Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's Not Just About Vax....

This post is going to address something I’ve researched/thought about/agonized over for a long time. It all boils down to this: in my opinion, it’s not the doctor’s job to decide how to care for your baby- it’s yours. Yes, doctors should provide their professional opinions, as well as the risks/benefits for each procedure, but in the end, YOU are responsible. YOU are the person who decides whether or not to actively consent to whatever procedure your child undergoes. YOU and YOUR BABY are the ones who will live with the consequences of your decisions- not the doctor. I have plenty of respect for doctors- that's not the issue. However, I also know that doctors are HUMAN BEINGS. They have biases and opinions and make mistakes. Do I trust my doctor/midwife? Yes. Do I BLINDLY, ABSOLUTELY trust my doctor/midwife? No. I know some people who do- their doctor could tell them that Snickers bars cure cancer and they’d believe them. I’m not one of those people. Here goes.

Lucy has had no vaccinations so far. And no, it’s not because I don’t trust vaccines or doctors or that I don’t understand how vaccines work or that I have a curious religious belief. It’s just that I have decided to postpone Lucy’s vaccines until she’s six months old, and then vaccinate selectively. I’ve weighed the pros and cons, and as long as I am exclusively breastfeeding, I’m comfortable with the fact that my breast milk is providing her a great deal of immunity. Now, if a) I wasn’t breastfeeding or b) Lucy was in day care, then I would not have postponed her vax. I would strongly urge any mother who is either formula-feeding or has her child in day care or any other large group setting to consider those risk factors when making her decision.

Of all the procedures advocated by CDC/AAP, my biggest beef is with the use of the Hep B vaccine in newborns. We refused it when Lucy was born, and didn’t get any negative feedback from our ped or the nurses working in the hospital. Here’s the issue: Hep B is, primarily, an STD. It can also be transferred via an infected needle. Why, then, vaccinate babies only a few hours old? According AAP’s pamphlet:

“Some parents question why infants and young children should be vaccinated against hepatitis B when they don’t have the risk factors (drug use, sexual activity, professional risk) that lead to many infections. There are two reasons. One is that babies and children can become infected too. If a mother infects her baby during birth, for example, and the baby is not immunized immediately, it will probably become chronically infected too. One out of 4 of these children will eventually die from cirrhosis or liver cancer. The other reason is that vaccinating only high-risk adolescents and adults has proved not to be a very effective way to control the disease. It was only after we began routine childhood vaccination that rates of disease began to drop significantly.”

So, basically, if a mother is Hep B positive, her baby could contract the disease. Noted. But I don’t have Hep B and neither does my husband (I was required to be vaccinated by the military, anyway- he was, voluntarily). I fail to see how the blanket application of the vaccination benefits my daughter- or most children. It's the typical scenario used in the medical community these days- rather than test women individually and identifying those who need treatment, everyone is treated, regardless of their status. Another example of this is the administering of antibiotic eye ointment for newborns (which we also refused) because so many women have STDs.

On a side note, I also dislike the scare tactics employed by the AAP here. Another example of the “dead baby” technique- i.e., do what we’re telling you, or your baby could die, and that would be your fault.

Anyways, I digress. If I listed all the reasons why I made my decision or the research I consulted, it would be pages long. And boring. So instead of continuing with my own decision/opinion, here are a few resources:

Dr. Robert Sears

The CDC’s vaccination guide

Immunization Action Coalition

The bottom line for me: Don’t let the doctor make all the decisions for you. Listen to what he/she has to say, do enough research to be able to discuss vax (or any other procedure) in an educated manner, and, in the end, do what you are comfortable with. Don't be afraid to question things- especially the "routine"- whether it's circumcision, vax, supplementing, pacifier use, etc. Be an empowered parent!

Copyright Tracie Birch

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I'm donating breast milk...and you should too!

“Formula for babies has become such a pervasive part of our culture that many people assume it must be as good for babies as human milk. After all, formula is designed to contain many of the nutrients provided in breastmilk--and babies who are fed formula clearly grow and develop adequately. Yet the fact remains that human milk and infant formula differ in a number of fundamental ways. Breastmilk is such a rich, nourishing mixture that scientists have yet to identify all of its elements; no formula manufacturer has managed or will ever be able to fully replicate it.” American Academy of Pediatrics

