Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Do we or don't we?

To find out the sex or not to find out, that is the question!

I have experienced both ways so I thought I’d share my feelings on both!

With our first child we did not find out the sex of the baby. My husband (Ryan) did not have an opinion either way. He was perfectly fine with us being surprised, and he was perfectly fine with us finding out. He left it up to me.

I had always known (or thought) that when we had children I wanted to be surprised. My oldest sister, Julie, was surprised with all 3 of hers and it never once bothered her not knowing during the 9 months. My other sister, Karen, who has four girls did not find out with their oldest, but did with the other 3. With both of their first births (my nieces) I remember how exciting it was being in the waiting room and not knowing. There were other families who were waiting  in the same room for their own arrival and knew the sex, and sure they were excited when the father came out to announce the baby had arrived, but they weren’t surprised. I specifically remember how emotional it was for my brother in-laws to come out to where we were sitting and saying “It’s a GIRL!” I remember jumping up and screaming along with my sister, Heather, and jumping up and down like we were 5. Todd and Jason (brother in-laws) both had tears in their eyes and were already beaming fathers. Heather and I immediately got on our cell phones and started calling family members, shouting, “It’s a GIRL!!” before the caller could even say “hello!” These are priceless memories! Sure, we were excited at all the other niece/nephews births, but the surprise element was missing.

So after talking, Ryan and I decided that we would not find out. I was excited that Ryan would have that moment for himself…to be the one to tell the family what the newest member was. I figured it was only fair, as I was getting to experience everything else about the pregnancy. I’m not going to lie. It wasn’t easy at the beginning. As the 20 week ultrasound started getting closer and the thought of knowing if we were going to have a son or daughter became more real, I started to question if we should wait or not. I had several other friends pregnant at the same time and they were finding out, so that made things harder as well. But, we stuck to our guns and at the ultrasound did not find out. (Luckilly, I mentioned to the tech that we didn’t want to know the sex, or else she would have just said it out loud!)

The next big thing with not finding out is everyone always saying, “Oh, I couldn’t do that. I’m too much of a control freak.” Well… I hate to tell them, SO AM I! You can EASILY set up an adorable nursery without knowing the gender!  You can ask my husband how much of an organized, neat freak, control freak, person I am.  I am not to the point of OCD, but I like to keep a neat, clean, and orderly house. I love to have everything in its own place and I get excited about organizing. I am also not a procrastinator in any way. I had to have the entire nursery finished before he arrived (even though we didn’t use it until month 4). It was not hard at all to complete a gender-neutral nursery!

So was I prepared for Eli’s arrival even though I didn’t know he was a boy? Yes! I was beyond prepared! I had everything we needed, including more than enough clothes to keep his little bootie warm.

Back to the birth… so if you had asked me at any point during the pregnancy what we were having I would have told you “boy!” If I were a betting person, I would have bet a lot of money on this fact! I think it was because I wanted a girl so bad that I felt like I would get the opposite.  (And I’m glad that I did, as I love my boys!)

On May 12th, Eli finally decided to make his appearance and my water broke early that morning. All during my labor, everyone was placing bets whether it was a boy or girl. It was fun to not know and the anticipation was building by the second! Even the nurses were placing bets.  Unfortunately, after 3.5 hours of pushing and 16 hours of labor, I had to have a c-section. I had never been more exhausted in my life and at this point was just ready to get the baby out so I could rest. I had almost forgotten about finding out the sex. I was so sad that I wouldn’t get to hold the baby immediately afterwards and that I’d have a longer recovery that I couldn’t stop crying, even during the surgery. Ryan was able to announce the sex and like I said, truthfully, I was not all that surprised. I was more excited that he had arrived and was healthy. Ryan was so worried about my health (as he had peaked over the curtain and saw what was on the other side) that he didn’t know whether to go with the baby or stay with me. He said that he too, was just relieved to have a healthy baby and now wanted to make sure his wife was going to be all right, that he didn’t even think about the surprise of the sex.  He was able to take Eli out into the waiting room where our families were, but they too were exhausted from being up all night and were just excited to finally see a baby! My father-in-law was beginning to think I’d never give birth!

So, was it the biggest surprise ever? No. Was I a little disappointed? Yes. But, I think if I had been able to have a vaginal birth without any complications, the surprise would have been much more enjoyable and a fun experience! Am I still glad we waited? Yes, because for the entire 9 months of the pregnancy we were always guessing and loved knowing we had such a big surprise ahead!

