Monday, September 27, 2010

7 weeks

Blueberry is 7 weeks old today. It boggles the mind. What boggles my mind even more is knowing that so many women go (or have to go) back to work at this point. Just the idea of leaving this precious little being right now breaks my heart. And that's not even addressing the practical issues with it. Her schedule is still so much in flux, trying to imagine coping with that but not actually being around to be in tune with her would be so hard. Plus, only seeing her at night when she tends to be her fussiest and never experiencing the sweet moments of sitting on the couch with her first thing in the morning, singing songs and making her smile at me during her happiest, most awake period of the day--sad.

My prayer over her today: God grant us wisdom and open the right doors for us as we raise this child.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sweet Rewards

On Tuesday of this last week, I had one of those sweet moments that make late nights, sleep deprivation, and screaming fits all worth it.

Blueberry was hanging out with (or rather on) her Daddy while I had gone to bed for some desperately needed sleep. She woke up and he brought her into the bedroom cause she was hungry. As he held her, standng by me, I said something, and she turned her head towards me and grinned very happily.

Be still my heart.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I've been bested

Well, I hesitate to claim a crying victory too soon; however, I do think we have solved (albeit not in the most perfect way) the crying issues. Apparently, until she's really, really, really (we're talking an hour or more) sound asleep at night, Blueberry just doesn't like to be alone.

If you look back at the last post, the wrap that Chris is wearing with Blueberry in it has become my constant companion. She doesn't like napping unless she's held. She won't go to bed (until very much zonked out of it all!) unless being held.

The wrap is very comfortable. But still! Being able to move without baby strapped to me at all times would be blessing.

So I finally broke down and at one of the local consignment sales this last week, we bought a swing. And it worked like a charm.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Daddy Style Bonding

On Sunday, Blueberry began her football education. Complete with nap during the third quarter.








Halo Reach came out this week. Blueberry and Daddy spent quality time so Mommy could nap.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Fine Art of Cloth Diapering

Actually, in today's modern world of convenience, I think cloth diapering has become little less of an art form than the years of prefolds and pins. Just my opinion. The creating of cloth diapers definitely has stepped up though in terms of art!

Early on, I decided to go with cloth diapers over disposables. Mainly to save money but also to save on diaper rash, chemical exposure, and besides, fat little cloth-diapered baby bottoms are just so cute! I've had a number of people ask me my opinion thus far on the cloth diapering and also the types of diapers we are using, so I decided to take some time and do a review on some of the types of diapers we've been using, etc.

First of all, I really like using cloth. Is it a pain/gross to wash the diapers out? Yes. Although, having a toilet sprayer has been very helpful in handling that. I also really like my diaper pail and my reusable and water-proof diaper pail bag. Just grab the whole bag and dump it and its contents into the washing machine!

The reason I've liked cloth, though, is that within a few days of life and living in disposable diapers, Blueberry was already developing diaper rash. I had originally planned on doing only disposable for the first few weeks and then switching to cloth once things had settled in a bit. Changed my mind on that pretty fast as I couldn't bear the sight of her bright red little bottom! I do switch off and on of disposable when we go out sometimes. But mostly we are, and have been, straight cloth.

Side note here....the other thing we started doing early on was laying off of the diaper wipes and just using cloth wipes and plain old water to clean her up. Occasional need for soapy water if she is uber-messy. That has really, really, helped with the diaper rash. Again, I do still have diaper wipes and I do use them when out and about, but at home, water and a cloth it is.

For those who envision cloth diapers as they used to be--flat diapers that have to be folded and pinned and those huge, plastic diaper covers--welcome to the 21st century and a new world of cloth diapering.

I do have some of the prefolds (flat diapers). I honestly am not a huge fan. The other diapers I have make me a wee bit lazy on that end, I'll admit, so I'm still not the best at folding them (although I am learning). Pins--kind of hard to find anymore. The Snappi has taken the place of most pins. And, yes, it actually does work! Diaper covers are also much nicer (and often times cuter) and designed in a more leak-proof manner than the old ones (for those who question my knowledge of the "old days" of cloth diapering--my sister is 8 years younger than I am and lived in cloth diapers, so yes, I am quite familiar with how it used to be).

The more modern cloth diaper, however, are ones that look and act like disposable diapers. Except that you rinse out these diapers and then wash them afterward instead of just tossing them. There are various kinds of these diapers. Those that need a cover (also shaped like a disposable diaper), those that need liners stuffed into them, but have built in covers, and those that have everything all sewn (or snapped) together ahead of time--no extra work needed! For those who are curious about these different types, here's a great link with basic information on cloth diapers of today. In particular go to section 2.

