One year olds are FUN!

12 09 2013

My son is now 13 months, and he is such a joy to be around.  He’s so interactive, loves chatting it up in babbles, and enjoys playing with his playground ball.  This is such a fun age!  I keep saying how I love the current age for this reason or that, and what’s awesome and is just keeps getting better!

My son has such a good schedule, takes a 2-3 hour nap everyday, sleeps 12 hours at night.  I love spending each day with him, and honestly miss him if I’m away for a few hours, and I especially missed him when we went on a much needed vacation for three days.

I try to imagine life pre-baby, and it’s hard to.  I remember that I was quite bored/lonely during the day, and I knew I wanted a daily companion while my husband worked.  My son is such a great friend, even at his early age.  He certainly keeps me on my toes, learning to climb on top of his new table, learning to open the tv cabinet and turn on the Xbox, and even now taking a few steps here and there.  It keeps life very exciting, and I rarely have a dull moment!

I have been blessed with a very chill toddler, who only fusses if he’s teething or hungry.  He’s extremely content playing by himself, but also loves playing pass the ball and peekaboo.  Because of his calm demeanor, I often am able to pursue my own hobbies, be it gaming or blogging or rock climbing.  In fact, we have been bringing him to rock climbing and today he learned to pull himself up and climb a hold!  I’m stoked to start him in classes such as swimming and soccer as he is such an active boy that loves being around other children.

To those of my friends who are still in the infant/high maintenance stage, know that your baby will soon be able to talk with you (in babbles), laugh with you, play with you, and become such a fun little person to be around.  I remember those newborn months, what a struggle and yet a joy it can be to see their little bodies grow into toddlers.  You may feel like you won’t get any sleep for the next 18 years or that you won’t ever get to have a date night with your husband or go on vacation, but it’s really only such a short time in your and their  life when they are so needy and require so much one on one attention.

One day, not too long from now, you’ll be teaching your little one to walk, to talk, to become more and more independent.  I never thought I would get to this point of good sleep, time to pursue my hobbies, time to enjoy life with my son and husband.  That day is here for me, and I cherish it because it’s the best thing ever to give one small smile to your baby and they crack up laughing.


Talk to your baby!

9 05 2013

I go shopping with Theo often (trying to get in as much as possible before he becomes a typical boy), and I notice something that strikes me as sad and odd.  When I go shopping, or wherever I am with Theo, I talk to him.  I sing to him.  I coo at him, smile and laugh.  I notice that hardly anyone else does this with their babies and even toddlers.  Actually, those people tend to look at me oddly at the fact that I am singing to my baby in the store.

Many friends, family, and even my doctor have noticed how socially interactive Theo is and how he easily reacts to smiles and voices directed at him.  I am almost certain this is because I am constantly speaking to him.  Even in the womb, I sang and talked to him like he was a normal person.  The fact is, your baby understands alot more than most people would assume.  At first, they may only recognize your tone, and by 8 months or so, your baby will know words as well.  For example, Theo knows the words “puffs” (his baby snack), “bottle”, “dad”, “mom”, “grandma”, “grandpa”, and “Elmo”.  He gets excited when I mentioned of any these words, especially if my tone is cheerful and sing songy.

Especially as a stay at home mom, Theo is my constant companion at home.  I am a talker, so talking with Theo is extremely easy and fun.  I love seeing his reaction to what I am saying.  I love that when people smile at him, he smiles back, and if it’s someone he knows well, he laughs and babbles.  

I think it’s incredibly important to talk to your babies.  Sing with them in the store.  Don’t be ashamed if people give you odd looks.  It’s sad when they completely ignore their babies in the store, even little newborns that are screaming their heads off.  Babies are people too, and they thrive on relationship.  You’ll find out that it’s so fun and rewarding to get interaction from your baby because of your talking with them.  It will not only help their language development, but also bring you two closer together.  

Expect the unexpected. As with life, things don’t always go to plan

9 05 2013

As a pregnant woman, we’ve all been there.  We’ve all imagined our childbirth to be seamless, hoping and praying it’s short, and there’s no underlying problems.  I hoped this myself, but happened to get an extremely unexpected childbirth.

