Jan 26 2014

One (laundry) load off my shoulders

Published by under Cloth Diapers

testing the potty at 13mos

testing the potty at 13mos

It’s been two or three weeks. Maybe more, I’ve lost track. Babe no longer wears diapers.

It happened like they said it would. Overnight, when she was ready. Actually, she went to school in a diaper and came home in undies and that was that. I was not patient with the process which probably contributed to how long it took (a month before her third birthday). I even resulted to a sticker book (which, by the way, was useless for us).

I am embarrassed about how impatient I was. I was self-conscious that Babe was still wearing diapers. It was silly, I can say that now. It just seemed like all of her peers were in undies and she still had the cute cloth diaper butt.

I know getting out of diapers is like walking–developmental. Kids walk and use the toilet at various ages. If a child’s bladder muscles aren’t developed enough no sticker chart will help! Still I could hear my mom’s voice talking about all the lazy moms whose kids were still in diapers after two. She never said anything to that effect about our precious Babe but I wondered if anyone was thinking it. My sister and I were out of diapers by two.

She had been doing really well months ago, 10 months to be exact. Right before the birth of her brother rocked her world. Being a Big Girl lost its allure.
I was frustrated because Babe has always hit milestones on the early side. I was annoyed because I hated washing diapers x2. We joked that Bug would wean and use the toilet before Babe would!

Up until the day she stopped wearing diapers I’m quite sure Babe just couldn’t feel that she was going to pee. In the days leading up to her being out of diapers she’d pee and then run to the potty. It clicked like that. The next week she’d run to the toilet before she had to go. And thankfully it ALL makes it in the toilet (I know lots of kids need to poop in a diaper for longer than they need to pee.)

So that’s that. We tried to go diaper free at night time and that was a messy situation. Diego pull-ups for the time being.

This is the post I’ve been hoping to write for a year!

3 responses so far

Jan 20 2014

How we stay (naturally) healthy in the winter

Published by under Health

We get outside come snow or sun!

We get outside come snow or sun!

What’s the best way to ensure your whole family gets sick? Write a blog post about how healthy you are. Here’s hoping I don’t jinx us.

I’ve never had the flu, neither have either of my kids or my husband (since I’ve known him).

My three year old has never had an ear infection or gastro. She’s also never vomited. She’s had three fevers in her life. My nine month old has had a cold including a cough and runny nose, but that’s about it.

I don’t know all the reasons why some people get sick and others don’t. Lifestyle. Diet. Genes…

I do know we try really hard to stay healthy and so far it’s been going well! We’ve had sniffles and coughs but were all feeling pretty great most days. I wanted to share some of the things we do here that might help you and your family. I’m not a doctor, so please do your own research before trying out these radical ideas.

We get fresh air
If Papa’s home and it’s not -40, we try to get out for an after-dinner walk. I throw Bug on my back and Papa pulls Babe in a toboggan. I love it. Dressed properly, winter in Montreal’s not so bad.

We take vitamin D
I’m not shy with dosing either. Babe gets three D drops, Bug gets one and we adults take a handful of pills (realistically 3,000 IU) Montreal has some sun in the winter but it ain’t ever enough. If that seems like a lot, you might find this article interesting.

Elderberry Syrup
Alas, we’ve used up all the syrup my friend Rebecca made us but we were taking it daily. Babe calls it “Rebecca’s medicine.” I’m hoping to get berries soon and make more, using this recipe.

Heavy on the garlic
I use lots of garlic in almost every dinner. Ginger and onions, too. Known as the Trinity Roots in Kundalini Yoga, I’m convinced my intake of these things contributes to my overall good health. And possibly gas.

We wash our hands
With normal, non-antibacterial soap.

We filter our water
Blessed to live in a city that doesn’t poison its water with fluoride, we still have all kinds of yucky stuff in it. We have this Santevia filter which alkalizes tap water. I don’t know if it has all the health properties it claims to but it tastes amazing and I don’t smell the chlorine. I believe chlorinated water wreaks havoc on our guts. I just picture drinking pool water, the chemicals zapping our good bacteria. That’s just what it looks like to me.

Breast milk FTW
Yes, I’m sometimes annoyed about breastfeeding Babe but I don’t doubt for a second that her good health is largely because she is still getting a good amount of breast milk. Obviously Bug is too.

