Monday, October 10, 2011

Baby Food

I love making baby food. I try to use solely organic produce, and organic oatmeal and rice cereal. I have not fed my daugher any poultry yet, though that is next on the list. I bought a cookbook from Williams-Sonoma which I love because it is simple to follow, straight to the point, and provides recipes targeted for specified ages so that it is food friendly for baby's age. I have also utilized, which is a great resource as well. But I found a physical cook book that I can reference with less clutter (no ads) worked better for me.

Items I need and use to make her baby food:
Food processor (Cuisinart and minature processor)
BPA-free Babies R Us storage containers so I can freeze her food in 2 oz containers and unthaw
Miniture spatulas (bought at an ACE hardware by my grandma)

My daughter's favorites thus far, yams, avocado, and plums.


One thing I was not prepared for upon becoming a mother was the desire to be a SAHM. I always tagged myself and vocalized how much of a career woman I was. As soon as my darling daughter was brought into this world, I never wanted to go back to work. And that has been one of the biggest challenges yet. Its affected my ability to parent, my marriage, my mental status, every aspect of my non-work life. I *wish* I would've had a back up plan for the possibility to be a SAHM prior to having my precious baby.

My Birth [sorta] Story

My husband and I found out we were expecting sometime around May 23rd 2010. I had been feeling ill a few mornings in a row and I was experiencing breast tenderness in the shower (showers, actually, were almost umbearable, and naive me thought it was just my husband changing the water pressure on the nozzle). 3 or 5 tests later, we were still looking at that magical "+" sign.

The next 9 months were rough. I had morning sickness my entire pregnancy. The ENTIRE pregnancy. My only relief was Zofran but not without constipating side effects. I felt like the cliche pregnant woman. I was nauseous, day and night. I experienced severe acid reflux which I had to take Zantac daily for. I was constantly needing to use the restroom, and yes, day and night. Once my belly "popped", I could not sleep comfortably as I am a tummy only sleeper. No one warned me that as my belly grew I would soon not be able to reach my own legs to shave them, nor could I see my thighs. I did experience good hair growth though (which of course all falls out postpartum and litters the floors outrageously bad). I had severe back pain towards the end of my pregnancy, the last two months. Driving, sitting, sleeping, EVERYTHING was uncomfortable. (I am pretty sure my little one was sitting/leaning on a nerve that tweeked my back up until delivery). My belly was huge, but tight. My daughter was breech and there was no sign of her rotating on her own, and I was not a candidate for turning her. I was always out of breath, I swelled up, I sweated through my clothes at night, I was constantly tired. And I was most definitely emotional.

In early December 2010, I was getting ready for work during the we hours of the morning. I walked downstairs to retrieve my shoes and jacket all the while eating a banana. Boom! I slide down the stairs on my bottom, all 6 of them, 8 months pregnant. I felt fine, the baby felt fine, but my butt was hurting! The following day I had my routine prenatal visit, so I told my doctor about my little spill and she felt it was best to go to labor and delivery to monitor the baby and make sure she did not have any rapid heartbeat patterns or anything unusual. So, I went and was monitoring only to find that I was having contractions regularly, but I couldn't really feel them when they were happening. As a precaution, I was given Trebutaline and the contractions subsided shortly thereafter. My husband and I were sent home until our next prenatal visit. Fast forward a couple weeks to January 1st 2011. I was not feeling well and spent much of the day lounging around the house. The next day I still was not feeling well, and just felt cramp-like and tired. I didnt think much of it because I didn't feel "contractions", I just felt mild like cramping. This, however, continued into January 3rd. It was a monday, and I was scheduled to work. I went in to do my case, but it kept getting postponed. After four hours of waiting, I called in my co-worker as I was not feeling well and it was getting late in the day so I didnt want to get stuck there for another 9 hours. I called my husband on my way home to let him know I was still cramping and that I was going to go home and drink some water and take a nap. After waking from my nap I awoke, it was 4pm by this time, and I called my mom and told her I was still cramping. My mom pushed me to call my doctor and just see what they said. I called my doctor's office and spoke with my nurse who proceeded to tell me that the doctor recommends I go to L&D again to be monitored just be safe as the cramping was on day 2.5 and nothing was helping it subside. My nurse also told me to bring my bag, just in case. And I thought she was being silly, but the planner in me already had it packed and figure why not, this drill cant hurt. So I called my mom, as my husband was still at work, and asked my mom to drive me to the hospital (as I was feeling too uncomfortable to drive and didnt want to go alone) and my husband would meet us down there. As we walked into the L&D, I was greeting by the same nurse who took care of me my previous visit. I loved this nurse and was super excited to spend time with her again. As she got all my monitoring set up in my room and my mom and I got settled in, she showed me that I was having contractions 3 minutes apart. I was blown away. My cramping had been getting more intense over the last 2 hours and upon arriving to the hospital, but I never suspected my "cramping" was actually contractions. The on call doctor and my OB were notified of my situation. And within 30 minutes, my husband gets to the hospital, takes a seat in the room with my mom and I, and then the nurse walks in and hands my husband a pair of scrubs. He was completely dumbfounded which he verbalized when he said "what are these for?" Next we all piped in and asked the nurse and she said, "we're doing this thing tonight!" I thought, no way, this can't be happening. I am not due for another 3 weeks and 2 days. But sure enough, we were going to have our baby that night. Next, the phone calls starting to our families while I filled out consent forms.

