Happy Half Birthday, Sienna!

She’s growing up way too fast!  Our one and only baby girl, Sienna, is already half way to her first birthday.  She’s popped two bottom teeth that are completely cut through the surface and her favorite past times include playing with toes, blowing raspberries, smiling at everyone she sees, sticking out her tongue,  and making those gooos and cooos at her two big brothers.  She also tried something else that she loves… food!  It’s not so surprising since everyone in our family loves to eat.  We tried apples for the first time the day before her six month birthday.  She gave the typical “What is this strange stuff you’re giving me on a spoon” look, but it didn’t take long before she was intrigued with it, and starting opening her mouth with every spoonful.  Just like a pro… So proud.

I used my brand new Breville blender to whip up some nice yummy apples.  I made all Parker and Mason’s pureed food with my last Hamilton Beech blender, but this one is 100x better! I love it!  It makes me feel better that I’m blending up fresh pureed food for her to eat since I had to wean due to my heavy antibiotic use because of the Lymes diagnosis.  This is my last week of antibiotic treatment though, and praying that I continue to feel well.

Here’s a few sweet pics of baby girl and her first taste of solid foods (other than a frozen banana in a mesh feeder a few times).

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The anticipation…

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I think she loves her new chair.

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The first taste…

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…and raspberries it is!

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Happy girl loves it!

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Snack Time!

Mason is finally old enough to sit at the table.  Well, not entirely, but with some supervision.  He’s been having a regular snack time with Parker lately since he’s dropped bottles during the day, and switched to the sippy cup.  He loves feeling like a big boy hanging out with his brother at the big kid table!

Mason Starts Solids

We started Mason on solid food on Saturday.  He was five and a half months. I had planned to wait until closer to six months to start feeding him from a spoon, but Mason had another agenda.  With him being as big as he is (over 20lbs), exclusively breastfeeding 5-6x just wasn’t cutting it anymore.  He was sleeping 11-12 hrs straight, but then last week started to wake after about 8hrs, and then nursed like he was starving.  So, I knew it was time. Here he is, taking his first spoonfuls.

Disclosure: Please excuse my appearance. It looks as if I was having a severe anti-glamorous day. I had no idea Dan would be taping me without make-up and sloppy hair.


 

Now that he has started on solids, he’s back to sleeping 11-12hrs.  Wohoo!  He was just a hungry booger.  It’s been almost a week since he started, and even though he hates it in the video, he LOVES it now.  Every time the spoon gets near, he opens his mouth like a little bird. It’s so cute! We’re still just doing rice cereal and he’s taking about 2 tablespoons with breast milk, once a day.  I haven’t started with the purees yet, but I plan to make all my own baby food like I did with Parker.  It’s an exciting milestone to see what foods he’ll like!

Breast Pump RIP

I’m going to apologize in advance to all my male readers for my excessive boobage talk. I can’t help it though. I need to vent. I just laid my precious breast pump to sleep yesterday. We part ways. We had a love/hate relationship...that we did.

It all started right after Parker was born.  I needed to use the pump, but had a hard time starting the relationship.  I blame it on the slew of postpartum hormones and my need for everything to “go perfect” with the whole breastfeeding experience.  I had picked up the pump a few times and just cried.  Perplexed on  “how am I suppose to use this thing and think of my baby. THAT IS SO UN-NATURAL!”  Fortunately, I got a hold of myself and later realized how liberating pumping would be.  I could leave Dan with a bottle so I could hang with some friends, perhaps get a pedicure or a massage or even get my highlights touched up.  Then we became BFF’s

That was until Parker became a curious jumping bean around 8 months or so where during the day, he wasn’t as interested drinking.  He’d MUCH rather be on the floor, wiggling around with his army crawl, and that’s when I realized that I needed to pump more so he could get the fluids that he needed.  Jump over to a month later, and he didn’t want to nurse at all.  SO… Yes…I had to pump ALL the time.  My supply wasn’t that of a normal breastfeeding Mom who could slow the sessions down to 3-4 a day, and still get adequate milk, No…no, no.  I had to do a minimum of 6 sessions just to get 25oz, which is at the lower end of what is recommended at his age.  That is when I started to HATE my pump.

So, today… I celebrate.  Me and Medela go way back, but we’re taking a MUCH needed break.  I start to think of all of the things I can do now that we’ve broken up, and it makes me ecstatic.

I can remove all of the “reminders” off my outlook calendar to pump

I can spend time cleaning the house OR taking a nap instead of pumping or washing pump pieces

I can wear a REAL bra!

I can go to a girls night out without asking “will there be somewhere I can pump?”

I can work without visiting the mother’s room

I run, and my boobs won’t hurt

I can eat and drink whatever the heck I want (or at least in theory)

I can go on an extended girl’s trip without Parker (Labor day wkend, here I come!)

I can go on a family vaca without being embarrassed by onlookers staring at me pumping in my car…Yikes!

I can have ANY extended time away (if need be) without fear that my boobs will explode

I can sleep in and roll over and whisper “it’s your turn” on a Saturday morning at the first sounds of Parker babbling in his crib.

