Monday, September 29, 2008

Pregnancy Shopping Lists

You know how every single baby magazine and website seems to have a "complete list" of everything you "need" to buy with a new baby? They're kinda helpful, but a lot of those things are definitely optional -- a $900 stroller? Really? How about a $60 sling, instead?

Well, we have a list or two here at One Hot Mama, but they're decidedly optional. All you need for your new baby are breasts (even just one will work fine) or an alternate milk supply, a car seat, diapers and some magical way to get more sleep. Okay, maybe earplugs.

But what about me? You wail. My body is being taken over by an alien. I hear that milk is going to come out of my previously perky breasts! And not just when bidden to do so! And every body part is going to stretch and gain weight and lose weight and still be stretchy. Never fear, Roxanne and One Hot Mama are here! Check out our various shopping lists for the newly pregnant, the about to burst, and the long-time nursers. See, even though we have a store and are ostensibly running a business to make a profit, I can't do that by guilting or shaming you into spending money. I love smart shopping, so use these lists as a starting point and go from there. We'll help you adapt your regular wardrobe for pregnancy and nursing, and winnow down the ridiculous number of choices of hot maternitywear down to the coolest and best.

And, in this economy, you'll appreciate that we're doing that in a very affordable way. (Although I also hate when magazines label some pair of $150 shoes affordable. I try to keep every One Hot Mama piece under $100 -- I break that rule only for truly cool stuff!)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

One Hot Mama's Mission

As I've mentioned, my handsome husband Bob and I are in the midst of revamping One Hot Mama, which took a back burner to having four kids in eight years (hey, cut a girl a little slack!) and I found the coolest thing yesterday. We wrote this ten years ago, and, I'm happy to say, it's still true today:

One Hot Mama is in the business of making women feel great about parenting during its most self-image-challenging times -- pregnancy, early motherhood, and lactation. The changes to their bodies during these times means that our customers are eager to look and feel good. One Hot Mama believes the two go hand-in-hand, and thus aims to carry, design and sell the best selection of clothes that make breaskfeeding simple and discreet while helping mom look great, and that make maternity style an attainable goal for women who can't -- or won't -- spend $350 on a dress they'll wear for four months.

Most women are aware that "breast is best" but the real world often intervenes. Not many American women want to expose themselves in front of the in-laws, much less at the mall or at work. Often options are limited to awkward canopies or scarves, and some downright ugly clothes. At One Hot Mama, they not only get the tools they need to be mobile again, they get support and advice and humour. We serve our customers' needs not only for material goods, but for reassurance in their parenting and attractiveness. In doing so, we aim to be a profitable company, both in dollars and in helping babies get the best food on earth.

I hope you think we're doing our job well. Please comment or write us to let us know what you think, and where we could improve. Now, help keep my four kids awash in groceries (man, you don't appreciate the savings of nursing until they're weaned!) -- by shopping!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

One Hot Mama Is Hotter Than Ever

My dear husband, partner and webmaster -- oh, and father of our four aweseome kids -- Bob Hoge, has just completed a redesign of our website, One Hot Mama. I gotta say, the guy is good!

Thanks, honey. You're One Cool Papa!

Monday, September 22, 2008

How to Nurse in Public, aka How to Leave The House With Your Baby

Just found another mama's blog that had a post about someone being asked to cover up while nursing in public. While I get that others (especially men, and Barbara Walters) may feel a little "where should I look?" when they encounter a nursing mom, I find it odd that people get so worked up about babies doing what they do.

It's a sin that our culture is so uptight that you’ll be asked to leave a room while breastfeeding, but you’ll never be asked to leave that same establishment if you hit your child. Go figure. Someone else, somewhere else, said the most helpful thing you can do to advocate breastfeeding is simply to nurse everywhere. So I did. And I mean, everywhere. I pride myself on the fact that even friends who thought I was a freak for nursing a toddler (much less twin toddlers!) commented on how they were never visually offended (thanks … I think).

If you have a question about the actual law in your state (or, more importantly, the state where your in-laws live), look no further. Personally, if my kid's hungry, there's no law that could stop me from feeding her. The important thing to remember is, though, that breastfeeding is not against the law. In the United States, anyway.

But, two factors point the way to discretion for nursing moms. One is to stop cretins from acting, well, cretinous. The other is that most of us don't want our breasts exposed. We just want to nourish our nurslings without attracting gawkers. To that end, I've compiled some helpful hints for the seemingly revolutionary and dreaded act of breastfeeding your baby while outside your house. Read the entire article here.