My husband and I had prepared for our birthing experience through a birthing class. We had expected to birth the natural way. But on this day, January 3rd, our daughter was still breech, and my body was going into labor on its own so we had no other choice than to have a c-section. I am happy with my birthing experience, even though it was a c-section and not natural. I had great nurses and doctors, a wonderful hospital stay, and a beautiful baby to take home with us. My husband videotaped the birth of our daughter, which I am so thankful for now. That moment was the most beautiful moment of my life. Our daugher entered the world at 828PM January 3rd, 2011.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I think we tried it all. Miraculously, at 8 months, our daughter started STTN (sleeping through the night). I don't have any advice other than do what works for you. But I will share what we have done.

When we first brought her home, we tried her bassinet. She didn't sleep in it very long. So we started taking turns letting her sleep on our chest. I was terrified of SIDS and it was too sweet not to indulge in letting her sleep on us. Eventually, we found that she would sleep in her swing. We tried the 5 S's method from the happiest baby on the block. Swaddle, Shushing sounds, Swing, Suckle, Side position. This definitely CAN work. But it didn't always work. What worked for us in those early days, swaddling, nursing to sleep and putting in the swing with a binkie, OR swaddling, and bouncing her to sleep with a binkie and then putting her in the swing. We tried letting her sleep on her tummy in our bed with us between our pillows (we have a king) and that worked for all of 3 days. Her swing didn't always work so we would try her bassinet. We rolled up a blanket to go on either side of her so that she could not roll around and once we got her to sleep we would lay her on her side in her bassinet. We tried different room temperatures, no difference. We tried giving her a bottle before bed when she was 4 months hoping she might get "fuller" than nursing, and her sleep patterns did not change.

In the first few months, we did change her diaper in the night as she was up nursing every 2-4 hours. But as she got older and starting sleeping a little bit longer (Occasionally) we wouldn't change her as often at night. And now at 9 months, she gets a fresh diaper before bed and we don't change her until the morning.

We tried to keep night time as de-stimulating as possible. We didn't notice any change in her sleep patterns. But we did start "nighttime" from the day we brought her home and it seems like she did not have her days and nights mixed up very long at all.

We tried car rides a couple desperate nights, but she woke up as soon as we got home.

We tried letting her sleep on the couch with me because she was doing nap time there pretty good for a few weeks, but that only lasted a couple nights.

As she got older, 5 months old, I co-slept a bit more with her. And as she got to be 7 months old, I co-sleep a lot. I felt more confident that myself nor my husband would squish her in the night as she was bigger, and for me, I could wake up and nurse her and we would both go right back to sleep.

The turning point, at 8 months, was when my husband had a business trip. So I was alone with our daughter for 3 nights and 4 days for the first time ever. I co-slept with her the first nights, and it was the best sleep I had gotten since she was born. And the third night, I tried to co-sleep with her but she was wanting to crawl around on the bed and roll around. So I gave up and put her in her crib to try CIO. Within 5 minutes, she went to sleep on her own. My husband came back to town the next night, and we tried co-sleeping again. It did not work. So the second night my husband was home, I nursed her, got her mostly asleep, put her in her crib, and she cried for less than 5 minutes and went to sleep on her own again. She has been doing this for a month now. But she barely cries. She "wakes" up when we put her in her crib, but she finds her wubanub, cries/fusses for a few minutes, gets comfortable and goes to sleep on her own. During the night when she wakes up, she finds a binky, makes a few noises and goes back to sleep on her own. And she is now sleeping 10-14 hours a night without getting up at all.