It’s SO liberating.  I haven’t felt this free since I discovered organic pizza.  Let my NEW life begin!

Two pennies for my thoughts

Being a Mom is such a learning experience.  Just when you think you have it figured out, life throws you a curved ball.  The hardest thing is trying to decipher information that you hear and read as being fact, or just a theory from someone who thinks they know your child.  Here are some classic ones:

Just give them a little rice cereal.  That’ll help them sleep through the night

My 2 cents: Actually, the AAP recommends waiting until six months because their digestive system isn’t ready for them yet. So, that’s what I plan to do.  I can’t tell you how many people on the Baby Center forum that have their four month old on solid foods and then post on how they don’t understand why their child is all of a sudden waking up numerous times a night.

Your baby no longer has a nutritional need for a middle of the night feeding after 3-4 months of age.

My 2 cents: Every baby is different.  I know that sounds like a classic response, but it’s true.  It depends on whether your baby is breastfed or bottle fed.  A mom’s milk supply is different every day, and a baby could take in less milk during the day, thus needing more at night.  You can’t make them drink more during the day (unless they’re bottle fed) because when you breastfeed they only eat when they’re hungry.  If they don’t get the calories they need during the day, then they’ll want to get them at night. KellyMom.com says this:

After the first few months, your baby will begin to associate the breast with far more than just a way to satisfy hunger and thirst. It becomes a place of comfort, security, warmth, closeness, and familiarity. The act of nursing is not just nourishing; it is nurturing. Keep in mind that these needs are every bit as real as baby’s physical ones, and having them met is every bit as needful to baby’s overall development.

Your baby should be getting X amount of naps for X amount of time at X age.

My 2 cents:  While I think it’s great to get your little one on a routine we (when I say we, I mean I)should be realistic about the length of nap times especially for babies under six months.  Most doctors agree that most babies are “short nappers” up until six months of age.  Sleeping long periods (naps and bedtime) is a milestone just like crawling, walking etc.  I think establishing a routine is a great thing, but I believe in taking the time to learn YOUR baby’s sleep habits, because it may not be “by the book” and sometimes that’s okay.  I’m preaching to myself as I type, because I’m all about “oh, he’s suppose to sleep one and a half hours exactly…crap! he only slept for an hour and wouldn’t go back to sleep…what did I do wrong”  The answer is NOTHING.  Sounds so simple eh?  I guess I’m just a bone head.

If you leave your baby to cry it out, they will have issues with feeling insecure and abandoned.

My 2 cents: Those that know me know that I haven’t been a  fan of the cry it out method.  Mainly because I don’t feel right leaving my child to scream so I can have “order” to my day.  However, I think it’s important to again learn your baby.  I’ve found that if I let my son do a “mantra cry” that this is a perfectly acceptable way for him to settle himself into a good sleep.  I also feel that age is a factor too.  All babies develop at different rates, but I do believe that there is an age that is too early to let a baby cry it out…even a mantra cry.  Each Mom has to figure out what time crying it out will work best for their baby.  As for the debate of whether or not crying it out will leave your child feeling abandoned and insecure, I think that this can certainly be the case with some instances.  Like anything…some things can be WAAAAY overdone.

You should never rock or feed your baby or have them depend on a pacifier in order to fall asleep

My 2 cents: If there’s anyone that knows about sleep associations it’s me.  After replacing the billionth pacifier in one night…I clearly realized that it was an issue.  Let’s say that there are certain things you need order to sleep every night (blanket, pillow, etc.) and in the middle of the night, you wake up and all of a sudden it’s not there any more.  Would you get up and get it in order to sleep?  Most people would.  Same thing for some babies.  I think it’s perfectly okay to rock your baby to sleep or offer a paci if they sleep through the night no problem.  However, it becomes a problem when they come out of deep sleep into a lighter sleep state and in turn needs the thing that got them to sleep in the first place several times a night.  It’s not an issue the first few months because you have to wake up to feed them anyways, but later you start to wonder if they’re waking because they’re hungry, or if what they associate with going to sleep is no longer there.  Eliminating the sleep associations helps decipher what the real issue is.

If I keep my baby up more during the day, then they’ll sleep better at night

My 2 cents: Those who have had sleep issues with their baby know that sleep begets sleep.  Have you ever noticed that when you’ve had a lot of sleep at night that you feel tired during the day?  In contrast, if you don’t get enough sleep, hormones are released to help you stay awake longer.  The same thing happens in babies.  If they sleep well during the day, they sleep well at night.  It doesn’t seem like it would be true, but it totally is.  If your baby is overtired,  they are much more likely to have several night wakings and also be harder to go to sleep in the first place.