Addendum: Before I get started with today’s post, I want to add something to my post last week regarding breastfeeding. My intention was not to judge working mothers or make working mothers feel badly. I, of all people, understand how difficult it is to work and continue breastfeeding. I am extremely blessed to have a job that allows me time to pump and to return home for lunch- giving me an extra opportunity to breastfeed during the day. So far, my supply has not diminished and I am able to actually bank much of what I pump (see new post below). However, not all women are as lucky. I do understand that some women find it impossible to keep up their supply when pumping during the day. My intention was not to criticize those women- in fact, I commend you for doing your best to provide the best possible food for your baby. I do want to point out that even if you aren’t able to provide enough breast milk to breastfeed exclusively, you can still breastfeed when able (sort of like supplementing formula with breast milk). This way, if your baby has to take formula during the day, he/she can still get the benefits of breastfeeding, even if he/she is only able to get an ounce or two of milk. Even an ounce of breast milk can make a difference. From women I’ve talked to (my mother, who nursed 7 children, included), your body will adjust, and nursing only once or twice a day is possible.

To summarize: my real beef is with women who don’t breastfeed at all because they intend to go back to work (and somehow think starting a baby on formula from the beginning is better than starting on breast milk and switching later, if necessary), mothers that don’t even give pumping a try, or those who switch to formula for their own selfish reasons (and yes, I am counting the “I’m tired” and “If I use formula my husband can help me” excuses).

..................................New Post starts here…………….......

So from my last post you can probably tell that I take breastfeeding very, very seriously. When I returned to work, I did so with the intention to breastfeed until Lucy was at least 1 year old. In an ideal world (i.e. I could stay at home) I would nurse Lucy until she self-weaned. Anyways, achieving this goal requires me to pump at work twice each day- once in the morning, once in the afternoon. I had figured that this would provide me with roughly 12 ounces of breastmilk per day- more than enough for the two feedings I would miss. Lucy, however, threw me for a loop when she decided to drop her feedings while I am at work and sleep instead, preferring to breastfeed when I’m at home. Thus, she nurses at 7 am as I get ready to walk out the door, 11:30-ish at my lunch break, and 4:30-ish when I get home for work. According to my lactation consultant and a friendly LLL expert, this is fine. Lucy is gaining weight normally, and makes up for it at night, when she is pretty much attached to me from the time I get home until we go to sleep. She also nurses at least once at night, usually twice.

The point is, I was ending up with tons of pumped milk. I began pumping into Medela freeze-and-pump bags and freezing it. My stash began to grow and grow. But a problem arose: breast milk only stays good in a freezer like ours for roughly 3 months. I began to get concerned about the milk expiring. Then I heard about breast milk banking.

According to the World Health Organization/UNICEF:

"Where it is not possible for the biological mother to breastfeed, the first alternative, if available, should be the use of human breast milk from other sources. Human milk banks should be made available in appropriate situations."

There are currently 9 breast milk banks in the United States. They provide milk to babies who need it- mainly babies in the NICU who especially need the benefits breast milk provides. Insurance helps families pay for the milk, which can cost up to $8/ounce, mainly because it costs so much to process. Donors must be tested, and the milk must be shipped same-day, pasteurized, stored, and distributed.

I have signed up to donate milk, and I urge other mamas to do the same. There are three basic steps for donation:

1. Preliminary Screening/Interview: Once you have 200 ounces available for donation (assuming you’re having it shipped- you can give 150 ounces if you’re actually going to the bank), you are eligible to be interviewed.

2. Completing the Donor Packet: Your OB and pediatrician must certify that you and your baby are in good health.

3. Lab Work: You’ll have to go and have a blood draw you ensure you are disease-free.

4. Donation: You’ll be sent a cooler with a pre-paid label. You’ll pack the cooler and ship it back.

Another option is to donate to the International Breast Milk Project. This group sends breast milk all over the world- from AIDS orphans in Africa to countries suffering from national disasters. Some of the donated milk is also used to make the only human-milk-only fortifier available. They are currently not taking donors, but I’ve signed up for the waiting list, which is available from their web site. Some interesting facts about IBMP:

  • Over 1250 moms from across the US have donated milk to IBMP
  • Average donor sends around 200-300 ounces- Largest donor sent nearly 7000 ounces (54 gallons!)
  • By the end of 2009, IBMP will have provided over 262,679 ounces of donor milk to infants suffering from malnourishment, poverty and disease in Africa.
  • 262,679 ounces = enough milk to feed 2,188 babies 1 bottle a day for 30 days

Why let your extra breast milk go to waste? Share it with a baby who desperately needs it. And even if you can’t donate, you can get involved. Join the IBMP facebook group, hold a milk drive, donate funds, or just talk about it with friends. The more people know about milk banks, the more babies will thrive.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Breast is best.

Nursing at 10,000 ft.

