Day 15-17: Sleep Regression Update

We’re continuing to trudge through this dreaded sleep regression.  Keeping up a calm and positive facade as we climb the stairs after lunch…anticipation mounting with each step toward the nursery, with each book read, with each reply to his pleads for “More books.  More milk.”

In hopes of not bombarding your newsfeed with a second-by-second update of W’s every toss and turn, I decided to save up a few days.

But the real reason for hoarding updates?  Yeah.  I really didn’t want to jinx myself again.  So, here it goes…

Day 15: No nap.  But no poop either!  He stayed in his crib [sans intervention] for an hour and wasn’t screaming the whole time.  He was definitely fussy, but it was intermittent and I could tell he was totally doing it for show.

Day 16: A nap!  The hubby was home (it was Saturday) and I was catching up on some work hours, so he put W down for his nap…and voila!   Success!

Day 17: Another nap!  Another  success by the hubby!  I’ll admit, though, I’m anxious for tomorrow when it’s my turn to put the little guy down for his nap.

Real talk.  I wouldn’t be blogging about each and every day…and sometimes minute…of this sleep regression if I wasn’t looking for common threads that have led to successes or failures in the nap department.  And, I’m no Sherlock [one of our new favorite shows, by the way] but I can tell that the common denominator in successful naps is my husband.  Or, lack of nursing being part of the routine.

I’m not ready to say we need to drop it from our nap time routine (we only nurse morning, pre-nap and pre-bedtime right now)…but the pre-nap nursing session is the next up on the chopping block.  If I don’t have success tomorrow, I think I might start eliminating it from our routine.

What’s the worst that can happen?  He won’t take a nap?  Been there, done that.  15 days and counting…

Hopefully yours,

MomME

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The art of using utensils

It’s time for W to start cleaning up his act at meal time.  Literally.  The mess is killing me!  Clearly W loves it, but me on the other hand…am left scraping avocado out of his ears all day.

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Let’s hash out what we’ve accomplished thus far with the baby lead solids approach, though, because I couldn’t be happier.  W does a great job feeding himself.  He chews incredibly well and rarely gags or bites off more than he can handle.  My favorite?  He’s so adventurous when it comes to trying new foods!  Win. Win.  And win.  We ate out a ton while we were on vacation in Disney (post to come soon!) and it could not have been easier (note I didn’t say cleaner…) thanks to his stellar attitude towards food.  With our amazing rubber bib, disposable placemats, a handful of Cheerios and the LED ice-cube (below), we were golden.  So no complaints on that end.

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But, as with all things, an evolution of process and procedure is in order.  It’s time for a spoon, folks!  The avocado face-and-hair masks are getting too much to clean up three times a day and, frankly, make me dread meal time.  W is nursing less and less (we are at about 6 times a day), so it’s pretty important that I not be dreading feeding the growing little dude.

So, I decided that introducing a spoon was a good idea…when black bean soup was on the menu for lunch, no less.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  I must not have had my third cup of coffee yet…

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This first attempt was probably messier than it would have been had I just let him scoop the soup out of the bowl with his hands (which he did half the time).  He quickly discovered that his spoon was a great way to catapult food to the dog instead of his usual delivery method.  Our dog, Rex, is a food-motivated Frenchie who is always underfoot come meal time.  They’ve got quite the symbiotic relationship – W provides the food and Rex provides the entertainment.  It’s a habit we are SERIOUSLY trying to break.  But, W thinks that our head-shaking is part of the game.  So, he holds his food over the edge, drops it, looks at us with a scowl on his face and shakes his head, “No.”  Unfortunately it’s funnier than it is problematic.  At least for right now…

But, back to the spoon.

He does a great job grabbing the spoon with his right hand and usually gets a good grip on the handle – not to high, not too low.  He understands the motion he’s supposed to make and that he scoops the spoon in the bowl and then it goes into his mouth.  He’ll sometimes use the other hand to guide the spoon there with a bit more precision, which is so sweet to watch.  His fine-motor skills are improving so quickly, and it melts my heart to watch his tiny hands make such slow, deliberate and gentle movements.  And the prideful grin?  Agh.

