Bra shopping, I’m such a guy

Since I’ve reduced the number of times I breastfeed Sophia to two, my mommy jugs have shrunk and I’ve been needing new bras for about four or five months now. Yep, I hate shopping that badly. I’ve been putting up with the straps on both sides falling down to my elbows anytime I relax my shoulders which lowers the whole bra just above my belly button. It’s annoying and I’m finally tired of putting up with it. I liked the fun of gignormous naughty pillows, but thankfully, I no longer have much to support.

The last time I went bra shopping was when my milk came in to the tune of needing a 38D. Holy CRAP I was huge! That was a year and three months ago. It’s time I put the lunch lady bra with the 42 cast iron hooks away, in the trash. When I went shopping for the nursing bra I learned that no one frickin’ sells them. It doesn’t matter if department stores sell maternity clothes and bras they simply don’t sell nursing bras. I had to go to the Motherhood store to get some support in that area. I don’t remember how much I spent and it doesn’t matter. In my opinion when you go from mosquito bite booblets to Inga the wet-nurse you want the full on wide shoulder strap, triple hooked, under wire mega bra. If they came in self-washing I would have bought those too. For the first four months I wore those damn things twenty-four seven because I needed something to keep the pads in place so that I didn’t have to change the sheets on my bed every morning, and if that’s too much information, you really need to grow up.

I don’t remember if any of the nursing bras were padded, but if they are any, I wouldn’t recommend them. You’ll be adding your own pads to them, so nipple-concealing bras are not necessary at that point. If you’re pregnant for the first time and you’re going to nurse your baby don’t buy a nursing bra until AFTER your milk comes in. Unlike that one boyfriend in your past, there will be no question it is IN and it’ll make your boobs bigger. Once you’re milk is in and while trying on bras it’s a good idea to keep in mind that you’ll need a little extra room for the pad. And that is the extent of my maternity bra buying assvice, so on with the story…

I’m so glad that’s nearly over and to be back to my normal size 34 slightly swollen mosquito bite cup. During today’s shopping excursion I learned that many department stores aren’t carrying any bras or at least no worthy selection of them. I went to JC Penny, NOTHING, and it’s not that every bra was sold out. There wasn’t a bra or panty section in the store at all. In the past I always purchased my bras at Sears. I went to two different Sears’ stores today. One of them didn’t have any bras as in no bra section of the store and the other only carried granny panty type bras. Now, I’m not looking for anything special. I don’t like the lacy frilly things with stripes, polka dots, or cutesy little hearts. I just want something to hold the jiggly bits still, but I don’t want anything that reminds me of a straight jacket either. I get flashbacks of the padded room I was kept in back in Nam.

Last night I was looking for bras online and knew that Old Navy had some, so I went there. Nothing but pre-teen and few stringy ‘A’ cups, what the fuck kind of selection is that?! I asked a clerk if that was all they had. Yep, that’s it. I complained that it seems like no one sells bras anymore. She looked at me as if maybe I had just gone though a sex change. I must be so out of touch. I’m a guy without a penis, the first male to give birth.

I walked though the mall and there it was, the store that twenty years ago people used to pass by and snicker at because it was nothing but fancy panties and naughty lingerie, Victoria’s Secret. That must be where all us women folk shop these days. There was even a guy there shopping with his eight year old son for mom. I went in because the sign outside said buy one, get one 50% off. I’ve never shopped there before because I know their stuff is outrageously expensive. With their sale, I figured I would be able to spend my normal full price amount. My normal is between fifteen and thirty dollars each, and even that seems extreme for a piece of string. I’m cheap as hell. The clerk, are they still called clerks? Anyway, she asked me what I was looking for. I told her I just wanted something simple. She asked if I wanted *insert a whole list of options I can’t even remember and didn’t understand*. I cringed as I said, “I don’t know, I just want a bra without an under wire” I had no idea what category my plain bra would fall under. “Oh well we only have three of those.” She took me to a changing room and handed me the three options in my size. Of course, the most expensive one felt the best to me. It actually felt AWESOME. I don’t know if it was forty-five dollars awesome, but I bought two since the second was half price. After picking my nude color no-frills lace-less bra the lady told me that if I wanted matching underwear they were on a table across the room. Really? With the nude color bra if I bought matching panties I would look like a frickin’ Barbie doll with no anatomy at all, just a couple little mounds in the front. Ok, maybe I won’t make it as Barbie, how about Skipper?

