Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

We did not buy or make Maggie a Halloween costume. I know - I'm a horrible mother. Instead, I dressed her in Halloween outfits almost every day this week. All outfits shown were either gifts or hand-me-downs.

Scary Skeleton (that glows in the dark)


Boo! plus Hat...which she clearly loves. (That's our beast on the left.)


Halloween Tutu last night

Halloween Tutu this morning

Pumpkin Head!

Tricks & Treats

Since becoming a mother, I have added a few naughty words to my vocabulary. Words or phrases such as "schedule" and "growth spurt". My least favorite question is, "Do you have her on a schedule yet?" No. She eat when she is hungry and sleeps when she is tired. That's our "schedule".

As for "growth spurt"...I don't know if this is true of all babies, but our baby turns into the spawn of Satan during a growth spurt period. If her doctor hadn't given me some heads up as to the "normal" (another naughty word) time periods for baby growth spurts, I would have been super freaked out this past week. One of the growth spurt periods is around 6 weeks which peaked at our house on Monday and Tuesday of this past week. CRYING and CRYING and CRYING. EATING and EATING and EATING. No sleeping (during the day). At one point, I put her in her crib (while she was screaming) and just went downstairs to have five minutes.

Then I felt guilty.

Thankfully on Wednesday night, I had book club. Several of the women in this book club (which I just started going to a week before my due date) are new mothers or have children aged 2 years and under. As my Nana and I were discussing, groups of women can either be a wonderful support system or catty b**ches. This is true whether or not you are a mother. However, as I have already found out, motherhood brings on a whole new level of judgement to this dynamic. So it is always with some trepidation that I enter into discussions about kiddos with other mothers that are not my friends or who I don't know very well.

However, the women of my book club were awesome. It felt great to share new mother troubles with some other new moms. As one woman said, "I'm convinced that the mothers who say they have it all figured out are either lying or delusional". LOVE IT! A glass of red wine didn't hurt either. I came back home feeling renewed - Bring on Wednesday.

Wednesday morning, our little pumpkin was back to her old self. Phew!
Photographic evidence of growth - Maggie 1 week

Maggie 6 1/2 weeks:

So what is Maggie for Halloween? A freak of nature. Allow me to explain. Mothers of the world please don't hate me.

Last night, we put her to bed at 8:30ish. I went to bed around 11:30 cursing myself for staying up so late.

I woke up at 3:30 AM, which is about the usual time Maggie wakes up to eat. I didn't hear anything from her so I fell back asleep. At 5:00 AM, I woke up again and my breasts were throbbing. Holy engorgement. They hurt so bad, I couldn't fall back asleep so I got up to pump a little to relieve the pressure. I went back to bed and had this horrible dream that we put her to sleep in the bathtub and she wiggled her way down into the drain and that is why we couldn't hear her cry. I woke up again at 7:45 (her usual wake up time) and could hear her cooing her in crib. Nate went to get her and she was wide awake ready to start the day. She went almost 12 hours!! Clearly some sort of Halloween spirit invaded her room last night and made our baby some sort of freak of nature.

Stay tuned for a Halloween outfit parade post coming later today!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Recipe: Chicken & Quinoa Salad

It's been a while since I posted a recipe on here, but rest assured we have still been cooking up a storm since Maggie's arrival...that is once we ate everything friends and family brought over for us!

Chicken & Quinoa Salad
Courtesy of Tim Scott for the Marshall Fields Cookbook

You need to prepare chicken, candied walnuts, cranberry puree and quinoa salad.

For the chicken:
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp sambal oelek chile paste
3 TB maple syrup
2 TB thinly sliced green onions
1 TB sesame oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Mix all ingredients except for chicken and place in a baking dish. Add chicken, turning to coat evenly. Place in fridge for 30 minutes - 2 hours. Remove chicken from marinade and grill.

For the Candied Walnuts**
**We used pecans instead of walnuts b/c I am allergic to walnuts
1 pound walnut halves
1/4 cup honey
3 TB brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lighly coat two baking sheets with nonstick spray. Place a steaming basket over 1 inch of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add nuts in the basket and steam for 1 minute to heat up. Combine honey and sugar in a bowl. Add nuts and toss well. Spread the nuts on one of the baking sheets and bake, stirring once or twice until caramelized (about 10 minutes). Immediately remove from oven and pour onto other baking sheet. Allow to cool.

