Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hello out there...

Long time no post, huh? Starting work (only a few hours but its tough to get it all done + a baby who doesn't nap for long = not much free time at the computer.

*James is a happy and active little guy! He is rolling both ways and is just starting to get mobile with his rolling. I started him on oatmeal a couple days ago and he loves it! I think he's going to love solids. He recently starting liking stroller rides (finally - whew!) and can tolerate car rides a little more. He loves laughing with dad, stories and songs, and playing with his feet.

*Amazingly (and surprisingly) after struggling with low supply and slow weight gain, I am exclusively breast feeding again! I'm not sure how things changed but James gained a ton of weight with the formula supplements (thank you formula!) but then he stopped needing and wanting it, and he gained a great amount of weight on my milk alone this past month.

*Sleep is a challenge. It's usually not terrible (1-2 wakings but sometimes more) but its quite an ordeal to get him to sleep still. I know it's controversial but we will probably need to do some kind of sleep training after we get back from thanksgiving - for his well being to get the sleep he needs, for our sanity, and so that we could leave him with a family member or babysitter occasionally (nobody else could get him to sleep)...

*A few pictures of my boy! Love him so much!











Monday, September 24, 2012

Instagram

I follow some blog friends on Instagram and have enjoyed it, so thought I would invite you to follow me if you'd like. It's mostly pictures of James of course! My username is hillarycharlotte :)

My boy celebrating the first day of fall:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

{3 months}

James, you are three months old!


 By the numbers: 3 months old. Weight: 12 lbs. 10 ozs. Length: 24"?. 7-8 feedings per day. 0-4 night wakings (this month saw the extremes in your sleeping!). Size 2 diapers. Size 0-3 month clothes (although you can't straighten your legs in the 0-3 sleepers any more so we need to go up a size in those now!)

For his dad who is a computer progammer :) This is also the only baby item I bought while trying to conceive/ doing fertility treatments!
This month has been such a delight! You smile often and have so much expression on your sweet face. You are also "talking" up a storm and coming up with new coos and gurgle frequently. Lately your favorite sound has been to use the saliva in the back of your throat and and make a "k" sound that gurgles. You have gained more awareness of toys and love batting at them as they dangle in front of you or above you, pulling them to your mouth, and beginning to grasp them. You have even started talking and smiling at the toys!

One of my favorite things this month has been seeing you start to enjoy story time. Last month you really didn't pay attention to the books we read to you, but then you started watching our faces as we read and seemed to enjoy that. Now you love looking at the books and hearing our voices read, and you smile, coo, and gurgle throughout the story. I love it!!


Sleeping has been all over the place! You started the month as you had been the month prior and typically slept 4-5 hours straight with 1-2 night wakings. And then, amazingly, you slept 8-9 hours for almost a whole week! Oh my! The first couple nights you did this I woke up around when you normally do and had to check on you. But, alas, the last week of the month you suddenly started waking every 2-3 hours again to eat and sometimes woke yourself up after eating, too. I keep hoping it's a growth spurt and your longer stretches will return but we will see. No matter how much you keep me up at night, when I see your sweet smile in the morning I tell you it's worth it! :)

Your bedtime routine is simple: bath, eat, book, white noise/ swaddle, bed! Naptime is the same minus the bath. You LOVE the bath, and your dad almost always gives you your bath and it is a fun time for both of you. You are clearly starting to understand that this is your special routine and are happy throughout....until it's actually time to bounce you to sleep. Then you often let out a few cries (we think you are just transitioning to sleep mode and need to cry a little), but we bounce you and you typically go to sleep easier than the last couple months.

By the end of the month you have fallen into a bit of a nap rhythm. About an hour after you wake up you go down for your first nap, which is only usually about 45 minutes. You then have your longest wake time (1.5-2 hours), and then sleep 2-3 hours. You usually take another two 45 minutes naps throughout the afternoon, and typically go to bed between 7:00-8:00. Of course there are many variable and this isn't how it always is, but it has been fun the have a little more "normalcy" to our days.