It all started a few days before I actually gave birth.  I was having what I would now consider real labor.  However, Theo was turned where his face was on my back.  This means that labor has a very hard time progressing.  Because of this, I had real labor…for days.  We went to the hospital several times and it wasn’t until a kind nurse realized that he was turned the wrong way.  They kept sending me home due to false labor, but it wasn’t false.  Finally, after 3 days of extreme pain and almost no sleep, my doctor kindly let me stay at the hospital!  She saw my pain and knew we needed to get this baby out soon.  However, because I was merely hours away from being exactly 39 weeks, the hospital basically was about to send me home again because they can’t induce labor until 39 weeks.  Thankfully, the nurses let me go on a long walk and my water finally broke.

So, thinking “this is it, my water has broken, and now the labor can truly begin!”  I was wrong, however.  20 hours later, I was fully dilated, but Theo was not in the birth canal like he was supposed to be.  I was supposed to be finally pushing, and he wasn’t there.  The doctor came in and looked at the charts for a long while.  Theo was starting to become distressed, along with some other signs such as his poop was in my water that had broken, which is all signs that he needed be out…right there and then.

You see, I didn’t want a C Section.  During my childbirth class, I tried not to listen in at that section in a sort of denial that it wouldn’t happen to me.  But, the fact was, due to my genetics (yay low on growth hormone!) and Theo’s big head genetics, there was actually no way he could fit through the birth canal.  We made the decision and an hour later, Theo was out and I got to see my baby!

There were times I felt guilty because I couldn’t have Theo naturally.  But the fact was, if it wasn’t for the C section, we wouldn’t be alive today.  The fact is, without that medical help, it saved our lives.  It was hard for me, because as I was in the hospital, a good friend of mine just had her child, completely naturally, at home, with no issues at all.  It was hard, because here I was sitting in extreme pain, drugged up, etc, and here my friend was already feeling mostly recovered.  But as a parent, you can’t compare yourself or your baby to others (a blog post on this later).  My friend and I had vastly different experiences, but now our sons are happy 9 month olds that are just a joy to be around.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I also did not expect to have to supplement with formula.  You can read more on that in detail on my post, but just as a quick reminder, don’t feel guilty if you have to supplement.  It’s not evil.  It’s not bad for your child.  It can be very beneficial!  Theo had been supplementing since 2 weeks and completely weaned since 6 months, and he’s doing fantastic.  Only been sick twice, crawled early, sleeps well, and highly developed in his social and motor skills.  Don’t let people act that formula will make them sick all the time, or ruin their development.  It won’t and since I was on formula back in 80s (which formula wasn’t even as developed as it is now) and I turned out just fine (maybe a little crazy…but ya’ll love me anyways).  It’s fantastic to try and do everything naturally, but it just doesn’t work for some people due to medical reasons.  If I had tried to have my baby naturally, we would’ve died.  So I am thankful for these medical advances.  I think it’s important that we don’t judge our friends either way, whether they were able to have their baby naturally and breastfeed without issues, or if they had to have a c section and had to do formula or supplement.  And be open to whichever because you never know when sometime may occur that you might have to change your idea and course in terms of parenting.

So much information, so little time…

7 05 2013

As a new mother, you get bombarded with information and advice about all things baby and parenthood.  Some of it is very helpful, and some of it…well is old wives’ tales.  So how do you, as a new parent, deal with all this information and how do you pick and choose what works for you and your family?

In my experience, your parents tend to have very good information and advice (obviously you turned out fine!), however, many of the medical advice they may give you can be outdated, due to them not having a baby for 20+ years.  For example, when I was a baby, you put the baby on their stomach and usually had thick pillows in the bed.  Nowadays, that’s an absolute no-no.  Due to the worry about SIDS, doctors now recommend, nothing in cribs except swaddling blanket, plus “back is best.”  So what do you do?  Do you inform your parent that we must not put our newborns on their stomachs?  Or lay them on a thick blanket on the bed?

The best thing to do in this situation is to politely talk to your parents and other caregivers about what you are comfortable with.  If you want to follow the current medical advice, then tell them so, and say that you would like your baby to lay on their back, etc.  For the most part, the caregiver will comply, (though they might mumble something about it not being the same when you were a baby).

Another thing you’ll run into is the constant barrage of Facebook messages and comments about some small thing you posted about burp up, or a messy diaper.  They might have sound information, but it can also overwhelm you.  For example, I had a few people mention something about burp up.  They were concerned with allergies, etc.  But almost always, burp up is a natural thing babies do!  It’s almost never a medical issue, and I confirmed this with my doctor.  Sometimes you feel like everything you are doing is wrong, but don’t let yourself feel that. You might not be doing the exact same things as your mom or aunt or sister, but that’s okay.

