2 months

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I can’t believe you are two months (and two days :-) old already. This month you have definitely gone from being a newborn to being a baby. You are 12 lbs 8 oz and 23 inches long and while you are a big spitter-upper, you still manage to eat enough since you are definitely not having a problem “filling out.”

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I love all your little rolls…and you have lots, plus a couple extra chins. You love to eat but have started getting distracted by me when you nurse sometimes. I have to look away from you sometimes or you’ll stop to smile and it makes a mess. But I don’t always mind the mess since that is one of my favorite smiles.

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First smile on camera ! It took quite a while to get it though.

This month you have started smiling, cooling, rolling over and just these past few days have started reaching for things. We have even learned a few tricks to make you smile, like “bopping” your nose or tickling your chin but you still don’t really like to smile on camera much.

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Every once in a while, we get a cute smile like this.

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But more often than not, this is your “camera face”. It’s still cute though :-)

You love your mirror and your black and white animal pattern cards. Tummy time isn’t so bad as long as you have something to look at.

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And you really do stare quite intently.

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And all that tummy time has paid off. You’re really good at holding your head up, you can go several minutes without resting.

(Even if you have the added weight of a ridiculously big flower)

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You love to be worn. You’ll pretty much sleep anywhere as long as you feel safe and snug in your sling

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although you have started looking around when you are in there instead of immediately falling asleep. In fact, I have to leave one arm out of the ring sling or one side down on the moby if you are awake or you start fussing and arching back, you want to see what is going on! I’ve worn you facing out a couple times for short periods of time around the house and you love it. I can’t wait until you are strong enough to do that regularly. You especially love dancing with me in the sling. That is one of our fun “it’s 5 o’clock and mommy is tired” activities that helps us get through that last 30 minutes before dad gets home. The other fun thing we do then is cook dinner. You like to sit in your chair on the kitchen table and watch me make dinner while we chat. I hope we are always able to have nice talks around the table, but hopefully in a a few years you will be sitting next to it instead of on it and your replies will have more meaning. I think we are off to a good start though.

You have started settling into a good routine for our days now, at least in the morning so we try to have fun then when you are well rested and more alert. Our afternoons are not as routine as the mornings but even then you are still happy, just fighting your naps. You will normally give it if I’m willing to hold you. That’s not a problem for me since I manage to get stuff done anyway.

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But you are a good nighttime sleeper. We end the day with a bath before our cuddle time and you love your baths. Even if you are cranky in the evening, as soon as you hear the water running you stop fussing and once we put you in, you just give us the biggest grin. The only problem comes when it is time for the bath to end, you don’t like that part! But once you go to bed, you only wake up a couple times to nurse and neither one of us is really awake so I’m not even sure how often you ate some nights. You used to be a night owl sleeping from about 11pm to 10am but just this past week you’ve finally decided that an early bedtime (~8:30) suites you better, yah! And you still sleep in enough (8:30-9am) that I can either sleep in with you or be productive. Most of the time I choose to sleep in too, but do you blame me?



Top 4 Non-Baby Baby Essentials

All over the Internet you can find lists of baby essentials. They vary slightly and often end with a debate over whether the sling/bouncy chair is really an essential. This list is not like that. None of these items can be found at Babies 'R Us or even a baby boutique. But since I'm now past that magical time with a new baby when your world finally seem to be coming back together again (i.e. I shower every day!), I can say that each of these has been invaluable these last 8 weeks.

Exercise Ball - We got this planning to use it during early labor. I didn't really experience any "early" labor so I have no idea how it works as a labor device and even though it was one of the most comfortable places to sit the last few weeks of my pregnancy, its true greatness did not begin to shine until after Lucy was born. That girl loves to bounce. If she is calm she likes to sway or rock but if she needs help calming down, nothing works like bouncing. Craig can bounce her with just his arms but I do not have the upper body strength for that but sitting with her and bouncing on a ball isn't nearly as tiring. Just be sure to get one that is big enough. At my parents I had to use my little brothers smaller one and it hurt my back. But not enough that I didn't use it, mind you. That is how great the power of the ball is. And now that I've been spending more time on the floor, it works well as a back support too.

