Tag Archives: 4th trimester

She Says… Textbook

I realize that I haven’t written much about Emmett’s daily schedule or how much he sleeps or eats. You already know why (no, not just that he’s the 2nd child) — my new philosophy no longer hinges on schedules or counting hours or minutes or trying to “work on” changing the way things are. So I haven’t kept sleep logs or written down how many minutes he’s nursing on which sides when. And thank goodness for that.

Though I haven’t cracked open a single parenting or sleep book or website this time around, I think Emmett is pretty textbook for 3 months old.*

SLEEP
He goes to bed around 7pm and wakes up between 6am and 7am. During that time he usually gets up once around 1am or 2am to eat. If I’m lucky (ha!), he gets up twice, usually around 1am and 5am. Aside from those times, he’s totally silent (he never wakes and cries for no reason). There is a small (and getting larger) part of me that really, really wants to “work on” things so that he sticks to getting up once or even eliminates all night feedings altogether. But I’m resisting the urge. It doesn’t really work anyway; he’s on his own schedule.

Last night was one of those lucky nights when he got up twice and I was so physically exhausted by the 2nd time I heard him that I seriously contemplated letting him cry. Don’t judge me. We’ve all been there. But then I realized he’s still only 13 weeks old and some people’s babies wake up many, many more times throughout the night at this age (and older). And he was probably legitimately hungry. So I kicked myself in the butt, shuffled into his room and stuck my boob in his mouth. He was, in fact, hungry. Note to self: Don’t starve your child.

During the day I can see tiny glimmers of a real “schedule” falling into place without my intervention, but we’re still very loose. Emmett can be awake happily for about 1.5 hours before needing to sleep again. So usually I wake him up, change his diaper, feed him, “play” for the next 45-60 minutes, and then put him back down. And repeat. Naps are almost always 1 sleep cycle (45 minutes) but we’ve had the occasional 1.5 hour stretch as well. The old me would have been all, “I’m really working on extending his naps and helping him learn how to consolidate sleep blah blah blah”, but the new me is fine to squeeze my To Do’s into those 45 minute windows since they are pretty much guaranteed. Anything above that is icing on the cake.

He is super easy to put to sleep. Unlike his brother, who needed 30 minutes of rocking and a delicate transfer to the crib, Emmett is happy to pretty much happy to be plopped in the crib and to put himself to sleep. Sometimes I steal a few minutes of rocking him in his swaddle because he’s just too sweet to put down.

And then, of course, there are the random nights when he’s screaming bloody murder despite being fed and tired. But we won’t talk about those nights. They don’t happen very often, and for that I am extremely grateful.

FEEDING
As a result of his sleep schedule, that means he’s eating every 2-3 hours. Sometimes 2 on the dot if he got tired early, and sometimes 3 or even a little longer if he sleeps longer. On average, his nursing sessions take 20 minutes (15 on the fast/big side and 5 on the slow/small side). Sometimes gas gets the best of him and he barely eats anything, twisting and turning away. Other times he’s happy to suck and suck and suck for 45 minutes and it still seems as though he’s getting milk. At night he seems to like 30 minutes. It varies.

Thanks to an awesome supplement (GoLacta), my milk supply has increased and I think I’m making exactly the right amount of milk (as opposed to a few weeks ago when I was regularly supplementing with formula as needed). At night I still opt for a couple ounces of formula or milk I pumped the previous night at my bedtime so I can guarantee I won’t run dry before he’s finished (as I hate to disrupt bedtime with having to take him into the bathroom to make a surprise bottle, and often he really likes to tank up at bedtime). But in general I feel like we’ve hit a really good stride with supply and demand and understanding each other in the nursing department.

MOTOR SKILLS
Emmett’s not a huge fan of tummy time, but he’s very strong. He loves to be held upright and we’ve just started using the Bumbo seat for short periods of time. He also loves his play mat with toys dangling down and has a mean right hook to knock them back and forth. He can hold your finger tighter than a boa constrictor squeezing its prey. He especially likes beating me up while we’re nursing.

All in all, he’s doing awesome. For a 3 month old.

___

* To everyone who I meet on the street and in the grocery line and at the doctor’s office who asks me if he’s sleeping through the night (and balks when I say he is not), SHUT YOUR TRAPS. It is totally, totally fine and normal that my 3 month old is not sleeping through the night yet. So please stop giving me that pitying look. I realize it is a common thing to ask a new parent, but really. Just don’t.