With the kind of comfort this bra gives I can now understand why other women spend more on the boob cover garment than I have done in the past, but ladies I have to tell you, men really don’t give a shit if your polka dot panties match your polka dot bra. As a matter a fact they would rather you not wear either at all, so don’t get mad when they don’t notice your newest $85 nipple-concealer. Save it for when he’s so wrapped up in his computer games that he doesn’t even notice you’re naked.

Baby car seat selection, seeking safety

Between an infant carrier and the multistage car seat I choose the one that would last the longest, the seat that looks gigantic with a tiny newborn. It’s the Mad Hatter seat for infants. The car seat is probably never the first purchase, but because you cannot leave the hospital without one in which your newborn fits properly, it really should be higher on the list.

The only two problems with using the big car seat is:

1) The hospital is used to everyone choosing the newborn seat which detaches from it’s base and carrying it in as to checkout of the hospital so that the nurses may ensure the infant fits inside properly. Sadly that is the only parental requirement prior to leaving with a new baby, but that’s a rant for another occasion. I have no idea what people do when they only use public transit because the nurses seemed baffled by our choosing the big seat and refusing to take it out of the car to show them how well it swallows up our newborn. Typically the only time a baby doesn’t fit is when he or she is a preemie and then the hospital rents out a special car cradle type “seat”. Even though our newborn was a giant nine pounds (as opposed to a minuscule nine pounds), it’s similar to carding people at the bar who are quite clearly over 21.

2) Our other problem was our car. We don’t drive giant SUVs. I have a small pickup truck and Kurt drives a regular size four-door car when he’s not on one of his motorcycles, which I have dubbed “the mistresses”. Because infants in this state are required to sit rear facing until they are one year AND weigh twenty pounds, and because we have a regular sized car, we must put Sophia’s seat behind the front passenger’s seat. If we have a passenger other than Sophia, they must make a choice between sitting in the back with the baby or sitting in the front seat which cannot move back enough to allow for such things as knees and feet. Only not-a-nanny fit in the front seat comfortably. She’s about five foot one, and that’s with wheeley shoes.

We don’t mind these inconveniences and as I’ve stated many times, I’d much rather take Sophia out of her car seat and carry her in her Ergo carrier against my body than lean over as I carry up to a twenty pound infant and her seat with one arm.

What we sought in a car seat, forget about Consumer Reports, once the choice is made between the two major categories of infant carrier verses a multistage car seat they’re all very similar. All car seats are tested and all of them meet certain requirements. All of them, like seat belts, fail to have a 100% life saving guarantee. As a matter a fact, Consumer Reports tested many seats and most failed their overly zealous testing. They later retracted their findings and many news outlets ended their articles with, “Both the magazine and the government continue to emphasize that no matter what, the safest place for a child in an automobile is strapped into a car seat.” for fear that people would stop buying baby seats. The fact is the best baby seat is one that fits in your car and is properly installed. With that in mind the way we narrowed down our selection was by taking the car seat off the store shelf at Babies R Us and setting it on the van bench seat they provide to get an idea of how much room a particular seat needs for a rear facing set up. Most people think that van seat is just for the pregnant people to sit on, but it’s not.

We then pulled the front seat of our car all the way forward and measured how much space was between the back of he back seat and the back of the front seat. It may be necessary to use a rolled up towel under the baby seat to ensure the base is level, and then the back of a rear facing baby seat should not touch the back of the front seat of the car. There should be about two inches between the back of the baby seat and the back of the front seat of the car so that in the event of a collision, there is a buffer between the two and the baby seat isn’t crumpled. Check with your hospital for free car seat installation inspections, if possible, prior to baby’s arrival.