If they give you advice that you aren’t sure about, your best bet is to say “I’ll look into that.”  Some advice is sound, especially if it comes from a medical professional.  For example, my sister is a nurse, and is friends with a pediatric nurse, so often, if I have a question, I’ll ask her, then she’ll relay the information to her friend.  This way, I get advice from two medical resources.  This has helped in terms of a weird breathing thing that Theo was doing.  But as I said, unless the person has medical training, or they have had direct experience with a skin rash or allergy, the best thing to do is to be polite, say you’ll look into it, and follow up if they ask later.

If the bad advice or people pestering you gets bad, I would try and get off social media for awhile.  I know people want to see pictures and updates, but if they really care, they can text you or call you for updates.  Or, like me, create a blog and disable comments if you need to.  As a new mom, getting off social media can be a breath of fresh air, especially with all the advice and information.  All in all, what matters is the decision and you and your husband make regarding your child.  Ultimately, you are in control, and ultimately, you make the decisions.

Listening to advice can be helpful but also destructive if it gets in the way of how you want to parent.  Treat everyone with respect and tact.  You don’t have to follow their advice, but be kind about disregarding it.

Breastfeeding and Formula: My experience with both

29 04 2013

I have many friends who are having babies in the next couple months.  Still a new mother myself, I want to continue this blog to share my experience and hope to encourage my friends (and other readers) who have similar experiences and know they are not alone in this.

I haven’t typically talked about my breastfeeding experience with most people because it was a struggle for me.  From the start, I found out I had what’s called “inverted nipples”, which basically means that it’s very hard for a baby to latch on.  Thankfully, the hospital provided me with a “nursing shield” which basically let me still breastfeed whereas without it, it would be basically impossible.

Already, within the first hours of motherhood, my breastfeeding experience came unexpected.  But, after my time in the hospital, I felt more confident in nursing and my son was growing well.  However, come his 2 week check-up, I ran into another breastfeeding snag.  We found out he was at the danger zone for weight, and basically my milk production had tanked.  The lactation specialists didn’t have a clear answer as to why, but one conjecture was that the nipple shield I was provided in the hospital was too large for my son’s small mouth.  Whatever the cause, I had to get my milk production up, which could take up to a week.  This meant that I would likely have to supplement with formula until/if my milk got back up.  So, that day, we bought a breast pump and I was required to pump after each feeding.  This left me exhausted: especially recovering from a C-Section birth (also unexpected, blog post on that later), and also just dealing with being a new mom feeling horrific pangs of guilt that I could not provide enough milk for my baby.

In the coming weeks, my son started to gain more weight, but it was clear that we would always need to supplement, unless I wanted to pump after each feeding for the rest of my nursing.  Pumping for me was very uncomfortable, and I barely would get an oz out even at higher settings.  Thankfully, I had support, as both my sister in law and mother had done nursing/supplementing with formula before and had great experiences with it.

Fast forward to 5 months, and my son starting sleeping 7-8 hours stretches.  Since I did more breastfeeding at night, this meant my milk production tanked even more, though I was still nursing the allotted amount that is required to keep milk production up.  For whatever reason, whether it was genetic or just how my hormones worked, I had issues with milk production.  At this point, I had a decision to make: stop nursing and stick to formula or start up pumping again and hope that my milk would’t dry up.  This is something that I prayerfully considered, and after much discussion with my husband, we decided to wean.  The weaning process took 3 days.  It was much easier than expected, and my son didn’t ever look back.  In fact, we felt closer together like never before.  “This isn’t suppose to happen” I said to myself.  Weaning was supposed to be a month long process with many emotional letdowns and tears.  But nothing.  My son acted as if nothing had changed, and in fact, he was happier, gaining more weight, and I felt more at rest myself.

Since I have weaned my son, my personal life has changed drastically.  I could go running again (it was extremely painful to run with my large chest), I could hug my husband without my chest hurting, and I felt much closer emotionally and physically to my son, because I didn’t feel like all I was good for was his food.  I was much more than that.

My breastfeeding experience was hard.  I expected it to be a piece of cake, but it wasn’t.  Between production issues and inverted nipples, it was a struggle the whole time.  Yes, I loved the bonding times with my son, and I knew breastfeeding was the best thing for him, but I also feel like our decision to wean was the right one at the right time.

