Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Top 5 Products 0-4 Months

I've started this post about four times and end up quitting because I just list everything! Our baby sleeps best in this swaddle, loves these pacifiers and our pump and bottles work great. But here are the top five things we needed that may not be as obvious!

1. Tryp Reclining Glider by Best Chairs- So incredibly grateful for this piece of furniture. I cannot imagine sitting in an uncomfortable chair and also can't imagine not being able to put my feet up while nursing. This is by far my TOP purchase and I'm thankful for the many friends who encouraged me to splurge and told me I would not regret it--they were right!

2. Moby Wrap- this was a random purchase for me as I wasn't sure I'd use it. I got it pre-owned and am so glad we have it. E loves this so much and B and I find it very comfortable. We had been gifted a baby bjorn and we much prefer this. I think we might have to invest in an Ergo, Beco or Boba but for now, the Moby is what we make sure we have with us. I just watch youtube to figure out different holds. The only thing I don't like is the the fabric stretches out over time and it's so long, it's hard to avoid floor contact when putting it on in public. But overall we couldn't live without it and have used it constantly for four months.

3. Boppy Newborn Lounger- E loves this so much. She doesn't sleep in it much, but it's always been her favorite way to face us when not being held. We keep it on our coffee table for when we are not holding her but she is awake. It's been a great purchase because we use it just as much today as we did the day we brought her home!

4. Video baby Monitor- I don't know how people survived without video monitors! My goodness this has been a lifesaver. I love that I can log in via my iphone and see how she's doing. I keep the actual monitor on my nightstand where it stays, and then use my phone or the ipad to peek at her when I'm anywhere else. There was a huge hiccup in the iphone app that took way too long for them to correct, but it's fixed now and we are so glad we have this one.

5. Soft Gear Deluxe Changing Mat- I tried to find a cooshee but they are hard to find these days and this is what amazon suggested instead. It actually worked out perfect as we needed something to fit a smaller changing surface on the antique dresser we use as her changing table. E loves this thing and I do too. Easy to clean and nice and comfy. It's a must!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

4 Months!

January was a rather rough month for us. Our milk supply issues had a domino effect and resulted in little sleep and a rather unhappy baby and weary mom and dad. But, at this point our happy baby seems to have returned and we are getting back to our routine! This month was pretty uneventful as far as what we did, but full of great memories with our baby girl. The highlight was E's first laugh which we had been anxiously waiting for! We are still working at getting them out of her, but it's just the best sound ever. 

 I've been working more regularly and E has been spending a lot more time with our great friend, S who is a stay at home mom and lives in our old neighborhood, where I work sometimes. I get a lot of mommy advice from her and we are on the same page with a lot of things. She helped so much to support me during our breast feeding woes, and it has been so much easier to work more knowing E is in her care. She even wears E in her sling which she kept (she has three boys who are now 5 and up) and E just loves it. Leaving her has been a lot easier on me emotionally. Now my stress is making sure I have enough milk to leave with her, but I'm finally getting a little freezer supply going, which is a huge relief.

Bath time is still her favorite time of day. She just loves to splash around and kick and "talk" to us. I find myself always singing to her and she doesn't mind that I am tone deaf and also make up the lyrics to everything. But her most favorite song is "ABC" she just loves it and tries her best to sing along which is adorable.

Eloise at Four Months
Weight: Will find out in a couple of weeks!
Diaper size- I'm trying to use up the last of the size one disposables but size 2 fit a bit better. We've let the cloth diapers out a little along the waist line and they are fitting great!

Clothing Size: 3-6 month clothes fit best, but we have so many cute 6 month outfits I've been using those as well with some room to grow. 

Milestones:  First laugh. Still not very consistent, but we've had several and they are the best. 

E is really loving her toys in the past few weeks. She is shaking her rattle and grabbing for anything within reach. She is also loving her play mat more and more and loves to grab for the hanging toys there as well. It's fun to see her really enjoy some of her toys. We have a light up piano that she absolutely loves. She also loves this rain stick ball

Ellie is pretty vocal and makes new sounds each day. Lots of cooing and little shrieks and now some giggles too!

Voice tracking is really obvious at this point. Ellie lights up when she hears that her Daddy is home and seems to love to hear his voice. 

We are definitely noticing some signs on teething: drooling, chewing hands and now, starting to put other object into her mouth. We've used the Hyland's teething tablets a couple times when she seems to be in pain before bed. It's hard to say whether they really work or not. 

Sleep: The past 4 weeks have been pretty rough on sleep. The feeding and supply issues really shook up our routine. I was waking up about three times at night to feed since she just seemed so hungry. Finally, we are getting back on track. The last few nights she has slept through the night and is waking  up in the morning closer and closer to her normal 7 am wake up time. 