We considered three other things while making our choice. I pulled the cover back on the sides of each car seat looking for Styrofoam padding on advice from a friend of mine. It made sense to me that the Styrofoam sides would provide better cushion to a baby head than hard plastic.

The baby harness adjuster should be easily accessible whether the baby seat is rearfacing or forward facing.  Some of the older types of baby car seats lacked that featcher, and according to the hospital many parents apperantly left the harness at the same setting each use.  That is not the proper way to secure a baby to the seat.

The third thing we looked at was the cover itself. Kurt took into account color and pattern. He didn’t want a flowery frou-frou girly girl seat in his car. He didn’t say anything to me, but apparently, I’m not to pick car seats while pregnant ever again. I really liked some girly things while I was pregnant that now turn my stomach – ah back to my normalcy. It’s probably a good thing I already had a baby name in mind before becoming pregnant. My car seat cover concern was washability and if it wasn’t dryer friendly it should at least dry quickly.

Since choosing our seat I’ve found another thing to consider, the level of toxins in the car seat, which you can fret over find out about at HealthyCar.org. The seat we chose in an Evenflo Triumph Advance DLX Sandbox, and rated at one, which is a low concern. Of course the seat they actually rated was a 2008 and ours is a 2007, details.

Ergo Baby Wearing

There are tons of sites about baby wearing and a bazillion slings, wraps, and carriers. Though I bought a jogger type of stroller for all day outings, I knew that I wanted to carry my baby for shorter outings like trips to the grocery store, so I bought a Karma Baby Carrier Sling online while I was pregnant. I did use it, but over all that before baby purchase was a mistake. It didn’t fit us well and I wound up using it only on our few restaurant outings. I had her in my lap while I ate and the sling simply kept her from rolling off. It was wholly uncomfortable to walk around with her in the sling because I wound up walking as if I was pregnant again. My sling wasn’t adjustable at all because all the slings with tie, wrap, hoop ring adjustments looked like one needed to be a Navy Seal knot tying expert to use and I suck ass at knot tying.

My baby shower doubled as Kurt’s birthday party and he received a Snuglie baby carrier made by Evenflo. It didn’t fit him at all. I found it comfortable for short periods, but it was difficult for me to get Sophia in and out of it. Sophia didn’t like it especially when I tried facing her out, but I used it for my grocery trips until she was big enough to sit in a grocery cart on her own with a cover. It wasn’t comfortable at all when she was old enough to sit on her own, so I stopped using it.  By the way the Snuglie looks and functions very much like the BABYBJÖRN, but costs A LOT less. I’m just sayin’.

At that point I stared using an simple umbrella stroller for quick shopping needs at places without shopping carts, but then I found the Ergo baby carrier. Something about it made me think, “This is the one”, but because the other two products didn’t work out, I wanted to try this one on in person. I went to their site and found a retailer near me. It turned out that the place I chose was also a chiropractor’s office. Talk about a great endorsement. They let me try on the Ergo and helped me fit it right. I was sold. It’s an awesome carrier and well worth the price.

Infants cannot be carried front facing with the Ergo, but Sophia never liked that anyway. She prefers to face me and know that I’m right there. An infant insert can be purchased for use with newborns which sort of turns the Ergo into a sort of sling. Older babies can be worn on the hip or on the back, which makes the Ergo last into toddler hood. I LOVE my Ergo! It’s so comfortable and for me it’s so much easier than a stroller that I use it for all day outings. It’s awesome. Did I mention that I love it? ;-)

Bisphenol A and the FDA

From the executive summary of an FDA report on Bisphenol A (BPA):

Coupling together the available qualitative and quantitative information (including application of uncertainty factors) provides a sufficient scientific basis to conclude that the Margins of Safety defined by FDA as “adequate” are, in fact, inadequate.