For the Cranberry Puree
(I would cut this in half - makes way more than you need)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 TB minced garlic
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup chicken broth
salt & pepper

In a saucepan, combine cranberries, garlic, vinegar, cinnamon stick and brown sugar over med-high heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until reduced by half. Add broth and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and transfer to a blender (or use a handy immersion blender right in the saucepan!). Puree until smooth. It should have a corn syrup-like consistency. Season with salt & pepper

For the Salad:
1/2 TB veg oil
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 TB minced garlic
1/2 pound quinoa
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cinnamon stick
Salt & pepper

Add oil to large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots, green onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add quinoa and toss well until coated. Add broth and cinnamon stick. Simmer, stirring occassionally, for 15-12 minutes, until quinoa is tender and all liquid has been absorbed. Season with salt & pepper.

Now to plate the salad:

Place a scoop of the quinoa in the center of each plate. Cut chicken into 5 slices on the diagonal and arrange on quinoa. Sprinkle the candied nuts over the salad and drizzle the cranberry puree over the top.

This can be served warm or cool - BONUS! It was delicious

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Strawberry Allergy

Hooray! I found a strawberry that I'm not allergic to:

Thanks to Steph H for the cute hat, of her own design!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tailor Made

Ladies and if there is a Gentleman reading**...the sewing machine has been turned on for the first time since our household of two became one of three.

For the record, I did not go anywhere near it. Nate-O fired up the machine and crafted on his own.

For real.

Once upon a time, I bought him a pair of jeans from Banana Republic. They were always a little long but cest la vie. Ultimately, they started fraying. Those of you that personally know my husband know that he is not one to wear frayed anything. So he asked me to hem the jeans so that they were no longer too long and thus no longer frayed.

I threw them on a "to-do" craft pile and never looked back. In truth I was not into hemming jeans. Seemed boring and I was nervous I would mess it up.

I legitimately forgot about them when today he asked me how to thread the sewing machine. "What for?", I asked. "I'm going to hem my jeans. I looked up how to do it online," he replied.

Ok, this I gotta see.

I got the machine ready for him to go, showed him what button produced a zigzag stitch and which was a straight stitch (in response to his questions). Ten minutes later he came upstairs with perfectly hemmed jeans. Bananas. They look amazing.

I love that a) he totally had no shame about using the sewing machine; b) just did it himself and c) did a better job than I probably would have done.

Looks like we will not be needing a tailor in this house! ha ha ha Unfortunately, neither Maggie nor myself will likely have the problem of having pants that are too long. :)

**TOTAL side note but if anyone reading was obsessed with the movie Reality Bites in the late 90s as me and my college roommate were, remember the scene when Winona Ryder's character was working for that morning show and the host says "Good morning Ladies and Gentleman! We have a Gentleman in the crowd!!" Hilarious. I am laughing like a walrus just thinking about it.

The last time I sewed was just days before I went into labor. I made the bloomers out of Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing for Baby book. I made them in the newborn size in a gender neutral blue/gray fabric with yellow polka dots. They were so cute - I packed them in the hospital bag for the new baby.

They looked really tiny but so did all baby clothes at the time. And to be fair, my doctor and several residents all told me that the baby would be seven pounds TOPS in weight...more like high 6s.

Fast forward to two days after giving birth when we were getting our EIGHT POUND FIVE OUNCE baby dressed to leave the hospital. Nate said, "Honey, I really don't think those things are going to fit her.". But I was bound and determined that Maggie was going to leave the hospital wearing those bloomers that I sewed. I squeezed her into them and she immediately started crying. That was how tight they were:

So we took them off. They are in a box somewhere probably going to go on a doll someday :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday, Monday

Most days, we are lucky and Maggie is like this:

Which makes me just want to cuddle her all day:

However, today she is like this:

Which makes me want to do the same! Thank goodness for D batteries and vibrating bouncy seats which did not work this morning but thankfully is working right now.

Photos by Photography Atelier.

Friday, October 22, 2010

What about the Mom?!

I have waited to post an update on MY general well-being until my 6 week post-partum checkup. Mostly because I felt like after that, I would have mellowed out a bit and my hormones wouldn't be so wackadoo.

I'm not sure if that's true but my appointment was yesterday so here's the update.

I am pretty happy with how quickly I've been shedding the 35 lbs. I gained while pregnant. I still have 6.6 to go - and have had that amount for 3 weeks now. What I am surprised about is that half of my pre-baby clothes still do not fit. I had friends tell me that you could lose all the weight that you gained but that your body would still be forever different. I hope that does not mean that I am stuck with this poochy belly for the rest of my life. If so, buh-bye bikini. For the most part, I think the weight was dropped from a combination of breastfeeding, taking walks with the stroller, bouncing Maggie to calm her down, and not eating. Yes, there are days when I will get to dinner and think, "did I eat today"? I'm getting better about remembering to eat though!

