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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Two, Two, Two Months of Fun

So what’s new with Baby2? Seems to me like she is loving life. She is smiling, she makes sweet baby noises, she is getting so strong. She’s holding her head up most of the time now, although sometimes she’ll cheat a little and touch her head to my chin while she looks over my shoulder.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and PhotosMr. Handsome says her favorite place to be is right there on my shoulder. Putting her up there does seem to quiet her down almost every time she’s fussy. It’s a good place for me to hold her since it gives me a free hand to grab things, pat her back, type, or what have you.

Her fussy times are pretty much restricted to sleepy times, at the moment. She still loathes naps, but we’re working on it by at least attempting naps often. Sometimes she’ll just scream in utter terror, though, and neither Mr. Handsome or I can take too much of that (or Kiddo1, come to think of it!). I get concerned that she isn’t getting enough sleep, even though she gets about 12 hours at night. She wakes once or twice in that time but overall she’s a great night sleeper. Thank goodness because I can not imagine doing this whole work-full-time thing while getting only small stretches of sleep.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and PhotosAnytime that she is fussy, there are two things that almost always soothe her: nursing is of course one of them (and I’m trying to wean myself from relying on that all the time) and getting outside is another. Baby2 loves to be outside – walking or not. Inside she has to be up and moving around but outside she is happy doing whatever. Her preference is still to be moving, of course, but sitting on a blanket in the shade is just fine too. She looks at the clouds and trees and makes her little baby coos. It’s the cutest thing ever. Ever!

She’s a champ at nursing. Around six weeks or so she finally starting eating in longer stretches. This seemed to be about the same time she started skipping a nighttime feeding. Since I’ve gone back to work she has eaten less and less during the day and more during the evenings. After work the last couple days she ate so long I think I ran out of milk! I hope she isn’t reverse cycling because I have a whole lot of milk stashed up for her! Then again we’re only two weeks into the bottles-all-day thing so we’ll see how this plays out.

We visited the pediatrician yesterday and learned that Baby2 is growing right on track. She even shot up a whole 3.5 inches from her birth height. She went from the tenth to the fiftieth percentile in height which they say is quite a jump! Doc says this shows that Baby2 is clearly getting enough calories and that makes a mama felt real damn good. Go, boobies, go.

Dear Formula Companies

Dear Similac/Enfamil/Gerber:

Thank you for the ice packs and coolers you have sent me! They keep my work-pumped breastmilk nice and cool until I get home to my baby and freezer.

I could do without the weekly coupons, though. And the breastfeeding “tips.” You can keep those to yourself, thankyouverymuch.

Sincerely,

Mother Mary

Back to Work

Today was my first day back at work. It was okay. I didn’t cry, but I’m not much of a crier. I’m the working-outside-the-home type. It’s good for me – I like the routine, the adult interaction, the use of my brain, and I do think a little separation from the fam is good for me. So returning to work is generally good. I’m a little numb this evening, but I’ll fall back into this just fine. Luckily I hand my baby off to Mr. Handsome, so a whole bunch of worries are alleviated right there. He works a couple nights a week and stays home during the day with the kiddos.

Two kids. It’s still kind of weird to say that I have two kids. Weird but nice.

So this morning I packed up my big-girl purse and my lunch and my pump bag and headed off to the office. Suddenly my “small and discrete” pump bag feels huge and covered in neon signs that read, “This lady uses her boobies to feed a person!” The thing is bigger than my purse (and I carry a big purse). But, I managed to lug it in and around the building.

All my breastfeeding books say you should check out your company’s lactation facilities before going on maternity leave so you know what to plan for and expect upon your return. Yeah… I totally didn’t do that. I work for a big enough company. I should be fine. I figured, even if they didn’t have a room, per se, I would figure something out. There are a couple spare windowless offices. There’s always the bathroom, if nothing else. I could buy one of those electrical outlet adapters for my car if I get really desperate.

