This Great Reading Pillow is in My Bed

pillow-300x300My husband and I have been fighting over our Stress Ease Comfort Reader Pillow for a month now and I thought it was time to tell you about it. (And give one away – keep reading!) The pillow was developed by James Maas, a psych. prof at Cornell who studies all things sleep. He’s also the author of this book which I have not read, but one of you is going to get a copy of it with your fabulous pillow!

The pillow, which we received from United Feather & Down and which is available from The Great Indoors for $50, is incredibly comfortable to read with (and to watch tv with, and yes I know that’s terrible for sleep, but I so it anyway…). It includes a quality, very comfortable & soft pillowcase with a built in pocket for the hot/cold pack that comes with it. The pack is made very cheaply and it exploded and leaked scalding hot goo the first time I heated it so I can’t speak to that, but I love the design and I may get make a rice bag of similar size. (The package recommends twice the time I heated it at, so it was not user error – be careful if you use this and I do not recommend that you let children use the hot pack.)

The pillow has a nice lumbar support that especially fits my tall husband very well. (At a foot shorter than him, it’s still great for me, but it’s rare for things to fit him well). The only thing I’d love to see added is some arm supports to make holding my book up a little easier on the arms at that angle, but those might be tricky to make ‘one size fits all.’

It’s a simple wish with a simple solution. Trust women to solve it.

simplewishesThough I’ve been breastfeeding for three and a half years, I’ve never been much of a pumper. Mostly because neither of my kids has ever agreed to take a bottle, and a little because it sounds like work. I have huge admiration for pumping moms who can’t breastfeed for one reason or another but still give their child the gift of breastmilk. Now that’s dedication.

New-ish mama Jennifer tested out a new product for pumping moms for us:

Simple Wishes, a company run by four sisters, has recently introduced theSimple Wishes Hands Free Pumping Bustier. While at first glance it’s kind of silly looking, it’s actually an affordable and quality alternative to (1) sitting in a chair and holding two cones on your boobs or (2) the highly unflattering and fidgety products of similar function that have been on the market for the past few years.

The design of the Simple Wishes Hands Free Pumping Bustier is quite innovative, with adjustable straps and the option to be worn many different ways to ensure a flattering fit no matter how full a woman’s breasts are at any given time. The two front zippers allow you to move the breast shields closer together or further apart by 2 inches, and the velcro back panel allows you to adjust the ribcage band size by a full 10 inches, creating a perfect fit just for you. It’s designed with elastic reinforcement at the top for a secure & slip-free fit, and it comes with two straps which can be worn in halter, tank or racerback style. The Bustier can be worn on it’s own or slipped over your nursing bra with the flaps pulled down. When you’re done pumping, you can just pop some nursing pads in and wear the Bustier all day long. It’s machine washable too! – by Jennifer

Got Milk? The Very Best Lact-educational Experience on DVD.

simply-breastfeedingContrary to what I heard & read before my first child was born, breastfeeding isn’t always easy. Though I’ve exclusively nursed two children for a looooong time and it certainly got easy and wonderful and even blissful, it didn’t start out that way. Either time.

My memories of learning to nurse my first consist of requiring a nurse, my mom, my husband, a stool and a huge pillow in order to get him properly latched, and heaven forbid the pillow slip or the footstool not be inexactly the right position. The creams, the pain – OhGoodLordInHeaven the pain – it was all normal (for me) but it’s a good thing I was so committed to my children never having formula or I surely would have given up. Once the first 6-8 weeks passed and I was able to nurse him pain-free anywhere & anytime, it was just as amazing as I originally thought it would be from the beginning. Had I had the Simply Breastfeeding DVD with Shari Criso of My Baby Experts prior to giving birth, I would have been much more prepared and well educated.

The “breastfeeding educational program” is incredibly thorough. It runs 2 hours and comes on 2 discs. Part one addresses the benefits of breastfeeding for both you and your baby, and helps you establish a strong personal reason WHY you want to breastfeed, and part two teaches you exactly HOW to breastfeed. It’s organized into helpful chapters so it’s easy to skip to the topic you want or watch it straight through in one sitting.

Some of what you’ll learn from Simply Breastfeeding, as stated on Shari’s website:

* Amazing Benefits For Both You & Your Baby – that You Might Not Have Heard Before
* Exactly How to Hold Your Baby – with real Mom & Baby demonstrations
* How to Prevent the Unneccessary Nipple Pain You Hear About in Other Mom’s Horror Stories
* Exactly How Much Milk Your Baby Needs Each Day During the First Few Weeks, As Well As Signs and Clues for You to Follow to Make Sure Your Baby is Getting Enough Milk
* How and When to Give Your Baby a Bottle
* How to Avoid the Biggest Mistake that Most Parents Make in the Hospital….