Christmas Tree Lights - We just lucked into this one. We already had blue ones from Craig's bachelor days so I set them up thinking they would be cute. They were more than cute. Christmas tree lights make the best nightlight. Whether your baby is in another room or with you, you need these. Just leave them on all night. They are dim enough that it doesn't bother us to sleep with them but just bright enough that we don't have to turn on a light to do any feeding/changing. We love them so much we took them with us when we visited my parents (and left our spare set there for next time). And I may be reading too much into this but our bedroom is fairly dark most of the day so I think having the blue lights on helps Lucy know it is night time and not just another afternoon nap.

Coconut Oil - Y'all should not be surprised at this one since I have talked about my love of coconut oil before but it really is great stuff. The one time Lucy started getting a diaper rash, I used this on it and it was gone by the next day. I also use it for for infant massage and general baby lotioning after baths. And when cradle cap begins to make its unwanted appearance, a little coconut oil and a combing gets rid of it. (Some say you should shampoo their hair afterwards but since we don't use soap or shampoo on Lucy, I don't, and have found that just a wet washcloth gets out enough to prevent that Danny Zuko look). And I don't have to worry about what chemicals are soaking in through her skin or if her hands end up in her mouth.

TV Shows on DVD- I know the big new mom tip is sleep when the baby sleeps but even I didn't need 18 hours of sleep a night and since during the first few weeks only place Lucy wanted to nap during the day was all sprawled out across my chest, I got bored. Now I can type, read a book or write thank you notes with a baby sleeping on me but at the time, if I tried to do any of that she would wake up. Baby wraps worked great but only when I was moving and walking around but I didn't feel up to walking that much seeing as I had just birthed her and was still recovering and all. I started watching the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice but quickly realized that even movies were not going to cut it. Enter the TV series on DVD. I went through the whole first season of Gilmore Girls and Craig lovingly purchased the second season for me! Each one is just about as long as a nap so I'm not always starting and stopping a movie. And even now that I'm able to do more and she is more willing to sleep nearby instead of on me, sometimes it is just nice to relax on the couch with a sleeping baby and watch another mother and daughter enjoying life.


We’re a crazy bunch

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One of the more unusual things I did last weekend was attend a diaper sale. Cotton Babies was having a dollar days sale where they have well-loved (well-used) diapers on sale for $1. I didn’t want to tackle it alone so I asked my SIL to go with me. I wasn’t sure exactly what they had but thought I would go for fun and maybe pick up a few covers – WRONG!

We got there around 8:40 am knowing the doors opened at 9. The line was already around the side of the building and well into the parking lot. The first people arrived at 4:30am – crazy! We took a spot behind a mini-van, trying our best to stay in the shade. Talking to some moms in line, I learned that the only thing they sell at these sales are bumgenius pocket diapers and their was a limit of 25/person. Well, I didn’t really need that many pocket diapers but at such a good price I did want some. Even if they need repairs, the repair kit is only $1 and I’m handy enough with a sewing machine that I felt confident I could easily fix it up. You really can’t beat $2 for a pocket diaper since new they run $18.

At 9am, the line started moving, but slowly. And it turned into the line that never ended. Once we got up to the side of the building, we saw that they had let the first part of the line move indoors to let more people in the air conditioning. Then we turned the corner (and into the shade!) and saw that it wrapped a few times before going inside. Once inside, we saw that it didn’t go straight back to the sale area but instead went through a little loop around the store first. In other words, it was long!

But I have to tell you that Cotton Babies did a great job. The whole thing was run very smoothly and efficiently. They had workers going around to the whole line offering us water, lemonade and bagels. Considering that this was a line of pregnant women, nursing moms, babies and small children waiting in the hot sun for several hours, it could have been a disaster but there was only one fainting incident (and it wasn’t me :-) so hats off to them!

