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Monthly Archives: July 2013

12 Months

What a great month it has been. A great year, too, but a particularly good month. We’re all completely settled into our routines now, Baby2 is fairly predictable and all that “normalness” does ease the mind a bit.

I’m pretty sure Baby2 said her first word this month, and I think she understood the context as well. We were looking at her books and she made the “wa” noise, so I said, “wow,” at the book and she said wow too! I swear she did. She says it now still, mostly when she’s looking at her books. I swear she’s saying wow when she likes something. I swear.

Mr. Handsome and I both think we’ve heard her say “hi” and “bye” in the appropriate context too, mostly when one of us is leaving for work (he says bye to me in the mornings and I say bye to him when I get home in the afternoons). She also just started waving too which, like the clapping she started doing last month, is just super adorable. She has a whole-forearm kind of wave, and she often waves both arms at once. Either she waves or she does this cute thing with her arm where she reaches out for… something… air? Recognition? It’s almost a ballet arm pose, but I’m not sure what to call it. It looks sort of like this blurry picture:

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She moves so quickly most of my pictures of her lately are blurry. A few days ago, Mr. Handsome asked me to take some pictures of her in this cute dress I bought her.

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I got maybe three pictures before she made a bee-line for my camera/phone.

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I turned the camera to front-facing and she took a few funny pictures.

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And a video. I love this video so much because you can hear her little noises, it’s almost like you can hear her learning and thinking about the camera. Plus I like that her face just kind of randomly appears. You just have to get past my obnoxious commentary!

She’s so fun. She was also doing this one day, which was just hilarious:

What a silly crawler! She just laughed and laughed, and kept going for at least three minutes.

She’s been really wanting to crawl through small spaces lately (that’s not at all nerve-wrecking) so we got her one of these collapsable tunnels at IKEA. Not only does she love it, but Kiddo1 took to it right away as well. They have spent a lot of time chasing each other through the tunnel. Kiddo1 has even worn it a few times. $14.72 well spent.

When she’s not crawling through the tunnel, we’re attempting to work on our walking. She’s just so good at crawling that I don’t think she cares too much about walking. She will walk around with her push toy:

Just as happy as can be. She has risen to standing without holding onto something a few times and if she does pull herself up with assistance she lets go and stands on her own for a couple seconds. She is testing her limits I think.

She is getting more and more independent. She loves figuring things out for herself and she usually pushes away any form of assistance. Except when it comes to food! Like last month, she still doesn’t really get much in the way of “real food” unless it is a puree. She does enjoy a good gnaw on a strawberry or a cool steamed carrot, but she won’t take in much from that and she still has a bit of a gag reflex. Even on her birthday she wasn’t interested in the cake!

Purees are going better and better though. The last couple days she has had a least a couple tablespoons instead of a couple small bites. Progress! And getting her on goat’s milk is still going really well. We’re down to our last jar of breastmilk in the fridge so the switch is about to be complete! She’s still nursing at night, too.

Her sleep hasn’t changed too much lately. Her naps have been fairly predictable for awhile. She still wakes a few times a night to nurse but goes right back to sleep. The past couple nights she’s had a hard time getting down to sleep BUT yesterday she had two vaccination shots and we think she might be getting a whole slew of teeth now that one little guy has pooped through those gums.

It’s still quite difficult to get a picture of the lone tooth so you’ll just have to take my word for it that it is indeed there.

What’s also getting a little teeny bit difficult is Baby2 when you try to take something away from her or do something she doesn’t like (like change her diaper). She is starting to make the tantrum noise, this whinny high-pitched squeal that sounds like frustration and anger and sadness all mixed into one. I dread the tantrum phase, but honestly, if that’s the worst thing going on right now then I consider us extremely lucky!

Baby2 is such a good baby, such a happy baby. Being around her is just pure joy, even when she makes the tantrum noise (well, most of those times).

Finally, I leave you with another super cute video! Kiddo1 renamed this Tommy Toot toy, “Professor Joe.”

Breastfeeding Goal Met!

Well here we are, the big ONE. Baby2’s first birthday! This is the first of a couple posts I plan to write about the occasion because, quite frankly, ALL THIS AWESOMENESS just can’t be contained by one post alone.

