Sunday, October 23, 2011

Eight Months!

Lila is 8 months old today! She is so big and is just growing up before our eyes. She remains an absolute joy and the center of our lives! I really can't believe she is 8 months old. The last week of her 7th month has been kind of a crazy one...

Early in the week she had a fever and was just whiny, not eating much and just not herself... we took her to the pediatrician but at that point her temp was only 99 and she seemed a little better. She went back to daycare Wednesday and Thursday but on Thursday night she developed a rash! At the pediatrician on Friday they told us she had roseola which is a pretty harmless virus and is no longer contagious.

She's also teething (bottom teeth are almost through!) and doing a whole bunch of new things developmentally right now which on top of the illness has been affecting her sleep. This week she woke up a couple times overnight but seems to be back to normal now. She is feeling much better and was in a great mood today!

They went ahead and gave her two shots at her appointment on Friday. She seems to be doing really well. Her weight has moved down to 50th percentile probably because she's been sick and a lot more mobile. They said she is a healthy girl and right on track! The pediatrician wants us to start emphasizing solid foods more and trying to get her on the sippy cup. Other than that I think we are all good!

Weight: 18 lb 1 oz, 50th percentile
Length: 27 7/8 in, 75th percentile
Head: 17 in, 50th percentile

Sizes: Same sizes as last month pretty much. 6-9 months in mostly everything, some 12 month pants, jackets and sleepers. She is wearing a size 2 shoe, but some 3s work. Her Robeez shoes are 6-12 months. Size 3 diapers.

Eating: Well the biggest change this month is the move to 100% formula. I'm happy to report that it is working out wonderfully for both baby and mommy! I love my newfound freedom and Lila loves her bottle! She eats 4 times a day and normally has 6-8oz per feeding. She eats around 7:30, 11:30, 3:30 and 7. We are on a great schedule now and she seems to love the predictability.

We are still trying to figure out solids. She definitely likes baby food better now, but seems to want something to chew on. She moves her mouth up and down like she's chewing even if its pureed. I really think she is ready to move to table foods and chunkier baby foods, but I'm just terrified of her gagging and choking. I guess I need to get over it because baby's got to learn to eat!

We are very unpredictable with her solid food meals. Sometimes I offer 2 meals a day and she'll eat anywhere from a few bites to 1/2 the jar. Other days she doesn't get any solids and doesn't seem to care either way.

Her favorite foods: Mashed potatoes, cheese, Puffs, any baby food with turkey or chicken in it, pears, squash, sweet potatoes

This month I'm going to really try to get her closer to three meals a day. The pediatrician said this is a critical time to introduce her to different tastes and textures. If anyone has any good suggestions for meals, menus or what to feed an 8 month old, I'd love to hear it!

Sleeping: This month was a great one for sleep. She's been sick or teething the few nights, but with that exception, she sleeps over 12 hours a night from 7-7:30 or so. She's doing really well at going to sleep on her own and puts herself back to sleep in the middle of the night. She loves sleeping on her belly, prefers to be in warm footed pjs and loves her crib soother and glow seahorse. She still takes a pacifier at bedtime but usually spits it out at some point. If she wakes up at night she will find it and put it back in and that usually soothes her.

We just got a video monitor and I love it! She is all over the crib and it's so nice to be able to watch her if she fusses at night to make sure she's okay. She usually puts herself back to sleep within a few minutes. Without the monitor we'd probably go up and get her up when we didn't need to.

Her naps are still very good. She normally sleeps from 9-11 and 1-3 during the week. I'm hoping to make that second nap more like 2-4 so she can be awake more in the evening. Some days she will sleep from 1-2:30 and then she is in bed at 6:30! That's just too early for us since Neil doesn't get home til 6. I'd love for her bedtime to be closer to 7:30. During the weekend her schedule is a little different.. she usually sleeps until 8 and her naps are shorter. She still goes to bed around 7 though.

Talking: Lila loves to talk! She babbles all day long. She is so funny. She loves to say Da-da and ma-ma and ba-ba of course. She is experimenting with pitch and usually grunts when she is crawling. It will be so fun when she starts really talking!

