20 weeks, I have been riding to almost every appointment and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Most people seem shocked or bemused when I tell them that I’m still on the bike and I have never seen a pregnant woman on a bike myself. So for those of you who are unsure about whether or not cycle whilst pregnant, I want to encourage you by saying that it’s absolutely possible if you feel comfortable with the idea and if you’re used to day to day on-road riding.

Cycling has allowed me to be mobile even in the last throes of pregnancy.  Since 36 weeks I’ve developed a bad case of cankles and walking isn’t much fun, what with the swelling and the weight of the baby in the front. Even walking a couple of blocks to the tram stop is uncomfortable. With wheels I can just roll my way door to door from home to the supermarket, the post office and the movies. My panniers also mean that I’m able to carry heavier stuff around, even if it means leaving it at the bottom of the stairs when I get home and getting my husband to carry it up for me.

Cycling to do my errands also allows me to fit a little bit of exercise into my day. While I know that swimming is great exercise for pregnancy, I really don’t enjoy swimming, but I do love cycling and I think it provides the same ‘weight-off-your-feet’ benefits as swimming . I’m sure that cycling has helped keep my energy levels up even when heavily pregnant and I’m hoping that it will help with bouncing back from 9 months of weight gain.

I haven’t felt unsafe on my bike, either from traffic or a lack of balance. As you can see, I ride fairly upright so it’s a very comfortable position with a big belly and I haven’t found pregnancy to affect my balance at all. As for traffic, I do a lot more travelling on the footpath now. I know it’s technically illegal but I figure who’s going to stop a heavily pregnant lady from cycling off the road.

There are a couple of concessions I’ve made to my normal cycling routine. I no longer wear heels as I need to be able to have a firm grip on the pedals or the ground if need be. I travel only short distances eg less than 20 minutes at a time. I avoid big hills at all costs and ride very, very slowly. I carry deodorant and a water bottle everywhere as I get hot and puffed (and a bit smelly) a lot quicker.

Will I be cycling to the hospital? Hard to say. I don’t think so, mostly because my hospital bag is a wheelie suitcase and having never had a baby I’m not sure what my tolerance for contractions will be. But I do take inspiration from this Montana woman who biked to hospital the day her daughter was born.

I somewhat reluctantly got on the bike and, to my surprise, enjoyed every minute of the ride, even when I was having a contraction. Despite all the dire warnings that I would crash my bike when the pain hit, I found that I could power through it. In fact, the contractions on the bike were the easiest to bear because I was distracted and doing something I love.

Page 263 of 273« First...102030...261262263264265...270...Last »

Featuring Recent Posts Wordpress Widget development by YD