Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Favorite Gear for Mom and Baby {Week 1}

Here is a list of things that I found helpful during our first week at home with Sydney.

1. Newborn t-shirts- I like to use these at first because they allow for easy access for diaper changes and cord care. Once the cord falls off I switch to all the cute outfits. I don't worry about baby getting too cold either because I keep my babies wrapped in blankets pretty much 24/7 the first couple of weeks. The long sleeve ones are actually my favorite because you can fold the little sleeves over to keep baby from scratching up his or her face.

2. Mother's milk tea- I like to drink this to encourage my milk to come in.

3. Receiving blankets- These blankets are great to use in the beginning. I also throw one down on top of the changing pad so that I don't have to wash the changing pad as frequently.

4. Rock n Play- Still have a lot of love for this piece of baby paraphernalia. Mine is actually the older version without the auto rock.

5. Bottle brush- It's the only kind I will buy.

6. Breast pads- I leak a lot during the first few weeks of breastfeeding. After a few weeks, it seems that my body adjusts.

7. Water bottle- It's very important to drink lots of water especially if breastfeeding. I quickly learned to drink mine from a water bottle since I have a toddler running around. Owens acting out after we brought Sydney home included dumping out any beverage left within his reach all over the floor. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

3 Months with Sydney

Health and growth- At her 2 month check up (which was just two days before she turned 3 months), Sydney weighed 11 lbs and 3oz and was 24 and 3/4 inches long. She's long and lean! I have no idea where she got that from. She still spits up all. the. time. but doesn't seem too bothered by it. I do wonder if it is keeping her weight on the low end though. Vaccines were indeed rough. She came home and napped for a couple of hours and then woke up screaming. The screaming didn't stop for a solid hour. It was pretty miserable. Owen was really upset by it. I think it scared him. He'd never heard her cry like that before (I hadn't either!).

While Sydney remained healthy all month long, it was rough for the rest of us. I developed mastitis the first week of June. Thankfully, Owen was participating in VBS at church so it gave me a bit of time to rest. However, the following week Owen had a cold that he passed to me. Luckily, Sydney didn't get sick. I think I have breastfeeding to thank for that. Patrick's summer schedule with the youth is in full swing and it leaves me flying solo most of the time.

Vaccine day... Sad baby girl.
Feeding- She's still nursing about 7 times a day but I fed her more during the week I had mastitis. I do think mastitis temporarily dropped my supply but thankfully it seems to be rebounding. From what I'm told, she's not a huge fan of bottles. She often fusses through the first couple of the day and then gets over it by the last three before I get home. I'm only able to nurse her twice on the days I work. It makes me thankful that I'm not full time right now. I'm having a hard time pumping this time around. For some reason, I can't get "empty". I've left work several times feeling engorged. Not good. Probably had something to do with developing mastitis.

Oh, the number game...
Sleeping- Night time sleep was good for about a week this month. I think she slept through the night a couple of times. I did end up dropping the dreamfeed/ top off nursing session that I would do before bed. Then she began waking up at 2 and 4 and 7. I decided to start it back but didn't get any improvement. I assumed it meant she was having a growth spurt and decided to roll with it for a few nights. Well, 2 weeks later... yeah... I have severely missed my baby that would sleep from 8pm until 4am and then not be up for the day until 7:30am. I'm fighting to trust her body and mine. I suspect that she's nursing more frequently to bring my milk supply back up. It's exhausting, but I know that it needs to happen and it's the only way it will happen. Knowing that I needed to boost my milk supply was also my reason for bringing back the "dreamfeed". Surprisingly, she's been nursing great for it. I simply pick her up out of bed, feed her, and put her back down. It doesn't seem to disrupt her sleep at all and it's a great way for me to get another nursing session in.

She's been sleeping swaddled in her crib with the wood underneath one side to elevate the head of her bed. I haven't wanted to mess with it but I'm thinking I can probably level it off now. My saving grace is that when she does wake up in the middle of the night, she eats, and goes right back down. I can even put her in the bed somewhat awake still and she'll drift off without crying.

Naps- Her naps have been very regular. They happen at around 9:15, 12:00, and 3. She sleeps swaddled in her bed for those too except for the days that we are out and about. I decided from the beginning that if we were going to ditch one nap, it would be the second one. So sometimes she's in her carseat or the carrier. I just don't stress over not making it home for that nap and it seems to be working out just fine. The best thing about her schedule is that I get a magical hour and a half every day when both babies are asleep. This has also been my sanity saver. I've been napping too. It's wonderful.

Schedule- It's pretty much the same as last month except that she's pretty much dropped the catnap before bedtime and she's waking up twice in the middle of the night more often than not. If she only wakes up once, then the feeding happens around 4am.

7:30- Nurse
Nap at 9:15
10:30- Nurse
Nap at 12:00
1:30- Nurse
Nap at 3:00
4:30- Nurse
7:3- Nurse
Bedtime by 8:00
10:30- Dreamfeed
Possible feeding at 2:00am and then again at 5:00am

Started some Bumbo time towards the end of the month.
Owen and Sydney- Just want to share a conversation I had with Owen on the way to Sydney's doctor appointment.