Motion: She gets up on her knees and is just now starting to make some real crawling moves. She will usually crawl a bit on her knees and then give up and revert to the army crawl. She can cover serious ground! She can go from sitting to crawling very easily. I don't give her a ton of standing/cruising practice, but I was home with her one day this week and she is actually doing very well. She can stand for a long time holding on to the ottoman or TV stand. She totally shocked me when she moved from the TV stand to her walker toy the other day!! I guess that's cruising? She can walk a few steps with her walker but I'm very careful. I'm so scared she will fall on her face or straight backwards. I know she has to learn on her own but she has no fear and she scares me!

Developmental milestones:

- Waving and clapping a lot!

- Starting to cruise with furniture, walks a little with her walker toy

- Reaches out and up more for us

- I think she is giving us hugs now! I'm trying to teach her how to give kisses

- The other day it seemed like she purposefully said Mama to me.. but can't be sure

- Really responds well to her name, sometimes even reacts and stops when we say "no"

- Can open drawers and cabinets! Eek

- Trying to pull up...

- Paying more attention to books, seems to enjoy reading with me

- Is really enjoying music now! We love listening to Raffi songs on Youtube

Funnies, Firsts and Memories:

She loves sticking her tongue out. She sticks it out to the side when she's playing or examining something. It's hilarious, because Neil does that sometimes.

She loves to use people as a human jumperoo.. She will jump on your hip if you are holding her or on your lap. It's pretty cute.

Speaking of her jumperoo we put it on the tallest setting

Lowered her crib to the middle setting just in case she decides to pull up

Started using a big girl car seat in Neil's car

Had roseola and first real fever this month

One funny thing this month is when she saw baby Emmett who is 3 months younger.. it sounded like she said "Hey Boy"

Went to two pumpkin patches this month, saw all the grandparents and had some playdates

Here's to another great month with my amazing little girl!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Beautiful Blue Eyes

My beloved babysitter Dot (basically another grandmother to me) used to sing this song to me all the time as a child. Unfortunately, Dot passed away when I was 18 and missed meeting Lila and seeing me as a mommy. I love sharing things with Lila that Dot shared with me. The original song is "Beautiful Beautiful Brown Eyes" but Dot, and now me, change the lyrics to honor those beautiful blues!

Beautiful, Beautiful blue eyes
Beautiful, Beautiful blue eyes
Beautiful, Beautiful blue eyes
I'll never love brown eyes again!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Lila's favorite sleeping position

I've been hoping to get a photo of Lila's favorite way to sleep, and I finally got the shot this morning. Face down, butt up!

She's obviously very comfortable! She sleeps like this for most of the night. It's hard to believe just a few months ago she was sleeping swaddled in a bassinet! She keeps her pacifier close by but doesn't really keep it in her mouth the whole night. I should probably just take it away now!

Oh, and don't you love the cow print sleeper?!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Our Breastfeeding Journey Ends...

** Okay, so this post is about nursing and well, boobs. If you have a problem with that or you are a dude, you might want to stop right here... **

Lila will be 8 months next week and as of now we are totally done nursing! My pump is now in the top of the closet for baby #2. Breastfeeding has been quite an experience for me and I wanted to share some thoughts as I reflect back!

My pre-baby expectations/goals/mindset:

I knew all along that I wanted to nurse. I'd read all the books and statistics and knew I wanted to try. I also knew that formula is fine too, but I wanted to breastfeed if it was possible and my goal was 6 months. My secret goal was one year, but since I knew I was going back to work I didn't know how pumping would go.

Trouble in the beginning:

Even though I talked to the lactation consultants multiple times a day in the hospital, we had a lot of issues with getting Lila to latch in the beginning. She was losing too much weight so we supplemented with formula in the hospital and then I started pumping with a rented pump as soon as I got home. We fed her with a syringe with pumped milk until a nurse came to the house and told me about nipple shields. We used a shield for every nursing session until Lila was 3 months old. They were super inconvenient but I'm so glad I had them so we could nurse. Each feeding session was 30-45 mins total with the shield. One day, I tried without the shield and she did just fine! We stopped using them cold turkey and feedings went down to 10 minutes or so.

Pump it up:

I pumped and we gave Lila bottles occasionally starting when she was a month old or so. She did well with bottles for the most part unless we stopped for a while. My first day back to work when she was 4 months old she did not like the bottle and didn't eat very much when I was gone. She slowly did better and over the next few months had 2-3 bottles of pumped milk a day at daycare. Luckily I respond VERY well to the pump and when I pumped 2-3x a day I would make more than enough for her to eat the next day.

