twelve weeks: whoops

Oh, man, the holidays hit like a ton of bricks this year.  SO BUSY.  I thought maybe I’d be able to slow down a bit what with having the kid, but no.  Even busier, cause everyone wants a piece of the baby when you have one.  Damn.

Norah will be 3 months old next week, and I’m so excited.  This past month has been so much fun with her – she’s a laughing giggling little whirlwind at the moment.  Just this past week, she decided she wasn’t up for being my little cuddlebug so much anymore, and there are times during the day where she essentially demands to be put down.  It’s kind of a bummer.  Still, they have to grow up, and at least I can get a few things done now.

Let’s see, what else is going on…

  • Breastfeeding is still rocking.  At about 8 or 9 weeks, I ended up using up my fridge stash during a growth spurt of hers and got super nervous about my supply.  So, I decided the best thing would be to switch to pretty much exclusively nursing to boost production.  The pump is great, but it doesn’t really replace nursing.  Also, she was latching just fine, and there really wasn’t any reason not to.  I can happily say now that it worked very well, that she has plenty of milk (although she does get frustrated at night sometimes because the flow isn’t fast enough – guess she’s used to fire hose in the mornings, hah) and that she really prefers the boob.  I prefer it too – it’s made my life way easier with the reduced pumping and washing of bottles and pump parts.  I bought a Medela Harmony hand pump to see if I could use it for engorgement times, and it works SO well.  With it, I was able to get my freezer stocked to 24 ounces again, yay!
  • No more bottles means that even though I will once in a while bring one on an outing, I have to nurse in public now.  I’m getting very comfortable with it –  I discovered our mall has a fantastic family lounge with little rooms to breastfeed in.  I do it in the car frequently as well.  I haven’t tried anything much beyond that yet, but I’m hoping to branch out soon.  I do cover up with a blanket most times, but not really for myself, more for other people.  I know that’s super silly, though.  I’ll get better with time.
  • Merry and I left Nono with his mom for the first time a couple of weeks ago.  It went well – it was only for an hour and a half or so.  My sister in law is very structured with her kids, they go on strict schedules and things like that, so I think my mother in law was a little confused with all the sort of liberty in front of her – she’d ask me if the baby was supposed to nap and I’d just smile and say, “If she wants to!”  I don’t schedule Norah, she’s far too little, and I firmly believe that’s why she’s such a good sleeper.  Plus, when you breastfeed on demand, there isn’t much room for scheduling.
  • Cloth diapering still going well – I discovered that I really, really like using flats.  Pockets are convenient, and Merry prefers them, but the ones we have are kinda unpredictable when it comes to leaks.  She’s just still a teeeeny bit too small.  Prefolds and flats with covers are still the number one choice to me, even though they’re super difficult to manage when we go out.  I need the pockets to start fitting just for that reason.  Sorry for the cloth diaper gibberish talk – those who know about it will understand, hah.  I’m about to order a couple Alvas and a couple Sunbabys to take a look at them.
  • I bought a beautiful Kalea Baby ring sling for Christmas, and I love it so much.  I wore Norah all through the Target this afternoon, and it worked really well, except that in my hurry to get her in it I didn’t adjust it comfortably and my neck was killing me by the end.  Still, I know what I did wrong, so I’ll fix it next time.  I’m planning on getting another Ergo-like carrier with our tax return, since the Ergo we have is really Merry’s deal – it fits him far better.
  • Norah is 12 pounds now, meaning that at 3 months she’s doubled her birthweight.  She’s sitting right at the 50th percentile – she’s the first child I’ve ever known who adheres to the sizing guidelines on her clothes EXACTLY.  Like, she is 3 months, so now she’s just slightly too big for the 0-3 clothes and just easing into the 3-6 month ones.  It’s really funny.  She’s got lovely little chub rolls and she eats like a freaking horse.  She also got her first shots at her 2 month appointment.  I was a bit nervous for her, but I needn’t have bothered – she let out one GIGANTIC scream and then huffed for a minute afterward.  That’s it.  She was back to smiling 2 minutes later.  That’s my kid.

And the big news of the month that gets its own little paragraph:

  • I have officially decided to start my doula training next month.  I’m going to be getting certified through Childbirth International, who does an online course that I’ve heard great things about.  I will be certifying in postpartum doula care only at first, meaning I won’t be attending births for probably another year or two.  Births are just too hard to attend with a little one, especially while she’s breastfeeding.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t start my business now.  I’m very excited!  I will be certifying as a CBC (Certified Breastfeeding Counselor) as well, although I don’t plan on that until next year.

