Wednesday, April 27, 2016

breastfeeding...

for something that is so natural, breastfeeding is quite tricky and complicated to figure out.  we have struggled a bit with latching and bowie just likes to nurse for the comfort instead of feeding, which leads to a baby that is hungry all the time.  feeding every 2 hours around the clock is also exhausting and it is hard to be the only one to provide nutrition for her.  luckily we have worked with some amazing lactation consultants and i recently started going to a la leche meeting to work through some of these issues.  some days it feels like we are making progress while other days it feels like one step forward and two steps back. 

there is so much conflicting information in regards to the do's and don'ts of breastfeeding, but i have learned that there is no right or wrong way, just what works for your baby and your family.  i am determined to give breastfeeding my best shot and so far we are on that path.  i hear it gets easier at the 6-8 week mark, so i know that we are getting close, and i hope that it in the near future it will be come second nature for the both of us.  the good news is that bowie is putting on weight as expected and i am committed to making this work for the both of us.

i won't lie...night time is hard and always unpredictable.  and rough nights lead to rough days.  i try my best to let jarad sleep so he can be rested for work the next day, but some nights call for back up!  some nights i am up every hour or so and feeding for 45 minutes or more.  again, i feel like bowie is comforting herself and not eating.  which leads her to be unable to sleep and hungry and wanting to feed again and again.  after discussing this with some ladies from my new playgroup they asked if i bottle fed her?  well, i don't and have read it can lead to nipple confusion.  but we also give her a pacifier which to many lactation consultants is a big no no.  but i didn't want to bottle feed her formula, so this meant i would have to start pumping again.  i stopped pumping right when she was 2 weeks old and went through a growth spurt.  it was unrealistic for me to pump and feed her as often as she was eating.  and if you are able to it is recommended that you wait to pump until 6-8 weeks when your milk is established.  so i was relieved to take that off my plate at the time, but now i have reintroduced the pumping to be able to monitor how much she eats at night and bottle feed it to her. 

so we did an experiment.  one night about a week ago, i pumped at night and in about 20 minutes i got 4 ounces.  this is right on target for what i should be producing at a feeding for her age.  so jarad fed it to her in a bottle at bed time, around 10pm and she slept solidly until 2am!!!  OMG this was amazing, this is the longest stretch of sleep i have had since she has been born.  then at 2am i woke up and breastfed her and again she slept solidly until 5:30ish, when jarad gets up for work.  i quickly realized that the bottle at night could be a game changer.  so back to pumping for me!  but it is not easy.  my goal is to build a milk stash (even if not a large one) to have in the freezer so we can have night time feedings on hand.  and of course it would be nice to have extra so others can feed her.  your milk is a supply and demand kinda thing and i need to trick my body into increasing this.  so i am doing all that i can so that i can build up my milk supply.  i have done a lot of reading and i have tried many things.  i am still figuring it out, but what i have noticed that any of these things individually didn't do much for me, but when using them all together i started to see a difference.  so what am i talking about?  check out the picture below to see all the new things i am incorporating into my diet or routine to kick up my milk production into high gear...


1- lactation cookies.  my friends sent me a big box of them when she was born and they are tasty!  they have some key ingredients that are supposed to help with milk supply; oats, flax seed, brewers yeast.  as soon as i am done with these, i am going to try to make my own.  eating oatmeal is another way to get the same benefits.

2- mothers milk tea.  a licorice flavored tea that is good for supply.  you are supposed to drink it three times a day.  not to mention that this means i am drinking a lot of fluids, which is also good for supply!

3- brewers yeast!  i take about 12-16 tablets a day.  this is the same theory that having a beer is good for your supply.  well i don't like beer, but i can swallow some pills, so i take a lot of these daily!

4- fenugreek.  another herbal supplement that is good for supply.  i take 6 tablets a day.

5- the womanly art of breastfeeding book!  this was sent to me as a gift and it has so much great information!  i am reading it as we go and it is a great resource.