OK--diaper types. I wound up buying quite a few different types when stocking up because I could get some good deals that way. Also got a few free ones from one company (Kelly's Closet--sign up for their newsletter as they send fabulous coupons all the time). Broken down by type, here's what I've been using and my thoughts on them:

All-in-One (AIO)
I actually have two of these (they're the most expensive kind, so I really didn't focus on buying them at all--just happened to get a good deal on one and one for free). The Thirsties AIO that I have is an extra small. Which means that it has fitted beautifully but will not last that long. Very nice diaper. If I had tons of money and couple splurge on specific sizes (which cuts down on accidents), I would definitely be willing to buy more of this diaper. The other one I have is called a Sposoeasy. Again, specifically sized. It's an ok diaper. Not as nice as the Thirsties but it works fine.

Pocket - These are my favorite kind in general, even more so than the all-in-one diapers. Mainly because the pocket diapers are easier to clean, not to mention cheaper. But they also allow a little more versatility in determining how thick you want the diaper (aka--do you put in some extra liner for night time or just stick with one liner, etc).

Hands down, my absolute favorite is the bumGenius! one-size pocket diaper. Fabulous diaper. Worth every penny (and they do cost a few pennies). The one-size literally means that they should (if cared for correctly) last until Blueberry is about ready to be potty-trained. They are currently my diaper of choice for nighttime (although they would be for all the time if I had more!). The reason I really like them for nighttime though is that now that Blueberry will actually go almost a whole night without pooping, I can put her into a BumGenius at bedtime and not have to worry about changing it every couple of hours because the micro fleece layer stays waterproof and keeps her comfortable and dry even if her actual diaper is wet. They come in bright, solid colors and come with a doubler (which is a second lining that you can put into the diaper if you want extra soakability [I'm just making my spell check go all sorts of crazy here!]).

My second favorite is the FuzzyBunz, one-size pocket diaper. Very similar to the bumGenius! just not quite as easy to use. Definitely do like that diaper as well though.

Another brand I have is called Happy Heiny's (great name!). I have two of these that are sized diapers (will last her until she's about 16 pounds) and then another one that is a one-size. Similar in price to the bumGenius! they do work quite well. The one-size is definitely not as good as the bumGenius! but I really like the two sized diapers (and besides that, they're darn cute (one is a cow print and the other has a print with ballet shoes and flowers and crowns all over it)! They fit well and seem to be holding up nicely. Downfall, of course, is that they will only last a few months.

I also have a Flip diaper and a SmartPants and a BumEssentials. All three are one-size pocket diapers. With these, let me just say that they are fine. And that is what I'm learning about cloth diapers. You can be very snobby with the brand and style you like, but there are cheaper options and more expensive. The cheaper will not hold up as well and may not work as perfectly, but they do work. I would put all three of these brands into that category.

Fitted
I only actually have one brand of fitted diaper. To start out our cloth diapering with, as most of the one-size diapers aren't intended for a baby smaller than 8 or even 10 pounds, I bought Kissaluv size 0 fitted diapers. These diapers are ones that you have to use a cover with, but they look and snap together like a pocket diaper--just comes with a separate cover is all. For anybody wanting to start out their newborn in cloth diapers (and who doesn't anticipate a baby of 8 pounds or more at birth), I would totally recommend the Kissaluv's. They fit her perfectly as a newborn and I've yet to experience the dreaded blowout (which I have had a couple of minor ones with some of the other cloth diapers just because they were still a wee bit too big on her). For covers, I have a sized Thirsties cover and a couple of Prorap covers. I much prefer the Thirsties cover even though most of what I read ahead of time recommend the Prorap. For the price, the Prorap is the way to go. For fit, go with the Thirsties, small.

OK, enough on the cloth diapering. Those are the primary brands I've played with so far. I have a few other ones as well, but most of them don't fit yet, so I have no real opinion as of yet!

And talking about diapers, I need to go wash mine and the loud exploding sounds coming from the napping baby beside me is probably a hint that I should change hers!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

This Week's Lesson...

and last week's...and more or less the last four weeks...has been all about nursing. I have found my experiences with this oh so important baby care topic have been challenging the last four weeks.

Side-Note: All readers who are squeamish about topics like breast feeding and baby poop--run now!

It began immediately after Blueberry was born and we started the teaching process of latching on and nursing. She had no real interest in latching on and just kind of licked around a bit and then fell asleep. It wasn't until later and with the help of the lactation consultant that we finally had some, small, success with latching on and nursing.

I've shared the picture of her cute little birdie face. Adorable but hopeless when it comes to being able to nurse properly! Not to worry, I was told. She only needs a small amount initially and she'll get the hang of it. In the meantime, I apparently have perfect breasts...at least for nursing. I found this statement coming from another woman to be rather humorous.

As I said in an earlier blog, I find it amazing how non-instinctive nursing seems to be for humans especially when compared to animals.

