It’s hard to believe that only 7 months ago, I was sitting in my mom’s group for infants at the Parenting Place, and Bailey would just fall asleep on his back in the middle of the circle. These days, he’s too excited and curious about the world to miss a second of it. He’s officially become one of those kids that needs a darker, quieter place away from the activity to fall asleep for his naps. Actually, he’s been that way since about month 5. It’s also hard to believe that we would go out to lunch or dinner back in the day (all of 8 /9 months ago) and I would put my HooterHider (aka nursing cover – who comes up with these names?!) on, nurse Bailey underneath it, button up and then pull off the cape to reveal a conked out baby. We used to call it my Magic Trick. Here’s a picture for nostalgia. He was sleeping like this in a room of about ten women and babies…
Last Sunday, we celebrated B’s birthday. Although he slept through half of it 🙂 he had a great time. And yes, in the end we did give him his first birthday cake – it was tiny chocolate cupcake that he promptly stuffed into his mouth whole. He seemed very matter of fact about it. No hesitation at all. However, he was also kind enough to offer pieces of it to other people so perhaps not a complete chocoholic? Hard to believe given his ancestry on both sides but we’ll see.
On the morning of his first birthday, he gifted us with a full night’s rest. He went to sleep at 7pm and woke up at 7:30am – with no, I repeat no night feedings! He’s actually been sleeping from bedtime to about 5am for a couple of months now, but he’s had that pesky 5am nursing and then back to sleep until 7am. In fact, the first four nights of his 2nd year on earth outside of me, were exactly the same – asleep around 7:30pm, wake up around 7:30am and that was even with the time change. It was heaven and definitely felt like a trend. He’s had a rockier nights since then that I think have been related to teething and having his 11-millionth cold of the season. I can’t wait til cold season is over!!
His one year stats indicate that he is still a petite child – 18lbs 12oz. which puts him at 5th percentile but also means he’s tripled his birth weight (6lbs 3 oz). He is 10th percentile for height and more importantly he is hitting all his milestones. He is starting to cruise furniture and is happy to push chairs across the room but is hesitant to stand independently. He definitely seems like a smart, inquisitive yet cautious kid to me. So my guess is that he is still working out that whole balancing and walking thing in his head before he’ll attempt it with his body. Everyone thinks it will happen in the next month, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he waits awhile – plus I’m not sure if I’m ready for a walking/running toddler! Eek!! He’s plenty mobile enough on his hands and knees thank you very much.
As he turns one, he is crawling, climbing stairs and cruising on furniture. He loves being held upside down by his dad and sitting atop his shoulders. He loves balloons, playing music and listening to music. He understands a lot of words and will crawl to the bathroom if you ask him to go there. He’ll pick out his socks, etc. He constantly points at things and when you say what it is, he’ll nod and hum in reply. He babbles a ton and we think he says cat and Jack. He’s said mama and daddy but not consistently. He hugs and chases the cats and they don’t seem to mind at all. He loves avocado and meat and cheese the most. He also like pears and blueberries. We’ve tried almond milk, coconut milk and a little cow’s milk and he doesn’t mind any of them. I still nurse him and even still pump at work though my goal is to wean off that in the next week or two. He takes two naps a day – usually at 10-10:30 am for an hour and another at 3pm for an hour to two hours. In the last few weeks he’s pushed back his bedtime to between 7-8pm (it used to be 6-6:30pm). He can take things out of things and put things into things. He absolutely adores all of his blankies – he has one at daycare, one at home and one at my parents’ house. My parents continue to babysit him two days a week and they and he seem to love it. It’s been a busy year full of challenges and wonders and we’ve been loving it.
Having a bad cold when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding really sucks because you’re not really supposed to take cold medicine or decongestant. You especially shouldn’t take decongestant if you are breastfeeding because it will likely lower your supply. Well, this week I finally got nailed by one of Bailey’s take home viruses from daycare and my head is full of snot! It aches with sinus congestion and I’m still breastfeeding so what do I do?? And then I suddenly remembered my Nasopure. This thing is a miracle worker, and it’s great for everybody. My brother in law Brian uses something similar every day to combat allergies. When I was in my third trimester of pregnancy I used it almost daily because I was so congested. It made me feel so much better even if it didn’t stop my pregnancy induced snoring (likely that went away pretty much as soon as the baby came out!)