She Says… Daycare x2

Emmett started daycare. Last week, actually. Without so much as a picture and definitely sans blog post.

Second child syndrome to the max, y’all.

He hasn’t started full time yet, so I’m waiting until then to actually acknowledge it. But in the meantime, while I’m in full-on denial mode, he has started daycare. Today is his 2nd day.

You see, I’m going back to work in early November. So my plan was to have Emmett start in daycare the week before that, so I can work out the kinks in drop-off/pick-up (before I’m actually wearing heels and rushing out the door to make my train). But then the daycare director let me know that the infant room is full on Wednesdays for the month of October, so if I want Emmett to be guaranteed a spot on the date I requested, I have to pay for the Wednesdays prior to that as well. Now, since I’m paying no matter what, I’m using Wednesdays to get us both used to being apart prior to his actual start date at the end of the month.

Last week I left him for 3 hours while I went to the doctor. Side note: Saw the endocrinologist for one last diabetes check-in. I had to take the glucose tolerance test AGAIN (for the 4th time this year) prior to the appointment to make sure that my gestational diabetes hadn’t stuck around as “real” diabetes. Though I really don’t have any of the risk factors other than PCOS/gestational diabetes, I was pretty nervous. Thankfully the test went very smoothly (no bonking like in the past) and the results showed perfectly healthy blood sugar levels. Hooray! No diabetes for me! Now I can eat all of the candy corn! Anyway, back to Emmett. While I was gone he didn’t eat (he didn’t NOT eat, he just didn’t need to while I was gone) and he didn’t sleep more than 10-15 minutes. Oof. He was fine when I picked him up, just really, really tired. They said he was pretty happy, but as soon as he would fall asleep someone else would start crying and his little eyes would pop open. I guess he needs some practice sleeping with so much noise!

This week I knew I had to leave him long enough so that he’d HAVE to eat and he’d HAVE to sleep. Boot camp style. I dropped him off at noon and he’s still there now. Benjamin and I took the opportunity to go out to lunch (SO NICE) and run a few errands, and now I’m at home catching up on laundry and computer stuff (ahem, blogging, which I haven’t gotten to do much lately!). I’m really not worried about Emmett at all; he’s such an easy baby that I’m sure he’ll do just fine.

Did you see that last sentence? I’m really not worried at all? No, aliens have not invaded my body… there’s just something SO different about this whole process than the first time I dropped Owen off at daycare. When I dropped Emmett off last week there were no tears (for either of us). I gave him a quick kiss and smiled and waved. I didn’t worry for a second that he would miss me or wouldn’t be ok without me.

Maybe it’s because I’ve done this before. Maybe it’s because he’s going to the same daycare where Owen is now, in the classroom right next door, and I already know almost all of the teachers and caretakers. Maybe it’s because Emmett is a totally happy, totally easy dream baby. Maybe it’s because I’ve adopted this new zen ‘tude.

Who knows.

All I know is, this transition doesn’t even feel like a transition at all. It’s… awesome.

Here’s hoping I can master the double drop-off and pick-up just as easily!

She Says… Wedding Bells

Ginger Wedding-11Ginger Wedding-13

As I mentioned, my little sister got married last weekend. She was the last of my three siblings and the only family member to get married since we all started having kids. We were all thrilled to be part of her wedding weekend celebrations, especially Owen. It’s pretty exciting to welcome a new uncle to the family (and to get to wear a bowtie!).

Ginger Wedding-10

Seeing Owen all dressed up with his cousins just about burst my heart into a million little pieces. They were SO PRECIOUS.

Ginger Wedding-15 Ginger Wedding-16

The wedding was during the day, partially so the kids could be part of it. While it was a LOT more work (for the parents) to have them there, it made the day so incredibly special. My sister is a brave woman to bring on all that chaos!

Ginger Wedding-17 Ginger Wedding-19 Ginger Wedding-22

It’s probably also the only time I can imagine gettin’ down with my babies on the dance floor, since I’m not one to schlep them to night time events when they should be sleeping. So we relished every minute of it.