The moms were also great. We were all obviously serious about getting diapers but we were still friendly. If someone had to go change a diaper or chase after a wayward toddler, they could leave knowing their spot would be there. We all chatted about what diapers we liked best and gave each other tips. I even got some shopping techniques for the used diapers (look for good fabric since that can’t be replaced and velcro tabs can easily made a diaper look bad but elastic is really more important since it’s harder than velcro to replace).

And Cotton Babies released their new 4.0 diaper that day so of course we all took a look at the new features and colors. Steph was so kind as to buy Lucy one (in pink!) and a pair of matching baby legs. I think she was a little stunned by the intensity of our love of diapers and the sheer number of women willing to drag themselves and their babies out early on a Saturday morning to buy used diapers. She was such a good sport though. And while I felt really bad about making her wait in line so long, I’m not sure how I would have done it without her, three hours is a long time! Luckily Lucy slept most of it and we took turns holding her. Steph even took her next door to a coffee shop to cool off for a while. Once we were inside in the air conditioning, Lucy woke up and enjoyed looking around at all the excitement. I had to feed her twice but I had my sling with me and even though I had never fed her standing up before, I managed.

By the time we got into the “sale zone” it was about 11 and I was a little worried they would be out by then but there were still tons left. I was even able to grab 2 of the last 3 dark pinks, one of my favorites and a very popular color. 100717 Lucy 034

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You enter the roped off area and it is nothing but 5-6 folding tables with huge piles of diapers sorted by color. More diapers than you have probably ever seen in your life.

Before we left the house, I had told myself I was only going to spend $10 but I didn’t know how good the sale was and I had waited so long that I wanted my “time's” worth so I upped my limit and said I would buy 15, or 5 for me and two of my other cd’ing friends. I actually bought 16 because I miscounted and didn’t realize until I was checking out but it worked out nicely since that meant I got to keep one of every color – a rainbow for Lucy’s bottom. In hindsight, I should have bought more but I was scared I was only getting caught up in the frenzy and would regret it. That is really easy to do at sales but now I regret not buying them. Oh well, there is always next time. And yes, I will be going again next time!


What I Learned from "The Science of Parenting"

This is part two of my parenting book review series. Part one was on Nuture Shock.

Another book I checked out upon Lucy's birth was The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland. In this book, Sunderland sets out for us (to quote the subtitle) "how today's brain research can help you raise happy, emotionally balanced children." More so than other areas, including intelligence, I am concerned about Lucy's emotional development, because I think that parents have a great deal of impact on that area, and thus a lot of potential exists to, frankly, screw a kid up if you do things incorrectly. This book uses the findings of neuroscience to examine how parenting styles affect the child's brain.

This book begins by laying out a basic map of the brain, and refers back to this information often. Sunderland breaks the brain down into reptilian (instinctive), mammalian (emotional), and rational (higher) components, and links these areas to behaviors exhibited by children as they develop. As you might expect, as a child develops, his actions are controlled more and more by the latter areas of the brain. It is a parent's job to help her child learn to deal with her emotions as he matures

This book is stark about the failures to do this properly. Depression, anxiety, aggression, and failure to find fulfillment are some of the negative outcomes that can result from improper emotional development. While this book might be drawing a too-direct line between parenting during a child's first years and these adult symptoms, it makes sense that many issues in teens and adults can indeed be traced to childhood.

This book launches a brutal assault on "let them cry" parenting, explaining that crying is a result of real stresses and that the stress hormone cortisol is released during crying episodes. Sunderland explains that soothing your child turns off the cortisol flow, but failing to do so allows the brain to simmer in this hormone, potentially "damaging key structures and systems in the developing brain." This will affect the child's future ability to deal with stress, leaving him "wired for bodily hyperarousal." Letting them cry works, it is true, the author says, but only because the baby either grows exhausted or gives up hope of receiving help.

While on the subject of contentious child-rearing issues, this book next addresses daycare, warning that separation from parents can have ill effects on children. Sunderland doesn't rule out daycare as an option, though; she merely states that your caregiver should be emotionally aware and attentive and be able to help your child deal with stress.