I've put off writing this post because I'm pretty sure I'm going to offend some people. But I've finally decided to just bite the bullet, so here goes.

As mothers, we make many of what I like to refer to as "lifestyle choices." Cloth vs. disposable. Working mom vs. stay at home. Infant seat vs. convertible. But here's the bottom line: BREASTFEEDING IS NOT A LIFESTYLE CHOICE.

Just as our bodies were created with the internal structures necessary to create babies, we were created with the tools necessary to feed them. Why do we doubt our bodies' abilities to feed our babies? It seems like women today have serious trust issues with ourselves- we doubt our ability to birth without medical intervention and/or pain medication, too, but that's another post.

To the new moms out there: I'm sorry if you're tired. I'm sorry if you're frustrated. Aren't we all? But why not try to adapt your technique before you give up and pick up a bottle. Have your husband make sure to bring you food and water while you're nursing- maybe throw in a back/neck massage, too. Co-sleeping can make a huge difference in the amount of sleep you can get as a breastfeeding mom. And I'm not opposed to the occasional bottle of pumped milk given in a pinch.

Are you really too embarrassed to use your breasts for what they're made for? I've heard this excuse from the same women I see exposing more boob in their bikinis at the beach than nursing their babies.
A. Get a nursing cover.
B. Buy/rent a pump. Pump at home and carry expressed milk in a bottle with you when you're out and about.

Are you having "technical" issues with latch/soreness/etc? Talk to a lactation consultant/La Leche League leader. They are professionals and the experts in this area. Don't be afraid to ask for help!

Are you a working mom? I am. In fact, I work full-time, and I'm in the military- probably the least pumping-friendly environment there is. But guess what? I can manage to find 15 minutes in the morning and afternoon to pump. I guarantee you spend that much time getting a cup of coffee. Can't you spare it for your baby? Besides, I so look forward to coming home from work, sitting down with Lucy, and feeding her. What an amazing way to regain that sense of closeness with my daughter after being away during the day!

Do you think breastfeeding is inconvenient? That's a matter of opinion. I don't know about you, but my boobs go with my everywhere. It's awfully nice not to have to worry about carrying bottles, formula, etc. with me all the time. This is especially important for the notorious night feeding. Is getting out of your nice, warm bed to fetch a bottle (assuming you have one pre-made) and waiting while it warms really that much easier than simply pulling your baby closer to you, letting him/her latch on, and drifting back to sleep together?

Also, consider this: flu season is upon us. What's the best way to protect your baby from not only the flu, but from colds, ear infections, and other illnesses? You guessed it. So what's more important to you- a few extra hours of sleep, or helping develop your baby's immune system? I guarantee you'll be getting much less sleep when he/she has the flu than from breastfeeding once or twice a night.

Granted, there are legitimate reasons justifying bottlefeeding. Some women genuinely have supply issues, but this phenomenon isn't nearly as widespread as many women believe. And even if you have a problem producing enough for your child, there are things you can do to help- from prescriptions, to herbs such as fenugreek, to simply nursing more frequently.

The bottom line: you wouldn't put your child in the car without a car seat. So why would you take your child out into the world without offering him/her the protection mother's milk provides? I snagged this video from Julie's blog, and it sums everything up nicely.

Sometimes being a mom means putting your baby's needs first, knowing that the "easy" way isn't always the best way.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lucy Mae update.

Today Lucy went in for her (rather belated) 2-month-well-baby-appointment. It was belated because we have to see a ped on base now, but that's a whole other can of worms that I don't feel like opening now. Anyways, some stats: Lucy is now tipping the scales at 12 lbs even, and is 24" long. Quite a change from her newborn stats (6 lbs, 3.5 oz and 19 3/4")! The rest of her appointment was pretty uneventful, as we are not starting her immunizations until she is 6 months old, and then it will be selectively. Some skills the doctor checked out/Lucy has displayed lately:
- Sucking her thumb. (She can always get at least a fist, but is getting more adept at just the thumb. She even once spit out her paci, raised ONE eyebrow at me, and stuck in her thumb. I can't make this stuff up!)
- Pulling up her head and chest during tummy time.
- Following my voice (She especially does this when I get home from work every day).
- Holding her head up- I credit lots of sling time for this one. She has awesome head and neck control.
- Extremely vocal. Lucy does not hesitate to voice either her joy or her discontent. Instead of crying, she does a lot of loud complaining- the ped referred to it today as the "angry kitten."
- Still infatuated with lights and ceiling fans. We are very much looking forward to putting up our Christmas tree- I'm sure she'll love it.
- Loves music! We listen to all kinds, from children's Christian to classical. She especially likes the Classical Baby dvds I bought last week- I highly recommend them. We purchased the 3-piece set, plus the poetry edition. She loves looking at the tv, so I figured we'd make it productive/educational.
- Lucy also loves listening to books, even more so when Brett and I do funny voices and add noises with the rattle. My favorite right now is Let's Dance, Little Pookie, but we love the Little Critter books, too. Try singing the words and shaking the rattle to the beat- so fun! We are looking forward to starting signing as soon as I get around to getting a book (I think we will use ASL instead of "baby sign") and Your Baby Can Read in a few more months.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

So. Incredibly. Exhausted....