We skip the refined sugar
We mostly only use raw honey to sweeten. Refined sugar destroys your immune system.

We skip the flu shot
I believe the flu shot does more harm than good. I’ve never had one and I won’t give one to my kids. Here’s a nice piece by CBC to calm the H1N1 fear-mongering.

We sleep
Okay, we don’t really, but we try. Papa has it the worst because he’s woken at night then works the next day. I work far fewer hours than he does and my boobs play an integral role in nap time for the kids so I often fall asleep too. The kids sleep more than either of us. I make sure of it. Sleep is integral to healthy living.

Kefir is my middle name
Kefir is a bit of an inside family joke here. Papa calls anything fermented or probiotic “kefir.” And so does Babe. She doesn’t realize the “pink milk” she drinks everyday is delicious strawberry flavoured kefir.

I’m hoping some of these ideas are new to some of you and that they’ll help your family this winter. If you have other holistic health tips please share in the comments!

3 responses so far

Jan 14 2014

10 habits to break to boost fertility

Published by under fertility,Health

smokingIf having a baby is on the list for 2014, there are some bad habits that you’ll want to break first. Not only will you improve your health, but your fertility will get a boost.

Guest post by Dr. Edward Marut

“Making some changes for the New Year can have a huge impact on helping couples trying to conceive” explains Dr. Edward Marut, Medical Director with Fertility Centers of Illinois. “Cutting down on coffee, getting more sleep and quitting smoking can be the difference between trying to have a baby and becoming pregnant.”Here are 10 bad habits to break in 2014 in order to supercharge your conception goals:

1. Lighting Up That Cigarette

We all know smoking is unhealthy, but the numbers speak louder than words. In a report by the British Medical Association, it was found that smokers may have a 10-40% lower monthly fecundity (fertility) rate. It is also estimated that up to 13% of infertility may be caused by tobacco use, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Cutting down won’t solve the problem – smoking as few as five cigarettes per day has been associated with lower fertility rates in males and females. Smoking, whether tobacco or marijuana, is also associated with miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, pregnancy complications and stillborn births – even if it’s the male partner doing the smoking.

2. Stop Stressing About Timing

Home ovulation kits and temperature charts don’t add anything if you are having intercourse two to four times per week. Should you have regular periods, your fertile zone is days 12-16. If your periods are not regular, see a reproductive endocrinologist and relieve yourself of the confusion and stress that comes with home testing.

3. Using Water-Based Lubricant

Water-based lubricants such as Astroglide and KY Jelly may inhibit sperm movement by 60-100 percent within 60 minutes of intercourse. If his swimmers can’t reach the prize, they can’t win the race. Instead, use natural oils, oil-based lubricants or even cooking oil, but be sure to keep allergies in mind. If you’re allergic to peanuts, then using peanut oil may not be the best choice. Pre-Seed lubricant is a commercial product that may even enhance motility (movement) of sperm.

4. “Saving Up” for Ovulation

If you’re abstaining from sex to “save up” for intercourse while you are ovulating, stop. There is no need to “save up” or have intercourse multiple times per day leading up to ovulation. Having a pleasurable sex life is important – don’t let trying to conceive interfere. Try to have sex two to four times per week, whenever it feels right.

5. Don’t Ignore your BMI Number

A number calculated using a person’s height and weight, the Body Mass Index is used as an indicator of obesity and weight issues. Extra weight
causes hormonal shifts that can affect ovulation and semen production, while being underweight can cause irregular or absent periods. It is ideal to have a Body Mass Index (BMI) that falls in the 20-25 range. The CDC provides a BMI calculator to help assess your BMI number. The good news: losing as little as 5-10 percent of body weight can significantly improve fertility potential in overweight patients. Keep in mind that being a little overweight is better than being underweight when trying to conceive.

6. Gorging On Junk Food

You aren’t getting the nutrition you need if you’re putting junk in your body. Limit or cut out sweets, processed foods, and saturated fats. Make meals that include fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, and don’t overdo carbohydrates. If you have too carbohydrates in your diet, it can lead to the production of ovarian hormones, which cause harm to women with PCOS and interfere with ovulation. But don’t punish yourself if you are craving sweets – a little bit of fun food doesn’t hurt, and giving in a little may relieve the urge to gorge on guilty pleasures.