Next, Sunderland offers her support to cosleeping (the act of sleeping in close proximity to your child), stating that it helps regulate baby's sleep patterns (heartbeat, temperature, breathing, etc.). From an emotional standpoint, it increases the amount of touch a child receives, touch being an important stress regulation tool. The book addresses arguments against cosleeping by suggesting common-sense precautions and demonstrating that SIDS rates are lower in cosleeping cultures than in the crib-using-West. While the emotional aspects of co-sleeping are few, this chapter goes in to negative forms of sleep training that can have ill effects.

In the behavior chapters, this book discusses why kids misbehave (e.g. hunger, stress at home) and the two types of tantrums (distress and "Little Nero") and how to deal with them.  Basically, the first should be soothed and the second ignored.  They can be distinguished in that, in the latter, the child can vocalize his specific demands.

Sunderland goes into a number of other topics, including bullying, building social skills, and the proper use of time outs.  This is another book that is science-based and useful in a number of situations for kids of a wide range of ages.  I'd say this belongs on your parenting bookshelf.


Just what the doctor ordered

We just finished up a long weekend with Craig's brother and sister. It was just what the doctor (well, midwife) ordered. The last week or two I have been starting to get a bit of the baby blues. When I was at my parents there were always people around but now that we are back here I'm a bit lonely and with trying to get the car situation handled and recovering from the flu, physically run down too. I didn't have a chance to even relax at home with Craig these last few weeks. That is not a good combination. So when we went back to the midwives for one last visit, I was pretty sure what she was going to say and I was right - Get out of the house!

Now, I'm not supposed to run myself ragged but I do need to start being a little more brave about venturing out into the real world with Lucy - go to mom groups, make play dates with friends, find time to talk to people who can actually talk back. But it will mean being brave. When Lucy was born, I set my sights on 6 weeks. I just kept reminding myself that I just had to get to 6 weeks. I'm not sure why but I assumed that so much would happen by then - breastfeeding would get easier, I would have some semblanced of a routine, I would be able to do some housework (dishes, laundry), and I would be comfortable getting out of the house with Lucy. And most of those are true, but not the leaving the house with just Lucy part. Moms with more than one kid are probably laughing at me now but that is still super scary for me! But I need to get over it so I'm going to be planning a few more outings for the next couple weeks.

This weekend was a good jumpstart since Lucy was great on all our outings and I gained some confidence. I always had at least one other person around but it still helped. We went on a tour of a local attraction, had dinner out, and stood in line for 3 hours for diapers (more on that later). Craig and his sibs also went to a baseball game and did some sight seeing without Lucy and I since it was a little hot for us to be outside all day but it gave us a chance to catch up on our naps so we were refreshed and happy when they returned. We also spent quite a bit of time just hanging out here adoring Lucy. She still refused to roll over in front of anyone (but she just did it upstairs when I put her in her co-sleeper for tummy time while I put away laundry - What gives!?) but she did lots of smiling and cooing and had a tons of fun with her aunt and uncle. I'd say it was a successful visit.


An Answer

I recently put up a facebook status about being how I seem unable to shower before 2pm. (But just for the record, a few days ago I was showered and dressed by 9am, but the next day it was back to 2:30). A friend then asked why I couldn’t put her in a crib or something to take a shower. I think she was a bit afraid I would think she was asking the question in a rude way but I knew she wasn’t because about 2 months ago when I was 38 weeks pregnant and everyone was telling me to enjoy eating a meal sitting down or showering in the morning, I was wondering the same thing. That question was right up there with “But what am I going to do all day?” And they are pretty closely linked.

As someone who thinks it is vitally important that I stay home with my child, I obviously didn’t think that what I was going to be doing was unimportant, I just couldn’t really wrap my head around how I would actually be spending my minutes.