If you’ve never tried a Nasopure,NeilMed sinus rinse or a Netipot, it will look really weird and probably seem kind of gross, but, it is a non-medicated way to help relieve congestion due to allergies, colds and other sinus problems. I really think you should give it a try or at least watch a youtube video on how it works 🙂 After one rinse this morning, a giant gob of mucus came out of my nose and I felt instantly better. The pressure across my face was gone and I could breathe through my nose again. You can bet I’ll be using this once or twice a day until this cold has run its course.
p.s. the last two mornings, we’ve asked Bailey to pick out his socks when we get him dressed and he responds by crawling over to his sock basket and picking out a pair.
p.p.s Lee wanted to make sure I mentioned in this post that Bailey is a genius. He’s a genius! That is all.
Introducing a bottle early is good. Some books say to wait 6-8 weeks or more to introduce a bottle so that nipple confusion does not occur. The downside is that if you wait too long, some babies will never accept a bottle. Breastfeeding is great but being able to give a bottle is pretty great too. In the early days, you may be nursing every hour or two and even at month 9, you may be nursing every 3-4 hours. Being able to give a bottle allows you to have some flexibility and freedom. Also, one lady I knew had terrible mastitis issues and her baby refused a bottle. As a result, she was in terrible pain and exhausted but had to nurse her baby through it. Ouch!
We followed our pediatrician’s recommendation to introduce a bottle in the first two weeks and then to give a bottle every week or so moving forward. Plus, giving bottles is a great bonding experience for daddies!
Nurse on demand for the first 3-4 weeks. Some of the baby books and pediatricians out there will say that once your baby is gaining weight, baby should be able to go every 3 hours between bottle or nursing session. Totally true and getting on a schedule can be nice but what they don’t say is that it can take several weeks and even months for your supply to build up and regulate. Nursing triggers your breasts to produce more milk, so if you want to get a good supply going, you should nurse more often.
Visit a Breastfeeding support group before you have your first baby. It may sound weird to those who have not been indoctrinated into the society of breastfeeding clubs, but clubs are really helpful and supportive!! I wish I had gone to a club before Bailey was born because I had never seen a baby actually breastfeed. So when he was laid on my chest the day he was born, I had no idea what to do and was completely dependant on receiving help from the nurses. Every nurse told me to do it a different way and some of them were pretty pushy about their opinions and frankly pretty physical about getting the baby on the boob. Maybe if I had actually seen a baby doing it before, I would have been a better partner in the situation. Instead, I kind of felt like a CPR dummy.
Drink electrolyte drinks (like Gatorade, coconut water, etc.) Producing milk can be very dehyrdrating. I drink 3-4 Nalgene bottles a day and usually put some sort of electrolyte mix into them because it’s more hydrating than straight-up water.
Maybe wait to buy a lot of bottles. I ended up liking the Tommee Tippee 5 oz. bottles because 1) the shape and action of the bottle is more like the actual human breast and 2) He never drinks more than 4-5oz at a time. We bought several other brands and sizes of bottle before settling on these bottles. P.s. free bunch of random bottles if you’re interested…
Build up an emergency freezer stash. If you use your freezer stash in place of a nursing or pumping session, you are telling your body to produce less milk. So, the work to create a freezer stash seemed kind of pointless to me. Here are three reasons why having a back up stash is good. 1) You pump a bottle, and your husband drops it on the floor as he is trying to heat it up. And no, Lee has never done that. Seriously! I’m just sayin’ that a frozen bag of milk will help you out. 2) You get the stomach flu or your period and your supply dips resulting in less pumped milk to send to daycare. In this case, you would keep pumping the same number of times you normally would. In fact, you might add in an extra session but if you’re still not producing enough, you use the frozen stash to make up the difference until your supply comes back. 3) You are starting to wean baby off the breast but still want to give breastmilk. Voila, you could stockpile months’ worth of milk if you wanted (if you had the supply to do it).