Owen- "Baby Sydney say, "ah"?"
Me- "Yes, she will."
Owen- "Baby Sydney check ears?"
Me- "Yes, the doctor will look in her ears."
Owen- "Baby Sydney check eyes?"
Me- "Yes the doctor will look in her eyes too and you are going to get to watch."
Owen- "Okay!"
Me- "Are you excited?"
Owen- "No.... I'm Owen!"

I couldn't contain the laughter... Oh, my sweet boy. He does love his sister. When she cries he likes to say, "It's okay baby Sydney." She likes to watch and listen to him too. I think he's going to provide her with some great entertainment. He's still jealous at times, but I think he's starting to realize that I will tend to his wants/needs eventually.

Hooray for the double jogger!
Highlights- We traveled to Florida for a wedding the first weekend in June. I was hesitant to go since I'd been feeling so rotten from the mastitis, but I'm glad that I went. Sydney traveled great and slept wonderfully in the hotel room. I was thankful for the rest.

It was a 7:00pm wedding so I was a little concerned I'd have a fuss bucket on my hands, but it was the ring sling to the rescue! I put her in the sling after her 7:30 nursing session and she conked out and slept through the entire reception. She has no idea that she danced the night away with her mommy.

It was also nice to get to spend some time talking with Patrick during the drive home. We aren't getting a lot of time together these days due to our schedules.

Love her.
I feel like I threw this post together really fast and that it doesn't really talk about Sydney all that much. Sorry baby girl. I'll do better next month (which is just a few days away really). Basically, life has been going crazy fast. We're all hanging on for dear life and just surviving. We love Sydney. It seriously blows my mind that she's already three months old.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

First Urgent Care and ER Visits

We've had our first real injuries for Owen. Both occurred less than a week apart from each other. Also, both occurred when Patrick was out of town. Awesome, right?

First, there was this little beauty.

Running through the house full speed and fell right into a corner. I think his head hit the baseboard. We went to the urgent care clinic close by and they glued it. The glue didn't hold it very well, but we tried... Live and learn.
Memorial Day, we had our first trip to Children's ER to fix what's called nursemaid elbow. I was holding Owen's hand trying to pull him away from his toys to eat and he jerked away from me which is apparently, the classic story and cause of the injury. I'd heard about this type of injury before, but had completely forgotten about it being common in toddlers. Also, I was thrown off because he kept saying his armpit is what hurt. He absolutely refused to move the arm voluntarily and cried anytime it was moved. Getting in and out of his car seat was the worst part.

He preferred to lay against me with his arm bent in between us and Mickey Mouse over my shoulder.
Five minutes after they reduced it, he was exploring the room.
Luckily, we were in and out of the ER in less than an hour. I was so worried it was going to be crazy busy with it being a holiday and after normal business hours for urgent care clinics. Thankfully, I was wrong.

So we are 2 for 2 for Patrick's trips out of town so far. I wasn't kidding when I said to keep us in your prayers. If this is an indication of how the summer is going to be, we are in big trouble.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

2 Months with Sydney

Health and Growth- We haven't gone to our 2 month check up yet (I'm dreading the vaccines already!), but I can tell little girl is growing. Her onsies are getting tighter. She's about to outgrow her first handful of outfits. She's been healthy. She's still quite the spitter but seems less bothered by it now. If she's stays this way then I'm probably not going to ask for antacids.

Feeding- I'm trying really hard to make sure I keep a good milk supply up since I'm going back to work so soon. My supply really plummeted after I went back to work with Owen. I've been paying attention to get at least 7 feedings in a day. On the days she cluster feeds in the evening (which she hasn't done in a while), it's not hard to get enough feedings in. Obviously, I can't force feed her if she doesn't want it, so I'll have to consider adding a pumping session if she drops to 6 feeds a day.

Mimi giving Sydney a bottle
We got serious about our bottles around week 6. Up until then she'd had about one bottle a week, but wasn't taking them that well. I tried really hard to get her to take one a day starting at week 6 so that she'd be good by the time I went back to work. I think it worked pretty well.

Sleeping- I think she's been a great sleeper. At week 5 she slept through the night two nights in a row! It didn't happen again until she was 8 weeks, but I'll take it! Week 8 is also when I decided that it was time to move her out of the rock n play cradle. To help with the spitting, we put one side of her crib legs on wood boards. I also took a towel and rolled it lengthwise to make a U shape and help her feel snuggled and keep her from sliding down to the bottom. It seems to be working so far. I'll also note that we have an apnea monitor which is probably the only reason I'm okay with having a roll and blanket in her crib at times.

I can tell that she's about to consolidate her night time sleep too. For Owen, he consolidated after his 10pm feed and would sleep until 7am. I have a feeling baby girl has her own plans though. We've been trying to get her to eat at 10 or 11 and she is becoming less and less interested. It seems she wants to consolidate her sleep on the front end of the night. If she won't cooperate in a week or so then I think we'll throw in the towel and go with it. It just means that I have to get in bed earlier.

