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?

Read the rest of this blog @amotherworld.com


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…

Read the rest of this post @ohbabymagazine.com


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.

To see the rest of the blog have a look at OhBabyMagazine.com


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

Skating Fever

January 31st, 2012 → 11:32 am @

We have had 2 days of below zero here in NL. That is cause enough for people to get their skates sharpened and to develop a crazy level of skate frenzy stress that you’d have to see to believe.

There is no ice yet – ok – actually there is a very thin layer of ice developing over the canals and ponds in the countryside. A very thin layer right now. But it’s ice.

There is such a hope for skating that they have turned off some of the wind turbines that pump water through the canals to give it more chance of freezing and I read in the paper this morning that they have banned boats from cruising out on certain ponds. The “ice men” are frequently checking for new mm’s (millimeters, not m&m chocolate…), getting rid of any debris they see floating in the water.

The official amount of mm’s (see above…) for skating is 7cm ( i think). From a Canadian’s standpoint – that sure doesn’t sound like a lot – but I must admit I have been out there – and on occasion, as one of the first.  We go out with a rope and pick in case we go through the ice. The idea being that you can throw the rope out to someone and/or use the pick (looks like a screwdriver – in fact, my husband sometimes brings a screwdriver…) to give you grip to get out of the ice.  I’ve never fallen through though I have gotten a wet foot – but we have seem people fall through – even offered one guy a hot shower once. The water is cold after all…

The ice can be so thin that it moves when you are skating. You can hear it cracking and re-adjusting.  It rarely freeze under the many bridges so the ice-men make smaller wooden bridges to get over the water.

I must also say that almost everywhere that we are likely to skate, the water depth is no more than 2m – in many case even less… so that helps put the 7cm in perspective – right?

People will not go to work in order to skate – and it will be ok as the boss will also be skating. They will cancel vacations, meetings, find babysitters, let go of all other responsibility. There will be impromptu hot chocolate stalls set up on the ice (we did that one year and made a killing!), and everyone everywhere will be happy.  I mean, really really Happy.

Our friends will flock in droves. The emails and tweets about the ice are already starting. My husband (as well as many of our neighbors) has his own skate sharpener which he’ll be using this week to get everyones skates ready.

I love to skate. Speed skating that is. With the long blades and leather boots. Skating over the ponds, through the grassy swamplands, rosy cheeks and cold feet, huge smiles on everyone I see – it’s up there in my favorite things to do.

So. Let There Be Ice!!!



Blog &Daily Life

Tip #15 Is it possible to spoil my newborn by holding her too much?

January 26th, 2012 → 11:36 am @

In light of my 4 year old starting school and me not being ready to let go of our now useless buggy – I thought it was appropriate to continue with this next tip/question.

Is it possible to spoil my newborn by holding her too much?

Someone described the first 3 months after birth as being like the 4th trimester.  It’s a great way to look at it.  Your baby is learning to live outside of your tummy – she needs time, comfort, you.

These first months were my favorite – I loved holding my newborns, loved carrying them close to me in my wrap, loved having them fall asleep on my chest while I was laying on the couch. I don’t believe that you can spoil a newborn. We still have very huggable kids. Even our 8 year old boy loves to cuddle And the kids love to hug each other.  Maybe due to all of that cuddling they got as newborns?  Or maybe we are just really really lucky.

Here’s the answer that I wrote in my book:

No. Remember that your baby has just spent 9 months in a very comfortable, warm and safe place. It’s natural to hold your baby a lot and keep her close to you. I do not believe that it’s a good thing to let your baby cry for long periods so that she can get used to being away from you.  Your baby is used to hearing your heartbeat and to smelling you. Enjoy these first months – before you know it you’ll be begging your child for a hug…

Babies 0-6 months &Blog &My kids

Thought I was ready…

January 21st, 2012 → 11:38 am @

As I’ve mentioned, my youngest has started school. I have been waiting for the tears and they haven’t come. So I guess that makes me ready for the next phase right?

However, knowing myself a bit, I find this suspicious. I usually have to cry when I make transitions, and a lot.

Tonight. There I was.  A friend of my husband’s was visiting with her 2 year old son. We were just ending diner when she mentioned that she needed a small buggy. I spontaneously said: You can have ours. We don’t need it anymore.

So I went to get the buggy and as I was taking it down from the hook, I could feel the tears starting. I pushed them away thinking – great – I can give it to someone that can really use it.  I put on a smile, showed her how it worked, how small it was, and to always tell the airlines that it fit in any overhead bin (really does!). She kept asking me if I was sure. I kept saying that I was.

All of my buggy memories started coming back. It’s been everywhere with us.

Then they came. The tears. They came and came. I hid in the kitchen trying to get a grip. Didn’t help. I could hear that she was getting ready to leave so I called for my youngest daughter.  I asked her (through my tears) if we could give the buggy to the little boy. She’s usually really happy to give away things if it’s to someone she knows. Of course, she picked up on my tears and started crying and said no. It was still her buggy. (I’m sure if I hadn’t been crying that this conversation would have been different)…

My husband came into the kitchen to see what was going on and found us together.  I told him that I wasn’t ready. Then I told his friend the same thing and she hugged me for it. Said it was so beautiful to see me crying over the buggy (???) and told me to promise to keep it forever.

Now, I may not do that, after all –  it’s a 10$ buggy from Zellers – in fact it’s my second, as the first one broke.  But I will wait.

I’m actually not ready yet.

(pic of The Buggy coming soon…)

Blog &Daily Life &My kids

Tip #14 What is Colic?

January 19th, 2012 → 11:39 am @

My son cried every night from about 10pm to midnight for no apparent reason. I can’t actually remember when it started and ended but it was about for the first 3 months.

We decided to call it “colic” as we couldn’t find any other reason for his crying. He was fed, burped, in our arms – the rest of the day and night he was ok. I could not handle this at all. Luckily, my husband was able to take over at this time of day – he held him, walked with him, let his son know he was safe and not alone. I, on the other hand, had earplugs in and was under my covers feeling extremely helpless and guilty for not being able to “fix” this.

Then one day it stopped.

Here is the answer found in my book:

Colic is a kind of cramp like thing that about 20% of all newborns get.  Some experts think it has to do with the digestive system (gut is immature) not being fully developed but it’s only a theory. Colicky babies can cry suddenly for minutes or for much longer (hours), usually at the same time of day and often in the evening.  There is very little to do for this but staying calm is very important.  Babies can feel our stress.  There are some “anti-colic” remedies on the market that you can look into that sometimes help but generally you’ll have to wait it out with patience.  As long as your baby is eating and sleeping enough you shouldn’t need to worry. It can be hard for a new mother to deal with excessive crying so ask your partner to take over. Colic is usually gone by 3 months of age.

Babies 0-6 months &Blog &My kids