7. Avoiding the Doctor

If you’ve been trying for a year and you’re under 35, or if you’ve been trying for six months and you’re over 35 and have not yet achieved a pregnancy, it’s time to talk to a specialist. There may be simple changes you can make to help achieve conception. Remember, knowledge is power! A consultation and basic fertility evaluation is an affordable way to evaluate fertility potential. If you are under 35, having basic testing done which returns normal results may allow for a few more cycles of trying without pursuing treatment.

8. Isolating Yourself

A study concluded that women with infertility felt as anxious and depressed as those diagnosed with cancer, hypertension, or recovering from a heart attack. Don’t walk your path alone. Talk to your partner, find a support group or forum where you can speak with others who can relate, or see a counselor (with your partner or alone). Know that approximately one in six couples experiences difficulty when trying to become pregnant – the odds are that someone you know is feeling the same way.

9. Getting a Venti at Starbucks

Even though up to two cups of coffee have been shown to be safe in pregnancy, exceeding that when trying to get pregnant may be counterproductive. One study showed that “women who consumed more than the equivalent of one cup of coffee per day were half as likely to become pregnant, per cycle, as women who drank less.” Downgrade your coffee cup size or opt for decaffeinated or half-caffeinated coffee. Remember, there is also caffeine in tea, cola and chocolate.

10. Burning the Candle at Both Ends

Not getting the sleep you need per night? No amount of “catch up” can make up for lost rest. Research has shown the hormone leptin, which has a critical role in female fertility, is reduced when the body is deprived of rest. Sleep for at least seven hours per night, and listen to your body’s needs.

Dr. Edward Marut is Medical Director with Fertility Centers of Illinois. Fertility Centers of Illinois is one of the leading fertility treatment practices in the United States, providing advanced reproductive endocrinology services in the Chicago area for more than 30 years. For more information visit  www.fcionline.com

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Jan 09 2014

Keeping kids safer in the car this winter

Published by under Health,Safety

carBefore I had kids I rolled my eyes when people talked about carseats. Why can’t the kids just sit in their parents laps? Isn’t that how my parents did it? (I’m still alive.) Do carseats really need to expire? How hard can it really be to make sure your seat is properly installed?

People still ask these questions, I’m sure. But I don’t. I am very serious about carseat safety. Cars are terrifying. People can be stupid. If someone hits my car I want to be sure my kids are as safe as they can possibly be.

Here are three ways I protect my children.

Firstly, I prefer to walk or take public transport if possible. It’s better for our health and the environment. I personally don’t even like driving. I’m afraid to be on the road whether in the driver’s seat or passenger seat. Montreal drivers are crazy. Gas is expensive and destroying the planet.

But obviously sometimes we drive.

The safest kids can be, is facing rear in a five point harness. For kids under the age of four, rear-facing is FIVE times safer than forward-facing. Kids are 90% safer in a serious collision when they are rear-facing. My children will continue to face rear as long as possible.  What that means is until they hit the max height/ weight for the carseat’s range. Not the minimum–the maximum. The two seats we have go up to 30lbs rear facing (Evenflo Symphony 3-in-1) and 40lbs rear facing (Graco My Ride 65). Bug is 26lbs and Babe is just over 30 so we’re looking at buying a second seat that rear-faces to 40 or 45lbs. These are not the best seats money can buy. But they are what we have.

Please take a minute to watch this video of what happens in a collision rear-facing vs forward-facing.

Yes, my tall three year old’s legs are bent when she’s in the car but she honestly doesn’t care. She doesn’t know any different. Her legs will not break in an accident just because they are bent. The other day we got rear ended by a cab driver. I was pretty mad but no one was hurt.

“Extended rear-facing” seems to be becoming a new trend. And with good reason– it’s safest for our kids! Doctors and the government are thankfully jumping on board.

I was pleased to recently find this info on Transport Canada’s site:

“Don’t hurry. Keep your child in the rear-facing seat until he or she grows out of it.”

“Even if your child weighs 10 kg (22 lbs), is able to walk on his or her own and your provincial/territorial law says you can use a forward-facing seat, the rear-facing position is still safer. As long as your child is still below the weight and height limits of your current child seat, you should use that seat for as long as possible.”

So that part is easy. Good carseats,  with high rear-facing weight limits, properly installed in the safest way possible. Many people like to have their kids face forward after the minimum age or weight, and that’s obviously safer than no carseat at all but rear-facing is the safest, period.