IMG_4249 IMG_4251 IMG_4255

Well, every minute until Owen skipping his nap (twice) caught up with him and he literally started crying hysterically and couldn’t stop. Then we went home. It was over an hour early and while I was sad to miss the rest of the dancing and the sparkler send-off, I knew what was best for my kid(s) and wouldn’t have been able to enjoy myself knowing that they just needed to get home. Yeah. That, and my feet were hurting. It’s been a long time since these toes were in heels!

Ginger Wedding-6 Ginger Wedding-7

The rest of the weekend was spent soaking up time and making memories with my family. Oh how I love this bunch — it never feels like we get enough time with them since we live far away.

Ginger Wedding-4 Ginger Wedding-2

Emmett was the quintessential baby doll and everyone (aunts and uncles and grandparents included) fought over who got to hold him.

Ginger Wedding-1

Skipped nap meltdowns aside, it was one for the memory books. Little boys in bowties = perfection.

Congratulations to Aunt Ginger and the new Uncle Seth!

 

She Says… No More Babies (For Now)

Disclaimer: This post discusses my ladyparts and is for those who are interested in TMI posts about fertility stuff. If you read for the cute baby pics, sit this one out.

I remember at my 6 week postpartum visit after Owen was born, my doctor asked me what I was planning for birth control. BIRTH CONTROL?! I scoffed. Thinking about sex was kind of the last thing on my mind. All I could think about were my nipples that burned and felt like someone was jabbing them with a knife whenever I dared put a shirt on them. Or how many minutes it had been since I last nursed and how many minutes I had to go pee before I had to nurse again. Or if I walked out the door in my pajama pants. Again. Birth control seemed like a lifetime away.

And yet, it’s vitally important, especially if you really aren’t ready for an oops baby.

So last time I was too paralyzed with new motherhood to make a decision about what kind of birth control I wanted to use. The comments on this post were extremely helpful, but I just couldn’t make myself make the appointment to get a sharp thing stuck in my vagina after that big slippery thing had just come out. As I said in that post, I am anti-hormone, given my infertility issues in the past, and I wasn’t ready for an IUD (mentally), so I chose not to choose.

This time, I was ready.

Even before I had Emmett, I talked with my midwife about ParaGard, the hormone-free IUD. I wanted to be held accountable so someone would make me do it. We had to reschedule the insertion date due to my extra-long postpartum recovery and then unexpected surgery a few weeks ago, but yesterday I put on my big girl pants and just did it. I had a lot of anxiety around this process, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I couldn’t find very many candid blog posts about what it actually feels like. So, here you go internet, here’s the real deal about getting an IUD inserted (for me — everyone is different, obvs).

My doctor advised me to take a bunch of Motrin 30 minutes prior to the appointment to dull the pain. Umm, thanks. That made me about a million times more nervous than I would have been if they’d said, “It’s no big deal. Just come in”. Once I got there I saw piles of cotton balls and some brown goopy stuff and tools and those sealed bags of medical accoutrements sitting on the counter. Ew. I waited an uncharacteristically long amount of time for my doctor, which made the anticipation mount even more. Once she arrived and the pleasantries were out of the way, she had me spread ‘em and put in the speculum. She prodded around figuring out where exactly my uterus was, which way it was tipping, etc. This was actually the surgeon who had just done my hysteroscopy, so she was intimately familiar with my uterus (score!). She swabbed the area with soap, which just felt like a dull pressure, not pain. Then she told me to take deep breaths while she inserted the little copper T. It was kind of like when you get a shot and they have to squeeze the medicine into your arm. The shot part is a quick sting, then the liquid going in doesn’t exactly hurt, but it feels all hot and weird and it gives me the willies to think about what they’re doing. So I felt a pinch, and then a hot, cramping feeling. Not terrible at all… just… strange. Like a really minor contraction or a medium-grade period cramp. It lasted maybe 30 seconds to a minute while she inserted it and positioned it. I yoga-breathed and stared at the ceiling. Then she cut the string to the right length (there is a string so it can be pulled out when I want), which I couldn’t feel at all, and we were done.

Not comfortable, but nothing compared to the other things my uterus has had done to it recently.

I mentioned in my other post that I had heard people say their partner could feel the string of their IUD during sex. Ew. She said that she has heard this complaint with Mirena (the hormone-releasing IUD), but never with ParaGard. Apparently the strings are made from different materials and the ParaGard one is preferable. Phew.

