Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sleep trials - part 5

I know I was MIA there for awhile and it was really due to the fact that we were having more sleep issues.

For a couple nights in a row, Reese would fight sleep and then wake up every 2-3 hours and need consoling or to be fed. So I went back to the books and asked for help from FB and close friends.

The two books I had weren't really helping. I don't know if I wasn't reading them close enough (in my sleep deprived state) or if they just didn't speak to what I felt were/are our problems. Once we got her content in the crib, leaving her alone wasn't an issue. So I returned to FB for help, which I later found out J wasn't a fan of.

Anyway, there were some more book recommendations (which of course I ordered), some offerings of advice and just some "go with your gut Mamas." Someone talked about "tanking" her up, meaning ensure she had a full feed. That struck a cord because in the beginning when she'd wake up, we'd nurse for 45-60 minutes at night (20-30 on each side) and then she'd go sleep for 5-8 hours. Lately, we'd only been nursing for 15-20 munutes and on one side, but she was then only sleeping 2-3 hours. So the past few nights before we put her down, we really try to fill her belly, either bottle or breast. Then when she was waking up at 1 or 2, I make sure she eats on both sides, even if it means I am waking her up to finish - which takes a lot (rubbing her head, face, chest, feet, but not in a soothing way, more rapid to wake her up). And thus, she's been sleeping longer stretches.

Some people said, "don't read so many books and switch theories so quick." To which I respond, I'm not "switching theories," I'm finding tips from each one and making our own way. Some books I just don't agree with, or they really didn't talk about what I was seeing. So we continue to look and learn.

Our issue is not eating enough at night (which I think I've remedied or at least am aware of now) and too few naps during the day (which we continue to work on). I make her nap situation as similar as possible to bed, just without the bath, going so far as to swaddle her and nurse her in the dark room. I've also mastered the shush-pat which sounds simple and logical (but is really very scientific). You hold the baby at your shoulder and pat their back almost to the ticking of a click, rather firmly, and make a "shh, shh, shushing" noise past their ear. Theoretically, they can't concentrate on the patting AND the shushing so they stop crying, if they are, and fall asleep. It also supposedly reminds them of the sounds of the womb. You also aren't supposed to move or rock while doing this to 1) get them used to motionless sleep and 2) because motion actually (supposedly) puts them in a lighter form of sleep. That is harder to do than it sounds. I naturally do the "baby sway" when I have her in my arms.

Also, we're working on the motionless sleep idea. So if we come home and she's fallen asleep in the car, we put her in the crib, car seat and all. Or if she falls asleep in the swing, we stop the swing, letting her sleep in it, just not swinging. Daycare is also really helping because its becoming so routine. I think the more we do that, the better.

We've also gotten her feedings more routine, as in every 3 hours instead of 1-4 hours randomly. Something about the routine of it all seemed to work the first day we really tried it. Of course it isn't perfect and some days are a little off, but overall it makes everything better. It really helps with pumping and knowing what to do with her during the course of the day. The routine has continued to improve and she gets hungry right around the time she is due to eat.  Of course if she is screaming early and we rule out wet diaper and sleepiness, she gets food.  I would never deprive her if she is hungry. 

The plan is feed, wake (think of this as play time), then sleep, within every 3 hour period. So instead of feeding her to sleep most of the time, she's fed when she wakes up. Then we play, swing, have tummy time, etc.  About an hour and 15 mins after she's woken up, we start to get ready for nap. That means changing her, swaddling and shush-patting to get her ready for a nap. If ee watch for her signals (rubbing of eyes, yawning, etc), she usually goes down fairly easy and sleeps for 1.5-2.5 hours. She's taking about 2 long naps per day and maybe 1-2 catnaps. AND she goes to bed about 8 or so and lately has been sleeping until 4 or 5 am, sometimes even 7 or 8. Nice long stretch for us to get some decent sleep. We're on 5 nights in a row of this. I keep waiting for the 1 am wake-up to return, but so far we're doing great. She was up at 3:15 this morning, but I know we have to be flexible. Thus is life. Sometimes I eat breakfast at 8 am and sometimes its at 11 am!

I think Reese is much happier to get a full meal every feeding, than just to "snack" all day long. Plus it really helps me keep up my milk and pumping. I know daycare won't have fed her 4 times in the 5 hours she's been there and I was only able to pump twice. And she's sleeping at daycare ("school" as J calls it) very good too. I spoil her it seems when I put her down because they say at school they put her in a sleep sack (its literally a sack with arm holes and zips up to keep her legs/feet warm) and lay her down to sleep in the middle of a busy classroom. I have the shades drawn in her room, the sound machine on, she's swaddled and rocked a bit. Every time I try the sleep sack she won't go to sleep. Don't know if I just happen to have missed her window or what. But it just doesn't work for us.

