Monday, June 17, 2013

Four Months

Allie turned four months old last week!

For comparison, here's some pics of month one:

Month two:

And month three:

Obviously I haven't done the greatest job positioning her so that you can see her growth, but you can see how her hair has grown and she's kind of chunking up and looking like a bigger baby now.

After my last post I feel like a lot changed in the last couple weeks.  My once somewhat predictable baby has become a lot less predictable.

For one, she's had some fussier days.  Ever since she started rolling over, she needs more time on the floor to explore this and more stimulation in general.  It's getting harder for me to get things done because gone are the days when I could leave her in a swing or Rock N Play for a little while without a huge amount of interaction if I'm doing dishes, cooking, or something else.  I constantly have to be singing to her, making faces, or interacting in some way to keep her entertained, and not just from across the room, she wants me up close and personal and has been known to melt down if I go from the kitchen into the pantry and she can't see me for two seconds.  It's cool that she wants the interaction, but frankly, it's also kind of exhausting to be "on" all day long.  Let's just say I may have eaten a lot more nachos and and frozen burritos for dinners lately, because I can't really cook when she needs me right near her at all times.  One day she had a pretty long meltdown and nothing could console her.  I was checking baby books and Google for symptoms of teething and ear infections, convinced she was in pain with no way to tell me, but eventually it passed when she finally fell asleep.  It must have just been a fussy day.  Thankfully most of the time this passes.

"Angry cry"

The good news is that on the flip side of the fussies, we are getting some deliriously happy moments like I have never seen before from Allie.  She has this huge smile and is even doling out a bunch of laughter lately, which is awesome.  It's pretty fun!  Here's some video of her laughing.  Pay no attention to her silly mom trying to figure out if I actually recorded it or not at the end ;)

Allie can now roll over AND push herself up on her tummy, which is cool.  She used to get her arm pinned under her when she rolled, but now she has figured out how to rock back and forth and free it.  She spends tons of time on the floor practicing her moves and I feel like she is dying to crawl once she gets pushed up.  She grunts and coos and gets all frustrated, but the minute you swoop in to save her she seems annoyed and if you put her on her back, she just immediately tries to flip to her tummy and do it all again.

I was lucky that for the longest time I could easily make plans for lunch or to do something in the middle of the day and pretty much know that Allie would sleep peacefully through it.  I no longer think this is the case.  She had a pretty good cry in the middle of a visit with Greg's sister and family while we were out to lunch one day.  We also experimented with a dinner out one night and that didn't go well either.  I think maybe the noise is a factor.  Before she seemed to be lulled to sleep by a noisy restaurant, now it seems to bother her and makes for quick over stimulation.  If we take her out now, we're leaning towards places we can pay upfront and make a quick exit if necessary.

Like I said, just after writing my last post a bunch of stuff changed.  One thing has unfortunately been my breastfeeding.  I had kind of a scare one day when it seemed like my milk supply was taking a plunge.  I had been noticing that it was taking longer to let down for Allie, which was annoying her at feedings, and then at the end of the day when I went to feed her before bedtime, I had like no milk for her.  I even pumped in case it was an issue with Allie not being able to get the milk, but couldn't get anything pumping either, so I ended up defrosting frozen milk and giving her a bottle.  I was really upset!  The next day I scheduled an appointment with my lactation consultant and also polled my mommy friends to see if they had dealt with anything like that.  I followed suggestions that I up my food and water intake and that did seem to help.  In meeting with the LC, she also suggested massaging my breasts before and during feeding to encourage let down.  I also find that if I smell Allie's baby smell and concentrate on envisioning feeding her it helps.  Breastfeeding can be so mental!  All of these things seemed to help (like I need an excuse to EAT MORE!) but it's made me worry a lot and I am being really conscious to eat and drink a lot lately.  I also am trying to go more like 2 1/2 to 3 hours between feedings instead of 2 so that my supply builds up more between feedings, and I am pumping when Allie finishes a feeding and sometimes a little before til let down starts so that I'm ready to go when she latches and doesn't get frustrated.  This is tough though, and I think the stress isn't helping my supply and feeding issues.  I hope that it will be okay as long as I really stay on top of everything.