With our second child, we did find out. Again, Ryan was fine either way and this time around, for some reason, I just couldn’t take waiting 9 long months. Again I was pretty darn sure it was another boy and because I wanted a girl so bad, I decided I would go ahead and find out ahead.  On the day of the ultrasound we were so excited and everyone was making their guesses. It was fun to know that at only 20 weeks we were already going to know if we had a son or daughter. I guess I thought the tech would announce it in a bigger way or even alert us that she was going to tell us, but within a few seconds she just said, “if that’s what I think it is, then looks like you’re having another boy.” Again, we were just happy to have a healthy child and were just as excited to know the sex as we were on the day of the birth.

I did have fun picking out blue things for the nursery, but again, it was just as fun to do Eli’s, not knowing.

On the day of his birth, it was just as exciting as with Eli, not knowing the sex. Nothing about the day was boring just because we knew what we were having. In fact, with this birth I was going for a v-bac, so the big question was “will I be able to do it or have to have another c-section?” I was able to have a successful v-bac and loved being able to hold Miles immediately afterwards. It was an entirely different experience.

I think either way, you will be just as surprised. Knowing the sex or not knowing the sex, you are just overjoyed to have a baby! The miracle of birth, especially your own child, cannot come close to anything else you’ve ever experienced. So, whether you know if it’s a girl or boy, it is still a breathtaking experience, one you will never forget!

What about your experience? Did you find out the sex? Were you glad you waited? Share your experience below! 

Random thoughts on nursing

After publishing my last post on my experience with breast-feeding I kept remembering things that I wanted to say. Especially for you who will be starting to breast-feed in the coming months. So here are some random thoughts:

(1) Breast-feeding is hard, especially in the first few weeks.
(2) It is time consuming. YOU are the ONLY one who can feed your baby!
(3) Your chest might get as large as your head and engorged. Buy cabbage leaves or frozen peas to help with the pain.
(4) Drink LOTS and LOTS of water!!
(5) Ask for HELP. Attend breast-feeding classes before the baby is born and find a lactation consultant that you like. Do not feel stupid calling for help!! That is what they are there for. Seriously... even though you might feel ridiculous, it is important...so call!
(7) There will be times (usually around week 4-5) that you will be completely exhausted. You are waking up several times a night to feed your baby and sometimes they might go right back to sleep, and other times they might be wide awake. Since you are the only one that can feed your baby it is tiring and hard. There will be times where you feel as though you have done nothing else during the day but feed your baby.  This is NORMAL. It gets BETTER!!
(8) Formula fed babies do not sleep through the night any sooner than breast-fed babies. That is a MYTH.
(9) Do not believe when your Mother, Mother in-law, Grandmother, Aunt, etc tells you to feed your baby cereal to get them to sleep through the night. This is also a MYTH. (believe me.. I tried it with Miles!) :-)
(10) Breast milk is the best thing for your baby. Even if you do it for just 6 weeks. It is still better than not getting any at all!
(11) It is crucial during the first weeks to establish your supply. Breast-feeding will take you back to economic classes (if you had any.) Supply and demand. The more your baby eats, the more supply of milk your body will produce. Even if your baby might sleep longer than 5 hours straight in the first 2 weeks, do not let them! You need to establish your milk supply!!! After the first 2 weeks you don't have to worry as much, but if your baby is not eating much at night, then your supply is going to get low, and that is when problems can arise.
(12) Know what mastitis is and call your doctor immediately if you think you have it!
(14) Once your baby has a good latch, do not be afraid to use a pacifier!! THEY ARE WONDERFUL! Babies are born to suck. So while you might think they are still eating, they are actually just using you as a pacifier. I promise that your baby will not stop nursing if you give them one. It is OKAY!
(15) If you are getting discouraged in the early weeks call someone who knows how it feels. A sister, friend, cousin, etc... Call someone who has successfully breast fed their child and can be your support.
(16) I live in tank tops. I wear them under everything so that when I do nurse all I have to do is lift up my  shirt and I'm not showing off my untoned stomach to everyone around me. Buy the ones with built in bras because you'll need the support. Buy LOTS. I sleep in them as well.
(17) Avoid tight shirts or bras, especially underwire bras. Both of these can lead to mastitis. Believe me... you do not want mastitis!
(18) Find a good nursing bra! As I just mentioned, when I am home I will just wear a tank, but when I leave the house I will put on a nursing bra. I went to our local breast feeding store and tried tons on until I found one I loved. Most cities have a store dedicated just to nursing. I know both Louisville and Lexington have one. It is a GREAT resource!!
(20) Buy or rent a breast pump!!! You will USE it! A LOT!!
(21) It seems to be around the 6 week mark that things seem to get easier. You become more comfortable and feel a little more like you know what you're doing, and the baby knows what he/she is doing as well.  You develop a groove and everything seems to get easier.
(22) There will be times when you want to give up. Did I mention this? HANG IN THERE!! I promise you it gets easier!!! Just keep telling yourself that you are doing all of this hard work for your baby. You are providing natures best !
(23) Buy yourself a nursing cover. At first I just used a blanket to cover up when not at home, but Miles didn't really like it so I ended up buying a cover and LOVE it. I found one on sale on-line. This is where I found mine: http://www.bebeaulait.com/
(24) Breast-feeding is an incredible way to bond with your baby. Your baby will know you not only by your voice, face, and touch, but also by your smell. As soon as you are skin to skin, your baby knows exactly what is going to take place. They know they are with their mom.
(25) Breast-feeding does become enjoyable. Once you get through those first few weeks, you will begin to enjoy this time with your baby! Once he gets a few weeks older he/she will become more efficient and the sessions will not last nearly as long. It will be a time you cherish!
(26) Believe in yourself. Remember that you are not alone. Do not be afraid to ask for help so that you and your baby can get it down correctly!
(27) Try to relax! If you are nervous or stressed your baby senses that! In order for them to feel calm and relaxed, you need to be as well! If you're feeling stressed before a feeding, give the baby to your husband and do something for yourself for a few minutes and then try again when you feel more like yourself.
(28) Don't be so hard on yourself! NOBODY is perfect!! It is completely normal to feel stressed or like you just aren't good at the whole nursing thing. Give yourself a break!! Take a deep breath, you are doing great!

