Caroline...6 Weeks

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Baby: Caroline Leeann
Age: 6 Weeks
Birthday: August 7, 2012
Weight: 9 pounds
Length: 19 inches
Sleep: 2-3 naps a day and 7-8 hours at night from 9-4 usually
My Bedtime: 9 pm
Favorite Toy: The ceiling fan really keeps her attention
Clothes Size: Newborn
Diaper Size: Newborn
Milestones Reached: BIG sweet smiles when she sees people and they talk to her
Firsts: Smile at someone, first long car ride to Lexington
Best Mood: Mornings; She'll actually let me set her down for a few minutes and she just looks around
Best Moment: When that child looks up and smile at my it absolutely melts me! It's the sweetest thing ever. She'll smile at me, her Mimi and Papa, Uncle Kursten and Aunt Paula and Daddy so far
Worst Moment: Sleeping through the night, I honestly didn't have any bad public blowouts, no screaming fits that feeding can't fix and getting her used to a schedule. Life is blessed.

Caroline's Busy Schedule

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I'll be the first to admit, the first couple of weeks after we brought Caroline home, I approached the whole 'baby schedule' thing allllll wrong, at least the night-time part of it. I had the notion that I would just let Caroline decide what her schedule should be...what a sweet idea! And she showed me very quickly that that just didn't suit for her. Practically three weeks straight of little to no sleep, cluster feedings like crazy, not much napping in the day time for mama and all around frustration and sleepiness. After doing some research, I found some tips that literally worked like a charm!

The most important one, I think, was to do the same things every night at the same times, no skipping and no short cuts! Since I've started this about two weeks ago, my sweet baby has been sleeping somewhere between six and eight hours a night and it was a game changer for me!
Her daytime schedule has pretty much stayed consistant from the time she was a couple weeks old. We take our morning walk after she does her second feeding of the morning, usually around 8:30, and then she'll take a nap around 10 after she's eaten again, anywhere from 1-2 hours napping if I play my cards right. This is when I'm actually able to either clean the house or do my workouts depending on the day. Around noon, we head
down to my parents house for some play time and visiting. She'll eat again around 12:30, play for a while on her tummy (she's still not a huge fan of tummy time...she'd much rather have "hold me on your tummy time"). If I'm lucky, she'll nap again around 3 after eating again. Then at 4, my sister and her kids have their Caroline time visiting and fighting over who gets to hold her first. Around 5:30, she starts getting cranky, it's like clockwork! Unfortunately, this coincides with the time Juston gets home so he probably thinks she's a little fussy-face, but she's really such a good baby as long as her tummy is full. Lots more eating time and a little playtime later, then her newly acquired night schedule starts.
At somewhere around 8:15, I'll take her and put a clean diaper on her, and her pajamas, then turn out all the lights aside from the television and do her night time feeding while she's snuggled up on her Boppy pillow. This feeding is super-important for her to eat until shes pulls away full...otherwise, she's up in a couple of hours ready to eat again. So if she falls asleep after just a few minutes, I will wake her up to eat more. When she's finished, I lay her on my chest to burp her and hold her for about thirty minutes until I know she's good and out. I should note that this part of the schedule was not recommended, but I just love holding my sweet sleeping baby. I know one day soon, I need to start letting her put herself to sleep, but for now, I love doing it. There's going to come a day in the blink of an eye where she probably won't want anything to do with me for a few years, so I'm enjoying the snuggle time while I can, experts be damned (for now anyway). Around 9:30, I head back to our room where I've already got our "night-station" set up on the night stand...this includes clean diapers, a changing pad and wipes, her pacifier, a water glass for me and the tv remote since I sleep with it on.
I swaddle her up in a muslin blanket, fold her sleeper mittens over since her hands are always freezing if I don't and put her in her Nap Nanny snug as a bug.

I honestly tried everything the first few weeks at night...I "slept" on the couch and tried her sleeping in her cradle, her Papasan chair, her Nap Nanny and even fastened into her carseat. Not exactly mama-of-the-year material, but I was at a loss and if it was safe and she'd sleep in it, it was fair game. I think the biggest problem was that I was not swaddling her. I was convinced she didn't like it because she always kicked out of it, but since I've been doing it, she sleeps from 9 until about 4 in the morning. Gets up to eat, then sleeps again until about 7. It's been life-changing! The highlights I have put into practice that I found through reading lots of articles are as follows:

1. Always put on a clean diaper and pj's before night feeding
2. Have dim lighting to help baby establish a Circadian rhythm
3. Make sure baby eats until they are full at night
4. Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle...this keeps them from startling awake
5. White noise never hurts. I keep the tv volume turned down very low

Baby Must Buy

There are so stinkin many baby products on the market it can be completely overwhelming deciding which ones are worth the money, especially when you're dropping so much cash already on the MUST haves like diapers, wipes, clothes and all those goodies. There are some things, however, that are probably considered luxury items that absolutely make my "must buy for baby" list.  The first one I want to share that was absolutely worth the $17.99 is our Boppy Head Support.
I just hate seeing a tiny little baby snoozing away in their car seat wtith their head flopping all over the place. A lot of the head supports I've seen just don't cut it and are pretty much a waste of money.
But the Boppy head support has a removable u-shaped cheek support as you can see! haha. The picture above is the day we were bringing Caroline home from the hospital and it was already working like a dream! Her head stays centered, no flopping around. It's perfect for newborns since they have zero control over that noggin!