This month started out a little stressfully as we tried to figure out why you were unhappy while eating. I started pumping and giving you extra milk after nursing and you were finally satisfied. I'm sorry you were hungry, sweet boy! I worked to increase my milk supply for two weeks and continued giving you extra milk, but my supply never seemed to change (or you always wanted more!) so we started supplementing with formula sometimes, too. Now that your tummy is full and you are gaining weight (3 pounds this month!) you are clearly a much happier boy. I was worried that you might start to prefer the bottle to me, or that my supply would get worse by using some formula, but instead I am so thankful that you have become a happy nurser again. 



This month you began lifting your head while on your tummy! At first you didn't really like being on your stomach, but we laid you on our chests and you lifted up your head. You also started rolling from your tummy to your back. You love to kick, kick, kick your legs and I think you are going to be an active little guy in a few months.


You put your little feet into the ocean for the first time this month! You didn't get upset so we assumed you liked it. :)


James, you are a sweet boy and a gift from God! I love watching your little personality emerge and am thankful to be your mom.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Updates and random thoughts

* Thanks for your encouragement and suggestions on my last few posts. Weeks 8-10 were ROUGH. Not necessarily more difficult than those early weeks - I was usually getting more sleep at least - but I think I had just thought things SHOULD have been easier by then, and when they weren't I hit a wall. Plus it just seemed like new issues kept coming up... what a roller coaster!

* Breastfeeding. Whew. I didn't really think we were having problems and then suddenly it was a major problem. J went from occasionally fussing at the b.reast to screaming during almost every feeding (just not the middle of the night or early morning ones). He even refused to nurse a couple times. :( I worked with a lactation consultant who thought all things pointed to lower supply (especially factoring in the slow weight gain). I pumped after every feeding for 10 days and fed him what I pumped to supplement his nursing sessions. But I never saw much of an increase, and the amount he wanted after nursing was more than I could keep up with, so about two weeks ago we supplemented with formula. Supplementing (with br.east milk or formula) has made J gain a ton of weight and he is a much happier guy! He has learned that he WILL get full, so he doesn't freak out as much while nursing (although it's still a little hit or miss, but much better).

* Of course, getting to the point of introducing formula was very emotional. The whole situation was a huge stress, and I was so scared that once we did that my supply would drop even more and it would be the beginning of the end of Breastfeeding. I can't tell you how many tears I shed. But now that we crossed that line and J is doing so much better, I feel like I e been able to let go a little. I'm taking it one day at a time, trying to pump when I can, and not thinking about all the what-ifs. He gets 4-8ozs of formula per day depending on how much I can pump.

* Like I mentioned above, James has been a happier guy lately. Probable because his little tummy is nice and full, but I also think he is just growing by leaps and bounds and transitioning from newborn to infant. Last week (he was 11 weeks) was an absolute delight and I started to feel like we might be able to do this, haha! He even slept 8-9 hour stretches most nights!

* This week (12 weeks) has not been as great. He seems to be regressing - more difficult to get to sleep and lots of night wakings. We are trying to be patient and just know that babies are constantly changing, but it's almost harder after last week was so amazing

* At what point do I just bite the bullet and buy some jeans in a bigger size?! I confess I am still wearing my maternity ones although I am do ready to be done with them. I have 9 lbs. until I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but my body is just so different! I actually can squeeze into my old jeans, but they are low rise, which both shows my crack now and gives me a muffin top - yikes.

* I have a recurring nightmare that I brought James into our bed in the middle of the night and have lost him! The ironic part is that he had only slept in our bed once for part of a night out of desperation, but we don't co-sleep. Yet I constantly have this dream. My husband said I even woke him up the other night and asked him where James was. When he told me he's in his room, I was confused and thought he was in our bed. Ha!

* James seems to be loosely falling into a napping/ sleeping pattern. I had thought I might be a mom who scheduled a little more, but that idea was long gone as I struggled through those early weeks.

And a few cute pictures of my sweet boy!

Monday, August 27, 2012

{2 months}

(I need to post this before he turns 3 months - oops!)

