Thursday, July 24, 2014

Happy 6 Months P!

My baby is 6 months old! It feel s like just yesterday I was counting down the days until her due date and having nightmares about what birth would be like. Now, I would give anything to go back to that day—to relive it over again—to pay better attention to each minute. It just went by too fast. The baby that I had then barely resembles the chunky monkey that I have today. She is rambunctious, sassy and adorable. I love her oh-so-much.

This month has been C-R-A-Z-Y. We had our first beach trip and started solid foods. P has become even more animated and mobile than ever—yet she still isn’t rolling over. My mom says that she is just like her Mommy (I didn’t walk until I was almost two). I guess my girl will do it all in her own time, and I will try not to worry about it.

P loves the bath and the pool. She dislikes the sand and the ocean. This girl loves to be outside no matter the temperature or the weather. She is getting a touch of the stranger danger. My cousin tried to hug her as soon as she walked through the door and P quickly let her know that she was not happy about it. Poor L was scared to hold her the rest of our beach trip. I am secretly happy that she has developed a little more mommy-centeredness. She whines when I walk too far away, and is more interested in cuddling with me.

On the other hand, my baby is mean. She likes to slap, punch, kick, and scratch me when I make her mad—and sometimes just because. I have started pulling back from her and saying no, but she often just smiles at me. I am afraid that she is going to be just as mean as her mommy was as a child. They say you get it back in your own children. I may be in serious trouble.

She is still sleeping in her swaddle because she will slap herself and kick until no end, thus rendering her wide awake during nap and nighttime. We have been struggling in the sleep department for the last two weeks. She often wakes at least one time—and sometimes likes to stay up for an hour or so slamming her legs on her mattress. I have wondered if home girl is possessed.

As I have mentioned previously, her appetite has slowed. We are having a hard time starting solid foods as well. She seems to be more interested in playing than in eating whether it be solids or bottles. I am still pumping for her (go me).

P loves to stare at herself in the mirror. She will even laugh at herself. She likes to talk and even shriek with happiness. She can walk around in her walker and is sitting up for longer periods of time without falling over.
She will roll from side to side while on her back, but will not roll over. She has rolled from tummy to back 3 times, but that is it. The 3 occurrences where months apart.  The docs don’t seem to be too concerned.
She is a slave to her schedule. If she gets out of whack—I know that she will make me pay. She does so often. She is also teething and this has caused some mood swings. We have no actual teeth yet, just a lot of drool and fussiness.

There is so much to look forward to in the next few months and every little milestone is so exciting. I cry every time she does something new.

I am so in love with her little personality and am so grateful for the happy little baby girl that I have. I wouldn’t trade her for a million bucks (although, my hubs might).

I Love you little Piperoo! I am so glad you are mine.



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Please Eat!

The past month has been CRAZY, hence my lack of posts. My little munchkin just turned 6 months old (sigh), and we just got back from her first beach trip.

I was so excited to start P on solid foods I could barely contain myself. However, as we approached the middle of her 5th month something started changing with my girl—she stopped sleeping through the night. UGH! I had been warned about the 4 month sleep regression, but could it really be a while month and a half late? P was waking in the middle of night and staying up from one to two hours. I am just not prepared for this type of sleep deprivation anymore. When she was a newborn—I expected it. Now, not so much.
I started rummaging the internet for ideas on what it could be, and some people said it may be her way of telling us that she is ready for solid foods. So I went out and bought three sweet potatoes, three bananas, and 5 apples. I was so proud of myself while making my homemade baby food. I was hopeful that she would fall in love with the first bite and sleep the whole night through. WELL—she didn’t!

We are struggling mightily with solid foods. She may open her mouth for a bite or two, but then she is done. I have tried homemade, store bought. We have tried rice cereal, oatmeal cereal, applesauce, peaches, sweet potatoes, and bananas. While she will take some better than others (peaches, apples, and sweet potatoes), most of the time she closes those gummy gates and say no thanks! I was frustrated because I really thought that I needed her to eat these solids so that she would sleep more.

Then I read that it probably would not affect her night sleep—so I started to look at her schedule as the culprit. Maybe my baby was just ready for more awake time during the day. At the time she was still taking 4- 90 minute naps a day. I decided to drop her to three naps and also move her to a four hour schedule with three attempts at solids a day. Here is what it looks like:

7:00—wake and bottle
11:00—wake and bottle
3:00—wake and bottle
6:00—wake and bottle
7:30—bath and then bedtime routine
8:30—Bottle and then bed time

I would like to tell you that this has been an easy fix, and a pleasant transition—but that would be a lie. P has still not returned to sleeping through the night consistently. She does it here and there. Part of her problem may be teething related as well. Who knows? It is better now, because when she wakes in the night she is not getting up and staying up anymore. She takes a little bottle and goes back to sleep.