Well, lucky for me, my company does have a lactation space and it isn’t too bad! I have to ask for the key from security every time I use it, and let me tell you that was pretty awkward the first time (“Um, hello, breast breast breast, can you help me, breast breast breast”). I’ll be seeing the security guard about three times a day so he and I are going to get to know each other pretty well this year. Score.

Anyway, the space is nice, private, clean, well-lit. The room has two high-walled cubes to pump in, each with a chair and table, there’s a little fridge and microwave (for storing milk and sterilizing pump parts, respectively) and even a private bathroom! The toilet doesn’t work but they only have it to fulfill some “running water” requirement for the space, so the security guard tells me. I had no idea there were requirements!

So I used the space three times and Baby2 has fresh milk for tomorrow. On Mondays we’re using my stash of frozen milk (I counted 350 ounces!) and on Fridays the milk will go in the freezer. I’d still like to donate some of my frozen stash, but for now I’m holding on to it.

All my co-workers were super sweet and accommodating, slowly bringing me up to speed as my brain adjusts to real-time use. Shoot, all I really did today was clear out emails and apply for new positions (within the company, I am overdue for a promotion) and my brain already hurts. Damn.

I’m not sure if Baby2 fared as well as me, though. I’ve talked about how she’s not a napper. Well, she really didn’t nap at all for poor Mr. Handsome. On my way home I started to wonder how he was getting ready for work this evening with a crying baby to deal with. I walk in to him flossing while holding Baby2 (he has one of those flosser tool things). Poor guy. Then I get home and Baby2 passed out at the boob. Go figure!

Anyway, enough of my fragmented, discombobulated ramblings. We survived the first day. We’ll take it day-by-day from here. And the paychecks and health insurance will continue.

Our Sleep Game, Vol. 3

Baby2 is amazing. Somehow, despite my inconsistencies with following my own baby sleep rules, she has managed to cross the threshold to lengthy nighttime sleep. She’s been riding a minimum five hour stretch of sleep every night for the past two weeks! At six weeks she started sleeping six hours, then a couple five hour nights, now this week I’m getting up to seven hours some nights! I love Baby2. I love her so much.

The timing couldn’t be better since I’m back to work starting Monday. Saddest face ever. But I think we’re both ready. I won’t be able to sleep until 10 like I did sometimes during maternity leave, so I am super grateful for these long stretches of sleep that Baby2 is giving me.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

This cutie is all ready for a good night’s sleep

So how did she do it? I have no clue. I have been trying to follow our Babywise routine as much as possible, but it has been difficult to get good naps during the day because we’ve been so busy. With people in town for a month, keeping Kiddo1 entertained and otherwise completing outside-the-house obligations we haven’t really put her on a set schedule per se. We do follow the eat/play/sleep routine but sometimes she’s got to eat and then it’s car seat time for a hour while we run around town. She’ll stay awake for a bit but this baby cannot fight the jiggling, sleep-lulling goodness of the car (or the wrap if we’re walking around). She’s too much like her daddy. Right to sleep she goes. And who could blame her, really? Full belly, cozy seat (or wrap), jiggling. It’s a recipe for a great nap if you ask me. There’s no stopping it.

If she isn’t being jiggled into dreamland then she seems to have a hard time giving herself over to sleep during the day. She’s just so alert a lot of the time now! Which is great, but when it comes time for a nap she will just fight, fight, fight. She doesn’t cry about it much, she’ll just be playing with us or laying around in our arms and her eyes will get droopy but then they’ll pop back open. We’ll put her in her crib and she’ll cry a bunch. I’ll let her cry for a few minutes but I end up giving in after a few rounds of put down, cry, soothe, cry, pick up and soothe, put down, cry, soothe, cry, blah, blah, blah. At that point she’s probably not going to nap. Eh, it is what it is.