My encouragement to my friends who are new moms or about to be new moms is that do what’s best for your child, you, and your family.  For some people, they are able to breastfeed for 2 years and that’s so great.  For others, maybe they have issues like I did and have to supplement.  And like my mother had to do for me, she had to switch to straight formula because of her high blood pressure medicine.  Whatever you decide, don’t let others guilt you into doing one thing or another.  I have friends who straight formula feed and they are constantly judged.  For some people, it just doesn’t work well.  The formula these days is so good!  And I was formula fed back in the 80s, yet I turned out to be able to play any sport I wanted, got my bachelor’s degree in math, and I have no major disease or sickliness or allergies.  The fact is, our culture right now swung to the extreme that only breastfeeding is good and formula is bad.  Back when my mom was nursing my siblings, it was the opposite.  Nearly everyone formula fed, and those that nursed were judged.  Please, friends of mine, and families of those friends, don’t try to convince or judge or attempt to undermine decisions that only the mother and father should make.  Every families situation is different, and every family needs to decide for themselves whether to breastfeed, supplement, or formula. And whatever you decide, it will be right for you and your family.

3 months old and one year ago…

1 11 2012

It’s obviously been awhile since I’ve written in little Theo’s baby blog.  Most of you have seen details on Facebook, as I post there quite often.  But sometimes it’s nice to post outside of that social media.  

I was thinking about a year ago, just when Theo was becoming a “twinkle in daddy’s eye” as we call it.  We had just planned on starting for a child, after much discussion.  We at first wanted to wait until we had a house until we had a child (which actually did happen), but we decided it was time to begin.

I had been baby crazy for awhile, many of my friends were starting to have kids and I didn’t get a teaching job for the 2nd year running.  I always knew I wanted to teach for a few years then start a family.  I didn’t want to wait too long to have a child, and I didn’t want to have to wait a whole other year to see if I could get a teaching job.

And so it began.  We certainty did not expect to get pregnant right away, and were shocked that by Thanksgiving I was showing all the symptoms.  By the time we got home, we tested, and sure enough, I was pregnant!

It’s been a whirlwind from there.  Not too long after, we realized it might be better to get a house before we have a child.  We began looking in February, and by March, we made the big decision to build a house.  By June, we were moved in and couldn’t believe we would be having our son just a couple months later.

Now, Theo is 3 months old and a thriving little boy.  My days are filled with the joy of sharing in Theo’s first experiences.  Today, he grabbed his football toy and lifted it!  I was completely overjoyed.  It seemed like such a small thing, but it was his first time lifting a toy!  That’s a big deal to me.  He also rolled over twice on his own, another big feat.  There is never a dull day, every one is filled with new excitements and  occasionally fussy times (just had one of those).

In any case, motherhood is better that I imagined.  Once I got passed the crazy newborn schedule and recovery from surgery, things started looking way up.  It took about 2 months to get there, but now every passing day is a new adventure.  Theo’s personality is starting to show, and he’s very interested in the world.  He loves playtime, and cuddling even more.  He also loves to talk and smiles when you respond in his cooing language.  He loves to eat, and smiles when I get him ready to nurse or make him up a bottle.  All in all, he’s a happy, smart, funny boy that I cherish every moment that I have with him.Image

38+ weeks and lacking sleep

20 07 2012

I am currently at 38 weeks, 2 days, and definitely ready for this baby to come :).  My baby boy should be measuring anywhere from about 6 to 9 lb and 18-20 inches.  That’s about the size of a pumpkin!  Which is crazy.  He’s still developing more fat and having more brain development.  He could come at any time at this point, though it really just depends on him!

My body is getting just hammered with Braxton Hicks contractions and other, less pleasant symptoms which I won’t mention here.  The past four nights have been rough sleeping wise, waking up to contractions and hips locking up (making it very hard to get out of bed throughout the night!).  But thankfully, some of the other signs I am having show a progression toward labor (though not imminent labor), I know my body is getting closer and closer to that point, which is encouraging!

Exhaustion is mostly what I feel today, due to the constant contractions and lack of sleep.  I am definitely not in nesting mode at all, my body is way too tired for that.  So the name of the game today is to distract myself and try to make the most out of waiting.  Tonight, we are going to BBQ steaks on our new BBQ which should be a lot of fun.  Tomorrow, there’s a cool Firefighter Charity event at a main park here and it sounds like tons of fun, so we’ll probably hit that up too for a good distraction.

Another thing I’ll be doing is continuing to walk!  It will help keep my endurance up and also possibly progress me further toward labor.

Had my most recent dr appt on Wednesday, nothing much to report except that my BP went back down and my baby has dropped even more (which I could kind of tell from the crazy amount of pelvic pressure I’ve been having lately).  So, just waiting it out and trying to relax and rest for the big day!