We continue to work on sleep, but we're doing much better than we were last month!  Little victories!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Happy 3 month birthday Reese!

(I'm a little late...Reese's 3 month birthday was Thursday - 7/12/12.)

My dearest Reeses,
What a month it has been!  The biggest thing this month brought was more and more love for you our little girl.  I look at you and immediately smile, no matter how rough my day has been.  I can't believe you are in our lives and I can't imagine what our life would be like without you.

You crossed the threshold from under 10 lbs, to 11 lbs, 7 oz and are probably closer to 12 lbs by now! You have grown and it is very visible!

The day after your 2-month birthday, I reflected back to last year when you were just a little egg taken out of Mommy.  A year ago, we only could have hoped for the wonderful-ness you have brought us!  I'm so grateful to Dr. H and Holly H, and their entire staff for helping you come to us.

We've had lots of trials and less sleep than I would like as we transitioned you from sleeping in the cradle in our room to the crib in your room. You weren't a fan initially, but we persevered and now you love sleeping in your crib.  We also endured a lot of sleep trials (which you can read about in the blog - I think we're up to number 4!) because you weren't sleeping really well.  Now, we've got you on a pretty good schedule of eating, playing and sleeping within almost every 3 hour period.  You are prospering and we are all very happy.  It helps Mommy pump while at work and not wonder if I pick you up from daycare if you will be hungry immediately and I'll be "empty."  It has also really helped your naps!

That brings us to our next big transition.  We started a new daycare.  LP was good, but something just didn't feel right (namely a big dog that didn't like Daddy!) so we switched to a company and you love it!  We love it too.  The ladies there all call you "Gorgeous" but we already knew that you were!  Ms. Liz and Ms. Jessica think you are the sweetest baby and get so excited when we bring you.  It's really clean and organized.  And at the end of this month, your good buddy Bradley will start going there too.  Switching daycare was kind of worrisome at first since it had to happen during Mommy's first week at work, but thankfully we kind of had a back-up and it ended up working out better than I had envisioned in my head.  They are super flexible with your schedule and that is great for our flexible schedule at home!

Let's see....what else happened this month?

You were baptized at St. Pius on June 24th with Gma & Grandpa V., Nana & Papa R, GG (Great-Grandma E.), Fairy Godmother, "the Godfather" and Mommy and Daddy.  Father Harry thought you were so cute and you were so good when they baptized you, I think because you love your baths so much!  Then we all went out to lunch together, and you slept thru the whole thing! After we came home and opened presents, we went swimming in the pool for the first time!  You weren't too sure about it at first, but then you started having a great time.  I know you will be a water baby!  We know you learned to kick in my belly, so you'll probably be a great swimmer!
You and Mommy took a field trip to Bookman's and got a load of books to fill up your bookshelf that Great-Grandpa E. made years ago.  We've started to read you some when you are going to bed or just for something new to do during the day.  You will be a smart girl my love!

You had your first extended period of time alone with Daddy.  I know it's hard to believe that it took almost 3 months for that to happen, but it's hard for Mommy to leave because of your feeding schedule and how hard Daddy works around the house.  You both did great - in fact, you slept for most of it and Daddy thinks taking care of you is always "that easy" now!  Don't worry, you'll have more time with him and show him that while you are usually fun, you aren't always easy!

We went to another party this month for July 4th!  You had a special outfit and everything!  You got to meet Che Che, Grumpy, Uncle Scary, Ninny (again), GiGi, Pee-Paw and see Kimmy and Um again!  Grumpy even was able to put you to sleep in Mimi's room so Mommy and Daddy could have a break. 

You met My Kate, Adam and Tuck-man when we went to dinner with them one night.  Tucker tried to give you a high five when they left.  You aren't quite there yet, but it was so cute to see him try to do!

We are pretty sure that you had your first little laugh while you were taking a bath and Daddy was making fart sounds on July 7th.  It sure surprised us, but it was so great to hear!!!  We look forward to many more of those laughs!

You have surely found your voice this month and continue to "talk" to us by cooing and gaga-ing, even though we don't know what you are saying.  You are having a conversation and seemed determined to clue us in.  I think you even said "Mommy" on July 9th after I was repeating it to you multiple times.  You haven't said it again, but I am sure you will! And you discovered your toes!  They have really kept you entertained lately!

You sat in the Bumbo for the first time and looked quite content sitting pretty much by yourself.

You love to cuddle and we do too! I see major resemblances between you and Daddy in this photo!

