Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A tooth?!?!?

About 2 weeks ago (I feel like a LOT started happening 2 weeks ago), we noticed a small white spot on Isis' gum right in the middle on the bottom. I didn't really think anything of it because she was only 10 weeks old. Well, about a week ago, she started sticking her hands in her mouth all the time - not just when she was tired or bored or hungry. She also started drooling a lot about this time - like a lot! She didn't used to drool much, if at all. But in the last week it's like someone turned on a faucet in there!! I also noticed within the last couple of days that it seemed more like she was biting her hands rather than sucking on them. Lewis put his finger in her mouth and she started biting it really hard. She used to suck on your finger if you put it in her mouth. So we looked at the spot on her gums again - and it was about 3 times as big as it was 2 weeks ago!! And it sure does look like a tooth is going to pop up pretty soon!

It could be something else and we could just be putting things together that are really unrelated, but my friend Diana's daughter, Vada, got her first tooth right at 3 months! So it's not unheard of! I just wasn't quite expecting a tooth just yet! For one thing, I'm nursing her and I want to continue to do so for a year if I can! The idea of teeth and biting makes me really nervous! Any tips for how to keep a child from biting when they are nursing?

I'm not complaining, though! She'll be super cute with a little tooth!!

Ah, Sleep!!!

Ah, the elusive dream of all new parents - a full nights sleep! I have posted a lot about our sleep training efforts. Some people have agreed with what we've done and some people haven't, but man oh man - it worked!! I've been waiting to post this to make sure things were consistent, but now I'm ready!! If I haven't already told you this, I have kept a log of how much I have slept at night since Isis was 2 weeks old. I've had to take several measures with my baby blues that most people probably wouldn't have had to take. For me, knowing exactly how much I was sleeping really helped me to calm down and not feel overwhelmed. So anyway...look at this...
(keep in mind that Isis goes to bed between 7:30 and 8:00 every night and we get her up between 7:30 and 8:00 every morning)

The night of March 25/26:
Isis woke up once at 4:30am
meaning...
I slept 7 hours, 15 minutes with one long stretch of 5 hours, 15 min!

The night of March 26/27:
Isis woke up once at 5:30
meaning...
I slept 9 hours with one long stretch of 6 hours, 30 min!

The night of March 27/28:
Isis woke up twice at 2:00 & 6:00 (stupid nasal congestion)
meaning...
I slept 7 hours, 30 minutes - no long stretches that night

The night of March 28/29:
Isis slept all night and woke up for the day at 6:45!!
meaning...
I slept 7 hours, 30 minutes all at once - I woke up at 6:15 & freaked out because she'd slept so long! haha

The night of March 29/30:
Isis woke up once at 1:00 (this one was nasal congestion too)
meaning...
I slept 8 hours with one long stretch of 5 hours, 45 min

The night of March 30/31:
Isis slept all night and woke up for the day at 7:30!!
meaning...
I slept 8 hours, 30 minutes all in one stretch!!!

Party!!! With the exception of her nasal congestion issues, she can sleep through the night now!! I also try to feed her if she wakes up after midnight. So, she goes to bed between 7:30 & 8:00pm every night. Lewis and I hang out until around 10:30pm and then go to bed. So with her sleeping so long, I get a couple of hours to myself everyday and then I get to sleep a long time at night!! I'm just waiting for the milk production in the middle of the night to adjust to Isis' schedule because right now - it's uncomfortable.

And for those of you interested in strategies or tips, here's what we've done lately:

If she woke up before midnight, we didn't go in her room.
About 2 weeks ago, we realized that she was consistently going to 2:00 or 3:00am without waking up to eat. So we knew that if she got a full feeding before bed that she didn't NEED to eat before then. And we can tell through the monitor if she's having nasal congestion issues or if she's just woken up. So about 2 weeks ago, if she did ever wake up before midnight, we stopped going in there. We just let her work it out. She woke up two or three nights over the past 2 weeks around 10:30 or 11:00pm. We didn't go in there because we didn't hear nasal congestion and we knew she had gotten full feedings. Finally, one night she woke up around 10:30pm and kinda fussed for about 2 minutes, then fell back asleep. She's done that a couple of times since then, but it's always just a couple of minutes and then she goes back to sleep.

We wait 5-10 minutes before going in her room in the middle of the night.
We were kinda doing this already, but we really started doing it or waiting a little longer about 2 weeks ago. The good thing for us is she won't take a pacifier and instead sucks on her hands. So we started hearing her sucking on her hands in the monitor and when she would do that, she'd be back asleep within minutes. This would probably be more difficult if she was taking a pacifier and not sucking on her hands because she wouldn't be able to get a pacifier and put it in her mouth in the middle of the night. But I don't know? Anyway, the first night that she slept from about 8:00pm to 6:45am, she woke up 3 or 4 times during the night and fussed for about 2 minutes and then went back to sleep. Last night when she slept from 8:00pm to 7:30am, she did that one time.

I stopped trying to keep her awake to eat in the middle of the night.
If she wakes up after midnight, I try to feed her. But about 2 weeks ago, she started cutting back her night feedings by a lot. She used to wake up in the middle of the night and feed from one side for about 17 or 18 minutes. About 2 weeks ago, she cut that back to maybe 12 minutes tops. Then with the days I listed above, her feedings were about 5 or 6 minutes long. So I stopped trying to get her to really eat at night because it didn't seem like she needed it. It seemed more like she was nursing to help her get back to sleep. So now if I do go in there, I'll let her try to eat just in case she didn't get enough during the day, but it's never a full feeding. We'll probably just stop going in there in the middle of the night if she wakes up like that pretty soon. Mainly because the 2 nights she did sleep through the night, her last feeding of the day was actually smaller than normal, so I don't think she needs a big bunch of food to get her through the night like I thought she did.