On the nights that she takes her last feeding of the day, she'll sleep until 5 or 6am. Other nights when she refuses she wakes at 3:45 or 4am. She goes right back to sleep afterwards and doesn't wake until we all get up for the day around 7:30.

Naps- She has her good days and her bad days. She always naps between feedings but it's not too consistent yet. I've started to notice a bit of a pattern as to when she will fall asleep though. Some naps are only 45 minutes and sometimes they are 2 hours. It's pretty typical for her age though.

Schedule- I appreciate having an idea of what my babies are going to do each day. It also gives me (and I think caregivers) some peace of mind when I head back to work which I did the day after Sydney turned 8 weeks. Some days don't go very predictably though. Growth spurts, vaccines, traveling, and holidays always make things look different but we always seem to make it back to a predictable routine.

Here's the schedule I left for Patrick when I went back to work. I also left a detailed schedule of how I manage both Sydney and Owen during the day but I'll spare you from reading that one!

Wake, Eat, Play
Wake, Eat, Play
Wake, Eat, Play
Wake, Eat, Play
Bedtime routine, Eat
Possible feeding

I put a question mark after the "dreamfeed" since I have a feeling it's going bye bye. Also, that will put us at only 6 feeds a day. My plan will be to pump before going to bed when that happens.

Owen and Sydney- Oh, how I love these two babies. Seeing them together melts my heart.

Watching big brother splash in the bathtub. She's ready to join!
Watching Owen try to give Sydney her paci is comical but below is Owen showing her Patricks headlamp.

"Look baby Sydney... red light!"

Owen also likes to snuggle on the couch while I nurse Sydney. I've caught him stroking her head or rubbing her feet. One time, when I caught him rubbing his hand across her head, he said, "Baby Sydney have soft hair!"

Highlights- We went to Dalton to see my family when Sydney was 6 weeks. She got to meet lots of her family and friends!

Uncle Randy

Aunt Nancy
Between 8 and 9 weeks we traveled to Chattanooga really quickly to see Uncle Carter graduate high school. She traveled really well!

We are starting to adjust to our new routine with two babies. I know that this next year is going to be a whirlwind. I'm just hanging on tight for the ride.

I've enjoyed watching Owen with Sydney. We love our walks at the park and through the neighborhood.

Going back to work was a big hurdle at 8 weeks but we survived. I cried and cried the Monday before I was supposed to go back to work. It just felt too soon which it was, but what can you do?

Mothers Day
We are now shifting into summer mode. Pray for us if you think about it! Life is about to get even crazier!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Postpartum recovery

I don't think I ever shared my postpartum recovery experience after Owen was born. Honestly, I don't think I did a very good job taking it easy the first time around and I was determined to do better after Sydney. I knew that it was going to be difficult to accomplish with a 2.5 year old running around. I'm happy to report, however, that recovery the second time around did prove to be easier. I think I had less mood swings and overall felt better rested. Now that it's behind me, I thought I'd share my tips.

Rest, rest, and rest- This one was hard for me the first time around. I'm not saying be lazy and sleep all day. I'm just saying rest. Take time (at least the first month I'd say) to allow your body to recover from birth. The house cleaning can wait for a bit. Try to let other people do things for you and don't be afraid to ask. I am so thankful for the meals that arrived at our house after Sydney was born. I also prepped some meals before she was born and put them in the freezer. Not having to cook dinner was not only a time saver (no shopping, cooking, or cleanup), it was a big stress relief. I knew all I had to do was pop something in the oven about an hour before dinner.

Shower every day- I got up and took a shower every morning. It helped wake me up, made me feel refreshed, and gave me some "me" time at the start of every day. Sometimes Patrick had to juggle both babies so that I could accomplish this quickly, but I'm so thankful for it.

Get dressed- I tried to put on something other than PJ's. This somehow tricks my brain into feeling healthy. I have a tendency towards feeling the blues when I sit at home in PJ's all day. Even though I knew I wouldn't be leaving the house, I put on regular(ish) clothes.

Fresh air- Mainly, I just tried to get outside every day even if it was a brief walk through our front yard. I can remember one day that I hadn't made it outside of the house yet so we all loaded into the car in the afternoon so that Patrick could drive to pick up food. Even though I sat in the car with the babies while he ran in, it was nice to see the outside of the house.

Nap- I forced myself to stop what I was working on and get rest when both babies were sleeping in the afternoon. It definitely made the middle of the night feedings easier. When I skipped this nap, I could tell that my overall mood suffered. I've heard people say "nap when the baby naps" so many times. Instead, I just say choose one nap a day that you will make yourself lay down during. Even if I didn't fall asleep, I found it helpful.

Drink water- Especially if you are nursing, water is so important. Keep a water bottle handy and fill it up. I would try to drink a whole glass of water at every nursing session too. Breastfeeding takes a lot out of you. Hydration will help keep milk supply up.

Early bedtime- I did my very best to go to bed after the early evening feeding (the one that falls around 7:30-8:30). I would finish that feeding, hand Sydney off to Patrick, and go to bed. This helped me get a couple hours of sleep before the late evening feed (between 10 and 11). Those two hours could make all the difference some days.

So there are my favorite tips to pass along. Hopefully somebody out there can find them helpful!