For this first post, I’m actually going to talk about bit more about myself than Baby2 – but no worries, everything else I’ll write about tomorrow is all about her. Speaking of tomorrow, that’s a big day for ME. As of tomorrow, I will have met my goal of breastfeeding for Baby2’s entire first year! I’m going to take a moment to let that sink in. I feel really awesome about this goal. It just feels awesome to meet a goal at all, doesn’t it?!

I tried very hard to successfully breastfeed both of my babies. The biggest difference was that with Kiddo1 I didn’t set any goals for myself, therefore I didn’t really have anything to work toward (other than keeping my happy baby healthy, of course!). This time with Baby2 I set one large, overall goal (to make it to a year) and several smaller goals as well (to make it to six and nine months, to donate excess, etc).

There are more differences between the two breastfeeding jobs I’ve had, and while I try not to get into comparing my children, I think this an interesting contrast:

  • With my first nursling, I didn’t want to educate myself at all because I figured this “skill” would come naturally to me. Come the second time around, I realized that even nature needs some nurture.
  • With my first, I thought a cheap, manual breastpump would do the job (I was so uninformed/naive/young/stupid). With my second, I knew the extra cost of a double electric pump would be worth it (and after a couple months with my Avent, I realized one of those hospital-strength Medelas would be even better, but I stuck it out with Avent).
  • With my first, I didn’t take care of myself first – I didn’t eat well or hydrate enough. With my second, I carry water with me everywhere and I eat SO MUCH better than I did 9 years ago (although these last couple months I have slacked off a lot).
  • With my first, I focused very much on getting Kiddo1 on a schedule (which Kiddo1 took to very well and really was more of a “scheduled” baby than Baby2 is). With my second, I fed “on demand” and didn’t let those evening block feedings phase me at all. Baby2 is SO not a schedule baby, but she does like her routines.
  • With my first, I also focused very much on getting Kiddo1 to sleep through the night (which he did at 5 weeks and never really had much of a regression). With my second, I co-slept and let Baby2 eat at night whenever she needed (more on that later…).
  • With my first, I didn’t seek out any sort of support system (other than Mr. Handsome who has always been amazing). Withmy second, I have a lot more support, mostly in the form of online communities (just reading other women’s struggles and successes is supportive!), but I also sought help from a lactation consultant when I felt like I needed it.
  • With my first, I did a lot of supplementing, mostly so I could go out and be a “normal” 22-year-old, you know? But with my second, I don’t supplement at all unless it is both with milk I pumped and it is because I am literally not physically there with my baby. If I was there with her I insisted on feeding her (except for a couple special occasions that I wanted just one more beer!).

Such a change in 9 years, eh?

In this year with Baby2 we never used a drop of formula, but it was never about an “anti-formula” agenda or anything like that for me. Kiddo1 was formula-fed, so I’m not against it. My motivator started with money, to be honest. Actually I wrote down all my motivators awhile back; I think money was on the list twice. In fact, we’ve done a few things to save money this year (I used Babycenter’s cost calculator and their default settings to calculate the following):

  • Exclusively breastfeeding $1000
  • Cloth diapering $1100 (BabyCenter says my savings here is actually $800 and we should spend $19/month on cloth diapers – without a service – but I think that’s total crap for us because we literally only have laundry expenses for our diapers and those amount to a percentage of the laundry detergent we already use and water, which we pay the same for whether we use none or a shit-ton, no pun intended)
  • Stay-at-home parent $4600

But I hugely digress (money makes me do crazy things). Here are some fun facts to get me back on track:

  • I used my company’s lactation room for 10 months exactly (9/17/12 to 7/17/12).
  • I used exactly 21 milk storage bags and countless number of glass mason jars to store milk (the bags were just used on vacation and once at work when I forgot my bottles).
  • I filled my deep freezer to the top once and I sabotaged my whole freezer stash once. photo 5097A4E7-AAD8-466B-8A41-1E955181E951-1922-000001662E0BA961.jpg
  • I donated over 1000 ounces of breastmilk (which I started doing after I filled my freezer to the top that one time – there was no room for adult food!).
  • I donated my milk to four babies.
  • I could probably count on one hand the number of ounces of milk that I have spilled this year – I have been extremely careful! I only had one little spill at home, never at work.