So, I don’t have a calculated plan moving forward.  No benchmarks for the little guy to meet.  But, I think we’ll keep giving him a spoon at meal time and encourage him as he goes!  He has been picking things up so quickly, that I’m hoping he’ll be on his way to a cleaner eating routine in no time…

I know this is wishful thinking, but if you don’t have hope, what do you have?

Spoonfully yours,

MomME

Lions, duc(t)s and lip-ties, oh my! [Part II]

It’s like kryptonite to nursing moms.  And, unfortunately, it’s happened to me three times before.  But this one popped up October 17th and was, by far, the worst yet.

Plugged ducts.

Yup, plugged milk “ducks” as Siri likes to think I’m saying.  Unfortunately they aren’t as cute as those darling rubber duckies W likes to play with in the bath.  These plugged “ducks” are the kind that make your boob a painful, throbbing, rock solid mass of tissue.  A mass of tissue that needs to produce milk.  That wants to produce milk.  That is producing milk…but it just isn’t coming out.

Ugh.  The last thing a nursing mom wants to have happen.

The doubt that creeps into your head is the worst.  Is my baby getting enough milk?  Is he hungry?  Will my supply bounce back after this?  Truly the worst.  I had to check my negative thoughts and try to stay positive, because stress was only making the situation worse.  My first run in with clogged-ducts-turned-mastitis happened when W was 3 months old, and left me laid out on the couch and a major kink in my supply on my left side.  After that, my right boob was my milk maker…but with this clog ON my right side…all that was in jeopardy.

This clog was covering about 70% of my right boob.

I called upon my mommy circle to make sure I wasn’t missing any tricks that could clear this up. I pulled up KellyMom.com.  I started taking 4800mg of Lecithin daily.  I started gently massaging the boob, from the outside down toward the nipple.  I was soaking my boob in a bowl of hot salt water.  I was nursing W every chance I could.  I was even adding two additional pumping sessions during his naps.

But, after a day it was still there and had become painful.  Dramatic times called for dramatic measures.  I needed to pull out the big guns.  By that, I mean my hubby’s big guns 🙂  We put W down for the night and started our Friday night routine – homemade pizzas.  I cracked a Shipyard Pumpkinhead and headed for the shower while the pizzas were cooking.  I turned the temperature up as hot as I could stand it and called the hubby in to join me.

Get your head out of the gutter.  I’m still talking about how to clear a plugged duct.

I needed someone to really massage my boob, and I just couldn’t stomach the lumps and bumps and pain on my own.  It’s like trying to bite off your own tongue.  It’s just impossible.  So, the hubby put his muscles to work and I tried not to cry.  This. Shit. Hurt.  We started to see some milk coming out with each massage and we were optimistic the heat and massage were clearing some of the ducts!  After about 15 minutes we called it quits and  got out.  Then I started to pump and, what do you know, I got about 3oz and the mass was feeling significantly smaller.

Relief. 

Saturday came and went and though my boob was still feeling a bit sore and swollen, it wasn’t the solid mass it was on Friday.  Sunday arrived and it was time for the Wicked 5K and I was still feeling good.  But, when we got home I peeled my two sports bras off realized the mass was back.  And this time, it was accompanied by a little white milk bleb on the tip of my nipple.  I couldn’t take this much longer and my fear of losing my supply or getting mastitis were starting to consume me.

I needed to see the doctor.

So, the doctor squeezed us in at 11am.  I gave our LC, Linda, a call and told her we’d be over to see her for an opinion, too.  My hubby met me at the office for moral support and to hold W while they were checking me out.  Unfortunately, the look on the doctor’s face let me know it was as bad as I was thinking it was.  She ordered an ultrasound to make sure that the mass wasn’t anything more concerning, and sent us off to radiology.