I also started running about 2 1/2 weeks ago. A coworker asked if I felt like my uterus would fall out. No. Everything "down there" felt fine. What did not feel fine was the bounce of my porn-star breastfeeding boobs. In fact, I felt like going for a run much earlier than I did but could not go b/c my pre-baby sports bras only covered half of each boob. For real. So I had to go get some a new one. Even with that and a compression tank top, I wouldn't say it is entirely comfortable to run. Good thing I can only make it a mile or two anyways. Regardless, that first post-baby run felt amazing!! I felt so light - the last time I ran was when I was 32 weeks pregnant and 25 lbs heavier.

Currently I am reading "Run Like a Mother". It is very inspiring. It has been hard to figure out the best time to run. Ideally, it would be right after Maggie eats so that the boobs aren't as full, and when Nate is home. So that leaves me with running at 4:30 AM or 7 PM. Neither of which are real high energy times for me.

In other activity, I printed out this Pilates Playtime workout from the Fit Pregnancy website that I can do with Maggie. She seems to like it. My abs (or what's left of them) do not.

Mentally, motherhood has been strange for me. Pre-baby, I totally thought, "I am a really good multi-tasker so I am going to get so much stuff done on maternity leave."

HA HA HA. What the HELL was I thinking?!

Although this has been getting better with each passing week, the days fly by so fast and really I spend the majority of each day taking care of the baby - THIS is why this blog has turned into an all-out Maggie fest. When she sleeps, I am doing laundry or on the Internet. This week, I have been appalled by how much time I have been on the Internet, so I might have to set some limits. If I limited my Internet time, I probably WOULD have time to read or start some sewing projects. It's much easier to lay on the couch with my Mac. And honestly, it is only very recently (like in the past week) that she has slept with some regularity during the day anyways.

I haven't turned on the TV at all during my leave. I have noticed this pre-baby as well - I'm just not that into daytime TV. I suggested getting rid of cable once and my husband retaliated with "Then we would get rid of Internet". HELL NO! We all have our vices I guess - his is TV, mine is Internet.

In the past 6 weeks, I have read 1 1/2 books (of the non-board book variety) and a couple magazines though so all hope is not lost.

The biggest thing to adjust to, and I heard this a lot, is not having adults to talk to. Maggie will probably talk at age 2 months with the amount that I talk to her to compensate. I have had a few friends stop over during the day and I feel like I talk their ear off. It's like, "OOH!! AN ADULT!!! I DON"T KNOW WHEN I WILL GET ANOTHER ONE OF THESE SO MUST. TALK. AS. MUCH. AS. POSSIBLE."

Another thing that is weird is not working. I honestly don't remember the last time I did not have to get up and go to work. Probably 7th grade. That has been an adjustment. Admittedly, I still check my work email almost daily. I don't respond but I check it.

And then there is my mood. I think it has stabilized more now but wow was I all over the place. I was really worried about post-partum depression before I gave birth. Thankfully, I haven't had any issues with that. I think a lot of it ties to sleep deprivation. Unfortunately Nate got the brunt of the mood swings. On one hand, I would be really happy to see him when he came home from work and on the other, I was so tired from the day that I would just snap at the slightest thing. Now that we are all getting a bunch more sleep, it seems better. We also had different experiences with things. While he would say yes to any one that wanted to come over, I did not always want visitors. I don't know how to explain it - It wasn't that I wasn't excited to show off Maggie, but I just wanted time to chill out with my family and not have to be "on" for visitors. This since has mellowed out as well.

One of the baby-related email newsletters I got this week said if you can get through the first 6 weeks, you're golden. I can relate to this - both in dealing with the baby but also in my own personal physical and mental health. I now feel a lot more "normal" than I have since the Magster arrived.

She might beg to differ with that statement (see yesterday's post) :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010


"Mom, Really? People know I'm cute. You don't need to keep taking pictures of me."

"Ok, You're Right. I do have a pretty trendy outfit on today with my monogrammed onesie (Thanks Amber!) and my Baby Legs (Thanks Miles & Felix!)"

"Wait...You're putting that on the blog? I'm so embarrassed!"

"Mom you are really weird, but I kinda like it"

"I can stick out my tongue too"

"You think I like having that burp rag in my mouth?? Well...maybe I do"

"Wait! Where did the burp rag go?!?? I like it! I like it! Bring it Back!!"