Any ways, that first week when my milk came in I managed to be nastily engorged, caused, as we found out soon after, by having plugged ducts (I'd never really considered the possibility of having that particular piece of plumbing getting clogged!). Probably caused by Blueberry's preference for that small little birdie face as opposed to properly latching on. Well, as Drano is not an option when it comes to those ducts, a little bit of research showed several options for helping to clear up the problem, two of which included massage with olive oil and the wearing of cabbage leaves on the problematic area. If anyone had told me, before I had Blueberry, that I needed to stock up on cabbage leaves and olive oil because they were the only thing that was going to make me feel a bit more comfortable for a few days, I would have laughed in their face. As it is...I would recommend both!

After that first week and a half, things went comparatively nicely for about a week or so. In truth, I was surprised by how well it went as I'd been warned frequently that it can be a very painful process for the first few weeks.

Around three weeks, Blueberry hit her first growth spurt. About three days of doing nothing but eating. Exhausting is an apropos word for that time period.

Then calm for about a day.

And then the storm. All of the sudden Blueberry went from being a relatively low-fuss baby, if somewhat mixed up on her days and nights, to being an angry, frustrated, howling baby who could not be consoled, would not nicely latch on without a fight, and who was giving her mommy migraines from hours of being awake at night.

Of course my first dreaded thought was--I have a colicky baby! Nooooooo!!!

Well, one of the other things I was never told before I had Blueberry was how fascinating poop was going to become in my life. Fortunately, it is apparently instinctual for mommies to pay close attention to the color/texture of their child's poop because it only took me about a day and a half to start putting the pieces (and green foam) together to realize what is wrong with Blueberry.

Apparently, my ever existing perfectionistic nature that causes me to want to do everything to the absolute best of my ability has played into my milk production as well. I have an overabundance of milk as well as an unreasonably fast let down*. Which is making my baby mad at me because it's making it very difficult for her to eat comfortably without getting choked on too much milk. And then it makes her want to eat all the time because she's not getting the good high protein/long-term filling milk that comes after nursing for awhile but is only getting the high calorie, junk-food milk (for lack of a better phrase!) that disappears quickly through her system**.

*I've learned many new terms and ideas the last few weeks. In order to help translate this particular post for those who are not reading everything they can get their hands on in the way of baby raising, breast feeding, and other such related matter--a "letdown" does not mean your breasts are depressed (my question to my mother upon first hearing this term!), it's just when the milk finally starts coming out faster when a baby is nursing. In my particular case, "coming out faster" should be translated, Blueberry will pull away and get squirted in the eye, in the ear, all over her face, and have a lovely milk bath overall+ (let's hope it's good for the hair as she's either turning blond in the front or going bald) by my over exuberant letdown.

**For those who prefer the technical terms, she's been eating mainly foremilk (the stuff that comes out at the beginning) and not getting to the hindmilk (the stuff farther up the milk ducts) because she's not been eating long enough because she gets upset.

+Further side-note here: when people talk about babies generating a lot of laundry, what they fail to mention is that the laundry is not all the babies. No. No. Half that laundry is mommies laundry from being spat up on or having milk dribbled all over her.

Any ways, we've started working on the overabundant issues (mainly--for those who care--by having her nurse on one side only for several hours each time she wants to eat) before switching sides. Seems to have helped clear up the gross poop issues at least; although, the spraying milk is definitely still a problem!

Within two days of figuring that out, however, and feeling like maybe we would settle down again, she's picked up this annoying 8:30ish to pick-your-hour howling and fussing habit. Even as I type this, I'm typing (mostly) one-handed because she's on her belly on a pillow across my lap having her back patted as it's the only way I can find to calm her down.

I know this is probably what's considered the normal infant fussy time, but still!

Oh, and then, just to really add another wrench into the mix, for the last few days, she's been doing a similar fussing thing in the morning. aka--all morning long. Eat for 5 minutes. Yell at mommy for 30. Sleep for 20. Repeat. For hours. That, at least, I think I've got an answer to (kindly provided by one of our local lactation consultants). Her days and night are still somewhat mixed up, and the consultant thinks her eating times are probably mixed up as well. In other words, she's eating her main meals during the night (so for longer periods of time) and then just snacking during the day. Great. Yet another thing to work on straightening out!

On a good note, I did discover that she will eat a bit longer (and then fall asleep and stay asleep skipping the yelling at mommy phase) if we lay down when she nurses. Works for me. I can sneak in a nap too!

Sigh.

My brain hurts.

Nursing is hard work. It's no wonder it's supposed to be so beneficial to the whole losing weight pregnancy weight process!

And now, Blueberry has apparently fallen asleep (score! only half an hour of fussing tonight!), and I'm going to go stumble off to my bed while I can.

Sleep well, fair readers. I will return with more adventures in the life of Blueberry and Mommy when I can.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wuz Up?

With the sudden onset of fall appropriate weather, Blueberry turned into Gangsta Baby this past week.