First day back at work.

...that's how I've felt this week. Going back to work was surprisingly less stressful, emotionally anyway, than I predicted. I'm attributing this to the fact that Lucy is taken care of Monday-Wednesday by an awesome nanny and Thursday-Friday by daddy. On my first day back, I returned home to find my nanny laying on the couch with Lucy on her chest. And Lucy was sound asleep. And looked comfy. And I felt so much better about the situation. Of course, returning home for lunch every day helps, too. I get to relax, nurse Lucy, and reconnect with her for awhile. It also means that she gets, at most, two bottles a day. Most days it's more like one. I'm still pumping twice a day at work, though, to help maintain my supply. What to do with all the extra? I'm donating to a breast milk bank in N.C. But more on that later- I'll dedicate a whole post to this topic.

So why am I so exhausted? Let's see. Most days I get up around 5:30 am. It's worth getting up a little earlier than I technically have to to get to lay in bed with Lucy for a while, snuggle with her, and nurse her before I get up. Usually she falls right back asleep after I nurse her, and that means I can take my time getting a shower, my coffee, etc. The nanny gets here around 7 and I head to work. I work all morning, stopping once to pump, then drive home at lunch. It's about a half-hour drive each way. After lunch, I return to work, pump once in the afternoon, and go work out. I have been trying to get back into my normal running routine, but have been having some major knee issues. Again, another post for another day.

I get home around 4:30-5, and if it's Monday-Wednesday, I have Lucy to myself for the rest of the night. Add in taking care of her, looking after the dogs, keeping the house looking presentable, feeding myself, and getting everything ready for the next day (washing diapers, freezing milk, getting bottles ready, making wipe solution, etc.) and I am getting tired just writing about it. Also, Lucy is nursing at least once, normally twice each night, so I'm still not getting that much sleep, although co-sleeping is definitely a huge help. Finally, I was supposed to have finished my Master's class two weeks ago, but I lost my research paper in the Great Hard-drive Crash of 2009, so I had to ask for an extension on that, and I'm STILL not finished. Bah.

I'm going to take Jenny's advice and map out some upcoming blog posts to keep myself on track:
1. Lucy update
2. Donating my breast milk
3. Running post-baby

PS- I'm super-behind on writing thank-you notes, but that's a project I've been working on this weekend. So if I haven't gotten back to you, I apologize. I am normally a stellar note-writer, but I've been pretty sucky about it lately.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Things I Like...

...that Earth Fare carries! And no, this is not a paid advertisement for Earth Fare. When I was driving around Athens the other day (okay, so I was lost), I drove by the store. I didn't even know Athens had one until that moment. Anyways, I love the following items (and not having to pay shipping fees for them!)

1. Charlie's Soap. I bought this to use with my cloth diapers, as it's one of the only laundry detergents free of brighteners, enzymes, perfumes, and basically anything that might leave residue on your dipes, rendering them less able to absorb. Now I use it on ALL my laundry. It doesn't have a scent, but my clothes just smell CLEAN, which I infinitely prefer. Plus it only takes one tablespoon per load- so a bag lasts forever!

2. Diva Cup. I wrote a post on this a while back. Once you have a baby via natural (vaginal) birth, you need a new size. So I picked one up- always be prepared, right? I highly, highly recommend it. Love not having to worry about it pretty much all day! Also, on a side note: I love my Lunapads. Before Lucy was born, I soaked several in witch hazel and froze them for post-delivery. Amazing. Strongly, strongly recommend it.

3. Fenugreek Tea. Fenugreek has been used for thousands of years to increase milk supply. I bought it because I'm worried about the effect going to work and pumping instead of nursing will do to my supply. I've been taking it for 3 days now, and let me tell you, it's made a huge difference. I would recommend Wedela Nursing Tea as opposed to Traditional Medicinals Mother's Milk, because it has much more fenugreek in it (500 mg vs. 35 mg), meaning you don't have to drink as much of the tea. The Wedela tea does have star anise in it, which takes getting used to, but I think it's worth it. You could also take fenugreek capsules if you wanted.