And to be honest, while I can answer the first question (and I promise, I will eventually), I still have a hard time with the second. I know that I am busy all day and exhausted by the time I go to bed, but if I add up the minutes I spend on the few activities I can actually quantify (change 8 diapers x 5 minutes = 40 + have face to face or tummy time with Lucy = 60 minutes, etc), it doesn’t add up. In fact, I’d probably be missing 5-6 hours

So what did I do with the rest of the day? Did I really just spend them holding/feeding/bouncing/rocking a baby? Well, Yes!

When Lucy is awake, I am either feeding her, changing her or playing with her. She has finally gotten to the point where she can spend 5-10 minutes on a blanket amusing herself by staring at her hands or black and white pictures but when left alone (and by alone I mean, I’m sitting there but not interacting with her) her mood can go from happy to screaming bloody murder in a matter of seconds so leaving her like that isn’t a good idea, even if she is safe in her co-sleeper. Plus, she isn’t in that awake and active stay enough that I want to waste that time.

But it is true what they say, babies sleep a lot. But what they don’t tell you is that their sleep cycles are very short and they spend a lot of time in that light sleep stage. For Lucy, that means the stage where she must be held or at least touched. If she is between Craig and I on the bed and starts to stir, all he normally needs to do is put his hand on her chest and she will go back to sleep, but if we don’t, she will completely wake up and not be too happy about it either. So during the day I hold her or wear her a lot or if I really need a break, I’ll wait till she is completely out. Not falling asleep, not the “it looks like I’m asleep but if you look very closely between my closed eyelids you can see my eyes moving” stage but the totally out of it, “you can pick my hand up and drop it and I don’t stir” stage. That is when I can put her down in her infant chair and do something like use the stove or take a shower. I only have until her next light sleep stage though. The infant chair on vibrate will keep her asleep through a light sleep stage about 50% of the time but it is best not to count on it. Murphy’s law says that if I do, I will end up with a screaming baby and shampoo in my hair. But still, the infant chair is great. Her first deep sleep I eat breakfast, her second I normally grab lunch, the third is when I try to shower (hence the 2pm thing) and the 4th I try and check emails, switch laundry, etc. Writing this down makes it sound very tedious but it really isn’t, I love it. I may smell bad all morning but I love it. And it is nice to know that our UPS man’s wife had a baby a month ago so he doesn’t judge :-)

Which brings me to my final point. I’ve been saying Lucy is an easy baby. I’m not sure that is entirely correct. I think she is just a normal baby that gets held a lot. While at my parents (where they have cable!) I enjoyed an episode or two of “Bringing Home Baby.” Since I had just lived through that, I’m not really sure why I enjoyed watching it but I did. There was one mom that was fretting over her 3-4 day old little boy, saying how he was such a fussy cranky baby and always cried. But then I saw that even though their were four adults in the room (her, the dad and her in-laws) they kept trying to put him in his crib by himself and he didn’t like it. She then went on to say that he would only stop crying when he was held. It made me so sad to watch.

Now I don’t think spending a few minutes alone in a crib will scar him for life but I did feel really bad for her, she was already thinking so negatively about it because she didn’t really know what to expect. I wanted someone to tell her that she didn’t have a extremely fussy, cranky newborn; she just had a newborn. Our babies weren’t that different but instead of thinking “My baby always cries unless I hold him,” I just always think “Wow, Lucy is such a happy baby as long as I am willing to hold/nurse her.” Perspective changes everything! I’m not saying that their aren’t truly high needs babies and I certainly am not doubting that their are colicky babies out there that despite their parents rocking, bouncing, swaddling ,etc just insist on crying for long periods of time. Even my “easy baby” has been having rough evenings the last week or so. She is calm most of the time if I am willing to nurse her but we have had to resort to the vacuum or hairdryer a few times. Sometimes babies are just fussy, I get that. But I do wonder how many “cranky, fussy” babies out there are just babies getting a label they don’t really deserve.


Grandparent Alert! Grandparent Alert!

We interupt this regularly scheduled weekend to bring you exciting news. First watch this video.