Naps are getting tricky. I'm working more and that throws things off as far as a schedule. Also, since Christmas she pretty much refuses to nap outside of someone's arms. I can get her to sleep and then lay her down on the couch or back in her rock and play cradle, but she no longer goes down from the get-go. I know I could easily "break" her of this, but I'm just waiting for a day when I'm home and can put up with letting her cry!

Our loose routine is as follows:

7am-Wake Morning feed and change! 
730-E sits in her bouncy seat while I shower and change (unless I have to leave early for work and I'm already ready by the time E wakes up)
800- play
900- nap
10 or 1030- Feed and diaper change
1 or 130-Feed
130- play
4 or 430-feed
7 or 730-start bath
730 or 8 feed and to bed

Events to Remember:   

First New Year! We stayed home and were in bed like boring old first time parents!
First Laugh: 1/18/13
Forty Niners beast the Falcons and are going to the Super Bowl! 1/19/13

One Year Anniversary of finding out we were pregnant 1/24/13
Grandma's Birthday 1/24/13- we couldn't be with her but had fun picking out a "Grandma" birthday card and she loved it!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Supply and Demand

I did not start breastfeeding under any pretense that it would be free of challenges. I was incredibly nervous that it wouldn't "work" for me or that E would have trouble. Breastfeeding was one of the things I was most anxious about after giving birth and one of the most important things to me.

I was absolutely thrilled when breastfeeding worked right off the bat. Ellie was a champ and got her latch perfected on her own by about day 4. From then on, we had no problems. I had more than enough milk and had about 50oz in my freezer supply before I went to work.

I then became rather nonchalant about pumping. Sometimes I'd miss her feeding, and wouldn't pump. Then the amount that I'd pump dropped significantly. It would take a few pumping sessions to get a full feeding produced. And within a month or so, I had almost nothing in my freezer supply. Around Christmas, E started to show signs of a growth spurt. She seemed extra hungry and fussy. I tried to feed her whenever she wanted, but she was so frustrated. It seemed like she just wasn't getting anything. I was panicked.

The next two weeks would be the toughest we've encountered so far. I was trying so hard to build my supply up, but I was almost certain I was drying up. I would pump all day long and get absolutely nothing. Not one drop. I would try to feed her all day long and she'd scream at the top of her lungs. I did not know what to do.

I used what I had in my freezer supply to try to get her through a couple particularly rough days, but since I wasn't producing anything for the pump, I had nothing to leave for when I had to work. I was a wreck.

I contacted three lactation consultants. Two are personal friends and one was a local La Leche League member. They all calmed my nerves and said that as long as she was still producing enough wet/dirty diapers, she was not being "starved" by me and was still getting what she needed. They all told me not to supplement and that we'd get through it. E was also starting to show signs of teething, and they said that was also a factor in her fussiness.

Each woman offered similar advice, but I picked up little tidbits from all of them that I want to share and remember.  I am VERY happy to say that it looks like this is behind us and we made it through on our own, without any formula. I hope I didn't scar E in the process. But I think breastfeeding is so, so important for her in the long run. I think the two weeks of misery was worth it.

Here are some great tips:

Power pump- 10 minutes on the pump, 10 minutes off for 60 minutes
Fenugreek- I take this in herbal form and it seems to wok instantly
Oatmeal- This also works instantly for me.
Hand expression- this has worked really well to get a little bit more out of each breast once I'm done pumping with my electric pump
Manual Pump- I have a great electric pump that was recommended by my lactation consultant friend and works great but I purchased a manual pump and sometimes it works even better. Controlling the speed and varying the speed seem to really work for me and that's harder to do with the electric pump.
Feed on Demand-  Each consultant told me that my Mom's on Call schedule was a hindrance to my supply. My body was regulating to our schedule and only producing just enough. Since she had a growth spurt, I had to get my supply up and feed her more. So we threw the schedule out the window since Christmas. It has been a total bummer to get up in the night after a great stretch of E sleeping through the night, but for me, breastfeeding is more important than sleep. And I knew my baby was  hungry.

I've learned that you have to be a "psycho" breast feeding advocate for yourself. B had been extremely supportive of breastfeeding but had a very, very hard time listening to E scream and seem so hungry. He suggested formula more than once and I about bit his head off. Stepping out of myself, I don't know why I'm so crazy about not supplementing, but for me it's just one step in the wrong direction. I'd like to breastfeed for a year, so I've got a ways to go. I was so incredibly determined and knew we'd get past it, and we did. It was very, very hard to hear friends and family doubt that I was doing the right thing. I totally understand why people quit around this point. It was one of the most taxing things I had to go through. It took about two weeks and they were long and we're still working on it, but I have a small freezer supply going. I know what I did wrong and how we got to that point, so valuable lessons have been learned!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

3 Months!

Another busy, and fun month for us with Miss E! 