Another safety measure we take is with regards to winter coats. This might seem more unbelievable than having a four year old face the back window, but it’s very important.

Carseats and winter jackets don’t mix. No matter how hard we try to tighten the straps, if a child is wearing a winter coat in a carseat his or her life is in danger. The safest way for a child to be in a carseat in the winter is without a winter jacket.

Check out why it’s dangerous:

Is it a pain to get your kid strapped into a carseat without a coat? Yep. That doesn’t change its importance though. As I mentioned, we minimize our car use and on small non-highway driving the kids usually wear snow suits. But for bigger trips., like the one we took to Ottawa on the weekend, this is how we do it:

The kids have thin but warm one piece fleece suits and hats.

The car gets warmed up and then they get wrapped in blankets and carried out and tightly buckled in. The blankets are  put on top of them. They are cozy, warm, comfy and most importantly, they are safe.

I have friends who bring the kids out to the car in their normal coats and take the coat off once on the car. There are different ways of doing it, and it’s just a matter of making it become your new (safer) normal. After watching this video (below) I’m starting to think we should change our ways, too.

Please share any tips you use to keep your kids safe in the car. Remember, just because your toddler has been facing the front for a year doesn’t mean it’s too late to flip the seat back around the safer way!

Say safe this winter.

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Jan 05 2014

AppleCheeks diaper review and Giveaway

Published by under Cloth Diapers,Product Reviews


Bug wearing the AppleCheeks Size 2 diaper in Cherry Tomato

It was a big day for diapers last Thursday. My friend Leah came by with another half dozen cloth  diapers she fixed for me. She redid the elastics that my chubby kids stretched out and converted my pocket diapers and prefold covers from Velcro to snaps.

I’m going to be frank– I hate Velcro diapers. For a while I was convinced snaps take too long and Velcro is much more practical. This was theoretical. Velcro is not a good way to close a diaper. No matter how carefully you stick the tabs to the diaper before washing, the Velcro will die before your PUL. I promise. Hair and thread and disposable diaper liners will get stuck to it and the Velcro on the waist will wear out.

If I knew three years ago what I now know about cloth diapers I would have saved myself a lot of time, energy and Dawn dish detergent.

I’d have bought a stash of AppleCheeks. Simple.

I have Bummis prefolds, Motherease two pieces, AMPs, Biq et Biquettes, BumGenius and Blueberry. All of these diapers have good selling points. But AppleCheeks pretty much have all the selling points these individual diapers have–in one.

Thursday, the day Leah came by is also the day my AppleCheeks Size 2 sample (in Cherry Tomato) arrived. It looked like… A pocket diaper.

With Snaps!

Perhaps the biggest selling point for me: Made in Montreal. Not just designed in Montreal. Made here.

The reason I’ve been a prefold fan recently (I’ve been using them almost exclusively since before Bug was born) is they end up being a lot less laundry than a pocket diaper. You can reuse the cover a few times and just wash the cotton inserts.

You can also do this with AppleCheeks. “Three ways to wear,” they promise.

The design is similar to AMPs upon first glance, but the envelope design is unique to AppleCheeks–the slot you use to stuff the diaper is closer to the middle of the diaper than to the front or back as it is with other cloth diapers. What this means is the stuffing falls out in the wash. This is huge. No need to get your fingers full of poop digging for the stuffing. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a pretty big bonus! Like all cloth diapers you can obviously use disposable liners to minimize poopiness (AppleCheeks has their own) but it’s something we aren’t in the habit of here. So I’m grateful for the unique design that means with this one diaper I don’t have to dig.

They offer a variety of stuffing options. I love the softness of the One-size Rayon from Bamboo Insert that I received. For something so thin, it’s unbelievably absorbent.

The colour of these diapers are beautifully vivid but simple (no funky patterns) They do do limited releases like Steel Me, Winging It, Beet It, Emerald City, and a personal favourite–Joy!

An important note, AppleCheeeks come in two sizes:  Size 1 fits from 7 – 20lbs, and Size 2 fits from 18 – 40lbs.  I can confirm that the diaper I have fits both my tall, slender, 31 lb 3 year old and my fat, stalky 26 lb 8 month old.

A portion of AppleCheeks sales is donated to Free The Children. Pretty awesome.

