Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hippity Hoppity

Happy Saturday, Friends! 

Not sure if you can tell, but I've been trying to do some blog updating this week.  So far, the biggest accomplishment has been changing the header picture and then getting it to the right size.  If you even knew how much time and effort that took, you'd either shake your head and roll your eyes or be really impressed (if you know how technologically challenged I am, it would definitely be the latter).  On to the next task, creating pages!!!  If anyone is a blogger genius and can help me, I will pay you in sunshine and hugs.

This morning, our neighborhood had an Easter Egg Hunt.  We have lots of events like this throughout the year for adults and kids, and we love it.  Obviously, Lilly is too young to hunt eggs but I heard the Easter bunny himself was going to make an appearance, so we decided to stop in and see if Lilly would cooperate for pictures.  We also invited her bestie, Hadley for the occasion.  It has rained all morning, but luckily for us the show went on inside the clubhouse.  My only complaint is that we realized we forgot Lilly's Easter basket, but really it's not like anything would have been in it anyway.  Plus, honestly the Easter bunny did not look super comfortable holding babies so the basket + baby may have put him over the edge.

I was slightly worried that Lilly wouldn't cooperate, that she would be fussy or something.  She for sure was not fussy, but she was very sleepy - we could not get her to wake up to save our lives!


 We changed her position in hopes that it would help wake her up, and it did...
 ...for approximately 5 seconds until she closed her eyes again.
I took quite a few pictures of Hadley, who was awake but didn't want to look at the camera because she was busy checking out the Easter bunny.  Not sure I blame her.  I'm sure she was thinking, "What IS this weird thing?!"  Anyway, I was only able to get one of her (kind of) looking at the camera.
How cute is Hadley's outfit?!

Of course after the Easter bunny left, both girls were wide awake, so we took the opportunity to grab some bestie photos (insert a collective "awwwwwwww" from all of the Moms who were still there and watching us).

Lilly hasn't quite gotten the hang of sitting straight up, she sort of looks like a sloth in these pictures, ha!

Overall, I'd say no meltdowns plus cute bestie photos made Operation Easter Bunny Photos a success!

The rest of our weekend should be pretty low-key.  We have plans to meet some of Dan's family for dinner this evening, and tomorrow we will probably try to go to church.  It will be the first time Lilly has been to our church, so fingers crossed that she cooperates!

Sarah

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Outing to Daddy's Work

Today I took Lilly to meet Dan (along with Uncle Bill and Uncle Bo) for lunch and also to his office to meet all of his co-workers.  To say she was loved on and got plenty of attention is a huge understatement.  I should also point out that it's the first time she's been out in public for a meal and she did great - she was awake and happy for part of it and slept through the rest.  That's my girl, Lils!


Thank the Lord I took extra diapers, because I think Lilly's shots yesterday made her constipated and she chose today while we were at Dan's office to fill up her britches 23984723497 times.  I think we went through four or five diapers while we were there, and we had to make Daddy's desk into a makeshift changing table:


What happens when Daddy changes my diaper.  He is so silly.
After lunch, Dan decided to have a little fun with Lilly at his desk:


Lilly was a real trooper.  She was happy and let everyone hold her, and it must have worn her slap out because she's been asleep ever since!  We promised we'd go back for another visit before I have to go back to work.

In other news, you may notice a new "top baby blogs" badge at the top of my page.  If you have a minute when you're dropping in to catch up, could you click on it and vote for us?  It's not a contest or anything like that, just a list of popular baby and children blogs for people to follow.  I figured that since I used the list to find blogs when I was pregnant, maybe other people will find ours helpful as well!  You can vote each time you visit the blog - thanks in advance!

Happy Wednesday!

Sarah

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2-Month Check Up

Today was an eventful day for Lilly bean, as we went to the pediatrician for her 2-month check up.  I have been dreading this appointment because I knew she would get shots - frankly, I was more worried about myself than her, she is such a trooper! 

Hopefully I am not jinxing myself by putting it on the internet for all of the world to see, but Lilly has been sleeping through the night for 4 or 5 nights in a row now!  I am one proud (and well-rested) Mommy.  I have been hesitant to write about it in case it was a fluke, but I am hoping that this is the beginning of a beautiful pattern.  :-)  She's been sleeping for around 8 consecutive hours after her dream feed, which is fabulous.  She woke up at 7:00 this morning, ate, and when right back to sleep - her appointment was at 9:55, so I had to wake her up to get her ready to go.  She pretty much slept through the entire appointment except when she was being measured, weighed, checked out by the doctor and given shots. 
Naked Lilly wrapped in blankets to keep warm while we were waiting on the pediatrician to come in.
The nurse came in and measured and weighed our little one and checked her vitals.  Here are our chunky girl's 2-month stats:
Height: 22 1/4 inches, 75th percentile (up from 20 1/4 inches at her 1-month appointment)
Weight: 12 lbs, 97th (lol) percentile (up from 9 lbs 1oz)
Head: 15 1/4 inches, 75th percentile (up from 14 inches)
When the pediatrician came in, the first words out of her mouth were, "Well hello, chunky baby, I find it hard to believe that we were ever worried about your weight!"

