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Holiday Wrap-Up

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The 9YL family wishes everyone on the internet a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Ours was fun but exhausting…

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Unwrapping at home

We spent Christmas Eve and Day at home just hanging out. Baby2 discovered a love for wrapping paper. As we unwrapped her gifts with her she stared with wonder at the paper. Even after her gift was uncovered she reached for paper first every time.

Kiddo1 got the 3DS XL that he’s been wanting and saving up for. Mr. Handsome wrapped a box in a box in a box so Kiddo1 had to unwrap a few boxes to get to it. Although I don’t agree with the practice it was fun to watch Kiddo1 get a little frustrated and then SO excited when he saw the actual gift.

Kiddo1 had some, what I’ll call, “milestone” interactions with his younger sister as he handed her presents and said things like, “this one’s for you, [Baby2],” and said them while looking her in the face. This is a milestone as he doesn’t tend to acknowledge her much. I really need to write a whole post about this subject because it is interesting how Kiddo1 makes little baby steps toward interaction with his sibling. I have heard that it can take most kids (and I’d think especially older kids) at least six months to start really acknowledging the new family member. I’m trying not to pressure him too much because I don’t want to do any damage but at the same time it’s like, dude, she’s not going away get over it already. But that’s not fair. Ugh, I could really get going but I’m saving it for another time.

Anyway, Mr. Handsome and I spent the rest of Christmas Day preparing for our annual trip to Phoenix to visit family. My parents and his parents live there, as well as my only living grandparent, my only brother and one of Mr. Handsome’s two brothers, although none of us is actually from the area (Kiddo1 was born there though). It’s always good times seeing our family, and this year was especially sweet to re-introduce people to Baby2. Babies change so much in such a short time; she’s so different now than when they saw her as a newborn!

This was Baby2’s first trip away from home and logistically it was great. We traveled with cloth diapers and I gotta tell ya, it was super easy. I don’t know if cloth diapering is so easy for us because I pretty much refuse to acknowledge that disposables exist at this point or if we’re just really lucky. Baby2 still being exclusively breastfed probably helps a little, too. We took about 15 diapers with us and did diaper laundry three times during our five-day stay. My carry on bag (backpack) was about half full of diapers, but honestly there’s not much else I need except for my wallet and water bottle.

Of course breastfeeding simplified things a ton because we never had to worry about when Baby2 was going to eat or how she would get fed. One less thing to plan for us to worry about, thank goodness. I did take my pump with me and I’m glad I took the whole big electric pump instead of just my manual one. I worried about putting it in our checked luggage (what if it got lost?! Or damaged?? The horror!!) but everything turned out fine. I strapped it in our checked car seat for some extra security. I was able to donate all the extra milk that I pumped during our trip so I didn’t have to hassle with bringing it back and I met another very sweet mama of an adopted baby girl who was grateful for a little extra milk.

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She loves the peanut packets!

Baby2 did very well during her first trip. The flights were fine (direct on the way there, one connection on the way back) and the altitude change didn’t seem to bother her sweet baby ears at all, although she was eating during take off for each flight so I hope that helped. She made what she probably considers the greatest discovery of her life so far when she saw the airlines packets of peanuts. I’ve never seen her so excited or grab an object so quickly. We asked for extra on the flight back and we now have a couple sitting around just in case she needs a major distraction. They’re shiny and crinkly! What’s not to like?

Kiddo1 is a seasoned traveler and was not at all phased by the extra family member during this trip. He’s been handling his own bags for years so we were free to manage everything else. There’s one of the major benefits of having kids several years apart – you really only have one “wild card” kid at a time. Baby2 could (potentially) freak out at any moment but Kiddo1’s behavior is fairly constant at this point.

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Baby2 watches Mr. Handsome play in the water from her warm and dry Ergo

Wearing Baby2 through the airport and during all our “site-seeing” worked wonderfully. We had hands free in the airport to mess with bags and check in. You don’t have to take off your baby carrier when you go through x-ray which was great (although they do an alcohol-swab test on your hands for explosives which only takes a second). We could walk through the tiny terminal stores and restaurants without getting stuck – a stroller would never make it through some of those spots. My momĀ  had bought a stroller for us to use while we were there (even though I asked her not to) and we didn’t use it at all. Anytime we went somewhere we either held Baby2 or used our Ergo. It worked out quite well.