4. Norwegian Gold Daily Omega. I've taken a lot of different kinds of fish oils, and I think this one is the best. The capsules are coated, so no fishy burps! Nice side effect: my stylist says my hair looks awesome.

5. Midwifery Today. Love this journal. It's so interesting, full of great articles, stories, studies, and items that make pregnancy/delivery more comfortable.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday.

We went hiking over the weekend. Beautiful!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lucy Can Laugh!

I know, I know- I am super-behind on updating this thing. I'll be done with my Master's class in a week (and headed back to work, but that's another blog for another day), and I promise to get back on the updating track when that happens. For now, here are some shots of Lucy smiling and laughing. The smiling has been going on for a while now, but the laughing is a new development. I've only heard it twice, but I do have a witness, in case there are any doubters out there!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

PA Trip and Lucy's Baptism.

St. Anthony's-same church where Brett and I were married.

Last Thursday Brett, Lucy, and I flew up to PA to visit our family and to have Lucy baptized. I was a little worried about how Lucy would do on the plane, and I was prepared to nurse her at takeoff and landing to help her pressurize her ears. However, because she was in the Moby, she ended up falling asleep in the airport and not waking up on the plane at all! The trip up to PA was totally uneventful.

Turkey bib! Can't wait 'til Thanksgiving.

We had a blast in PA just hanging out with family and friends. Lucy was so excited to meet everyone at last! We were very sad, though, when my Nanny (Lucy's great-grandma) had to go to the hospital- she has double pneumonia. To be on the safe side for Lucy and Nanny, they didn't get to meet each other. Both were very, very disappointed. But we're working on getting a Skype chat set up, and we'll be up again soon for Christmas.

Godparents- my sister Megan and Brett's uncle Mike

On Saturday we had a baptism party for Lucy. Lots of fun, food, cake, and of course, lots of pink, frilly, girly clothes! Love it. Lucy received so many beautiful gifts. We especially love the beautiful silver crucifix from her godfather and her Lilly Pulitzer sweater. I've already decided that Lucy will get a new Lilly dress for back-to-school each year.

Saturday night was the baptism. Lucy took the everything very, very seriously! She looked right at Father Speice the entire time, and didn't cry at all. She looked very angelic in her Christening gown (which is over 100 years old and has now been worn by 5 generations in our family), ruffly tights, beautiful little booties, new crucifix necklace, and bonnet. You could tell she felt holy :-)

On Sunday we headed out early to fly back to SC. This time the flight was a little more eventful, mainly because the flight attendant insisted I take Lucy out of the Moby for takeoff and landing. At takeoff I just ignored her. At landing, she started to lecture me about safety, saying that Lucy was obviously safer in my lap than in the wrap (which she called a snuggi, by the way). Excuse me? Apparently it really is an airline regulation, and Brett kept shooting me the "you're being a rude, harassing Yankee, and this isn't worth fighting over" look, so eventually I dropped it and complied. Interestingly enough, on the second leg of our flight (after the layover in Charlotte), I kept Lucy in the Moby the entire time and not a word was said by the flight attendant. Expect a blog about this incident and the research I'm going to do about it soon. Has anyone else had an experience like this?

To sum up our trip: It was fun. I still miss my family. PA is cold. I'm glad I live in the South.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday.

Ruffly booties are the best kind of booty.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

We did it! We just threw out.....

...our last disposable diaper! At home, anyways. I'm not saying we won't occasionally use them when we're out, but I'm so glad to be done with them for the most part!

Can I just say I love, love, love our diapers?!?! And guess what? It's been a week, and so far, no leaks! I'm really surprised- I expected to love our FuzziBunz pockets, but I'm really starting to prefer our prefolds and covers- we have both Bummis Super Whisper Wraps and Super Brites. I prefer the Super Brites because they have two gussets instead of one. Our FuzziBunz are one-size, so we'll only need to move up sizes in covers and prefolds, and even that won't be for quite a while. Still, I think I'll be ordering lots more prefolds before I invest in any more pockets. I hate stuffing them, and it annoys me that they take longer to dry. I love being able to just wipe out a cover and reuse it for the next change. Also, I really have the routine down with prefolds. The FuzziBunz have six snaps on them, and by the time I get all of them snapped, I could have already gotten a Snappi on a prefold. Even Brett can get Lucy in a prefold- I'm sooo proud. I can't wait to get some wool soakers (hopefully in pretty colors!) for nighttime. This won't be a priority until Lucy starts sleeping through the night, though. For wipes solution, we are using Baby Bum drops. There's something so nice about pulling a soft flannel-and-terry cloth out of the warmer, especially when it's scented with lavender, mandarin, and calendula!