So there you go!! Yay for Isis!!! I also wanted to say that she turned 12 weeks last Saturday and she is currently about 13 pounds. So if she were younger or weighed much less, we probably would still be having more night wakings. I've read a lot about how it has a lot to do with the baby's weight and age. I also went by her cues. It seemed like something just changed with her about 2 weeks ago (I think this is when she reached 13 pounds), and she started doing different things. So watch your baby's cues. I also must say that when we go get her in the morning now, she's always really happy & she doesn't seem just starving. I'm not sure if she will consistently sleep through the night all the time now, but she's definitely down to one night feeding or less every night! Yay for sleep!!!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Politics, Christianity & Children

Lewis and I tend to find ourselves somewhere in the middle in most political arguments. We tend to see both sides and then come down on the side that we can most agree with - if not fully agree with. We are constantly having conversation about different ideas - political or otherwise. Our home has always been filled with conversation. We talked about marriage, money and kids when we were dating. By the time we made the decision to get married, we had worked through all kinds of complicated ideas. Our pre-marriage counselor was actually really surprised at the discussions we had already had and the ones we had with him. Before having Isis, we talked and talked about the pros and cons, the way we wanted to handle pregnancy, the method we wanted to use for labor & delivery, the way we wanted to parent, the methods we wanted to use for scheduling, etc. We had countless conversations. It went on and on. We continue to talk about the ways we want to conduct things in our home on all levels.

When it comes to politics, religion, school, tattoos, clothing, moral choices, any other major opinions and decisions that may arise, we always want to maintain an atmosphere of conversation. In terms of religion, I sincerely believe that Christianity is strong enough for questions. I want to allow my children to ask those questions. We want to be able to present both sides of an argument, both sides of a decision. We want to allow freedom for our children to disagree with us - not in terms of discipline or harmful decisions - but definitely in terms of choosing a preference. We both have tattoos and like tattoos. Our children may follow along with that or they may choose not to get any. We both vote on political candidates based on the specific elections and the issues presented, not on the party the candidate is running under. When our children are of the age to listen and understand about politics, they may come to a different decision than we do and I will fully encourage their freedom to do so.

I want to create a climate where Lewis and I are not afraid to admit that we make mistakes and do the wrong thing sometimes. In all honesty, as a former child myself, your kids know what's going on. If something isn't right, I promise they KNOW. And it's more harmful than anything to pretend that they don't. I could already tell at the very beginning after Isis was born that she knew when something was wrong with me. When I was having baby blues really bad and would cry a lot sometimes when I was home alone with her, she could totally tell. Now, I can't provide concrete evidence of this, but she would look at me sometimes when I was crying and I just knew that she understood something was wrong. I can give countless examples of myself, Lewis and some of my friends who had things going on in their house while growing up and we knew something wasn't right. Of course, parents try to act like nothing is wrong or like they haven't made major mistakes, I guess they think they are protecting their kids. I tend to disagree. I believe that Lewis and I presenting ourselves as authentic people who make mistakes will allow our children to see that life is messy. People are not perfect. It isn't perfection that is important, it is learning from your mistakes and picking yourself back up and moving forward. I want my children to be able to make mistakes and not allow those mistakes to ruin their future. I want an atmosphere of humility, conversation, understanding and authenticity in my home.

Sorry for the rant. I wrote this other post on my Ingenue Perspective blog and it got me thinking about Isis and parenting in general.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fast Food

I am definitely going to be one of those annoying moms that won't let my kids eat fast food (except Chick-fil-a, remember). There are several reasons for this including non-organic meats, calories, processed foods and preservatives. I understand that lots of people can argue about the hormones in non-organic meat and things like that, but this post about a woman who kept a McDonald's happy meal for 12 months and it DIDN'T DECOMPOSE just proves that my argument about lots of preservatives is completely valid.

I understand there could be arguments about this and I'm thinking about doing my own experiment of the sort. I just tend to believe that fresh foods for kids are going to be a lot better in the long run! I'm not trying to start an argument. Just sharing my opinion.

Also - if you haven't heard about Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution on ABC, read my post on my Ingenue Perspective blog!! Click here!!

Isis' Playlist!!!

This is the playlist I play for Isis when she sleeps in the car or in her bedroom.

The Call - Regina Spektor
There You'll Be - Faith Hill
I Can't Make You Love Me - Bonnie Raitt
Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) - Chris Tomlin
Bella's Lullaby - Carter Burwell
Clair de Lune - Debussy
Let Me Sign - Robert Pattinson
Never Think - Robert Pattinson
Fur Elise - Beethoven
In the Deep - Bird York
God Bless the Child - Michelle Featherstone
Falling Slowly - Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
So Close - Jon McLaughlin
Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel
Cold Water - Damien Rice
The Blower's Daughter - Damien Rice
The Wind - Cat Stevens
Angel - Sarah McLachlan
Full of Grace - Sarah McLachlan
Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
Yellow - Coldplay (String Quartet)
Hold You In My Arms - Ray LaMontagne
I Will Follow You - Death Cab for Cutie
To Make You Feel My Love - Garth Brooks
You've Got a Way - Shania Twain
Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus) - Chris Rice
Welcome to our World - Chris Rice
Be Here Now - Ray LaMontagne
Both Sides Now - Joni Mitchell
Fix You - Coldplay
Notting Hill - Trevor Jones
Swallowed in the Sea - Coldplay