A great website for nursing moms:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Labor Coach

After my experience with Eli, I started to think how nice it would have been to have someone in the room that was really on my side, supporting my wishes and helping me get through things. Don't get me wrong, my husband was wonderful and supported me 100%, but at times he didn't understand what I was going through. I think it makes a difference if you have someone who has actually been through the experience themselves. Ryan is my best friend and did anything I asked during the labor and delivery of both my boys. He never sat down the whole time.  He held my hand, talked to me through the long hours and encouraged me when I just wanted to give up. Through the recovery and even when I went through the colon issues after Eli, he was the one taking care of me. I never once had to ask him twice to do something for me. He is the type of man who will sacrifice everything for someone else, even if he just met you.

When Miles was born, Ryan wasn't feeling at his best. He was getting a sinus infection and you could tell by looking at him that he didn't feel good. His sister, Allison, who is also an amazing care giver, was at the hospital as well. She works at a hospital now and has always had an interest in nursing since I've known her (which has been since I was 5). She also has an interest in midwifery, which was a huge benefit for me!

My contractions with Miles were very intense. I had an epidural, but didn't want too high of a dosage as I was afraid I would be too numb to push. They were coming so fast and hard that I was starting to get upset. Ryan was holding my hand and telling me to breathe, but Allison grabbed my hand and started to breathe along with me, and just kept talking to me. She was AMAZING! I can't remember at this point everything she was saying to me, but I do remember at one point, feeling so focused that it almost felt like an out-of-body experience. For the remainder of the day, she was on one side of me and Ryan was on the other. Allie counted for me, breathed with me, talked to me, in a way that Ryan wasn't able to. I'm pretty sure I couldn't have gotten through Miles' birth without her by my side.

If you are lucky enough to have short births, then I could see where you might not need a doula or extra support person. If I had been able to push the boys out in just a few pushes, instead of 3 hours later, then I don't think I would have lost focus. But, if you have a longer labor and delivery, having that trained individual by your side makes all the difference in the world.

So, even if your husband is a sweetheart like mine, I would still recommend having an additional support by your side. It can make all the difference!

When I give birth to child #3, you better believe that Allie will be right by my side again!

2nd experience with breast-feeding

As soon as I found out we were pregnant with Miles, I knew I was going to try breast-feeding again. I have always been one to do something over and over until I’m successful. My dad’s motto of “never give up” has been engraved in my brain since I could speak.

Miles birth experience much more enjoyable than Eli’s. I was still tired afterwards, but nothing like I was with Eli, and I felt 100x better! In fact, I was up out of my bed walking around not soon after I gave birth. This was a big factor I think in starting breast-feeding off on the right foot!

Miles took right to nursing and ate like a champ! One of the things I love about the hospital I gave birth at is that they have a lactation department on the floor so consultants come around and check on you quite often. The morning after I had Miles I was nursing and one of the consultants stopped by for a visit. She helped me with my latch and told me something I never knew, which was that it should never hurt when the baby is nursing. If you feel any pain whatsoever, then the baby is not latched on correctly. OH.MY.WORD!! This made total sense and she showed me how to unlatch the baby gently and re-latch so that it was comfortable. At that moment I knew that if someone had told me that with Eli, we would have had a successful experience. Oh well… you live and learn!

