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Archive for June, 2011

One month update

Our Little Prince is one month old today. It’s hard for me to believe that this little one has been part of our life for that long and also for only that short of a time.

He’s doing amazingly well. I haven’t weighed him recently, but he feels heavier every day. While he’s still mostly in newborn sized clothing, he’s at the stage where he’s in between newborn and infant cloth diapers and is almost out of the newborn disposable ones. He’s learned how to scream and how to fight sleep, two really fun things in combination. Thankfully we can usually get him to sleep by walking him around. When he’s awake he loves his playmat. He also loves looking up at things, I think it’s the ceiling fans. When he falls asleep he makes the cutest face that I’ve never been able to catch on camera. He also prefers to sleep on his side (or at least fall asleep on his side). His little nose spots are almost gone and I miss them. He also has a touch of baby acne and a little bit of diaper rash that just won’t finish clearing up.

Here is a compilation some videos that we’ve shot. Most of them are of him asleep.

Nursing has been going pretty well. He takes to both sides without a nipple shields, which is awesome. We work best with the traditional cradle hold and the side nurse. At night, once we get him to sleep, he’ll half wake up with these cute noises and if I start to nurse him, generally he’ll take to it and just fall back asleep, usually nuzzled up to me with a hand on my breast. Sometimes, especially when overtired, he’ll suck and then pull off and start to cry, almost like he’s choking on the milk. So I got him a pacifier to see if he would take that at that time, the idea being he wanted to suck but didn’t want milk, but he doesn’t seem to want that at that time either. I’m not the best at reading his “I need to be burped” cues. I’m also not so great at burping him, but somehow we get by. Then there are times when he has this gurgle in his throat and if I hold him upright for a while, he’ll eventually spit up a bit.

I’ve gone from someone who has never changed a diaper in her life to someone who’s a pro at it, especially because we have days where I swear his diaper is wet as soon as we change it. I’ve learned that I can fall asleep in amazingly bizarre and somewhat uncomfortable positions, if they give LP access to nurse and keep him calm and asleep. I’ve also learned how to worry. I worry he’ll stop breathing (he hasn’t); I worry the covers will suffocate him when we sleep (somehow I wake up every time they’re over his head and move them); I worry that he’ll freak out if I leave him alone for two seconds to run to the bathroom or something and I’m not there if he wakes up (he doesn’t, mostly); I worry the choking and spitting up means he has acid reflux (but he doesn’t fit the symptoms); I worry when I walk around with him upstairs that he’ll somehow squirm and magically fall over the banister or I’ll fall down the stairs with him (haven’t even come close!); I worry we’re doing all this wrong and somehow we’re going to seriously damage him (but I doubt it).

Darius and I are doing pretty well. We’re both learning how to put someone else’s needs above our own (although I think I’m doing a better job of it). We’ve learned that Darius does not function well at all when sleep deprived, so I’ve been trying to give him some time to fall asleep before taking LP into the bedroom. Unfortunately this means that our sleep schedules are off, as I tend to wake up later as a result of this. Darius is really good at holding LP and getting him to calm down and playing with him when he’s alert. He’s also great at giving him a bath.

Yesterday when alert, I gave LP some tummy time and he did this:

As for me, my recovery seems to be going pretty well. Every day I feel stronger and stronger. I still get tired easily, but it’s not that overwhelming exhaustion I used to feel. I even walked with LP in his ERGO to the mailbox and back yesterday and didn’t have to stop to rest at all. I’m trying to make sure to eat enough, but it’s hard to catch meals all the time, so I end up snacking (or trying to) throughout the day. My pelvic pain that I had during pregnancy is gone and my hemorrhoids are clearing up (didn’t you need to know that?). I am experiencing some lower pelvic pain when I’m lying down and have to go to the bathroom, which is strange but the midwife said was a common symptom of a slightly dropped bladder (fun?).

belly_1monthpp_01

Mentally I’m doing very well, except for when everyone is overtired and LP is screaming and won’t nurse or fall asleep. Then again, I think that’s trying for everyone. I love to hold him when he’s asleep, either in my arms or in my wrap, and he tends to stay asleep much longer that way then when I put him down. With the need to start pumping soon (this week or next) and LP going into daycare in just over a month and a half (really?? so soon???), I know I’ll need to change this behavior, but for right now I don’t think I could hold him too much.

DJ's First Month

So happy one month, my Little Prince. I love you very very much!

#babywearing two ways, a review

I’ve been doing a lot of baby wearing lately. First because it generally puts LP to sleep and second because then I get to hold him close while keeping my arms free. I have two baby carriers, the Moby Wrap and the ERGObaby Sport with the infant insert. Mostly I use the Moby wrap, but today I tried out the Ergo.

I love my Moby Wrap. I mostly use the Hug Hold, although I have used a Cradle Hold too. LP really likes being upright on my chest, so the Moby wrap is great because I can hold him there without my arms getting tired. Makes rocking him back and forth really easy. Putting him in the wrap and walking him around is a great way to get him to go to sleep when he’s upset/fighting it. It is also great for just holding him close while I do things like write blog posts, play WoW, and do basic house cleaning. I’ve decided that I’m not skillful enough yet to do the dishes while wearing him, yet.