The FDA has gone from their April 14, 2008 view of BPA levels are too low to cause any health effects

Based on our ongoing review, we believe there is a large body of evidence that indicates that FDA-regulated products containing BPA currently on the market are safe and that exposure levels to BPA from food contact materials, including for infants and children, are below those that may cause health effects.

to their new and, depending on your point of view, improved October 28, 2008 statement that BPA won’t hurt you right away.

Consumers should know that, based on all available evidence, the present consensus among regulatory agencies in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan is that current levels of exposure to BPA through food packaging do not pose an immediate health risk to the general population, including infants and babies.

Apparently the FDA based their original BPA is safe view based on three studies industry funded studies and just ignored those Henny-Penny-The-Sky-Is-Falling independent reports. Thanks for doing your job and looking out for us little guys FDA! But don’t worry, they aren’t swayed by money, big business, lobbyists…

NIH reaffirms BPA concerns
08 September 2008
The ACC (American Chemistry Council) has launched a major campaign to defend BPA, including one effort that helped killed a California state bill aiming to ban all but trace amounts of BPA from the food and beverage containers of babies and young children.

The trade association publicly suggested that any ban on BPA would threaten food safety and increase grocery costs. On 29 August, the California State Assembly rejected the bill by a 35-30 vote. Fifteen of the state legislators were absent or didn’t vote.

‘California’s legislators made the right decision for their consumers,’ said ACC’s Steven Hentges. ‘Products targeted by this bill have been affirmed to be safe by government bodies around the world based on the science, most recently by the FDA’.

There was some criticism, however, of industry efforts to defeat the bill. ‘It is a very powerful lobby,’ says Scott Belcher, a University of Cincinnati pharmacologist. ‘With the worldwide production capacity at over 6.4 billion pounds per year, BPA is an important chemical and an important money maker.’ The US chemical industry produces roughly 2.3 billion pounds of BPA annually, and the chemical’s global market is estimated at $6 billion

Whatever kickbacks were being passed around must have stopped or no longer covered the cost of gas for FDA scientists to drive to work, or maybe the severely underfunded agency is finally able to properly address BPA.

FDA ignored evidence when calling BPA safe
Updated 10/29/2008 11:55 PM
By Liz Szabo, USA TODAY

The scientists took the FDA to task for basing its safety decision in August on three industry-funded studies. Another government agency, the National Toxicology Program, decided many other independent studies deserved consideration. The toxicology program concluded last month there is “some concern” that BPA alters development of the brain, prostate and behavior in children and fetuses.

The expert panel also found the FDA underestimated how much BPA babies ingest on several counts. For one, the agency failed to consider the cumulative effect of being exposed to BPA from dozens of products, a fundamental error that “severely limits the usefulness” of the FDA’s safety estimate.

An advocacy group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, believes BPA is too toxic to use in baby products at all. The group formally has asked the FDA to remove BPA from food and beverage containers.

This report from Chemistry World talks about the effects of BPA:

BPA linked to heart disease and diabetes
16 September 2008
Animal studies have long suggested that low-level chronic exposure to BPA can lead to reproductive and developmental problems, such as breast and prostate cancers, as well as the early onset of puberty. A report from the National Institutes of Health found ‘some concern’ about the effects of BPA on foetuses and children. But the FDA says it has not been proven that typical human exposures pose a safety risk. And in July the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that the chemical appears safe at current dosages since humans metabolise and eliminate it more rapidly than do the rats used in scientific research.

Although it is complicated to work out a ‘safe’ level of BPA exposure, Galloway says her paper raises doubt about whether the current guidelines set by US and European governments are adequately protective. ‘We are seeing the effect of concentrations lower than the level currently recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),’ she told Chemistry World. The EPA’s safety limit is 50 micrograms/kg bodyweight per day, which is also the tolerable daily intake according to the EFSA.

When will we get results?

FDA criticised by its own experts over bisphenol A
04 November 2008

The FDA is unlikely to resolve the BPA safety issue quickly. The agency doesn’t have to officially respond to the Science Board report until February, by which time a new president will occupy the White House and a new Congress will be installed. The agency says its reply could include anything from a call for specific research proposals to the implementation of some type of BPA ban.