All in all it was a good trip for everyone. We were super grateful to return on New Years Eve at around 11 so we made it home and snuggled in to watch the ball drop just before midnight. We counted down the seconds left of 2012 and cheered in the new year together. Then we finally had a good night’s sleep in our own beds. I’m sure I can speak for everyone in the family when I say it was so very wonderful to sleep in our own beds again.

Happy 2013, internet!

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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!

Getting on My Sleep Game

Ah, the woes of nighttime sleep, the bane of many newborns’ parents’ existence. Perhaps adding insult are the first couple relatively blissful weeks of newborn life during which sleepy babes tease parents with adequate stretches of slumber and quick returns to shut-eye.

I have fairly strict philosophies on sleep, which I’ll write more about when I review Babywise in about a week, but for now, here’s a short version. Also, I must say that this is the plan that I’ve found works best for me and our family, based on experiences with Kiddo1. It won’t work for everyone – we all have our own philosophies to follow. Here are a few of mine, though:

  • I won’t use “sleep props” such as comfort-nursing or swings to soothe my baby to sleep.
  • I will put baby in her crib for naps and nighttime sleep while she’s still awake so that she can learn to fall asleep on her own in her own crib.
  • I will teach baby to self-soothe (if they wake and do not need a diaper change, feeding, burping, etc.) by not rushing to her every time she makes the slightest peep.
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Day One: already a rule-breaker (but it was okay then!)

For Baby2’s first couple weeks of life, I pretty much ignored my own rules. I used sleep props like nursing to calm her down before sleep, I put her in her crib already sleeping, I rushed to her every time she stirred, I let her nap in her bouncy seat all day long and let her sleep in our bed all night. I did these things because she was (and still is!) so new, so tiny, so helpless, so adorable to look at!

An aside: some may think my rules are too strict for a newborn. I get that – I read them back to myself and yes, they are strict. But they are not hurtful, they don’t break our baby-mama attachment and they don’t cause psychological damage. If anything, they foster solid sleeping habits, increase our attachment because we’re both happily well-rested and give baby confidence in her abilities to self-soothe (I understand that last one seems like a stretch, but Kiddo1 is living proof that it’s true). Also, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with breaking these rules every now and then. Napping with Baby2 now and then or falling asleep together after a nighttime feeding once-in-awhile is really no big deal, but I’d like my habits to follow my rules a vast majority of the time.

Anyway, so after a rough night in which Baby2 couldn’t be ushered back to sleep on her own and I caved to comfort nursing and co-sleeping, I knew it was time to get on my game. That, and Mr. Handsome reminded me that the habits I’m starting go against my sleep principles… that, and he’s tired.

Today I’m practicing what I preach. Case in point: for Baby2’s first nap of the day I put her in her crib. She cried. But she only cried for a minute (seemed like an eternity!) and soothed herself right to sleep (she didn’t cry herself to sleep! I saw!) and slept so long I had to wake her up for her feeding (she’s probably tired after last night too!). All hope is not lost. Over the today and the next few days I plan on having her take more naps in her crib until she’s sleeping in there exclusively (with one exception, see below).

Over the next few nights I plan on trying my hardest to put Baby2 back in her crib after a feeding. My hurdle isn’t so much the desire to hold her close all night (although that does factor in!) it is more that I just plain fall asleep during a feeding. I’m tired! She falls asleep too, it’s a win-win, right? Except she isn’t learning to sleep on her own and that will escalate into bigger sleep problems later on if I’m not careful. So it’s time to break that habit.

When we’re out-and-about, Baby2 will have to sleep in her carrier or even car seat, which I’m okay with. But I don’t want her sleeping there all the time, either. I don’t feel like she gets as good-quality sleep there as she does at home. This brings me back to part of our dilemma over the past few days: we’ve been out too much! We’ve had family in town since Baby2 was born and we just haven’t had an opportunity to work on our routine or our habits. So I can’t blame myself completely (score!). Now that the visitors are gone, we can shift our focus back to Baby2’s sleep needs. Yay!

Updates will follow, so I’d better get on my game!

Our First Week at Home

First week down! Baby2 officially turned one week old on Wednesday. So much has happened that I thought I’d write another update. Here’s what has happened since our first days at home.

Breastfeeding

Baby2 continues to eat well – she’s gained another five ounces since Friday’s pediatrician appointment, bringing her back up to her birth weight already (which is a week two milestone – she’s an overachiever already!)! We went to the pediatrician’s office to weigh her yesterday for my own sanity. I think every breastfeeding mama wonders if her baby is eating enough. You just can’t see the milk going in! But we can see what’s coming out of her, and if Baby2’s diaper actions are any indication I’d say she’s eating like a champ. I probably didn’t need to go weigh her, but I was curious!

