Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ten Weeks

Allie is now ten weeks old!

This was a big week of firsts for us.  We took our first road trip as a family- to Hilton Head!  The trip is about three and a half hours from home and we were curious to see how she'd do in the car that long.  I had a hunch that if we left late morning and got there early afternoon she'd do ok since I already know I have her out during the day a lot at that time and she usually sleeps through car rides, lunches, and even play dates, sometimes almost three hours.  Still, she's older now then when I first got away with those long stretches and sometimes she's not asleep for that long, so I wasn't sure she'd make it without some kind of meltdown on the way.

Aside from worrying how Allie would do on the ride there, I also wondered how I would go about feeding her.  I decided to just wing it instead of bringing a pumped bottle like I often do when I'm out with her for a while.  She slept til the halfway point when we stopped the car for lunch.  The stop had a good back area where we could park, so I breast-fed her in the car since she woke up when we pulled off the exit and I figured she was hungry.  That was my first time breastfeeding her in the car.  I've actually gotten more comfortable feeding her with no pillow now, so I just draped a blanket over us and she did great.  We didn't even make a big mess!  Feeding her halfway worked well and she slept the rest of the way after I fed her.  Success!  Later during the visit, I also took her out during lunch out to feed her in the car when she got cranky, and that also went well.  It's nice knowing I can do this now.

Allie got to meet her Aunt Ashley and cousin Avery for the first time this week.

Avery read a book to Allie :)

We took some really cute pictures of the girls in matching outfits that Ashley got them.  They are exactly a year and a half apart in age and I think someday they'll be good buddies.  We may have added major confusion to our family name situation though.  We were constantly calling Avery, Ashley, or Allie the wrong name all week.  Oops!

We also took Allie to the beach for the first time.  She spent most of the time in my lap or in the Ergo walking the beach.

Yes, we still have a dog...

I had worried about the trip disrupting what little sleep pattern we do have, but she was the same on the trip as she is at home- up about once a night.  We brought our Pack N Play so her sleep spot would be the same as usual, that probably helped.  I think also filling the day with stimulation from my family helped her to sleep well at night.

The trip was a pretty big success.  I would say Allie was happier and less fussy than usual.  I swear no one believes me when I say she can be fussy because she rarely is when she's around people.  It probably helped having her G-ma (my mom) around a lot to dote on her.

We only had two nights there because of Greg's schedule, but I definitely plan on going back down to spend longer now that we know she can handle the car trip and slept okay away from home, so I plan on going back in a couple weeks.  I want to take advantage of the extra Hilton Head time while I'm on maternity leave!

Allie also did her first Gymboree class this week.  Some of my friends mentioned Gymboree classes and I thought it was the perfect thing for me to do with Allie while I'm still on maternity leave since they have classes for babies Allie's age.

They have Play and Learn classes for babies 0-6 months and you can try the first class free.  We did some sensory things, sang, did tummy time, puppets, and other baby friendly activities.  Allie really seemed to like the first half then had kind of a meltdown during the second half.  I didn't time her feedings very well, so she may have been hungry.  I tried giving her a pumped bottle, but she wasn't really into it.  I think it will still work out though if I plan my morning feedings more strategically next time.  I thought the class was great for Allie and really enjoyed doing the activities with her.  I signed us up for a membership.  I am looking forward to seeing how she progresses with it.

I also discovered that Allie can grip and shake her rattle this week!  She loves getting her diaper changed now (oh how things have changed), and I handed her a rattle and she was holding and shaking it.  I was so excited I did Facetime with my parents to show them!