I have noticed that if the support isn't properly placed, Caroline will try to nurse the heck out of those things anytime they come near her mouth, but she pretty much does that with anything that comes near her mouth haha. She's even slept through the night snug as a bug with this head support once or twice!  I love ours and would definitely recommend it to all the mama-to-be's out there! 

Post-Baby Body Recovery

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I'm not going to lie, I'm just selfish enough that when I found out I was pregnant, I was completely over the moon, but still worried about what was going to happen to my body in the aftermath of it all.  I can't tell you how many mama's make it a point to tell you that your body will just never be the same after baby...don't listen to them! At 27, I wasn't ready, and still won't resign myself to mom jeans and one piece bathing suits for the rest of all time. I'm almost seven weeks out now and I have to say, I feel pretty close already to where I was before I got pregnant with Caroline. Weight-wise, I was back to my pre-baby weight within three weeks, thanks mainly to breastfeeding.
These pictures were taken four days before I had Caroline so this was pretty much me at my biggest.

I had a natural birth (in the sense that I didn't have a C-section...I did have an epidural), so I was released after 2 nights in the hospital, or 48 hours after the time of Caroline's birth. It was one week to the day that I started walking around our neighborhood.  At first, it was VERY slowly and my husband would come along and carry the baby. At two weeks out, I started pushing Caroline in her stroller and picking up the pace a little bit. Honestly, I wasn't really paying much attention to diet because I eat pretty well to begin with and I wasn't eating anything out of hte ordinary since I was breastfeeding. Anyone who is able to and has the time and energy to commit to it, I would whole-heartedly recommend breastfeeding for a multitude of reasons, beneficial to both mama and baby, not the least of which being all those extra calories your body burns by doing so.
After another week, when Caroline was three weeks old, we started walking two laps around the neighborhood of a morning and two in the evening, totaling about 1.5-2 miles. I'm not and never will be a runner, but I had been itching to get back to doing Pure Barre and Crossfit, my favorite workouts! My big concern, however, became whether losing body fat would affect my ability to feed my baby. It makes sense to me that a drop in body fat percentage would have a negative affect on my milk supply, so I waited to start any other type of workout besides walking until I could see my doctor at my six week checkup.
So last week, the doctor informed me that walking and Pure Barre's low impact but highly effective workouts would indeed not affect my ability to produce milk. She did, however, recommend that I wait longer to go back to teaching tumbling or doing more intense workouts like Crossfit, so last week, I officially hopped back on the bandwagon. I still do my twice daily walks with the baby using hills and the stroller for resistance, and am now back to doing Pure Barre 3 mornings a week when Caroline's nap allows. I can't wait to start seeing the results of getting back into a regular toning regiment! My hamstrings and abs were feeling that first workout withn 24 hours and I have surely missed that sore feeling! I'll be sure and keep posting about the journey back to post-baby shape, because my goal isn't to get back to where I was, I've pretty much accomplished that already aside from toning up some goal is to look better than before the baby to prove that it can be done! It's definitely not easy getting workout time in while breastfeeding a demanding newborn, but I'm making it work so far. Any suggestions on how y'all got back to post-baby shape are welcome :)

Caroline's 1 Month

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I'm a little late posting this one since Caroline will be six weeks this Tuesday, but doing anything is a bit more challenging these days.

Baby: Caroline Leeann
Age: One month
Birthday: August 7, 2012
Weight: 8 pounds
Length: 19 inches
Sleep: 2 naps a day and 7-8 hours at night
My Bedtime: 9 pm
Favorite Toy: Pooh Bear car seat that plays "You are My Sunshine"
Clothes Size: Newborn
Milestones Reached: Sleeping through the night
Firsts: Manicure by mama (had to trim those talons), bottle feeding with Mimi
Best Mood: Mornings; She'll actually let me set her down for a few minutes and she just looks around
Best Moment: All of them :)
Worst Moment: A blowout aaaallll up the back while waiting in line at the post office

The outtake

Newborn Pictures

Thursday, September 6, 2012

On Caroline's 1 week birthday, I had a photographer, Kacy Cierley, come to the house for her newborn pictures and I'm soooo in love with them!!! Of course, my uncooperative child wouldn't sleep a wink like we were hoping, but I love the, so much! These are a few of my favorites! Unfortunately, Juston had to be at work so we didn't get any family pictures.