6 - pumping!  well as i said it is all about supply and demand so i have to get my body to think that bowie needs more food, so pumping after feedings is recommended to trick the body into thinking the baby still wants more food.  and by pumping i am able to get those bottles ready for night time feedings and hopefully start to be able to freeze some of it.

for now the night times are a bit easier since i am only waking up once to feed, although often times she is restless after that 2am feeding and can keep me up the rest of the night.  but when that happens i take her downstairs (so jarad can sleep)  and we lay on the couch and get some good cuddle time.  we both sleep amazingly when i have her on my chest.  i am confident that this will get easier and until then i will keep trying new things and techniques to make us all more comfortable.


Monday, April 25, 2016

5 weeks old!

each day she seems to be changing, but today miss bowie is 5 weeks old!  here are some of the new things i am noticing about her...

~enjoying the activity mat, still loving the ceiling fan
~her eye lashes are getting thicker
~i think her hair is thinning out
~her eyes are getting lighter
~she will sleep for a 4 hour stretch at night
~had her first real tear
~will go to sleep if you stroke the length of her nose
~went to her first play date last week



Thursday, April 21, 2016

bath time...

this is one of my current fav pics, here is bath time for bowie at 4.5 weeks old.  i love this picture because she reminds me so much of my dad and my sister.  she loves the bath and it makes it the highlight of my day! 

p.s. i learned that the new baby smell we all love is actually straight out of a bottle...try any johnson and johnson product.  but my favorite is the california baby line of baby soap and lotions.  and my cousin knitted us some organic cotton wash clothes, by far one of my favorite hand made gifts. 


Monday, April 18, 2016

1 month old...

how the time flies!  being a mom means my days and nights are confused and i have no concept of time anymore, but i do know that it took no time to be crazy in love with our sweet bowie!

~starting to smile
~loves studying faces
~working hard to hold her neck up
~tries to hold onto binky to keep it in her mouth
~has the longest fingers and toes ever
~holds onto my fingers while nursing
~eyes are starting to tear up when she cries
~hair and eyes are both lightening up
~loves to be held
~went on her first hike




Thursday, April 14, 2016

anime baby...

this is probably my fav pic of bowie so far.  i took it after feeding her but before her bath.  the angle really accentuates her big eyes and pointy chin, she is such a beauty!

3.5 weeks old

Monday, April 11, 2016

3 weeks old!!!


~loves looking at faces
~loves afternoon naps on moms chest
~been going through a growth spurt and can't get enough to eat
~likes when mom tries to sing to her and makes up songs as we go
~gives little "milky smiles" after nursing
~likes bath time
~is growing out of her newborn onsies (in the feet) she is getting tall
~feeds at night time about every 2 hours (plus or minus 30 minutes)
~she is great in the car and has done a lot of shopping and eating out
~loves to be swaddled (daddy is much better at the art of swaddling than i am)

Saturday, April 9, 2016

2.5 week update...

i have always thought that child birth would be the toughest and most painful experience i would go through.  but looking back, it is easy compared to the challenges you face once you get home.  there is such a learning curve to parenting.  things that i thought that would come natural to me, just don't...they take practice, lots of it!  each day brings a new challenge and we are learning as we go.  there truly is nothing that can prepare you for all the emotions you will feel.

i have always been on time, a great multi-tasker and on top of my shit...not so much anymore.  i feel like superwoman if i am able to take a shower or grab a quick bite to eat and i am doing real well if i can get out of the house, let alone before noon!!!  i have learned that i need to lower my goals and expectations of myself, at least for the time being.  i so badly want to have dinner ready for jarad when he gets home and have a clean house, but those tasks can be hard to do when you have a crying baby or if she wants to feed every hour.  thank goodness jarad is so understanding and patient, he is so helpful when he gets home from work and will take bowie so that i can have some time to myself, or take a shower or do what i need to do.  i have a whole new respect for single parents!  it was so nice to have my family here for the last two weeks, but now that it is only me during the days, i am taking baby steps to create my new normal.