Those key words prevented me from having any cracking or bleeding, and I also made sure to use A LOT of Lansonah. (if you don’t have any and plan to nurse, buy some NOW!)

Nursing was still hard! This time it was challenging because I had a 19 month old at home who wanted my attention and didn’t understand why I always had this baby attached to my chest! He had to learn to entertain himself or we would read books together while I fed Miles. I’m not going to lie… he also watched t.v. some of the times (thank you Sesame Street!)

Everything was going great. Miles was gaining weight rapidly like his brother. Milk supply is not ever a problem for me. I know it’s not something to complain about, but for some reason, I have more milk than one baby would ever need. I should feel blessed and most of the times I do. Also, apparently my milk is pure butter cream as my babies gain weight like no other! When Miles was 2 weeks, he was already up to 10 lbs 6oz. (weighted 8 lbs 9 oz at birth).

We still had our issues. Miles started to spit up BIG time around 2 weeks. A few times he would projectile vomit and this scared the heck out of me. I had to kind of stop and think about what was different and realized that he was over eating. He has been an extremely efficient nurser since day 1. He would eat exactly 8 minutes on one side and I thought this was too short for him to be full. I would then feed him on the other side and this is when he would projectile.  When I stopped nursing him on both sides, he stopped with the projectile spit up. I asked his pediatrician if he was getting enough to eat in 8 minutes, and she just laughed, as obviously from his weight gain, he was getting plenty!

Around 3 weeks is when all heck broke loose. My sweet and calm baby turned into a monster. After a feeding he would just scream for 30-45 minutes. His body would go so stiff that I literally could not bend him. This went on for a week or so before I went in to the doctor thinking it was acid reflux. The doctor gave me some medicine and after a week it still wasn’t making any difference. I was about to lose my insanity. I started to even ask myself “what did I do? We had it so easy with 1!” I was exhausted and about to lose my mind from the screaming. I remember one morning when I was trying to calm him down after a feeding and he just wouldn’t stop screaming. Eli was begging for my attention as well and I just started to cry. At that moment my mom walked in to the house and rescued us. She took the baby and gave me some peace. I needed that! Sometimes you just need to ask for help, even though you think you can handle it all yourself.

After another week or so, I started to do some research online. I started to read how some babies have a sensitivity to dairy. I started to look at my diet and realized I consume A LOT of dairy on a daily basis, mainly milk. I’ve always been a huge drinker of milk and when I was pregnant with Miles I started adding Nestle Quick to it to cure my chocolate craving. I was still doing this even after he was born. I decided to give it a try, as I was willing to do anything that would save my insanity!

The same day I cut out dairy was the same day my sweet baby came back to me. I couldn’t believe it. For the last 3 weeks I had been dealing with a screaming baby whose tummy was obviously hurting and all I had to do was stop eat dairy. I was so mad that I didn’t get on the computer sooner as I lost 3 weeks in his little life. Since my babies grow so fast, I have to cherish those first few weeks while they actually seem like a newborn. I was crushed inside that I didn’t get to snuggle as much as I’d like and now he was 7/8 weeks old already.

During those weeks of frustration, I really wanted to just give up breast-feeding. I knew that Eli did fine with formula and frankly I found bottle-feeding to be pretty darn easy. Eli never liked his bottles warmed up. We just used purified water at room temperature, which suited him just fine. So it was as simple as dumping the formula in the bottle and giving it a shake. I could leave him with anyone and not have to worry about returning in 2 hours. Even when we did figure out the problem with dairy, I still had times where I thought I would just switch to formula. In fact, I remember at his 2 month check-up getting some samples from the pediatrician. I tried giving him a bottle (but still pumping just in case) and he seemed to do great, but the problem was it took him FOREVER! I thought that giving him a bottle would allow me to spend more time with Eli, who I felt like was being ignored by all the nursing going on. I was also so tired of having to lift my shirt up every 3 hours and only being able to wear certain shirts, etc. I know that sounds selfish, but it was true. I wanted to be able to wear a normal bra and not have to wonder how I was going to feed discretely if we went out as I've always been a little more on the modest side. 

The next day I tried to formula feed him again for one feeding, but after 20 minutes, and him still eating, I realized that it wasn’t saving me anytime at all. It was only taking me longer. How could I stop breast-feeding when it only took him 8 minutes total to eat? I threw away the formula and told myself that I could do it!