The only non-breastmilk she’s drank this year is the goat’s milk she’s had this last week as we transition. We selected goat’s milk over cow’s milk because it has more fat, and fat is something this little lady needs. I’m still doing research about fortified and pasteurized versus raw goat’s milk (and kind of leaning toward raw) but for now she’s on milk from the grocery store so it is fortified and pasteurized. More to come on that.

Getting her on goat’s milk has been easy – our first step was to have her take her morning session in a bottle from Daddy now, even if I’m at home. Last week he started mixing one part goat’s milk to two parts breastmilk; this week he’s even flipped that ratio (2 parts goat’s, 1 part mine). Baby2 is taking to it really well. We’re sticking with the 2:1 ratio for another week or so, to make sure she doesn’t react in any way AND to talk with the pediatrician at the end of the week to make sure we’re doing everything right (of course we are! Hahah). She’s still taking her milk warm but after we switch to 100% goats then we’ll probably start trying to give her cooler milk too. So, yes, a very easy switch to new milk.

The hard part we have not yet faced – weaning. More specifically, nighttime weaning. Bleh, I don’t even want to think about it. On the one hand I would really like to have a baby-free bed and a full night’s sleep. On the other, Baby2 is SO EASY to get back to sleep when she wakes up – just feed her! A handful of times that wouldn’t work because she’s just been pissed in the middle of the night, but I blame teething because believe me we tried everything to soothe her those times!

Part of me wants to be really strict and just eliminate nighttime nursing cold-turkey. Just let her cry it out. She’ll totally adjust what she eats during the day so she doesn’t go hungry. No biggie, right?

Then the other part of me, the voice that I hear more loudly, says no, just chill out! (Tanget – have you seen CTFD-style parenting? I love this.) Just keep doing what I’m doing. Why change if things are working well?

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There are just so many variables.

  • Now we have the crib in our room but we’re moving next month (yes we’re actually moving finally!!) and when she has her own room it won’t be as easy to sleepily steal her from her crib so I should transition her away from co-sleeping now.
  • I work full time so I don’t get a lot of time with Baby2 during the week; sometimes nighttime snuggles are the only time I get with her. So I should continue co-sleeping now.
  • I haven’t had a full night sleep since the second trimester of my pregnancy so I should transition her to sleeping through the night now.
  • She’s little and she doesn’t eat much as it is so I should continue feeding her whenever she’ll take sustenance.

I don’t know what we’ll do. Some days I’m totally gung-ho one way and then I flip to the other way. There is no “middle way,” though: we either night wean AND discontinue co-sleeping or we don’t. I’m not walking to her room in the middle of the night and hanging out in there until she’s ready to go back to sleep. What the hell is the point of that? Oh so I can lose MORE sleep at night? No thanks. If I continue feeding her through the night I must do it while half asleep. There just is no other way. More to come on my progress on this end.

I DO know that I’m done pumping at work! Woot! I’ve removed all blocked-off pumping time from my Outlook calendar. I’ve taken my pump home for the last time. I’ve cleaned and boiled my pump parts and tucked everything away in its black bag. This weekend I will pack it in a moving box along with a bunch of other random moving crap (even though we’re not moving for another month). The pump bag will likely sit in my daughter’s closet at the new house, waiting for me to decide what to do with it.

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Pumping at work has been fine. It seems very normal, really, which is fantastic. I am extremely grateful to have the lactation room at work. I’m glad to know that so many other ladies are using the facility as well – I had to take this picture of the most bags I had ever seen in the room at once. So many pumping mamas! When I returned from maternity leave there was only one other woman using the room, and she was on her last couple weeks before her son turned one. For a couple weeks I was the only woman using the room until a couple more co-workers returned from their maternity leaves. Then the room got pretty busy – this picture of all the pump bags happened a few times this year (we always have people coming in the office from off-site, so the number of lactation room users can vary a lot). I didn’t really make any lasting friendships or anything, but knowing other people were in the same place as me was a kind of support in and of itself.