Sometimes we can get her to nap in her bouncy seat though (we call it her chair). I think she wants to hang out with us so bad that she just can’t stand going to her crib. I’m making this up for her, of course, but I think it’s a reasonable explanation, right? So she sleeps in odd places, but most of the time that’s okay (and I kind of like that she is able to sleep anywhere!). The only problem is that she doesn’t nap very long. She’ll get to that 45-minute mark and start to stir. She has trouble moving from one sleep cycle to the next. We will give her a few minutes to see if she’ll get back to sleep but mostly it’s a no-go. So I’m reading about that right now to see how we can help her get full 90-minute naps.

Daytime naps, hit or miss. But nighttime, oh nighttime, she is a dream. Sometime between 8 and 9, depending on when she took her dinner feeding, I’ll start her bedtime routine. She gets fed again, then a new diaper and changed into her pajamas (babies look so incredibly cute in those little sleeper pajamas with the feet – like a little lump of amazing baby cuteness). Then we get the room all dark and walk around in it together. I pat her back and hold her close while she lays her head on my shoulder. I hug her and generally savor every moment of being able to hold her like this. Insert contented sigh. Then, and here’s where I hope I don’t jinx myself by disclosing this, I put her down in her crib, give her a little pat and walk away so she can quietly close her eyes and get herself to sleep. And lately that’s been working about 80% of the time. I’ll take it. Then she sleeps for that solid five to seven hours, wakes around 3 AM, gets changed and fed and goes right back to sleep for another three or four hours. Blissful sleep. Joy.

Overall, I couldn’t be happier about Baby2’s sleep progress. She doesn’t always make it to the crib for daytime naps, but I believe she is learning to self-soothe and we have been really good about not rushing to her if she wakes mid-nap. I’m interested to see how my return to work will change her sleep patterns. I am reading a bit about sleep regression, too, to keep myself from surprises around four months when apparently most babies turn their backs on their sleeping norms. I will probably have lots to update next time then! Happy sleeping!

The Great Stroller-Free Experiment, Volume 1

While I was pregnant with Baby2, I wondered if we actually needed a stroller. Just how much baby mobility can be successfully accomplished without using a stroller? Would forgoing the stroller make transit with an infant easier? Faster? More or less of a pain in the ass? In this series of posts I’ll talk about my challenge to forgo the stroller as much as possible.

For the first six weeks of Baby2’s life, Mr. Handsome and I have used our Moby wrap for all baby transit outside of her car seat. We’ve tried the Ergo a couple times but Baby2 isn’t quite big enough (I’m currently scouting out an infant insert on Craig’s List) so this post is focused completely on the Moby wrap.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppI usually do the baby wearing but that’s mostly because I’m quick at getting the Moby on. Mr. Handsome can do it but he needs a little help still (hence the search for an Ergo infant insert). I caught on to the wrapping of the Moby pretty well but it is kind of a dance to get it put on. Once it’s on properly it is super comfortable. The fabric is soft and stretchy and it’s all wrapped around me in a big hug. A hug with my baby in it! What could be better?!

We wore Baby2 literally everywhere, as the only other option we had for the first six weeks was carrying her car seat around (those things are too big and clumsy for me!). With visitors in town we went to a lot of busy/touristy places. It was/is super easy to get through crowds with Baby2 strapped to my chest and no big ol’ stroller in taking up space in front of me. We could move through swarms of people with ease in all the packed places we visited this summer, including street fairs, museums, the zoo and amusement parks. Plus, we would never have made it through to Kiddo1’s classroom when we dropped him off on the first day of school. It was a huge mass of people, a chaos of excited children. I’ll keep my baby close-in, thankyouverymuch.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppNow whilst in these crowds of people there’s bound to be a sweet old lady or someone who loves babies and wants to get thisclose to Baby2 and touch her face and hands and breathe stranger breath all over my sweet little healthy darling. The Moby helps keep Hands Off because Baby2 is all in my personal bubble, see, so people tend to feel less free to touch, touch, touch. I can also pull a little fabric up over her face if things get really loud and crazy. Or if I’m walking in the sun and need a little shade on Baby2’s porcelain face.

