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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!

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Breastfeeding Progress and Recovery Update

Where the hell is time going? Baby2 is already three weeks old as of yesterday and Kiddo1 just turned nine and a half earlier this week! I can’t believe Kiddo1 has half a year until he’s ten. That’s just insane.

Anyway, since we’re going strong on National Breastfeeding Month, I thought I’d post about how Baby2 and I are doing with our own nursing efforts.

At my last update I noted that Baby2 was only eating in five minute increments. That hasn’t changed. Sometimes she’ll eat for ten or fifteen minutes, but most of the time I get five minutes. She doesn’t fall asleep or anything, she’s just… done, I guess. I tried stretching out her feedings to see if she’d eat more, but no luck (and sometimes waiting three hours just isn’t possible!). I change her diaper after five minutes and sometimes she’ll eat more but usually not. I can try to change sides, wait 20 minutes and try again, all kinds of stuff but, still, I only get five minutes.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppI was worried and spoke to the pediatrician about it at Baby2’s two week checkup. The thing is, Baby2 is perfectly… normal. Her weight gain is fantastic – she gained back to her birth weight by one week (a full week earlier than needed) AND she gained another half pound by two weeks of age. So no need to worry. And I wasn’t worried until this week when she stopped pooping – we haven’t seen a poop since Saturday (which happened to be a massive one at the movie theatre!).

Our pediatrician tells us that breastfed babies can poop five times a day or once every two weeks. Both are normal. But this lack of poo is still freaking me out! Where the hell is it? Her body is not big. Where is she keeping the poo?! Fingers crossed for a big load soon.

Ah, the things a parents thinks about.

Anyway. I’ve been pumping every day, too, and the more I thought about my pumping quantities the better I felt about Baby2’s short meals. I can usually get 2-3 ounces from one breast in less than five minutes (I have a double electric Avent pump so I’m getting four to six ounces per session). I’m thinking about donating some of the milk I’ve saved up (I have almost 100 ounces already!). Initially I wanted to have a business month’s worth of milk reserved – 20 12-ounce days or 240 ounces. But why do I need that much? I’m sure I could part with my whole current stash and still be okay when I go back to work. So I’m looking in to that. I’ll post an update!

We haven’t yet used a pacifier. I’d like to see if we can get away without ever using one, but I won’t be sad if we do. We do have two that have been sterilized and are ready for us, just in case!

My Recovery

As far as my postpartum recovery, I feel pretty damn good, almost back to normal. The only time of day that I don’t feel pretty great is when I’m getting dressed – maternity clothes are too big but non-maternity clothes don’t quite fit right. Dresses are my go-to right now but I’m honestly getting a little tired of them. I miss pants! The time will come, though.

To expand on things that don’t fit:

  • My regular jeans don’t fit. Lame. I can wear the last two pair of non-maternity jeans that fit throughout pregnancy, but they feel tighter. What’s that all about? So I wear a lot of dresses.
  • My boobs are seriously huge and I have to structure outfits around their accessibility, which still feels odd. There are a few pre-pregnancy shirts I would love to wear but I can’t get to the feed bags so I don’t wear them. I’m starting to experiment with layering shirts so I can wear more normal stuff, but it’s still touch-and-go.
  • My shoes feel a little snug. Anything but sandals straight up did not fit after about 39 weeks of pregnancy but still three weeks out they don’t feel normal. I’ve gotten by but I’m going to need to wear my regular shoes soon. Fingers crossed that they will fit. As awesome as shoe shopping sounds I don’t want to have to replace my beloved shoes!

Some regular things that make me feel normal:

  • My midwife cleared me to exercise but because it has been So Damn Hot I haven’t actually done anything yet.
  • My wedding rings don’t feel tight at all.
  • The postpartum bleeding has stopped! I think I’m going to swim soon!
  • I haven’t wanted to mention this until now, for fear that I might jinx myself, but here goes… I didn’t get any stretch marks! I have a couple from my first pregnancy but none this time! Yay!!

Some not-so-normal things:

  • I’ve lost 14-16 pounds so far. I’m sure the other 20 pounds are in my boobs, right?
  • My linea negra is still around. Can’t I just scrub it off? (No, I’ve tried.)
  • I find myself telling myself to calm the hell down sometimes. I’ll get all antsy and impatient about things, especially if it involves Baby2’s eating or not eating or anything involving eating. I can calm myself, but I have to tell myself to be calm. I don’t remember being this uptight, but maybe that comes with the hormones?

Lots is happening in the next week or so. I’ll probably post another update around Baby2’s one month birthday!

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!!