"YES!!! My mommy is the coolest!"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sleep, Spit Up and Laundry: Living with an almost 6 week old baby

This is Maggie's Crib. It is a MAGICAL wonderful place where babies sleep 6 1/2 - 7 1/2 hours each night. YES! Since we transitioned Maggie to her crib last week, she has gone this long between feedings. Last night was just about the perfect schedule and I'm hoping we can repeat it:

7:00 Bottle with Nate
8:00-9:00 Working to get her to Sleep, which eventually happens
10:00 Wake up to eat - I went to bed right when she was done

We both got 7 hours of sleep! When I wake up to go feed her, I always look at the clock, which is on Nate's side of the bed. This morning I actually said "Oh My God" out loud because I was so surprised.

Maggie has always been a pretty good night sleeper. However, we still struggle with daytime naps. It is still hit or miss. Again, I say this not to complain - one who's baby is sleeping that much at night 5 1/2 (6 weeks tomorrow!) in should never complain. We continue to work on daytime naps. We actually started swaddling her. I know, I know - I said she hated being swaddled. I think this was a misinterpretation by her parents. I swaddled her yesterday and she liked it. Normally at night, we put her in one of those swaddlers with her arms out. Well, her hands are usually very cold when I go to feed her and she scoots herself to the side of the crib and sticks her arms out so we decided to start swaddling her at night too. It seems to help her calm down more to sleep so I'm sticking with it. This is the type of thing that makes you feel like a bad parent - like, I should have been swaddling her all this time! duh! Oh well - not going to dwell on it.

I think a big thing that has helped with sleep is learning when she JUST starts to get tired. She does "seem" wide awake at this point but if we can get her to start working on going to sleep at this point, instead of waiting to the point where she is actually overtired, it works much better. As my friend AH said, "working with overtired babies is like dancing with the devil". And although many people have told me to try to keep her up during the day, this actually backfires on us. If we can get her to sleep more during the day, she sleeps better at night. Sleep begets sleep. So if she is tired, I let her sleep. There is no "try to keep the baby awake" in our house.

Another thing that has changed is the amount of laundry I have. Maggie started to spit up around 3 weeks ago. Since then, the amount of laundry we have has quadrupled because guess what - spit up smells. Most mornings, I find the sheet under her head damp. Often this soaks through to the mattress pad so we have been doing a LOT of laundry here. This morning she totally smelled like spit up so I decided to wash her hair in the kitchen sink. She was all clean, lounging on her changing table:

when she spit up again. Freshly clean hair no more. I went through 5 washcloths this morning! Add it to the laundry pile.

She also has developed baby acne/newborn rash. It isn't too bad but I would like it to go away. It doesn't bother her at all, of course. I don't Google much but upon googling "newborn rash", one thing I was traumatized by was the Baby Center Visual Rash Guide. EWW. I hope to God that she doesn't develop many of those. GROSS.

She continues to love lights, windows, ceiling fans, black picture frames on the wall, her activity mat with this scary panda thing (scary in my mind, not hers) and she seems to be liking books more. Her recent favorite is Baby! Baby! She smiled at two of the pictures while looking at it yesterday and the green and black frog featured there will definitely put her in a trance.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Sweetest Day!

I almost forgot to post a photo of the gorgeous roses I got for Sweetest Day (flanked by some marigolds from our yard).

I wish I could upload fragrance to the blog - they smell heavenly!

Weekend Recap

Another chill weekend at the S__ House. Friday night the three of us went out for a fish fry and got a great fish fry AND a lesson in parenting. I can attest that you get a LOT of parenting advice when you have a baby, solicited and unsolicited. My personal favorite is the unsolicited advice from random people you do not know. We have taken Maggie to a fair share of restaurants since she arrived and she seems to love them - lots of noise, lots to look at. She rarely, if ever, has cried at one and will stay awake for part of the time but then will fall asleep. Friday night, she was awake to begin with so we put her (in her carseat) on a chair at our table. An older man (of the crotchety variety) sitting at a table next to us commented on the baby. Not sure what he said. I smiled and then we proceeded to order. She fell asleep at some point and we finished our meal. The waitress, who seemed to be in a super hurry all night, cleared our plates and zipped to the kitchen. On her way, a spoon flew off the plate and landed on maggie's chair. It startled her but she kept on sleeping. Clearly she was not hurt nor too concerned. Well Mr. Old Man proceeded to chastise us for placing our child in the chair that was in the aisle - we should have put her more in the corner, according to him. Then, he proceeded to put the bar up on her car seat as well as the shade "too give her more protection". I was so baffled that he was touching our car seat that I didn't say anything. He got up to use the restroom and I noticed he was wearing 1980's style brown sweatpants and slippers. Really?! You're going to offer me parenting advice and you are wearing gross sweatpants to the restaurant?!