Consumer tips to avoid BPA exposure from the Environmental Working Group.

I’ve seen a lot of chatter about BPA in baby formula and found this information through the Environmental Working Group stating that powdered formula does not appear to contain BPA even if the can may be lined with BPA.

BPA does not appear to leach into powdered formula. The Canadian government recently published testing results showing no BPA in any of 56 powdered formulas sampled, and the tests include the same companies that make the formula sold in the United States (Cao 2008). Previously little was known about BPA in powdered formula. Three of the 4 major formula companies had told EWG that they used BPA in powdered formula containers or gave us conflicting answers. FDA recently analyzed 2 types of powdered formula containers and concluded that there was no BPA epoxy lining the metal portions of cans.

More on safer products for feeding your baby from the Environmental Working Group:

EWG’s Guide to Infant Formula and Baby Bottles: Guide to Baby-Safe Bottles & Formula

Ban on Phthalates in Children’s Toys

Phthalates are a group of chemicals that mimic the body’s hormones, and may pose long-term risks to the development of the reproductive and endocrine systems that regulate metabolism and hormone functions. Phthalates have been linked to increased instances of early puberty, infertility, and endometriosis.

New safety legislation bans chemical found in soft plastics
November 03, 2008

Beginning on February 10, 2009, the CPSIA permanently bans the use of three phthalates in children’s toys and child care articles: DEHP, DBP, and BBP. Three more phthalates, DINP, DIDP, and DnOP, will also be banned, albeit temporarily, from children’s toys that can be placed in a child’s mouth and from child care articles. “Child care articles” are those products designed or intended to facilitate the sleep or feeding of children age three or younger, or to help such children with sucking or teething.

Phthalates are in everything and are very hard to avoid they are found in adhesives, aftershave lotions, colognes, deodorants, detergents, toys, food packaging, hair gels, hair spray, hoses, lubricants, nail polish, perfumes, raincoats, shampoos, shower curtains, vinyl flooring, and wall coverings. Some tips on how to avoid them and reduce exposure:

How to Avoid Phthalates
2.4.2008 3:14 PM
3 Steps to Help Avoid a Hormone-Mimicking Chemical

  • Read the ingredients. According to the organization Pollution in People, you can identify phthalates in some products by their chemical names, or abbreviations:
  • DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate) and DEP (diethyl phthalate) are often found in personal care products, including nail polishes, deodorants, perfumes and cologne, aftershave lotions, shampoos, hair gels and hand lotions. (BzBP, see below, is also in some personal care products.)
  • DEHP (di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate or Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate) is used in PVC plastics, including some medical devices.
  • BzBP (benzylbutyl phthalate) is used in some flooring, car products and personal care products.
  • DMP (dimethyl phthalate) is used in insect repellent and some plastics (as well as rocket propellant).
  • Be wary of the term “fragrance,” which is used to denote a combination of compounds, possibly including phthatates, which are a subject of recent concern because of studies showing they can mimic certain hormones.
  • Choose plastics with the recycling code 1, 2 or 5. Recycling codes 3 and 7 are more likely to contain bisphenol A or phthalates.

Lansinoh from breastfeeding to diaper rash

Most women have probably heard that if you want to breastfeed that you shouldn’t wash your nipples for the last few weeks of pregnancy, but many probably don’t know why. I always thought it was because soap might clog the pours, but it’s actually because of the drying effects of soap. You might notice little pimple-like bumps around the areola, the dark area around the nipple; those bumps secrete oil that helps lubricate the area. It also fights bacteria and adjusts the ph balance. Yes, it really does fight bacteria all on it’s own and all natural like. No soap needed.

