Thursday, August 27, 2009

6 Month Check Surprise!

Elliott had his 6 month check up this monday. We were shocked to find out that he has only gained 1/2 a pound in 3.5 months! His length only increased by .75inch!
He was being exclusively breast fed as I mentioned before and was getting two meals a day. Fruits for breakfast and veggies for supper. I wasn't going hard core on the solids because I hadn't O.K.'ed it with my doctor yet. I wasn't worried about not offering him cereal because I thought whatever I am lacking in his solid diet, my breast milk will make up for. I was going to get a meal plan from my doctor and go from there.
Well after finding out he wasn't doing so well the doctor wanted to see him in a month. During that time I was to do one, or both of his suggestions. He wanted to increase Elliott to 3-4 solid meals a day, and to include cereals. He said we would see how that goes and decided after for sure if I should supplement with formula if he still wasn't gaining well after the month. He said that if I felt that Elliott needed more that I could start supplementing formula. Probably a small amount of formula at night, or a few times a day.
Well what an adventure it has been. I first over fed him the first day. Gave him the suggested amount of formula for a baby his age.... yeah, thats kinda not how it works I guess if the baby has been breast fed. Breast fed babies eat less, and more frequently. So I kinda messed him up for the whole day because he overate at the beginning of the day.
The second day I offered 6oz at a time. Still a little bit too much. He was really complaining from being stuffed all the time. I was only able to get 2 meals into him.
I was also very shocked at how much he missed breast feeding. He never snuggles or makes constant direct eye contact while feeding. But he was so confused. He would eat his bottle, and be full, but want to breast feed. Poor little guy.
Well day three worked out much better. I limited his bottles down to 3oz, I also breast fed him over night and in the morning until after breakfast. So he got two breast feedings, and 5 3oz bottles (it is just before his bedtime, so he will be breast fed two or three more times throughout the night as well). And guess what?!? I got all three meals in. The trick that seemed to work too, instead of just mixing it with water, I used pumped breast milk. Also, if he finished his bottle, and wasn't quiet full I stuck him on the boob. He is doing much better today.
I didn't think supplementing, or even bottle feeding would be this hard or stressful for me. One thing I did realize is that I actual do prefer breast feeding, as much as I say I didn't like it. There is no fuss and no muss. Its also a hell of a lot cheaper. There is no question, he eats, when he is done he stops. I don't have to obsess how to get enough food into him. I am going to stick to this for two or three more days and then increase the amount offered at every feeding. Slowly I should get up to the 8oz 4 or 5 times a day he should be having.
The doctor thinks that as my medical condition comes back (it kinda stabilized during pregnancy) my breast milk is becoming less and less valuable. He isn't getting enough nutrients from me. The breast milk is still good for antibodies, but that is about it. So I will be pumping for as long as I can to use in the formula, but my breast feeding days are numbered!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Down in the dumps to Pumped!

I make no secrete of the fact I badly wanted a girl. Chris and I have decided that we only want one child. I wanted a girl to dress up in super cute outfits, share that special mother daughter bond with, and you know, just to be girly with!

Well when I found out at 19 weeks I was having a boy I gave myself a whole 24 hours to mourn the loss of the idea of a girl. I cried, I got mad, and then I got over it. I went out shopping for some super cute boy clothes, couldn't find any, had a little prego lady melt down, and then got over that.

I was amazed at the amount of anger I received when I told people I would be upset about not having a girl. They seemed to think I was saying I would be upset at having a boy. That was not it at all, it was that I was NOT having a girl. I would get angered responses of "As long as its healthy you should be happy!" Well no shit I want my baby to be healthy. Who shows up at the doctors office after an ultrasound and gets news that their baby is healthy and says "Damn! I wanted a sick baby!" It was such a stupid response.

Like I have already said, I was upset I wasn't having a girl. I gave myself permission to be upset about it, to be angry for 24 hours and then I moved on. Why were people so mad that I was upset I wasn't getting what I wanted. Having a baby is a huge physical and emotional investment. I am aloud to have my feelings, and be true to them. If I didn't acknowledge how I felt and went through a mourning process how was I ever going to be super pumped about having a boy, and all the joys that comes with?

Now that I have my awesome little man, I couldn't imagine it any other way. I am a dog trainer, and there just isn't any girly puppy themed clothes out there. There are tons of boy puppy themed clothes! Super cute!! And I get to avoid the whole girl drama thing. There is a special bond between a mother and her son. I also am very aware that I don't want to raise a mommies boy, or be oblivious to the fact that my son can make mistakes.

