Wednesday, September 26, 2012

This and That

I found the perfect lamp for Caroline's room the other day. I had been looking for one of those glass lamps that are trendy right now, but was hoping for something a little cheaper and less breakable than the super expensive ones I was finding. While browsing Target, I stumbled upon an acrylic lamp that was priced right. I think it looks perfect in her room!


I have been reading Insurgent, of the Divergent trilogy, for over a month. I just cannot finish the book. I really liked Divergent, but Insurgent seems really slow. I want to finish it so that I can start Gone Girl. My mom just read it and said it was crazy good. I am also reading Bringing Up Bebe, a book about French parenting. I am only a couple chapters in, but it is very interesting to see how different the French view everything regarding pregnancy, child birth, and child rearing.

I am starting to get anxious about going back to work. I want to go back, but I also know that I will miss my baby girl so much. I wish I could wear her to work and not have to be away from her. Ha. In a perfect world, right? I have some specific concerns about continuing to breast feed, pumping at work, and how it will all work out with daycare. I am probably over-thinking the daycare part....I know I am not the first mom to pump and bottle feed at daycare. Any tips and ideas regarding this stuff is greatly appreciated, however!

I still have 10 pounds to lose to get back to my standard weight. I didn't weigh myself regularly before I got pregnant, but I was probably about 5 pounds heavier than I was when I got married. However, I have no motivation to do anything about it. I swore I wouldn't be like this when I was pregnant, but it is way harder to get my butt off the couch and go for a run when there is a snuggly baby to be held and household chores that need to be done. Or crime shows to be watched, if we're being honest. 


Monday, September 24, 2012

Project Pinterest - Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole



One of the things that has surprised me about being at home with Caroline is how much free time I have on my hands. At first I was napping while she napped, but now that Caroline is only waking up once between 4 and 6 AM, I don't need to nap anymore. So, I decided to start doing some of the many things that I have pinned on Pinterest during my free time. AP from I Love You More Than Carrots also is doing the things she pins, and created a link-up for it, called Project Pinterest. Today I am linking up to show you one of the many things I have done over the last few weeks.


On Sunday we had friends over for brunch, so I decided to make a crock pot breakfast casserole originally posted by a Latte' with Ott, A. I have been wanting to try it, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Here is the recipe card from the original source.
It was pretty easy to put together and only took about 15 minutes to prep. 

  
We then turned the crock pot on low and went to bed. I checked on it when I got up to feed Caroline around 5:30 and it looked done, so I turned it to warm. At this point it had been cooking for about 8 hours.

When it was finally time to eat it around 10 AM, it looked a tad overcooked, but it still was pretty tasty! We just ate around the edges.


Next time I will add more veggies and not cook them ahead of time so that there is some crunch to the casserole. I also would start it later at night or early in the morning. You could probably prep it and keep it in the fridge, adding the egg mixture right before turning the crock pot on if you want to cook it in the morning. Overall I would say this is a keeper, with modifications. The ease of not having to cook before guests arrived was amazing!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Birth announcements!

Our family and friends should have received Caroline's birth announcement (from Etsy seller slwdesigns) by today, so I can finally post it!


We had our two month appointment today. Caroline now weighs 9lbs, 10oz. and is 23 inches long. She's a little peanut! I've been reassured by her doctor that although she's small, she's gaining fine and looks healthy. It's hard not to worry though! Especially since she spits up so much. Ahhh motherhood.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Caroline's Nursery

Our nursery inspiration started with this bedding from Pottery Barn, which I bought back in 2010.


I wanted a relaxing environment, which I think we achieved with the white furniture and mostly neutral decor. When we found out we were having a girl, I added crystal knobs to the furniture and a few other girly accents, like the chandelier print. I also wanted to include some pink accents, but have had a hard time finding hot pink decor. When I do find some things I will add them to the shelves and bookcase. In the mean time, here is Caroline's room!




Blogger is being a pain and not letting me move pictures, so I apologize for the hodge podge look!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A few of my favorite things (newborn edition)

I added many things to our registry based on "favorite things" posts from bloggers. I trust blogger recommendations more than random Amazon users, and with the exception of one or two things, I love everything that we are currently using. I still enjoy reading these kind of posts, so I figured I would do one too.

Here are some of my favorite things thus far...

Feeding:

MAM bottles and pacifiers
One of my friends gave us a MAM bottle and pacifier that she received at a L&D nursing conference. The nipple is contoured so that baby has to latch on as s/he would when breastfeeding. Caroline liked the sample bottle so much we ordered an entire set. I also really like the pacifiers because the nipple is small. The other brands recommended for 0+ were way too big for her.