The doctor told us that Lilly is fantastic.  She said that she is a great eater (clearly) and a great sleeper.  I asked her about scheduling for sleeping and eating, and she said, "Why is it that the mothers of wonderful eaters and sleepers are never satisfied?!"  I was really asking more if I should be trying to get her in a routine, like sleeping at night and then 2 naps/day (morning and afternoon).  Currently, she goes down between 10-11 (some nights she snoozes for a few hours beforehand and we wake her up for a dream feed, other nights she is just awake after her bath until it's time to eat again and then goes to sleep after) and sleeps until 7 or 8 am.  She wakes up and eats and then goes back to sleep until around 11 but doesn't really take another "nap" - more like 30-minute snoozes here and there until after bath time (normally between 7 - 8 pm).  To that question, the doctor told me that she saw a mother yesterday of two 9-month old twins who are still waking up every 2.5 hours at night to eat.  AT 9 MONTHS OLD.  I am 100% sure we would not ever consider more children, EVER if that happened to us, because I'm not sure how we'd be surviving!  Anyway her point was, Lilly is doing wonderfully, don't change a thing.  She assured me that I am not over-feeding her and told me to continue to feed her when she's hungry.  She also said that Lilly's bed time will gradually start to get earlier on its own over the next few weeks, and predicted that by 4 months old at the latest Lilly will be sleeping from 7pm - 7am.  I also asked when we should cut out the dream feed, and she said whenever we're brave enough to try it and see what happens.  I took this to mean we should probably try before I go back to work in case it goes badly so that we can work it out while I can still nap during the day if I get a chance.  :-)

Fun fact: we discussed my milk production, and apparently I am actually above average in terms of the amount that I produce.  I was DEFINITELY in major over-production mode when Lilly was born, but I noticed a pretty big decrease when I started exclusively pumping.  Since I started using the pump correctly and using the Fenugreek (see my pumping tips), I have indeed noticed a big difference and an increase in my supply (although not back to what it was before, but I think I'm okay with it because stuffing a sports bra with 2 super plus maxi pads and still leaking every night was not pleasant).  She said that based on what I am producing, I should be consuming an extra 1,000 calories/day because you burn 20 calories per each ounce of milk.  NUTS, yes?  Who knew?!  Lilly's peak milk intake will be around 4 months, per the pediatrician, and she predicted that Lilly will be at the top of the range (the range for a 2-4 month old is 20-40 oz/day, so that would mean Lilly will take around 40 oz/day at her peak).  Wonder whatever gave her that impression.  :-)  I also asked her about when to stop swaddling, and she told us most people stop by around 5 months, but really whenever we are ready.  She said that when Lilly gets to the point where she can roll over while swaddled, we for sure need to stop.

I also asked about our diaper/poop leaking out of the legs issue to see if she had any suggestions other than "try a different brand or cloth diapers."  She said that she thinks we will not have that problem for much longer (see shots picture below).  :-)

I think that was about it in terms of the check up.  She reiterated that we're doing a great job, told us that Lilly is a great baby and we are very lucky, and told us not to start her on solids until after her 4-month check-up.  Lilly then had to get some shots - she got Pentacel (combination of DTaP, IPV, HIB), Prevnar and Rotateq today.  :-( 
This was more terrible than anything we have experienced yet.  She was SO good during the whole appointment, and was so happy and giggly when I laid her on the table, which  made me feel terribly guilty about what was about to happen.  When she got that shot, she let out the most pitiful, heart-wrenching cry I have ever heard in my life!  I cried, too, because I couldn't stand it.  I guess the shots made her sleepy (which I've been told is normal), because I fed her after the shots - around 11 - and she slept until 3:30, woke up to eat and has been asleep ever since.
When she's been awake, she's been a little fussy, but I think it's probably because she doesn't feel great due to the shots.  Also, I think they may have constipated her, because she seems to be working really hard and not getting a lot.  Does anyone know if that's normal?

Since Lilly is so sleepy, I have used the opportunity try to catch up on my thank you notes, because I will not let myself mail out Lilly's birth announcements (which have been here for approximately 3 weeks) until all thank you notes have ALL been mailed.  I got through all of the shower thank you notes today, and am horribly embarrassed that it's taken me so long to write them!  I just have not had a lot of free time, and when I have had free time I've either been napping with Lilly or trying to get my house in order.  So far, I've written about 100 total.  I have 50 more to go.  SIGH.

I guess that's all I have to report about our 2-month check-up.  It was again nice to hear that we're doing a great job, and even more wonderful to have confirmation that Lilly is indeed every bit as perfect as we think she is!  :-)

Sarah

Monday, March 26, 2012

Motherhood is not glamorous...

Howdy, friends!  Just thought I'd pop in with some hilarity to brighten up your Monday.

Dan's birthday was yesterday (Happy Birthday Prince Danny, we love you!), and of course I waited until the last minute to get his presents in order.  This was partially due to the fact that I had NO ideas for what to get him, and he did not give me any until literally Tuesday of this past week.  I planned to get everything taken care of Thursday, but I had a few other errands to run as well and didn't want Lilly to be cooped up in her carseat all day.  Plan B was to get them done Friday while I had Mom here for a while to help, but we got a late start and time got away from us and she had to leave.  Again, since we'd run a few errands with Lilly before Mom left, I didn't want her to be in the carseat all day, so this left me to do everything on Saturday.  I actually didn't mind this because I was thinking I could leave Lilly with Dan, but then he told me he planned to do yardwork on Saturday.  So, with Lilly in tow, I went in search of birthday gifts.