As far as daytime weaning, I’m not there yet. When I’m at home I’m still nursing my nursling, but I don’t know how long my supply will keep up. I don’t really have a plan – we replaced the morning feeding with the “milk hybrid” bottle and we’ll probably replace another at-home feeding with a bottle over the weekend. Maybe. I’m not sure yet. I’m not sure what I want to give up yet. I think most people start dropping their nighttime feedings first, but not us. My weaning plan is a “play-it-by-ear” or a “do-what-feels-‘right’-whatever-the-hell-that-is” kind of plan. A CTFD-type of plan, if you will! We’ll see how it goes.

Finally, everyone’s favorite way to end a post, the fun paragraph in which I tell about my postpartum body (yes I’m still calling it postpartum). I still haven’t had a period!!! (I’m done trying to call that by other names as well.) No, I am not pregnant (I took a test on Friday, just in case). I hope that now that I’m not pumping things will get back to normal. I’m not complaining, but it’s weird. Part of me almost thinks I have some lack of control right now. Not that I can control when it shows up each month… maybe it is the predictability that I miss. Maybe I should just shut the hell up and enjoy it while it lasts. CTFD! Linea negra is still around too.

Next post: cute baby pictures and lots of videos in the 12 month update!

11 Months

 photo null_zps749c6dbd.jpg Sweet Baby2 is nearly one year old, I can’t even believe it! She is doing so much lately, too. A couple days before the big 11-month mark she started clapping, which is just adorable! She claps when people around her clap, when we say “Yay!” and even when she hears a round of applause. Most of the time she will drop whatever her little hands are around so she can give a proper clap. She smiles so big every time.

Baby2 and Kiddo1 are really into playing together now. Kiddo1 has even left the computer screen a few times to join her in a particularly amusing activity (whatever it might be at the time).

She’s even faster with her crawling now that she was last month. Sometimes I swear someone comes by, picks her up and puts her in another place while my back is turned because she can get from place to place so fast! At 11 months, she has just barely started walking around the furniture, she moves a bit cautiously. But she’s certainly getting the hang of it! 

She’s always loved when I hold her and we dance together, but now she’s working on a few of her own dance moves. She’ll stand and hold on to something and twist around or do these little dance-y squats. It’s kind of like jumping but her feet don’t move. I swear sometimes she even moves to the beat! Sometimes she “head bangs” too – or at least it looks like it, she nods her head with such excitement!

 photo null_zps5c368974.jpg She loves to go to the swings at the park. We put her in the swing and she giggles so much! It’s so fun, and the weather is just so perfect for afternoon swining at the park.

Baby2 is still not a big eater, but she is getting more real food in her. A little more every week! She takes in the most food when it is pureed for her and we spoon feed her, but she loves holding a strawberry and gnawing on it for awhile. Now that it is warm I think she’s especially loving to hold a cool object and chew on it – strawberries, carrots, an unopened package of string cheese. You know, whatever catches her fancy.

Speaking of chewing, we officially have a tooth! Officially the tooth sprouted after the 11-month mark but I’m too excited not to include it in this month’s wrap-up. A picture will come next month, though, since the little tooth has just barely broken through her gums at this point and she won’t open her mouth for a picture (let alone just let me look at it). I have to run my fingers across her gums to find it. So… if it is so difficult to get to the tooth, how did I discover it, you ask? Well, she bit me. While I was feeding her (so it wasn’t my finger that she bit!). I yelped in pain, she was surprised I yelled, she cried a little, she went back to nursing and she hasn’t bitten me since. Thank goodness! It didn’t hurt too bad because the tooth is really just a few sharp bumps on her gum at this point, but still, sharp little bumps. And I was surprised to feel something sharp during an otherwise not-so-sharp activity!

I am excited and sad that we are quickly approaching her first birthday. Watching a child grow is the best thing ever, THE BEST! But as each milestone passes, the pride and joy I feel is accompanied by mourning. The milestone we celebrate will never be reached by that particular child ever again. We’ll never go back to a her newborn body melting into my chest as she sleeps. We’ll never go back to the first time she rolled over (LINK!) or the first time she clapped in amusement. At the same time, the passing of one milestone or the closing of one phase opens the door to another. And those new things are what make life with children just so exciting. We can predict so many things about our babies, but we just never know exactly what they’ll do unless we let them get there.