I am looking forward to exploring and discovering the world from a totally different perspective, a boys perspective! Chris is constantly reminding me I need to get over my fear of bugs. It will definitely be an adventure as he grows! But we will learn and explore together!

So today I was out and about and seen some super awesome little boy clothes. I have decided that I am going to dress him like a little punk! Chris and I have always said that if he has enough hair by his first birthday we are shaving a mow-hawk into his hair.

Friday, August 14, 2009

New Found Insecurities.

I have never been a super confident person, but I knew what I was good at, what I was not, and what my faults where.
Now as a mom I find the constant worry of "Am I screwing this little person up for life?" really drains any confidence I did have. The constant self doubt, criticism from friends, family, and society as a whole, make me feel like an insecure, whiny person. It seems that things I am confident I am doing right are questioned by family and friends, but if I am unsure about something I get empty reinforcement from those same friends and family. "You are doing a great job, no worries" is offered only after I voice my concern, never sporadically.
Do you mom friends a favor next time you see them doing something you wouldn't necessarily do with your child, keep you mouth shut. A very high percentage of parents out there are not out to screw up their kids. They honestly think what they are doing is fine, or they wouldn't be doing it.
That being said, there are people out there who are just lazy and don't care about certain things. An example I can think of is, a friend of a friend cleaned out all her bottom cupboards and drawers in her kitchen because she was to lazy to teach her child to stay out of them once he started crawling. That is one thing. Another acceptable time to voice you opinion is if you actually know (because you have kids) that doing something can be harmful to a child. Like if you found out your new mom friend was feeding whole milk to her baby before the age of 9 months (even 12 months for some doctors). Maybe inquire if they knew this could cause milk allergies in the future, and digestive distress now. But if its something stupid like how they put their child to bed, how long they breast feed for, or how they bathe their child just don't bother bringing it up. I can guarantee you that she has questioned and re-questioned herself on the very thing you are questioning and has still decided that its the best for HER baby.
Please remember ever criticism, not matter how well meaning, is just another strike to her already unsteady confidence. If its something that has more to do with values, keep it to yourself. And remember to tell your mom friends positive things you see too! "I love the way you child seems to really love you", "You make a great effort to try to have your child be curious about the world", or something along those lines. We don't hear it from our children, and normally not from our spouse. I can honestly say it would make my day if someone pointed out something they thought I was doing right instead of pointing out how I could do something differently, or better.
Unfortunate I am finding that this new found insecurity is leaking into other aspects of my life. There are some days I feel like a scared chihuahua wondering around my house fearful I am screwing everything up. (The reference comes from the fact I do in fact have 3 chihuahuas, 2 of which look terrified at any moment, one of those being an act, the other being genuine) I feel insecure in my relationships, with my hobbies I have mastered, and with just life in general. Its very frustrating for me.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hey be nice to her! She had a baby!!

It seems once you are lugging around a car seat, or a stroller people become so nice. Or at least most of them do.
I have doors held open for me, receptionist offering to carry my diaper bag, nice comments about my child, and all of this because I reproduced!
Why can't we just be this nice to people all the time. Does it really kill us to hold open doors, offer a place ahead in line, or to smile to strangers? We are all people after all.
I am curious how this will change in the following years as Elliott grows and can walk on his own. If people will still smile and be patient with me?
I find it so funny, because even as I am pushing a stroller through a store and hear a child screaming at the top of his lungs I STILL think "God, someone shut that kid up" Yet I myself has shopped with a screaming child and haven't thought twice about
Anyways, the point of this was to maybe make whoever reads this think about being nice to random people, not just those of us who have babies. The fact that we reproduced doesn't make us any more worth being nice to then the next capable person.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Delayed Bonding