Since then I’ve had some minor cramping, like a period (not that I remember what THAT feels like!), but really nothing to complain about. The thing is good for up to 10 years if I want it, and the whole thing was covered entirely by my insurance. Hooray.

So glad it’s over, and it really wasn’t that bad. This was definitely the right contraception choice for us, and I look forward to condomless and baby-free sex.

 

P.S. If any friends or family members are still reading, I’m sorry. And I told you so.

She Says… “Working on it”

When I was in school, I was constantly working. Working on schoolwork, working on my a cappella group, working on some artistic endeavor on the side, working on a relationship. When I graduated I was working on getting fit and going to the gym, working on getting a job, working at that job once I got it, working on our fixer-upper house.

When Owen was born I remember “working on” things with him to. Working on stretching feedings to be further apart, working on getting more hours of sleep, working on eating more ounces, working on pumping, working on tummy time. My brain was constantly working, working, working on figuring out our next step or what we “should” be doing.

I love to work. It’s at the very core of my personality — always striving to be better. And while I get great satisfaction out of growing and changing through the work I’m doing, it also has the potential to leave me feeling dissatisfied or frustrated some of the time, when the work isn’t living up to my high expectations.

Recently I realized one of the biggest ways I have grown as a parent (and as a person) in the last few years. Less “working on” things. More appreciating where we are this very second.

With Emmett, I haven’t really “worked on” anything. He just… is. If he’s hungry, he’s hungry. There is no “well, he shouldn’t eat for another hour…”. If he’s sleepy, he’s sleepy, even if he just woke up 30 minutes ago. This clearly isn’t rocket science, but this mental shift is the impetus behind my new laid-back parenting style and it has had a huge impact on my general stress level. Don’t get me wrong, I still have the can’t-stop-won’t-stop-working-on-something side of my personality, I’ve just channeled it into projects like cleaning my office and creating Halloween costumes and making dinners from scratch. Things that, if they happen to get left off of the To Do list for the day, really have no impact on our lives. So I’m still “working on” things, but I’m not sweating if it doesn’t work out.

Despite this lovely zen-ness and acceptance, I think I may have found the first thing I need to “work on” with Emmett. Since he was born I’ve pretty much fed him every 2 hours during the day. In the beginning this was to pack on the pounds… but now I think it’s just habit. It just kind of works — he sleeps for 45 minutes, when he wakes I change his diaper and feed him, then he plays for 45 minutes. Lather, rinse, repeat. Eat, play, sleep. He’s super regular and yawns right at the right times and eats well at the right times. But as I think about sending him to daycare in a few weeks, I’m realizing that he’s probably (definitely) old enough to go longer in between feedings. And probably having a hungrier/fuller tummy will in turn help him consolidate daytime sleep to get some longer naps, which is obviously the direction we should be heading in, as restful, deep sleep is incredibly important for babies. However, I seem to have completely forgotten how this transition went with Owen. And, given his feeding issues at the time, it likely happened differently than it will with Emmett.

When did your children begin to stretch to 3 or 4 hours between feedings? How does that work with their sleep time? Did you try to help this transition along by holding them off from eating if needed, or does it naturally happen even if you’re feeding on demand/more often?

She Says… 2 Months

Emmett 2 Months-10

My sweet Emmett,

Mr. Smileypants. Bonky Bonks (yup, that nickname has stuck, despite my best efforts to give you a nicer one). You are one happy baby.

Seriously. You are the smiliest.

Every day I fall a little bit more in love with you. Even on the hard days.

Emmett 2 Months-3Emmett 2 Months-5

This past weekend we took a trip to see Aunt Ginger and Uncle Seth get married (your first flight!). You know how people say you learn a lot about a person when you travel with them? Well, I certainly learned more about you. You are a Mama’s boy so far; and I mean that in the sweetest, best sense of the term. You loved being passed around from aunt to uncle to cousins to friends to random strangers who just couldn’t help but pinch your beautiful little cheeks for a little while, and then… BOOM. You wanted Mommy. Just Mommy. It was really the first time I’ve heard you cry for more than a few minutes. You were just… overwhelmed, it seemed.

And, my beautiful boy, I gotta tell you. I get it. I really do. I used to be a full-on, 100% extravert, very much like your brother. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve shifted to be more introverted, and I saw so much of that part of myself in you as you relished your alone time this weekend (even happily chilling out by yourself in your crib).