I stopped in to see Linda and she gave me a quick feel, confirming that an ultrasound was a good call. She also pointed out my milk bleb and reminded me that I needed to pop it with a sterile safety pin.  Joy.  Nothing like taking a needle to your nipple. 

Walking into the radiology department was terrifying, to say the least.  Pink breast cancer ribbons adorned the walls.  (It was, after all, breast cancer awareness month.)  I couldn’t help but look around and wonder if the other women in the waiting room were there for a routine mamogram or something else.  I couldn’t help but feel terrified.  What if something is really wrong?  I thought.  When the ultrasound tech had a baffled look on his face because he wasn’t seeing clogged ducts, the terror set in.  We were sent back to our doctor’s office while the radiologist took a look at the scans.  I swear, waiting to hear what was going on was the most terrifying 20 minutes of my life.  For the most part, I’ve taken for granted the amazing and miraculous things my boobs do.  The thought of not being able to breastfeed W was more than I could handle, let alone thinking the doctor was about to deliver some terrible news…I was panicking.

Thankfully, our nurse (who happens to be one of my mommy friends) came out and delivered good news.  OMFG.  Exhale.  The ultrasound showed clogged ducts and, unfortunately, they could take a while to pass.  There wasn’t anything else they could do for me.  I should continue with gentle massage, wet heat, Tylenol, Ibupropen, nursing a ton and pumping a ton in order to clear it up.  I headed home, honestly just so thankful that the ultrasound didn’t show anything concerning and thankful for the milk I still had.  I was determined to get these clogs out!

The rest of the day, that night, all day on Tuesday and into Tuesday night I was diligent with my Lecithin.  I was nursing, soaking, popping my milk bleb, massaging, pumping and repeating like a champ.  This was consuming my entire day.  And, it was still huge.  I mean like fake boob huge.  And sore.

I woke up on Wednesday and reluctantly gave my boob a quick feel, only to confirm that the clogs were still there.  I got W from his crib and brought him back into bed for our daily nursing session.  I couldn’t help but think he was nursing on that side for quite a while, which hadn’t really happened because the clogs were preventing him from getting much milk.  When he finally popped off, I almost didn’t dare to feel it and confirm whether or not the mass had passed…

IT HAD PASSED!  W HAD NURSED IT OUT!  I can’t tell you how excited I was.  How releived I was.  I knew I wasn’t out of the woods yet and that the clogs could come back at any time, but for right now, I was elated.

The rest of the day we nursed as usual and I still kept the pumping sessions to make sure I was doing everythign I could to get my supply back up.  I could tell that breast had definitely taken a dip.  When I’d pump at night I used to get 3oz out of my right breast and that night I barely got 1oz.

It’s been almost two weeks since the clog passed and my supply is still a bit low on my right side. My milk bleb keeps popping up, threatening to clog things up again.  So, I keep popping it.  And taking Lecithin.  And nursing.  And massaging.  And pumping.  Literally, everything I can to get things back to full working order.

All of this got me thinking about what my husband and I had both, as of very recently, noticed in W’s mouth.  An upper-lip tie.  A labial frenulum, if you will.  You want to know what one of the symptoms of having a nursling with a labial frenulum is?????!!!!!!!!!

CLOGGED DUCTS & MASTITIS & SORE NIPPLES!

WTF.  I’m feeling rather angry that this is just something I’m realizing now, considering how rough a start with nursing we had.  And the mastitis.  And the clogged ducts.  And how he pulls off and nurses at the end of the nipple.  And how I have to flap his upper lip out to get a good flange.

We had his 9 month check up this morning and the FNP didn’t seem too knowledgable, but commented that it did look pretty thick and referred us to the ENT to get it checked out…

Though this is the longest story ever, it was just a small blip on our otherwise clear radar.  The great news is that W is an amazingly happy, healthy and advanced little guy, said the FNP 🙂  He just popped his 7th tooth and is climbing on everything, standing up, clapping and has just added the “N” sound to his vocabularly.