But she also loves to listen to these when she's awake in the car...
Kings and Queens - 30 Seconds to Mars
Trouble - Ray LaMontagne
Running Up That Hill - Placebo
A Dustland Fairytale - The Killers
For Blue Skies - Strays Don't Sleep
The Show Must Go On - Queen
These Are The Days of Our Lives - Queen
Babe I'm Gonna Leave You - Led Zeppelin

It's good times. Any suggestions for more songs for Isis? Probably in about a year or so I'll introduce her to her daddy's music!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Dear Baby / Stay Forever Sunday

A couple of my friends sent me the link to Dear Baby & I have been checking her blog & her life blog (Stay Forever Sunday) several times a day ever since then. I've posted about this before, but I've even gone back through her past posts now because I just love it! She links to great Etsy finds and posts awesome pictures of her life in San Francisco & Raleigh. I must say, I believe that reading her blogs could serve as a travel guide to either of those 2 cities. I know I've said it before, but I will say it again - if you haven't checked out either of her blogs, you definitely should!

Oh! I did a Follow Friday on Twitter & recommended that people read her blogs & she tweeted me back!! She loved Isis' chubby cheeks!! How sweet! I love that she's actually interacting with her readers! Follow her on Twitter!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Why I Love Chick-Fil-A

I can't post a brand logo of Chick-fil-A due to my agreement with BlogHer ads, but here's a picture of Isis all chill & content after our visit to Chick-fil-A yesterday!

1. Real Chicken, Fruits & Veggies
What mom doesn't love the fact that the chicken looks like real chicken? And it's actually good! You don't feel like you're eating some gross processed chicken. This is one of the only fast food restaurants where Isis will be allowed to eat for a while. Plus you can get fruit or carrot & raisin salad as a side rather than french fries! (But the fries are delicious, too!)

2. Closed on Sundays
They stick to their principles! According to their website, Chick-fil-A restaurants are closed on Sundays because the founder, Truett Cathy, believed that all restaurant employees should have the opportunity to rest on Sundays and spend time with their families or worship if they choose to do so. I really like this. I think it definitely sets them apart from other restaurants. Although, I do sometimes get a craving for some of their food on Sundays... And I don't know about the Chick-fil-A restaurants in your area, but mine always has the Christian music radio station playing in the speakers. It's just a positive atmosphere.

3. Kids Meal Toy or Ice Cream!
This is the only place I know of where you can trade in the kids meal toy for a small ice cream cone!!! Yum!!!

4. Books as Toys
They give books as the prize in the kids meal!! I got a little Berenstain Bears book one time!! I LOVE this!!!

5. Loved by Parents!
The kids play area is clean and the employees are friendly. The food is good, healthy and fresh. Basically, because of all these things, the restaurant is always about 80% full of parents & kids. Due to this fact, I can bring Isis and really not worry about her making noise or fussing or anything because there are always a couple of other kids doing the exact same thing! May be annoying to people who came without kids, but for a parent, having somewhere you can go where you're not worried about bothering someone with your fussy kid is completely awesome!!

Chick-fil-A

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bumbo!

How cute is this little girl from Gainer Grandiose?!? I think she's like a week or so younger than Isis.

I've decided I want a Bumbo. But they're $40!! So I'm trying to find one I can borrow. Anybody have one? I'm not 100% sure that Isis will like it, so I wanted to try one out before I bought it. Also, how long can they use them?

14 Steps to an Easy Baby

Now, don't get your Pampers in a bunch, the title of this is a joke. But I have noticed that so many people tend to say to me, "Oh you're so lucky that you have such an easy/good/happy baby!" And I want to go, "Um, thanks, but we've worked our butts off to help her get to this point. There's nothing lucky about it except maybe that she wasn't colicky." Granted, she was a healthy, full-term baby which is definitely a blessing, but she wasn't easy at all from the beginning. The important thing is that we started from the beginning to set up for the future. I believe in patterns and schedules and helping encourage a routine for the baby so that they know what to expect. I've seen her thrive in this system and have talked to so many other mothers who have experienced the same thing with their babies who are very different than Isis. In the end, though, every baby is different. I personally think that means altering the specifics of your routine or schedule to fit your baby, but either way it's important for every mother to decide what works best for them and follow that. I thought I'd post what we've done, just as an example. A perspective.

1. Don't set up bad habits!
In other words, start the way you mean to continue. Babywise talks about the eat, wake, sleep cycle which actually works fabulously whether you do a schedule or not. The majority of the moms I've talked to followed this pattern whether or not they were scheduling. I'm nursing Isis, so by doing this, the baby learns not to nurse to sleep - which helps your schedule later. It also keeps them from snacking at the breast. Which leads to...

2. Work for full feedings!
I don't know if this is an issue with formula feedings, but especially with nursing, it's important to make sure that the baby is getting full feedings each time they eat. This way they get the calorie-rich hindmilk and they empty your breast to stimulate more milk production. This means making sure the baby doesn't fall asleep while eating (cold washcloths, taking her clothes off & just rubbing her feet & arms worked for us), and making sure there is enough time between her feedings. If they get the rich hindmilk, they can go longer. Isis went about 2.5 hours between feedings in the very beginning. Then she started stretching it as she would sleep more. Normally, if she would nurse after 1.5-2 hours, she would only eat for a couple minutes and then stop, so she would only get the foremilk. She did have a growth spurt at around 3 weeks where she would eat full feedings every 1.5 hours or so around the clock. So just because you're trying to do a pattern doesn't mean you just starve the baby or don't feed them if they clearly need it. I just didn't nurse for comfort. If she wasn't swallowing, then I would take her off. I used cuddling & holding & things like that for comfort.