Emmett 2 Months-4Emmett 2 Months-6

You are easy as pie to put to sleep. Except, however, for your actual “bedtime” at 7:00pm. The rest of the day you are happy to be put down wide awake and talk yourself to sleep. But at bedtime you want to be nursed all the way to sleep and transferred carefully, quietly, gently. And if I dare to leave the room before you are in deep sleep? You’ll cry and fuss and demand that I come back up to your room and rock you some more, starting from scratch. Sometimes I get frustrated because you are so different/difficult at bedtime… and then I realize that you’re only barely 10 weeks old and you are E.A.S.Y. compared to most (ahem, YOUR BROTHER, ahem).

Maybe that’s just what a 2nd kid has to do to get a little rocking time with Mommy. If that’s the case, keep yelling, little one. Remind me to slow down and snuggle you while I can, because the day will come pretty soon when I won’t be able to. And I’ll miss these days, I guarantee it.

Emmett 2 Months-8 Emmett 2 Months-9

I am so thankful for our breastfeeding relationship. Feeding you has become one of my most favorite things to do. Even when I feel like all I do in a day is nurse you, you still melt me every time I look down at your peach fuzz hair and your big, blue eyes. Your sharp little fingernails clench and unclench my chest as you eat and my skin is marred with tiny little cuts and pinch-marks. But I wear those scrapes with honor. I am so proud of us for powering through when it was tough, as now I feel that nursing you is one of my greatest accomplishments and one of my favorite parts of the day. Still, though, I am so relieved that you are flexible enough to take a bottle with formula or breastmilk. That makes life easy for both of us. Keep it up, Hoover. You’re doing a great job.

Oh, my little dimpled wonder, you fit into our family like a perfect little puzzle piece. Everyone adores you, including Owen. He dotes on you in a way I never saw coming. He loves to tiptoe into your room with me to wake you up. He climbs onto the side of your crib and asks me to pull you over to him so he can open your swaddle. You beam at him and he gives me the play-by-play, “He’s smiling at me! He’s saying he loves me!”. He watches your tiny fists open and close and is constantly telling me what you are “learning” (the sign for orange, for instance, when you were putting your clenching fist to your chin, or the number 5 when your fingers splayed out wide). When you are playing on your mat in the living room he always, ALWAYS, runs over from whatever he is doing to lay there with you. I’m constantly refereeing with instructions like, “Give Emmett some space!” and “Don’t touch his face so much”, “Don’t climb on his body”, but Owen’s response is always, “He likes it!”. And you do. You laugh and gaze at him with an expression I’ve never seen you use with anyone else.

Emmett 2 Months-2

I can already see how you will look up to him as you two grow together. I know there will be WWF-worthy wrestling and angry words between you (you are brothers, after all), but I hope what you will remember are the inside jokes and the silliness and the LOVE that you share.

Your brother will be your protector, your confidante, your sidekick and your best friend. Treat him that way.

Emmett 2 Months-1

I love you, Bonky Bonks. And Daddy too. And Owen adores you. And this weekend your cousins (and aunts and uncles and grandparents!) fought over who got to hold you, like the best baby doll they’ve ever seen.

You have stretched ours hearts to make room for you. You’re just so darn easy to fall in love with. Keep up the good work.

All my love,
Mommy

She Says… The NuRoo Pocket

I didn’t have a birth plan for either of my births. Especially the second time around, after having been through it once, I knew that those best laid plans almost always change in the moment. The baby is calling the shots. Still, though, there were a few things I knew I wanted to happen if at all possible, like skin-to-skin as soon as my baby was born.

I knew skin-to-skin time right after birth was an important way to bond with your baby and I had heard it could help with breastfeeding, but I didn’t know a whole lot more than that. A few weeks before my second baby was born I attended a webinar that Isis Parenting sponsored about “Kangaroo care”, which is a specific type of skin-to-skin where the baby is put chest-to-chest with mom (no bra or clothes between them) and covered with a blanket for an hour at a time. I learned that there are SO MANY more ways that this position can have a positive impact on mom and baby.