He is perfect.  Lip-tie or no lip-tie.

Proudly,

MomME

10 New Baby Must Haves

Bringing Home Baby: New Baby Must-Haves
Our neighbors and our best friends both welcomed baby girls this past week!  So exciting.  I couldn’t help but reminisce about W’s arrival and the terror excitement we felt about bringing him home.  And, of course, the few items that we relied upon to get us through the first sleep-deprived, adrenaline-fuled and bursting-at-the-seams-with-joy weeks.
Simply put, new babies eat, sleep, poop and cry.  As a nursing mom, here is what made my world go ’round…what I actually used…every hour, every day…after bringing W home.
[Oh, and also.  These would make for one heck-of-a-baby-shower gift.  Toss some of these items in a cute storage bin or basket along with a bottle, pacifier or diaper she didn’t register for (see below for why!) and she’ll be calling you Week 1 thanking you for the most-used-baby-shower-gifts.  Ever.]
  1. Nipple cream: the LC  (mommy-blog-o-nym for Lactation Consultant) recommended I nurse, then rub expressed milk on my nipples, let ’em air dry, then apply the nipple cream…and procede to let the boobs hang freely in the open.  My cracked bloody nipples finally healed at about Week 3!  I used Lansinoh or the Medela brand, but I hear that MotherLove is awesome, too!  I used their More Milk pills to help with milk production.
  2. Hydrogel pads – these felt OH SO GOOD.  They were about the only thing I let touch my nipples in the first three weeks.  See my hospital bag must-haves for other medicine-cabinet needs post-baby.
  3. Snacks – Remembering to eat is harder than you think in the first few weeks, but if you’re nursing, it’s critical.  I lived on Larabars (super healthy, fill you up, minimal/whole ingredients and delicious flavors like Cherry Pie and Coconut Cream Pie), bananas, cheese sticks and the meals my neighborhood made for me!  I made little snack baggies and kept them beside my bed to munch on while I was nursing in the middle of the night…I was always STARVING (and I still am…)
  4. Water bottle Camel Pack: the second W latched on to nurse I was ravenously thirsty.  Instantaneously.  And obviously, I’d forgotten to get water before getting set up amidst pillows and the boppy.  Next baby, I’m forgoing the water bottle and just wearing a camel pack.  Sounds easier 🙂
  5. Boppy: in my first two weeks with W, I was nursing 9-12 times a day for about 30 minutes a session.  That’s a lot of time sitting and nursing.  The more comfortable you are, the better for you and baby.  So, find something like a boppy that works for you!
  6. Nursing/Cozy Tanks:  see above.  You’re pretty much nursing all the time, so find some tanks that are fuss-free and comfortable (even with nursing bras, I never used the snap function – I just wore bras and tanks and shirts with a stretchy enough neck that I could just yank it down over my boob…still do).  My nipples were pretty sore, so super-soft material was a must.  I usually just wore my underwear, a comfy tank and a cozy robe from Brookstone…it seemed to go well with the bags under my eyes…and made snagging a quick nap less of hassle since I was already in my PJs 🙂
  7. Plain onesies: you can never have too many white onesies.  At the rate W pooped through his diapers and clothes, we were changing these things a few times a day.  I was all about easy, and this is where that started.
  8. Zippered, footed sleepers or elastic bottomed dress thingys: add a cute footed onesie (with an adorable face on the butt and feet) to a white onesie and we were dressed and ready to go.  Why they EVEN make baby clothes with buttons baffles me.  There’s nothing worse than trying to change a diaper at 3am, bleary eyed and sleep deprived, and trying to line up 12 teeny-tiny buttons over teeny-tiny squirming arms and legs.  Nope.  Zippers are the best.  And, W didn’t just sleep in these.  He wore them 24/7.
  9. Something to wear baby with – Ergobaby / Moby:  in the 4th trimester we spent most of our time cuddled together, both day and night.  But, for the few hours here or there where my arms needed a break, the Moby I borrowed from my neighbor was a perfect way to keep W close, snuggled and have my hands free.  We now use the Ergo, and in hind sight I probably would have used the baby insert much earlier.  Because it’s so versatile it can be your carrier from birth to 45lbs.
  10. Something to put baby in – Rock N Sleep:  For an off-the-body place to let the little one sleep, the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper was AMAZING.  It’s SO simple, but the slight incline and deep seat really hugged W when I wasn’t, and he spent a ton of time checking out the scenes from this little yellow seat, napping and sleeping.  Before he transitioned into his crib, this was the only place he’d sleep!