James, you are two months old!



By the numbers: 2 months old. Weight: 9 lbs. 12 ozs. Length: 22". 8-9 feedings per day. 2-3 night wakings (you often sleep from 10pm to 3am, but not every night). Size 1 diapers. Size 0-3 month clothes.


You started smiling this month!! Seeing your face light up with a smile in response to ours has brought us so much joy. You have such a wide, joyful smile and your eyes are full of expression! This has been a gift, because this month has also been quite challenging. You are gaining weight but not as much as we would like, and by the end of the month you seemed unhappy while eating. We aren't sure if you have acid reflux, I don't have enough milk, or if it's normal "newborn fussiness," but it has been rough seeing you like this more than we would like (we are working on hopefully fixing whatever it is!):


You are still in need a lot of help to go sleep, but it has been taking a little less time to help you drift off to dream land. Once you do fall asleep you have given us a few almost 6 hour stretches of sleep, but go 4-5 hours pretty regularly which is wonderful for me, of course. You still love to be swaddled (with two blankets, actually, since you can maneuver your strong little arms out of just one!), listen to white noise, and be bounced to sleep. This month we transitioned you out of our room into your own room and crib! We were of course nervous you may not like the transition, but you have slept quite well in your crib. And thankfully I can hear you very easily from our room only a few steps away! :)



Your alertness and activity levels have grown tremendously this month! You continue to amaze me with your alert curiosity at everything around you. You love looking out the windows of the car while driving and staring at everything around the house as we carry over our shoulders. You have gained a love for your "busy bee" and ladybug dangling toys that we hang from your car seat or bouncer, and you swing your arms with more strength and accuracy than I would have expected! You also love to lay on your activity mat and bat at the toys there, too.

You also love to "talk," and in my opinion this is your favorite activity that brings the most smiles to your face. You love it when mom, dad, grandma, or grandpa make eye contact with you and talk, sing, or make sounds, and you make sounds back. In fact, you mimic us. You will also copy us when we stick out our tongue. Your coos are adorable and you are making new sounds all the time.



You had your first shots this month. You surprised me and even the nurse at how much you actually enjoyed eating the oral tylenol and oral vaccine - you slurped it up quite happily. I wonder if you are going to love all the flavors that come with eating solids?! However, you of course did not like the actual shots and let out a scream of pain that I had never heard before and made me shed a few tears with you. Thankfully you fell asleep in my arms within a couple minutes (perhaps the trauma wore you out!) and suffered no side effects afterwards.

We love you, James, and can't tell you enough what a gift you are from God!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nursing update

This is an email I wrote to a friend today....sorry I don't have time to write a real post, but it has some updates from my last post that I wanted to share. Thank you SO much for all of your encouragement and suggestions!!

***
Thanks so much for your email!! It's amazing how emotional breast feeding can be, but I feel like other moms are the only ones who understand. My husband and his parents try to be supportive but to them it's just not a big deal - who cares if we end up using formula? And, honestly, I don't love breast feeding and I am not opposed to formula in theory, but suddenly being faced with it made me feel like I was failing my boy! So thanks for understanding.

Yes, James had a short frenulum, too, but we did get that clipped when he was about two weeks old. However, before the clipping he needed the n.ipple shield to nurse, and after he got it clipped he got frustrated if I tried not to use it so we kept using it. I read things about the nipple shield potentially reducing milk supply because the nipple isn't as stimulated AND it can reduce milk flow to the baby, but I talked to a lactation consultant who said that is outdated based on old n.ipple shields, but the current ones are fine. So we kept using it. However, in the midst of all of this I tried not using it again and he suddenly seems to prefer to nurse without it! Hooray! And I can't help but think that it does feel like my nipple is being stimulated more and maybe that was part of the problem?! Also, I took your advice and called a lactation consultant on Monday night and she has been an amazing support. All of my friends have used her and she does it as a community service for FREE! She has been coaching me over the phone (so she hasn't observed the latch, but I think/ hope it's fine - but she will come to my house if we need it), and had me start feeding him every three hours around the clock (oy, back to the super early days), pumping after every session (except the middle of the night), and feeding him and extra 1-2 ounces of what I pump for the afternoon/ evening sessions when my supply is the lowest. I feel like it is helping - his hasn't cried while eating much today! She has me call to check in everyday to tell her how the nurising sessions are going which just feels like such a support. She said if he's not 10 lbs. at his doctor's appointment tomorrow she wants me to supplement with formula, but she will coach me to do it in a way that we can wean off of it once she gets my milk supply up. I feel SO much more hopeful and haven't cried for the last two days. More importantly, James has been happier and I hope he is gaining weight!