Kangaroo care can (among other things):

  • regulate baby’s heart rate and breathing
  • stabilize baby’s temperature and blood sugar
  • help relax a newborn so much they can even fall asleep for a full sleep cycle
  • improve baby’s latch and suck, thus making milk transfer more effective and helping get a strong breastfeeding relationship started
  • stimulate mom’s oxytocin and prolactin levels, helping with milk production as well as postpartum recovery
  • decrease both mom and baby’s stress responses and cortisol levels, and also reduce maternal anxiety
  • help babies gain weight appropriately when practiced regularly over time

When Emmett came shooting out faster than the speed of light I was in complete shock and awe. Just as I had asked, my midwife put him directly on my chest. He cried and I cried and Benjamin cried. I could feel Emmett’s tiny stomach moving and his little hands squeezed my skin and his eyes looked up at me. I remember getting extremely cold almost immediately after delivery and Emmett was looking a little blue himself, so the nurses covered both of us (with him still on my chest) in heated blankets and let our skin-to-skin contact work its magic. I’ll never forget how he felt against my chest right at that moment.

Emmett Birth-4

After that moment, though, I never really gave skin-to-skin another thought. I was holding my newborn most of the day, but we always had clothes on. Laying around for hours on end with my baby doing skin-to-skin once we got home was not exactly possible, especially with an active 3 year old vying for my attention and the endless revolving door of guests who wanted to come by in the early days.

Enter the NuRoo Pocket.

Nuroo-1

The NuRoo pocket is a shirt/babywearing wrap that allows you to do skin-to-skin while being completely covered (think: when the guests are still popping in). You can even breastfeed in it (though I haven’t tried this yet). It’s pretty genius.

Nuroo-4

It was CLEARLY designed by mothers who have been there, done that, because it is incredibly well thought out. The fabric is super soft and stretchy, but also supportive, so it feels good on your bare skin (and sensitive nipples!). The shirt and support belt come in a variety of cute colors and patterns and are very well-made, so it feels like you’re putting on a cute, fitted top (unlike most of my ill-fitting nursing clothes). When used with the support belt right under the baby’s butt, it is completely hands free. I could prep dinner, wash dishes or play Zingo with Owen no problem. For those using it in the hospital, there is even a little slit in the shirt so that the heel can be exposed for needle pricks (skin-to-skin can reduce the baby’s pain perception during these annoying but necessary procedures).

I find it a teeny bit hard to put on by myself (like many baby carriers), as you have to pull it kind of hard and find the right velcro section. But generally Benjamin can lend me a hand and I’m sure I could manage on my own if I had to.

Nuroo-2

I didn’t receive mine until 2 weeks after Emmett was born. I thought maybe I had “missed the window” of skin-to-skin since he was getting so much bigger. As it turns out, the NuRoo Pocket can be used when your baby is up to 15 pounds, so we have several more months to go.

Nuroo-3

I can’t say that I’d wear this out to run errands or anything, but it is an awesome option for those fussy evening times. You know, the witching hours. Thankfully we’re seeing less and less of those times in the last week or so, but I still try to get an hour of skin-to-skin most days when Emmett and I are home.

This would be a great gift for a new mom, or especially a mom who already has a kid or two. Anything hands-free is worth its weight in gold, and the benefits of this gift go way beyond being able to check your email while holding your baby.

Visit the NuRoo Pocket website for more information.

Just so you know, I was not compensated for this review — I actually use and love this product. Hope, one of the creators of the NuRoo, offered to send me one to review, but she did not influence this post in any way.

She Says… 2 Months (and a “then vs. now” comparison)

Emmett is 2 months old! Today we saw the doctor for his 2 month visit.

Having been through this once before with a not-quite-so-easy baby, I can say with confidence that Emmett is SUCH AN EASY BABY. While generally happy and certainly not as hard as they come, Owen was a lot more “high needs” than Emmett. He needed to be held more. Rocked to sleep more. Fed more. It’s hard to say how much of this was his needs or my parenting, but looking back I think it’s safe to say he was a bit more challenging. Emmett, however, is easy peasy. He puts himself to sleep most of the time. He eats really well (aside from those random fussy times). He is insanely happy and smiley and social. He’s happy to lay on his back or sit in a chair and take in his surroundings. He’s even stretching out his night time sleep a little so that I have to stop saying, “Well, he’s perfect except that he isn’t into long stretches at night…”. In short, he’s awesome. I know that, soon enough, we will find his thing that he is not so good at. (Every baby has one. Even the perfect ones.). The thing we will struggle with. But for now? For now he’s making this transition to a family of 4 as easy as it can be.

