Friday, May 27, 2011

3 months.

3 months.

Dear George,

You turned three months old yesterday. This is your last month as a newborn, and then you will just be a plain ol' infant. Or maybe you become an infant when you TURN three months old. I cannot remember, and Momma is feeling too lazy to google right now.

This month's photo shows two of your new tricks: holding things and sticking your fingers in your mouth. You just love chewing on your fingers. As for the toys, I still have to work them into your little fingers, but in just a week you have gone from only shaking them once or twice before dropping them to holding them for a minute or two. We have even watched you intentionally reach for toys, and your aim is improving.

You took that smiling skill from last month and turned them into laughs. You think your mommy is SO. FUNNY! But I think you are the funny one, with such a happy nature that you would probably find me reading the phone book totally hilarious.

The experience of feeding you has been gradually improving. We have been working so, so hard on figuring out what to do for you and your belly, and we are getting closer to figuring out the best solutions for all of us. I know we are getting closer because during a two week period this past month, you put on a pound and a half. This was huge for you. Your double chin emerged before our very eyes.

Cuddling with you is one of the sweetest moments of the day. After feeding, I put you up on my shoulder to burp you. Once we get a nice belch (you take after your dad) (er, confession: you also take after your mom, if my pregnancy burps were anything to go by), you curl your head in my neck and I hug you close. I cannot help but think that someday will be the last day you let me hold you like this, and it makes me just want to squish you more now.

You love new people, but not a lot of them all at once. Too many people squealing and cooing in your face causes you to stick out your lower lip and cry a good cry. We get it, we get it, you are more of a one on one kiddo. But you are so cute, how do you expect people to resist going gaga over you?

You have turned into a more reliable napper on days when we do not leave the house. This makes your happy disposition much, much happier. I cannot emphasize this enough, but THANK YOU. THANK YOU FOR NAPPING. Rest is a good thing for everyone, babies and parents especially.

In fact, you are napping right now, so I am going to go try to check more to do items off my list. That way, when you wake up, I can spend my time making faces at you and sticking toys in your hands.


Yo Momma

P.S. Cutie says hi.

Monthly photo outtake.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Baby gear that makes life livable: Breastfeeding edition

I am in the process of weaning the kiddo. This is an incredibly emotional decision, especially after all of the hard work we have put into breastfeeding. But it is the best decision for us now, and the timing is right. I will always look back fondly on nursing George, and I am so glad I was able to get the support and resources I needed to make it this far.

Breastfeeding is hard. Really hard. If you are going to try to do it, then do what you can to make your goals more realistic and your life more livable in those awful, early, seemingly endless days where you start dreading when the baby will nurse again. You think I am exaggerating? Even the mommas at my mommy-baby support group who would describe their breastfeeding experience as going great would admit to times like that. Keeping it real, people.

My Brest Friend

DSC_9633 edited

The Boppy stinks. Use this instead. I could end my thoughts right there, but basically, make sure you have a supportive pillow. The Brest Friend is nicely firm so it is more comfortable for George because he does not slip off, and I can even breastfeed hands-free with this pillow.

Lactation consultant

Had a very lengthy visit with a lactation consultant. Rob got to feed the baby some liquid gold with his first bottle ever.

Get a lactation consultant. Preferably BEFORE you have the baby, because you do not want to be scrambling to find someone you like when questions come up at four days post-partum and everyone is exhausted and the baby is crying and who knew googling for a reputable lactation consultant could take so long?

We had so many different issues with breastfeeding that we genuinely needed professional help, and I credit our lactation consultant as one of the main reasons we have lasted as long as we have. She watched how we breastfed, helped us correct the latch, try new positions, showed me how to use my breast pump, referred us to an oral motor specialist, taught me about galactogogues, and acted as our cheerleader when times were tough (which was just about every time we visited her).

And do not assume they are breastfeeding militants, who will judge you if you admit any fears about the feasibility of continuing breastfeeding. A good lactation consultant will follow this as the number one rule: Feed the baby. Formula is not the enemy, and sometimes, supplementation really is necessary. Our lactation consultant took the above photo of El Hub feeding George his first ever bottle at one week and five days old.