Oh, shit, the beast is stirring.  At least she obliged me by letting me play on the Internet in peace for an hour.  Till next time, my lovelies.

seven weeks: hi ho hi ho

I kinda lied about the no more weekly posts – I think I’ll keep doing them.  But they won’t be the only thing I post, and I’m separating out her photos now.  And I think we’ll stick with bullet form for the weekly ones to sum things up.  I know, I know, I’m overplanning this.  But I want to be sure this blog is a lovely, well-organized chronicle of love.

So, what about this week?

  • Today is my final postpartum appointment with my midwives.  I’m kinda sad.  😦  I plan on continuing to go to their clinic for my well woman visits, so I’ll still get to see them at least once a year, but it’s still a bummer.  They were all such a huge part of my life for all of 2013, it seems so odd to be saying goodbye now.
  • Norah is doing so well!  She just hit 7 weeks today, and about a week ago, she really got the hang of smiling.  Now, she does it all the time.  I haven’t gotten a giggle out of her yet, but she does coo and make noises at me.  I never realized how good that would feel, to have your child see your face and smile.  Pardon me while my hard exterior melts slightly to reveal the marshmallow cream within.
  • Breastfeeding.  I made it through the toughest part!  I knew the first six weeks would be kinda rough, and I know that many, many women quit within that time frame.  I can’t say I blame them, it was difficult, but I never really thought of it in terms of voluntarily quitting and going to formula full time.  I was more paranoid that I’d have to supplement again or that my milk would dry up of its own volition.  Not that I have anything at all against women who formula feed.  To me, what you feed your kid is a continuation of your right to choose – nobody can tell you what to do with your body, whether it be your uterus or your boobs.  But for me, I knew the combination of the health benefits and the lovely price point of free (well, it’s free until you consider breast pads, nursing bras, milk storage bags, pump parts, etc, but still cheaper than formula) was enough to get me to try my absolute hardest.  Now I can happily say that I had a big jump in supply last week and so I’m no longer worried about having enough.  I’m actually kinda proud of myself.
  • Bottle feeds.  Norah still gets several bottle feeds a day.  Why?  Well… why the hell not?  She gets 100% breast milk, yes.  But that doesn’t mean I have to put her on the boob all the time.  I think part of the reason I have such a good attitude about breastfeeding is that I never had a big issue with pumping.  And now, even though I could nurse her 24/7 if I wanted to, I pump several times a day.  This way, she always has a bottle available for when we go out (nursing on the go is still something I’m not prepared for with her) and Merry can feed her anytime I need a break, usually in the evening.  We’ve switched to the Dr. Brown’s bottles exclusively – lots of little parts, but fewer tummy aches due to gas.
  • Boobs.  My boobs are huge.  For reals.  I didn’t know they would do this, but they got bigger AGAIN in the past couple of weeks.  I was not prepared for D cups.  I kinda hope they stick around.  😛
  • Cloth diapering is still so freaking fun I can’t stand it.  Seriously!  I love how cute they are, I love washing them and having lovely fresh diapers for her butt, I love not buying disposables.  She’s had a total of one disposable on in the past week – we don’t even put her in them for night anymore.  Now, she’s wearing a combo of prefolds, pockets and Osocozy fitteds.  She’s pretty much grown out of the newborn prefolds, so I’m using those to stuff the pockets (the microfiber inserts are not my favorite), and she wears the fitteds all the time as well.  Her Thirsties covers still fit, but we’re also able to use the Flip covers now.  I love alternating between both.
  • Thanksgiving this year was quite fun – we went to Merry’s parents early on since his mom had to leave for New York, and then went to my dad’s on the day of.  Lots of family visits.  Then, we went to the home of a family friend for one night of Hanukkah.  It’s interesting how having a baby makes you feel as if you have to make these visits and spend the time with others – it’s about them seeing the baby, yes, but also about giving her those experiences even at this young age.  Christmas is next, and I’m trying to get more motivated regarding it.
  • Nono’s 0-3 month clothes are getting tight.  I REJECT THIS.  My baby must stay tiny and cute for always GODDAMNIT.  Sigh.
  • We’re cutting the cable.  It’s been all Internet and streaming here for quite a while, and I don’t even use the DVR anymore.  The Roku is the main source of entertainment, with the Netflix and the Hulu Plus subscription.  And goddamn, cable is expensive.
  • Speaking of TV, some shows that Merry and I have been enjoying recently:  Sleepy Hollow, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Key & Peele.  All excellent.  When I’m on my own, though, I like to watch my British period dramas, because damnit, that’s what a former lit major should be doing.  I recently finished North & South and Wives & Daughters – I’m on an Elizabeth Gaskell kick.  It’s like discovering new Austen – very enjoyable.  I was also able to finally catch up on Call the Midwife, now that I’m no longer pregnant and paranoid about childbirth.  😛
  • I’m currently knitting mitered squares to make Norah a blanket.  Should be finished around 2025.  No, seriously… I’m only on my third square.  I need to get moving.
  • Nono sleeps through the night most of the time.  By sleeping through the night, I mean a 5-7 hour stretch, lest you think she’s going for 12 hours or some craziness like that.  But she always falls back to sleep after the first awakening, and if we don’t have to get up in the morning, I can usually get about 9 or 10 hours cumulatively.  It’s freaking fantastic.
  • GETTING to sleep – that’s a different story.  The babe doesn’t particularly like to go to bed,  even after she’s eaten a ton, so some nights are tricky.  The most recent trick we’ve come up with that seems to work like a charm so far is a combo of swaddling, bouncy chair and the white noise app on my tablet.  Now, once she gets there, she’s a great sleeper, provided she ate enough beforehand.
  • The co-sleeper pod in the middle of our bed is great.  Except it isn’t, and it’s wonderful for me, but not so great if you actually want to cuddle your husband.  😦  But at this point, the sleep is well worth it.  I usually get rid of it after the first awake period anyways to just co-sleep with the baby.  I love snuggling her like that at night, and I’d do it all the time, but I don’t really get amazing sleep when I do it.  So, it’s only for early morning dozing or naptime.