Some of the challenges to building a freezer stash are that 1) at first, you never have the time to pump because you are always nursing. 2) If you go back to work and start pumping you may have to pump extra to build a stash and extra pumping is time-consuming. 3) You have to rotate out your frozen milk because it does expire, and as the baby gets older your breastmilk changes so it’s not optimal to feed a ton of milk from early on to a baby that is much older.
And to conclude, we have this amazing stuff called formula, which you shouldn’t feel afraid or guilty to use. Breastfeeding and especially pumping can become this bizarrely stressful obsession, so try to lighten up. I tell myself that every week. Still waiting for it to sink in…
The other day, I had an epiphany. I crave sweet desert food all the time now. I’m constantly obsessed with keeping my milk supply up. Why not make a delicious dessert-like treat that will help keep my milk supply up? An apple a day, heck no! How about a dark chocolate chip oatmeal bar a day or maybe even two a day? Win, win.
Now, the trick was to make a delicious lactation bar that is also gluten free and dairy free. Darn food sensitivities.
Let’s back up for a second, what is this lactation bar you speak of? A lactation bar is made of ingredients that supposedly will increase your milk production. For example, oatmeal is supposed to make a difference, but unless you’re my dad, oatmeal gets old after a few days. Seriously dad, I can’t believe how much oatmeal you eat!
Anyway, back to these lactation bars. This recipe is really easy and it makes a lot! We’re talking a 9×13 pan and another 8×8 pan, but hey this is all for the good of the baby, so I just made it all and froze the bars from the 8×8 pan for later. TIP: GF stuff tends to keep better frozen.
Vegetable Oil (1.25 cups)
Sugar (1 cup)
Brown sugar (1 cup)
Coconut flour (1 cup)
Oat flour (3.5 cups)
Baking soda (1 T)
Nutritional yeast (2 T)
Steel cut oats (2 cups)
Salt (.5 t)
Cinnamon (1 t)
Ginger (1 t)
Clove (.5 t)
Water (.5 cup or more as needed)
You also need parchment paper, one 9 x 13 pan and one 8 x 8 pan.
Extras (some combo of the following to delici-fy your oat bars)
Chocolate chips (1 bag – look for dairy free, etc.)
Candied ginger (.5 cup – cut into little bitty pieces)
Walnuts (.5 cup – chopped up)
Dried Cherries (.5 cup)
Putting it together
Set oven to 375 degrees.
Mix ingredients 1-3 together in the biggest bowl you have. Seriously.
Add ingredients 4 and 5 and mix.
Add the rest of the ingredients plus your choice of extras and mix it up some more. The mixture should have a moist yet slightly crumbly consistency, so after adding that half cup of water, you made need to add more but add just a tablespoon at a time to not over do it.
Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. You may need a second 8 x 8 pan as well.
Pour mixture into each pan, and pack down a little bit.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until top is golden brown.
Cut up the bars and enjoy.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer in a vacuum tight container.
p.s. even if you’re not trying to increase your milk supply, this makes a pretty decent, healthy treat.
I’m on day four of my supplemental lactation bar diet, and I actually woke up engorged this morning (which hasn’t happened in months). So, yes, I think it is working for me. Give it a try if you’re a lactating mom and let me know if you see results!
I know, two posts in one day, but I’m feeling motivated tonight and this has been on my mind for a few days now….
Dear mamas and mommies and mothers and mamans, etc. I’m sorry. Breastfeeding is a tough topic. And I say this not to alarm or freak out my future mama-friends. I say this out of love and a little bit of sadness.
I know mamas that never wanted to nurse and were judged for that decision. I know mamas that tried to breastfeed and couldn’t produce enough milk. I know mamas that got open sores on their breasts and bruises from trying to nurse or pump to do “what mamas should do”. I know mamas whose babies went on a nursing strike and self-weaned far before the mama was ready. I know mamas that have developed deep anxiety and postpartum depression from the act of nursing. I know mamas that haven given up entire food groups so that their allergy-prone baby would stop breaking out in rashes or having bloody stools. This is serious stuff folks…this “simple” business of providing sustenance for our little ones.