Layla, Lilly and I planned to get Dan a new set of irons and a new golf bag, per his request.  Lilly also got him a Cubs onesie so that they can match this summer, and we got him some frames so that we can put our beautiful faces in them for his desk at work.  So, I THOUGHT I could just go to Dick's and Kohl's, and then I needed to run to the Christian Book store because I wanted to get Hadley something special in honor of her baptism.  Our first stop was Dick's.  I was hoping I could go in and get what I needed and make it to Kohl's before Lilly got hungry.  Of course Dick's took longer than I anticipated and then only had the clubs and not the golf bag, so I decided to go to Golfsmith since that's the website Dan sent me with the link to the bag he wanted.  Golfsmith is 25-30ish minutes from our house.  Lilly was asleep when we were done at Dick's, so I decided to head over to Golfsmith and then change her and feed her in the car when we got there.  I should note here that Dan called me when I was almost to the store to tell me it was raining again at home and he was going to postpone yard work if I wanted to bring Lilly back.  If only he had told me that 20 minutes prior, sigh.

So, we arrived at Golfsmith just in time because Lilly was waking up.  I took her out of her car seat and changed her and was congratulating myself that I managed to do so without any accidents (you may remember that last time I attempted to change her in the car, she peed all over it).  At the exact same time I laid her on my lap and began to fold up the changing pad to put it back in the diaper bag, I heard the familiar sound of her filling up her britches. Sigh.  I decided to leave her there for a minute to let her finish her business.  Turns out I should have laid her on the changing pad, because what happened next resulted in the following:
I'm not sure whether you can really truly appreciate the severity of what the above picture shows, but if you need a hint - those brown stains are poop.  That's right, she pooped.  ALL. OVER. ME.  And herself.  Thank goodness I was prepared and had 3 outfit changes in her diaper bag.  I mean I have never seen so much poop.  I basically had to strip her naked and give her a bath with a wipe, change her clothes, wipe up her changing pad and then wipe my jeans with another wipe.  The store was way too far away to go back home and come back later in the day, so I had to go into that store wearing Lilly's poop and hoping I didn't smell terrible.  It was mortifying. 

She poops on herself at LEAST twice per day.  I think I've talked about this before, but it's the diapers.  We had to graduate to a size 1 last week, because she is chunky and the newborns no longer fit her big buddha belly.  HOWEVER, she has skinny chicken legs, and the poop always comes out of the leg holes in her diaper.  So I'm used to cleaning her up, but this was the first time she's actually pooped all over me.  Sigh.  We managed to go into the store and get what we needed and then get back home in one piece, but the whole incident must have traumatized because she spent much of the rainy afternoon napping like so:


Fast forward to yesterday.  We were so excited to go to Hadley's baptism, and I dressed her in a beautiful church dress for the occasion.  Behold the cuteness:

She did really well during the service - we had to take her out to feed her because church happened to be right in the middle of when she was supposed to eat - but for the rest of the service she just slept.  Bet you can't guess what happened next, though.  Yep, that's right.  After the service, pictures were being taken.  I felt her working on a poop, but decided to have our picture taken before changing her to make sure she was finished:


See that face she's making in the second picture?  Yep, that face means, "I just filled my britches something fierce and poop is currently dripping down Mom's dress."  Lilly:2, Sarah: 0.  Two days in a row?!  Really, Lilly?!  I am not kidding that it was dripping down my dress.  I am just thankful it didn't drip onto the church floor, because I would have been mortified.  The strange thing about this poop was that it actually came out the top of her diaper, not the legs, which doesn't make sense because she wasn't even laying down, I had her sitting up!  I mean is the force of it coming out just that strong that it shoots up?!  How does that happen?!  Not to mention, how is it possible that there was no poop on her bloomers - only on her dress?  It's baffling, I tell you.

The rest of Dan's  birthday was less eventful.  He opened his presents and seemed happy with them, and then we ate the chocolate chip pound cake I made him - he requests the same cake every year!

It wouldn't be a cake picture without chocolate in his teeth, now would it?

Just when you thought she was done pooping, she decided to make it three in a row!  This morning, I was pumping when she woke up so Dan got her up for me and was going to feed her.  She was in a great mood, so he was talking to her and letting her wake up and she was melting his heart with all sorts of gummy smiles and sweet giggles.  Meanwhile, she was pooping ALL over herself and him (came out the top of the diaper again, even though she was sitting up - still don't get it).  To make matters worse, there was so much poop that he decided to bathe her, and then she peed on him when he was walking her to the sink for her bath.  After she was bathed and dressed, he fed her, and she wouldn't burp and subsequently puked on him as well.  Luckily, she is extra cute and was in a super good mood and full of giggles this morning, so he wasn't mad:
Even more luckily for him, he hadn't showered and dressed for work yet, because he surely would have had to do it twice.

So, that about sums up our eventful weekend!  Lilly-3, Mom & Dad-0.  Here's to hoping we can make it through the rest of the day without incident, although we are going to church tonight and that seems to inspire her. 

Dan, you are the best husband and Daddy that your girls could ever ask for.  We love you more than you'll ever know, and we hope you had a wonderful birthday - and that you enjoy the last year of your 20s!  :-)

Sarah

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Two Months Old

Well, officially someone has pressed fast forward and made time FLY.  I can't believe my baby is two months old today!  I feel like I say this every post, but she is growing and changing so much.  It's crazy to think that just two months ago we hadn't met her yet - she brings so much joy to our lives each and every day.  I will get to the stats before I start crying and go into major mushy mode.  :-)

Weight/Length:  Again, why do I even leave this on?!  We go to the pediatrician on Tuesday for her 2-month check-up, so I'll report back.  If I had to guess, I'd say she's somewhere between 11-12 lbs at least.  She is so chunky and eats all of the time!  I feel like she may be storing away food for the winter in those pound-puppy like jowls she has, ha! We did graduate to 3M clothes this week, as well as Size 1 diapers.  Chunkster!