Okay, you are probably asking what she did. Nothing. But 20 seconds after I stopped filming this she rolled over for the first time! Then she lay there dazed and confused wondering how she ended up on her back before I got excited and rushed over. I also let out a bit of a squeal that scared her. Probably not the best reaction I could have had but it really is a bit early for her to be doing that (6 weeks, 6 days old to be precise) so I wasn't expecting it at all. It was thrilling!

Three days and she had rolled over 3-4 more times but only when I was alone with her. Craig said he believed me but I think he may have been having his doubts. Luckily I finally caught it on video.

As of now, no one else has seen her do it "live" but it's just a matter of time.

P.S. You'll notice there are a lot of Lucys rolling over on YouTube.


Bathing Beauty

I do believe I've already mentioned that Lucy loves her baths but if for some reason you didn't believe me, here is photographic proof.
This is her first bath, when she was still a bit unsure of the situation:

Later that month, she knew what to expect. And not only is she enjoying herself more, we got better pictures because I was a little more confident I wasn't going to drop her and wasn't yelling kindly suggesting that Craig put down the camera and help me :-)


Announcing Lucy

Turns out, it was a stomach bug. One the postive side, I can stop feeling guilty because I didn't do it to myself. On the negative side, I know it was a stomach bug because on Monday, Lucy came down with it too. She had a much milder case, probably because she got both the germs and the antibodies from me and by Monday, my good guys had already figured out the bad guys achilles heels but I still hated seeing her sick. We were both on our third outfit of the day by noon but she was only cranky when she was awake and that was very litte. She really only woke up to eat until the evening. We finished the day with a 3 hr nursing session (oh yes, you read that right). I stopped about 1.5 hr into it to change her diaper and put her in pjs and she ended up crying so hard to was chocking herself. But as soon as I was available again, she was soothed. She finally feel asleep but was very restless all night. It was a long day but we survived and she is basically back to her happy self again now. Thanks goodness. Anyway, I'm putting up the post I had already planned for today because a little someone is demanding my attention. She missed out on some play time while she was sick and wants to make up for it.

Back when Lucy was still Nigel, I designed our birth announcements. Instead of paying up to $2.00 per card, I just made one with Photoshop and had it printed as a 4x6 picture for about 10 cents each. Even factoring in the weird-sized envelopes I had to buy on Amazon.com it came in a good $80 cheaper that way.
Here is the blank girl version:
and the boy version:
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And the filled in one: (except it really said our last name)
The design is very similar to one I’ve seen before but I did create all the patterns myself in Photoshop and since I love getting scrap freebies from other sites, I though I’d offer it to all of you. Just let me know and I’ll email it out. I would post it for you to download but I don’t know how and don’t really have to time know to figure it out. Maybe someday.

I love the three pictures we selected but there were so many good “Newborn Glamour Shots” that I couldn’t help but post some more here. My favorite expression is the bottom middle one, I just wish the backgroun was better.

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What I Learned From "Nuture Shock"

Upon Lucy's arrival, I decided to plunder the shelves of the local library for parenting books. In this and my next post, I'll highlight a couple that I read and share what I learned.

The first book is Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman.  This book is like Freakonomics in that it attempts to use science to debunk some commonly-held notions and illuminate factors that have gone unnoticed.  Here are some claims I found noteworthy:
  • Praising a child for an innate trait ("you're so smart") is counterproductive because it teaches kids they are natural talents from whom much effort shouldn't be needed.  This can cause them to quit in the face of challenges.  Praising effort, on the other hand, encourages kids to give more effort when challenged.
  • All those efforts by politically-correct parents to teach their kids that all races are equal without talking about race, and instead merely placing them in diverse environments and hoping osmosis occurs, fail because kids obviously notice skin color, and will come to their own conclusions if race isn't discussed specifically (insted of just saying "everyone is equal").
  • IQ tests and other means of classifying kindergarteners and preschoolers don't work, because kids are too young for such testing before about 3rd grade.  However, many gifted programs test kids at these young ages - and never again -  so kids are locked in to or out of these programs right off the bat.
  • Today's educational TV shows teach kids new ways to be mean to each other.  The conflict resolution that takes place in the last minute of such shows has little effect on young viewers.
  • It's a good sign when teens argue with parents about the rules, because it means they respect the rules.  If they didn't, they'd just ignore them.  If they have a reasonable case to make about changing a rule, hear them out.
This book provides well-referenced information that can be put into daily parenting practice. It has something for parents of children of all ages. It is well worth reading.