Delayed bonding can happen for a number of reasons. Traumatic birth, c section, and number of different scenarios. I had delayed bonding with Elliott.
When I told my grandma that I wasn't worried about weather or not my labor ended in a c section she kinda got upset. "Women who have c sections don't experience the rush of hormones after normal delivery of their child and may not feel that deep connection" Yeah yeah grandma I have read about that. That magical bonding can happen as late as a year after the baby is born. I wasn't worried in the slightest. As mentioned before I ended having to be put completely under for my c section. It was several hours after that, that I got to go see Elliott in the NICU. He was there because we had a fever right before his birth. I was excited to see him in person, but I was also extremely stoned from the anesthetic and morphine. Chris wheeled me down to see him, and as soon as I seen him, knew he was okay, and knew we were both too stoned to breast feed I wanted to go back to my bed. They said he had to have a good feeding before he could be released from NICU, so I told them to feed him formula. I was to stoned and weak to feed it to him. So 30 min later he was delivered to my room. I had Chris push his plastic box close to the bed so I could stare at him. He was so perfect. I loved him right from the get go. I did not however feel that overwhelming, all consuming type of love. I knew he was mine, I was happy he was here, and I loved him but that was it. It didn't bother me, I was too beat to care.
So two months goes by, and I am sitting up in bed with him in the morning. I had just fed him and had laid him down in front of me to talk to him like I always do. Then WHAM!! I had a surge of love for him. Like I had never felt for any other person or creature before. I just wanted to stare and touch him for hours. I wanted to smell him, kiss him all over, and not set him down ever! OHHH this is what its like! I get it now. So amazing.
I told the girls on the pregnancy group, I have previously mentioned, and wouldn't you know it? Several women said they had delayed bonding too. Some of them felt horrible about it, others didn't even realize they hadn't bonded the way other women had until it happened. The women that were upset by it felt that they where missing something with their child, and didn't think they would ever have that magical WHAM. Its definitely something they should tell you about in hospital. Right from the start of being a new mom there are so many things to be insecure about, having one less would be nice!
I never felt guilty, or worried about not bonding with him from the start. The way I looked at it was; this little stranger just moved into my life and house. Not only does he not pay rent, but he also eats a lot, needs lots of attention, was kind of a blob (yes blob not slob), and was boring most of the time. Of course it would take time for me to get to know him, and love his personality. I was not ready or expected that rush of emotions that day. I am happy for it. It makes the hard times easier. Makes calming him down more rewarding then relieving, and makes him that much more important to me.
Don't get me wrong, there was never ever a time when I looked at him and didn't love him... sure there were times, and still are, when I look at him and don't like him because he is being a jerk, but I have always loved him. Its just on a deeper level then before.
The difference between how I felt about him before and after the bonding happened could be explained like this. Before I felt like we were getting to know each other. Not unlike getting a new puppy. After I felt like I have always known him and he has been a part of my life since my first memories. There has never been a time without him now. I hope that explains it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bed time blues.

Some moms are lucky enough to have babes that love to sleep. Some moms have to fight to get their babes to sleep. I fall some where in between.
I am lucky that Elliott seemed to hear and understand when the doctor told me "By four months of age, babies have no physiological need to eat in the middle of the night. They can go 10 hours or so without food over night" A few days before he turned four months he slept through the night for the first time. It wasn't a complete sleep through. At that point in time he was going to bed at 8pm, waking up at 12am, 3:30am, 5:30am, 7:30am, and then finally at 9:30am. He woke up at the typical 12am, but then stayed asleep until 7am! It was awesome. I woke up, like many moms before me, and was convinced he had died in his sleep... he was fine, sleeping away.
He gets up now at 4:30am in the morning for a feeding and goes back to sleep till between 7am and 8am. As mentioned in my previous post I don't go to bed when he does. But I am normally asleep around 1am. So I am getting not a bad amount of sleep.
There one thing that drive me nuts about Elliott's bed time needs. He still likes to be swaddled! We have tried several times to ween him off of this need. We even went as far as buying a Woombie, web site here: Woombie This product is a great idea. Elliott however does not only need to be swaddled to stop the startle reflex and his hands pawing at his face, but he also needs his legs all tucked in together. My weird little man. Our routine is as follows now: We put him to bed on his belly (we have an angelcare monitor, Angelcare which tells us if he is breathing or not). Then he wakes up around 4:30amish and I feed him, and then swaddle him. We were not swaddling him originally and just putting him back to bed on his stomach, but he was waking up every two hours and wanting to start his day at 6am. The 10 days we did that for I kind went crazy from lack of sleep. Once we went back to swaddling him half way through the night I got enough sleep and the dark cloud lifted.
I am lucky though. I know several women that did not get a full night sleep until well after their babes where over the age of one. I am just concerned what will happen as he grows and its just not possible to swaddle him. I hope he outgrows this need before that happens.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Mourning the loss of ones non mom Self.