He’s 24″ (88th %ile) and 11 pounds 11 ounces (35th %ile). That means he gained 3 inches and 3 pounds since his 2 month visit. All of that time we’ve spent nursing and nursing and nursing some more (and making little bottles here and there to top him off) has paid off! He’s round in all the right places and even has some delicious rolls on his legs and under his chin.

SUCH a contrast to his brother at this stage. At 2 months, Owen was 23″ and 10 pounds 10 ounces (19th %ile), and they were the same length and only a few ounces apart at birth. This was the last “regular” checkup we had for Owen because after that his weight took a nosedive and he slowly slipped into the single digit percentiles for weight and was diagnosed with reflux. Thus began the series of events that made me confront our nursing issues. Something tells me that isn’t going to happen this time around with Emmett. I was looking at these pictures of Owen from around this time, wearing an outfit that I had Emmett in the other day. The difference in how they look in the outfit is astonishing!

The blog is such a fantastic resource for me as I go through these newborn stages again. It is so helpful to be able to look back and see what I was doing/thinking/worried about/celebrating.

Speaking of which. When we were cleaning the basement during our staycation this weekend I pulled out our keyboard and put it in the playroom. I figured Owen would have fun playing with it. As we played on it together I had a flashback to him playing on it when he was a toddler. The blog saved this awesome memory for me and I had to share!

Then:

Now:

 

She Says… The Fire Hose and the Drippy Faucet

Let me tell you a tale. A tale of two boobs.

For those who care, an update on how breastfeeding is going the second time around.

The bottom line: It’s working…
It feels a little silly to still marvel that something so natural is actually working the way it’s supposed to, but after my traumatic experience trying to nurse Owen and a very rocky start nursing Emmett filled with cracks and blisters and pain of all kinds… I still marvel. It’s working. I still use the Brest Friend pillow for comfort whenever I’m at home (I like that I can essentially have my hands free and he stays in the right position), but we’ve got our latch down. I can nurse him wherever, whenever I need to.

… almost.
There are 2 times when nursing just doesn’t work, no matter what I try. One, when he is thrashing and shaking his head and wailing, most likely due to gas/stomach issues. This isn’t very often, thankfully. Rather, at least it’s not anymore. There was a phase when Emmett was around 6 weeks when it happened about once a day. I’m not sure what the phase was, but, like all things baby, it has passed and we are into a new phase now. The other time is when I feel like I am out of milk. More on this later.

I have achieved “Breastfeeding Nirvana”. For me.
For those times when nursing just isn’t cutting it (when it’s making one of us, or both of us, miserable, for whatever reason), Emmett gets formula. I knew from the start that I was NOT going to put the same “all or nothing” pressure on myself to exclusively breastfeed like I had with Owen. I think I created a lot of my own stress by using every fiber of my being to force breastfeeding on both of us, and as a result our health and happiness suffered. So this time around I supplemented with formula from the start. Around 3 weeks when my pediatrician and lactation consultant recommended introducing bottles, we made them bottles of formula.

This was, hands down, the best decision I’ve made for us so far.

Breastfeeding success, for me, this time around, is as follows: I would like Emmett to nurse from my breast whenever possible. Whenever that is not possible, I want him to take formula. So far, this is working beautifully. We are both so, so happy about it. I think allowing myself the “out” of offering him formula sometimes actually made me work harder at breastfeeding. I didn’t feel cornered or desperate. He doesn’t feel like food is scarce. Benjamin can easily take over if things are escalating or I need a break. I’m spending my time when I’m not feeding Emmett enjoying him. Being silly with Owen. Making dinner. Going to the playground. I’m not spending it pumping and washing pump parts and crying. It’s… glorious. And freeing. And awesome.

Supply and Demand
Hi! Nice to meet you. Let me introduce you to my boobs.

