Friday, February 22, 2013

tips for my sister

i've been putting together a list of tips for my sister, who is due on may 7th with her first baby (another boy in the family!).  i thought, since i have a few preggos reading, that i'd put them in a blog post.  maybe they'll help, maybe they won't.  but here they are...

- earth mama angel baby nipple butter.  way better than lansinoh lanolin.

- get at least 2 additional top sheets for the zip sheets.  i had registered, based on advice of my dear friend abriel, for quickzip sheets for the crib.  callie thought they were a good idea, so she also registered for them.  i have one sheet set (with the zipper base and top sheet), plus one additional top sheet.  one more top sheet would be nice to have.

- video monitor.  not only because it's nice to put an eye on daxon when he starts to fuss, but also because it's entertaining to watch him "twitch" in his sleep while he's swaddled.  it's like watching a burrito dance.

- skip the sleep sheep.  based on a ton of "must have" lists that i looked i, i foolishly registered for the sleep sheep.  daxon hated it.  the sheep only runs for 45 minutes then shuts off.  matt and i need white noise in our bedroom all night - if we lose power in the middle of the night, i will wake up because the fan will stop running.  i should have known that our offspring would also need constant white noise.  i ended up going out and purchasing a white noise machine (we got the graco sweet slumber machine - it plays white noise and lullabies, plus you can plug your mp3 player into it, and it runs on ac power or battery power).

- have a lamp and/or nightlight next to where you'll nurse (like, in arm's length).  i do not have anything next to the glider, and so sometimes in the middle of the night when i'm having a hard time getting daxon back to sleep, i have to get up, walk over to the lamp, and turn it off, which just stimulates him even more.  it would be really nice to just reach over and switch it off, or at least dim it.  i am looking into a way to make this happen in his room.

- get at least one easy swaddler, like the swaddleme blanket.  i use the aden + anais swaddle blankets, which means i have to manually wrap him myself.  that's fine for me, but i worry the grandparents may struggle, so we have one halo sleepsack swaddle, so we can use it with or without his arms pinned down.

- get lots of burp cloths and stash them everywhere.  i like the gerber cloth diapers, as recommended by several people.

- both of you (ie, both parents) should download the baby connect app on your phones.  this helps you track everything - nursing, pumping, bottles, sleeping, diapers, doctor's appointments... it syncs between however many people have access to your account, and you can even send each other messages.

- get some ky jelly for the rectal thermometer.  i told this story already.
- don't be surprised if you find yourself crying harder than you've cried in years.  and totally out of nowhere.  daxon pops off his latch during feeding?  cue hysterics.  postpartum hormones are no joke.

- don't bother freezing pads for postpartum.  see if you can get some of the ice packs from the hospital.  callie froze maxipads for me (we'd both read it on some blogs) but it was a major fail.  they just fold back up in the freezer.  plus, what happens when they melt?  sounds messy.  the hospital gives you these ice packs that you crack and put in the mesh panties.  they were awesome, and i'm so mad i didn't get any to bring home.  stock up on pads, tucks pads, and hydrocortisone cream.  and a rubber donut to take the pressure off your seat!

- watch and learn the 5 s'swe didn't think to employ these techniques until one desperate evening when daxon was incredibly fussy.  but i swaddled him (1), put him on his side on my legs (2), jimmied my legs about to "shake" him (3), and stuck his paci in his mouth (4) - we use the 5th s (shushing) occasionally, too.  within 30 seconds he was silent, and within 5 minutes he was sound asleep.

- don't throw away boxes for stuff!  as we unpacked stuff from my shower, we broke down and threw out (or recycled) the packaging.  i now have a sleep sheep and a twilight turtle that are getting no use, but i can't return them because i threw out the packaging.  dumb.  hopefully i can consign them somewhere.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

planning for a trip home

next week, daxon and i are packing up and heading home for a long weekend.  it is my annual spa day with my mom and sister (which i am not-so-secretly really excited for - a one hour, baby-free, chocolate massage and lunch with excellent company), plus we are throwing callie's baby shower and a "surprise" 30th birthday party!  "surprise" because she actually knows about it, but the guests don't know she knows about it.  we couldn't decide if surprising her was a good idea, so my brother-in-law told her about it. 

anyway, daxon and i will be going home either wednesday night or thursday morning.  our spa day is thursday, starting at 11 (we'll have to be there around 10:30).  matt will come home friday night.  the baby shower and birthday party are on saturday.  so that's 4 days to pack for.  here is all the stuff that we "need" for daxon:

  • swaddle blanket (probably take 2, sometimes he spits up in the middle of the night)
  • white noise machine (luckily this runs on batteries)
  • pump and supplies
  • frozen milk (more to follow)
  • bottles
  • pack and play
  • stroller
  • wipes
  • 4 days of outfits (plus another couple for potential diaper blowouts)
  • 4 days of diapers (i'll probably just take a whole pack)
  • boppy
  • diaper bag
do i take his tub?  probably not - we'll just bathe him in the sink or something.  we'll figure it out.  do i take the rock and play, so he has somewhere to hang out while we're all downstairs?  or do we just take the pack and play up and down the stairs?  that seems like a huge pain in the ass, and the rock and play is so small and easily transportable.

as for nursing/pumping/feeding.  like i said, our spa day is thursday.  we will probably leave the house at 10, and i probably won't get home till 3 or 4 (i have a haircut scheduled for after the spa).  i will nurse him before we leave (around 9).  in that time frame, he'll need at least 2 bottles, but i want to have 3 ready for him.  he eats about 3oz at each feeding, so that's 9oz right there.  then on saturday, matt is going to take him over to his parents' house during the shower, so he'll need at least 1 bottle, but again, i'd like to have 2 ready, just in case, so that's another 6oz.  i can escape and nurse him during the birthday party, cuz we'll be back together for that.  oh, and then friday night, we might go out for drinks with some friends, so i'll need a bottle for a night feeding.  so i need 21oz, which i have in my freezer already, but it's more than half my current supply.  i mean, i'll pump after the spa and before my haircut (i can't go that long without pumping or nursing - holy painful boobies!), and each morning/night like i already am.  so do i take the 21oz frozen, or do i take like 14oz frozen and then supplement with the fresh stuff?  i think i might just take the whole 21oz frozen and then freeze whatever i pump while i'm there, because who knows how much i'll get pumping while away - my supply may take a hit from the stress or whatever

did you follow any of that?  my next dilemma - when we do take the trip?  the trip home i'm not worried about - we'll head home during his afternoon nap (not that we have a real afternoon naptime, but he'll sleep when we put him in the car, and that'll be his naptime).  but for the trip to hershey.  if we leave wednesday night, i can put him in the car for his evening "nap," then put him to bed when we get there - get him in the house, let him say hi to fritz and gigi while i set up the pack and play, then nurse him and put him down.  my concern with this is that he's so fussy in the evenings and cluster feeds, i don't know if the car ride will be enough to keep him calm.  if we leave thursday morning, we could leave when he first wakes up, i can nurse him when we get home, and then head out to the spa.  again, though, he sometimes cluster feeds in the mornings, so would the car ride be enough to keep him calm?  ugh...decisions, decisions. 

any thoughts or tips?  good lord, i'm going to need a separate suitcase just for daxon's stuff!  ha ha.  man, traveling with a baby.  totally different experience!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

4 weeks

so daxon is 4 weeks old (but not a month until the 17th...weird).  what?!  how is my little boy 4 weeks old already?  it seems like it's gone so quickly, and yet it also feels like he's been a part of our family forever.  i can hardly remember what life was like before him (other than better-rested). 

i am finally feeling normal again.  i still have hemorrhoids (awesome), but otherwise i feel pretty good.  thank goodness.  recovery was a bitch.  i am 5 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight, and able to fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans (not without a muffin-top, but i'm kind of ok with that!)!  looking forward to the nicer weather so i can get out and start taking walks, and maybe even restarting the couch to 5k program i'd started last spring!

daxon definitely has a witching hour - usually right around 6pm, he gets super fussy.  i feel bad for matt, because this is when he is home and finally gets to spend time with him, and daxon just fusses and cries the entire time.  despite the fact that daxon is so fussy, matt is great with him.  my patience wears thin by that time of the day, but matt just takes him and walks around the house with him. 

we are trying to establish a bedtime routine.  usually around 8pm, he's showing signs of being sleepy and hungry (though he tends to cluster feed in the evenings), so i take him upstairs for bed.  we change his diaper, then i give him a little massage with lotion and sing a lullaby to him (usually the song "lullaby" by the dixie chicks), then i nurse him.  i get him a little sleepy, then we take a burping break and i swaddle him.  he nurses for a bit more till he falls asleep, then i carefully put him in his crib and quietly leave the room.  i have learned that if i put him in his crib before he's fully asleep, he'll be awake in a few minutes and i have to go back up and nurse him again.  i know they say you cannot spoil a newborn and that you're not forming habits at this young an age, but i still worry about him needing to be nursed to sleep all the time.  i do not want to start that habit, and will continue to try putting him down "drowsy but awake." 