I think I only got one run in this week and no yoga because of the Hilton Head trip, but I did walk a lot including a long 4ish miler in Hilton Head, which was glorious.  I loved showing Allie my favorite place :)

One other thing- we have a jogging stroller now, but I need advice on when I can start using it.  It works with our car seat, so I was hoping I could click it in and go for a run with Allie sometime, but my pediatrician recommends waiting til she is NINE months old.  This seems like a long time to wait to me.  At that point I can probably have her in it without the car seat, which kind of defeats the purpose of the stroller we chose (since it's compatible with our car seat).  I was hoping to run with her while I'm still on maternity leave.  I obviously don't want to injure her in any way, but I don't see how it would be any worse for her than the car as long as I run on a flat surface and am careful.  It would greatly increase my ability to run more if I could use the jogging stroller with her, since right now I can only do it like once a week when Greg is home.  Thoughts/experiences?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Eight-Nine Weeks

Wow, I can't believe it's been two months since my baby was born!  My maternity leave is 1/3 over already!  Sad!

We might have turned a bit of a corner.  I think our effort to establish a bedtime routine is paying off, because Allie started sleeping til about 3:30-4am most nights.  We usually start the routine somewhere between 7:30pm and 8:30pm.  Every other night we do a bath, and then we put her jammies on, read her a book, snuggle her a bit til she seems sleepy, then swaddle her and put her in the bassinet with white noise on.  She actually falls asleep anywhere between 9pm-10pmish.  She is really good about going to sleep on her own, even if she's still awake when we put her in the bassinet.  The side effect to this, is that now that she's going about 6-7 hours without eating at night, my boobs are adjusting (whoa engorgement again)!  I actually think she might be able to go slightly longer, but if I wake up, feel engorged, and hear her fussing, I usually get up and feed her.  The other issue is that I'm rested enough that I have a hard time going back to sleep at 4-5am when I'm done changing and feeding her.  Before when she was up more, I'd still be so tired that I'd usually fall back asleep pretty easily.  I'm a lighter sleeper in the morning, so this is more difficult for me now.  Still, I think this is a really good thing- that she's going to sleep fairly consistently and sleeping longer stretches now.

We need to work on napping.  I started trying to track naps to see when she seems to be sleeping, but part of it is our fault because we often take her out to do things and when we do she falls asleep in the car seat for a long nap, so we don't really know when she would naturally choose to nap if we let her dictate the schedule.  We also need to figure out when we are going to transition her to the crib.  We keep talking about doing it, but then just keep defaulting to the Pack N Play bassinet because we know she sleeps fine there.  I did try having her do a morning nap in the crib a couple times this week and it went pretty well.  I saw that she was getting tired, took her in there and she slept about 30-45 minutes a couple times.  So we're making some progress.

I waited to post this because Allie had her two month pediatrician appointment today (she will be nine weeks tomorrow).  She is still about the same on her percentiles- still 75th for head circumference, 50th for height, and about 25th for weight.  She's 22 inches long and weights 10 lbs 7oz now.  The doctor was very happy with her stats.  She's definitely in size 1 diapers and I have now put pretty much all her newborn clothes away, so she's in mostly 0-3, and a few 3M outfits that run small or are a little big on her.  I feel like she's chunking up!

Love her long eye lashes!

Allie now has a lot of days where she is happier a lot more during the day which is awesome.  This is probably my favorite part about her growing.  I love the smiles and sounds she is making.  It's fun to be able to interact with her.  I feel like we're in kind of a fun phase because she's still a little baby, but she's getting more happy and interactive.  She likes it when I talk to her and sing to her, and sit with her on the floor while she does tummy time.  I also carry her around and tell her what things are and she seems pretty mesmerized.

She still has her share of melt downs though.  If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen a bunch of whiny tweets on Sunday when we were having a rough day.  She's starting to be awake more in the car now, so it's not as much of a sure thing that I can take her somewhere and rely on her to fall asleep in the car and stay asleep.  I've had my share of car trips where she was screaming in the back til I could stop and calm her down.  She usually does sleep in the car, and in the car seat for a while after, if it's between 10am-2pm, but after that I don't count on it.  She also sometimes has meltdowns around 3-4pm at home when she is fed, changed, stimulated, and nothing really calms her down. I find that rocking her and stroking her back and whispering or singing to her is the best bet til she calms down.  I hate those times though, it breaks my heart!