Rightie is my super-producer. She is, quite literally, a solid 2 cup sizes bigger than my left. It’s awkward. It’s totally normal for breasts to be different sizes and produce different amounts of milk, but this is pretty astonishing. When I have pumped in the past (like on Monday when I had to “pump and dump” after my surgery), Rightie makes easily 3x as much milk as leftie. Easily. For good reason, this is Emmett’s preferred side to drink on. However, she’s also quite powerful. My little fire hose, if you will. Her letdown is STRONG and often makes Emmett sputter and cough and gulp air as soon as the milk comes out. She’s a sprinter too. She sprays every which way for a few minutes, and then slows waaaaaay down. Emmett will gulp, gulp, gulp for 5-7 minutes, and then, nothing. Then he loses interest. If I keep him on there he can sometimes get a second letdown, but he doesn’t always have the patience for this. It’s efficient (he gets a lot of milk during these 7 minutes), but always leaves me wondering if he’s getting enough.

Leftie is more like a drippy faucet. She’s small and meek. I can barely detect her letdown. Emmett will give a few good sucks right at the beginning, but then quickly loses interest. She’s just too darn slow. It’s frustrating, because I know that Emmett’s short attention span for her speed is kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy — he doesn’t keep asking for more milk, so she doesn’t keep making it. I’m really not sure how much of the size difference/milk production is a result of him not drinking, or if him not drinking is a result of the slow drip. Chicken or the egg? One will never know.

Hungry for More
Overall it tends to work out — we nurse about 75% of the time on Rightie and 25% of the time on Leftie. For most of the day I’m making just the right amount of milk. I feel full when it’s nursing time and totally empty when he’s finished. I can barely squeeze out another drop when he pulls off. However, about once a day I find that he’s sucking and sucking and there’s no milk coming out. He’s sucking fast, waiting for a letdown that just doesn’t come. He’s hungry, and he usually grunts and furrows his brow and it seems pretty clear that he wants more than he’s getting. I can’t get anything out by hand expressing and only a few drops with a pump. At that point, I usually make him a bottle and he takes 1-2 ounces. And then in the evening at our bedtime feeding, I’m usually almost entirely out of milk. I’ll make him try and there’s just no letdown. Or if there is, it lasts 2 minutes or so before it slows to a stop. So I give him a bottle. At bedtime he usually takes 2-3 ounces.

So over the course of the day, I’m finding I have to supplement anywhere from 1-4 ounces of formula because I just don’t make enough milk. I know lactation consultants and websites always say, “So many moms worry about their milk production when really their production is just fine”, but I actually think I’m in that minority of women who honestly can’t make enough milk (I recently found some evidence to suggest this is common for women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which may be an explanation for me).  I’m pretty much ok with this, but I do wish I could just squeeze out those last ounces so I could feed my kid without having to give him bottles. I’m eating oatmeal, taking a fenugreek blend pill (that seems to help a little) and drinking a ton of water every day. I’m doing everything I can think of to boost my supply, short of pumping. See above for how happy I am NOT pumping.

In the end, Emmett and I have found a system that works really well for us. A few weeks ago, in the throes of blisters and shooting pains, I wouldn’t have thought we’d still be going now. But thanks to a tube of All Purpose Nipple Ointment (APNO) and resources like my lactation consultant and Isis Parenting (find their breastfeeding articles and videos here), we’re here. Finding our own Breastfeeding Nirvana.

*Please note: Breastfeeding is still a very personal topic for me. If you’re going to leave a comment that is negative about my decision to give my baby formula, or telling me if I “just work harder, breastfeeding will work out”, just don’t. I will delete it. I do not write this to open myself up to criticism; I do it to share my story and possibly validate the others out there who experience a rocky road to feeding their baby.

She Says… Smileypants

Oh, this guy.

smile3

This guy is SO smiley.

smile4smile5

“They” say babies start to smile at 6 weeks. This guy looked right into my eyes and gave me the biggest, widest, open-mouth grin at 4 1/2 weeks. His eyes twinkle. His toes point like a little ballerina. He smiles with his whole body. This is not just gas, folks.

smile6

Since then we’ve gotten more and more smiles every day. Owen gets them. Daddy gets them. The dog gets them. The wall gets them.

And OH! That dimple (two of them, actually, but the 2nd one only comes out occasionally with a REALLY big smile). Swoon.

smile2

Wanna see? My best attempts at getting him smiling on video are captured on Instagram here and here.

They are SO hard to capture because usually they are a result of eye-to-eye contact and smiling and cooing on my part, which is much, much harder with a phone or camera between us.

smile7

If you touch his head gently, he smiles. Touch his cheek gently, he smiles. Sing to him, he smiles. He isn’t stingy.

smile1

I love that about him already.