I know mamas that overproduced milk and dealt with terrible bouts of mastitis. Mastitis is an infection of the breast that causes fever, pain, exhaustion and more. I know mamas that nursed through the mastitis time and again. I know mamas that gave up nursing after a really bad bout of mastistis. I know mamas that have never had too little or too much supply but they still wonder every day whether they are producing enough.
I know mamas that had to put their baby in daycare even though their baby refused to take a bottle. I know mamas that pump at work three times a day, every day that they go to work for months and months to give their babies that precious liquid gold. That’s like an hour and a half, five days a week for months on end. That’s like 180 hours of pumping over the course of 6 months!
I don’t know if I know any FTMs (first time mamas) that haven’t felt at least a little bit of guilt, pain, sadness or anxiety when it comes to producing food for their baby. Guilt for not nursing or having to stop… Anxiety when their baby stops eating… Sadness when they have to stop nursing before they are ready…
I’ve heard people be shocked at the idea that breastfeeding is hard or that it hurts or that a baby may have trouble learning to latch. Isn’t it natural? Aren’t women born to do this? Yes, and wasn’t the infant mortality rate a lot higher before the introduction of formula? Didn’t women used to live in more communal societies with woman openly nursing so that new mothers could see and learn from the elders and peers that surrounded them? Didn’t some women have jobs, yes jobs as nursemaids to feed babies whose mothers couldn’t for whatever reason provide them with milk?
Here’s what I do know. I do believe, we as mothers are hardwired to want our children to survive. We want to give them everything we can. And when the decision is made for how we feed our babies, it’s rarely a simple decision. A lot of us don’t even consider the path we take a choice. We do what we must. And I say this just to hopefully help people understand what a sensitive and difficult subject this can be for mamas.
Be gentle with your mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. And most of all be gentle with yourself. A healthy baby and health mama and papa is king. How you get there is just another chapter in that messy adventure of life.
This week, Bailey started crawling or at least of version of getting from point a to point b in a fairly adept manner. It’s mostly upper body strength driven with some serious abs. The legs, he sort of drags along behind him as if they are in the way. I’m sure he’ll figure out how useful those really are when it comes to crawling soon enough. But for now, his technique is definitely getting him around the room. And boy is he determined to get around even in the midst of a big, bad cold…
2. The Fever 😦
Today, Bailey got his first fever. It’s at 101 right now which is a low grade fever accompanied by a wicked cold. I’ve never seen so much snot come out of one little being before. I’ve given him ibuprofen. I’ve given him a lukewarm bath. I’m keeping him hydrated and watching for enough wet diapers. The cold actually started over the weekend, or was it last week or the week before? Hard to remember… he started daycare the week before Labor Day, and I swear he’s had a cold a week. This one is by far the worst. I imagine his body is aching all over, especially his head, yet the kid is still smiling through it all (or most of it). He does wake himself up through the night, crying this pitiful wailing sort of cry. But during the day, he is rolling and crawling and jumping in his exersaucer and talking and rubbing his face and going none stop between naps. Even in the midst of this fever, I can’t tell if he’s just effervescent about life or just slightly delirious from being ill as he stares at the circles on the shower curtain like they’re the coolest thing ever.
This is what moms do: We turn on the shower in the smallest bathroom in the house and hold baby to let the steam help relieve the congestion. And then we sit on the toilet seat in the steam, trying to get baby to nurse to also help relieve the congestion and to help with hydration. Almost 7 month old babies help out by noticing what a crazy different place this is to be having a meal – meaning they have to check out everything, and I mean everything around the room except for the meal.