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Milk Drunk

What is interesting about her feedings is that she tends to eat in five minute increments. After five minutes are up, she loses interest. I can normally burp her and put her back on, or change her diaper and start again, but I could almost set my watch by her cadence. I’ve also noticed that the ducts on the underside of my breasts tend to get really full so after her first five minute time block I’ll spend the second five minutes massaging those ducts to give her a little more milk.

I’ve also been experimenting with only using one breast per feeding instead of switching back and forth. I know that the more empty the breast becomes, the more fatty hindmilk she’s getting (which is good!). So the focus right now is a full feeding and an empty breast. We’ll see how that effects my supply since one breast will be fully emptied every 3-6 hours as opposed to being maybe half emptied every 1.5-3 hours. I want to research this topic more…

Speaking of timing, she’s still eating every 1.5-3 hours. I won’t let her go longer than three hours between feedings. The other day I had to wake her out of a dead sleep because time was up. We struggled through that feeding but I did get a good 10 minutes out of her! In two five minute increments, of course.

Nights are working well. I always put her down in her crib about 30 minutes after her 8:00 PM feeding. If she wakes up after that I’ll feed her and put her right back down. If she wakes up after I’ve gone to bed (which has been late lately! 10 or 11 o’clock!) I’ll keep her in bed with me so I can get some sleep (just pull out a boob when she stirs! So much easier than getting out of bed). She wakes up a lot until I pull her in bed with me, then she sleeps a ton. I’m slightly worried that she’s preferring our bed over her crib, so she may start getting a lot more crib time soon. We’ll see.

For the first few days, I didn’t keep track of night feedings at all. Now I’m trying to a least glance at the clock when she stirs so I can keep track of how long she’s going between feedings completely on her own (there’s no way I’m setting an alarm or something to make sure she’s eating every three hours at night!). So far she’s keeping a rhythm of eating at 12, 2:30, 5 and 7:30 AM. Whoa. Self-regulating is amazing!

Sometimes she stirs but doesn’t really want to eat – she’s wet and needs changing. So I’m trying to watch out for that more. I don’t think she’s at all ready to drop a feeding, but I’m also not sure if five minutes every 2.5 hours is really much of a feeding… Monitoring is on-going.

Cloth Diapering

Still loving cloth diapers! We’ve modified our prefolds a little though. Since the size one Osocozies are still a little long for her, we’ve been folding them down in front so they’ll fit into the covers. But since Baby2 is a girl, she wets more in the back than the front so we started folding the prefold down in the back. That has helped to not only absorb more but also makes securing the prefold with the Snappi that much easier because there’s more fabric to pull around her legs. Ah, discovery.

Baby2 had a bit of a diaper rash earlier this week which really freaked me out! Kiddo1 had the nastiest of nasty and persistent diaper rashes when he was a baby. I fear diaper rashes like some people fear tight spaces. Or the dark. Or commitment. Anyway… Luckily the diaper rash is gone now, probably because I attacked it and killed it! I took Baby2 outside and sunned her bottom twice a day for a couple days, about five minutes in direct sunlight each time (I did shade her upper half from the sun). I also started using Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Bottom Balm on her with each diaper change. Worked like a charm. For one final nail in the coffin, I’m adding an extra cold rise (that’s two cold rinses) at the end of our diaper laundry routine, just to make sure all the soap gets out. Now I’m monitoring the absorbancy of the prefolds to see if I need to strip them because of the Bottom Balm build-up (although Bottom Balm is cloth diaper-safe!).

Baby2’s Disposition

Still quite awesome. I know she’s in the easy-going newborn phase, but if she’s anything like her brother she’ll continue to be content and mellow. She still doesn’t cry at much, just when she’s hungry or needs a new diaper. Our barking dog doesn’t even make her flinch. I’m sure she’s been used to that sound since well before she was born!

Mr. Handsome swears that she smiles. He “knows” that she’s just working her facial muscles, easing out gas, what have you, but he likes to say that she smiles. I gotta say, though, when she does start smiling for real it’s going to be freaking awesome!

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Dress up!