Tommee Tippee milk bibs
These bibs are super soft and sit right under the neck, which is great for spit up and milk dribbles.

Osocozy cloth diapers
We use these as burp clothes. I like that they are big and absorbant. 

Medela Pump-in-style Advanced
A must have if you are breastfeeding. I use mine every day to pump a bottle for Alson to give Caroline. I also used it an additional time each day in the first month to help build my supply and a frozen stash. I will also use it when I go back to work. 

Medela Harmony Pump
I use this hand pump if I just need to pump off a little bit of milk to relieve engorgement. It is generally easier and quicker in the middle of the night, if Caroline sleeps a little longer than usual.

Oxo Tot drying rack
We have a couple dishwasher baskets, but I have yet to use them. We wash pump and bottle parts at least once a day, so doing it by hand and using a drying rack has just been easier. 

Entertainment:

My Little Snug-a-bunny bouncer and swing
Every single blog post I read recommended these two things. Caroline really likes both. 

Strollers:

Bumbleride indie stroller
I love this stroller. It lays flat and can be used with newborns, without the car seat adapter, which I really liked. It is lighter than the BOB and isn't too heavy for me to get in and out of my trunk. The suspension and ride are so smooth and Caroline has taken many naps during our strolls.

Chicco Keyfit Caddy
This stroller is so necessary for quick trips to the store when I don't want to take Caroline out of her car seat.

Diapering:

Jillian's Drawers diaper service
If you live in Upstate New York, this is an amazing service. We get prefold diapers delivered to us every week, and they pick up the dirty ones too! It is a great way to cloth diaper before your little one fits in one size AIO or pocket cloth diapers. Plus, you don't have to do laundry.

Thirstie's covers
We use these covers with the prefolds and have been very happy. We have only had a handful of leaks, which is usually our fault for leaving it on for too long. The double gusset does a great job of containing otherwise.

Grovia Magic Stick
This diaper ointment can be used with cloth diapers. We use the magic stick at every diaper change, and have yet to have a full blown diaper rash.

Simplehuman trash can
We use this as a diaper pail to hold our cloth diapers (with a Planet Wise Diaper Pail Liner). It keeps the stink out and has a foot pedal for easy opening.

Arm and Hammer fresheners
These also help to keep the nursery smelling nice!

Earth's Best diapers and wipes
We put Caroline in a disposable diaper at night because she sleeps for long stretches and we don't want her to sit in a wet prefold (which does not wick away moisture). We chose these diapers because they are chlorine free. We have only had a couple blow outs and have had no issues with leaking. We use these wipes all the time, which are also chlorine free.

Clothing and Blankets:

Disney Baby onesies
These onesies are SO soft and have held up to multiple washings very well. They also have the "grow with me snaps", which should help them fit longer.

aden + anais muslin blankets
These blankets are the best, especially for a summer baby. They are lightweight and super soft. We use them as a blanket and as a swaddle wrap during the day. 

Bathing:

California Baby Shampoo and Body Wash
This stuff smells so good and really gets Caroline clean. We also have had no issues with cradle cap. 

Fisher Price whale tub
I like that Caroline sits in the water and is at a good angle in this tub. It is kind of no frills, which is nice since she is only in the tub for a few minutes each night.

Swaddle Designs hooded towels
These towels are very soft and very nice quality. I also like that the designs are not super "baby", since Caroline's bath is on our main level and hang where everyone can see them.

Circo wash clothes 
These wash clothes are nice and thin, which make it easy to get into all the nooks and crannies. We have some Swaddle Designs wash clothes that are much thicker, and they just aren't useful yet. 

Babywearing:

ERGObaby carrier
I did a lot of baby carrier research and decided to go with the ERGO. It is very easy on both of our backs and shoulders, and Caroline often falls asleep while in it.

Moby
I also have a Moby, which I use a lot with the hug hold. Caroline did not like the newborn hold at all. It is definitely a pain to tie the Moby at first, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly. I first registered for a K'tan, but sent it back because I couldn't get a good fit. I like that the Moby is adjustable.


I think that is everything that I am loving right now! Let me know if you have any questions about these things. I tried to be brief, but would be happy to share more info if you'd like it.

Friday, September 7, 2012

On Breastfeeding...

Breastfeeding. Oh, breastfeeding. Such a hot button topic with moms. I hadn't really thought about it until well into my pregnancy, but once I started reading about it, I thought....oh, I can do that. It seemed easy, it's free, and there are many reported benefits for both mom and baby.

Ha. Hahaha. Easy?