This is what mom is thinking, “Does his forehead seem warmer? I know the steam is good for congestion but is heat bad for a fever? Should I give him a bath? That would make me feel better, oh wait, but google told me that a bath is bad unless it’s lukewarm…ok, maybe a lukewarm bath next… oh for the love of…do I need to hold your head in place – focus baby, focus!! How long have we been sitting here? What? Only 2 minutes? Go to your Zen place. Go to your Zen place…”
This is what baby is thinking, “Mmm, milk, yum, yum, yum, whoa! What was that? Holy crap! Is that? Oh, it’s the toilet paper holder. And is that toilet paper? Wow, so cool…oh right, milk, yum, yum, yum…whoa! Something on the other side, what is that, is that? OMG, that shower curtain has the coolest circles on it. Wow, I wonder if I can eat those, can I eat those? Mommy, mommy, please can I eat those?? Why are you trying to clamp my head down to your chest?! Can’t the milk just follow me? I’m so confused. I’m hungry, yum, yum. Oh wow, you’re pretty. Can I smile at you?” And so on…
3. That Zen place
I’m not the most patient person in the world. I get bored easily if I don’t have a task. I like to be productive. I like to multi-task. This weekend, when Bailey got his bad cold, I finally found a Zen place. I found it late at night when he was coughing and sadly crying after having woken himself up again. I had fed him, soothed him, turned on the humidifier, given him pain medicine, everything really that I could think of and he was bereft. Whenever I tried to hold him, he writhed away and I could relate. When I’m sick, I’m just miserable. I want to be left in a dark corner to whine about my misery until sleep overtakes me and fixes me.
This was probably the fourth time that day that he was bereft. And each previous time had filled me with anxiety and concern. But this fourth time was different. I went in, shifted him around and told him he was okay. Then I left the room and continued about my business. I felt calm…not numb or anxious or like I had given up, but instead it was a sense of Zen. I had done all I could, and Bailey didn’t really want me to help more, he just needed to work it out. Ten minutes later, he was asleep and slept a solid 8 hours.
In this Zen state of mind, I was able to go to bed less anxious. I was ready to shut down my ever-whirring mind. I was ready to just let it be. I’m a part of a few online forums that have been really helpful. That evening, I had posted something about being worried that my baby wasn’t getting enough to eat nursing through his cold because he either got distracted or fell asleep in exhaustion. He also seemed like he could barely breath through his congestion as he tried to nurse. Part of me was thinking that the nursing helps the mucus move and the milk provides immune defense. But I was also tired and getting run down which can affect supply, so I was going around in circles about whether I was producing enough.
Anyway, I wanted to know whether I should just give bottles to get more into him. A few BTDT (been there done that) moms replied. They said that nursing is great for your baby right now. He will get through this cold and you are doing exactly what you should be. Reading those responses somehow felt like a benediction. I was fine. Everything was fine. I just needed to carry on supporting my baby. And so I found this Zen place. If my supply drops, he’ll let me know and we can move on down that path. Otherwise, calm the heck down mama! Your stress is not helping anyone here!
Harder done than said, but I say we should all be open to that Zen place and maybe even actively practice the feeling so it becomes more the norm in this anxiety-ridden world.
Good luck out there mamas, papas and future parents!
Changing table/dresser – important features – needs to be sturdy, we liked the shelves because we could put baskets of clothes and toys into the shelves, and once Bailey is older, he can easily pull out a basket of clothes or toys on his own.We went fancy and got this one from the Pottery barnthough to be honest, it was about the same price as the one we looked at from Target. Though looking at the price now – it must have been on sale back when we got it. Yikes!
A play yard with bassinet – this can be used as a co-sleeper in your room for the first weeks/months, plus you can easily pull the bassinet out and put it down on the floor in other rooms for naps. I really liked the size of the bassinet that came with ours as well as the flexibility of the bassinet/crib set up
A fan – running a fan has been shown to lower the incidence of SIDS
A space heater (with a thermostat) so you can control the temperature in just that room. Babies like it hot!
Baby monitor – we went fancy with the Motorola video monitorand love it. one thing to note, the battery does not last all night, so keep it plugged in by your bed unless you want to be woken up for reasons other than a crying baby.
Blackout curtains – really helps Bailey sleep which really helps me sleep!
We could not agree on what glider or rocking chair to get. So we ended up getting this chair from Ikea with the matching ottoman. It’s been working out really well, though every once and a while I talk about getting a glider. But I still can’t find one that I love. My personal recommendation is that you get something you can see sitting in after baby has grown up.
Clothes, what you really need at the beginning (IMO)
Swaddles: Our favorite by far was the halo sleep sack and the woombie – which is great as they start transitioning out of the swaddle ()
Fleece blankets and light cotton blankets
Onesies (maybe 10)
Pajamas (maybe 4)
In our experience, at the beginning, babies don’t really go through clothes too quickly. Heck for the first few weeks, you’re only bathing them a couple times a week. They really aren’t getting dirty. Bailey pretty much lived in onesies and pajamas.