Whether you have a lactation consultant available to you or not, and whether you take a breastfeeding class or not (and no, the half hour devoted to it in prenatal class doesn’t count), this DVD will be invaluable to you in your quest to breatfeed your child. I’ve pretty much been nursing for three years straight, and even I learned some new things about those little newbies that make me feel like I’m in labour all over again.

The My Baby Experts blog has lots of great information for all parents – lactating or not.

A Pink Whale and a Very Tall Tree

apinkwhaleandaverytalltreeMy daughter is at the stage where her imagination is running wild. She is constantly coming up with stories, songs, games, and situations to reenact. Imagine her surprise when I introduced her to a CD with songs that are chock full of the same kind of wild imagery and ideas that she loves so dearly!

A Pink Whale and a Very Tall Tree is a CD that combines two of my daughter’s favorite things in the world, music and storytelling. Instead of irrelevant lyrics with no cohesive story, Shāna Barry has authored beautiful, weaving tales about an imaginary island inhabited by a family of fōfers (rhymes with gophers).

In case you were wondering (and how could you not?), a fōfer is a multi-colored furry creature that likes to ride bikes, explore the island, and climb trees.

Written and preformed by Shāna Barry, the musical stories of A Pink Whale and a Very Tall Tree inspired many conversations between my daughter and me. We sat at the computer, looking up pictures of the various animals that she mentioned, we talked about where those animals lived, and we learned what they liked to eat. And recently, she has incorporated those animals and concepts into her imaginary play!

While I would categorize this along the lines of folk music, it is by no means traditional. Reminiscent of acoustic Jewel, the soft guitar is all that is needed to provide a musical foundation for Barry to tell her creative stories. Barry’s hushed voice lends a peacefulness to the mix, while drawing in the attention of listeners. Listen to a sample track, A Pink Whale, here.

My daughter really enjoyed this CD. Her favorite track was Around the Island, which she now calls “The Animal Song.” And I must admit, the last track, The Peaceballs, is an incredibly relaxing instrumental number that I could easily use to melt tension on a high stress day! – by Christy

An Affordable Peek Into The World of Chic

chikpeekThere’s no doubt that we’re in the midst of a recession, and even if you’re one of the lucky ones who hasn’t lost any money or jobs you’re sure to be feeling the urge to be a little bit more careful with your spare cash. However, that doesn’t mean you’ve lost your desire to splurge for yourself and your babes on high quality and functional merchandise.

Medicine Hat, Alberta based ChicPeek, offers a great variety of incredibly high quality products at great prices. Owner & designer Echo Wells is a mom of three who has been creating beautiful items for over 15 years. Her experience is evident as soon as you see her products in person. They’re of a highly professional quality but sell for a handmade price.

The ChicPeek nursing covers(a steal at $24.99 without your discount – see below) is truly one of a kind. (Pictured in the two centre images at right.) Made of a gorgeous cashmere & silk pashmina (black or brown), it’s the required amount of discreet and modest, but unusually fashionable for a nursing cover. There are enough “Hey, guess what? I’m breastfeeding!” (a.k.a. ugly) nursing covers out there; it’s about time someone made one like this. Essentially just a long & wide scarf that’s strategically sewn with a head & arm hole, it covers all the way around, making it fully tug-proof. There’s an open side so one hand is always free to multi-task, and it’s the perfect weight to not swelter you or baby while you cuddle. If someone notices that you’re nursing, it’s likely either someone who has seen one of Echo’s great covers before or who spotted the gorgeous little toes peeking out from underneath. Even better is that when you’re done nursing or in between children, your nursing cover is a beautiful scarf that you can wear several ways without anyone having any idea that it once hid your boobs from strangers.

ChicPeek offers a large selection of Miklips hair bows & clips for newbies and right up to moms. From the most adorable corkers to gorgeous big bows, the Chic Peek clips are of top quality, stay in your hair and are absolutely gorgeous.

Most of all, though, I was thrilled to discover the ChicPeek buggie hugs shopping cart cover ($49.99 – two bottom images at right). I have looked everywhere – brick and morter as well as online – and ChicPeek is the first place I’ve found stylish looking covers with holes and belts for two children to share the front seat of a cart. (The standards is two holes and one belt, but just ask and Echo will put another belt in for you.) The design of her buggy hugs are brilliant. Aside from the extra wide leg holes to accommodate one leg or two, these are also the only covers I’ve seen come equipped with an attached caribiner to secure the cover to the cart. My kids ride in the different shades of red pattern, which is gorgeous and commented on everywhere we go – particularly Costco when both kids are germ free & buckled in the front seat of the cart. If you’re going to have a second child before your first turns four, I highly recommend you pick up a Chic Peek buggy hug and get a second belt put in. The longer you can contain them safely, the happier you’ll be. Trust me on that.