Pumping multiple times a day at work was becoming too much so I eventually got down to once a day. I would pump about 5 oz which was enough for one feeding. So we started doing one breastmilk bottle and one formula bottle per day at daycare. Lila will NOT drink frozen then thawed breastmilk, so anytime we had to supplement and I had no fresh milk we used formula. She did fine with it and didn't really seem to care either way. I was nursing for every feeding I was with her including full time on the weekends.

Pumping essentials and favorites:

- A good pump. I used the Medela Pump in Style Advanced.

- A pumping bra. I cut slits in a sports bra at first but for work I invested in a good bra to use with the pump. This is the Simple Wishes Hands Free Pumping Bra. It was great. This is not a picture of me, as you can tell by the lack of stretch marks.

- Medela and Lansinoh pads are fine but use SO much packaging. I really like Johnson's nursing pads. They are easy to grab and use while running out the door and you don't need two hands to open them.

- For a quick supply boost I ate a bowl of oatmeal or drank Mother's Milk Tea.

- Pacifer wipes are good to use to wipe down pump parts in between uses.

- Other essentials included a supportive workplace and boss, curtains for my office and my handy dandy sign. You can click to see it larger but it says.. "Privacy Please. Pumping in Progress. I'm still working and available on email, IM or phone or will be free in 15 minutes."

The decision to wean:

There were many reasons we decided to stop nursing and pumping.

1. I hated pumping. It was annoying, time consuming and very distracting to my workday. I was tired of being late to meetings because I had to pump or eating lunch while pumping. The worst was dealing with engorgement if I couldn't find 15 minutes to pump or those wonderful days when I forgot my pump parts or the pump itself.

2. Lila was becoming super distracted while nursing, even in a dark quiet room. It would take her forever to get her to focus and eat. She was fine with a bottle but with nursing she just wanted to look around and play (ie pull my hair and grab my face).

3. Supply issues. Because we started supplementing more with formula and I was pumping less, of course my supply went down. The bedtime feeding especially I could tell that I was not satisfying her. Neil would feed her after I did and sometimes she would eat 6 oz! It was like I had no milk by the end of the day. A few weeks ago I had a cold and I was taking a ton of Sudafed. This KILLED my supply. I didn't know it could do that, but that helped make the decision easier. I went from pumping 5 oz to 1-2oz per session.

The weaning process:

Weaning was physically and emotionally SO much easier than I ever thought. I imagined a crying baby who wanted to nurse, painful engorgement or worse - mastitis or a breast infection. None of these things happened! When we finally decided to move to just formula I pumped just enough to relieve pressure when I needed to. One day the pump just didn't seem to be helping much so I came home and breastfed her. Within a few days I stopped pumping completely and breastfed her once a day or so just to relieve pressure. She didn't mind a few minutes of nursing and it didn't interfere with her normal bottle feedings.

Last week I realized that I wasn't feeling "full" anymore so I didn't even take my pump to work. I haven't nursed her or pumped in like 3 days. So I think we can safely say we are DONE.

Formula and bottle preferences:
Lila loves her bottle! She uses Avent bottles now, but she also likes the Medela ones that you can use with the pump but 5 oz bottles are too small now. We've also tried The First Years Breast Flow and Playtex nursers. Avent bottles are the best! She started with the lowest flow nipple and we've found that a 2 is still good for her. We have some 4s and she makes the biggest mess. 2s are good. The first time I ever bottle-fed her was like 2 weeks ago! I never wanted to make her confused when I was nursing so I always had someone else do it.

Lila eats 4 times a day around 7:30, 11:30, 3:30 and 7 right before bed. She eats 6-8 oz each feeding.

We started with Enfamil formula (because we had free samples) and now we've moved to Up&up Target brand formula. It's half the price of Enfamil! She does fine with it with no belly issues at all - no gas or spitting up. A big reason we wanted to breastfeed as long as possible was financial - so I'm fine with a cheap formula since she seems to like it and it's perfectly safe and healthy.

Final thoughts on breastfeeding:

Well, I'm super proud to have breastfed Lila for 7 months. I gave her the best nutrition possible for the first part of her life and I'm so glad I stuck it out. It was hard at times, but for the most part I found it easier than bottles. Especially when she was eating like 8 times per day (including overnight). I can't imagine making and cleaning that many bottles or dealing with formula in the middle of the night. It was so easy to just breastfeed her when I was home with her on maternity leave or to just put her in bed with me and nurse her lying down. If I was a stay at home mom I would definitely keep breastfeeding until a year or beyond because it is so much easier and I really hate washing bottles.