If you’d like to win an AppleCheeks cloth diaper for your baby, enter the simple giveaway below. Please note you can only choose from the regular colour palette.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

195 responses so far

Dec 30 2013

Facts about my elimination communication journey

Published by under Cloth Diapers,Parenting

ECGuest post by Rebecca Maftoul

1. When I told my partner I was embarking on this trip, he looked at me with this “yet-again” look (like I’m crazy) and said you’re on your own. Next thing I know, he is talking about it to some of his pals and offering a pee to the baby…

2. I’m still using diapers (And yes, sometimes disposable). I’m a flexiterian.

3. I try to not focus on the misses but more on the catches. It does not work every day (my negative brain monkey is pretty powerful).

4. Some day I catch everything and some days I catch none.

5. I catch 90 % of the poos, and pretty happy to have been able to establish this with her: when she starts solids, all the smelly not so fun poos to clean will be much easier.

6. There are 4 basic principles:

a. timing (for me, it’s when she wakes and after she nurses there is a pee; and poo at 4 AM)

b. cueing: for us, it’s ssssss for pee and cacacaca for poos- French style!

c. Signals: in books, it’s what baby does to let you know she needs. For us, I have no idea. Don’t have time for this or not patient enough.

d. Intuition: that works wonders. I just let the thought come in: “now,  she needs to go.”

7. Here, we pretty much rely on timing, most of the time. I offer regularly during the day (and if awake enough at night), and I feel it’s all still worth it.

8. Why I do it? I’m not too sure yet. Probably for the experiment. In the end, my daughter spends less time is a soiled diaper and experiences more often what it means to have a fresh, clean bum.

9. I thank Melissa Bellemare, from the blog a hippie with a minivan: I went to one of the workshop she teaches at Boutique Bummis and this gave me the inspiration to start!

10. My friend Jenn asked me laughingly how many times I got peed on! Although this happened a few times, and I ended up washing even poo on my freshly showered legs, it always made me laugh.

11. They (mainly Ingrid Bauer) say babies never pee in their sleep. Not true here.

12. That’s (#11) why I never do/ call it “diaper free.”

One response so far

Dec 23 2013

Sigrid Natural Skin Care: Review of the Mama & Baby line

Published by under Cloth Diapers,Product Reviews

bumBum cream. There are as many “natural” diaper creams on the market as there are diapers. I’ve tried my fair share of cream, ointments and butters and might have just found a winner.

Sigrid Natural Skin Care’s products are handmade in Wilno, Ontario by a lovely woman named Sigrid.

We’ve never been huge fans of the white goopy zinc-based creams here, especially since we use cloth diapers. I do not use diaper creams on a daily basis, though I know some parents do. I use it when there is a need– a rash appears. Bug is in serious teething mode, and my jar of Sigrid’s Baby Bud Diaper Ointment arrived just in the nick of time. I’ve often used straight-up olive or coconut oil for the kids rashes but neither of these things are very convenient on the go!

I am so impressed with the quality of Sigrid’s ointment. First off– the smell!! Gorgeous… I despise the smell of synthetic perfumes. As much because they stink as that they are filled with horrible chemicals that I won’t let anywhere near my kids’ bodies. Did you know the word “perfume” in an ingredients list basically means “I don’t legally have to disclose what’s making this stuff smell”? Trade secret. If something is marked “Perfume,” I stay away from it. Perfume is in everything, unfortunately even baby skin care products.

All that’s in this ointment–the pure goodness of: Extra virgin olive oil infused with organic chickweed, beeswax, lavender and chamomile essential oils.

The texture is super. Not too greasy. Except for the time Babe put it in her hair.

Most cloth diaper companies will warn you against using creams without a disposable liner. But I side with Sigrid when she says ,
“I’m not crazy about disposable liners as it kind of ruins the effort to be green.” When either of the kids have a small rash I will wipe their bottoms with homemade wipe solution and let them air dry. These days I also add some of this ointment.

Sigrid also sent along a sample of her Mama’s Belly Butter. It scores high points for its yummy smell too! Ingredients: Sweet almond oil, grape seed oil, avacado oil and essential oil of benzoin. Obviously I’m not pregnant at the moment, but the cream can be used to nourish skin regardless.

The ingredients are super special in this product: the calendula and chickweed she grows herself, the beeswax that comes from a small Ottawa Valley based bee farm and the extra virgin olive oil is supreme quality. “It’s organic and comes from a small farm in Greece,” she said. “It’s the same stuff I make my salad dressings with… absolutely delish!”