We had tried CIO (crying it out) when she was 6 months old. And I was a wreck and 30 minutes of crying with no end in site. And I would go in every 5 minutes which only seemed to make her more upset. So we quit trying that after two nights. I don't think she was ready to do it. And I was definitely not ready to do it.

We tried co-sleeping before too, but it seems it did not work as well when my husband and I were in the bed, but worked better when it was just my daughter and I.

We've made it this far, and now we are all starting to sleep. I just hope this pattern continues. But I know babies are always growing and changing, so who knows how long this will last.

Baby items, yay or nay in my book

These are in NO particular order as I am just looking around my house at the items I have and remembering what I can.

1) Swing- A must have! This was the only way, ONLY way, our daughter slept for 6 months was in her swing. And yes, it was on ALL night. But she was up every 1.5-4 hours. I wish we would have gotten the swing that can go side to side and front to back. That will be on my wish list for our next baby.

2) Jumparoo-My daughter loves this. We started using it around 5 months. We also bought a stationary entertainment center and she actually CRIES every time we put her in it. She much prefers the jumparoo. We have the baby Einstein one. I actually bought the jumparoo and the stationary entertainer from people on craigslist, both for the price of one. And the seat covers can be washed in the washer and the equipment can be wiped down with Lysol and they are good as new!

3) Baby tub with hammock. We used this tub up until 2 weeks ago (she was 8.5 months old).

4) Nose bulb. No better way to get out those boogers. Also, saline drops are great for getting those boogies wet and loosened up so you can suck them out!

5) Blankets, blankets, BLANKETS!! For swaddling.

6) White noise machine or air filter

7) Leg warmers (WAY easier than dealing with pants! ) My favorite site is Babylegs . They have great deals, and newborn and baby sizes. And they are GREAT. One of my favorite baby items.

8) Diaper rash creams. I have desitin, but I found it really doesn't do much. Hydrocortisone + an antifungal work GREAT for diaper rash. I also bought A&D, and I like that better than desitin also. Side note-If your baby gets diaper rash, quit using the wipes and just use a soft rag with warm water, and make sure baby's bum is DRY before putting any cream on and the diaper.

9) Baby medicines: Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Tri-vol-sol vitamins, Hylands teething tablets, gas drops, GRIPE WATER! Gripe water was a life saver during those early days. Tylenol, ibuprofen for those days after shots and teething, and hylands teething tablets are all natural and dissolve very quickly in your baby's mouth for those nasty teething days! In case you don't know what Gripe Water is:

10) Baby bjorn-nay. We bought this and utilized it a lot in the beginning. We could sleep upright with her in a recliner semi-comfortably. But after a few months, I bought a Moby wrap after my online mommy's group kept raving about it, and I much prefer the MOBY wrap over the baby bjorn! Its way more comfortable, you can utilize different positions with the baby, and you can even breastfeed in it while doing dishes or cooking dinner! This is a MUST have item in my book!

11) Bassinet-Waste of money. It took up space and acted like a storage unit in our room until it made its way to the attic.

12) Pack and play-We just started utilizing it at 7 months. So I would say its great, but not something you need right away. Also, you don't need a crib right away if you plan on co-sleeping with your little one.

13) Binkies (no debate here, you either love them or hate them)-We use the soothies ONLY, so I am hoping it might be easier to wean her from these. But we use the wubbanub in this house. WUBBANUB is great! Its a stuffed animal (beanie baby like) that has a binkie attached to it. When she was younger, it was great because if she was swaddled and spit it out in the night, it wouldn't fall and she could wake up and find it with her mouth and go back to sleep. Now that she is older it is great because she will wake up at night, find it since its so large, and go back to sleep on her own. And it provides a stuffed animal to snuggle with. Here is a wubbanub :

14) Bottles-I bought the Playtex drop ins and the playtex ventaire. I love them both but found the ventaire are easier to use. Make sure you get slow flow nipples and medium flow nipples. Start with the flow and if your baby gets frustrated you might try the medium flow, but in my experience, it just made my baby choke because it was too much flow.

15) If you are going to utilize a breast pump, have milk storage bags ready to go. I really liked the lansolin bags

16) Washing detergent-Pick at your discretion. I like dreft, but I recommend buying tide, all or something that is free and clear, no odor detergent.