See how busy your month has been!  We've loved it all and can't wait for the next installment!

We love you our little Reeses,
Mommy (and Daddy)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Breastfeeding worries

Breastfeeding is no where as easy as I had hoped it would be. I learned that very early on. And while we've got the act of it down pretty good at this point, I still worry about a variety of issues daily. I love breastfeeding and hope to continue for a long time, but not sure if my body will back me up on this.

1) Am I producing enough milk and what is "enough"?

Enough for me and enough for the docs are two different answers. Enough for the docs means that Reese is gaining about an ounce a day and is healthy. Enough for me means that I can breastfeed Reese everyday to meet her needs AND to pump enough to build up our freezer supply for while she's away from me. Those two tasks are hard to do simultaneously.

While Reese has a bit of a schedule, it's in no way set in stone and if you tried to set your watch by it, you'd end up late for everything. She usually eats every 1.5-3 hours. But sometimes its like every hour. As I'm sure you can imagine, my body doesn't make milk that fast in large quantities. So if she's eating every hour our feeding is shorter and she's not as hungry as when she eats every 3 hours and she's gulping milk down when it's time to eat. I'm trying to stretch it to no more than every 3 hours. 

2. How do I pump and feed in the same day or time frame?

They say to "feed the baby and then pump." Again, just like "sleep when baby sleeps," that is easier said than done a lot. Sometimes Reese falls asleep after she eats, so I could put her down and go pump, but she doesn't always stay asleep (whole other issue). Sometimes she does. It's really hard to pump and hold her. And many times, she has pretty much drained me to the point of not having any left to pump. Not even to mention that as the day goes on, my supply is constantly less and less.  So pumping in the evening usually only produces an ounce, if that!

I can and do pump at work, but I can't do that constantly because there is only so much milk in "the girls."  And seemingly, she a) eats from the bottle more than she gets from me directly or b) she pulls more out of me than the pump can.  I try to pump about every 3 hours so I can replenish myself, but I also have to be wary of when I go to pick her up that I have something in case she is hungry. 

3. How do I build my supply up?

I am doing everything I can to keep my supply up but I am constantly worried that it isn't enough, mostly where pumping and daycare are concerned.  (Let me say here, that I have nothing against formula and know many kids - now adults - who had nothing but formula and are fine.  I have always dreamt of breastfeeding my kids and now that the opportunity is here I most certainly don't want to give up or fail.)  I take Fenugreek pills three times a day to help my supply - and most recently have started to take 3 at a time instead of 2.  Per the Lactation Consultant's suggestion at Dr. Kids' office (and a few friends), I have a beer (which is so not my style as I couldn't stand the stuff until now, and even now I drink "girly" beer) every night because the hops helps with milk production.  And I drink a lot of water and milk all day long to help my supply.

Which leads me to my next question...

4. Effects of breastfeeding and diet and/or exercise.

I am down to just 6 lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight, but still about 20-30 lbs away from where I like to be (and truly haven't been consistently for a long time).  This makes me very happy.  However, that doesn't mean that my clothes fit like they did pre-pregnancy.  My body has simply changed.  Therefore, I am still wearing maternity pants.  But they are very big on me and I am constantly yanking them up.  So I would love to go back to Weight Watchers and start to lose this weight.  However, I am deathly (yes, deathly) afraid that I will lose my milk if I do that.  Breastfeeding burns 500-1000 calories a day, so you need to eat a certain amount to have enough to produce milk.  However, many a friend have told me that they have reduced their milk production by losing weight and working out.  So what's a girl to do?

Weight Watchers does have a plan with breastfeeding, but I'm not sure I could commit to it right now as we are still getting used to all this.  I'm definitely trying to eat better and I know that is helping.  But I'd really like to get rid of my belly.  I used to be able to say that I could never see my belly beyond my boobs, and that is not the case right now! (sad face)

5. It seems like she gets more at Daycare than I can pump.  How do I keep up?

Reese seems to be constantly hungry and I think daycare feeds her whenever she cries.  I'm currently trying to lengthen the time between feedings a bit, so hopefully she'll sleep a bit better and she'll eat more when she does eat.  Sometimes she'll eat for 5-10 minutes, and then stop.  The other night I fed her on one side and then had to really fuss with her to get her to wake up enough to eat on the other side.  But then she slept almost 5 hours after that.  So we just need to get her to eat more and have time between the feedings.  I have no idea how much she gets from me when she eats, but based on pumping when I am not around her, I would guess it is probably 4-6 oz if she takes both breasts.  Therefore, if daycare is feeding her every hour, they go through a lot of milk!  And I just can't pump that fast.