Finally, can I just say how much fun it is to dress her?! Oh, super fun. Dressing a boy was nice and all, but little dresses are quite nice. Baby2 has been in a dress every day of her life. Come to think of it, I’ve been in a dress this whole week too! (I just haven’t been feeling jeans yet. Maybe this weekend.)

Adjusting

Life in general is slowly getting back to normal. Mr. Handsome’s family (his parents and two older brothers) are currently in town until Monday. Once the family visitor traffic slows I think everyone will be able to relax a bit more. Two of my dear friends from college are flying in from the Midwest in mid-August. I’m super excited about that!

Kiddo1 has been super talkative lately! He’s probably a little more chatty because his uncles are in town (he loves to bend their ears) but lately he’s been talking-it-up to anyone who will listen!

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Kiddo1 wanted to be swaddled too!

He seems to be getting back to his normal, silly self. Perhaps he’s realizing that we will still take time to listen to him and hang with him. He has been awfully sweet… most of the time. For some time now (a year?) he’s loved to disagree with almost everything we say. What’s that all about? He’s back to doing that lately so things must be normalizing with him.

Mr. Handsome is, of course, still freaking awesome. He even took his whole family to the coast the other day so Baby2 and I could have a whole day to relax. He’s making sure that I get enough rest and don’t try to push myself too hard (because I do/will push myself, see below). I’m not sure if he is getting enough rest, as he seems tired and perhaps a bit stressed by all the visitors. He’s sweet to try not to concern me with these things. I’m still concerned though! I think we’re both just excited for things to get back to normal. The “new normal,” he calls it!

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Mr. Handsome practicing some baby wearing!

Max (our dog) seems to be used to the new human-to-dog ratio in the house. He loves to sniff Baby2 and give her light little kisses. He isn’t as sensitive to her cry anymore, but the other day we heard a distant sound of a neighbor’s baby crying and he was quite concerned. He kept looking at our silent, sleeping baby and seemed very confused.

As for me, things are going pretty damn great. Let’s get the gross stuff out of the way in this paragraph, shall we? As soon as my milk came in on Saturday, some bodily functions have returned to normal. Most notably, I poop every day now! And in the mornings just like my old pre-pregnancy self. It’s funny how elated this makes me feel. I can sit down without having to be slow and careful, too. Just plopping myself down on hard chairs, no big deal! The lochia, or hell, let’s just call it bleeding, has slowed to spotting and I’m down to just wearing panty liners and, get this, regular bikini underpants! Sure they’re the same one-size-up ones that I wore in third tri but at least they aren’t the hospital mesh granny panties that I wore for a week (I took four pair home with me!). I’m not sure if all this success is due to the placenta pills or not, but I can tell you that I feel better at 1.3 weeks postpartum from this pregnancy than I did with my first pregnancy. Of course that birth was a bit more difficult, too. Anyway, I do think the pills are helping, at least a little. I’ve tapered off to one or two pills per day because there aren’t that many and I’m supposed to save some for three, six and nine months postpartum. Speaking of pills, though, I’m completely off the ibuprofen now! It’s been three days since I took any so I’d say that need is dead for sure. Yay!

Okay, the squeamish ones can open their eyes now! (Who can really stay away from the gross stuff anyway, right?)

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Baby2 and I are ready for the public!

I’ve been getting out of the house more. Wednesday Mr. Handsome took his family to the coast and Baby2 and I got a lot of rest. That evening I finally got to walk around a whole two blocks (which really is like walking six blocks right?) and I felt really great when I got home, like I could do another two blocks! So on Thursday, yesterday, I probably overdid it a little. We took Baby2 to the pediatrician, then had lunch out, then went on a registry-completion spree at Target. First postpartum Target visit -big deal!! Then we only stopped at home for only about an hour before taking Kiddo1 to a late doctor’s appointment and finally going to dinner with Mr. Handsome’s family. Whew.

At dinner, Baby2 and I were pretty spent. It didn’t help that Baby2 was hungry, the restaurant was noisy (she seems to have trouble nursing in noisy environments) and we were hot. I ended up taking off her dress it was so hot! So she let out some loud cries at dinner and even though I ushered her out to calm her down, I still felt bad about 1) having a crying baby in a restaurant and 2) most importantly, not being able to get her fed! I tried a few times but she was just not having it. She ended up going five hours between afternoon feedings. I felt awful!! I talked it out with Mr. Handsome on the way home and I have agreed to take it down a notch. Today we still went out (I’ve got to do something with the in-laws!) but only to the Big Bookstore and lunch. Then Kiddo1 and I are going to watch the Olympics Opening Ceremonies (I’ve got to jet off to that here in a second!). He is super excited about that!