3. Clearly differentiate night & day
Babies don't know the difference between night and day at first. In the beginning, Isis would wake up at 2am and want to be up for hours in the middle of the night! At first, I was having a really hard time with the baby blues and the middle of the night was so rough for me. So I would turn the tv on when she had these long awake times in the middle of the night. It made me feel less lonely and just more comforted. But after about 2 weeks of craziness like that, we started really trying to differentiate night and day and it made a huge difference! We kept all the lights off except for a little night light so that I could see to feed her & change her diaper. I wouldn't talk to her or make eye contact at night so that she knew something was different. After feeding her, I would rock her a little bit and put her back down. In the morning, I made sure to open the drapes and the blinds so that the sun would come in, I made a point of changing her into her clothes for the day and turning the lights on so it was bright. I talked to her in a bright, cheery voice & played with her so she knew it was day time.

4. Baby in Crib in their own room
This one is definitely arguable. For Isis, we found after about 2-3 weeks that it wasn't working with her sleeping in a bassinet in our room. She was waking us up with every little noise and then we were waking her up with all our noises. So we put her in her crib in her room about week 3. With her monitor, we could still hear everything we needed to and we found that she slept so much better in there! Even the first night, it was crazy! She went from waking up every 2 hours or so to waking up every 3-4 hours. So if your baby is in your room and they aren't sleeping too well, try putting them in their own room. With the next baby, I plan on putting them to sleep in their crib from day 1 for night time and naps.

5. White Noise
This is something we found helped tremendously! In her room, we have an air purifier fan that blows, a white noise machine that we keep on the heartbeat noise, and a cold air humidifier. Turning these on is all a part of our bedtime routine with her. They dull the noises from outside of her room, give her something consistent, keep her room moist for her stuffy noise and clean air for possible allergies! I think the white noise really helped her be able to sleep more soundly.

6. Put baby to sleep drowsy, but awake
I started this right before she was 6 weeks old. Most things I've read recommend doing this around 6 weeks. This was also when we established a consistent bedtime routine & bedtime (see #7). This actually took a few days for Isis to get used to (see Sleep Training posts), but once she got it, she got it. So now we take her in the bathroom & start doing the bath and she knows what's coming next. You can tell she knows what to expect because one night something was different and it threw her off. The point of doing this is to make sure the baby can fall asleep on their own without being rocked or swung or anything like that. This may mean you'll have to do some cry-it-out methods. What worked for us was going in after 5-10 minutes based on whether she was just fussy or really upset, and patting her, kissing her and calming her down without picking her up and getting back out of the room within 1 minute. I found that when we started doing this, her middle-of-the-night feedings changed as well. She would wake up, cry, we would come in, change her diaper, I would feed her, then I would put her back down & she hasn't cried in the middle of the night after going back down for the past 7 weeks! She still cries the first time we put her down for bed, but I think some of that has to do with my routine & I'm going to try something different tonight and see how it works (see #12).

7. Bedtime Routine
We started this at 6 weeks. We established a routine - a short routine - nurse, bath, turn on white noise stuff, sing a song, say a prayer, put down. It all takes an hour including nursing, but from bath to bed it's only 30 minutes. This lets the baby know that it's bedtime. Studies show that at 6 weeks, babies have 24 hours of long-term memory. Therefore, starting 24-hour consistent routines at this point makes a lot of sense. The baby should remember night-to-night what happened from 24 hours before. So they start to know bedtime comes after this routine. We found that she quickly started doing her longest stretch of sleep after this routine. She would go 4-5 hours after the bedtime & then wake up, then 3-4 hours, then wake up. Now (10+ weeks) she goes about 6-8 hours after the routine, then 3-4.

8. Bedtime
Around 6 weeks we also established a consistent bedtime. This didn't mean 8:00pm on the dot every day. It was within 30 minutes of that every day. Some days 7:30, some days 8:00, some days 8:15. It just depended on when she woke up in the morning and when she ate during the day. But she naturally started moving this earlier as she also naturally started waking up at the same time everyday. So now her bedtime is always around 7:30 at the latest. Sometimes 7:15. But establishing this consistency started making night time sleep patterns more consistent. The consistent morning wake time that has happened just within the last week - at around 9 weeks old - is what has made her daytime feedings & naps all consistent times.

9. Understanding optimal wake times
I didn't understand how long babies average wake times are when Isis was first born. I just wanted to play with my baby, so I would keep her up and stuff after she ate! As a result, she would be okay for a little bit, then get hyper for a little while and would seem super happy and then all of a sudden it would just switch and she would get super fussy and cry a lot!! I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong and why she wouldn't nap at all. Then I started reading. Honestly this group on BabyCenter made a huge difference! Particularly the posts I link below. I also read this blog and found out that on average, these are the optimal wake times for babies - meaning from the time they wake up from one nap to the time they go down for the next nap (including feedings). The optimal wake time for a 6 week old - which Isis was about this time - is 60 minutes. So I started putting her down to nap after about 45 minutes of being awake. She would fall asleep easier and wouldn't be fussy. This is when her happy demeanor really got consistent - when we figured out the wake times and the naps. Now she is 10+ weeks old and has gone to about a 90 minute wake time. I put her down to nap after about 1 to 1.25 hours of wake time. Seriously, understanding the wake times is the biggest thing that has made a difference!
More from BabyCenter message boards about sleep/wake times/naps:
Cry it Out, Optimal Wake Time
Dreamfeeding
STTN, Overtired Getting baby to sleep in crib
Sleep Train without Cry It Out
How to Successfully Teach a Baby to Sleep
Nap Advice

10. Find what works
Isis will sleep great at night in her crib, but she doesn't like napping in her crib during the day. I don't like this and I do plan on transitioning her to her crib for naps soon, but if you've been following my blog for long at all, you know that the nap training in the crib didn't work. I did, though, discover this swing that she loved! I decided to have her nap in the swing for a while and get really consistent nap times every day and then transition her to napping in the swing in her bedroom and then napping in her crib in her bedroom. I'll probably start putting her swing in her bedroom next week. So it's important to decide what's most important - for me it was consistent naps because of the wake times and good sleep patterns and establishing a good routine/schedule - so I found that a swing worked for naps and I'm doing that for now. I'm just consistent about when she goes in the swing.