When you breastfeed, you should only feed on demand

My 2 cents: I don’t agree that the only correct way to breastfeed is on demand.  I think a lot of Moms (especially first time Moms) find security in having some sort of a routine so they can keep track of feedings and make sure their little one is getting enough food (and keep their naps regular too).  I believe that babies find security in predictability, and erratic feedings could cause erratic sleep patterns, thus complicating things later down the line.  However, I do agree that abiding by a strict schedule can damage the nursing relationship with your little one.  Especially when those growth spurts sneak up on you.  It’s reassuring to have a routine in place because it can often help determine what’s going on when the baby has fussy periods.  You don’t have to “guess” that they’re hungry or tired, you know already how many times they’ve been fed and napped.

I clearly don’t have all the answers.  Just a first time Mom sharing my two cents of experience.  It’s all such a learning experience, and I intend on taking advantage of my trials and errors and so that I can hopefully be the best Mama I can be to my little man.

Feeling like a crappy Mama

I knew the day would come, I just didn’t think it would come this soon.  I thought my crappy Mama period would be sometime in his childhood when I slipped and let him watch a movie that was too violent, or when he gets to be a older back-talking teenager, and I loose my cool and yell, but no…it was going to be MUCH sooner than that, that I would feel like a crappy Mom.  It would be now.

It all started around Christmas.  Parker all of a sudden started waking at night.  We had been spoiled because he had been consistently sleeping through the night (8:30pm-5am, since some people have different definitions of STTN) since about 10 weeks old.  So, I started to go through the mental list of the reasons why this was happening.  I had recently changed his feedings from seven a day to six because seven feedings meant feeding him every 2-2.5hrs during the day, and he was spitting up ALL the time, so we thought that he was being overfed.  Plus, everything that I was reading said that most babies reduce their feedings to about six feedings around three months.  Since he was starting to take his naps much better, I didn’t find the need to wake him more during the day to fit an extra feeding in, so I adjusted his routine to six feedings.

Fast forward one week later.  He’s still waking several times at night.  Where we would give him the pacifier, and he would drift back to sleep.  So, this led me to do another CRAZY (crappy) Mom thing.  I thought since he was waking several times a night because his paci fell out of his mouth…maybe we should wean him from his paci.  Sound insane?  Well, you’re right.  It was  insane.  None of us slept a wink all night because we were constantly in there trying to soothe him every other way but with a paci.  My thought was, if I could just get him to go to sleep without his paci, then when he wakes up and doesn’t have it, then he won’t need us to come in and give it to him.  Well, it was a good thought in theory.  EXCEPT… infants have the need to suck.  That’s how they self soothe.  So, he was still waking up, except this time MANY more times, and my dumb ass took away the only thing that makes him soothe himself!

So, where did I get this idiot idea from?  The internet.  Sometimes I think that our parents had it much better not knowing what the hell they were doing and just following their gut instead of reading all the useless BS that is on the internet these days AND reading all these silly books that say you can have a breastfed baby sleeping 10hrs a night by 3 months old. Needless to say, we ended up giving him back his pacifier.  Dan practically had to knock some sense into me.  (I’m so glad he intervened) He wasn’t really down with the idea to begin with, but he was trying to be supportive of what I thought was the right thing to do.

Fast forward a few days later and we had teeter tottered between giving him six and seven feedings during the day, and adjusted his awake times during the day to see if it would in turn give him more sleep time at night. That didn’t work.  I sought out the advice of others on forums and blogs, and they confirmed that the six feedings should be sufficient for him, so we decided to keep it that way, and find out if there was something else that was causing him to wake.

Here we are a couple of days later and the crappy Mama syndrome hit me.  Why isn’t he sleeping through the night?  What is it that I’m doing wrong?  He USE to sleep though the night.  What has changed?  Instead of trying to find “opinions”…at this point I just wanted facts.  I went to La Leche League site, and posted a thread on their forum about my feeding and sleeping delimma.  Of course, I knew that I would find a bunch of crunchy moms that believe in attachment parenting, no schedule, baby wearing, hippies, but nevertheless… I also knew that they know a heck of alot about breastfeeding too.  This is where I found out that it is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics that infants average about 8 feedings a day up until they’re six months of age.  Yikes!!  Then it dawned on me… OMG has my precious son been hungry all this time at night when he’s been waking up, and I’ve just been giving him a paci?  I”m the worst Mom on the planet!  I started to think about it and it all made sense.  Since he’s older, he weighs more, he needs MORE milk.  I was reducing the feedings and not giving him any more quantity.

Sounds so simple when I look back on it and I begin to wonder how I made this crucial mistake to begin with.  It began with trying to figure out how many times other people on my forum with babies Parker’s age were feeding their little one, not taking into consideration that they may be formula fed, which takes MUCH longer to digest than breastmilk, which takes about 90 mins.

So, I’ve learned that I need to trust myself and try to listen to my son’s cues a little better.  I just want to know that he’s growing and thriving and being absolutely everything he can be.  I think it’s so easy for first time Moms to wonder what other people are doing with their babies instead of focusing on the individual that your baby is.  We have never met two adults that eat, sleep or interact with others the same, so why do we expect our babies to?

Lesson Learned!  Now hopefully I won’t have any more crappy Mom moments for years to come! (Hey, a person can dream right?)