Target nursing tanks and a regular ole' cardigan

There are not really any decent photos of me in this get-up. El Hub, why do you never take photos of me?

I have been living in these tank tops since George was born. When I know I am going out, I try to wear a cardigan that buttons. When it is time to nurse, I just button the top couple of buttons, lower the tank, and begin nursing. It is so much more discreet than those gigantic nursing covers, and way less sweltering.

So that's that. If you are breastfeeding, rock those ta-tas with pride. If you are not, rock those bottles with pride as well. In other words, FEED THE BABY. Hooray for common ground!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Baby gear that makes life livable (the 0-3 month edition).

I loooooved baby gear posts when I was pregnant. Advice from real moms about what worked for their babies was like crack for me. Almost expensive as real crack too. Actually, I have no idea how much crack costs on the black market these days (or any past days, for that matter), but it seems like drug habits are pretty expensive, and baby stuff is DEFINITELY expensive, so. I am sticking with my analogy of crack to baby gear.

Here is where I give you the usual disclaimer about how all babies are different and what works for us may not work for you. But selfishly, this post is not really for or about you, it is actually about me saying a big fat thank you to the people who created or gifted us with these things, without which our quality of life over the past few months would have suffered. And also saying, hey, manufacturers, maybe lower your prices a little bit? Seriously, Momma needs to be able to afford formula (which is also probably more expensive than crack, I would be willing to bet).

Miracle Blanket

Miracle Blanket.

We call this Miracle Blanket the baby strait jacket. And then we follow it up by calling it the most awesome thing ever. There is a reason that this is first on our list, and that is because we genuinely believe this sucker helps our butternut sleep better. In the hospital, there was this one pediatrician who could swaddle like nobody's business. In fact, when we mentioned this super tight swaddle to the nurses, they went, "Oh, Dr. So-and-So? Yeah, nobody can swaddle as well as him." Well, we certainly can't. We left the hospital without having honed our swaddling skills, and that was a mistake.

What was not a mistake was registering for a Miracle Blanket. It is like swaddling for dummies. Lay baby on blanket, tuck little flaps over arms to strap 'em in, tuck little legs in pocket, and then wrap wrap wrap. Don't be afraid to wrap tightly. Babies liked to be wrapped super tight, and I have not broken George yet. El Hub and my mother are total wusses and do not wrap him as tightly as I do, and George always manages to bust out, punch himself in the face, and wake up. That makes Momma sad.

Cloth diaper prefolds used as burp cloths

When can we ditch the burp cloths?

George's tummy woes mean that he spits up a lot. But I have been assured that all babies spit up, despite all those parents I have seen burping their babies without a burp cloth. Seriously people, isn't your baby going to explode all over you? Anyway, this was a cheap and handy route to make sure all rooms in our house have clean burp cloths handy. We started with four or five packs, and that was a good number for us with our laundering frequency.


Super focused on his toy.

George's tummy woes also mean he has to sit upright for 20 or 30 minutes after a feeding, and this Fisher Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker is the most upright seat in our house. I pop him in there and have that much time to pump, take a shower, prepare food, and do laundry. Or make goofy faces at him, which is what ends up happening at least half the time.

Activity mat

Looking at That Happy Baby in the Mirror.

After George's belly has settled and he has had enough cuddle time (he is an independent kiddo, unafraid of whining until we put him down. Well. FINE, GEORGE, I DIDN'T WANT TO CUDDLE WITH YOU EITHER. *sob*), this is usually where he goes. It comes with a few toys, and has little holes through which you can hook your own toys for variety. He just loves this thing, and can happily stay here until he is ravenously hungry.


The carrier puts George to sleep.

We have a few different carriers for a few different purposes. Our pouch is handy for quickly popping George in for a quick errand, like walking to the mailbox (I actually credit our pouch for helping to protect George since my hands were more free to break our fall). Our other favorite carrier is a Beco Butterfly II, which is very similar to the more well known Ergo soft-structured buckle carrier. The Beco is nice because there is a thin layer of material between you and the baby, but any carrier like this is great for longer days since the buckles distribute the weight more evenly across your hips and your back.