Better late than never

Since this was the first weekend in a month that it was going to be just the three of us here at home, I had hoped it would be quiet and relaxing. Instead, I spent Saturday sleeping/shaking next to a bucket and Craig spent it on “mommy duty” except for every 2 hours or so when he would bring Lucy into me and I would force myself into an awake non-vomitous state long enough to feed her. It was fun. I hope to do it again – never.

I’m not sure if it was actually a stomach bug or that the stress and fatigue was a bit much combined with the fact that I hadn’t been eating enough and then let myself get so dehydrated that my head was spinning and hurt so bad that I made myself sick. Probably the latter but we will be sticking with the first story since that one isn’t my fault. No need to add guilt in. But still, Craig ran and got me lots of easy-to-grab snacks and I’ve been keeping my water bottle close ever since.

Craig was great though. Even though I typically have to fight the urge to offer constructive criticism that he doesn’t really need, I never once worried about Lucy yesterday. And luckily I had even showed him Friday night when we went to take a walk how to use the ring sling. It is the second best way to get her to take a nap which is especially useful to Craig since he lacks the equipment for the top way. So all in all, he managed her quite well. He even made dinner which is better than I do sometimes.

So after a long, grueling Saturday we took it easy on Sunday. I did however, lay on the couch for a while organizing our pictures. I put copies of all my favorites into files according to the scrapbook pages I want to make so months from now when I actually have some time to scrapbook, I won’t feel quite so overwhelmed. And it was so much fun to look back over the last 6 weeks. Lucy has already grown so much. But I now feel remiss in posting my pictures. There are so many cute ones you all have just got to see. So the next week or two will probably be me playing catch-up with that. Especially since it is easy. But don’t worry. If babies aren’t your thing and you haven’t abandoned this blog already, Craig will have a few posts up with words I think.


Great Links and my own story (short as it is)

I just discovered (through Sorta Crunchy's post) that Nursing Freedom is hosting a Nursing in Public (n.i.p.) Carnival. Luckily Lucy is having a sleepy morning and I've actually been able to read several of the posts. Everything I have read so far has been great and I can't wait to have time to read more.

But I thought I would give my thoughts on n.i.p so far, especially since I think it is the type of thing I myself will want to read in a year or so when I know and have experienced more.

Before Lucy was born, I was worried how I would handle n.i.p. I knew that I wanted to be an ecological nurser if at all possible and since Craig and I are active people, nursing in public was something I was going to have to get used to.

And philosophically, I was torn. I'm generally a very modest person and have been working hard to allow God to grow me in that area. But like many of the posts in the carnival, I think our country's perception about norms in the area of feeding babies is skewed. It is going to take our willingness to show that breastfeeding is normal to change that and does hiding in a bathroom or only nursing in my car really show that? I wanted to be a proud nursing mom but felt like I would end up a timid nursing mouse and I still wasn't sure where I felt like the line between babies needs and modesty lie. Like I said, I was torn.

So I bought a nursing cover, made a few nursing undershirts and hoped for the best.

Then when Lucy was one week old, we went to see a lactation consultant at a local store. Their sitting area is about 1/3 of the store and while it is in the back, it is by no means hidden. I had been their before and was a bit worried about modesty on the way there but funnily enough, once I got there, it didn't matter at all. I needed help, she was offering help so there I was, no special nursing shirt, no blanket, no hooter hider. It wasn't just that I didn't mind being exposed, it was that I wasn't even thinking about it.