Love, love, loved the onesies with mitten cuffs. At the beginning, baby will flail his hands about and accidently claw at his face and eyes. These onesies have built in cuffs you can flip over their hands.
Also loved the pajamas with mitten cuffs which are strangely hard to find – ours are all hand me downs.
Socks. Socks are a total pain but babies feet do seem to get cold easily. Our fav brand is Trumpette – they really don’t come off and they are ridiculously cute. Thanks Tricia for the tip!
A note on clothing brands: the sizing is different for every brand. I recommend you wait and then buy only a few of each – once you see which brand fits your baby best, it seems like that continues to be the case as they grow older. I also like really soft cotton baby clothes. My fav brands for comfort are BabyGap and Carters (especially anything made out of fleece!)
And of course hand me downs are great since babies do grow so quickly!
Hats. These are definitely cute, but we didn’t really use them much and you really don’t need more than one or two knit hats (for warmth) and then one brimmed hat for sun shade. Again, might be better to wait til after baby is born so you don’t get a hat that will only fit for a week OR a hat that won’t fit until their 6 months old and it’s the wrong season for that type of hat.
Activity and sleep related stuff (for the first few months)
An infant rocker chair – must have features should include vibration, being able to adjust the chair to different angles, and preferably some kind of canopy to pull over the chair. Something like this. There are less expensive ones that tend to me more flimsy and less versatile.
The SnuggleMe pillow. And there is no alternative that is comparable. This pillow is basically like a dog bed which means baby feels snuggled by the sides of the pillow.
An activity mat. Seriously provides hours of entertainment for months and months! I recommend that you get a pretty sturdy one. We borrowed a Fisher Price Rainforest Gym and loved it.
A boppy pillow. This can also work as a nursing pillow. The boppy pillow is great for tummy time and for lounging around. As they get older, it also works great for helping the sit up on their own. My only wish is that I had gotten one sooner.
We never used a swing, but a lot of people swear by them for helping baby sleep, so I’m including that one on the list.
Baby saline – to spray up their dry or snotty nose
The NoseFrieda snotsucker – it looks gross but works sooo much better than the aspirators you get at the hospital. Trust me on this one!
Nursing bras: In hindsight, I would have waited until after having baby to buy most of my nursing bras. I bought a bunch earlier and they all ended up not fitting/feeling uncomfortable. I guess it depends on how big the ladies are, but I was fine without much of a bra for the first few days…even now, I can’t highly recommend any bras. So, to start off with, I would get some comfortable sleep-style nursing bras and I would pack one of those in the go bag for the hospital. They do get covered in milk more often than you might think, so you do need more than one!
Nursing pads (to go in your bras). The disposable ones really irritated my skin plus it’s a lot of waste. My fav brand/product was the reusable Nuk pads.
A nursing pillow. There was definitely a learning curve when it came to nursing accompanied by lots of tennis elbow and neck pain! I think it’s useful to start with a pillow though you may not use it in the long run. I started with my Breast friend pillow (yes, things have lots of terrible names!) because it strapped around you and seemed to stay put more. However, in the middle of the night, it is a pain in the butt to have to strap that thing on and I need a bunch of additional pillows anyway to help prop myself up. In hindsight, I would have gotten the Boppy pillow because you can use it as a baby pillow after you stop using it as a nursing pillow.
A nursing cover. They have silly names like Hooter Hiders, etc. I swore I wouldn’t buy or use one before Bailey was born. And now, I love mine. It has made me so much more comfortable with nursing in public
Burp clothes. Probably good to have 6-10.
Lanolin ointment. I would just use it preventatively from the beginning. For rubbing on your nipples after nursing.
Epsom salts. Whenever I felt like I was getting a clogged duct, this was my go-to solution. I would put Epsom salts and hot water in a deep bowl and dunk you know what into the bowl for a few minutes. Those heating pad things that go in the microwave is nice too. You can heat it up an drape it over your chest for a few minutes before nursing. Makes the milk flow easier.