We try to do tummy time a bunch of times a day but usually it only last a few minutes each time.  I feel like she tolerates it pretty well though, and I think she's getting closer to rolling over.  The doctor even commented on it today when she was checking her out and saw her propped up on her arms!  She's still a fan of the play mat and I let her play on that a couple times a day.

As much as I savor every moment and stage with Allie, I really think the best is still yet to come.  I think she's still in that "fourth trimester" fussy stage and I look forward to her being happier and more adjusted to life outside the womb.  This makes me glad that I still have four more months before I have to go back to work, because I really want to spend more time with her during the less fussy more happy time.

As for me, I got a yoga pass at my local studio and have been twice.  Running is only happening when Greg is home so only about once or maybe twice a week if I'm lucky.  My major exercise is still daily walks, weather permitting.  I fit into more of my pre-prenancy clothes now, including a couple pairs of jeans, but most of my clothes fit very differently (hello muffin top!), and I can tell I'm still a long way from the shape I used to be in.  I bought two tankini's for an upcoming trip to Hilton Head, because I am not going anywhere near a bikini any time soon!  Still, I know it could be worse and really it's not that important in the big picture of things- it was totally worth it to have my baby.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

New Mom Tips

Now that I'm two months in to motherhood I was thinking about what I've learned and what I might have found useful to know when I was still pregnant.  I think that every baby is different and it's hard to say that the stuff I have learned would apply to everyone, but I here's some stuff I use and do that works for us.

First off, a lot of diapers have indicators on them that show when they are wet.  Us dummies didn't figure that out til a month in.  It's not a huge deal because I have probably only seen about 4 diapers total that weren't soiled in some way, since Allie usually needs a change and we can even hear her go most of the time (she goes all.the.time.- thank you breast milk for being a natural laxative!), but it was still an a-ha moment when we realized the indicator existed.  Duh!

If you are breastfeeding, a pacifier can be a great tool.  Sometimes you put the baby up to your boob and I swear they forget what the heck they are supposed to do!  Allie has literally put her open mouth up to my boob and just kind of gone "ahh ahhh" like she was confused on what it was for (like almost every feeding!).  I always have a pacifier with me when I feed her so that I can put in her mouth for a few seconds to get her sucking instinct going, then I switch her to the boob and she immediately latches on.  I think it's a cool trick and it works really well for us.

More breastfeeding tips?  Use the Boppy or My Brest Friend- it makes getting the baby in position so much easier.  Also, I need at least two burp cloths when I feed Allie because we make a mess.  I usually put one under her mouth to catch milk and have one handy to wipe her mouth after and/or use to burp her after we are done.  Also, if I have a nursing bra on, I tuck a burp cloth over the folded down part of the bra so I don't get it soaked with milk.

Moving on.  If you are having issues with swaddling your baby's arms in, wait til they are already falling asleep and then try.  I thought Allie wouldn't tolerate having her arms in because at first I used to do it when she was wide awake, and she still doesn't love it, but if I wait til she's falling asleep she tolerates it and I swear she sleeps better/longer with her arms in.  We use both the Swaddle Me ones and the Halo Sleep Sacks with swaddles.

Along those lines, I think it's a good idea to wait til your baby is sleepy, then put them down to sleep.  She usually goes the rest of the way herself.  Supposedly it helps if you don't let them fall asleep on you and transfer them because they later can wake up upset that they don't know where they are.

I recommend having different baby holding devices in different locations throughout the house.  We use the Boppy Newborn Lounger in the kitchen for anything we are doing in there- cooking, dishes, eating at our island, etc...  We have the Rock N Play in our bathroom for when I'm in the shower or blow drying my hair.  We have a swing in the living room and the bouncer seat in Greg's office for when he's paying bills or working on his computer.  Don't get me wrong, we are holding and interacting with Allie A LOT- but for times when you need to set the baby down and/or get a few things done, these things are life savers, so I recommend a few different baby holding devices in various locations.

When the baby is crying, my first thoughts are that she's hungry, needs a diaper change, or is bored (wants me to play with her more or wants to be on the play mat).  If none of those things work and she's still crying, I try holding her in different positions- horizontal, upright on my shoulder, walking around with her while gently rocking her, sitting in the glider with her and talking to her with a soothing voice or singing.  Eventually something will work to calm her down.