Both products are available in select stores in Ontario or online at sigridnaturals.com.

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Dec 20 2013

Infertility 101: 5 Common Diagnoses and Treatment Solutions

Published by under Being pregnant

Guest post by Dr. Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron
Photo by Esparta

Photo by Esparta

Trying to conceive?

If those two little pink lines are still eluding you, you’re not alone.

Most couples need an average of up to one year before achieving pregnancy, while one in six couples experiences infertility issues.

Here are five of the most common infertility diagnoses, accompanied with example treatment solutions. Each person, diagnosis and situation is different – only after a doctor has completed an evaluation can a customized treatment plan can be advised.

Infertility: For women over 35, infertility is defined as trying for six months without a pregnancy. For women under 35, infertility is defined as trying to conceive for one year without a pregnancy.

Keeping in mind that the causes of infertility can widely vary, here are five common diagnoses to be aware of:

1.    Ovulatory Disorders:

A leading cause of female infertility, ovulatory disorders occur when an egg is not released from the ovary. For most women with ovulatory disorders, periods are irregular or absent. The good news is that 75 percent of women who receive treatment for an ovulatory disorder become pregnant. The causes of ovulatory dysfunction can be broad and thus important to be evaluated.

Treatment Solutions:

It is important to maintain a healthy body mass index, minimize stress, and follow a nutritious diet. Proper nutrition and exercise can help normalize ovulation. For patients with hormone, thyroid, insulin or other endocrine imbalances, medication can aid in restoring ovulation. Treatment solutions will vary from patient to patient.

2.    Tubal Factor:

If fallopian tubes are damaged or blocked, eggs are unable to travel down the tubes for fertilization. Blockage can occur as a result of tubal ligation or from infection, such as a sexually transmitted disease. Tubal damage can be caused by scar tissue, which can occur as a result of prior surgery, endometriosis, or numerous other factors.

Treatment Solutions:

Through surgery, scar tissue can be removed or  damaged tubes can be repaired. Tubal ligation can also be reversed through surgery. When surgical treatment is not an option, patients have experienced great success with in vitro fertilization.

3.    Male Infertility:

Women and men experience infertility equally, making male factor infertility a common diagnosis. If sperm are misshapen, immobile or low in number, conception may be hard to attain. Injury, illness, health problems and lifestyle choices can be the cause of male infertility.

Treatment Solutions:

Men can boost fertility through regular exercise, healthy diet, and abstaining from drugs, cigarettes and excessive alcohol consumption. For some cases of male factor infertility, semen can undergo a semen wash, where the most viable semen are collected. Sperm can then be injected directly into the uterus in an intrauterine insemination (IUI). An additional option is in vitro fertilization (IVF), where the highest quality sperm can be selected and injected into eggs for fertilization.

4.    Endometriosis:

A painful, chronic disease that affects at least 6.3 million women in the U.S., endometriosis has been found in 35 to 50 percent of women with infertility. Each month when a woman menstruates, the endometrial lining in her uterus sheds. When endometrial tissue normally found in the uterus grows outside the uterus and in other places of the body, it is known as endometriosis.

Treatment Solutions:

As a result of endometriosis, scar tissue can form. Surgical treatment to remove scar tissue may be a viable treatment solution. If more extensive treatment is required, in vitro fertilization is also an option.

5.    Poor Ovarian Reserve:

Ovarian reserve declines as a woman ages, with egg supply taking a rapid decline in the late 20s and again in a woman’s 30s. Women are born with six to seven million eggs, which is reduced to 300,000-400,000 at the onset of puberty. Over the next 40 years, approximately, 400-500 eggs will ovulate. As women age, eggs lower in quality, which may make a healthy pregnancy difficult to achieve.

Treatment Solutions:

Based upon age and quality of egg supply, treatment protocol for poor ovarian reserve can vary greatly. Options may include in vitro fertilization, intrauterine insemination, and donor egg. Should couples pursue donor egg, there are now options to use both fresh and frozen donor eggs as a treatment option.

Dr. Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron is a reproductive endocrinologist with Fertility Centers of Illinois. Dr. Hirshfeld-Cytron is well published in the areas of fertility preservation and cost analysis of fertility therapies. Her professional interests include fertility preservation for cancer patients and social reasons. www.fcionline.com

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Dec 18 2013

An optimistic update

Published by under Parenting

babywearLife is pretty great these days. There were times a few months ago that the light at the end of the tunnel didn’t exist.