I also discussed breast feeding/pumping when I go back to work with the LC.  My plan is to pump three times a day at work (soon after I get in, lunchtime, and an afternoon session).  I also already added a pumping session at night before I go to bed to try and keep my supply up (so far I don't get a whole lot during that one since my supply is much more abundant in the morning).  Daycare doesn't require a set amount of milk, but they want me to start with four bottles with about 4 oz each a day and see how that goes.  While I usually have no problem feeding her about that much from the breast (I know because the LC has weighed her before and after feedings, so I know she usually eats about 3 1/2 oz) when I'm home with her, I'm a little worried about getting that much milk pumping.  Hopefully it'll be enough.  I do have a freezer supply.  I am actually open to formula if it seems to be necessary, but I'll still try to exclusively breastfeed and bottle feed breast milk if I can.  I also ordered more bottles for daycare and bought some extra pump parts so that I can put some in rotation now that they are getting used/washed more.

We went by daycare recently to meet the teachers in Allie's room and introduce her.  It went well.  We went over things like feedings, nap time, what to bring, etc...  I have some projects like a photo collage and binder I need to put together for her before she starts and I need to bring them a list of immunizations from her pediatrician.  I'm getting used to the idea that this is happening.  Sigh...

I waited on writing this post because Allie had her four month check up today.

New stats:
length- 23 3/4 inches, 25-50th percentile
weight- 12 lbs 12 oz., 25-50th percentile
head- 41/5 cms, 50-75th percentile

Still rocking the big head ;)

This appointment was kind of rough.  Greg was away, so I took her by myself, and made the decision to leave her car seat in the car and carry her in, since last week the lactation consultant had remarked that she was surprised I was still carrying her in the car seat.  I thought, "Hey, I should just carry her in this time!"  This was a mistake because she immediately became kind of fussy in the waiting room and I was supposed to fill out some paperwork, which was next to impossible while holding a fidgety, fussy baby.  And it took them over a half hour to call us back to the room.  Then it took a while in the room for the doctor to come in.  By the time the doctor saw her she was already very fussy, crying, and hysterical, even before shots.  After she got her shots I fed her in the office to calm her down and then she fell asleep on the way home and for a couple hours after.  The shots were actually probably the least painful part of the visit.  The long wait was worse.

At every doctor's visit, I come armed with a list of questions.  At this visit I asked about starting solids (will wait til close to six months), cereal (will also wait til about six months and use only oatmeal), sleeping on tummy (is ok now that Allie can roll over and prop herself up), crying it out (we don't need to until after six months and only if she is up a lot and not sleeping, which isn't really an issue), and using the jumperoo (doctor wants me to wait til Allie can sit up better and we're supposed to start working on that).

Allie met a lot of new people in the past couple weeks.  Greg's sister, her husband, and kids came to meet Allie, our friends from Indiana came out, and my friend Michelle also visited.  I also brought Allie by the office for the first time in a while and she met a handful of people there too.

Michelle assisting Allie with tummy time.

Allie seems to be in a "mommy" phase, and seems to want me above others a lot.  I'm kind of okay with this because I love that she loves me, but I know it's because I am the one that is here with her 24/7 and she might be closer with Greg if he was here more.

Greg missed his first Father's Day with us, but we celebrated before hand and had some great days off together before he left.

Allie and Greg visiting a local children's museum for the first time.

Greg gave me a couple good breaks while he was home this time and I got to go to a yoga class and even sleep a little extra, which was great.  We're still figuring out how to balance things while he's home, but I thought this past week was a pretty successful mix of taking turns and spending time together.

That about sums up four months with our baby!  Love this girl...

Friday, June 7, 2013

Sixteen Weeks

Alternate title Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'!