Enjoy your precious new baby, mama!  And remember, keep it simple 🙂

Yours truly,

MomME

PS – I didn’t include things like a carseat, diapers/wipes, bottles, pacifiers or crib/co-sleeper/basinette because those are either obvious, optional or a personal preference.  You might choose to do disposable diapers or cloth…or co-sleep or put your baby in a basinette for the night…or give your baby a pacifier or not…or try a bottle at three weeks…or earlier…or later.

For what it’s worth, here’s my two cents on all of the above: before you invest in a whole bunch of anything, try them out and make sure you and your baby like them.  We made the mistake of registering for a bunch of bottles that, in the end, W didn’t take to.  Same with pacifiers.  It took some trial and error (and swapping with my other mommy friend) to find the right fit.  We also bought a co-sleeper that we used once and hated, which seemed like a waste.  If you have the chance to borrow from a friend to try it out, do it.  If you can live with baby for a bit and then decide what you really need and want, you’ll save some money!

And with a wave it hit me…

On three separate occasions this week I’ve been reduced to tears and about to explode with love and pride over the magic that is growing, birthing, nurturing and witnessing the journey of this tiny human.  I’ve been overcome with the magic that is motherhood.  Either that, or I’m pregnant again…I have been craving Thai food and crafting…

Welp, let’s hope not quite yet…

But, I digress.  That’s not to say I don’t think W’s amazing all the time, obviously.  But, I think the crisp fall air has jerked me out of a humid summer haze and made me inhale deeply…made me aware and present in these moments.  It’s been reminding me to emotionally and mentally catalogue these far too fleeting firsts.

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One of these moments was when W waved for the first time.  The realization that your child understands what is happening in the world around them and then communicating with the world around them is…just…cray.  It’s crazy!  Theoretically I know that he already communicates in his own way when he’s tired, hungry or unhappy and theoretically I know he is very intuitive and gets what’s going on.  But, when he waved “goodbye” to Nana as she left after her usual afternoon visit, with a forlorn look and all, the magnitude of his sheer human-ness just hit me.  He’s growing up so quickly.  He’s so smart.  He gets what’s going on and he’s engaging with the world around him in a learned way.

IMG_1556Another was during our morning nursing session.  This is, quite possibly, my favorite time of the day.  It’s been a long (and amazing and hard-worked-for) 12 hours since I’ve seen my precious little W, and when I hear him chirping over the monitor (usually around 7am) I go in and find him sitting up, happily playing with his lovie in his crib.  The excitement in his eyes when he sees I’m there is (swoon) priceless.  But my favorite part is still yet to come…we head back to our bedroom and sleepily snuggle under the covers while he nurses.  Some mornings we fall asleep again and take our first nap all intertwined.  Other mornings he fills up and is ready to play…so he babbles on and on, stares at our ceiling fan and giggles while we play peekaboo.  This was when it hit me again.  I was peering down at him…babbling and smiling up at me, playing with my hand…and again I was overcome with awe at what a little human being he is – and that we created him.  That we were nurturing him to become this incredibly happy and joyous boy.  Ugh, I love our morning time together.  My second favorite moment of the day?  When we get out of bed and I make cup of coffee.  Ahhhh…perfection.