Anyways, we got a kick out of that.

Saturday Maggie wore one of about ten halloween outfits she has. This is a scary skeleton onesie...and it GLOWS IN THE DARK! How cool is that?! It was a hand me down from the girls who live behind us.

We also tried out the Bumbo chair! Maggie had really good head control from the day she was born (doctor's words, not just ours!) and so we gave it a whirl. We think she likes it! It provided a good view to watch the Badgers win over Ohio State!!

Sunday we were on mission organization. Increasingly Maggie is outgrowing many of her clothes, which I had just been making a pile in her closet which also houses my shoe piles and piles of running clothes. It was driving me bonkers so we started a baby 0-3 month box. I really can't believe how much she has outgrown - mostly in the length department. She had these kimono-style onesie shirts that are now belly shirts. I think 5 1/2 weeks is a little young to be baring midriff so into the box they went. Some outfits, she only wore once!! This morning I noticed that even the regular onesies in the 0-3 month size are getting a little short! Bring on the 3-6 month clothes!

I ended the weekend as usual - with Mad Men. Last night was the season finale - boo! I already can't wait for season 5!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Book it!

Alas! Swaptree has started charging for swaps meaning I have a big bag of books that I am going to take to Goodwill, unless one of YOU wants them - let me know!

These High Green Hills - Jan Karon
Lucky Man - Michael J. Fox
Timeline - Michael Crichton
The Wonder Spot - Melissa Banks
She's Come Undone - Wally Lamb
Seabiscuit - Laura Hillenbrand
The Ladies Lending Library - Janice Kulyk Keefer
Kabul Beauty School - Deborah Rodriguez
The true & outstanding adventures of the hunt sisters - elisabeth robinson
Divine Secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood - rebecca wells
Behind the scenes at the museum - kate atkinson

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes...Turn and Face the Strain

Oh David Bowie. You have no idea how much that lyric rings true in our house this week which brought lots of ch-ch-c-changes to Maggie McGoo's life. First, last Saturday, in honor of her one month birthday, we tried giving her a bottle. Girl took it down like a champ. Clearly, she does not mind WHERE the food comes from, as long as she gets it. Since then, Nate has given her a bottle a day - usually in early evening.

I was a little nervous about how she would do with the bottle. On one hand, she has used a pacifier since early on, albeit sparingly, and her pacifiers (the green soothies) have the same nipple as the bottles (dr. browns). However, those of you that have breastfed before will attest to the fear that the phrase "nipple confusion" will strike in the hearts of new moms everywhere. I'm not saying that nipple confusion isn't a valid concern, just that we really didn't have to worry about much with our beast :)
I will say that it is more of a pain to use bottles. It IS much easier just to breastfeed. With the bottles, I have to pump and I have been pumping at the same time she has her bottle. Since I have been building a supply in our chest freezer, we have to thaw out a bag of milk and put it in the bottle and also wash the bottle in addition to the pump parts. Of course this isn't a huge deal, just more work. I have to say that it is nice not to feel completely depended upon for feeding. I went to an investment club meeting this week and didn't have to plan my return around what time Maggie might be hungry.

In other changes, Maggie is now transitioning to her crib. We have had her sleep in her pack and play next to our bed since she arrived. Lately I have been waking up to her sleep sounds, which consist of a lot of grunting. Waking up to these in addition to feed her has left me exhausted. So last night she had her first night in the crib. Once she actually fell asleep, it went totally fine. She even went 6 hours and 40 minutes in between feedings! Of course, that didn't mean that I had that much sleep - I got up twice in between to do breath checks and because my boobs were starting to hurt b/c they were so full! Her room is right across a very small hallway from ours so we do not use a monitor. If she cries, I can hear her, but i CAN"T hear all of her sleep sounds which makes for a more restful mommy. I thought it might be more of a pain to feed her now, but it isn't really that much of a change. With the pack and play, I still had to get out of bed to go change her so now I get out of bed, change her and sit in her chair to feed her and then put her back in her crib. Easy Peasy.