Our breastfeeding journey has been anything but easy. I am not writing about my experience to turn anyone off of breastfeeding. I am writing about it because everything I read had me duped. I even took a class at the hospital. I was under the impression that it might take a little work for everything to be perfect, but that the whole process is instinctual for the baby and that it shouldn't be too hard. I learned about all the different holds, the anatomy of the breast and baby's mouth, and what a good latch should look like. What I didn't know was that it WILL be painful in the beginning, there is a serious learning curve, and there are lots of things you'll need that aren't free. I wish I knew what difficulties I would face so that I could have been truly prepared. I am pretty sure my Baby Blues were exacerbated by my BF experience. I felt a lot of guilt because I wanted to quit after just a few days (and I still have days where I seriously contemplate stopping), but hearing for other moms that what I was going through was normal helped me to power through.

So about that experience...

I BFed Caroline right after she was born. She latched on and went to town. I don't remember if it was painful that first time because the first hour or so after delivery was such a whirlwind. I was so overwhelmed with emotion and my new baby....so everything is a little fuzzy. Things started to be obviously painful that first night. Every time she latched on it really hurt. I had bruising on my areolas right away. By the time we went home my nipples were cracked and bleeding. I dreaded every feeding because the pain was so excruciating. Once my milk came in, I was so engorged that I couldn't sleep or lie down comfortably. Luckily the initial engorgement died down after a couple days. Seven weeks in though, and I am still not fully regulated and I still have pain when BFing. I also am constantly battling plugged milk ducts. I started taking 1200 mg of Lecithin 3x a day to help prevent them, but I still get one every few days. They are painful and make my breasts sore. You have to massage and apply warm compresses to get rid of them, which is particularly a pain in the middle of the night. I worry that a plugged duct will turn into mastitis, which is a nasty infection that I do not want to mess with. I had one plugged duct a couple weeks ago that left me with a red streak on my breast, one of the signs of mastitis. Luckily it went away after about a week and nothing materialized. But I was scared and freaked out the entire time it was there.

Then there is the gassiness, fussiness, and spit up. We still don't know what exactly is going on with Caroline, but these are all things we face daily. I am trying to eliminate certain things in my diet to see if we can identify what exactly is bothering her, but this proved to be difficult and also had me feeling guilty every time I ate something that could possibly irritate her. Two weeks ago we started to give her gas drops at every feeding (after an emergency trip to the pediatrician), which seem to be helping some. The spit up, however, is an ongoing issue. We go through many outfits, burp clothes, and blankets throughout the day. Caroline was slow to get back up to birth weight, which  can happen with BF babies....especially if they are spitting up a lot. She did eventually start gaining appropriately and we didn't need to supplement, but I felt like a real failure at her first pediatrician appointment, like I wasn't providing enough nourishment for my baby. Anyway, these things are not issues for every baby, but they aren't super uncommon either. I wish I had known this in the beginning so that we could have started gas drops sooner, and so I didn't panic every time she spit up or fussed like crazy.

I think my early experience would have been better if a few things happened differently. I wanted to meet with the lactation consultant on staff with the hospital when we were still in maternity, but she just happened to be on vacation that weekend. The nurses on maternity tried to help me with the latch, but a lot of their help was more in just getting her on, and they didn't have the time to sit and help me make sure she was on there right. I should have asked for more help from the nurses. I did end up meeting with two different LCs at the hospital's community health center during the first two weeks. They both helped us with our latch, but by the time I saw the second LC, there was so much damage to my nipples, that even a proper latch was painful. I was then prescribed All Purpose Nipple Cream to help heal my nipples, because Lansinoh and Motherlove weren't cutting it. Within a week or so the scabs and cracks had healed, but to this day, I am still tender. If it hadn't gotten to such a painful point, I might have fed her more and mastered everything quicker. She might have gained weight better if she nursed more often. Etc, etc, etc. I think everything just snowballed, and what might have been a minor issue (say, a plugged duct) felt like such a huge deal in light of everything else I was dealing with.

And as for breastfeeding being free? Perhaps if you take a super minimalist approach, but that just isn't realistic for most people. You need nursing bras and nursing tanks. You need creams and gel pads to help with the initial pain and burning. You need breast pads for the leaking. You need a pump. I ended up buying two....both a manual (for engorgement or just expressing a little milk here and there) and a double electric (for when I am away from Caroline during a feeding, to build up a frozen stash, or to pump so AJ can give her a bottle). These things add up quick. Most of the things just require an initial investment, but it certainly isn't "free".

Things are improving though. I can take a shower without shielding my nipples. I don't cringe when I put on breast pads and a bra. Caroline is now gaining weight as she should and definitely looks like she is filling out. And I really do cherish the time we spend nursing. Things aren't perfect yet, but I can see that they are getting better, and I am holding out hope that we'll be pros at this someday.