Sleep:  Lilly is quite the sleeper - she's doing great, waking up only once/night!  She normally falls asleep somewhere between 8-9 pm.  We wake her up between 10-11 pm for a dream feed, and then put her back down for the night.  Typically, she wakes up around 4:00 or 4:30 to eat, then sleeps again until 8:00 or 8:30.  After that feeding, she normally goes back down yet again until 11:00 or 11:30.  She is awake a lot more during the day and will fall asleep a few times but never sleeps for more than an hour at a time - typically it is more like 30 minutes aka just long enough for me to start doing something I need to get done around the house and not finish.  I'm not sure whether I should be encouraging more of a schedule, like a morning nap and an afternoon nap, or what.  I'll talk to the pediatrician about it on Tuesday.  I'm sure it was just a fluke, but last night she slept through the night for the first time!  Granted, she took a long nap yesterday afternoon (very abnormal) so she didn't fall asleep until 10, woke up on her own at 11 to eat and then went back down around 11:30 pm.  But she slept until 6:30 and then went back down until 9:30, and it was glorious.  Go L!

Feeding:   As you will soon see when I post pictures below, the child is clearly starving (NOT).  She eats a LOT.  We have been exclusively pumping since around the 1-month mark (see this week's update), and other than it being a lot of work, it's going well.  Up until this week she's been taking 4 oz of breast milk every 3-4 hours during the day (normally closer to 3 hours) and then once overnight.  This week, she has acted like we're starving her - I'm still trying to figure out whether it's a growth spurt or we need to be feeding her bigger bottles!  But we are lucky, she eats well and rarely (knock on wood) spits up.

Firsts This Month:  Lots of firsts to report I'm sure - I feel like I should write them all down so I won't miss any since I'm only posting updates once/month, but I'll wing it this time around.  She had her first road trip to grandmommy's, and she did great both on the way there and on the way back.  Since she finally hit the 8-week mark, we had our first outing this week - she ran errands with Mommy and did wonderfully!  I told Dan I felt like she was the only child NOT screaming in Target when we went.  Guess I just timed it well.  She spent part of the time looking around and taking everything in and then fell asleep.  She had her first cold and subsequent "sick visit" to the doctor, but she never really got fussy or anything like that, so we were lucky - and she's much better now!  She is going to have her first church visit tomorrow for Hadley's baptism! 

Developments:  Lots of these.  She has pretty good control of her head now and can hold it up for quite a bit of time when she's on her tummy.  She is not rolling over yet, but she's almost there - just this week she's been rolling onto her side every time she's on her play mat.  She subsequently gets mad because she can't kick her piano keys when she does that, so I keep wondering when she'll make it the whole way!  She has discovered her tongue big time and plays with it all of the time, and blows a lot of bubbles (is that considered a development?).  She's discovered that she loves her hands and she sucks on her thumb and sometimes her whole fist.  She focuses on things for long periods of time, and recognizes Mommy and Daddy's voices.  She has started cooing and talking and exploring her voice, and it is SO beyond cute.  I just love hearing those little baby noises!  She also in the past two weeks has started consciously smiling at us when we talk to her!  I captured a cute video to send to Dan when he was in Florida (please excuse my baby talk, and also yes I called her a poopy head, ha!):


Likes: Lilly LOVES bath time, eating, cuddling, being held (thanks to grandmommy), stroller rides, being worn in the baby k'tan (after you get her in, that is), singing and music, her swing, her bouncy chair, her piano gym play mat, tummy time (sometimes, and only for short periods of time), being outside, kicking her legs (especially when she's wearing the rattles on them that grandmommy gave her), the sunshine (unless it's shining in her face in the car seat), Layla, watching the ceiling fan and shopping with mommy.  And more eating.

Dislikes:  Being hungry, being cold, having her diaper changed (all the same from last month), not being held immediately when she wants to be held.  Oh and burping - it's a LOT of work with this child.  Also having her clothes changed, particularly clothes that have to go over her head. This is unfortunate as we had to graduate to size one diapers, which fit her buddha belly just fine but are too big on her legs, causing her to poop on at LEAST 2-3 outfits daily.  I realize that her legs look chunky, but while she does have some rolls they're still relatively skinny in proportion to the rest of her body so poop leaks out a lot.  Yuck.
 
What I'm Thankful For:  A happy baby.  I would say 90% of the time she is so happy, and is such a great baby - we are so lucky and thankful for that!

What I'm Looking Forward To:  Lilly's first beach trip to visit Grandma Susie and Papa for Easter, and her baptism at the beginning of May.

Next Pediatrician Appointment:  Next week - March 27.  I'm not looking forward to the shots, but I am again looking forward to getting her stats.

How Mommy's Doing:  Doing great!  My gym regimen starts again on Monday, so I'm sure I will not feel so great afterwards.  I do not by any means claim to be an expert, but my confidence in my mothering skills has greatly improved.  I'm still a little tired, but I think our girl will start sleeping through the night before we know it.  Really my only complaint is that I need more hours in the day/longer afternoon naps for Lilly.  :-)  I've started to worry about going back to work - I still have several weeks before that happens but I'll be very sad to leave Lilly.  Dan and I had a date night this week, and I was telling him that it's amazing how dressing up and going out for a night on the town can make me feel like a normal human being again!

I guess that's all for this update - I will likely think of a million things I forgot later.  I'll try to do better at documenting things as we go along so I don't forget!  I will leave you with our 2-month photo shoot.  Lilly was cooperative for all of about one minute and then got mad, so I thought I'd continue with the tradition of a "Mom I'm over this photo shoot" meltdown picture.  I also need to learn how to use my camera/not let my shadow get in the way of awesome photos. 