What has NOT been easy is transitioning her to the crib DURING THE DAY. Ok, so I will admit for the past 5 weeks, I have held her...A LOT. This includes holding her for her naps. I do love holding her, but I have realized that in doing so, I a) don't get to sleep (the whole "sleep when she sleeps" thing) and b) I don't really DO anything all day, which has been a little mentally challenging for me. A Motherhood Catch-22: I love holding her but I love reading a book or having a little time to myself too. I also was worried that she would be dependent on someone holding her to sleep. So on Wednesday I decided to try putting her in her crib for naps.

HOLY COW. Someone by the name of Margaret Hazel did NOT like that idea. SCREAMED. WAILED. I knew she could do this since she is a pretty good sleeper at night - and can get herself to sleep at night. Yesterday was really no better. My process has been to a)leave her alone if she is just making little fake cries (which she does on her way to sleep sometimes); b) Let her scream for a bit - any escalating cries I go back in there, pick her up, calm her down and put her back in the crib. UGH. It has been a process, which sometimes means doing (b) several times. But today I think we finally have some progress!!! For both her morning and afternoon nap, she did not scream. There was some fake crying for no more than a minute but then she would sleep. I am hoping this means progress. I am not hoping that she gets herself asleep from wide awake to comatose - I still help her get very drowsy, even lightly sleeping but I am trying to wean her from being held so much. This has also been a weaning process for me :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Photo Shoots

Maggie's newborn photo shoot pics are in!!! The above features a preview that the photographer did for us. If you would like the link to all of the photos, please email me and I will send it to you. We are very happy with how they turned out and would highly recommend Photography Atelier! I am obsessed with looking at them.

In the junior varsity world of photography, I also did a photo shoot with Maggie wearing her Douglas Jeweler t-shirt. (Douglas Jeweler is Nate's dad's store.) The shirt actually was Nate's (or one of his brother's) when they were a baby. I am really not one for baby headbands, but I stuck one on her so that people wouldn't think she was a boy after everyone in church thought she was a boy because she was wearing a gender non-specific Halloween outfit. Hello - girls can wear orange too!

Friday, October 8, 2010

1 Month Old

Maggie is a month old today! I am going to take a picture of her in a onesie on her quilt every month (this morning's shot above) and one with mickey every month (see below). It is amazing how big she has gotten. I weighed her on the Wii Fit this morning - 10.4 lbs. We are celebrating by going for a walk with her friend Maddie in a bit. She also was nice and gave me 5 1/2 hours of solid sleep last night!!! I also got her to smile today for the first time!!! I was clapping her hands together - she did it like 10 times so I don't think it was a fluke!

Here she is with Mickey at 1 week old:

And this morning's shot:

Pictures from the Week

Tuesday Maggie wanted to wish her Uncle Mike a happy birthday so we made a sign and did a photo shoot. Here are two of the better shots.

Nate took a paternity day on Wednesday to hang out with his two favorite girls. We hit up the grocery store for double coupon day, went out to lunch at Ferch's Malt Shoppe and then went to the Boerner Botanical Gardens. It was a beautiful, dare I say HOT, day. We took the stroller along to the gardens because he read on the website that the paths are paved. They were not so Mags got quite the ride. She still slept through it all. Even when we had to literally pick up the stroller and dodge sprinklers (unsuccessfully) in the rock garden, she stayed sleeping. And then we took her out of the stroller to take pictures of her, and guess what...she stayed sleeping.

Who is on that butterfly sculpture?

It looks like...

It IS - Maggie! Where was this can-do attitude when we tried doing this pose with the photographer last weekend?!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Adventures in Babysitting Breastfeeding

Yup - here is the long awaited breastfeeding post. If you don't want to know all the dirty details, don't read it. Trust me - I get pretty candid with this one.

Among my friends with babies or my friends who are preggers, breastfeeding always comes up as a topic. I know I had plenty of questions about it when I was pregnant. Breastfeeding was the one thing I felt very strongly about doing, provided that I had a good supply and was able to. Other things (e.g. cloth diapers) I took more of a we'll try it out and see attitude. Back in my grad school days, my friend MB (who also recently gave birth) and I took a class through the nursing school on breastfeeding. Not how to personally breastfeed, but how to help people (from a nursing perspective) with breastfeeding. Given that we were public health students, we naturally saw a connection between public health and breastfeeding. This was when I was toying with the idea of doing maternal and child health for a career as well. So we took the class. I thought it was a great class and we had to shadow some lactation consultants (LC) for it. I was all about becoming a LC. Yeah - that went no where.

Fast forward a couple years (5 to be exact) and I was taking another breastfeeding class - only this time it WAS of the "how to breastfeed" variety. Nate even went with me. We registered for the breast pump, for the nipple cream, the milk saver bags, the nursing pads, the Boppy...etc.