Angelcare Monitor

DSC_9650 former raw

We thought George would stay in our room for the first few months, and that it would be especially convenient for breastfeeding for the first few months. Ha! Hahahaha! Oh, preconceived notions about parenthood, so funny and futile. The truth is, we were all waking one another up. We are all noisy sleepers, and none of us were sleeping well. We moved George into his nursery at five weeks and he promptly started sleeping longer and longer stretches of sleep. The only reason I could do this without anxiety was because of the Angelcare monitor. We tested it out enough to feel comfortable that it would alert us in case anything happened to George during the night.

Folding Bath Tub

Bath time.

We use the (and I say this fondly) el-cheapo Safety 1st Sink Snuggler Baby Bather, and it works great for us. There will be years of breaking our backs bending over the bathtub to bathe the baby, but for now this makes it easy for us to use our kitchen sink instead. It also stows away so it takes up very little space. Confession: George gets bathed more frequently since we purchased this item.


DSC_9641 edited

Want to do something wonderful for the new parents in your life? Bring them food. Preferably freezer and oven friendly food - so they can freeze it if they are fortunate enough to have an overabundance of food that day, or can throw it in the oven and ignore it while they tend to their bundle of joy.

In those early days, it is so difficult to take the time to think about feeding yourself rather than your baby. Thank you to every person who brought us food. El Hub and I agreed that this should be a requirement for anyone who wants to visit an adorable newborn - bring those tired parents some food. They will be so grateful. The generosity of people this kind and thoughtful only goes so far, so be sure to stock up on frozen food that can just be tossed in the oven for minimal attention required.

Baby Connect App

I <3 the Baby Connect app.

In those first few weeks of life, the pediatricians want parents tracking feedings and diaper output. This Baby Connect app made it ridiculously easy. El Hub and I both had it on our phones and were able to link our accounts so we could both input information about everything from stool color to naptimes. I still use it to track feedings and sleep.

Sleep Sheep

Sleeping baby. Post-occupational therapy, pre-Momma's doctor appointment.

Sometimes you will do ANYTHING to get your baby to sleep. White noise helps. The ocean waves setting on the Sleep Sheep is George's favorite, but I met a few mommies who swear by an app that is just a recording of a guy shushing over and over and over and over again. Which, if you have ever tried to do yourself, and I have, it is exhausting. So buy the Sleep Sheep. Or the app. Or an adult sound machine. Whatever it takes, dude.

Zipper Jammies

George at the endocrinologist.

Sometimes snaps are just too much work. And socks. Especially since babies are so skilled at losing socks. So just buy these footed zipper pajamas and have your baby wear them constantly. I promise, they will still be sooooooo cute without the super fancy outfits, and their feet will be warm too.

Well, this was a long list, but I honestly would not trade in any of these items. And spoiler alert to any real life friends who may be baking any buns in their ovens anytime soon, these are what I am likeliest to be gifting at future baby showers for years to come. Now to figure out what will help us survive the next few months of George's baby-hood.

Baby laughter is good for the soul.

We have a really hard time getting that last feeding of the day in before George conks out for bedtime. He generally passes out about halfway through, since he's so thoroughly comforted and loved by being held and bonded with through feeding.

That's cute and all, but Momma wants her baby to eat! A couple of nights ago, El Hub was giving George his bottle and beginning to lose the baby to dreamworld, so I put on my goofy face and started chatting up a storm in an effort to try to get him to stay awake. George was so. Far. Gone. His eyes were just slits, and if you had asked me, I would have told you he was already asleep.

But what did he do? George started laughing the barest, slightest, quietest of laughs. He chuckled at me. And then he fell asleep with a smile on his face.

Guys, I am pretty sure this is why people have babies.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Yet another crazy day.

Emergency vet visit.

Look, I'm going to level with you. Parts of this post are gross. And parts of this post are woe-is-me. There. You have been warned. Read at your own risk.

For Mother's Day, I received some beautiful hydrangeas. Gorgeous! I have never had hydrangeas before, and I was particularly awed at how the gorgeous purple faded to blue on many of the flowers. Lovely gift.

Unfortunately, our cat Cole thought it was his gift. He decided to eat some of it this morning. Even more unfortunately, it turns out hydrangeas are poisonous. YEAH. Enter the grossness, which involves lots of disgusting kitty bodily functions coming out both ends.