17) Baby soap and lotion-Pick what you like. But I recommend lotioning your baby once a day. Just because their skin isn't dry/flakey does not mean its hydrated. Their skin is very delicate and I think that you would find if you lotion everyday their skin absorbs it!

18) Bibs for the [endless] days of drool

19) High chair- definitely need this but not until you start solids, so maybe around 6 months.

20) We are a munchkin household. I really like their products for feeding baby.
-Mesh feeder, a must! Great for those foods that they can suck on but ensures they won't get a big chunk and choke
-Spoons (my daughter used their spoons with no problems! Other spoons like gerber were a no go)
-Bowls, great size for the portions you will feed your little one when you first start
-sippy cups, no leaks, interchangeable, easy to hold, and easy to suck out from

21) Baby q-tips-a MUST! Ensures you don't go too far in their ear lobe and they are efficient enough at drying and cleaning their ears after bath time Here is a link for baby Q-tips

22) Activity play mat-My daughter loved this right away. Great for tummy time!

23) Books! Read to your little one each day if you can. I found that small, hard books are more appealing to them when they are little

24) Grocery cart cover-I use to think these were ridiculous. But I have a petite babe, and she barely fits in the cart seat now, at 9 months, that at least with the cover if she flops around I don't have to worry about her banging her head on metal.

25) Stroller-Choose wisely. I knew nothing and just registered for the "cute" matching carseat and stroller travel set. The stroller was ok. It wasn't a smooth ride and it looked cute, but it just wasn't what I wanted in a stroller. We bought a baby trend and I love it, its a much smoother ride. If you do not buy a travel set, make sure your carseat can work with the stroller before making your purchase.

26) Extra base(s) for the carseat. Great for the infant carrier. Especially when my daughter goes between my husband and I, and my parents.

27) Babies R Us makes BPA free storage containers for food. Love them and they have held up well the last three months.

28) Diaper Genie-Love it! So glad we got one for the baby shower. Its super easy to use and it does a pretty good job at concealing the poopy odor. (Poopy odor gets way worse when you go from breast milk poops to real solid food poops)

29) Foam floor cover for hardwood floors. Love it! We bought ours from costco for, I think, $39.99.

30) Baby Einstein, Baby Neptune-Your discretion, but this was great for our daughter. It was an instant silencer when she was crying after a bath and didn't want to get lotioned up.

31) Changing table-Eh. You don't NEED. Especially by the time they are mobile (around 8 months) they have NO desire to be on the table!

32) Baby monitor! A Must have. We bought one with a camera, and its the only way I can sleep at night now that my daughter is in her own crib. Choose what works best for you. Their are ones, Angel Care, that will be placed under the mattress sheet to tell you if your baby stops breathing, and there's simple monitors that provide just sound.

33) Soother (for the crib) and/or Mobile-WASTE WASTE WASTE! All these did was stimulate my daugher and make her think crib time was PLAY time.

That's all I have for now... I'll add more as I think of them.


Day 1-The Latch.
I am still blown away at how intelligent our species is. A baby comes out of the womb, lies on a mother's chest, and slowly finds her way to the breast and attempts to nurse. Unfortunately, as the first 24 hours went on, the latch wasn't perfect, I didn't know how it was feeling to me (the pain) was wrong, and needless to say, I ended up with some gnarly blood blisters that I never want to experience again! But the nurses and lactation specialist helped, and I was able to successfully feed my baby, using a breast shield.

As the hours of the first days went on, I became very engorged. OUCH! So the nurses brought me in a breast pump to relieve some of the pressure. (Side note-if they had not shown me how to use the breast pump in the hospital I probably would have never figured it out and given up at home trying to use my own pump)

My suggestions to moms who are breastfeeding the first time, get these items:
Nursing pads
Ameda cool gel pads (they heal within hours of use)
Lanolin gel
Breast shield
A breast pump (so you can start building a stockpile if you plan to return to work after maternity leave)
Button up tops or nursing cami's (easy access is so much better than trying to lift and fold a shirt)

Something else I learned on the way thanks to my mommy's group (Found them by using the what to expect forum), was that breast milk comes out as fore milk (very white in color, sometimes clear/white) and hind milk (creamy pearl in color). Hind milk has more proteins. But when the baby first starts feeding, fore milk comes out first (maybe 1-2 ounces), and then hind milk comes out. If you are not allowing your child to completely empty a breast, they may not be getting enough hind milk, which can lead to excessive gas and needing to eat more often as they are not as full. Before anyone informed of this, I just thought breast milk is just breast milk, and when the right side produced a white milk while the left produced a creamy milk that something must be wrong with MY milk production.