Then I gave birth to Maggie and they encouraged me to try to get her to latch right in labor and delivery. She did it the first time!!! Hooray! We gave birth to a breastfeeding champion! Who needs a LC?!

Then, as I like to tell it, she forgot everything on the wheelchair ride up to the mom & baby floor. 2 AM came and she was screaming with hunger. I put her to my boob. I thought she was sucking. We paged the LC on duty, R. R came and basically looked at us like we were idiots. "THAT is not a nutritive suck - that is not going to do anything or get milk into her. She is a lazy sucker." I don't remember much about my days shadowing the LCs, but I thought that chastising new parents and insulting their baby probably wasn't the best bedside manner. R immediately grabbed my boob and literally started milking me. Then she asked, "Is this ok?" "Um..yes. Do what you gotta do," was my reply. She said that we were going to have to train Maggie to suck.

"Training and infant to suck" sounds all cute. It is not. What this meant was that R had to teach me how to hand express my colostrum (aka milk myself). Given that colostrum doesn't just readily flow from your boob, it is hard work. Since I did not have any sleep in about 48 hours, I readily tired from squeezing the hell out of my boob. While I was squeezing the drops from my boob, Nate was sitting there, gathering them in a plastic measuring cup. When I literally got too tired to continue, Nate took over the milking. No questions asked. We didn't even really think about it until days later when Nate would tell his friends, "I had to milk my wife." Go ahead. Laugh. It is funny. It wasn't funny that first night in the hospital, but it is now.

After we gathered a whole shot glass of the colostrum, we again paged R. Holy toledo. The woman looked at me as if I were a celebrity - "Look at how much you got!!! That is amazing!!". We then got these tiny syringes that we had to fill with the colostrum and Nate would put his pinky in Maggie's mouth and when she sucked, we would have to syringe in some milk. This is how we fed her for the first 24 hours.

THEN, this method was passe. The other LC, W, said we had to graduate to a syringe with a long thin tube on it that we would have to tape to my boob. This would give Maggie practice at sucking at my boob and then getting "rewarded" with milk when she sucked appropriately. Like she was a little puppy. Seeing that I could hand express a ton of colostrum, they graduated me to the hospital breast pump, which was much easier than milking myself. So I would try to feed her every 2 hours and have to pump every 3 hours. It was exhausting. And let me tell you - trying to fit your giant boob in a tiny baby's mouth along with a little tube is NOT easy. However, W was way nicer and more encouraging than R. She was very nice and made it sound like every newborn has some sort of problem and that she was confident that once my milk actually came in, Maggie would be a champ.

Then Day 3 came and we were going to be sent home. W sent us home with a SNS device, which is basically the fancy version of the syringe with a tube attached. So I was still going to have to pump round the clock so we could fill the bottle and tape it to my boob for our first day home.

During the day, this wasn't too big of an issue. But at night, when Maggie would get up to eat every two hours, it was a circus. Nate would have to get up, fill the bottle with breastmilk, come up with the device and the medical tape and tape the tube to my boob and then hold the bottle. We were taught that we would see little bubbles in the bottle when she was sucking appropriately. So as I tiredly would shove my boob into Maggie's mouth, I would ask, desperately, "Are there bubbles? Are there bubbles?". We did not get any sleep that first night.

The SNS device was only good for 24 hours because the tube was so thin that it wouldn't hold up longer than that. We were thinking she was latching pretty well after that so we threw it away and hoped for the best. The whole time, I worked with the cradle hold, which is basically like how all the pictures of breastfeeding moms are - you cradle the baby in your arms. Due to a stroke of genius, one night Nate mentioned, "Why don't you try using the football hold?". That man WAS paying attention in that class!! Bless him! Maybe HE should think about becoming an LC!! ha ha ha I arranged the Boppy to my side, laid her on her back, and the magic happened. It was like that episode of the office when Pam excitedly proclaimed "Jim, she latched!" (only we didn't breastfeed the wrong baby!).

After that, Maggie took off with the breastfeeding. And the more I talked with friends the more it seemed "normal" that there are some issues at first. I am thankful ours only lasted 4 days. In the grand scheme of things, that is nothing but at the time I was thinking "THIS is why people give up on breastfeeding."