Thank you for your prayers! I feel like we are on the "up," although I confess with how difficult these last few weeks have been it is difficult to not fear another "down" spell is right around the corner. I am trying to trust the Lord with each day and take it one day at a time.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Survival mode

There have been MANY wonderful moments in the last two weeks. James is growing more and more interactive, and I feel like we have "conversations" when I talk to him and he coos back. He is smiling a lot and making more sounds - so fun! He is still the cutest thing ever and we love him more than we ever thought possible. We continuously thank God for him!!

But there have also been many low moments. A week ago Monday I lost it - cried literally all day as I cared for him and all evening as my husband did to let me get some rest and try to pull it together. I kept reading that fussiness peaked at 6-8 weeks, but I felt like James' fussiness was getting worse (he was 8 weeks). He was crying while eating sometimes, sleeping worse, and had developed this scream that scared me. I called the pediatrician's office that day because I wanted to know if this was normal behavior or if something could be medically wrong.

Based on the fussiness while eating, pulling off the b.reast, wheezing in his chest, and his general unhappiness the doctor thought he might have silent reflux (he doesn't actually spit up much). We started him on medication and I felt like there was a huge difference that very night! Unfortunately I kept crying because I felt so terrible thinking about my baby being in pain for all this time and I kept chalking it up to "normal fussiness." Sigh.

Another struggle is that his weight gain is still not great and he is dropping in the percentile charts. Is he not getting enough food? Is it the reflux or my milk supply? So I've become really stressed about feedings - he still cries and pulls away sometimes which makes me feel even worse. I am taking fenugreek and pumping after every feeding, and we are even weighing him on a food scale before and after every feeding to make sure he is getting what he needs. So far he has been within the normal range during the weigh ins (according to Kelly mom breast fed babies eat 25 ozs on average, but the range is 19-30 oz per day), and he had 22 ounces on our test day. We have been supplementing with the pumped breast milk to at least get him to 25 ounces. I have been stressed as family has pressured me to give him formula (which I am not against doing if necessary, I am just not convinced it is required yet), and even my husband starting talking about it which upset me. Now that we are weighing him my husband and I are on the same page, but it was stressful feeling like it was me vs. the world and second guessing myself at the same time (am I starving my baby?).

Between all of this, we have basically stopped doing anything other than go to church on Sunday (and even there I sit in the cry room with James). I don't even get out of my pajamas until later in the day, we are declining any social outings, and I haven't gone to my weekly mom group. I want to do whatever it takes to help James thrive AND keep my sanity, but I must admit it has been hard for me to realize I can't particate in a lot of things right now. Even little things. People in my mom groups keep emailing the group to coordinate going for a walk and I honestly can't do that. But I am jealous that other moms of babies around the same age can! My days feel the same and the 2-3 hour cycle is rough, and the thought of being anywhere fills me with anxiety that he might start crying and I won't be able to soothe him. Again, it is worth it and on some level I know this is only a short season, but it has been hard not knowing when we will feel like we can re-enter the world. I always thought I would be the mom who would carry her baby everywhere.

I thought things would be easier by now, and I am trying to come to terms with how emotional and difficult it still is. There ARE things that are easier - I am getting much more sleep than those first few weeks most nights - but I didn't realize becoming a mom would be so hard and that my baby might not be as easy and portable as I expected. But as cheesy as it sounds, I have been amazed at how much I love my boy and wouldn't even want that easy portable baby I had imagined - I want him!