11. Consistency, consistency, consistency!
Consistency is key! This is the whole point of setting up patterns and routines and schedules. Now that Isis has a consistent morning wake time and a consistent bed time, her feeding times, nap times and wake times are consistent throughout the day - and not because I'm making them consistent - she actually wants to eat at the same time each day and she gets tired & starts yawning at the same time each day. Now that I've set all this up for the past 10 weeks, she does it on her own. And as a result, she's happy and alert!! (Nothing lucky about that - we worked for it!)

12. Be prepared to make adjustments
Babies have growth spurts. Babies reach developmental milestones. Babies extend their wake times and their feeding times as their bodies grow and mature. The great thing about scheduling is that both Isis and I know what to expect throughout the day. That way, if she starts consistently waking up early & acting hungry earlier than she normally does, I can safely assume this is probably a growth spurt and I need to adjust my daily routine to meet her demand for a few days. If she's fussier than normal or seems to be doing something out of the ordinary, I can look for signs of sickness or some other discomfort. It really helps to be able to know what to look for. Scheduling doesn't mean ignoring your baby's signs and natural demands for food or attention. It just means encouraging a pattern and then making adjustments as baby starts to need them. As Isis continues to get older, I am fully prepared for adjustments to her schedule as needed to help her continue to stay the happy, "easy" baby that she is right now.

13. Be prepared for criticism
It has come from lot of different people in my experience - family/friends/strangers, but there are a lot of people who are uncomfortable with the idea of following a regular routine or schedule with a baby. So just be prepared for people's opinions and stick with what works best for you and your baby. I will say that we didn't start with consistent times of a schedule until 6 weeks and even then it was just bedtime that was consistent. So I wouldn't really encourage a strict schedule of specific times until the baby is ready for it. But everyone parents differently and different things work for everyone. As I said above, this is my experience, my opinion, my perspective. Take any ideas that may work for you and leave the rest.

14. Know who you can call
There are several moms who have been the most incredible source of advice and comfort throughout these first few weeks! There are 2 people in particular who were really helpful and specific with me about different ideas with scheduling and getting Isis on a good routine. I have to give a special shout out to my friend Laurel who has dealt with several long phone calls from me with a list of questions based on what Isis was doing at the time. She was the one who also invited us over so Isis could try the magic swing! It's important that you find those people who have similar parenting strategies as you do. I found that people who followed more of an attachment parenting philosophy didn't have advice that fit very well with what we were going for. There's nothing wrong with them doing what works for their family, but scheduling works best for mine. So you need to find those people and actually call them when you need help! I felt bad the first time I called Laurel with a big list of questions, but I found her to be so helpful that now I don't feel bad at all! She seems to be happy to share her experiences and I'm happy to hear them! But lastly about child care - make sure that whoever you choose for your child care will follow your decisions for schedules or patterns for your baby. Especially at such a young age, I feel like I'm still establishing the consistency for Isis, so I'm nervous sometimes for certain people to watch her if I feel like they won't follow the routine.

That's it!! That's my list!! Feel free to share your own list of suggestions!! I'd love to hear it!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Etsy Leg Warmers!

I found some Etsy shops that have baby legwarmers!!

Leg Warmers

I want Isis to have like 50 pairs of leg warmers!!

I'm going to start collecting places on Etsy that you can buy these!! Of course, you can also always buy the Babylegs ones, too!! If anyone wants to buy Isis a pair, I'd be delighted!! They're usually only $8.00! They're one size fits all!!! She can wear them until she's way older!!

Leg warmers: Babylegs in Lime Drop $12.00

Isis' Daily Schedule

For any other new moms out there, what kind of schedule are you following?? I have several friends who just had babies and I'm interested to see how feeding & sleeping is working for you! We've worked really hard to be consistent for Isis - not necessarily consistent times before this past week, but definitely a consistent pattern. Isis seems to thrive on this pattern and I definitely love knowing what to expect!! The only thing I don't like about this right now is that she's napping in her swing. I would like her to be napping in her crib ASAP, but I'm going to have to transition it. I think this week I'm going to see what happens when I put her swing in her bedroom. I might do that for a week or so, then I'll transition her to sleeping in the crib in her bedroom.

7:30am - Wake up & nurse
8:30/8:45am - Put in swing when she starts yawning
9:00am - Nap #1
11:00am - Wake up & nurse
12:00/12:15pm - Put in swing when she starts yawning
12:30pm - Nap #2
2:30pm - Wake up & nurse
3:30/3:45pm - Put in swing when she starts yawning
4:00pm - Nap #3 **This nap is the most inconsistent one. She'll fall asleep around this time, but she might wake up at 5:30 and she might have to be woken up at 6:15. It varies.**
6:15pm - Wake up (if isn't already awake) & nurse
7:00pm - Bath & bedtime routine
7:30pm - Bedtime
**If she wakes up twice in a night, it's usually around 12:30/1:00am and then 3:30/4:00am.
If she wakes up once in a night, it's usually around 3:00/3:30am.
What's interesting is that no matter which one of these happens, she wakes up at 7:30am. It's weird.