So, yes.  It pretty much goes without saying… but I love my kid.  I mean, I LOVE my kid.  More than I ever thought I could.  My family is wonderful, and being a mom is so far the best experience of my life.  My husband is a fantastic father, just like I knew he’d be.  And my little corner of the world is complete.  🙂

one month old: miss piggy has opinions

ImageI have no idea what’s going on in this photo.  I think I intended to show off her ridiculous outfit, because this kid wears 90% pajamas and 10% absolutely wackadoodle ensembles.  It’s my way of getting all her newborn stuff worn at least once before she outgrows them, and I am gonna be cutting it close, you guys.  This kid has grown.

ONE MONTH OLD.  The best part of Norah being a month old is that I’m a month post-partum!  I’m feeling really good – the afterpains are all gone along with the bleeding, my hips are nearly back to shape (I still can’t walk for long distances or drive too much in one day, but normal activity is a-ok), and the memories of the trauma of her birth fade more every day.  I can’t say I feel 100% back to normal yet, but I definitely feel like myself, and that’s nice.  I was pregnant for almost an entire year, people – I haven’t felt like myself in so long!  I love it.

Nono is without a doubt one of the sweetest babies I’ve ever known.  She has the sunniest disposition – well, when she isn’t hungry.  When she’s hungry, you best watch the fuck out, cause she will EAT YOUR FACE.  Do not get any body parts close to her mouth – she will assume they are nipples and just go to town, people.  But otherwise, she’s fantastic.  She’s started to have some fussy periods at night where she can’t quite settle down, but Merry and I watched the video we got from the pediatrician called The Happiest Baby on the Block, and the techniques in there were freaking genius.  Merry in particular is very good at swaddling the kid up like a burrito, shushing in her ear and getting her to calm down immediately.  It’s pretty damn cute.  I loved the video, it was very Attachment Parenting friendly.

But seriously, the eating.  I’m still pumping, and for the past couple of days I’ve been working to increase my supply since it seems she’s going through some kind of growth spurt.  Norah ate a TON last night, and so I suspected she might sleep for a good amount.  I actually set my alarm for the first time just to pump about 4 hours after we went to bed, and I’m glad I did – she slept for 7 hours again!  I love it.  I haven’t been nursing as much for reasons I’ll get into in a moment, but she hasn’t had a drop of formula since she was a week old.  I haven’t really been able to save much milk – there isn’t any in the fridge at the moment, though I do have about 6oz pumped and sitting here waiting for her to wake up from her nap.  But at least she’s getting enough.

But, the nursing.  She’s been latching without the shield for a couple of weeks now, and everything seemed great.  However, I kept nursing her on both sides and then having to give her pumped milk in a bottle afterward – she would be constantly unlatching and relatching and complaining about it, so she was obviously done nursing, but still hungry.  I checked and there was always still milk coming out of my boobs, so it wasn’t that.  Lo and behold, after reading some signs and symptoms listed by the lovely ladies on my Mothering birth board, I discovered that Norah is lip tied!  This essentially means that she’s unable to latch properly and gets tired of sucking very quickly, which is why the bottle is easier for her – less work.  Her lip tie doesn’t seem to be too severe, but it is interfering with nursing, so we’re going to bring it up at her one month appointment tomorrow.

