Monday, September 29, 2014

Cargo biking FAQ: Updated

Inspired by today's downpour, I added a section on the Cargo Bike FAQ list about riding in the rain. I recently discovered a simple solution to keep the baby seat & rear rack dry when the bike is parked outside.

Have you seen the FAQ page yet? What else would you like to know about riding a longtail cargo bike? If you have more questions, maybe I have the answers here. If not, please ask!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Our Milk Sharing Story for World Milk Sharing Week (+ Giveaway)

L getting his 'top up' after breastfeeding
Did you know that this week is World Milk Sharing Week? It's basically a week to promote awareness of breast milk sharing in all its forms. Sharing milk isn't anything new, but I think it died down a bit in the last century or so, along with breastfeeding itself. In the past few years, with the help of social media, milk sharing has grown, providing many parents a fantastic way to nourish their babies with the next best thing to their own mama's milk.

For Milk Sharing week this year, I thought I'd share my experience with milk sharing with you. If you've been a long-time reader of Spokesmama, you probably remember that we were recipients of donated milk. Here's our story.

With both my children I struggled with low milk supply when they were newborns. It was quite a blow to discover that my 12-day-old son wasn't gaining enough weight because I wasn't making enough milk. We switched into emergency supplement mode, getting him formula immediately on top of each breastfeeding session, but I wanted him to have as much breastmilk as possible, so my midwife referred me to the BC Women's Milk Bank.

Prescreened moms with an abundant supply of milk pump & donate to the bank, where the milk is pasteurized & bottled. First priority goes to infants in the neonatal intensive care ward at BC Children's Hospital. If there is enough of a supply, babies like mine are able to get some too. We took home about a dozen bottles of the liquid gold for baby Linnaeus.

B getting her post breastfeeding top up
On top of the milk from BC Women's that we got, my sister also gave some to Linnaeus. Her daughters are ten months older than him & during a nursing strike, my sister pumped milk. Her daughters wouldn't take it in bottles, so she gave it to us.

I tried everything I could to increase my milk supply, but I never got up to more than about 80% of his needs, so I supplemented breastfeeding with the donated milk & formula for nearly ten months with Linnaeus.

When I became pregnant again with Brontë, I started planning as much as possible in an attempt to avoid low milk supply again. Despite my best efforts, I still wasn't making enough for baby Bronte in the first months. I put the word out to find some informal milk sharing situation. A friend donated a bottle to us, but I was too overwhelmed with now being mother of two kids to seek more. Thankfully, I managed to make more milk than I had with Linnaeus & we dispensed with the supplementing when Brontë was about three months old.

Though we didn't use a huge amount of donated milk, I'm so very grateful for every ounce that we got. I spent many hours of my life hooked up to a breast pump & I have to admit, I'm really glad those daily pumping sessions are well behind me. I applaud the mamas who give their time & their milk to BC Women's, or to more informal milk sharing arrangements, so that other babies can have the benefits of breast milk.

If you're interested in donating milk to BC Women's Milk Bank, please visit their site to find out more on eligibility.

Snugabell, a local company that makes the PumpEase bras & other accessories to make pumping better for mamas, created a great video celebrating the beauty of breastfeeding for Pump Across America. You can watch it right here:

I saved the fun stuff for last:

Snugabell is offering you the chance to save some money on PumpEase hands-free pumping bras from Sept. 24 - 30 on,, and Just use promo code GIVEMILK. There's more info on the Snugabell Facebook page.

In honour of World Milk Sharing Week, Snugabell will be giving away a PumpEase Prize Pack (one of their awesome hands-free pumping bras, a wet bag to match, & a door hanger) as a grand prize and Through a Child's Eyes Keepsake Colouring Books as runner-up prizes. 

You can enter here. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Read more stories of milk sharing on the Snugabell blog!

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Got a Question about Cargo Biking?

Whenever we ride anywhere, we always get questions about the Yuba Mundo. Many parents of little kids are really interested in a longtail bike, so I'll often give them my card in case they have any other questions they think of later. I thought I'd start up a list of FAQs on the blog here too. you can find it in the tabs at the top of the blog here.

If you have other questions about cargo bikes & what our experience has been like that I didn't answer here, please don't hesitate to contact me by leaving comments, emailing me (lisa AT spokesmama DOT com), or via the various social media channels. The links to my profiles are below. :)

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Baby Talk Two

Little chatty Brontë
Watching my baby hit all their milestones has been thrilling, even the second time around, but my favourite stage so far with both kids is when they start talking. It's fascinating to me what their first words are. I feel like I can understand what's going on in Brontë's little brain a bit better now that's she's using words. It's quite easy to see what words she understands too, as she'll do things that you ask her immediately, or turn to someone whose name you've mentioned. She knows her brother's name & tonight I heard her calling "Nay! Nay!" which might be his name. Not quite sure about that one yet. I'll have to watch to see how she uses the sound.