the bump on his head from the vacuum extraction has completely gone away (yay!) but his umbilical cord is holding strong.  i hope it falls off soon.  i can't wait to give him a real bath, cuz i think it'll make him like bath time a lot more! 

he definitely recognizes our voices, and responds when he hears one of us - if he's crying, he'll stop, even for an instant, when one of us talks to him. when i get him up in the morning, he is all smiles.  i freaking love it. 

his sleep continues to get better, at least at night (knock on wood).  once i get him down for bed, he'll sleep for 5 or 6 hours.  the other night he slept for 7 hours!  after his initial waking, he wakes up 3 hours later, and then we're up for the day at 7 or 7:30. 

during the day, though, his napping is totally hit or miss.  somedays (like today) he sleeps almost all day.  other days he's up for hours.  the days that he's up for a long time are difficult, because he's usually fussy when he's up.  however, i think it has to do with growth spurts and/or wonder weeks.  for example, he's approaching wonder week 5 (he is a week ahead of schedule because of being born a week late).  not only is he going through a physical growth spurt, but he's also going through a huge mental/neurological leap, which is stressful to his little body.  he was overwhelmed and freaked out the past couple of days, so he was super fussy during the day.  now that he's getting over the hump of the leap, he's exhausted and has been sleeping almost all day.

he is still eating every 2-3 hours, except at night, obviously.  we went to a new mom's support group last week, and if i used the scale correctly, he now weights 9lb 5oz, which is 1lb 4oz up from his birth weight.  i don't know that i was using or reading it right, though.  we have our 1-month ped appointment on monday, though, so we'll find out then.  i am trying to build a stash of breastmilk in the freezer, so i'm trying to work in a few pumping sessions.

i tend to block feed him (feed from one breast at each session) to ensure that he gets the good thick hindmilk at each feeding.  so in the morning, he usually gets up around 5:30, and i nurse him and put him back to bed.  after that, i pump whatever side i haven't nursed him on overnight, then i try to go back to sleep for a bit.  i get anywhere from 3-5 ounces in that session.  we nurse every 2-3 hours throughout the day.  yesterday i started having matt give him a bottle in the evenings so that i can get a break (or cook dinner), matt can have some bonding time with him, and i plan to pump during that time (from whichever side he didn't nurse on).  i may also start to pump before i go to bed, too, if he continues to sleep for 7-hour stretches at night - this morning i woke up completely engorged and soaked with breastmilk - gross!  i am hoping to have a decent stash built up before i return to work so that if my supply takes a hit, i have something to fall back on.  i'll try not to dip into the stash too much until then, but it's nice to know it's there if i need it.  so far, i think i have 18-20 ounces saved up.

and, now, since no post is complete without gratuitous pictures of my little cutie...

phils are out of season, but it's the only sports team mom and dad can agree on!
morning smiles
zonked on mom and dad's bed after a rough night
fist bump for the bathtime mohawk
daxon and grandpa
all snugged up with daddy

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

funny parenting moments

daxon was in a mood tonight.  after sleeping most of the day, he was incredibly fussy all evening.  he's often fussy in the evening, but this was extreme.  we also thought he felt kind of warm.  i took his temperature with the forehead scanner, and it was fine - 98.2.  but when i took him upstairs to put him down to bed, he was just not himself.  and he still felt warm.  plus it was really hot in his room.  so i changed him out of his sleeper and put him in a short-sleeved onesie, knowing i'd be swaddling him soon.  i attempted to nurse him, and he wasn't having it.  he screamed his head off, thrashed, and pulled away from me.  again, not himself.  so i decided to take his temperature with the rectal thermometer.  first time ever.  yikes.  so i opened the package and read the directions.  I knew you had to use a lubricant, but the directions specifically said not a petroleum-based lubricant.  all I had in the nursery was vaseline, which is petroleum-based.  uhhhh....

fast forward to me digging the box of lube that my step-sister had gotten me as a gag gift for my bridal shower 3 years ago out of my bedside table.  the as yet unopened box of lube.

until tonight.  daxon just got his temperature taken (99.0) with a rectal thermometer lubricated with durex black cherry flavored lube.  real classy, mom.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

first milestone

we had our first social smile today!  daxon has been "smiling" since birth - usually when he's waking up, farting, or pooping.  but this morning, i was talking to him and he flashed me a big old smile.  there was no fart, and his diaper was freshly changed.  he smiled because he wanted to.  i'm sure of it.  and, oh, it melted my heart.