Shots, Sleeping & Schedules!


Isis got her first vaccinations last Friday. She hated it, but overall took it like a champ! She screamed when they did it and then cried for about 5 minutes after, but then she was good! Later that day, she woke up from her nap and started crying a lot. I think her legs were sore because I was trying to nurse her and with her leg laying against my belly, she started crying. I ended up having to nurse her laying down. The next morning, she was kicking her legs a lot and then started crying, too. But after Saturday I haven't noticed her doing that, so I think the soreness has gone away. So yay! We survived our first shots!! Honestly I was more worried about me than her. We have a wonderful doctor and he has really taken the time to be patient with me and all my questions about vaccinations. With all the conversation about it, I definitely had some concerns, but I now feel really confident that he will not make me give her any shots until I'm ready for it. We gave her all the first shots because I think they are definitely needed if we want her out around other people or kids, but he agreed that we don't need to give her the Hep B vaccine until later this year.

The most interesting thing about the shots was that the night after she got the shots, she slept for 9 hours straight! Before that, her longest stretch was 7.5 hours! Lewis woke me up at 5am and pointed out what time it was. We got up to go check on her because I wanted to make sure she was okay and I'm nursing her, so I'm still very aware of my milk supply. Either way, it was lovely for us to have a 7 hour stretch of sleep!! Right now, she's averaging 2 night feedings every night, but usually about once a week she will only have 1. I feel like that's pretty good. Even with the 2 feedings, she'll go about 6-7 hours before the first one. Not too bad.

The most interesting thing about our lives lately is the fact that she's naturally put herself on a schedule! I was following Babywise only in that I was doing the eat, wake, sleep cycle. I was doing a consistent bedtime, but I was letting her wake up whenever she woke up in the morning. Then I was going by her morning wake time to see when she would eat throughout the day. Well, for the last week, she has naturally woken up at the same time everyday and therefore eaten & napped at the same time everyday. So I'm just going to now make sure that wake time stays consistent. I feel like she's doing it herself, so it won't take much to just make sure these feeding & nap times stay consistent. It will also make my life so much easier to be able to know a week in advance what time she'll nap. It's been interesting making appointment up until now...

Yay for baby development!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Wonderful Friends

I have wonderful friends. Have I ever told you that? I used to always pride myself on my friends, but it's been even more since having Isis. I have several friends who don't have kids who have just proven to be so consistent and understanding of my new priorities and schedule. As a mom, I feel like I really need these lovely ladies in my life right now because they keep me grounded and real and they're so flexible and fun! And they allow me to still be me because they've been there all along. I so look forward to being there for them when they are ready to have their own kids, too!

What has been really surprising to me, though, is the camaraderie that I feel with other moms. I posted before about a "Mommy Club" and it really is like that. While I don't really feel the need to send in for a club card or anything - I'm happy just being me & adding "mom" to the list of things that make up who I am - but I do feel very blessed to suddenly have such a large group of women who are eager to help and give advice if I need it! The first few weeks of Isis' life I found myself messaging moms left and right on Facebook! Every reply was taken with the utmost gratitude by me! I felt so comforted by the stories and strategies and experiences that were shared. Every mom and every baby are different, so not all advice worked for me and Isis, but how wonderful to have so much encouragement!!

Today I spent the whole day with my best friend, Diana, who has been eagerly awaiting my entrance into motherhood. I was her child-less friend before, offering flexibility and all the things I mentioned in the beginning. But now we have transitioned to two moms sharing ideas and stories and strategies. The thing I love about Diana is that she isn't afraid to disagree with me. Some people just don't say anything when they don't agree with you, but Diana will tell me exactly what she's thinking & I'll do the same for her. I value that honesty and I value the opportunity to look at things a way I maybe wouldn't have. I don't think we pick our friends based on how much they are like us. We pick them based on their own unique identity. I feel so lucky to have a friend who has different opinions and different ideas who also has the patience and understanding to deal with my passion and hard-headedness (yes I made that word up).

Overall I'm just happy for my friends. Single friends, married friends, mom friends, non-mom friends, older friends, younger friends, liberal friends, conservative friends, just the whole range really. I think having different people and different opinions helps give me lots of great places to learn and draw from as a mother and as a person in general. Thank you to my friends!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Our Little Dancer!

The other day, we helped Isis dance for the first time!!!


Pushing Herself in the Bathtub

I posted the other day about how Isis has discovered that if she pushes against things with her legs, she will move. She does this most often in the bathtub! Here's a video...


Saturday, March 6, 2010

My Sweet 9 Week Old Girl!!

I thought I'd post a little update on Isis. I haven't talked a lot specifically about her lately!! She's basically settled into a much more predictable routine. It's really wonderful!! People keep saying that we are really "lucky" which maybe is true to a certain extent, but we have worked hard at her routine & her schedule. You can disagree with doing that if you want, but it's worked and we are happy and Isis is happy! So things are great!!

Night Sleep:
We start her bedtime routine between 6:30 and 7:00 and make sure she is in bed between 7:30 and 8:00 - this time includes a 30 minute feeding, a bath, a song, a prayer and some cuddling. She still gets up 1-3 times a night, but 3 times means something is usually wrong like she peed all over herself or she has bad nasal congestion. More often than not, it's 1-2 times. She normally does at least one stretch of 6-8 hours of sleep at night. When she does wake, we get up, change her diaper, I feed her & put her back down. She's asleep again within 5 minutes. No fussing. She wakes up between 7:30 and 8:30 in the morning, depending on what time her last feeding was.