Physically I feel ready to do full days out but I don’t think Baby2 is quite ready and I might not be mentally ready to handle it either! I’m still in kind of a foggy state, although it is lifting a bit. It’s a super happy fog though! Happy baby drunk. I don’t really mind that not being back to normal!

A few “normal” things that have happened this week and I do like very much:

  • I drove for the first time in over a week! I was telling Mr. Handsome it felt like the first time you return home from college and get to drive the car you haven’t driven in months. He had a car in college though so he couldn’t really relate.
  • I cooked myself a meal! It was eggs and toast, not difficult, but I was proud enough!
  • I painted my nails, strategically timing polish removal, nail trimming and two coats of paint after the start of each of Baby2’s naps on Wednesday (when the fam was at the coast).
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Slowly shrinking!

A couple not-quite-normal things:

  • I feel great and so much smaller but I’ve only lost 12 pounds. I suppose the boobies have gain a pound or two though! Honestly I just weighed myself for the first time today, so I’m really trying not to focus on it. Feeling great and taking care of myself are definitely prioritized over losing weight. I am excited to get back to exercising, though. Hopefully I’ll get clearance for some light yoga after my two-week check-up. No water aerobics until the six-week mark though. Sad face.
  • So far I don’t really miss being pregnant which is great because I thought I’d miss it a lot. Maybe those four overdue days helped get that out of my system. I do feel a little, well, empty, for lack of a better word to explain it. Something was there that isn’t there anymore and my body notices it. I don’t miss being pregnant but I do miss that something extra. I have to get used to being just one person in this body again! Weird huh?

Well that was, once again, quite a massive brain dump. Off to get ready for our early afternoon out! Thanks for reading!!

Our First Days at Home

Wow, there has been so much to write about lately! First, again, thank you to everyone for your comments this week! I have loved reading your reactions to our birth story. Second, this is a really, really long post and most people will probably find it incredibly boring. However, I wanted to get this all down for myself before I forget. This is such an awesome part of my life and I don’t want to lose any of it! Here’s what’s going on with our start at breastfeeding, cloth diapering and how we’re all adjusting to our new family.

Breastfeeding

Baby2 took to breastfeeding like a natural. She ate for a solid hour after she was born. I couldn’t believe it! It didn’t take much to get her latched on and going.

The rest of that first day I attempted to feed her a dozen times, but she just wanted to sleep. The nurses and lactation consultant all assured us that sleeping the first whole day is completely normal. She ate wonderfully all night and the next morning, but she ended up losing eight ounces in the hospital.

She has continued to eat like champ since we arrived home Thursday at noon. She gained three ounces back by the time we saw the pediatrician on Friday morning! I had been anticipating that weigh-in for sure!

So far she’s eating about every 1-1/2 to 3 hours, but she has enjoyed some cluster feeding around dinner time. I’m not thinking at all about a schedule yet, just working her into an easy eat, play, sleep routine (more on that in a couple weeks).

My milk came in Saturday morning. I have felt very full but not painfully engorged. Mr. Handsome says my boobs are twice as big as Baby2’s head. I say they’re only one and a half times as big. I did have to bust out my pump on Saturday afternoon to get some relief, as Baby2’s 20-minute feedings just weren’t cutting it (I get a good 30-minute feeding a couple times a day). I got a solid two ounces in five minutes which was enough to feel some relief. Time to start building a breastmilk stash! I pumped again this morning for another two ounces. If I can continue to get just two ounces a day I’ll have 112 ounces saved by the time I go back to work!

Nights are honestly not bad. We put Baby2 down in her crib, but once she starts eating at night we keep her in our bed. That way I still get some sleep and Mr. Handsome doesn’t have to be too disturbed either. I’ve been taking a daily nap and so far keeping my energy at a good level.

Cloth Diapering

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Oh my goodness we are loving cloth diapers! Baby2 was in disposables for her first day, but we put a prefold and cover on her on Thursday morning and haven’t looked back. We’re using Osocozy size one prefolds with Snapis and covers by Kissaluvs, Thirsties, Bummis and Rumparoos (one of each brand, two newborn sized and two one-sized, two Velcro and two snaps). We haven’t picked a favorite yet, but we’ll get to that I’m sure.