As far as breastfeeding being a bonding thing, I didn't really "get" that. I bonded with her of course, but so did Neil! Lila looks up at me more now when I feed her a bottle than she ever did when nursing. I really don't think she even knew there was someone connected to the boob. When she was done, she'd often look up at me like "Oh, you're here too!" So I liked breastfeeding, but not because it made me feel particularly "bonded" to her. I guess I did like in the beginning that I could give her something that no one else could.

But now, I love that Neil and I are total equals in this parenting thing. We are all about equality and fairness in our marriage - so I like that he and I have equal responsibility now that I'm not the sole source of food. He can feed her a bottle and put her to bed or we can *gasp* leave her overnight!

Speaking of leaving her overnight... we have a 4 day trip coming up to the Bahamas and the grandparents are taking care of her when we are gone - my parents for 2 nights and his parents for 2. I love the freedom of not having to worry about pumping! I also love that I can have caffeine if I want, or go on a REAL diet or have a drink or whatever! It's so freeing!

So, that's it. We are done breastfeeding! It was great and it was hard and now it's done!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A rough morning for the working mommy

I'm a very optimistic/positive person so I hate being Debbie downer! I'm so freaking lucky to have the life and family I have. That said, I had kind of a crappy morning. (And as a reader of my blog, you don't just want to hear about the good days, right?)

Lila woke up in a great mood. She started making noises around 7:15 when Neil and I were eating breakfast, so I went up to get her. I got smiles and giggles the whole time I changed her and got her dressed. She was great when I fed her her bottle (we are almost completely done with nursing - another post entirely) and she was her normal happy self when I got her out the door with Neil to go to daycare.

So what's wrong with this picture you ask? A nice morning with a smiling happy baby?

I was only with her for approximately 20 minutes!! This was particularly fast morning, but still. Also, she goes to bed around 7 these days so that's only about an hour and 1/2 with her in the evenings. This is NOT enough time people!!! It breaks my heart that I miss so much during the day while I'm at work.

So, I cried! I cried a bit getting ready this morning and I cried some in the car on the way to work! Am I a bad mom because I have to work? Am I a really bad mom because most days I don't mind going to work? Am I messing her up completely by not being there during the day to teach her things and talk to her? I love our daycare - but I'm so jealous that the girls that work there get to enjoy her all day. That's my baby and they are getting to see her smiles and laughs, not me! They are also getting the poop and feedings and fusses too, but anyway...

I'm just in a little funk I guess. I wish I had the option to work part time or have more days off or be able to spend more time with her during the week, but I really don't. We absolutely have to have my full income (more would be nice) and frankly, I think I'm a better mom because I work. The time I do spend with her is undivided, 100%, loving/playing/nurturing Lila time. Even in the car on the way home from daycare (only 10 mins) I reach back and hold her hand or stroke her face during the stoplights! I try not to look at my phone or do much else when I'm with her! But it's still just not enough.

Another thing is that our evening routine is such a scramble because of her early bedtime. Even if I bring Lila directly home I'm rushing to fit everything in before that first "time for bed" eye rub. I knew we were pushing it last night to try to go to Chick fil A at 6:30. We made it but by the time we got home and up to her room and in pj's she was already past the point of going to bed easily. She got overtired and cranky and never really got to sleep until 8:15. Neil and I took turns patting, shushing, etc in her room for almost an hour! No fun for anyone!! If we get the timing right she puts herself to sleep in just a few minutes, no tears. So I know this early bedtime is the right thing to do, but it's just so hard to not have much time with her.

So that's my sad, poor me rant of the day. The plight of the working mom. Don't even get me started on the dishes, mail, laundry, recycling, trash, etc.. that is piling up and the tasks that never seem to get done. I know stay at home moms have it bad too, but at least you have nap time to do stuff! I know.. I know.. at least I have daily adult interaction and a full hour to eat lunch (sometimes).

So that's it. I just wanted to complain a bit! I don't have enough time with my sweet lovely daughter, and it sucks. But, tomorrow will be better. And then I have the weekend. And someday she will have a later bedtime! I know it will get better, but for now, it BLOWS!