Most of the time, you will never know how many ounces your baby is getting while breastfeeding. And their is no way to tell unless you pump and give the milk through a bottle. So don't stress about it. Our bodies are made to produce milk and your baby will let you know if you are not providing enough (though that may include crying or nursing often or other signs which I have not personally experienced). But the bottom line is, don't stress about your supply. You can try things to boost your supply, such as mothers milk or fenugreek (which is said to make your breasts smell like maple syrup but I never smelled it).

While breastfeeding, make sure you drink plenty of water. And eat plenty of food. Three meals a day. You may notice an increase in appetite. This is normal. Go ahead, eat. You need to, so you can make the milk for your baby.

I got sick with a cold/flu my first few weeks at home. And I found out the hard way that just like pregnancy, every medicine says to consult your physician prior to taking anything while breastfeeding. And the physician I consulted said: Keep breastfeeding-your baby will get the antibodies from your body fighting the cold/flu, which will hopefully keep them from getting sick, and that I could take Zicam and Emergent-C. Both are just large doses of Vitamin C with some Zinc. Great remedy, huh? Fortunately, I have not been that sick since so I have not had to look into other medicines. But I have been told about and looked at It is a great resource for a number of mommy related questions. The site does provide a list of medicines that are "safe" while breastfeeding.

Now on to WHY Breastfeeding was so hard. First, the latching is not always perfect. And then during those early months, you have to get up EVERY time the baby gets up to feed her. She's hungry and you have the milk. We tried a bottle with pumped milk at 6 weeks old, my daughter had one bottle, and 4 hours later she would not latch. She had complete nipple confusion (you can tell by the way the baby suckles-with a bottle she just suckles and the milk comes out, while breastfeeding, she gulps it down because she has to actually suck for it to come out). I cried and cried, and my poor girl was starving but after trying and trying over several hours, I finally got her to latch back on. But no bottles for 6 more weeks after that disaster. As I mentioned before, I had to use a nipple shield. Do you know how annoying it was to clean that thing after EVERY feeding and make sure it was right next to the bed for the next feeding, along with the boppy? After a few weeks, I weaned her off the nipple shield. Which, by the way, is not easy! But, the way I did it was to utilize it to get the milk flowing, and then I would take it off and make her nurse without it the remainder of the time. Eventually, I could get her to latch without starting with the nipple shield. The nipple shield is great for sore nipples, so if you ever need a break from the suckling, use that baby a few feedings and you'll feel like new!

My advice to new mom's, utilize the lactation specialist during your hospital stay! And even after, they are available and there is Le Leche League (which I have heard wonderful things about). If you WANT to breastfeed, give it all you've got. And you know what, if it doesn't work out for you. Don't sweat it. You are not a bad mom!!! And there is just as much support out there for you too!

9 months in...

I am a mommy of a 9 month old little girl. Boy how life has changed since she was born. I have learned so much that it would be a shame not to share or jot it down while I can remember so I have a reference for the next kiddo someday.

Sleep? I am getting some of that now. Everyone says "sleep when the baby sleeps." Which is totally do-able when you have a newborn, but a 9 month old, no way. I thought sleep deprivation was going to be the hardest thing when having a baby, personally, however, I think my baby crying and not knowing what she needs or wants was the hardest thing. I found after her arrival that her crying and my not being able to make her stop was very mentally taxing. Now, at 9 months though, I read her much better. I suppose that comes with experience and getting to know YOUR baby.

The second hardest thing, for me, was breastfeeding. But I am proud to say that she is 9 months and 3 days old, and we are still exclusively breastfeeding. No one warned me though. They just kept telling me how good it is for my baby. And I agreed, but it sure is hard! I'll tell my secrets to breastfeeding up to this point in another post.

Today, at 9 months old, my daily mommy tasks are entertaining her, chasing her around as she is a very mobile critter around, and dealing with the teething MONSTER. Her first tooth popped in early this week, and she has had a case of the grumpy's since. She also has been sleeping A LOT at night. Between my little crawler, climber, squealing, teething monster, and my household responsibilities as a wife, and my part-time job, I am one exhausted gal. But today, I am wanting to learn to knit my darling a beanie for the cold weather ahead, start a blog, and start a site where I can put all my coupon codes and deals into a virtual organizer.

Let's seize the day...