In eco-friendly news...I got my clothesline up today! There's something so old-fashioned and lovely about hanging up cloth diapers outside. It sounds crazy but I really enjoyed doing laundry today. Of course, having Lucy in the Moby with me enjoying the beautiful fall weather outside helped too! If it's this nice tomorrow we'll definitely be taking a blanket in the yard and playing outside.

Also, I scheduled today to have Lucy's pictures done. She'll be 2 1/2 months old by then, but I don't mind that she'll be a little older because she'll be able to hold her head up better and make cute faces (not that she doesn't do that already!) I don't have many good pictures of Brett and I together, so I can't wait to get some great family shots. Tracie Birch does beautiful work, and we're hoping to take some outside shots in Clemson. In a couple of weeks the leaves will be changing, so hopefully the weather will cooperate.

Note to self: If you leave the house with baby in FuzziBunz, and your diaper bag has prefolds and covers, remember to throw in a Snappi. Epic fail on my part today!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

As promised.... of my Lucy! Enjoy :-)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Almost three weeks!

Sorry for the lapse in posting lately...things have been pretty busy around here! Last week Brett's mom came to visit and spend time with Lucy. With her help we managed to get a bunch of small projects done around the house. Brett planted the fall garden (mainly collards, turnips, lettuce), Trish hung up some new decorations around the house and did some yard work (planting new flowers for fall, mowing, etc), and I was busy taking care of Lucy and working on my master's class. I was so grateful for their help!

On Wednesday we headed up to Clemson. I was so nervous driving Lucy in the car that far- it's about 3 hours. Luckily I remembered to buy a mirror that straps on the headrest in front of Lucy's car seat. Since Lucy's seat is rear-facing, the mirror reflects her, and then I can see the mirror (and her) in my rear-view mirror. Does that make sense? She just seems so little in her car seat! I know it's installed correctly, but she seems to be sitting so upright in it and her little head flops around. It makes me nervous :-( We survived the trip, though.

While we were in Clemson we hit up a huge consignment sale and picked up lots of great clothes. I can't wait until they all fit! I also picked up some adorable hand-knitted hats and a Clemson headband for the Lucy Goose. I really enjoyed carrying her aroud in her Moby wrap- so comfy and convenient- and it keeps strangers' hands (and germs!) away. Brett went to the football game, but of course Lucy and I stayed home. I really didn't mind, especially considering how much it rained!

Today was Lucy's "2-week" pediatrician appointment. It was supposed to have been last Friday but I moved it to today because of our trip to Clemson. Anyway, Lucy is doing great! She is now 20 inches long, which is a quarter inch of growth. She is also up to 7 lbs 7 oz! Lucy was 6 lbs 3.5 oz when she was born, and dropped to 5 lbs 15 oz at her first pediatrician appointment. The goal was for her to get back to her birth weight by today's appointment- which she has, plus 1 lb 3.5 oz more. Definitely reassuring for a breastfeeding mom! Lucy's pediatrician was also impressed at how well she holds her head up and controls it. I'll chalk that up to lots of tummy time already. Now she won't go back to the doctor's until she is two months old- what a big girl she'll be then!

I had so much fun this past week, but am definitely glad to be back home. I really enjoy having mommy-daughter time together, especially since Lucy is big enough to start going out a bit now. I'll try to remember to upload new pictures tomorrow!

Friday, September 11, 2009

I miss my belly :-(

Me, one week post-partum

Experienced moms told me this would happen. I denied it- I was sick of watching what I ate so carefully and sick of getting kicked in the ribs all night and sick of peeing every 15 minutes. I was sick of maternity clothes and not working out as hard as I wanted to and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

But now...I feel sort of empty. I keep expecting to feel Lucy kicking. I look down and miss my belly. I know, it's crazy- I'm holding Lucy in my arms, but my brain doesn't seem to process the fact that she's the same little thing that I carried for so long. I feel like I have baby Lucy on the outside but am missing baby Lucy on the inside.

Can anyone else relate?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Lucy Mae Week 1 Recap.

Lucy and Mimi (my mom)

This post is probably going to ramble a bit, but so much has been going on that I want to try to get it all down before I forget!