IMG_3193The third awe-inspiring moment was yesterday at the park.  It wasn’t awesome for any special reason – W didn’t have a “first” moment or anything.  It was amazing because it was just so simple and mundane.  It was a gorgeous fall day. The sky was blue, the grass was green and the wind was blowing in our faces.  Our Frenchie, Rex, was with us.  W was so content looking at the fountains, watching the birds flit around and chewing on his whisk.  Oh, the simple things.  I just felt downright lucky to be alive.  Lucky to be there with little W.  It was just an awesome day and I got to thinking I wouldn’t want to spend it any other way than with him.

Sigh.  And with that, our little love-bug is just shy of 8 months and he’s phenomenal.  Sleeping through the night, finally taking a bottle, eating some solid foods, sitting up on his own, crawling, pulling himself up on his knees, waving goodbye and mastering the b, d and m sounds…soon it will be talking and walking, oh my!

For now, though, I’m just enjoying the present.

Yours presently,

MomME

Breastfeeding in Public – yay or nay?

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I whipped them out in front of the Apple store.  Yup.  That’s right.  I bared my breasts in the middle of the mall.  And I liked it.  And so did the elderly woman sitting next to me.  She actually applauded me.

This was the second time I’d whipped them out in public and BIP’d (insert obnoxious use of mommy blog-o-nym…means breastfeeding in public).  My little love bug got hungry while we were at Whole Foods having a delicious lunch with some visiting friends and my husband.  But does BIP really count at Whole Foods?  I’m not sure it does.  Just like it doesn’t really count when I’m at my mommy group or my breastfeeding group.  Granted, I was in the MOST high traffic area – the tables at the end of the check-out line, closest to the exit, where EVERYONE leaving the store had to walk by.  But, I just think the clientel at Whole Foods is far more accepting of things like breastfeeding – I mean, they’re spending about five times more for everything just to make sure it’s organic!  What is more organic than breastfeeding?  So, anyways, that experience definitely gave me the gusto to whip them out at the Mall…

I share this, though, not to recount my weekend activities.  But, I’ve come to find out that breastfeeding in public is a really controversial topic.  Before having a child I would have never thought twice about this!  Being the feminist I am, I’m really fascinated (ok, pissed off) with people’s thoughts as to why women should cover up or go home to breastfeed their babies.  But let’s be honest, I’m really just hell-bent on doing it to prove that I can.  Yup.  If you tell me I shouldn’t do something just because I’m a woman, I’m going to make darn sure I do it just to show you I can.  But really, folks, weren’t you hanging off your mother’s boob at some point, too?  A little hypocritical, no?  I mean, a kid’s gotta eat when a kid’s gotta eat.

It’s not my problem that you can’t walk by and realize there’s nothing more natural than a baby breastfeeding…that breasts aren’t a sexual organ…that there’s nothing unsanitary about FEEDING my child at the mall (umm, there’s a whole food court full of kids eating – do you walk by and give them the evil eye?).  It’s not my problem that you’ve been programmed to think of women, and women’s breasts, in a hyper-sexualized way.  Or maybe it is my problem.  Maybe that’s why I’m determined to BIP.  So that we can begin to normalize breastfeeding.  I mean, if I didn’t BIP, I’d be at home ALL day – that’s how much my little milk-monster eats!

But before I start sounding all self-righteous, I’ll be honest – I’VE been socialized to feel uncomfortable with breastfeeding…and as much as, ideologically, I believe in our right to BIP, it’s been a bit nerve-wracking and it probably will be for a while.  But that doesn’t mean that I won’t do it…I’m determined to BIP whenever my little love bug wants to eat!

So, what do you mamas think?  Bare it anywhere or barely acceptable?

Yours truly,

MomME

Image from http://www.raisingthefawn.com