My fave nursing story took place in 2002, when I was in the midst of whole house renovation and my second baby was not yet two. My general contractor, a burly, tough guy in his late 60s, one day started blushing and said something about it being unseemly to be nursing in front of people like I was (fyi, I was completely covered up). I had to laugh. Why? Because it was 7:00 am, and he was in my bedroom letting the tile guys into the bathroom. Public, indeed! :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

How to Dress When You're Pregant, or How Not to Buy Maternity Clothes

What? Advice on how not to buy maternitywear from someone who's selling them? Have I gone mad? Well, okay, that mental health thing is a separate issue, but I can tell you that you don't need to replace your entire wardrobe. Sure, a lot of stuff won't fit you now, soon, or even ever, but that doesn't mean that looking hot during your pregnancy should cost you an arm and a leg.

First of all, count your lucky stars that you're pregnant now, and not even ten years ago. Then, the ubiquitous maternity overalls were just starting to fall out of favour, but most of what you could buy (even at then-on-the-cutting edge Pea in the Pod) looked like a tent. With ribbons to tie the excess in the back. There's now almost too many options for hip, hot maternity clothing. So what's a girl to do?

First, watch this -- it's one of an eleven-part series on maternity dressing that I taped for Expert Village -- how not to dress when you're pregnant!

Second, trust me (I'm nothing if not brutally frank!) to buy the best pieces out there to mix in with your clothes and the cheap throwaways from Target and your high-end Chaiken pants. We've just done the ordering for spring, and those of you due in 2009 will look hot to trot!

In the meantime, check out our current offererings -- they're changing every day. To make it easy, look at our Shopping List feature and choose Shopping for the Newly & Solidly Pregnant.

Happy shopping! :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Slings and Things

Ever since the first time I saw a woman put on her Baby Bjorn, I swore I would never use one. I was pregnant at the time, and I watched, fascinated, as she got out of her car and began buckling and strapping and adjusting while her baby fussed. Finally, she got him in there, and all I could think of was a marionnette! All that was missing was a string to pull his little legs even further apart.

Pretty soon after that, I found Dr. William Sears' Baby Book, and that helped form me as a mother. I went hunting for a sling, and ended up with the only one you could buy in a store back then, which was, I think, called the NoJo baby carrier -- it had some goofy script print and was meagerly padded, but I wore it into the ground. From there, I discovered the Over The Shoulder Baby Holder and for a long time, it was the only carrier that we carried at OHM.

Then I met the great gals who designed the Ultimate Baby Wrap, and I loved how it acted like a Bjorn but was as comfy as a sling, so now we sell that as well. Then, at a pregnancy trade show (yeah, there is such a thing. How my life has changed!), I met the creator of the sleek, hip Hotslings line, and she told me that One Hot Mama had actually had inspired her to start her business. How could I resist? :)

And now, life has come full circle. Dr. Sears (and his large family) actually designed a new sling that has the feature I used to dream about -- a pocket!!! The Balboa Baby Sling also comes in dreamy, non-goofy colours. Awesome.

It's so great to see these carriers out and about these days. I mean, you can nurse in private and shop at the same time; if you're at home, you can shovel in some food without leaving your crying infant on the floor; your hands are free for your other child (or, in my case, other children); and, best of all, if you have twins (I did!) you can wear two slings bandolier style and carry both babies hands free! I never was one for a stroller with a singleton -- except to schlepp my gear. (I was always afraid I would miss the signs of choking or something.)

Let me know what you think. What's your fave way to wear your baby? Have you dropped him/her yet? (Hint: Always be sure there's fabric between your body and baby's when using a sling! Learned that one the hard way.)

Have a great day!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What A Difference A Decade Makes

Bob and I are in the process of redesigning our site, and ordering tons of fab new fashions and finds for fall (how alliterative!). In the process, I came across this gem of a Q&A from another mama:

Q: When I am going to get my life back?

A: When we stopped laughing, we realized how important this was to you. Sorry to tell you, but it’s going to take about a year. Yes, after a year as a mother you will realize that you’re not ever going to get your life back. This is not, however, a bad thing. Your new life will be better than you ever imagined. And harder, and more emotional, and filled with more love than before. I tried to act as if I was one of those women who could birth the baby in the field and keep harvesting grain like nothing had happened. I went back to auditioning (not the most confidence-boosting of ways to spend your time) when Cameron was three weeks old. Take my advice. That was stupid. Rest as long as you can. I spent the first six months of his life trying to get away, to do stuff I used to do. I can’t tell you how frustrating it was to be mid-bikini wax and get a phone call from the babysitter with a wailing infant in the background. But know what? I’m a mom now. And so are you. And the sooner you accept that fact, the sooner the life you have will be better. I promise.