Allie turned sixteen weeks on Wednesday.  She has been able to roll over from back to front for a while now, but suddenly in the last few days it's ALL SHE WANTS TO DO!  From the second she's put on the floor or any flat surface, she immediately starts to roll herself on to her tummy.  Suddenly I am all too aware that it's time to child proof everything, and that I need to be very careful where I leave her for a second because she can pretty much flip over wherever.  I feel like mobility is coming very soon here.  Greg and I will be searching for some fences/gates.  I'm a little afraid about what life with a mobile baby is going to be like.  I've been lucky enough that in the first months of Allie's life I haven't had many issues taking a shower  and getting other tasks done.  While I always needed to plan around naps or happy times to get things accomplished, she has usually been able to hang out stationary for long enough for me to do stuff.  Now I really have to be aware of her ability to move and in conjunction, she seems way less happy than before about being confined in the swing, the Rock N Play, and other devices that can hold her now because she wants to spend every waking moment practicing her new tricks.

Allie is still happiest in the mornings.  She loves to smile and laugh at me and listens to every word I utter to her.  She is very into toys that make noise right now, especially this musical panda.  She also still likes rattles and things that squeak.  Freddie Firefly is another one of her favs.  She also likes connecting rings and if I hold them in front of her, she'll grab them and examine them.  Very cute!  You can tell in the last week or two that a lot is really coming together in her head about how to do things with her hands and body.  It's exciting to watch!  She loves stimulation and I can tell I need to play with her a lot to keep her amused these days.

Allie is still a good sleeper.  Although, as soon as I typed this statement she did have a night when she was up about three times, but those nights are rare.  Luckily it seemed to be a fluke, because the next night she was back to normal.  Her typical sleep schedule goes something like this:

Start bedtime routine between 7:30-8:30 (tonight it was actually earlier).  She gets a bath about every other night, then changed into a fresh diaper, jammies, read a story, one last feeding, then down to bed in the Merlin's Magic Sleep Suit in the crib.
She either sleeps through the night or is up once for a feeding and diaper change (usually around 3am), but usually goes back down without a problem.
Wake time is anywhere from 6ish to 7:30am.
She has a nap or two at some point in the morning, but morning seems to vary pretty wildly.  Sometimes she'll be napping an hour or two after she's up and then have another late morning, sometimes just one nap in the middle of the morning, sometimes it's short, sometimes it's long, there's really no definite pattern there.
She has her longest nap for the day in the middle of the day, which I attribute that to happening when I drag her to lunch or other places with me.  This nap can be anywhere from an hour to three or four hours max (that's when I do the drive to/from Hilton Head, because she can usually make it almost the whole way there in the car sleeping).
She has one more short nap late afternoon, and then is up til bedtime.

I really don't know if this is "normal" compared to other babies her age.  I know there's a lot of controversy around whether you should plan around baby's sleep or whether you should do what you want and have them adapt to your schedule.  I feel like I do a combination of both.  That midday chunk when she naps while we are out is more me taking her to what I want to do, but the rest of the day I just try to be conscious of what she might need  in terms of naps and follow her cues if she seems fussy/tired.  For instance, if we get home from an outing and she's been asleep in the car seat for two or three hours, I know that she's definitely going to need a good chunk of play time at home out of the car seat and try not to drag her anywhere else.  That includes walks in the stroller, because I hate having to put her back in the car seat again if she just got out of one.  I feel like this works reasonably well for us.  I actually think we both do better overall on days when we do have plans and get out of the house than when we're stuck at home.

Napping on me the other day.

I don't know if this nap schedule, or lack of one, will change when she goes to daycare and is in one place all day long.  I just know that it's worked well for us so far so I hesitate to change anything, even though I'm guessing that most babies do a more evenly spaced nap schedule instead of that big midday nap Allie usually has.  I just hope when she does go to daycare that whatever she does for naps there doesn't change our nightly schedule because if it stays like it is now, I should be able to get enough sleep for work.  If she decides to be up more at night, it's going to be rough!

Allie babbles constantly now.  She says "ohhhh" over and over in a soft, cute little voice.  It pretty much melts my heart.  Here's a video of her doing it, and playing with the bird attached to her play mat.

We just got back from another visit with my parents in Hilton Head.  We were down there for about five days but it went by SO FAST!  Before I went on maternity leave, I couldn't wait for these visits because I thought it would feel like so much more leisure time to spend there, but they seem to go by just as fast as when I would go for a weekend before I had Allie.  I also end up teary and sad every time I leave because I just enjoy the time with my parents so much.  I love watching them with Allie, it makes my heart so full.  So far we've managed to visit at least once a month if not more, and I hope this continues.  Allie seems to love it there and is usually really happy and sleeps well.  I am thinking about moving in...  just kidding.  Sort of.