 Sarah

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pumping Revisited

I have been promising for several weeks to do a follow-up post to pumping with all of the nifty tips and tricks I've learned from girlfriends, lactation consultants and doctors.  I realize this will be a boring post for all of you who do not have children slash are not pumping, but I hope it will be helpful for those of you who do pump or may pump at some point in the future.

One thing I will say about pumps is this: if you think you're going to pump, it may be expensive, but get a good one.  The ones in the hospital are awesome and make my pump at home seem like it is straight out of the stone ages, but obviously hospital-grade pumps are not an affordable option for the masses.  I myself have the Medela Freestyle Hands-Free pump, courtesy of my girlfriend Lindsey, and I love it (well, as much as you can love a pump).  However, I have heard that really you can make any of them hands-free if you get the hands-free bra.  I can't remember whether I mentioned this before, but my friend Jen recommended the Simple Wishes Hands-Free Breastpump Bra and it has literally changed my life - on the expensive side but well worth it, in my opinion.  If you're not pumping as often or don't want to splurge, I also have one from Target that worked just fine (until I discovered the miracle of the Simple Wishes bra).  :-)

Anyway, so now to the good stuff.  I got tons of great comments after the last post I wrote on this, and have since spoken to several lactation consultants, my doctor and Lilly's pediatrician, so I thought I'd put together a list of things I learned in hopes that it will be helpful to others:
  • CLEANING:  As mentioned in a previous post (which I'm too lazy to find and link to), I was annoyed at all of the cleaning that has to happen - both with bottles and pump parts.  I was cleaning my parts after every use, which was a TOTAL pain.  My solution to this was to buy more pump parts and bottles - which is still, in my opinion, a good idea, especially if you pump a lot, because it means you don't have to deal with cleaning them right away when you need a new set.  However, several girlfriends and Lilly's pediatrician recommended something that I wasn't aware of that changed my life.  After you pump, just rinse the pump parts and store them in the refrigerator until the next pumping session.  You can do this 5-6 times before cleaning them/using a new set.  Genius, right?  Truly the difference this has made is incredible - it has saved me so much time (and probably water, too).  I typically do this and use one set of parts for a whole day before switching to a new set and cleaning them.  Another suggestion was to use the Medela Quick Clean breastpump wipes, which I have also done - I find them to be particularly helpful if I've pumped in the car, so I keep them in Lilly's diaper bag.
  • PUMPING PHASES: This tidbit came from L's pediatrician and was a serious game-changer.  Turns out I had been using my pump incorrectly.  Last time we went in, I was telling her how I was pumping and getting exactly what Lilly was eating, which was fine but I was worried about how to increase my supply when she wants more, or just to have for stockpiling.  Turns out there are 2 phases on your breastpump: the stimulation phase and the expression phase (you can read a little about them here).  When you first turn on the pump, it is automatically in the stimulation phase for the first two minutes - the pulls are quicker/closer together to stimulate the milk flow.  This mimics what a baby does when he/she is on your breast. After 2 minutes, the pump automatically goes into the expression phase, which simulates a slower, deeper suck.  The pump will stay in the expression phase for the duration of the pumping session unless you change it.  The good doctor told me that I should be manually putting the pump back into the stimulation phase when my milk slows or stops in order to trigger more let-downs.  This is exactly what a baby does when he/she is on your breast and the milk slows - their sucking becomes faster and lighter again to get the milk to let down again.  It makes perfect sense, right?  I was just letting the pump do it's own thing, staying in the expression phase for an entire session.  The pediatrician told me that when Moms do this, they normally notice a 40-60% increase in their supply right away.  She was not lying.  At one point over the past week, right after I implemented this (like within a day or two), I was 15 bottles ahead of Lilly (angels singing), which has helped me to start stockpiling again.  I've started keeping four bottles ahead of her in our refrigerator and freezing any excess.  Woohoo!  The pediatrician said that you should go back to stimulation phase 5-8 times in a 20-minute pumping session, depending on your letdowns. 
  • PUMPING TIME:  The pediatrician and lactation consultants also told me that I should never pump for less than 20 minutes, and that the length of time pumped is not as important as emptying the breast.  They explained to me, and it makes perfect sense, that if you aren't completely draining the breast when you pump, your body thinks that you don't need that excess milk and is therefore reducing your milk supply.  This is probably why I was getting exactly what Lilly was eating - I was basing my pumping sessions on time and just doing 20 minutes total every time I pumped.  What I have learned about my body is that I have approximately 23894723974 letdowns, and I have to pump for a much longer period of time in order to completely drain my breast - normally 35 or 40 minutes.  This is a HUGE pain right now, because Lilly is eating so frequently, so I am having to make sure I pump every 3-4 hours (normally more like 4, and I'm so far ahead right now that sometimes it's 5 or more), but I think when she starts eating more, less often it will be a lot easier on me.
  • INCREASING SUPPLY:  There are several ways to do this.
    • The pediatrician told me that in order to keep up during a growth spurt, I should pump every 2.5 hours.  I wanted to ask her if she'd ever had an infant.  Lilly is so much more awake these days and therefore demands a lot more attention, so it's hard to even pump every 4 when I have her by myself, much less every 2.5.  BUT, I have found that if I can pump more often consistently, my supply increase is drastic.  She also told me that I should increase the frequency of pumping (i.e., every 2.5-3 hours if I normally pump every 4) for 48 hours straight in order to see an increase that sticks around, and I have also found that to be true.
    • Herbal supplements.  Fenugreek was the one that she recommended to me and that I've been taking.  She said that the instructions say to take one tablet three times per day, but she recommends three tablets three times per day.  Between the Fenugreek and the correct mode/length of time/etc. on my pump, I have seen a HUGE increase in my supply.  I also have girlfriends who have recommended Mothers Milk - I think you put it in tea?  Or maybe it is a tea, I'm not sure - and have said it helped them as well.
I think that may be all of the important things I wanted to touch on.  In a typical day, I try to pump every 4 hours, because Lilly is still eating every 3 hours during the day.  At night, she normally falls asleep between 9-10 and we've recently implemented a dream feed 2 hours after she eats (but prior to 11:30 p.m. because anything after that is apparently considered a night feeding and not a dream feed - tomayto, tomahto), which is normally between 10:00 and 11:00 pm.  After the dream feed, she's been sleeping until 4:00 or 4:30, waking up to eat, and then going back down until 8:00 or 8:30 (And then going back down again until 11:00.  Sooooooo sleepy!).  Because I'm ahead and feeling a little more confident about my supply, I have not been pumping during the overnight feeding.  My last pumping session of the night is normally somewhere between 9:00 and 11:00, depending on when I pumped last, and then I have not been pumping again until she gets back up at 8:00 am.  The result is that I have to pump a little longer to make sure I'm completely empty, but I've been getting between 16-20 oz so I haven't noticed my supply decreasing thus far - if it does, I will go back to pumping after I feed her overnight.  This also works well because when she starts making noise, I get up and come downstairs and throw her bottle in the warmer and start to pump, and then Dan takes her for the first feeding of the day, so she eats and then falls back asleep and I can pump in peace.