Speaking of sun, you know what travels through sand on the beach real easy? Bare feet. You know what doesn’t? Stroller wheels. Boom.

You know what keeps Baby2 super duper happy and allows me to get stuff done around the house? Baby wearing. Sometimes there’s just no soothing this baby who loves me so much that I must hold her always. But mama needs to get stuff done! Baby wearing to the rescue! Sure, moving laundry from washer to dryer is a little difficult, but folding clothes is fine. Washing dishes can get messy but putting them away is easy. Etcetera, etcetera…

Of course there are a few setbacks to exclusive baby wearing. I wear Baby2 when we go out to eat and I have to hunch over a bit so I don’t get crumbs all over her sweet little head. But not having a stroller in a restaurant is great because squeezing a stroller through a labyrinth of tables and chairs is pretty much impossible, not to mention the space it takes up at a table. So we break even on that one.

A bigger con, especially during the summer, is that the wrap can get warm. It’s wonderful in the chilly morning dropping Kiddo1 off at school (at least for the next couple days while I’m still on maternity leave!). Baby2 can soak in my body heat, I get a warm bundle of joy on my chest and everyone wins. But when it’s 90 degrees in direct sunlight and Baby2’s face is melting into my chest it’s just not the most comfortable situation.

A final negative for exclusive baby wearing, one that I could work around but just came up in the last week, is that walking around wearing a wrap without a baby in it is kind of weird. See, the 15 meters of fabric you wrap around yourself can drag on the ground a bit while you’re wrapping so it’s best to wrap yourself up before leaving the house. But then sometimes you’re walking around without a baby in the wrap, like if you get out of the car to pay for gas (leaving your husband and older child with the baby, of course!) or when the baby needs to come out of the wrap and be held by daddy because she’s melting into your chest at a street fair in early August and you’re walking around said street fair looking like you’re trying to lead a new scarf-tying trend.

Anyway. Back to the positives. The coolest thing about wearing my baby is that she’s close to me. We gaze into each others’ eyes. She nuzzles into my chest (probably looking for a nipple). She falls asleep and I can feel her breath on my skin. I feel connected to her. I really like having her so close and protected. It’s really nice. Plus I can move through crowds with ease AND I’ve got a whole extra person attached to me! Smiley face.

Next time, some interesting challenges test my exclusive baby wearing commitment. Will I cave to the stroller?! Tune in to find out.

Earth to Mother Mary

Where the hell have I been lately? I don’t even know. It must be some other planet – Planet Baby – because not only is life so very different here but it is so out of touch as well! The fog/high of delivery gave way to a fog of visitors followed by a brief fog of routineless, carefree summer, all mixed in with a whole lot of Baby Time.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppSo much is new. Baby2 is growing so fast – why must they grow so quickly? She loves working on holding her head up, pushing her feet down in a “standing” position, moving her head and holding it up during tummy time, all that good baby exercise stuff. She already seems and feels so much bigger. She doesn’t fit in the dress she wore when we took her home from the hospital. That was a little sad to discover! But she did just start smiling so the blow of ill-fitting newborn outfits has been softened, somewhat.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppKiddo1 started fourth grade on Wednesday. Deep breath. Fourth grade feels so… old! This year he is applying to be a safety helper or recess helper – only fourth and fifth grade students can do those jobs, so he’s very excited. He’s talked about doing those since kindergarten.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppLuckily before school started we could fit in a camping trip. Baby2 is pretty good at night so we knew it wouldn’t be too bad. We stayed pretty close to home and found a great site on a river (river noise covers baby noise!) with only one other close campsite. Baby2 did great all night anyway so I didn’t have to worry so much about finding a good site. She gets up to eat but as long as she’s dry she’ll go right back to sleep.

I have so much more to write about with her sleeping and baby-wearing and of course breastfeeding, which specifically needs a lot more attention since I wussed out on most of my planned posts for August’s National Breastfeeding Month. Sigh. I’m slowly working my way out of this baby fog!