Lucy came home on Thursday to a house full of family anxious to meet her. We didn't even get in the door before her great-grandparents came out to see! I think she is so lucky to have so much family- 1 great-great-grandfather, 4 great-grandmothers, 2 great-grandfathers, 2 grandmothers, and 1 grandfather (plus one in heaven!) We had a lot of fun taking pictures and guessing about who she looks like. So far we think she has my eyes and hands, Brett's mouth and feet, and possibly her grandpa's hair (dark and wavy). She is also long and lean like both Brett and I. But she is changing everyday- so who knows? Personally I hope she keeps her dark blue eyes and dark hair!

On Friday we went to her first appointment at the pediatrician's. Lucy's doctors are Dr. Neibaum (who is a DO instead of an MD, which I love), and Dr. Petranaus, both of whom are awesome! They are totally supportive of our alternative vaccine schedule and have wonderful bedside manner. You can tell how much they love babies! Lucy had a great check-up. She had dropped from her birth weight of 6 lbs 3 oz to 5 lbs 15 oz, so a total of 4 oz- which is definitely normal. I'm sure we'll have no problem gaining back those 4 oz plus some in the next two weeks! I just can't wait until she gets a LITTLE bigger so we can start cloth diapering. She had no signs of jaundice still- in fact, Dr. Petranaus didn't even order the blood work because she looked so good. The slight murmur that Dr. Neibaum had heard when Lucy was born was gone- it's very common for newborn hearts to take a while to settle into their rhythms. Now all we have to do is take her back to the hospital to re-do her hearing test, as Lucy passed in the right ear but not the left. I'm not too worried about this either, because, again, it's very common in newborns.

On Saturday Lucy got her first bath. And I don't mean her first bath at home- I really mean her first bath, since she didn't get one in the hospital. I can't say she loved it! She had another last night (Monday), and screamed bloody murder the.whole.time. Normally crying doesn't really get to me (by-product of being the oldest of seven), but this was driving me crazy! I felt so bad for her. Lucy felt a lot better, though, when she got a lotion massage- probably because I let her stay in just her diaper, cuddled up in one of her super-soft blankies. My child is a total nudist- I don't think I even bothered dressing her (besides diapers and blankets) for a couple days- she was so much happier that way. She loves to cuddle skin-to-skin on your chest and will lay like that for hours.

Sunday was pretty uneventful, besides my mom having to return home to PA. I really felt bad watching her go. She was so helpful and supportive! We are talking on the phone now more than ever, though, and we will *hopefully* be traveling to PA next month for Lucy's baptism. Oh, I almost forgot- I decided to try on some of my pre-baby clothes and was so excited to see I could fit into all my jeans! YAY! Running does a pregnant body good :-) Most of my dresses are still a little tight, mainly because my jeans sit UNDER my belly while my dresses have to go OVER, but I'm sure they will fit again in no time. I will say that I need to work on gaining some weight because I definitely think I look too thin. When I left the hospital they weighed me and I was already below my pre-pregnancy weight. It's just so wonderful to be able to walk in my closet and pick out whatever I want to wear- no size restrictions! I also splurged a little and put in a JCrew order. But I figured I worked hard while I was pregnant, and I didn't buy any new non-maternity clothes for a whole 9 months, and very, very few maternity ones (since I wear a uniform to work anyways). I am totally excited too because my awesome father-in-law said I could pick out an outfit from JCrew and he would buy it for me! But that is a decision that will take much contemplation, so I am still drooling over the website waiting for a certain cashmere sweater to go on sale.

On Monday we went for our first walk outside, and I got the hang of my Moby. Lucy seems to really love it! I have two different holds/wraps down so far, and am getting much quicker at putting it on. I love that I can walk around with it and hide her from people's dirty hands. Also on Monday, I was changing Lucy's diaper when I realized she had lost her umbilical cord already! Even though it looked perfectly healed, I was a little concerned that it was so early- only 5 days- but according to Dr. Sears and a few other sources it's fine as long as it's not bleeding (and it's definitely not). I'm going to credit the early healing to the fact that I used witch hazel instead of alcohol on her cord.

Brett also had to go back to Athens that night so he could work in the morning, so last night was Lucy and I's first night alone. I was a little nervous being in the house by myself, but we did great- AND Lucy nursed both her late-night feedings (2 am and 5 am) in bed, with me, in the side-laying position! I was pumped about this because it is so wonderful to be able to cat-nap while you nurse. My technique is to wake up when Lucy lets me know she's hungry, nurse her on one side until she's done, get up and change her diaper, then crawl back into bed and offer the other side. The other plus to this is that Lucy is already pretty chilled out by the time we get to her diaper, which is a good thing because she really doesn't like to be changed.