Gosh, I know I always say it but these posts always get so long!  I hope this one has been helpful to some, and at the very least informative to others for future reference.  :-)  In closing, I would like to show you what happens when you spend a week at your parents house and your child is spoiled rotten by her grandparents and aunts and is held 24 hours/day, and as a result insists on being held while you're pumping which is difficult:
Notice the pump wires coming out every which way - and you can thank me later for not getting a nipple shot, ha!  She stayed like that for about 15 minutes and then finally fell asleep so I could finish pumping without her in my lap.  I did let her fuss for a few minutes to see whether she was serious before putting her in my lap - sometimes she's a total faker - and had I not JUST sat down to pump I probably would have just tried to fend her off with the paci until I finished.  At least she's cute and snuggly, yes? 

Sarah

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hilarity

Lilly is growing and changing so much with each passing day.  It has been so much fun to watch her grow - she gets more alert and aware of her surroundings by the day.  She smiles a lot, but previously it was only if she was peeing or gassy.  Last week, she started smiling at us when we talked to her.  I cannot even describe to you how sweet it is and how incredible it makes me feel when she smiles at me.  Of course, I have to use a super annoying baby talk voice and make very silly exaggerated facial expressions, but it's totally worth it.  This morning, she was actually laughing at Dan - it was the sweetest thing I think I've ever seen.

She started doing this, of course, while Dan was out of town last week.  I told him about it and he didn't believe me - he kept telling me it didn't count if I had to touch her cheeks to make her smile (which I was not doing anyway, he was just jealous that he missed it!) - so we spent a lot of time trying to catch it on video to send to him.  The following video is one attempt that makes me pee my pants laughing every time I watch it.  Make sure your volume is on, and pay special attention to (1) her facial expression and (2) my Mom's comment.  Gets me every time.



I have literally watched this video at LEAST 25 times since it happened.  I am not sure whether I am trapped in a 12-year-old's body, or what, but somehow it never gets old.  Who knew gas could be so cute (don't tell my husband that, we wouldn't want him getting any ideas - HA!)?  I am well aware that she will someday hate me as a result of this post, but I say it's worth it.  :-)

Happy Hump Day!

Sarah

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bedtime Routine

Well, we made it back in one piece!  The trip back to Raleigh was pretty uneventful - the baby slept almost the entire way.  Lilly woke up about half an hour from home.  We were so close that I didn't want to have to stop to feed her if we could avoid it, so I was able to hold her off with the paci for around 15 minutes and then I just gave her a bottle of freshly squeezed (LOL - I had just pumped) milk while we were still in the car and burped her as soon as we got home.  Although we miss my family (I especially missed Mom at the overnight feeding, I got spoiled with her getting up with  me every night and feeding Lilly while I pumped), it is nice to be home.  We spent the day unpacking, straightening up and organizing, and we even got out for a nice walk in the beautiful sunshine.

Something I've been working on with Lilly lately is figuring out a bedtime routine.  The pediatrician has been telling us that it's still too early for a routine and that she isn't capable of understanding yet, but I think they should give Lilly more credit.  She's much more alert and awake these days, and call it a mother's intuition but I think she knows what's up.  Our bedtime routine consists of: bath, lotion and fresh jammies, books and rocking, bottle, bed.  However, it doesn't always work exactly like that because she's still not really on a set feeding schedule.  Most days she eats around every 3 hours during the day, but sometimes she goes shorter or longer between feedings.  And on days like today (almost-2-month growth spurt maybe?), she eats every 2 hours.  Oy!