It seems that my girl is a little too interested in all of the things going on around her lately—and this interferes with her eating drastically. She has become a nightmare to feed. She will never take more than three ounces at a time. Gone are the days when she would eat 30 ounces a day. We are lucky to get to 25. Therefore, she wakes to get some calories at night. I have tried everything I can think of to get her to eat. I offer the bottle what seems like every 5 minutes. She refuses it most of the time.

I guess I can’t complain—my girl is happy all day long. She is a joy to be around in general. She is still chunky as well (she is 2 pounds from tripling her birth weight).

Have any of you dealt with eating issues with your 6 month olds? What did you do to combat them?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My Tips for Exclusive Pumping Moms

 Exclusive pumping is a hard job, and it is not one to be undertaken lightly. I definitely didn’t know what I was getting myself into in the beginning. Now, that things are getting a lot easier for me on the pump front—I thought I would share a few of my tips.

FAQ—these are questions that I had when starting my exclusive pumping journey and the answers that I have found that work for me.

Q: How long should I pump?
A: This is really a tricky one because some people prefer to pump a certain amount of time, some have an volume goal they are trying to reach, and some just pump until empty every time. The answer is different depending where you are in your current pumping journey (and I do consider it a journey).
If I am having a hard time with my supply, then I will pump until empty every single time for a few days. This (to me) means at least 15 minutes or up to five minutes after the last drop. You do not want to do this for too long because your nipples will be really sore.
If I am not concerned about my supply and just want to maintain where I am, then I will pump towards a particular volume goal. My current goal at least 6 ounces per pump.
If I have somewhere to go and don’t have as much time, then I may set my phone timer for 15 minutes and then just cut it off. However, I never pump less than 15 minutes. EVER.

Q: How often do I need to pump?
A: this again is based on where you are in your journey with pumping. In the beginning I was pumping 6 times a day because my baby was eating 6 times a day. However, I eventually got to the point where I was producing almost twice what she was taking in a 24 hour period. I was running out of room in my freezer for all the extras and milk was starting to go bad. So, I cut out a pumping. This is where I currently am in my journey. P still has 6 feedings a day, but I only pump 5 times. I am still able to keep up my supply and her demand plus I am able to save about 6 ounces a day.
If you are just starting out, then I would say that you need to pump as often as your baby eats. Keep a notepad near where you pump/feed your baby with two columns on it. One for the number of ounces your baby takes at each feeding, and one for the number or ounces your pump for that feeding. Add the up at the end of the day and see where you stand.

Q: How do I cut out a pumping without affecting my supply?
A: I cut out a pumping by just increasing the amount of time between pumpings. If you are currently pumping every 3 hours, then start pumping every 4 and cut one out that way.

How Can You Make Exclusive Pumping Easier for You?
This is the biggest issue with exclusive pumping—it is inconvenient. One of the hardest things with pumping is that you are tied to a machine with a plug, and it can make it hard for you to get out. For instance, we have a white water rafting trip planned, and I am going to need to go 6 hours without pumping. This is not ideal, but I am going to have to figure out a way to make it work.

Here are the things that I have found to make my life easier while pumping

1.       Get a hands free pumping bra—This saved my life. I am a work from home mom, and when my husband is not home there are times that I have to feed P and pump at the same time in order to be as efficient as possible. I picked up a hands free pumping bra and I will never hold the bottles while pumping again! It allows me to have my hands free to hold P or work while pumping.

2.       Get a car adapter for your pump—I have pumped in the car while driving and while being a passenger more times than that can count on both hands. It makes getting out of the house so much easier. When I have a makeup job, then I pump on the way there, and then on my way home. The adapter saves me from having to pump while I am there! It also makes date night a lot easier.

3.       Get extra pump parts and extra bottles for storage. Getting these extras will just mean that you have to wash less.

4.       Pack your pump bag the night before when you can. It is often a mad dash getting ready to go somewhere in my family. Therefore, I like to pack everything up ahead of time if I can so that I will not forget something important.

5.       Grab some Medela steam bags for quick sterilization for pump and bottle parts.

6.       Get some quick clean wipes for cleaning your pump on the go.

Here is what My schedule with pumping currently looks like

7:00 am—Wake P and feed
8:30—P’s nap
10:00—Wake P and feed
11:30—P’s nap
1:00 pm—Wake P and feed
2:30—P’s nap
4:00—Wake P and feed
5:30—P’s nap
7:00—Wake P and hubby gives P a bottle while I pump
7:45—P’s cereal feeding
8:00—bath time
8:30—P’s bedtime
10:30—Last pumping of the day
11:00-P’s dream feed

I hope that these things help you exclusive pumpers out there! I wish you the best of luck and the most encouragement I can. I know we all need it!