6. Pumping and work

This last week, when I would leave the house, I had fed Reese about 5 or 6, and then she'd gone back to sleep while I got ready.  So right before I left for work, I got her up and got her dressed and she went right in the car seat to go to daycare.  Then, when we got there she was hungry and could be fed.  And when I got to work I could pump, and then pump again right before I left (I'm still on half-days thankfully).  I obviously can't pump with clients in my office, but the pump is pretty quiet so I can pump while on the phone and just working.  I also work in an office full of women who are all mothers or grandmothers, so they understand and aren't put off by what I am doing.  I'm very thankful for that.  But that still doesn't help my milk supply be more.  I did determine that if I pump every 2 hours versus every 3, I essentially get the same amount of milk, but I'm not so hard on my body and "wired" to the back-pack. 

So there's my thoughts folks.  Any input is welcome on how to do this better.  Have a great week!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Reese's baptism

Hi Bloggites!  (I initially wrote this post a few weeks back, but was waiting on a couple pictures from various parties.  All pics are in, so here we go!)

I know not all of you are religious so this post is more for me so I can remember the baptism and today's events.  Today (June 24th, 2012) was Reese's baptism at St. Pius X church in Tucson, AZ.

Fairy Godmother (formerly BFF from Phx) came down from Phoenix last night and stayed with us. I always love hanging out with her. Nothing crazy, just dinner and watching TV.

Got up this morning about 6 when Reese was hungry, and from there just got ready. J and Fairy Godmother got up and dressed, and J's parents showed up about 8:30 am (before we were all ready). Headed over to the church after I nursed just for a bit so she had a full tummy. My parents, GG (my Grandma) and "The Godfather" (J's best friend - saying that always makes me think about those movies), met us at the church and we all walked in together and got situated.

My favorite priest, Father Harry, did the mass. We were supposed to bring Reese in just a diaper, so Fairy Godmother and I went and got Reese changed out of her onesie before mass started in the Sacristy. When we walked in, Father Harry was putting on his robes and I said, "you are gonna have company!" and he said, "I know. That's why I didn't take off my pants!" in his thick, Irish accent. And that's why I love him, he is so funny. J says he looks like Ted Nugent, but I think he looks like the guy from The Wizard of Oz who opens the door to the Emerald City. "The Godfather" said that if he ran into Father Harry on the street he might be afraid of him!! There's pics further down in this post.

Now it was time to start. The four of us lined up near the entrance of the church, and when directed walked down to our seats, after Father Harry made the sign of the cross on Reese's head and then we followed suit. The coordinator of all of this came and got J and I to walk by some of the congregation near us where they too blessed Reese and made the sign of the cross on her head. Then Father Harry came by and anointed her with Holy Oil. Here's a photo of this time she had passed out...see...
 I love that little belly!

And here's the anointing with Holy Oil on her belly.  (Fairy Godmother, Me, J holding Reese, "The Godfather" and my Dad - and Father Harry (aka Ted Nugent).)

Then it was time for the water. Father Harry took her from J and sat her in this beautiful font of Holy Water (warm - good job folks!) and then took three handfuls of water and baptized her.  I expected her to cry but she didn't at all. She kind of looked at us like "bath time already?"

We wrapped her in the towels they had there, and then Fairy Godmother and I went back to the Sacristy to change her into her white garment and get her ready for the end.

 So pretty in her dress!

We were then back out at the mass to have her blessed with a different Holy Oil on her head. Father Harry really laid it on thick and messed up her hair!!! Of course he was laughing as he did it! (And as I fixed it later, he elbowed me and laughed!)
I love how focused on J she is here. This is just after I fixed her messed up, oily hair.

We all took communion and then it was time for the final part of the baptism, the lighting of the Baptismal Candle. The Godfather went to the church's candle and lit Reese's candle, then walked across the church to hand it to J.

The final piece was Father Harry held her up in front of the whole congregation and said her name and that she was baptized.

And then we all walked out. Fairy Godmother and I went to change her into her dress that I had to go to lunch with everyone. My friend Michele, who also attends St. Pius caught us there and gave hugs and said hi to Reese. And we all went to El Molinito for lunch. So yummy!

I wanted to make sure I had a picture of her dress. 

With Daddy (J)

Fairy Godmother and me.

Then Mom, Dad, GG, Fairy Godmother, J, Reese and I came home for a few pictures (4 generations of my family) before everyone took off. 

Fairy Godmother stuck around while we opened Baptism presents. Who knew?! She got quite a haul! 

All in all, a wonderful day!  Thanks to everyone who participated!