My problem now is trying to figure out whether I should base our bedtime routine around a set time or around her eating.  For example: should I start the bedtime routine (bath) at 8:00 p.m. every night, regardless of when she's due to eat again?  Or, if I know she's going to want to eat at, say, 7:00, should I start the routine at 6:00 and then put her down after the 7:00 bottle?  Which brings me to another set of issues, because she still wakes up during the night to eat.  Per my research and her pediatrician, this is totally normal if not better than normal for a 7-week old.  But say we base the routine around option 2: if she eats at 7:00 we start the routine at 6:00 and put her down after the 7:00 bottle.  She is sleeping anywhere from 4-6 hours before waking up, so will that cause her to wake up twice instead of once, at say, 11:00 and 3:00?  Selfishly, I want this routine to work around mine as well.  I don't want to put her down for the night at 7:30, go to bed myself at 10:00, and then have to get back up at 11:00 and 3:00 for bottles.  We've been putting her down somewhere between 10:00 and 12:00, and she's been sleeping until somewhere between 3:00 and 5:00 before waking for the overnight bottle. 

So, dear readers, do you have any advice or suggestions?  What are your bedtime routines?  Help!

In the meantime, I will leave you with a funny picture of L sporting Grandmommy's glasses on St. Patty's Day (not sure why it won't turn the right way, sorry!):



Hope you had a great weekend!

Sarah

Friday, March 16, 2012

A House Divided...kind of.

Today was a big day for the Baums in the basketball world: some great NCAA tournament games!  I am not really a die-hard fan for any team, but love to watch ACC basketball.  Dan LOVES NCSU - his Mom worked for the football program for a while when he was in high school.  My whole family went to WFU, so I grew up cheering for the Deamon Deacons.  I got my master's degree at UNC, and I also don't really have anything against Duke.  So, I guess you could say I just cheer for everyone!  Lilly doesn't discriminate, either (except when it's football season, in which case she will ONLY be wearing her ASU cheerleading uniform that PawPaw bought her when we found out she was a girl).  She started the day out in this outfit:


We like to think she aided the Wolfpack in their win, and Daddy was super happy with both the outfit and the outcome of the game!  This afternoon, she wore this:


Uncle Josh, Uncle Tracy, and Aunt Niecey loved it.  The outcome of the UNC game is TBD, but either way she's cheering them on looking cute as ever!  Her Daddy told me that he thinks she looks much happier in her NCSU outfit.  I showed him this picture...


...and he told me he knows that hear heart is with NCSU.  ;-)

Happy Weekend!

Sarah

Thursday, March 15, 2012

More adventures at Grandmommy's...

Poor, neglected blog.  We have been so busy this week - doing what, I'm not sure, other than meeting lots of new friends!  As a result, I have been slack on the blog.  Lilly is doing wonderfully on our first trip away from home.  We're both missing Daddy, but other than that she's great!  She's eating and sleeping wonderfully and really is just a joy to be around.  It's nice to have other people around all day long to change all of the poopy diapers see all of the cute things she does.  :-)  So far, the only problem we're having is that she hasn't been put down all week.  Unfortunately for me, that means she's figured out that any time she makes the slightest noise, she will be picked up and cuddled.  I had a conversation with Mom about this very problem today, and it went as follows:

Sarah: Mom, we're going to have to work on not holding Lilly all day every day for the next few days; otherwise, next week may be hard.  I have made a conscious effort not to hold her all day every day when we're at home - only when feeding her or when she's extra fussy, but I think she's gotten spoiled this week.  I think as long as we ease her out of it, it will be fine.
Mom: Well you can ease her out of it next week.  When she's at my house I will not let her cry.
Sarah: Great, so I can ease her out of it next week when I'm by myself and it will be a nightmare.
Mom:  Well, honey, that's just part of being a mother.

Thanks a lot, Mom.  Although I will say that I can't blame her, as it's borderline impossible to resist this sweet face:


I also guess there are worse problems we could be having!

In other news, we tested out the baby k'tan for the first time this week and Lilly LOVED it:


I realize that she doesn't look amused in the above photo, but she was really SO happy.  A friend of ours, Emily, suggested that we register for both the baby k'tan and the baby bjorn.  She said that her husband liked the bjorn better but that the k'tan was better for her, and that way they didn't have to do all kinds of adjusting to the bjorn every time either one of them wanted to carry their daughter.  This turned out to be an excellent suggestion.  The k'tan was very easy for me to maneuver by myself, which is a huge plus.  It's also a nice option to have when it doesn't make sense to deal with the stroller.  Lilly was a little fussy when I was assembling everything, but once she was in, she was happy as a lark.  We stayed that way for about an hour until she fell asleep and I took her out and put her down for a nap.  We had so much fun!

Side note which is unrelated to Lilly, but I have to share.  Remember in my last post when I mentioned that the bachelors for this season's Bachelorette are staying in a house which is practically in my parents' back yard?  Well, my sisters and I and our friend, Heather decided to go on a stalking mission the other night:



Long story short: we didn't see anything because we had to abort the mission due to getting caught by security.  I am 99% sure, though, that last night was the night where Emily met the bachelors, because we saw them being brought in on a tour bus and then two limos were parked outside of the gate all night.  Helicopters have been hovering for days, I guess trying to get photos, and it's slightly annoying.  We WILL get closer next time, don't you worry, and I promise to report back.  In the meantime, Heather found some info on the house which is pretty nifty:  http://www.zillow.com/blog/2012-03-06/report-abcs-the-bachelorette-home-chosen-in-charlotte-nc/

Hope everyone's having a great week!

Sarah

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fun at Grandmommy's

Lilly has had a very busy few days at Grandmommy's house so far!  She's had lots of visitors and made tons of new friends.  I am going to do a post at some point with a slideshow of all of the new friends she's met since she's been born, but that would require me having time to sit down and teach myself how to use the Mac.  Some day!