My Breastfeeding Experience...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Photo Source: Google

So pretty much from the time I got pregnant, I'd planned on breastfeeding little Caroline. I have a really good friend who has always been a strong advocate of the benefits that it offers to mama and baby and I'd done my research, too so I knew that the health benefits for her were amazing. My most basic thought on the matter is why would your body make nourishment for your child and you not take advantage of it if you can. I know not everyone has an easy time establishing a milk supply, and breastfeeding just isn't for some each their own. Seems to me like formula companies are spending buckets of money trying to make formula what breast milk already is, so if you can take advantage of it, do it to it.
Within about twenty minutes of giving birth, Caroline and I were doing Kangaroo Care when she rooted her way to her first latch and she did it like a champ! She did really well the first day we were in the hospital, and then went about 13 hours and wouldn't eat a thing. I'm assuming the trip she'd just taken was a pretty exhausting one so I guess that's understandable, but we had a lactation consultant come in nonetheless...She had that baby latched in less than a minute. She told me that if the baby was having issues latching, or just didn't seem interested in eating for such a long period of time, to rub my pinky finger on the hard palate of the roof of her mouth. I did it and she immediately latched onto my pinky, then I was able to easily transition her onto the breast and she was eating once again. I would definitely advise anyone who wants to breastfeed to either meet with a lactation consultant ahead of time, or know where to find one for after your baby comes home.
Once we brought Caroline home, I was pretty adamant about not giving her a pacifier for two reasons...1) I didn't want her to get nipple confusion, and the nurses had told me to wait until she was one week old before I gave her one to avoid this problem. 2) Why make life down the road more difficult when you're going to have to break the paci habit. Well, within about 4 hours of having that baby home, she was having an absolute hissy fit, so the paci went it! Annnnd then she went about eight hours without eating so I was convinced that I had ruined her latch, confused the hell out of her and was going to have to give her formula which I absolutely did not want to do. I called my friend to ask for her advice and to see if I'd done irrevocable damage to my poor paci-sucking baby and she reassured me that I hadn't...turns out the baby was just in her over-stimulated phase from all the changes of leaving the hospital, car ride home, new smells and sights of the house and all the people in it.   The first night home was a rough one, but she did finally latch on the next morning and eat. I think I had just gotten myself so worked up that I couldn't relax and help the poor child latch. 
Photo Source:  Google

Day four, I was introduced to the awesomeness that is engorgement. My boobs have never been bigger or more sensitive than they were those two days. I thought they were never going to stop growing, but after the two days, they went back to "normal", or at least normal for the fact that I was breastfeeding. After about the first week and a hald, my boobs felt like they had been roughed up with sandpaper and then had alcohol poured on top. Please excuse the graphic imagery, but it hurt like Hades and there were some times Caroline would eat that I would literally cry it hurt so bad. To spite using Lanolin and following all the steps I was told would make the experience "enjoyable" I found that to be a lie, but I was committed to getting through it if for no other reason than to earn my stripes (no offense meant to anyone who didn't or couldn't breastfeed, I was just determined to see it through).  This pain lasted about a week for me but it did get better after that.
I waited until she was about three and a half weeks old to try giving her a bottle, and I personally still haven't fed her one. I read someplace that it's better for someone else to give her a bottle the first few times since she associates mama with breastfeeding.  My husband gave her her first bottle which she chugged and her very next feeding, she went back to breastfeeding no problem. I think sometimes it's obviously important to listen to the doctors and nurses, but in a lot of instances, it pays to just trust your parental instincts as well. So many nipple confusion possibilities exist between breastfeeding, bottles, pacifiers, etc, but I finally figured out that babies are smarter than they're sometimes given credit for. The pacifier hasn't confused her and neither did the bottle, although she's only had it twice now. I did pump for a shopping day out of town my mother and I took and started giving her a bottle, but it just didn't feel right to me to feed her that way, so I ended up not using it.  Over the next few days though, she'll have a few different people watching her between my first hair appointment in a year, a dentist appointment and a few hours at work, so she'll be getting in a lot of practice with the bottle. I think a part of me likes the fact that I'm the only one who can give her what she wants when she's hungry. Makes me feel needed ;) I use an Avent manual breast pump and just pump on one side while she eats on the other.
All in all, I would definitely recommend trying to breastfeed to anyone who's considering it. It's absolutely not easy, at times it's painful, and it's exhausting when you're the only one getting up every time she wakes up at night, but when there are so many undeniable health benefits for both baby and mama, it's at least worth giving it a fair shake. I plan to breastfeed her exclusively for six months and would like to store up enough in the freezer to be able to have an additional six month supply.  Like I said, it's not always easy, but I sort of feel like I've joined an exclusive sorority or some secret society. There's a camaraderie amongst those who have or are breastfeeding...a sort of unspoken bond that's hard to understand until you're in it. And the bond that I feel like Caroline and I are forming is immeasurable. Being a mama is a tough job, but the rewards are boundless as far as I can least until she learns to back talk as a teen...