*this isn't a picture of the social smile, but one of his waking up smiles.  i was doing a diy photoshoot one day, and happened to snap this at just the right moment.  loooooovvve.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

the stuff the books don't tell you

a few things they don't mention in the books (at least, not that i ever read):

-discharge.  yes, they mention that you will have increased discharge throughout pregnancy, but i don't recall reading just how heavy it gets, especially towards the end.  for 5 days before my induction, i kept thinking my water broke.  i even called the ob and ended up in triage on saturday because I swore my water broke.  nope.  just lots of clear or whitish discharge.

-swelling (pregnancy).  again, i know they tell you that your hands will swell, but i definitely never read that they would feel arthritic.  i've had to have matt open things for me because my hands hurt so badly.  and no amount of water seems to help.  of all my friends who've had babies, only one had experienced this.

-swelling (postpartum).  you would think (at least I did) that having the baby and getting rid of all that fluid would help with the swelling.  be not fooled, friends.  my feet blew.up. after delivery.  it was downright comical; they looked cartoonish.

-sweating.  and to think, i thought i was sweating when i was pregnant.  ha!  i am sweating buckets overnight now.  i didn't know it was possible for a person to sweat so much from non-activity.

-cluster feeding.  admittedly, i didn't read a book specifically about breastfeeding, so maybe this is covered in one of those.  but i read a lot online, and found that i only heard about cluster feeding from my girlfriends.  and that has to be because cluster feeding sucks so badly, that no book will mention it lest they scare you off breastfeeding for life.  do yourself a favor and read about now.

-urinary issues.  all the books will tell you that you'll experience some urinary leakage.  psh.  because i was so swollen, i had, like, no feeling down there.  ok, that's a lie.  i had pain.  but i could not feel when i needed to pee, and therefore i ended up basically peeing myself a few times.  luckily, postpartum, you're wearing pads as thick as a mattress, so you never make a real mess, but it's a very unsettling feeling to know that, as a 33-year-old woman, you've just pissed yourself.

-worry.  we've all heard it a thousand times - as a mother, you never stop worrying.  they aren't kidding.  i think of myself as a pretty laid-back person, but even i find that i am constantly worried - is he getting enough to eat?  am i producing enough milk?  is he choking?  is my let-down too much for him?  is he warm enough?  is he happy?  am i responding to his cues right?  you get the gist. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

mama's recovery

dudes, having a baby is amazing.  you never know how strong you really are until you push a baby out of yourself.  but damn, it is rough on your body. 

if you recall, i labored for 27 hours, then pushed for 3 hours.  apparently at some point during the pushing, the nurse told matt that i was going to feel like i'd run a marathon the next day.  she wasn't kidding.  my abs hurt.  my forearms hurt (i used the grab bars on the bed to help me push).  my back hurt.  i was exhausted. take the painkillers they offer you before you experience the pain.  i turned down the tylenol/motrin/percocet (you have a choice) immediately after delivery because i wasn't feeling any pain.  big mistake.  take it right away.  and if you're feeling too much pain to sleep or function, take the percocet.  i only took one dose, but it helped me get enough sleep that i could be present for daxon. 

the abs and forearms got better by the second or third day.  but man, things "down there" stay sore for a long time.  i am 2 weeks post-partum today and just started feeling normal a couple days ago.  things were swollen and numb but painful, if that makes any sense.  a tip: get yourself one of those rubber donuts to sit on.  it's the one thing the hospital doesn't give you, but it made a huge difference for me.  also, my mom spoke to the pharmacist when i sent her out for some supplies, and the pharmacist suggested hydrocortisone with cooling sensation - it felt awesome.  stock up on tucks pads, and put some in the freezer.  the hospital gave me a sitz bath, but i hated it - it actually hurt me and i could only tolerate it for 30 seconds before needing to get off of it.

for breastfeeding, daxon has been a champ and i haven't really experienced any major nipple soreness or anything.  but every now and then i still need to put something on them, especially after a pumping session (i need to get bigger flanges for my pump).  i find that earth mama angel baby's nipple butter is way better than lansinoh lanolin - it's not as sticky and goes on much more easily.