Overall we had a wonderful first week, and are now looking forward to getting Lucy's swing in the mail, which Uncle Stevo so graciously bought her. I also started a master's class this week, so while Lucy sleeps during the day I am busy with that. It really helps to pass the time while Brett's gone and it's good to have some adult conversation/academic thinking.

Go Tigers!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Co-sleeping rocks!

As the oldest of seven children, I spent a lot of time watching my mom care for my younger brothers and sisters. Many of the practices she used then are still encouraged today- extended breastfeeding, for one. However, one thing she did has come under fire recently, and that's co-sleeping. Although co-sleeping has many forms, for my mom, it meant literally having her baby sleep next to her in her bed. Although we had a crib for the toddlers in our house, my mom always kept the youngest baby with her and Dad.

Some people (the Consumer Product Safety Commission is one) say that co-sleeping is dangerous. The risks include suffocation (rolling onto your baby, the baby becoming trapped in the bed frame, becoming tangled in bed covers) and (according to them) an increased risk of SIDS. However, others (most notably Dr. Sears) argue that co-sleeping is safe, and is the preferred method of caring for babies around the world. Dr. Sears says that more babies die in cribs than in their parents' beds, and that the SIDS risk is actually lower with co-sleepers, because mothers are more aware of their babies' sleep patterns and are likely to notice a problem more quickly. You can read more about it here. In order to co-sleep safely, Dr. Sears recommends:

  • Do not sleep with your baby if:

    1. You are under the influence of any drug (such as alcohol or tranquilizing medications) that diminishes your sensitivity to your baby's presence. If you are drunk or drugged, these chemicals lessen your arousability from sleep.

    2. You are extremely obese. Obesity itself may cause sleep apnea in the mother, in addition to the smothering danger of pendulous breasts and large fat rolls.

    3. You are exhausted from sleep deprivation. This lessens your awareness of your baby and your arousability from sleep.

    4. You are breastfeeding a baby on a cushiony surface, such as a waterbed or couch. An exhausted mother could fall asleep breastfeeding and roll over on the baby.

    5. You are the child's baby-sitter. A baby-sitter's awareness and arousability is unlikely to be as acute as a mother's.

  • Don't allow older siblings to sleep with a baby under nine months. Sleeping children do not have the same awareness of tiny babies as do parents, and too small or too crowded a bed space is an unsafe sleeping arrangement for a tiny baby.

  • Don't fall asleep with baby on a couch. Baby may get wedged between the back of the couch and the larger person's body, or baby's head may become buried in cushion crevices or soft cushions.

  • Do not sleep with baby on a free-floating, wavy waterbed or similar "sinky" surface in which baby could suffocate.

  • Don't overheat or overbundle baby. Be particularly aware of overbundling if baby is sleeping with a parent. Other warm bodies are an added heat source.

  • Don't wear lingerie with string ties longer than eight inches. Ditto for dangling jewelry. Baby may get caught in these entrapments.

  • Avoid pungent hair sprays, deodorants, and perfumes. Not only will these camouflage the natural maternal smells that baby is used to and attracted to, but foreign odors may irritate and clog baby's tiny nasal passages. Reserve these enticements for sleeping alone with your spouse.
Keeping all this in mind, Lucy sleeps with Brett and I. We have a king-size bed, and have taken precautions to keep our little girl safe. We remove all but one pillow each when we go to sleep, and push the comforter down below where she is sleeping, putting only the top sheet over her lower half. We've pushed the mattress snug against the headboard to remove the crevice that was there. Although I'm a light sleeper, Brett sleeps a little more heavily, so Lucy snuggles up with me and Brett stays closer to "his" side of the bed. Often times I fall asleep with my arm around her, too.

Ultimately, it's a personal decision that every parent has to make, but I can say with confidence that I am so happy we decided to do it. Lucy's been home for 5 nights now, and she has yet to wake me up by crying- she nuzzles, sucks, or makes these adorable little sounds that let me know she's awake and hungry. What does that mean for us? It means that I can nurse Lucy BEFORE she's fussy or upset. I don't have to rely on hearing her cry from the nursery. A Lucy that isn't fussy is a Lucy that latches on more quickly and nurses better. Also, I truly feel that we are on the same sleep pattern now. I feel really well-rested for a new mom, and now I'm looking forward to getting the hang of nursing in the side-laying position better to make the transition to feeding time go even more smoothly. Finally, I just feel better knowing that my baby girl is next to me, which allows me to sleep better as well.

What do I love the most about co-sleeping? Besides being nuzzled awake by my baby, I love waking up before she does, cuddling up with Brett, and watching her sleep. She makes the most beautiful faces, and that makes mornings my favorite time of day.