I call up the vet to ask them why our cat is vomiting so, so much and oh, are hydrangeas poisonous? The answer was a resounding yes, and they strongly recommended I bring him in immediately. Did I mention that El Hub is out of town? So I am on my own with the baby? The cranky baby who was up every three hours last night and hates missing his naptime? Oh, I did? Good.

Cole's carrier is kept in the garage, so I rush to grab it when it literally breaks in half in my hands. Well. That's awkward. I shove Cole in this broken carrier that doesn't quite stay closed and rush every baby, cat, and crazy lady into the car.

So I am driving to the vet with a yowling cat and a crying baby, when all of a sudden I smell something awful. Cole pooped himself. He was so stinking (literally) nervous that he pooped himself. Five minutes into a half hour trip. YEAH. I am just going to be grateful he did not pee as well.

We make it to the veterinarian's office, and I very awkwardly carry in the broken cat carrier and the fully functional (see? Something for which to be grateful. Keeping it positive) infant carrier. The very kind vet techs see my dilemma and jerry rig a fix for the cat carrier with zip ties. Unfortunately, some dogs in the waiting room start barking like mad. Which makes George wail like mad. Meanwhile, Cole has been yowling and heaving and pooping the entire time.

We finally get shuffled into an exam room. George decides that since things are a little calmer that this is the perfect time to have a diaper blowout. More poop! Poop everywhere! Poop for everyone!

The veterinarian called me a brave woman. I disagree. I just did what I had to do. And now I am relaying it to you because REALLY? Was I being filmed for a tragicomedic reality show? Is life really this crazy? Did I mention that I fell on my face and had to go to the ER a few weeks ago? I also had food poisoning when George was two weeks old. And he was born two weeks early. It has been a crazy couple of months.

Cole seems to be fine. You would think this is where the story ends, but not quite. I take my menagerie home (with Cole doped up on anti-nausea drugs and a list of instructions on things to look for in case his heart fails), and a little while later Cole decides to poop in the bathroom. And then on my jeans. It seems to be punishment for taking him to the vet.

So now I am just waiting. I know the war on excrement is not over yet. One of them is going to make a mess just for me any minute now.

El Hub does not come home for three more days. When he does, I need a break from kitty litter and diaper duty.

The lesson of this story is to not let your cat eat poisonous plants. I do not have any advice for the diaper blowouts. The End.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

This day last year, I was just about to go through an awful, challenging time. It is amazing how much of a difference one year can make.

Today I asked to go to yoga and to have a nap. Both were achieved. Good day.

Mother's Day 2011, Part 1.

Mother's Day 2011, Part 2.

Mother's Day 2011, Part 4.

Mother's Day 2011, Part 3.

Mother's Day 2011, Part 5.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Baby smiles are good for the soul

Baby smiles are good for the soul.

And baby laughter is good for my self-esteem. George thinks I am HILARIOUS. He'll learn. Give him a few years. Or maybe until he's a teenager. I probably won't seem very funny to him them, if he takes after me at all.

Monday, May 2, 2011

2 months.

2 months.

George is two months old today. I thought about switching out the blanket for something less wrinkly, but frankly? Our lives are kind of wrinkled right now. And we roll with it. I would rather hang out with my baby than fret too much about tidying up. So this is a pretty good representation of our lives today.

George is eight weeks and five days old today. At around seven weeks old, he started smiling real smiles at us. He makes us feel like we've won the lottery every time he grins that grin at us. He is 23 inches long and weighed in at 8 pounds and 11 ounces today. I worry about his weight sometimes when I play the let's-compare-babies game at playgrounds, but his pediatrician and pediatric gastroenterologist tell us he is growing great.

Speaking of his gastroenterologist, we figured out a few weeks ago that George has silent reflux, and it's been causing him a terrible amount of discomfort. We are figuring out the routine that works for him to help minimize his pain, and it is like having a brand new baby. After weeks of wondering why he was so unhappy and what we were doing wrong, we are so grateful to have figured it out, and even more grateful that he seems to be much happier.

Also, see the little bandaids on his legs? George had his two month shots today. Terrible! He fussed and slept a lot - and even cried in his sleep, but after a few hours, settled down enough to get his cuddle mode on.