You can not have enough zippered sleepers for bedtime.  I feel like these are our must used clothing items.  We used them for daytime as well in the beginning, but now we're actually dressing her in more exiting clothing during the day.  Still, the sleepers are great for nighttime and we even use more than one a night if she spits up on one, so I think having a bunch is a good idea.

Same with bibs and burp clothes.  If you have a baby that spits up, you will learn to put a bib on them as soon as you feed them.  Especially if they are in an outfit you don't want spit up on.  For the same reason, you want a burp cloth handy wherever you are.  I have them all over my house (yes, it's a mess).

If you think you baby doesn't like something, wait a while and try again.  This has been the case with everything from swaddling to pacifier brands to the swing.  Oh and socks.  I said in the beginning we didn't use baby socks, but we are in a definite baby sock phase now that she's wearing pants and other clothing.  So I wouldn't discount anything that you initially aren't using.  You may use it later.

One thing we've been bad about is taking enough pictures with Allie with us.  I take a lot of pictures of her by herself, and even her various cute body parts, but we keep forgetting to take enough pictures of her with each of us or all together.  We need to work on that because I want to have pictures of us together.

Baby foot!! 

I think it's common sense, but I think it's good for the mom and dad to trade off watching the baby to get some me time.  At first this wasn't a priority, but now that it's getting more comfortable we are trying to get back to doing at least some things that our for ourselves.  Greg has been great about this when he's home, letting me go to yoga, run, go to my book club, and shop while he watches Allie.  I also encourage him to go do his radio control plane flying or have a video game play date while he is home.  It's good to get that stuff in there.  Although, I will say that I miss Allie every second I'm not with her, and I went shopping in record time the other day so I could get back to my little family.

These are just some things I've discovered that work for us.  Do you guys have any tips to share?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Seven Weeks

This past week with Allie was a mixed bag.  I feel like as soon as I'd make a declaration about Allie's personality, she'd change to the opposite.  I'd say, "She's usually fussy when she's awake", and the next minute she would prove me wrong and be a perfect angel for 4 straight hours!  A couple nights she was up almost every hour or two all night long and then the next night I had to wake her up to feed her because I was so engorged.  She was just really unpredictable.

We took a two hour nap together after one sleepless night.

Mornings are usually a fun time with Allie.  She's usually pretty alert and happy (hence why I'm blogging right now) and smiles a lot then.  I can usually get her to smile when she's in that kind of mood, which is cool.  She also has started making coo and other cute noises while smiling and interacting.  It pretty much melts my heart when she does that.

She has good stretches during the day when she seems pretty alert and awake.  She's awake during stroller rides a lot of the time now (she used to sleep through them) and seems to be looking around taking it all in.  She was even sort of awake during a short play date with my friend Sarah and her son the other day, which was funny.

Evenings are still Allie's fussiest time.  The pediatrician said this is normal because babies build up gas during the day and by evening they are pretty uncomfortable.  She also said that gas drops don't usually help, just holding them and getting through it is all you can usually do.  I would still hesitate to do dinner out with Allie because she's so fussy then.  Even the usual tricks of driving to put her to sleep in the car seat don't consistently work then.  We ran some errands last night (Home Depot and Petsmart) and she melted down pretty good so I ended up sitting in the car with her trying to calm her down while Greg ran in to get various items.  Not fun.

The last two nights we started trying to establish more of a nightly bedtime routine.  Around 7-7:30pm we gave her a bath (the first night, we didn't last night), put her in clean jammies, and then read her a Dr. Suess book in bed with the lights dimmed and waited for her eyes to get heavy.  I then put her in a Swaddle Me wrap and put her in the bassinet for bed.  It worked pretty well except she is a little Houdini and can get an arm or two out of that wrap if I don't velcro it perfectly.  Even though I swore she wouldn't tolerate the arms in the swaddle, I find that if I wait til she is falling asleep she'll let me put them in and it really does make a difference to get the arms swaddled in for longer stretches of uninterrupted sleep, so I think we'll be doing this from here on out.  Also, I took Dorsa and Jen's advice and started changing her before feeding her when we are up at night and I think that helps a lot in getting her back to sleep since she's usually so sleepy after eating.  I was worried she'd freak out while I changed her, waiting to be fed, but it doesn't seem to bother her as much as I thought it would.

