One of those precious moments…

March 5th, 2012 → 5:00 am @

Yesterday my kids all wanted to walk to school – it’s only a five minute walk from our house but we usually bike because as you know, every extra morning minute is like gold – at least in our house. Those actual three minutes saved by biking ensure that all of the kids teeth get brushed or that I get everyone’s hair done, not just the first person I happen to start with.

So off they went, out the back door and towards the path that leads to school. As I finished packing my bag for the day and getting my bike key (which I needed to get to the bus stop after the school drop off), I noticed that they had all left their backpacks on the floor. So I changed my plan of taking the “normal” bike and threw everything into my Bicycle Built for six and sped off after them.

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Blog &Daily Life &My kids

Tip #18 I’ve just had a C-Section, what should I expect now that I’m at home?

March 5th, 2012 → 4:59 am @

I consider myself lucky to not have needed a C-Section. I can honestly not imagine what it must be like to not only be overwhelmed by your birthing experience and newborn but to all of sudden not be able to do regular things. So in this case, my answer is from research and not from experience…

Here is the answer from my book Babies 0-6 months:

Once you’ve left the hospital you should arrange to have as much help around the house as possible. Move slowly and take it very easy. Have a pillow around to put against your stomach when sneezing or coughing to help with the pain, use one behind your back when sitting. Don’t lift anything heavier than your baby. (Your doctor/midwife will let you know if that is even ok during the first week). You will experience all of the other things that women do with a vaginal birth (such as Lochia, cramping etc.). Some women recover within a few weeks, most take 6-8 weeks for full recovery. Some tips: When you stand up, stretch your arms above your head to un-cramp your stomach muscles. Check your stitches every day to rule out infections. Drink lots of water to help flush out potential infections.

Babies 0-6 months &Blog

Are Dutch Mothers Happier?

February 22nd, 2012 → 6:43 am @

I have just arrived home from two hours of ice-skating. The whole country is frozen which means every waterway is skate-able – and I would dare say that there are more waterways than roads here. Sounds pretty decadent doesn’t it? Drop off the kids, put on my skates, then come home and get some work done. But let me tell you, I wasn’t alone on the ice.

The Dutch don’t think twice about not going to work because there is ice to skate on or it’s a hot sunny day.

Is it decadent? Or is it part of the reason that the Dutch, in general, are more balanced – and therefore happier -than North Americans?

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Balance &Blog &Daily Life

Jaundice and Newborns

February 22nd, 2012 → 5:01 am @

Two of my kids had jaundice. My firstborn was diagnosed while we were in the hospital and he wasn’t “too” yellow. The doctors put a light blanket under his sleeper and a couple of days later he was “pink” again. I wasn’t worried, as no one else seemed to be.

My third was a different story…

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Babies 0-6 months &Blog &My kids

Advantage of having all of the kids at school!

February 20th, 2012 → 5:02 am @

One of the first great advantages of having all of my kids at school occurred during this last week: Skating.

The tiny country of Holland froze completely, every water way, canal, pond, creek, lake – totally and completely frozen, which meant – skating, skating and more skating. And when I say skating – I mean on those long skates that you can speed with. There is more water than road here so hundreds of kilometers of skate-able ice. Bliss. I love to skate.

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Balance &Blog &Daily Life &My kids

Tip#17 Babies 0-6 months. My stomach hurts… What are these after pains?

February 13th, 2012 → 5:02 am @

Despite the amount of reading I did about being pregnant and what to expect – I neglected to spend time reading about how I would feel those first few weeks.

The after-pains were one of those things…

Here is the answer from my book. It’s part of the chapter called Mom: The First Weeks.

You thought you were done with contractions once they baby was delivered. Well…. These after-pains, which to me, felt like contractions, are in fact very important. It’s your womb that is contracting, shrinking back to its normal size. Breastfeeding can stimulate this process due to the oxytocin that is produced when breastfeeding. They also say that the faster the delivery and the more kids you have, the stronger these after pains will be.  This was true for me… They usually go away within a week and are not constant.

Babies 0-6 months &Blog

Tip #16 Mom-the first weeks: How long does it take to recover from the birth?

February 8th, 2012 → 5:03 am @

I am one of the lucky ones that recovered from the birth of my kids pretty quickly. I didn’t tear, didn’t need C-sections and the births were all pretty straight forward. So I literally (for 2 of my kids) walked away from the hospital hours after giving birth.

Welcome to Holland… If there are no complications you are generally sent home – often only hours after the birth of your newborn. Obviously, there are many exceptions to this rule but for my 3rd child, I went into the hospital at 10:30, baby was born at 12.00 and I left at 15.30.  Seriously.  And I must say that I really liked the idea of being back in my own house, on my own couch with my new baby. The hospital rooms weren’t my favorite – it was bad enough that all of the babies in the room kept us awake, but if we’d actually fallen asleep we were inevitably woken up for temperatur taking, change of shifts, breakfast etc.  So it worked for me.  But it doesn’t end there in Holland. We have an “after-birth” care system here. Trained women come in every day for 7 days to take care of you, make lunch, check on your baby etc. You are also visited by your midwife and a nurse comes in to test the hearing etc. So you are not on your own.

Having said all this – I did spend a week in the hospital for my first & second born. I lost a lot of blood as my placenta didn’t come out naturally. It meant a trip to the OR and a very weak mother. In the end I received a blood transfusion that sped up my recovery. After that my body (luckily) bounced back into shape pretty quickly.  But I took it easy, slow walks, some fresh air, good food and no real exercise for months.

Here is the “short” answer in my book Babies 0-6 months. It’s part of the second chapter called Mom – The First weeks.  I added this chapter because it was the area I was least prepared for. The Me part.

Some women walk away from giving birth some don’t.  You may feel energetic for the first few days, then very tired. If you’ve had a caesarian, the recovery is longer since you’ve just had invasive surgery and your stomach muscles etc. need to repair themselves. As much bed rest as possible is recommended for the first week and about 4 to 6 weeks before returning to normal activity (6 weeks to be on the safe side). It’s important to allow the recovery process, otherwise you’re putting yourself at risk of injury or chronic problems down the road. Take the time to relax a little, take your baby for easy walks in a pram/stroller. There are a few light exercises that are appropriate after giving birth- talk to your post-natal/women’s health physio for advice.

Babies 0-6 months &Blog