Naps:
Now that I found my magic swing, naps are completely transformed! One of my tricks that I learned is to try to get her down for her nap within 1 to 1.25 hours from the time she wakes up from her last sleep. If I put her in the swing within this amount of time, she will go to sleep by herself and sleep for 1.5-2 hours. She usually takes 3 definite naps a day with a kind-of mini nap in the evening. She usually goes down for the first nap without crying at all. She goes down for the second one with almost no fussing and she goes down for the third one after 5-15 minutes of fussing. Then she has a fussy time that will start sometime after 4:30 and last until whenever we start the bedtime stuff. Usually in this period she will sleep for 30-45 minutes if you hold her. So overall, I think that's all great for naps! And if we leave the house, she sleeps great in the carseat! She'll usually fall asleep in the car on our way wherever & she will be totally asleep as we go around wherever.

Feeding:
Since I got sick, we successful got rid of the nipple shield! Yay! So she is nursing like normal! She eats every 3-3.5 hours during the day. I normally go by her hunger cues or sleep cycles. She normally goes 3.5 hours between the 2nd and 3rd feeding of the day. She is eating for about 20 minutes total each time she eats, but her last feeding of the day is normally between 25 and 30 minutes! It's like she's gearing up for the night!

Milestones:
She is smiling all the time now! She coos and ooh and ahs all day long! She's getting more control of her head. Her hands are open most of the tme now and not in little fists. She has learned that if she kicks against things that she can move her body. She does this most of the time in the bath. She has a little bathtub, so she will push her feet against the end of it and scoot herself back in the tub. I'll take a video of it soon & post it. She also now responds to our faces and voices. This morning, Lewis went in to get Isis because we heard that she was awake. She wasn't crying, she just makes these coos and stuff and kinda looks around the room because there is light in there in the morning. So he walked in the door and she was turned toward the wall and he goes, "Good morning Isis!" and she just flipped her head around so she could see him! She also has started to mimic our facial expressions more! When I open my mouth & eyes real wide like a surprised look, she will do it back to you. When you stick your tongue out at her, she will stick her tongue out sometimes, too!

That's what's going on with her right now!! She's doing awesome!! She's a really good baby! Very alert and sweet and big blue eyes!!

Vacation!!!!

Little known fact about me & Lewis: with the exception of going on tour with his band or going to Nashville for his uncle's wedding, we have never been on a real trip together. We didn't ever get to go on a honeymoon or anything! So now here we are with Isis and we have decided that we are going to take our first family vacation this summer!!! We are very excited!! Lewis has a week of vacation left at work and I will definitely be ready to go somewhere before starting student teaching in August! So we have decided to go to...

LAS VEGAS!!!!!

Sounds weird for the first trip with a new baby, doesn't it? But the truth is, one of my dear friends, Emily & her husband Nate, live in Vegas where Nate is a youth minister at a church called The Crossing. We kept telling them that we wanted to come visit and we thought this would be a great opportunity!! And maybe they'd even babysit one night?? (I haven't asked her this yet. haha I'm just hoping!) I know it's going to be SUPER hot and we are going to be taking lots of measures to keep Isis cool & comfortable! But I found several things we can do with her inside the hotels on the strip! There are lions at MGM Grand, a garden and dolphin habitat at the Mirage, the fountains at the Bellagio, etc. We will find lots of things to do with her! And I'd love to go shopping!! Plus she'll probably just love the lights at night! And overall, it'll be a fun way to just go relax and get away for a week. I think it will be well deserved as brand new parents & a brand new family!!

But I have some questions for you parents out there...

#1 - How do you think the plane trip will go? She will be 5-7 months old when we go - haven't planned the exact date yet. We are trying to find the best deal! But we have decided to hold her rather than get her a ticket. Any tips for that??

#2 - What do you think about the time difference? It's only 3 hours which is just one feeding cycle really. I was thinking I would start with the transition a few days before we leave and then work it back to normal the week we come back. But any specific ideas? I know my friend Natalie who just had her son Parker a couple of days after Isis is working out the same thing for their trip to Ireland this year - 5 hour difference! So any tips would be welcomed!!

#3 - Anyone else have any other suggestions for activities around there for us to do with Isis? EXCEPT for the Grand Canyon or Hoover Dam. My phobia will not allow those 2 activities. I'd prefer to not hyperventilate while on vacation. Plus we will probably try to keep her inside as much as possible. She's taken after mom & dad with that pale skin & I'd like to keep it safe!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Etsy Shoes

These peace sign shoes remind me of my dad! Maybe I'll have to get some for Isis.
Cream and Gold Baby Booties

Grey and Fuschia Baby Girl Booties

Both of these are from funkyshapes

Etsy Skirt


I love this skirt!!! I'm so obsessed with Etsy right now. I want to buy Isis all kinds of stuff! Even though she can't fit in or use half of it yet! haha

My wonderful husband

If you read my Sickness post, you know I've had a rough day. One of the things I knew would be really difficult about being a mom is that you can't stop just because you get sick. Especially when you're nursing. Well, it's the same for dads, too. Today I went back and forth from being achy with chills to being super sweaty and hot. I felt pretty awful all day. Getting up and walking around was really uncomfortable. Nursing hurt because of the achiness and the mastitis. Well, Lewis really stepped up and helped me a lot. He still had to work, but he just really did his best to make sure that I was comfortable and okay. A lot of the things we usually do together at night, he did alone because I felt so bad. He even called his mom and asked her to make me chicken noodle soup and bring it over! She did and she also made cupcakes!! He is really the best husband and dad. He made my whole day way better!

Future Bed for Isis??

I love this!! I would've totally freaked out if my bed was like this when I was younger! Maybe I'll figure out a way to make Isis' bed like this...