I feel like the first few words that kids learn to use tell you a bit about their personality in a way. Linnaeus' first ten were:

  1. bye
  2. huh-tuh=hot/ I'm checking the temperature of this
  3. apa=apple
  4. da=dance
  5. mvuuh/meuhh=moo
  6. Mama
  7. Papa
  8. amah?/anuh?=give me that
  9. tee/dee=tree
  10. beh=bear/fuzzy animal that's not a dog

These words tell you something about who he was as a baby & some of them are still true today. He's still fairly sensitive to temperature, particularly when it comes to food. He loved apples as a baby. Mama & Papa were both learned around the same time, proably because we were both home with him for his first year, so he got to spend a lot of time with us. He's still pretty interested in trees & animals too.

So far, Brontë's first words are:

  1. Mama
  2. Hey=hi, usually waves when she says it
  3. Teese=teeth (this one hasn't been used for weeks)
  4. Yeah
  5. Uh-ah=uh-oh, or, I'm going to drop something off my high chair
  6. Upah=up
  7. Heeah=here, used when handing you something
  8. Hah=hat
  9. Papa (she said this a couple times a month ago or so, but hasn't since)
  10. Nay (this one's still a maybe--might have meant 'Linnaeus' or might have been a coincidence)
Brontë's words are mostly people & social things or requests. I'm unsurprised that one of her first ten is a word for clothing, as she loves putting things on her head & around her neck. She also understands quite well how to get out of her clothes & is quite helpful stepping out of pants or pulling her arms out of sleeves at the end of the day. I suspect I should start beefing up the "Tickle Trunk" now for the future dress-up sessions we're likely to have.

So what do you think? Do kids' first words tell you something about their little personalities?

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Yuba Mundo Seat Switcheroo

Braze-ons everywhere for attaching all kinds of stuff!

Bye-bye baby seat!

Glad we picked the bamboo running boards & deck

My big boy's all set with seat pad, foot pegs & stoker bars

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

10 Hashtags That Describe Me

Photo Credit: Théo La Photo via Compfight cc
It's been a while since I participated in Northwest Mommy's listicles--I've just been taking it easy with the blogging over the summer, in case you hadn't noticed. I can't resist this week's topic though: hashtags to describe myself? Awesome. I've adjusted the topic slightly (surprise!) to hashtags I use a lot too.

  1. #Mombie I thought that having one baby affected my brain power, but having a second kid around too? My brain is toast. At first, I blamed sleep deprivation, but now I think there must have been some brain damage... (only sorta kidding)
  2. #Argh My most uttered word, probably used at least several times an hour, usually when Bronte is getting into or onto something she shouldn't.
  3. #Ack Second most used word.
  4. #NormalizeBreastfeeding I didn't spend anywhere near as much time on social media with my firstborn. I didn't even have a smartphone until he was nine months old or so. However, smartphones & breastfeeding pretty much always go together nowadays, & I'm no exception. This also means a lot more selfies while breastfeeding, so after I posted a few of them, I noticed this hashtag making the rounds & started using it myself. I've personally never had anyone criticize me for breastfeeding either of my children wherever I chose to do it (& I breastfeed them anywhere & everywhere). However, I know a lot of women are still uncomfortable about it & outside my little progressive, pro-breastfeeding world of East Van, people still get shamed for it publicly.
  5. #BikeYVR I think I use this hashtag more than most others, all as a part of my agenda to promote bicycling for transportation, not just sport. If you don't live in YVR (aka Vancouver, BC), there is probably a version of this hashtag in your city, like #BikePDX, #BikeYVC, #BikeNYC
  6. #CarFreeFamily Okay, this one's sorta serious too. It's the hashtag I use on social media when I post pictures of us biking or carsharing. It's a way to easily show what living car free looks like. Head over to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, search for #carfreefamily & check it out!
  7. #365FeministSelfie If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen this hashtag. Daily. I joined the project back in January & blogged about the reasoning behind the Feminist Selfie Project & why I joined here, if you're interested. 
  8. #Fraserhood I use this one once in a while to showcase the awesomeness that is my neighbourhood, but also the not-so-awesome. This area (near Fraser Street in Vancouver, BC, if you're not local) has a history of poverty & all the social ills that go along with that, but also incredible diversity & creativity, plus a fascinating history. It's undergoing gentrification at a rapid rate, but there is still a lot of contrast between the old Fraserhood & the new.
  9. #AddictedToSocialMedia see previous items. ;)
  10. #UsesTooManyHashtags Want evidence? Go visit me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook to see proof...

So what hashtags would you use to describe yourself? Leave me a few in the comments below!

Join in the fun yourself--enter the link to your list here (click on the Listicles button to the right), or just browse the many other entries on Northwest Mommy.
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