I'm not sure when we're going to try to transition her to the crib.  We still put her in there for occasional naps, but we need to work on doing that more so we can get her used to it.  We have a trip to Hilton Head coming up and we may have her in a Pack N Play with no bassinet attachment, so if nothing else we probably should see if she'll sleep in the Pack N Play without the bassinet.  I guess that might be a good transition to the crib anyway since the mattress is more flat and crib-like.

She is doing really well with the play mat, still batting her toys, and it's one of my tried and true methods of calming her down if she's changed and fed and I know those aren't the reasons she's crying.  I think she's craving stimulation.  She likes being under the dangling toys while I jingle them and talk to her about what everything is.  It's cute.  We also do a lot of tummy time on the play mat.  I've tried to step up my effort to do tummy time more because I know it's good for her and her head!

In not-so-glamorous news, Allie has had a little bit of baby acne around her mouth.  Nothing major though, I don't think it's even noticeable to most people and I just try to keep it clean and that helps.  She also had some cradle cap, but I followed directions I found online and used some olive oil on her scalp before her bath, wet her head, then used a soft brush to brush the scales off, and shampooed her head and it's basically gone.  Apparently it's caused by oily scalp, so to keep it away you are supposed to shampoo the baby more often.

Allie is still spitting up a bunch.  I think it's my fault because of my milk supply and how it shoots down her throat at feedings.  I feel like it's getting a little better, but I still put a bib on her after feedings in case.  The other day I was putting her in her car seat to go somewhere and she totally spit up down the front of her outfit and I had to change it before we left.  Sometimes during the night I find that she has spit up on herself and have to change her outfit because it's wet from the spit up.  I don't put a bib on her at night though because I worry about SIDS.  Someone needs to invent a nighttime bib that is safe for babies to sleep in.  I would do it, but my husband told me some baby would die from it and then I get sued.  Good point.

We won't know til her two month appointment how big she officially is, but I did put a bunch of her newborn clothing away this week, realizing that it really doesn't fit well anymore- sniff sniff.  She's mostly in 0-3 or sometimes 3M clothing (although that stuff is a little big on her).

I am having fun dressing her in things other than sleepers, but if you are having a baby, I still swear sleepers are the way to go for the first month or so.  Even now, people aren't really seeing the outfits I have her in much since she's usually in the car seat when we are out, so my effort is wasted!  We didn't do anything for Easter (it's not a big holiday in my family and Greg was away), but I dressed her up in an outfit Alison sent me and got some pictures of her in it.

I had lunch with a friend that is seven months pregnant the other day and she was grilling me with a bunch of questions like, "What is the thing that most surprised you about having a baby?" and stuff like that.  I didn't really know how to respond.  I did have tons of tips on things you need, breastfeeding, and those sorts of things (I may do a post soon), but it's really hard to describe motherhood in broad terms.  I love it, but I don't know if it's what I thought it would be like, or if I even had any expectations of what I thought it would be like before I became a mom.  I haven't changed my mind about going back to work, but I'm still really glad I have six months off with Allie and am soaking up the minutes with her.  I am loving the experience of being a mom and watching my baby.

One last note- I went RUNNING twice this week!  I did 1.75 miles on the first run, and then 2 miles on the second.  The first run kind of sucked, but the second felt almost normal, and I was actually not that much slower than my usual leisurely pace (non-racing).

I'm excited to be back at it!  So far I'm only running outside when Greg is home, but eventually if Allie gets into some sort of reliable nap pattern, I may try running on our treadmill at home sometimes.  We will see.  I really need to get ab work on the agenda.  It's by far the area of my bod that needs the most work.  Baby steps...  :)

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