The Moby wrap did take a little bit to get use to. It takes practice to get the wrap just right and to figure out how to position the baby in it for maximum comfort. Also, sometimes LP does not want to tuck his head under a side piece, so I have to hold his head until he’s asleep enough to tuck it for him. Also, if he’s upset and needs out now, it can still take a bit to get him out of the wrap, then get me out of the wrap, and then attend to him. Also, the Hug Hold used a lot of the fabric to hold him in place and it can get hot, especially outside in Texas, but sometimes even inside.

For someone who has scoliosis/back problems, the Moby wrap is generally pretty good. I can tie the wrap around my shoulders and waist in a way that works with my curves. I do find myself leaning back a bit when walking around with LP in the wrap.

Moby wrap

The ERGO baby is a very different experience than the Moby Wrap. It’s faster to get the baby into, but has more adjustments to do after the baby is in it. I like that it has a wide supportive base and that the shoulder straps are individually adjustable. However, there were times when I had my arms down that I was worried that one strap was going to fall off of my shoulder (it never did). When walking around outside I felt very supported and my back felt very comfortable. Even with the infant insert, the ERGO seemed cooler than the Moby. More ventilation at this age. Also the infant insert goes above LP’s head, so I have less worry about his head. However, the ERGO with insert is definitely bulkier than the Moby Wrap, and therefore not so good for doing housework/hanging out in. I’m guessing it will slim down when LP is big enough not to need the insert (in a few months).

So over all, the ERGO is great for walking around. I could see us using it when we’re out and about and I know Darius really likes it. The Moby wrap is great for inside the house and for short periods outside. Of course all of this could change as he gets older and the way we put him in the carriers changes. For now, I’m really glad we have both of them.

In-laws and getting out of the house

This week Darius’s family came to visit from MA and meet the Little Prince. With the exception of my MIL, none of them had ever been to Austin before.

Niece with LP

Niece with LP

LP with Grandma Joan

LP with Grandma Joan

SIL2 was really great at helping with stuff around the house. Niece fell in love with LP and was really good at helping SIL2. She and SIL2 put together the swing that MIL and SIL1 bought for LP. I tried to show them on Monday how great LP is in the bath…but half way through he started crying :(. MIL and SIL1 were also great with LP and were very generous, because in addition to the swing, they also bought him a very cool playmat.

In his new swing. Cousin T helped put it together.

In his new swing with Cousin T, who helped put it together.

The advantage of having family in town was that we finally got to get out of the house during the day. On Sunday SIL2, Darius, LP, and I ate a Freebirds (well, LP was asleep) and started looking into mattresses for LP. The idea is that we’ll drop our queen to the floor and get a twin to put next to it so that we have more co-sleeping space and LP already has his mattress for when he gets older and moves into his own bed.

On Tuesday night we all went to Chuy’s for dinner, where Darius and I learned what a “sling” is — two crossed pieces of wood connected by straps that lets you put your baby carrier in it. Our LP decided to be awake for most of dinner, but SIL2 spent time walking him around letting him look at things after she ate, so Darius and I could eat. On Wednesday I took LP, SIL1, SIL2, and Niece to Central Market to go shopping and show them how cool it was. LP slept most of the time, but woke up near the end for a diaper change and a nurse. I’m so glad that Austin is awesome when it comes to breastfeeding in public.

Out at dinner in a "sling"

Out at dinner in a "sling"

Family left on Thursday, but that didn’t stop us from going out again. The group of May moms we met through the classes at the Birthing Center often get together on either Thursdays or Fridays and one of them was kind enough to pick LP and I up and bring us down to Central Market (again). It was great to see everyone and their babies and just hang out with other moms of infants.

After having several good nights, where all we had to do was side nurse and he’d fall asleep for 3-4 hours then half wake up, nurse and go back to sleep for another 2, Thursday night was a screaming, overtired baby from about 10:30 until about 1:30am. But last night was good again. Sometimes when LP half wakes up at night he makes gurgling noises and he’s become great at spitting up some milk post-feeding, but everyone says this is normal, so I’m trying not to be worried about it.

Lastly I have to say that I’m loving my Moby wrap. It let me play WoW for a while on Monday, read Jacqueline Carey’s new book for hours on Tuesday, put LP to sleep while walking around CM on Thursday and keep him asleep for most of the time while I ate and talked, and put an overtired LP to sleep and then let me photo & video edit and write most of this post today, all while holding him close and being hands-free.

Weeks Two and Three

Week two was really hard for me. My postpartum anemia was worse than we were all prepared to deal with or aware of. I think that if we’d known just how bad it was, my mother probably would have stayed an extra week. But we made it through the week. There were really rough times, like Tuesday afternoon and Thursday night, when I almost called my mother and begged her to come back. But there were also great moments, like holding him and watching him sleep. And getting to start to know his myriad expressions. And we’ve been really lucky, most nights we can get at least one 4-5 hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep.