Scarily, I wrote that in 1998! And it has taken the better part of that decade to get me back into the drivers seat here at One Hot Mama. Now, I certainly have been a little busy (four kids in eight years is a little brutal, especially when the last two are twins!) and I did manage to work in between, but let's use this week as an example -- my husband and I met a bunch of friends for cocktails at a trendy, no-sign-outside bistro, we had a series of meetings about our business, I filmed a (small) part for a show airing this fall, and all our kids are fed and happy. Those things haven't happened all at once for ten years!

My point is that you need to cut yourself some slack. Yeah, you -- whether you're on your first baby our your third, or even if you're a dad. Pay attention to your family at all, and other things may slide. But that's okay. It's kinda like Chutes & Ladders (or Snakes & Ladders) -- get near the finish line, get pregnant again, and you slide right back to the start.

Enjoy the ride. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Baby Wearing Q&A

Here's a typical question we get at One Hot Mama:

I have a 2 month old who I am trying to put in my hotsling, but it always seems that her chin is pressing to her chest, no matter how I put her in there. Is there a way to correct this problem?

And here's the answer:

First of all -- congratulations on the birth of your baby! You've survived the first two months, which I remember passing in a total fog! Now, on to the Hotsling. A 2-month-old baby is still really floppy, and has spent more of her life (in utero) completely folded in on herself. So her chin touching her chest isn't really a cause for concern, unless you think she's cutting off her air supply! But I'm willing to bet that when you look at the Hotslings wearing videos all the babies you see holding their heads up will actually be old enough to sit up unassisted. If you scootch her butt forward so she's in a prone position, her head will fall away from her chest. But if you hip carry her, that heavy head has nowhere to go but forward. Now you can happily purchase your hip Hotsling at our website.

Why is this worthy of a post, you may ask? One point bears repeating: Just as most maternity designers use women who are only 5 or 6 months pregnant to model their clothes -- because it looks better -- infant manufacturers use babies who are 4-6 months old. They aren't as slack-jawed and floppy as newborns. Now, you may think your newborn is different. I certainly did. And guess what? When I look back at his pictures (from ELEVEN years ago! ) and those of his three sisters, I see four kids who grew up to be cute, but whose photos I wouldn't use to sell half-priced poopy diapers! So don't compare your newborn to the images you see everywhere of non-newborn babies. Lastly, and this is what really gets my goat, don't expect things to happen before their time. Babies are not developmentally able to sit until around 6 months, and even great, steady head control doesn't happen until around the 4th month, so enjoy your rag doll while you can. :)

Have a great day -- oh, and we're clearing out a lot of our great maternity and nursing clothes to make room for new stuff. Check it out!

Monday, September 15, 2008

One Is The Hardest Number

Now that I am trailed by four little children wherever I go, it seems to be de rigeur for other mothers I encounter to say, "I don't know how you do it!" Don't get me wrong -- I understand what's behind the comment. Part compliment, part envious jab, the overwhelming subtext is, "No way I could be in your shoes -- I can barely handle my life with one baby!"

But here's the dirty little secret I didn't learn until I was about halfway into my ten straight years of gestating and lactating -- the first baby is the hardest one! Think about it -- what if you went to your job and every week, the tasks were different, so you were constantly learning and just when you got good at something, you got moved to a new department? First-time mommyhoood is just like that. Well, except for your supervisor is a bald, drooling bundle of fat that eats and poops constantly, and when he/she is mad at you, screams like a proverbial stuck pig. If you only have one child (which you may have very good reasons for doing) you will never get to use this wealth of knowledge on another kid.

So for me, putting my infant twins (third and fourth children) on a plane by myself to travel from Los Angeles to Wyoming (changing planes in Denver) took one tenth the energy of trying to wrestle my firstborn into my car to visit his cousins for his first Halloween -- across town!

My point? When you're all sweaty and harried and unsure of yourself and you see a hot mama trailed by several offspring, don't think, "man, I couldn't handle that!" Instead, know that I say, "I don't know how you do it!"

Hang in there, baby! :)