One of Nate's biggest fears about being a father was poopy diapers. Not losing sleep - not being able to care for a small baby - but Poop. He quickly got over that fear and became a cheerleader for poop. When you initially start breastfeeding, you can't magically see through your boob to see how much (if any) milk the baby is getting so you have to count dirty diapers. For real - they give you a chart to count the poop and pee diapers. Those early days, we would literally high five when she had a poopy diaper. Now there is not turning off the poop! Let's just say the girl is getting PLENTY to eat.

Speaking of plenty to eat, I definitely have no supply issues. Quite the opposite really. Since I started pumping early on, I sort of had to wean myself from the pumping. Your breast literally works on supply and demand - so if you keep removing milk from it, it will keep producing more. Thus, while it may seem like a good idea to keep pumping to empty your really engorged breast, that will just signal them to keep making more. I went through about 2 weeks of no pumping. It was nice - I already had quite the nice supply built up in our chest freezer. However, I did return to pumping last week once a day. Five minutes of pumping each morning gives me 4 oz for the freezer, which will come in handy when I go back to work.

The breast pump was something I was quite afraid of before having a baby. When my friends CD & AH were here for a baby shower, they both were pumping and they gave me demonstrations and answered tons of my questions. I felt better about pumping after that. And despite the fact that we didn't have the easiest entry into the world of breastfeeding, having to pump in the hospital, where there were nurses and LCs around to help, definitely made me an old pro at pumping. I was very thankful we bought the Medela Pump In Style Advanced BEFORE having the baby so that we didn't have to make any emergency trips to Babies R Us to buy it that first day home. The hospital also gave us a Medela pumping kit with a manual pump, duplicate pump parts, etc which was very nice. During those early days of engorgement, it was easier to "take the edge off" with the manual pump rather than hook up the electric.

If I heard or read "breastfeeding is not suppossed to hurt if you are doing it right" one more time, I was going to combust from insanity. If it wasn't suppossed to hurt, then why were my friend HC and I trading stories about the cringe we did every time our babies would latch for the first few weeks. In reality, breastfeeding IS a bit uncomfortable the first few weeks. The nurses with kids in the hospital confirmed this. That is why there are things like Lansinoh Soothies (thanks AB!) and lanolin nipple cream. I would have BATHED in nipple cream that first week if I could. But then, one day, the first cringe goes away and it's no big deal. I felt very lucky as some of my friends had blistering and such. I had minor discomfort that went away around week 2 or 3.

I was hoping I would be like some of my friends and have no issues with leakage. Yeah that dream did not come true. I might buy stock in Avent given how many boxes of nursing pads I might go through! Again, remember in the episode of The Office where Jim & Pam have thier baby and Kevin is always making crying sounds around Pam hoping to get her breasts to leak? Yup - I can attest that that does really happen.

As I said, Mags and I had the football hold down pat. However, I had wanted to try to switch back to the cradle hold because the football made me a slave to the Boppy. At home, this wasn't awful but when we would go someplace, I would have to drag the Boppy along. Sometimes, the only place to feed Maggie would be the car and squeezing into the seat with the Boppy and baby would not exactly make for a comfortable time.

Then last week, Maggie started having gas and spit up. Things I read said that the cradle hold might be better for this, particularly in my case where I definitely don't have any let down reflex - milk just streams out of my boob causing her to gulp the first few minutes of feeding. The football hold worked with gravity - something I did not need! So we tried the cradle hold and voila! Less gas and instant trasportability. No more Boppy necessary for feeding!!!!!!

Now we use the Boppy more as an infant lounger and for modified tummy time, as pictured above. (Note the use of burp rag in case of any spit up!).

I once heard my boss tell a colleague that had just given birth, "Breastfeeding starts out being sort of a pain, but with time, it is easier than formula". In my case, this was very true. Nate & I have commented many times that it is so nice being able to go somewhere and not have to lug around bottles and formula and worry if they will have a heat source to warm the bottle. And now that we have mastered the cradle hold, I can basically feed Maggie on demand without any props, prep time, or any drama. Clearly she is getting enough - the girl didn't hit the 10.0 lb. mark before week 4 by NOT eating. NICE!

Monday, October 4, 2010

From Our Home to Yours

This is what Mags & I are rocking out to today. I got a little sick of Norah Jones - her favorite of last week. It seems that any music is on her "good list". Lucky Me!

This was a mix I made last summer to run to, so no current songs on here. I don't usually run to music, but sometimes I throw the ipod on to shake things up. I haven't returned to running yet (more on that later) so it's now a baby dance and sing a long. I guarantee your baby will be asleep by the end of The Killers (provided you do dance and sing to him/her) :)

Thanks to Carol for reminding me that I had this mix! :)