You read it, and hear about it. Becoming a mom means leaving behind your old self and becoming someone new.
I didn't really understand that when I first started reading about being pregnant, and sequentially becoming a parent. I thought I understood it. You have to become use to being a mom. But I thought it was like any new skill you learn. Like if one day you decided to pick up a new hobby. That hobby doesn't change you, or your personality. Its just a skill you try to master. Well was I ever wrong!
For me at least, it really changed who I am. My old self is there. But its different. Not unlike buying an old house, gutting it, and renoing it. The "bones" of my old self are still there, and make up my outward personality. But my perspective, or interior, on a lot of things has changed so much.
Disturbing movies actually disturb me now. As I see them from a parents point of view. That young teenager running from a crazy person is Elliott in what I am sure will feel like a few short years. Peoples ignorance really bothers me now. So you think you know everything? How could you have that attitude? Stay away from my kid! I want him to be curious about the world, not think he invented it!
I really trust my instincts with him. The "mother knows best" really hits home for how I feel about the choices I make for him. I appreciate my family more. My husband is so much more then a partner now. Choice I make about our son are not mine alone to make.
Another side of all of this too is the needing to be my old self at times. I am not a sociable person. But when Elliott goes to bed at night those few hours before I follow him to dream town are so important to me. I will stay up just to have me time even if I am beat. The thought of going to bed when he does and waking up when he does actually makes my stomach turn. I am sure it wont as I become more "mom" then I am now, and my old self fazes in better with my "mom" self. But just the thought of living each and every day 100% mom is hard for me still. I thought by now it would just be who I am, but its not. Its nice to put him to bed, surf the net uninterrupted, or tend to my orchids, or hey! watch adult tv (not that kind of adult tv you big bunch of pervs)
Maybe I am mourning slower then some women. Maybe its because becoming a mom didn't save me from any bad decisions that I had been making. (You know, the women that say that having a baby saved them from, drugs, or drinking, or bad relationships, or all of the above. Because they had someone else to live for besides themselves.)
I can honestly say I look forward to the day that my mourning is done. I want to be pumped %100 of the time to be a mom, but at the same time I don't think its attainable. I think its part of the lie a lot of moms out there say because they have quilt about missing there old lives, because maybe having their baby was a choice, or because all the other moms they know "love" being a mom. I refuse to lie. I don't love being a mom %100 of the time. Heck some days I dont even make it to %50. BUT, and this is a big BUT, that way he smiles at me, or snuggles into me, or just wants me does make me happy. It washes away any resentment I have about being a mom. I hope that that feeling grows and grows as he grows.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Teething. Its a Bitch!

My little guy is growing up so fast. I find in this last few days to be taking as many pictures of his gummy smile as I can. Which, due to his grumpy demeanor, seems to be less and less.
It all started with a nectarine. I was eating one. It was super ripe. Elliott was reaching for it and making chewy face as I call it. So I let him suck on it a little and didn't think twice about it. He was just 5 months at the time, and had been showing interest in solid food for several weeks. Well... the next morning I wake up to a hive covered baby. EEK! Okay so after some research peaches and nectarines are a common baby food allergy (some people are sensitive to certain types of foods, but only as infants) Peaches and nectarines are close cousins. Not a big deal, guess he will try them again in a few months and go from there. Here's the thing though. Elliott is breast fed. He only poops once a week. So he had that poison in him for four days after he first ate it. His hives cleared up after some baby Benadryl. BUT he kept getting baby acne from everything. When he was first born he would break out in baby acne from any contact with peoples clothes. It was horrible to look at, but I guess doesn't really effect them at all. At the age of 4 months his baby acne cleared up like it was suppose to, but after this allergic reaction he was reacting to everything again. And WOW was he grumpy.
Four days after the nectarine sampling he was still covered head to toe in spots, but no fever, and was still super grump.... and that is when it happened. A tooth popped out! To which my mother replies "OH! When you cut your teeth you had a teething rash just like that!" This of course is after the fact she has me all worried about the head to toe spots that didnt seem to be bothering him, and had me convinced to take him to the doctor the following day. So the tooth pops out, the rash goes away, and we have a kinda cranky baby...
The nectarine was just bad timing and distracted us from the fact he was a drooling, chewing, grumpy, mad man, and had us thinking it all had to do with this bad reaction.
So my little man has his first tooth. The second tooth has been threatening to break through for a few days now. I can tell you he seems to be much sleepier when he is cutting teeth, and he is more prone to being grumpy. But he does seem to take delight in biting me while I am feeding him.
One product I have found extremely helpful is the RaZ Berry by RaZbaby seen here:
I picked up the red and green one originally. The red part is full of water and you can freeze it. Then I also picked up the clear blue one.
The reason I find this product so helpful is that all the conventional teething rings seem to be to big for Elliott's mouth. Also he doesn't seem to have the dexterity with his hands to be able to keep them in his mouth. This familiar soother shaped teether did the trick. He was already use to using his soother as a teether, and was good at maneuvering it. So when offered this he took to it right away, and loves it. He does not get frustrated with it like he does with the normal teething rings, and its handy because you can use a soother clip with it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