I wondered how Lilly would do on our first trip, being in a new place and all, but she has done wonderfully!  She's been her usually happy girl self, has been eating well and sleeping like a champ.  I was particularly worried about sleep, because the arrangements here are a little different - the crib, obviously, is different than hers for one thing, and for another, it's in my room.  That hasn't appeared to have any effect, though - baby girl went to bed at 9:30 last night and slept until 2:30 a.m., and then went right back to sleep and slept until 7:30.  Love!

I have also enjoyed all of the extra hands, and I know Lilly has loved all of the attention.  I don't think she's been put down hardly at all since we've been here - we better be careful or she'll be spoiled!  ;-)  Here are just a few pictures of what we've been up to so far - there will be many more as the week goes on, I'm sure!

Lots of snuggles from Grandmommy

And naps with Pawpaw!  He said I must have caught him blinking in this picture, but we know better!
Lots of spoiling from Auntie Syd and Aunt Katy
Play date with future boyfriend Emmett!
We've also had lots of visits and playtime with Grandma Susie and Papa Bill, and today Granny & Papa Booker, Aunt Hopey, Aunt Jo and Ethan came for a visit as well.  More visitors are in store for this evening, with pictures to come soon, in addition to the fact that WE GET TO SEE DADDY TONIGHT!  Lilly and I are both very excited about that.  And did I mention that the contestants for Emily's season of The Bachelorette are staying in a house that is literally just out my parents back door?  I sense some stealth mode Chris Harrison stalkery in our future...

One more thing.  I have been thinking that Lilly looks JUST like Dan.  However, I came home and Mom had one of my baby pictures out (I'm on the right, obv):

Notice any similarities?  ;-)  I had more hair and squintier eyes, but I'd say we look more alike than I thought, yes? 

Happy Tuesday!

Sarah

Monday, March 12, 2012

Over the river and through the woods...

...to grandmommy's house we go!  So sorry I have been MIA for a few days.  For some reason, I haven't been able to get blogger to load on my computer all weekend.  I finally figured out today that I have been using the old interface, somehow clicked "try the updated Blogger interface" and then my POS computer wouldn't support it.  Just had to log on from another computer and change it back...piece of cake!

So, yesterday was Lilly's first road trip!  I am matron of honor in my cousin, Christie's, upcoming May wedding and she had her first bridal shower yesterday here in Charlotte.  Additionally, Dan is participating in our future brother-in-law's bachelor party this weekend - they are leaving from Charlotte on Tuesday night to head to Florida and catch the Braves spring training.  As a result, Lilly and I decided to come to Charlotte yesterday in time for the shower and stay for the week.  To say Grandmommy and Pawpaw (and Auntie Katy and Syd, too) are in heaven would be an understatement!

As you may or may not know, we have not yet graduated to the small SUV we keep talking about.  We think we've narrowed down what we want, but we're trying to wait until closer to the end of the year when the dealerships start having sales (we couldn't get it together to agree on anything at the end of this past year before the baby was born) before purchasing.  Due to my historical tendency to over-pack as well as the fact that babies require you to carry around a lot of extra crap, I had been worrying for three days about how to fit everything we needed for a whole week in the car.  I shouldn't have worried, because Dan is a master packer:
If you could only see how much stuff there is in that trunk, you would really appreciate Dan's talent for packing the car.  Next time there hopefully won't be quite as much - I spent a lot of the day on Saturday at BuyBuy Baby gathering things that we could just leave at my parents' house for future visits so as not to have to tote it back and forth every time (bath tub and bath supplies, changing pad, laundry supplies, and bottle washing supplies among other things).  Bad news for my parents: babies have a LOT of stuff, and their house now looks like ours does most of the time - like a bomb exploded baby stuff onto every possible surface!  They may be happy for us to leave so they can have their house back.  ;-)

Lilly did GREAT on her first road trip.  It normally takes about 3 hours - yesterday it took about three and a half, because Dan drove us to Asheboro where we met my Dad and he rode with us the rest of the way.  I wasn't quite ready to do a three-hour trip by myself, because I knew that Lilly would probably need to eat and I would probably need to pump, and I thought it would go a lot quicker and smoother if I had another set of hands. I'm not sure why I worried at all.  Other than her sleeping later than normal and us getting a later start than planned (no complaints there), there were no hiccups and the trip was fantastic.  She was a total angel - she played for a little while in the beginning and then slept for the duration of the trip: 

She started to wake up when we were about 10 minutes from my parents' house, but I was able to hold her off with her paci until we got here and she could eat.  Layla was not quite as amused - she's not used to not having the run of the car/my lap - but she did great, too. 

Lilly bean got to spend all day yesterday with both sets of grandparents, and she was happy as a lark.  Grandma Susie got to participate in bath time, which was very exciting for all involved - Lilly LOVES her bath:
Between Christie's May wedding and Katy's June wedding and all of their showers, etc., we will be spending a lot of time in Charlotte over the next few months.  Here's to hoping Lilly is as easy on every trip as she was on this one!

I'm sure we'll have lots to talk about this week, as well as lots of pictures - Lilly is very excited to meet a lot of new friends and spend the week with her grandparents.  We're lucky that Dan's parents live in Charlotte during the week and are less than 5 minutes away from mine, so she gets to see all of them at once!  I also need to post at some point about all of the pumping tips I've gotten, both from all of you and mine and Lilly's doctors.  Thanks to them, I am currently 7 bottles ahead of her! 

If she wasn't such a little piggy I would start freezing and stockpiling again, but I feel like every time I try it she goes on a growth spurt and I have to take it right back out of the freezer.

Happy Monday!

Sarah

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