Personally, I found it difficult to take a shower and not get some soap on that area, so what I did was use a little dab of Lansinoh after most showers. Consider it pre-treating the area. I’ve run into several sites that answer a question I never thought to ask, “Should I try to toughen up my nipples for breastfeeding?” For the love of perky nipples, mygod, oh hell no! Your nipples are going to be thoroughly abused by your bouncing baby toothless nipple gnasher. Breastfeeding really shouldn’t hurt, if it does, it’s most likely because the baby isn’t positioned correctly or doesn’t have a proper latch. After a few days of breastfeeding, your nipples will be sore just from the shear attention they’re getting. The tenderness will likely last several weeks. Cracked bleeding nipples don’t sound like fun applying Lansinoh after each feeding helps keep nipples from drying out.

Lansinoh means lan (lanolin) sin (without) oh (alcohol). Lansinoh is pure medical grade lanolin. Nothing is added, no preservatives or anything, and it is refined to the point that even people with wool/lanolin allergies should be able to use Lansinoh. If you have had a reaction to other wool or lanolin products, no need to make your boobs break out in a rash making you look like you have nipples all over, put a dab of Lansinoh on your forearm and cover with a band aid for 24 hours.

You can request a free sample of Lansinoh by emailing customerservice at lansinoh dot com.

From the Lansinoh site:

LANSINOH does not have to be removed prior to breastfeeding thus eliminating further handling of already damaged tissue. LANSINOH is completely natural, non-toxic and contains no preservatives, BHT (Butyl Hydroxy Toulene), fragrance, or additives of any kind.

LANSINOH is hypoallergenic and will not irritate even sensitive skin. It has only one
ingredient – ultra purified lanolin.

LANSINOH is not chemically bleached, unlike paler lanolin’s and products which contain white beeswax and white paraffin.

LANSINOH does not alter the pH balance of the skin, thus preserving nature’s own protective acid mantle.

LANSINOH has little taste or odor to bother the baby. However, many other products used on nipples do have an offensive taste, smell or aftertaste and you can test for this by rubbing the product into the back of your hand and licking it off.

LANSINOH is the only medical grade lanolin formulated specifically for use on damaged nipples and backed by extensive clinical and laboratory testing. No other lanolin’s for nipple care have
this backing.

LANSINOH is bacteriostatic. LANSINOH was independently tested on a 30 and a 60 day USP Challenge for bacterial growth. Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida albicans, Aspergillus niger and Escherichia coli were deliberately introduced to LANSINOH and in each case the bacteria failed to multiply. Unbroken skin is the best barrier to infection. Because LANSINOH promotes faster healing, it may prevent some secondary infections.

LANSINOH does not clog pores or milk ducts nor does it interfere with lactation in any way. Unlike products which contain oils and paraffin derivatives, LANSINOH is a natural ester, like our own skin sebum, and it is completely absorbed within minutes of application.

LANSINOH has a complete Certificate of Analysis available for every batch of LANSINOH.

LANSINOH provides a semi-occlusive moisture barrier that slows the evaporation of the body’s internal moisture while allowing oxygen transfer to occur. When the proper moisture balance has been regained, the fissure will resolve because the delicate tissue has been rehydrated from within. This is nature’s moisturizing process.

Other uses for Lansinoh:

  1. Use it as lip balm.
  2. Help heal minor cuts, burns and skin abrasions including dry winter cuticles and chapped cheeks.
  3. It’s a little expensive as a lotion but you can use it to moisturize dry and itchy skin on elbows, knees and heels.
  4. Soothe itchy stretch marks.
  5. Prevent and treat diaper rash. They have a special product for preventing and treating diaper rash, but I used their original plain lanolin on Sophia and it works well for her.
  6. Replenish the lanolin in wool diaper covers and wool nursing pads.

Carter’s Tagless Baby Clothes Rash

No recall has been issued yet, but about 400 babies who wore the Carter’s “tagless” clothing developed rashes on their backs. The affected clothes are from the fall 2007 line, which have a solid background. The “tagless” labels with stenciled backgrounds have not been linked to skin rashes.

Carter’s announced on their website, “It appears that a very small percentage of children can be allergic to one or more ingredients in the labels. The solid, rather than stenciled, background on the fall 2007 labels appears to have produced a more pronounced and noticeable reaction among those children who are most allergic to the ink.”