Sound asleep, I look like daddy

My days mostly look like this: Wake up for a nurse when Darius leaves for work. Go back to sleep. Either wake up before or with/after the LP. If before, get a chance to eat breakfast first (hopefully…before he wakes up), then morning diaper change and nurse. If with/after, morning diaper change and nurse and then hopefully be able to put baby down long enough to get food myself. Hold the little prince while he sleeps for a few hours. Watch a movie or something on the DVR or On Demand. Midday diaper change and feed. Try to get lunch into my body (hopefully baby is asleep…otherwise use bouncing chair). Hold baby more. Watch more random stuff on tv or try to play with computer and/or phone. Afternoon diaper change. Side nurse turn into afternoon nap. Then Darius is hopefully home and the little prince can get some daddy time while mommy showers or gets some time to herself.

Nursing has been going well. For week two, we were mostly on the nipple shields the whole time. But after reading some articles written by other mothers who had to use them on the La Leche League site, I felt better about doing so myself. Also, he started taking to the left breast often without the shield. And in the cradle hold almost didn’t need it ever. This Tuesday evening, he started not wanting to use it with the right breast either and hasn’t wanted it since. But we’re still figuring out how to get a good latch on the right (the football hold seems to work somewhat), so it’s a work in progress, but a positive one.

Over the weekend we had our first trip to the grocery store and he slept through the entire thing!

First Grocery Store Trip

We’re definitely into the “I’m in my 3rd week of life and I’ve learned how to cry loudly when I want things” stage. We had two nights earlier this week where it took me 2 hours of nursing and diaper changes and rocking before he finally fell asleep. Also, yesterday we had friends over for a bit and after they left I tried to nurse him a bit, but he started screaming. I put him down for a moment and he fell right asleep. It was amazing. Of course today we had some random screaming, but it didn’t last long. He has been staying awake in between some feedings. I’m not totally sure what to do with him in those cases, but we’re both learning.

Week three has also been about learning to ask friends for help. I think we’ve had someone over either at lunch or around/after dinner time almost every day. Just having someone else to talk to/help out around the house/hold the baby for a little bit has been great.

A cat and a boy

Lastly, I want to report that we had our two week check-up on Monday. DJ weighed in at 7lbs, 12.5oz. He’s up almost a whole pound from his birth weight, which is amazingly good progress. The midwife said that he was “perfect.” Also, she said that I look to be healing well. We took my blood and my iron count came back at 10.1 (up from 7.5!). I knew I was feeling somewhat better, and it was nice to have confirmation of it. So I’m still anemic and I still get tired a lot and have to take it slow, but I’m recovering.

DJ’s First Week

DJ slept a lot the first two days. He was still having trouble latching. He would try and then cry and then fall asleep. We just figured that he was still tired from the whole being born thing.

On Monday the postpartum midwife came by. As Darius had suspected earlier that day, DJ was jaundiced. It was all the way down to his navel. Also, when the midwife weighted him, he weighted only 6lbs 5oz. He’d lost 8% of his birth weight. This was not good. It upset me a lot. She said that I was doing everything right, but because he was small, latching can be a problem and he doesn’t have the reserves of energy to keep him going so he’ll just fuss himself to sleep. Also, she was worried about my milk not coming in, but as we got him to nurse, I noticed that it was starting to turn more milky.

So I decided that we were going to make this work. I used an iPhone app to keep track of his feeding and sleeping. We made sure that he was eating every 2-3 hours, with one longer period if he would take it over night. I used the nipple shield because he could latch onto that. I kept him nursing for as long as he would, which lead to some 45 minute nursing sessions. My milk came in on Tuesday, without pumping. My nipples were bruised, but I kept at it. We also opened the shades and spent some time in the sunlight. On Wednesday my breasts were so full that they hurt and I was worried about engorgement. On Wednesday we (and by we, I mean my mother and sister because I ran out of energy) gave DJ a bath, which he loved. Also, my father and stepmother came into town that day as well to meet their grandson.

The grandparents with their grandson

The grandparents with their grandson

Somewhere in all of this, I started singing to DJ, “This little prince of mine, I’m gonna let him shine. This little prince of mine, I’m gonna let him shine. This little prince of mine, I’m gonna let him shine, let him shine, let him shine, let him shine.” I also started making up other verses with words that rhyme with shine and randomly calling him “my little prince.” In fact, I call him “little prince” or “my little prince” way more often than I call him anything else. I’ve been thinking about decorating the baby’s room in a “The Little Prince” theme, but I’m not 100% sure yet. So I’m going start calling him Little Prince (or possibly LP for short) on this blog as well.

On Thursday morning my breasts started leaking on their own and the feeling of engorgement died down. We kept at the nursing schedule. The postpartum midwife came by in the afternoon. I was really nervous. However, I didn’t have to be. My little prince weight 6lbs, 15oz! He was up a whole ounce from his birth weight! Also his jaundice was up to his shoulders, which was really good progress. We’d totally done it!

Crosseyed Little Prince

My Cross-eyed Little Prince

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