Essential mom skills, part 2

I have literally never loved my dog so much as when I see her come running to lick up baby barf that has puddled on the floor. And my arm. And the baby’s arm, and his shirt, and his face. He likes it, I swear.

Well folks, we made it through the first four months. It hasn’t been too bad! It’s actually been pretty great. I always feel like I’m tempting fate when I talk about how well things are going, how easy going my baby is, how well he sleeps used to sleep, and how generally manageable this whole baby/motherhood thing has been so far. But we’ve had our challenges, and I’ve definitely learned a few things since my last collection of Essential Mom Skills.


Oh yeah, remember yoga? I admit, my home practice has changed a little over the years. I used to have one, and now I don’t. But I’ve been sneaking a few sun salutations in during morning naps, and it feels pretty awesome. I’m not as bendy as I used to be, and my abs went through this crazy breakup in late pregnancy and now all they really want to do is cuddle up in bed and get to know each other again. So chaturanga isn’t really happening — it’s less of a push up and more of a belly flop. Still. So worth it. And it’s more convenient than any other workout, since I’m generally wearing yoga pants at all times.

Lactation cookies

So maybe you’re supposed to be eating these all along, not just when your milk starts to decrease, but I’m hoping it’s one of those better-late-than-never sort of things. They’re packed with ingredients that promote healthy milk production: oats, flaxseed meal, and brewers yeast. Also? They’re cookies. I made this recipe, and substituted Kodiak Cakes for the flour, so there’s extra protein in there. I baked about half of it, and froze the rest for convenient cookie making later.

Shopping carts

OK, we’re not really quite there yet. But I’m pretty sure they’re going to be a game changer. On a recent spontaneous trip to IKEA (AKA mommy heaven) I forgot the ring sling and decided to attempt the shopping cart. “Worst mom ever!” I sang to my fellow Scando-cheapchic shoppers as I propped my tiny baby up with velour throw pillows I had no intention of buying. It was great. He could breathe fine, he was happy, I didn’t leave him unattended, and most importantly he didn’t have a blowout on the pillows. Don’t report me to the baby police.

Baabekarten: some assembly required.

Wool diapers

I learned about wool diapering for the first time recently. The basic concept is to use a good old fashioned prefold or flat diaper, and a naturally water repellent wool cover in place of a synthetic waterproof material. It is extra crunchy yet surprisingly easy: just my style. It sounds daunting, since you have to handwash and air dry the wool, but the not-so-dirty secret is you rarely actually wash it. You just let it air out if it gets damp from pee. This is where the sheep magic happens: the lanolin in the wool neutralizes the urine, and it doesn’t stink! It really simplifies the day to day laundry routine, since all you’re washing is the diaper itself. Of course if you’re dealing with poop it’s another story. Small leaks can be spot cleaned, but a blowout requires the full wash. I’ve been wool diapering off and on for a month or so, and have only experienced one blowout heinous enough that I had to clean the whole cover and start fresh. I got enough of the supplies from friends and my local Buy Nothing group (see next tip!) to try it out for free. Since then I’ve purchased one more cover and some flat diapers — which I have not quite gotten the hang of yet. Time to call 1-800-GRA-NDMA.


Snuggling in cozy hand-knit wool diaper cover.

Buy Nothing

I have received so much wonderful stuff for free from my local Buy Nothing group. It’s an online network of hyper-local gift economies. It’s the high-tech version of going next door for a cup of sugar. Highlights include two dozen BumGenius pocket diapers, a huge pile of prefolds, half a dozen wool diaper covers of various styles, an organic infant insert for my Ergo, grab bags of baby clothes, and baby silverware (because Solids Are Coming). Not to mention a worm bin, a dress shirt that fits my husband perfectly, and a carload of landscaping rocks. One lady saw I had a baby in my profile picture, so she left behind a pack of disposable diapers and organic baby lotion when she picked up her gift. I got to re-gift the Ergo insert when Wyatt grew out of it, and I passed on a bunch of evening primrose oil capsules to a pregnant neighbor approaching her due date. I have also jettisoned tons of jewelry I’ve been hanging on to since middle school, and lots of clothes that don’t fit my postpartum body and were depressing me every time I tried them on. It’s a beautiful thing. You can find your local Buy Nothing group here.

Dog = spit up disposal

I’ve had a difficult relationship with my dog since Wyatt was born. Let me tell you though: in the four plus years she’s been part of our family, I have literally never loved my dog so much as when I see her come running to lick up baby barf that has puddled on the floor. And my arm. And the baby’s arm, and his shirt, and his face. He likes it, I swear. Anyway, if you’re one of the dozen or so people I have tried to give my dog away to in the last four months, consider the offer officially rescinded. I need her. Lord knows someone needs to clean up around here.

Turns out she has some good qualities after all.

In closing, some tough love, from future me to current me.

To Amelia, four months postpartum,

Please buy some clothes that fit. Summer is half over, and you haven’t worn shorts yet. I know you’re still planning to lose that last ten (ok, fifteen) pounds, and I’m sure you will. Eventually. But you’re not going to be wearing last year’s shorts anytime soon, and trying them on every couple weeks isn’t helping anyone feel better. Take some of that money you’ve been saving on not going out for drinks (or food, or movies, or concerts) and buy some shorts that fit your actual current body. Maybe some jeans while you’re at it. Yoga pants are cool and all, but you’ve taken them to a whole new level.

Here is my promise to you: you will not look back on the $20 you spent at Target and think it was a waste. You will not remember the big fat number on the tag. You may or may not remember your weight before and after this pregnancy, but you will definitely remember if your shirt rides up and flashes everyone your rubberbanded waistband and stretch marks again (not cool, breastfeeding. Not cool). You will remember feeling comfortable on a hot day in the first summer of your child’s life. You will remember sitting on your porch, holding your sweet, barely clothed baby in the shade, stretching your bare legs out into the sun. You will remember wading into the bay to dip your son’s toes into saltwater. I promise.

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