Other fun things?  Hm.  She’s had a few baths so far and one shower – she really liked them all, except for the part where she had to get out and get dried off.  This kid HATES the cold like poison.  The shower was hilarious – Merry handed her to me while I was showering so I could wash her, and as soon as the water hit her, she grabbed onto my front like a little monkey and wouldn’t let go.  She didn’t cry, but she definitely wasn’t sure about the whole spraying water thing.  So sweet.  But she definitely lives up to her name – water goddess indeed!  Merry is eager to teach her how to swim, and I’m sure she’ll love it.

And, pediatrician tomorrow!  I’m eager to see her weight, cause I can betcha it’s over 9 pounds now.  We are out of the preemie cloth diapers and well into the newborn sized ones, with the regular Osocozy infant ones just a step around the corner.  Eeek!  Stop growing, kid.  

 

two weeks old: boobs

ImageYes, my child has joined the legions of other babies dressed as ladybugs for Halloween.  And with a damn good reason – ladybugs are cute, babies are cute, and babies dressed as ladybugs are about as cute as it gets.  This is Norah with her goofy dad.

Yesterday was a good day for several reasons – Norah hit 2 weeks old, and it just so happened to be mine and Merry’s 4th anniversary.  4 years of marriage is pretty impressive in my book, especially because we get to mark this 4th year with an adorable milestone.  Needless to say, we didn’t bother with gifts… the poop machine is enough of a gift.  🙂

I had my 2 week postpartum appointment today, and everything is looking awesome.  I got to see my favorite midwife, show her my little squishy, and share some tidbits of my birth story that she hadn’t heard.  The best part was, shockingly, stepping on the scale for the first time in 3 weeks, because I’ve already lost 18 pounds!  Hell yeah.  I am officially 3 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight, and the nurse was shocked.  I really do feel so good, though – I feel lighter, all of my old clothes fit well, and the only weight I really have left is in my boobs, which have kinda exploded due to the breastfeeding thing.  And bigger boobs have made my clothes actually fit BETTER – thanks, clothing designers who don’t understand that not all women who wear size L/XL shirts have gigantic titties.  Growing up with barely a B cup, these big old size D boobs are revolutionary.  I hope they don’t go away.  🙂

Speaking of boobs – breastfeeding.  The next great hurdle after you shove the kid out.

Long story short, Norah’s stay in the NICU set us back super far.  Even just those 3 days apart from her made it so that I didn’t get to really give her a chance to latch, and I had to let them supplement her with formula to get the hell out of there.  Luckily, by the time she was a week old, we were off the formula.  I’m pumping pretty often, but I’m also nursing frequently during the day – she has to use a nipple shield since her latch is awful due to the supplement bottles.  I’m sure the shield will be temporary, but because I know it can hurt your supply, the pumping is important.  Plus, I’ve built up a tidy little stash in the fridge, and that makes me happy.  🙂  I give her bottles at night or when we go out, since nursing is a bit of a process with us owing to needing the exact right nursing pillow, the shield, etc.  I’m not a pop the boob out and go lady yet.  I mean, I may never be – but that’s okay.

That’s kinda the place I’ve come to after all this.  Is my kid gaining weight?  Like a freaking freight train – she’s a pound up from her birth weight already!  She eats like a horse.  Is she getting all breast milk?  Absolutely.  Are we spending time nursing each day, which is good for my supply and helps me prevent things like mastitis?  Yep!  So fuck the rest.  Fuck the people who give me shit for bottle feeding (they exist, and they do give me shit, in fact).  I’ve found a way to nurse that keeps my supply growing, that doesn’t hurt, and that keeps my little monkey fed.  That’s all that counts.

Anyway.  The Boob Saga will continue with us, I’m sure.  I’m paranoid about my supply, but it’s holding so far.

Other tidbits?  We are happily cloth diapering – she finally fits in her smallest covers, so that’s working out.  She’s actually about to bust out of the preemie prefolds, so I have some newborn ones on the way to help transition into the next size.  We scrambled to find her clothes that fit at first (I didn’t buy much newborn stuff), but now she’s getting into the 0-3 things, and I have plenty of those.  She sleeps very well at night – I got a 5 hour stretch the other day!  Usually she will sleep at least 2 chunks of 3 hours at night, sometimes 3.  She doesn’t fuss or cry randomly – only for food or to be changed.  She wants to be held most of the time, but that’s no big deal, cause I don’t wanna put her down.  🙂

So far, this little family of 3 is quite happy.  I think we earned it.