5 weeks later and I've now nursed Lucy in a lot of places.

With a cover in a
  • Very crowded Cracker Barrel (Father's day is a bad day to go out to eat)
  • Fancy German restaurant (it was actually easier to feed her there than to change her since they lacked a changing station and I had to recruit Windsor to help me make a makeshift one in a handicap stall - stupid German restaurant)
  • Church
  • Sunday School
  • At a car dealership while watching Craig haggle for our new (to us) car
Without a cover at -
  • Le Leche League
  • Another nursing group
  • Doctor's office
  • Midwife's office
  • Car at a gas station 5 minutes from home (what can I say, she didn't feel like waiting :-)
  • At a car dealership waiting to sign the title
Looking over that list, I realized that it isn't really my own feelings about modesty that effected my comfort level with nursing in public but what I thought others were thinking. The places I was comfortable nursing without a cover were the places where that was expected. Men were present at both the nursing group and L.L.L. and I didn't feel immodest or uncomfortable since I knew they wouldn't be thinking anything of it. That is how I hope/wish it was everywhere else. Just something that happens all the time and isn't weird. Because it isn't. Knowing that is how I feel makes me want to be more bold about nursing in public.

It's not that I don't want to be mindful of others feelings. I do but only to a certain extent. I think the key for me is to feel confident. If someone sees me and I look uncomfortable, they are more likely to feel awkward too, then I feel more awkward, etc. So I say, if you're confident about using a cover, use it. If you are more comfortable without it, leave it at home.

I actually feel uncomfortable with the nursing cover. Not only is it physically uncomfortable but Lucy doesn't like it and it gets hot under there. It also feels like I have a giant sign on me saying, "I'm a nursing mom but I'm being discreet because this is uncomfortable for me."

But that doesn't mean I'm ready to completely go without it either. I need a bit more practice getting things situated and clothing in/out of the right places discreet. But I know I am gaining confidence with each time and as soon as I can ditch the cover, I will. This week Lucy and I will be practicing nursing in a ring sling at home with the hope of mastering it. At least, that's the plan. And hopefully some of the other posts will keep me inspired to fight the fight for breastfeeding.


Relaxin' today

We're back home today. After my last post, the doctors did more tests and determined that an operation would not be in my mom's best interest, so they loaded up again, picked up Windsor, my soon to be sister-in-law, who was willing and able to be a last minute backup driver for my dad and headed on home again. A neighbor and close friend of my parents, who I do not think I could have managed that first week without, picked up my older brother Rick (to whom Windsor is engaged, for those trying to keep track) from the airport at 2am Friday morning and Craig drove in Friday afternoon so when my younger brother Ben arrived home from a baseball tournament that weekend, we were all together.

My mom started chemo and radiation last Monday and wasn't sure what to expect as far as side effects go so we kept the itinerary short. Craig had to go off on a business trip before the long weekend but the rest of us spent a lovely week and a half just lounging, eating and having fun together. It was quite a change for Lucy going from the quiet environment of just Ben and I to a noisy household full of people but she did well except for a few nights when I could tell she was just overwhelmed. And of course everyone adored her.

Yesterday was quite a trip, between the drive home and the stops to look at cars to buy on the way, it took over 8 hours to get from one door to the other but we did make a purchase so that is a big stress that is gone. Plus we managed to get what should be a safe and reliable vehicle with enough room for Lucy and still stay within our budget. Last week while I was looking online at options I did not think that would happen so I must say God provided well.

It was hard leaving my parents but now that we are home again, I'm glad to be here. It's quiet, Lucy is sleeping and I am surveying the damage. Three weeks of newborn living means that we left the place in a mess. Craig had plans to clean up while we were gone but with the car wreck and the trip out of town that didn't happen and now we have a mess plus a pile of stuff that was in our old car sitting in our living room plus a bunch of suitcases upstairs that have to be unpacked. So right now I should be putting stuff away and being productive while I can but I'm not going to, this morning I'm just gonna sit a little while and relax. The mess will still be there later.