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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!

Milk Matters

A few weeks ago, I started donating my breast milk to a family I met though my local “Human Milk for Human Babies” facebook page. It started because I got frustrated while organizing my stash in my chest freezer: there was so much milk stored in there that we didn’t have any room for actual grown-up food! I had to take out all the frozen meats to make room.

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Milk stash quickly taking over my chest freezer

Plus I still had milk dating all the way back to July so I knew I only had a couple months left to use it or it would expire. So I connected with the facebook group and found a great mom of adopted twins who is driving all over town collecting milk from six different women in order to feed her precious babies the best stuff on Earth.

Think about that for a second: no matter what our struggles with breastfeeding are, I think they pale in comparison to someone not only wants to give her babies breast milk but drives all over town all week long to collect that milk! She and her husband willingly do that work for their babies. How amazing!

The first time she left my house with my milk I felt super weird. I mean, first, that’s MY milk! It came from me! I didn’t realize how attached to it I was until someone came and took it away. Weird. Then I had a mini freak out as I started to think, what if her babies react poorly to my milk?! What if it’s like blood – some types just aren’t compatible with everyone? But my donatee – what a sweetheart – texted me a few hours after she left to say one of the babies just gobbled up a couple ounces of my product and was looking quite content. Ah, sweet relief.

Side note – I almost feel like I’m doing something shady, because every Saturday I text her to tell her how many ounces I have for her and to arrange pick up. “Yo yo yo I gots 50 for ya this week.” If someone was reading our texts they might raise an eyebrow…

So there’s that. And it’s going really well! I give up about 50 ounces a week, which unfortunately only feeds those two babies for about a day. I only wish I could give more, but I know that my 50 ounces are better than zero. I do reserve about a dozen ounces for my freezer to keep just in case (what if I have to go away for a couple days or something? Not that that would happen but I like to be prepared for it).

My donee mama and I are fb friends now which is great because I can follow how the babies are doing. They have such an amazing story. The babies aren’t exactly twins – their mama calls them “twiblings.” One was adopted and the other was born via surrogate after 8 years of trying. Somehow both pieces fell into place at once and the babies were born a week apart. Amazing!

If you’re breastfeeding and you have more milk than you know what to do with, I encourage you to donate! Breast milk is the perfect food for babies. Some babies have allergies to formula and some just need that extra boost the breast milk provides. I’ve found facebook to be a great resource to connect with parents looking for milk. I looked into an “official” milk bank but most of the time you have to give in large amounts (usually 100 oz+) and the milk is pasteurized which does zap some of the sweet enzymes (or so I’ve read). Connecting directly with parents in need provides SO much more flexibility!

Now I love giving up my extra milk each week. It gives me just that much more satisfaction and motivation to keep breastfeeding!