So far we’ve done CD laundry once a day and OMG it is so easy! I literally empty the big wet bag into the machine, do a cold rinse then add my Nellie’s detergent to a hot wash with a cold rinse cycle. Pop in the dryer (we need a clothesline-type device!) and we’re done! We used flushable liners for two days to catch the newborn tar poop, but on Saturday she gave us nice liquid breastmilk poo so we ditched the liners. The diapers clean up just like new – even the ones that got tar poop on them!

We’re using cloth wipes too. So far we’ve just used water on the wipes. We keep a little bottle of water on the dresser and wet each wipe before use. Of course we haven’t had to clean too many colossal poos yet, but this method is working well so far!

Baby2’s Disposition

She is such an amazing baby! She rarely cries and when she does it is so easy to soothe her (thank goodness for The Happiest Baby on the Block!). She’s had fantastic periods of active alertness after feedings. It’s so wonderful to stare into her eyes and interact with her. I can tell that she knows her family’s voices already.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppShe sleeps great, usually nodding off 30-45 minutes after eating (but sometimes staying awake to just after her next feeding). I like to put her down while she’s still awake for at least one nap per day and at night (more on my sleep philosophies later). She does a great job conking herself out. I’ve been able to shower every day (that’s a big deal!) and even dry my hair and dress myself because of her ability to sleep (plus Mr. Handsome is all over holding her all the time).

She makes the best little faces, she smells fantastic (even her poop smells good! Really!), she seems to be trying to lift her head already (tummy time starts as soon as the cord stump falls off!), her skin is so soft, her eyes are so deep and intense, her toes and fingers are so long like her brother’s and her little nose is adorable. I’m so in love.

Adjusting

Life in general is on hold as I recover and we adjust. It’s wonderful having no outside-the-house responsibilities. My parents have been here since Wednesday afternoon. My dad is busy building a desk for/with Kiddo1 (he cut the pieces back in Phoenix and they put it together; they finished last night). My mom has been cooking and baking. All in all they’ve been great to have around. They leave tomorrow morning and Mr. Handsome’s parents and two older brothers arrive Tuesday afternoon. Lots of visitors in the house!

Kiddo1 is handling all of this very well. The kid has basically had his only-child life turned upside down: Dad is distracted with visitors and my requests (even though I try not to bother him, sometimes I just can’t get up from a feeding!), Mom is just straight-up different (I can’t go out much, I can’t walk far, I’m always breastfeeding), other people are constantly in our house and there’s a baby who everyone says looks just like him but he doesn’t see it.

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Kiddo1 (left) and Baby2 (right), both at about six hours old

He’s also been cooped up in the house ever since we got home on Thursday, which doesn’t help. He’s gotten out with one of my parents at least once a day, but it isn’t the family outings that he’s used to. We can’t have kids over for playdates like normal just yet either.

Since he’s got some extra energy he’s been a tad more sensitive, a little more short with his responses and a bit less responsive in general. He spends his time reading, playing video games, watching TV and occasionally helping my mom cook/bake or my dad build a desk for him.

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The finished desk he built with my dad

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppDespite these things, he’s doing amazing. For the last couple nights, I’ve made a point to put Baby2 to bed around 8 so he and I can read together before he goes to bed. I try to sit with him and talk for a minute after tucking him in. He’s a fantastic child – so interested in big things right now like ships, planes, movies and books. He loves to bend someone’s ear about these things. I’ve tried to give him my full attention whenever he talks, but I admit I’ve had to dismiss him once or twice and it kind of breaks my heart to do so.

We’ve been talking about when he can expect things to return to normal, when the visitors will trail off and when he can have friends over again. I know he’ll pull through this transition time with flying colors.

Mr. Handsome is my freaking hero. He has dealt with everyone in the house tugging at him from every direction. My dad needs tools and miscellaneous items for the desk he’s building (they couldn’t bring his whole shop from Phoenix with them!) so Mr. Handsome tracks things down from neighbors. My mom needs to find stuff in the kitchen so he helps her and lets her talk to him about all kinds of stuff. Kiddo1 tells him everything, all day long, and he dutifully listens and tries to play with him as much as he can. Max bothers him to go outside, go to the park and toss the ball, plus he has been barking a lot more and Mr. Handsome meets most of his demands but always without complaint. I have tried to limit my own demands on him as much as possible but, like I said, sometimes I just can’t get up in the middle of a feeding. I don’t know how he’s handling all this, but he gets it done.