 let me start with breastfeeding.  right before we left the hospital we had a meeting with a lactation consultant.  at the time, your milk has not come in and you are only feeding your baby colostrum.  they helped me with getting bowie to properly latch, but i was so new at it, i had no idea what issues we would face in the upcoming days at home.  my milk didn't come in until day 5 (anything between day 3-5 is normal) and it came in at full force.  i had to pump to relieve myself as well.  she was feeding every 3-4 hours.  and in between feedings she would sleep like a little angle.  well this didn't last long, and no matter what, night time is a whole different story.  the day my mom left (exactly 2 weeks old) bowie started to fed every hour or even more frequently.  i put a call into the lactation specialist from the hospital and they said she is going through a growth spurt.  it is very overwhelming to think about getting out of the house when you are feeding, burping and changing your baby every hour.  i didn't even have time to shoot off an email or respond to a text.  now as the week is coming to an end, the feedings are stretching out a bit, and the best thing i did for myself was i went to a la leche meeting.  it is a support group for breast feeding mothers.  i went for three hours and left with some good information, resources and met some first time moms who have invited me to hang out with them for "mommy happy hour."  this has truly been the best thing i have done for myself since moving to washington, i left the meeting feeling confident, encouraged and empowered.  breastfeeding is hard, but the reward of her falling asleep on my chest and napping together is a special time for both of us.  and then the occasional milky smile is heart melting.


lets be honest...i love sleep and i love naps!  i don't consider myself to be either a morning or night person, but now sleep feels like my long lost friend.  all bets are off at night.  some nights bowie will go 3 hour stretches between feedings, but that is about as long as it goes, and more often than not it is more like every 1.5 - 2 hours.  i do my best to not wake jarad up, but sometimes she is just hangry or gassy and i have a crying baby on my hands.  we have tried a few different sleeping arrangements and what is working for us now is to have the nursing glider in our room, it feels lonely to fed in the empty nursery and she sleeps in a bassinet by my side of the bed.  what works best is to swaddle her right after her last bedtime feeding and put her in the bassinet and turn on the vibration on it.  we also tried the mamaroo, but she seems to only like that set up downstairs.  there are times when she is fussy and i bring her into bed and snuggle with her.  but we are not practicing co-sleeping and i find that i sleep better when she is in the bassinet.  the first two weeks were a blur, i was exhausted and after i fed her in the morning my mom would take her and let me go back to bed.  i would also catch a nap in the afternoon, which is amazing!  these days, i am only able to nap in the late afternoon and i usually fall into a deep sleep for 1-2 hours.  i learned that newborns sleep cycle is half of what an adults is.  so when a newborn wakes up it is before we hit our REM sleep, which is a big reason we are so tired because we never get the good deep, restful sleep we need.  they say you get used to the no sleep thing, i am not sure about that, but you learn how to manage.


i have heard that you don't need a lot for newborns and i would say this is pretty much true.  but there are a few things that you do need right away that i wouldn't have thought.  here is some of the things that we have been using a lot of.

~boppy changing pad liners.  we go through a lot of dirty diapers everyday and we have a changing table in the nursery and the pack n play also has a built in changing table.  to protect your changing table mattress and pad you can use these liners and throw them in the wash when they get dirty.  we go through quite a few of them.  and FYI it is not only baby boys that pee when you change their diaper.


~lots of onsies.  baby clothes are super cute, but sometimes they are hard to put on the baby and just not practical.  we prefer the button or zipper up long sleeve pajama style ones.  although we have learned that although bowie is still in newborn clothes, she is starting to get too tall for some of the onesies with feet on them.  the new trend is for "sleep sacks" and we have gotten so many of these, but so far i am not a fan.  i prefer the old fashioned onsies.

~plenty of receiving blankets.   i personally like these better than the muslin ones for swaddling.   we have both, but i use the muslin ones as a cover for feeding, over her car seat as a shade cover or as a light blanket.

~baby carrier.  jarad uses this more than i do, mostly because they can be a bit tricky to put on.  but there are two styles and we have both.  the ergo and a wrap.  it makes going hands free around the house a bit easier.


~pacifiers!!!  this is just a life saver!  they say to get a few types to see what your baby likes, but i have yet to see a baby that didn't like the "avent soothie."  they come 2 to a pack and sell for under $5 at buy buy baby.  be sure to have plenty.  i have them all over the house; bedroom, downstairs, nursery and diaper bag.


~gripe water and vitamin D drops.  the gripe water is to help with gas and the vitamin D drops are recommended for breastfed babies.  i use both daily.

~and lastly, i think a baby bath.  newborns are so small and delicate i would not feel comfortable supporting her with one hand in the sink.  they are big and bulky, but i set it up on the kitchen counter and it comes with a sling for the baby to lay on.  of course you have to have some good bath products to go with it.