Sickness!

First of all, if you are squeamish when people talk about breastfeeding or other female issues, just don't read this post. But I am of the opinion that I'd rather share my experience so that maybe someone else would benefit from it. I definitely didn't know enough about this to know what to look for or what to do.

Last night before going to bed, I was talking to Lewis about how my left breast was hurting & felt really tender. The lactation consultant at the hospital had told me you could get a clogged milk duct and that massaging it would help get the milk out. I tried that last night and then went to bed. Isis woke up to eat 3 times last night! Some nights she does 1 time now, sometimes 2 and sometimes 3. Last night she had lots of nasal congestion issues, so she woke up a lot. The first time she woke up, I was sweating and kept asking Lewis if it was too hot in her room, but he said it felt fine to him and our Grobag Egg said that the room was cool enough. When I got in bed, I noticed I was slightly achy. The next two times I got up, I felt more achy each time. It was getting worse. Then when I woke up to get Isis in the morning, I was incredibly uncomfortable when I got out of bed. I ended up just getting her and letting her lay on my pillow for a little while because I had such bad chills and was so achy that I couldn't stand to do anything at that moment. Lewis took my temperature and our thermometer said it was 99 degrees. He said I should probably go to the doctor because I felt so bad and we were worried that maybe I was getting the flu or something.

I went to the doctor and the first thing they did was take my temperature - 101 degrees!! They immediately brought me some Tylenol and did a flu test. When the doctor came in, he went through his normal questions: are you achy, do you have a headache, any congestion, etc. But his final question was: do you have any breast tenderness? I had made sure to tell them that I was nursing Isis because I didn't want any medication that would interfere with nursing. When he asked about breast tenderness, I told him about last night. I just hadn't thought that the two things would be related. He and the nurse immediately did a breast exam and just upon lifting my gown, they both go, "oh, it's mastitis!"

My first thought was, "Yay it's not the flu!!" I was worried that I was going to be contagious and that Lewis and Isis would get sick from me. But then my next thought was, "What is mastitis??"

"Lactational mastitis is a localized, painful inflammation of the breast associated with fever and malaise that occurs in breastfeeding women (UpToDate)." It usually occurs because of breastfeeding problems, an episode of mastitis with a previous child, severe prolonged engorgement, poor milk drainage and nipple excoriation or cracking. Symptoms include a hard, red, tender, swollen area of one breast, fever, aches, chills, malaise (general discomfort or uneasiness), and flu-like symptoms.

I had heard of mastitis, but I didn't know exactly what it was. Since I've never had it or breastfed a baby before, I didn't put together my breast tenderness with my fever. Now I know! If you are breastfeeding, be aware of any tenderness and definitely make sure to see the doctor if you also have a fever at the same time. They said it was really good that I came in when I did because it can get bad quickly.

My treatment includes antibiotics, Tylenol for fever reduction, lots of fluids, a heating pad, continued nursing and I have to stop using this nipple shield that I had been using because she had trouble latching on. I think the nipple shield was my problem for several reasons. For one, there wasn't full stimulation of the nipple because of the shield, and then also in the middle of the night I would rinse it off and then put it next to my bed before I would go in and nurse her the next time she got up. Bacteria could've gotten on the nipple shield and gotten in my nipple when she was eating. All the way around, it's really not fun. I am still really achy and I keep getting chills. I'm taking Tylenol regularly. And tomorrow at Isis' 2 month doctor visit, my nurse from my doctor - in the same building - is going to check and make sure everything looks okay.

So there you go! Watch out for mastitis! Not fun!! It definitely feels like the flu!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Etsy Inspirations...

Just so you know, I get my Etsy inspirations from these 2 blogs right now...

Cute Gifts!

I think these would make really cute baby shower gifts!! They wrap the clothes up into little cupcakes or lollipops! That's cute!!

Baby Sweet Treats


Tutus!!!

I really want to buy Isis a tutu!! Do not be surprised if one day you run into me & Isis somewhere normal like the mall or a restaurant or something and I have her dressed in something like this! You're only a little girl for so long & I think it should be fun!!

Etsy Stuff for Isis!

I love these cute hats from Heartsmiles! You can get them in any size, so I could get one that fits Isis now!!

Vintage inspired cream newsboy hat, big flower with lace and pearl center


I also love all these cute shoes from ivoryandmoss! They have girls shoes & boy shoes! And you can pick the colors for several of them!


Monday, March 1, 2010

Dear Isis,

Sometimes I am so overwhelmed by the idea of being your mother. Such a privilege & such a responsibility. So many ways to make mistakes. I think for both our sakes, I'll go ahead and admit that there will be so many times I will fall short. So many days I don't get this right. But I promise to never stop trying. We will figure this life out together.

Sometimes these middle-of-the-night feedings are the sweetest moments for me. It's like we are the only ones awake in the whole world & I get to just share a few stolen moments with you. It was just me & you for nine months, so I treasure these moments at night. I do look forward to you getting older and able to sleep through the night, but for now I am content with our quiet feedings by night light.

I also hold so dear those times when your fussiness is only eased by me or your dad holding you & whispering to you. I hope my arms, voice & face always provide the comfort they clearly provide for you now. I know that life will try to steal those small comforts from us, but I will pray that one day when you are hurt or lonely or heartbroken or sad - as you surely will be - that I will somehow again provide some comfort and protection from this world that can often make us feel so lost.

I pray that my words and actions will always lift you up and point you towards our Creator, who so perfectly formed you inside me as a living representation of the love your dad & I have shared. Our journey together is now magnified by our journey with you.

You are so loved. We are so blessed.
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