We don’t get a lot of alone time right now, which super sucks. I love talking to my husband, even if it’s about boring, day-to-day stuff. I don’t know if he’s noticed, but I’ve been trying to sneak in some time with him when he takes Max out back or to sit with him when he’s holding Baby2. Soon we will have time together again. In the meantime I just hope he’s staying sane with everyone’s constant demands!

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppMax (our dog) has been a joy to watch adjust. On Thursday when we brought Baby2 home, I think Max was a little scared of her. He didn’t get too close to her and wouldn’t turn his back on her. Thursday night, though, she made some little coo noises while in her crib and he shot up in bed and booked it over to her to check things out. He slept in front of her crib. From then on out he’s been very curious about her and gives her lots of sniffs. He’s sensitive to her noises and will come right over to check her out.

He’s obviously jealous of her when Mr. Handsome holds her, though. He rushes right over to Mr. Handsome and tries to distract him. I find this amusing but I believe Mr. Handsome is getting a little annoyed.

Max has been barking a bit more and displaying other protective behaviors, but he is very gentle with Baby2 and has even given her a few little kisses! My camera isn’t quite fast enough to get a clear shot though.

As for me, there are only two words to describe my current mental state: baby drunk. My mind is in a happy fog in which I don’t feel too forgetful or “dumbed down” (for lack of a better phrase) but I do feel a little tipsy, if you will. I’m pretty much super happy in general!

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Out for breakfast – our first real outing as a foursome!

Today has been the first day that I’ve felt annoyed that I can’t do much yet. We ventured out to the neighborhood breakfast joint, a short four block walk away. Baby2 was snug in the wrap which was awesome – I can’t wait to start writing about our no stroller experiment! But even after four blocks there, a whole lot of sitting and four blocks back, I was spent when we got home. My body let me know that I needed to rest now. Luckily my parents had an outing planned with Kiddo1 so I took Baby2 to bed for her feeding and relaxed all afternoon.

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An evening walk around the neighborhood on Friday night

Otherwise, I’ve been pretty good physically. Sure, things are sore “down there,” but not “sit on an inflatable donut” sore, so that’s nice. We started taking an evening walk around the block on Friday night. After Saturday’s walk I vowed to walk two blocks tonight, although after this morning I might stick to just one block again. No need to push it. I’m just happy to get out of the house for a bit and Baby2 seems to love the fresh air.

Here are the gross parts of my postpartum period, so skip this paragraph if you’re queasy. My lifesavers for healing “down there” have been Earth Mama Angel Baby’s New Mama Bottom Spray and, what some like to call Peri Pops (pads doused with witch hazel and frozen – freaking heaven). I had used both every time I peed up until today, now I just use them when needed. I’m trying to wean myself. I’m also trying to cut back on the ibuprofen; I’m taking two or three doses a day, down from four or five 800 mg doses. I was super nervous about pooping for the first time because after my first pregnancy/delivery (with a third degree tear) pooping hurt more than anything ever had in my whole life. I had to scream and hold on to Mr. Handsome while I pooped. I shit you not (ha!). This time I started to get nervous because I hadn’t gone since Wednesday morning. But I finally pooped this morning and it went so well and I was so happy about it that I told Mr. Handsome! He was happy for me. One more gross thing, we took the placenta home and had it encapsulated. I’ve been taking placenta pills and I just drank some placenta tea since last night. Whoa. Too early to tell if it is having an impact, but the whole process was interesting to watch!

Enough gross stuff. And, I think, enough in general. That was quite a brain dump there (that I wrote over a few days) so I think I’ll go rest with my sleeping husband and baby. Yay!!

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day! This weekend we’ve been doing a few fun things for Mr. Handsome. We started off the weekend with a very fun baby wearing class. You know you’ve got a good dad with you when he’s willing to not only go to the class but also try out all the carriers they had to experiment!

We ate lunch out in the sun, went for some mini golf, had a quick bike ride to the library, and grilled some yummy meat on his new gas grill (poor guy has been grilling on charcoal for years, with a very impatient and hungry family not making it easier in him!).

He deserves so much more then what we’ve been able to give him, but here are a few photos of the fun.

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Mr. Handsome’s favorites: cereal!

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Mini-golfing at this crazy black-light place

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As we were leaving the library on our bikes (we don’t normally bike on the sidewalk!)

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Grill time! You can kind of see our old charcoal grill behind him…