Here I am. A happy, capable umother of two. It didn’t happen over night, nor did it happen without serious support from loved ones, paid ones and even medication. More on that some other time.

I still tandem nurse my two stinkers to sleep. They still wake me up most nights. Babe is still three and feisty. Bug is still teething and yelling and climbing. But I can do it now. Like a rock star.

Papa is the most present father I know of (except maybe for the dad who brings his three littles to music class on Thursdays…) He is fully present every moment he spends with the kids and I admire that so much. But the nature of his job (musician) means I’m often alone. I’m often alone at night. This used to terrify me. Now I can just do it. Sometimes things are total chaos. Babe runs around in the nude for 15 minutes after every bath. Bug is the loudest most vocal 8 month old I’ve ever met.

I am working. Teaching yoga to other people’s rug rats. I am happier than I’ve been in as long as I can remember and that’s good, because I have so very much to be happy about.

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Dec 11 2013

Tips for a greener Christmas

Published by under Reuse&Recycle

Christmas is often a time of excessive spending, packaging and consumption so let us offer our tips on a greener, more environmentally conscious holiday time. Challenge yourself. How small can your eco-footprint be this year?

Guest Post by Amber Bosma
pine cone/cocotte 1.    Make Room for Christmas

It’s unlikely you give and receive no gifts at Christmas, so why not reduce the clutter in your home and make room for Christmas? Before your house fills with even more stuff, sell unwanted items online and make some spending dollars. If it can’t be sold, donate to your local thrift store. Save it from the landfill!

2.    Gift Giving

Many of the items on sites like Usedeverywhere.com kijiji or craigslist are new and unused. If you have specific items in mind, search your local site before buying in a store. In cases like this, search the brand or item name.

” I just bought a brand new EduToys rock tumbler for my son for Christmas – new in stores, $80… but I got it for $15 from Used! Anyways, just wanted to share. The site is so valuable – helps people save money at Christmas, helps people earn money at Christmas, saves packaging and less waste… and no tax! Love it!” UsedVictoria.com user, Heather, via email.

3.    Buy Gently Used Gifts

Some may gag at the idea of giving used items as gifts, whereas others will embrace the idea of saving dollars and eliminating packaging and tax. Regifting for the world!

4.    Christmas Trees

Buy your plastic Christmas tree used, or this year consider an alternative Christmas tree made from upcycled materials. If you are a real Christmas tree lover, source a real Christmas tree.

5.    Excess Packaging

Eliminate excess waste by shunning wrapping paper this year. Use scarves, fabric scraps, old books and maps to design beautiful gift wrap and tags with a more personal touch.

6.    We’re up all Night to get Crafty

Making your own gifts can save a lot of money. Using pre-loved items for an upcycled gift also saves items from the landfill. Look to craft blogs for inspiration. This old dollshouse DIY is another great example of taking an old unwanted item and making it personalized and good as new.

7.    Christmas Card Waste

A great idea to eliminate excess waste is to donate to a charity in lieu of Christmas cards. Offer an electronic card to your nearest and dearest and let them know which charity you contributed to this year. If you love to send cards, recycle last year’s received cards with the help of some crafty supplies.

8.    Decor

Buy quality seasonal decor that can be used year in year out. Buy used where you can, bags of decorations are usually available in thrift stores like Value Village and Rennaissance, and online on UsedEverywhere.com, kijiji or craigslist. Look to nature for inspiration and let children use their great imaginations to turn pinecones, leaves, feathers and more into pretty decor. When considering lights, think about using energy efficient options and turn them off when you sleep and are out of the house.

9.    Local

When buying gifts new and when ticking off your grocery list, try and buy local. Support your community vendors at the same time as aiming for carbon neutral purchases. Leave the disposable tableware behind, recycle your empties and plan ahead to eliminate food waste. If you do have scraps, compost!

10.   Party Party

Our top tips for parties include reusable tableware, shared or public transport, electronic invites, doggy bags for leftover food, recycling bottles and food containers, and organic food and drink choices where cost and selection allows.

Incorporate even one or two of these tips into your holiday traditions and it is a step towards a more environmentally conscious Christmas.

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