Breastfeeding is still going really well.  I've heard about babies getting to a stage where they get annoyed if you talk while feeding them, and Allie recently started this.  She doesn't really like any major noise that might distract her while eating, including phones ringing, loud TV, dog barking, etc... and will sometimes unlatch and give me a look like "Hey!  I'm eating here, do you mind??"  It's funny.  I would say she eats about 7-8 times a day (including the night feeding if she has one), or about every 2-3 hours.
I was getting worried about her taking bottles because a bunch of times Greg has tried and while she'll eat some, she rarely would finish a bottle.  Thankfully, while in Hilton Head this week, my mom successfully fed her some bottles and she either ate most of or finished them so now I'm less worried about it, which is important for daycare.  I am pretty sure I have decided to at least try pumping at work and having daycare feed her breast milk to see how it goes.  I have a private office and my own mini fridge at work and have always been able to pump pretty quickly, so I feel like it could work for us.  I just need to see if pumping, daycare feeding, and the whole equation all work once I go back to work.  I really don't have anything against formula but kind of don't know where I would even begin to figure out what kind Allie would eat if we were going to go that route since she hasn't had any yet.  I will talk to her pediatrician about it at the next appointment just in case.

Allie laughing at me singing "Don't Worry Be Happy" to her.

Allie is wearing 3 month and 3-6 month clothing.  She's in size two diapers now.  I even gave away a bunch of unused, size one diapers because it was obvious she can't squeeze into them anymore.
She has her four month appointment coming up in about two weeks, so we should have more stats on her then.

I feel like Allie and I get closer every day and I'm more and more in love with her.  I can't stop sniffing her, kissing her head, and hugging her.  Watching her grow and learn is amazing.  The experience of being her mother is truly amazing and surreal.  I feel like I'm still figuring out all of the emotions I'm feeling. Everything from that this is how it was always meant to be to what happened to my old life?  It's all in there and I kind of feel like I haven't exactly figured out how to feel about it all yet.

Probably the biggest challenge of all has been for Greg and I getting used to marriage with a baby.  It's been tough, but I think we're slowly getting acclimated.  I think because we spent over eleven years together and almost seven married years without children, it's been a really big adjustment for us.  Greg was never a one of those guys who always wanted kids (he was open to it, but didn't have an overwhelming desire like I did) and I think this is a bigger adjustment for him than me.  A lot of my friends have told me their husbands had trouble bonding and adjusting to the baby in the first months and I definitely think that's the case for us too.  Especially with him gone a lot.  It also didn't help that he was very sick for a few weeks of her life and really avoided holding her during this time in fear of getting her sick.  I really hope his bond with Allie will continue to get stronger, because I see the potential of what their bond can be.  I think Allie is lucky to have such a smart, interesting father, and I know she's going to learn a lot from him.

I am below my pre-pregnancy weight now.  I still think my body is shaped a lot differently and I have had to retire some of my old clothes and buy new stuff that fits my shape better.  I think I'm just lucky, because working out has actually taken a back seat lately, more than in the beginning of life with Allie.  I haven't been to a yoga class in weeks, running rarely happens, and even walks are getting difficult because the hot weather  (and lots of rainy days too) has arrived in Charlotte and it's hard to find the perfect time to walk with Allie and Clyde now that I can't just walk out the door in the middle of the day because the temps are above 80.  I also feel kind of exhausted a lot of the time and it just doesn't seem that appealing to work out.  I was talking to my mom about my running the other day and made the point that I love running so much more when I can do it regularly and have broken through that "threshold" of running comfort.  Running can kind of suck when all you can do is get in a couple miles once a week or so and you're never really getting over that hurdle of building any kind of endurance or speed.  I know I should try to make it a bigger priority, but right now I kind of don't care.  Hopefully I'll find the time and desire again.  I will say that I think I'm still pretty active.  I do still go for a lot of walks, and I am rarely just sitting.  That probably helps!

I will update more after Allie's four month check up!

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