You are really discovering toys now. You love to look at yourself in the mirror and pull on the toys hanging from your play mat. Maverick is pretty jealous!

The Week after your two month check up, we were back at the Drs office. Your eye had  been runny for a couple days and then one morning, it was so crusty you could hardly open it. The Dr had an opening so we went in to check it out. He said it didn't quite look like an infection, but gave us ointment in case it was still bad a few days later. It cleared up on its own, and my mom friends diagnosed it as a blocked tear duct. I think that's what it was, as well!
We saw so many people this month, and you loved it. We had a get together with my bunco friends, three of whom all had babies right around when you were born. It was so fun to meet all the kiddos and see how everyone was doing. Our hostess had gingerbread houses to make for the big kids, and did little ornaments for the babies. We did footprints of each of the infants, and it was hysterically to see how SMALL your feet are compared to the other babies. J was born just a day before you and he is huge. A was born two weeks after you and while she looks like she's about your size, her foot was definitely two times the size of yours. Oh, E, how I hope you don't have your mommy's gigantic feet! Looks like you are off to the right start! Ha!
Your Nana and Grampa went to Australia for the month, so Grandma came up to fill in as babysitter while I worked. I ended up having more time off than anticipated, so we got to spend some quality time together. We shopped, baked, and planned for Christmas. Grandma made SO many cookies. I made my peanut clusters and let her handle the rest. We had a lot of fun, but Grandma totally wore us out! We went and saw Santa and shopped all day long. I haven't done that in forever!
The Saturday before Christmas we went to visit Uncle T and Auntie S. We went to a couple wineries and it was so fun. Uncle T wore you in the baby Bjorn in the first winery. You loved riding with him and did not make a peep the whole time. You slept some and then woke up at our last stop. You were an angel, we had a great time. We came back to their house and had a Christmas dinner with them since they weren't  able to be with us on the actual day. 

We didn't do much on Christmas Eve. Daddy and I both worked half days and we went out for an early dinner with Grandma and Grandpa (who had drove up that day). Christmas morning was pretty quiet without Uncle T. We opened a few gifts and made a nice breakfast. I got some pretty exciting news from Auntie K that morning, too! That evening Auntie A and her family joined us for prime rib and all the fixins. Great-Grandmom was here too. It was fun to have your little cousins M and Z here. It made it feel more like Christmas to have kids running around. I did manage to get you into a Christmas dress that night for some pictures. I was busy making dinner, but here's a little family picture we managed to get!

 Later that week, Daddy and I were able to sneak away and take the day to spend with you and Grandma and Grandpa. It was a nice, clear day so we headed into the city to walk around and also visit Uncle T at work. Of course Daddy took us to AT&T park so we could update our Giants wardrobe. You were all smiles as we strolled around the Dugout store and around the park. We stopped for clam chowder at Fisherman's Grotto and enjoyed a killer sunset and views. Again, we were totally worn out!
 You seemed to LOVE all of the company, activity and change of scenery this month. You are staying awake a lot more and really taking in what you see. You got a few toys from Christmas and love them. Anything that lights up and makes sounds is your favorite. You are babbling constantly and smiling on queue!

Eloise at Three Months
Weight: 11 pounds 10oz at 11 weeks   
Height:   22.25 inches long at 11 weeks
Head:   39 centimeters at 10 weeks

Diaper size-size one disposables and smallest setting on the cloth diapers

Clothing Size: Mostly 3-6 months. Some 6 months will fit. We've retired a lot of clothes this month!

Milestones:  loves to be in sitting up position, loves to "stand", holding head up, smiling lots, reaching for toys and holding on,  always blabbering away. When  you are getting a little fussy you start to say "Maaaaaa". I've got to get it on video. We love to repeat it back to you. 

Sleep: It's been a very busy month, and it's been difficult to keep you on a schedule. It's also been difficult to get you to nap on your own since your Grandma seriously held you all day long while she was here for two weeks. Thus, you aren't sleeping as well at night as of late. You have been waking up 1-2 times per night, cry for about 10-30 minutes and are back to sleep. I've also been struggling with my milk supply quite suddenly. Starting on Christmas Eve, it seemed like you were not getting enough to eat, and you were very frustrated. Two weeks later, I'm still struggling to produce enough. I've had to forego the schedule in order to feed you more so that I'll produce more. So I'm guessing that has a bit to do with your sudden sleep issues, as well. 

Events to Remember:   

First night in your actual Crib: 12/1/12
First "mommy and me" event at the baby boutique: 12/14/12
Meeting baby A, J and A: 12/15/12
First trip to Santa: 12/18/12
First trip to Uncle T's house: 12/22/12
And of course First Christmas!
First visit to AT&T park and Fisherman's Wharf: 12/27/12