T.V. - Idiot Box, or Saviour?

Some parents are completely apposed to letting their child watch T.V. until an older age. Some studies actually suggest that T.V. should not be watched by a child until the age of two. Some parents, like myself, have the T.V. on all day.
Its so up in the air. Cartoons of late for younger children are actually educational. Even more so then Sesame Street, which was probably the only educational cartoon on T.V. when I was a child. I grew up on Rainbow Brite, Transformers, Duck Tails, just to name a few. My T.V. is always set to Tree house while Elliott is awake. I was very surprised by the amount of education every program has to offer. If its not going over ABC's and 123's it covering cause and effect, manners, problem solving, and social cues. For this reason I feel completely comfortable having it on all day, in direct eyesight for my son. He actually doesn't watch much T.V. His hands and toes seem to be more interesting lately, or the toy that is just out of reach.
What it comes down to for me is the use of the Television. I am not using it to babysit my child. I don't depend on it for his sol entertainment through out the day, and I actually discuss what we are watching when we are watching it together.
Ultimately its the parents choice. I know that once he is old enough to play outside, or do other things the T.V. will not be on in place of those activities. But for now, its on all day, it keeps me company, and there are some super cute cartoons (Big and Small) out there!
Whatever you choose stick by your guns, and don't let family or friends make you feel guilty or foolish. Its you choice as a parent, and you need to do what feels right!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Breast Feeding, great for some, Meh for me,

I will be the first to admit, I am extremely lucky when it comes to breast feeding. Elliott took to it right away. I didn't have any issues with pain, or him not latching properly, he takes to a bottle no problem, I produce enough, and Elliott seems to enjoy it. I on the other hand greatly dislike it. I know, I know. I should be thankful... well I am, doesn't mean I have to lie about liking it. I wish I was one of those women who enjoyed breast feeding. You know the ones, that say its a huge reward, and a bonding experience with their babies. They feel privileged that they are the only ones that can provide that for their child. They make up the select few that breast feed until their child is 2 (Which no matter what you say personally weirds me out. But hey its your boob and your kid, don't let me come between you two!)
First off I am NOT a touchy feely type of person. I detest touch from anyone but a select few, and even that select few I get maxed out on pretty fast. It was very hard for me to get use to being sucked on and snuggled with every hour and a half for the first few weeks. Even now, six months later, when Elliott is having a snugly kind of day he is handed off to Daddy as soon as Daddy walks through the door because I am MAXED out on touching.
Its very important to me that I do not pass on this awkwardness about physical contact to my son. So I often touch, massage, caress and hold him even though it can grate on my nerves at times. I even want to take infant massage classes with him. (which reminds me I should look into that) My sister is actually very much like me in this regard, so I believe it has something to do with how we were raised. She is self conscious of it too and has raised a super snuggler (my niece, who is turning 3 this Monday! Happy birthday hunny!)
It doesn't seem fair actually. I think this whole breast feeding thing is very much "the grass is greener on the other side" sort of thing. Women who want to breast feed badly seem to on average (in my limited experience) not be able to. While women who can, don't feel the need to put themselves through it.
So at this point you may be asking yourself "If she hates it so much, why does she do it?" Why? MONEY! Its free, its also environmentally friendly. And hey, it means I get to eat a bit more at supper. I am all up for that!
On a separate note, Elliott has sprouted a tooth... we will see how long this whole breast feeding thing lasts after this. I have been bitten a lot in the four days since that sharp little thing came poking through his gums. My goal? 9 months. Why? Because he can go on whole milk then! Yippee!