Miles is now almost 6 months and nursing is going great. It doesn’t take any time at all and I always have it with me! I don’t have to worry about packing a bottle for when we go out and I love the bond that we have created. When he does get upset, his mommy is the only one who can settle him down, and I have to admit that it warms my heart. I love to feel him breathing against my skin and hold his little fingers in mine. I love how he will look up and just smile away, while the milk pours out of his mouth.

I’m so happy I didn’t give up this time and kept on trying, even though at times, it was still very hard! 

Friday, May 20, 2011


Breast-feeding is one of the toughest things I have ever done. Let me start off by saying I am not one of those women who is physco about breast-feeding. You know the type…the ones who give another mom dirty looks if she thinks you’re feeding your baby formula. The one who goes around with the attitude “breast is best” and if you aren’t nursing then you are hurting your baby. Or the one who thinks her child is going to be smarter and healthier simply because she chose to nurse and you didn’t.

 I know that breast milk is the best for a baby, but I also know that a baby can be fed formula and be just as healthy! (My mom formula fed all 7 of her children and we turned out pretty darn well, if I do say so myself! My husband was also formula fed and he has his PhD, so there!)

I have had two very different experiences with nursing so I wanted to share both.

Today I will share my 1st first experience. (I can’t figure out how to make this any shorter!)

Being a new mom, I knew that breast-feeding was a lot of work and that it was time consuming. I knew terms such as engorgement and mastitis, but I had no idea how truly HARD it was going to be in the beginning stages. Nobody tells you that your nipples might bleed, become cracked, leak milk at anytime, and can become as big as your head. Once you finally finish feeding your newborn, you might have an hour before you have to start all over again. It’s exhausting, especially when you aren’t getting a lot of sleep at night!

My sister nursed all four of her girls and my sister in-laws nursed their children as well, so it wasn’t a completely foreign concept to me. I knew that mother’s milk was the best thing for my baby and of course I wanted to do what was best. The first night in the hospital was a long one. I was so nauseated from all the drugs given for my c-section that I could not keep my eyes open. When I did open my eyes, the room was spinning so fast that I couldn’t keep up. On top of that, I had been awake for almost 24 hours straight and was beyond exhausted, both mentally and physically. That first night after I gave birth all I wanted to do was sleep, but I had a baby to feed. Because I was so tired I asked the nurse to keep Eli in the nursery and just bring him in when he needed to eat. I remember being so out of it when she brought him to me that Ryan had to hold Eli, and the nurse was holding my breast in order to feed Eli. I remember just wanting to sleep for 8 hours straight, but every 3 hours (from the time we started) I had to feed this new life.

Things started off very well for us. Eli weighed more when we left the hospital than when he was born. (which is extremely rare) The lactation consultants who work at the hospital kept telling me I looked liked I had done this before. I wasn’t nervous and seemed to know exactly what I was doing. We came home and things continued to go well until week 2.

One day, all of a sudden, Eli started to scream bloody murder every time I put him up to eat. I would try again a few minutes later, but he would do the same thing. I couldn’t figure it out and kept calling the lactation department, but only to get an answering service. I called my sister for advice, but it was hard for her to tell me over the phone. I had to pump so that he could eat and he took the bottle without any problem. I tried feeding him the next day and the same thing happened. This continued for a week until I finally broke down and just about lost it. I was so tired of pumping all day long. I felt like a cow. The nights were the hardest because I had no idea when he would wake up so I couldn’t have the milk ready. I remember Eli waking up to eat and me running into the bathroom to start pumping, while Eli was in his cradle sobbing, ready and waiting for his next meal. I remember just wanting to quit, but I told myself that I needed to go on, as it was best for Eli. I finally got a hold of the lactation specialist at the hospital, and was so upset that I broke down in the middle of the conversation and couldn’t even speak. (Thankfully she was used to working with hormonal women!) She had me come into the hospital to see what the problem was. After watching me try to nurse, she didn’t have an answer either. I had more than enough milk and had the correct position and latch down. She suggested a nipple shield and it seemed to work. He latched on and ate some. I remember on the drive home I was so excited! I was dreaming of throwing my pump out the window and never having to use it again.

That night after several more feedings I began to despise the shield. It would make this huge mess at every feeding, going all over Eli and myself. Sometimes it worked great and other times he wanted no part of it.  I went back to pumping. Around week 5, I woke up one morning feeling kind of achy and just not all that great. My breasts were hot to touch and I feared that it was mastitis. I called my doctor and he agreed that it sounded like that was it and called me in an antibiotic. A few hours later I was dripping in sweat, and felt as if I had been run over by a truck. I was still pumping which was excruciating, but it had to be done. Thankfully once I started the antibiotic, the flu-like symptoms disappeared the next day and I continued on. It was about the next week that I came to my breaking point.  I was not enjoying myself at all. I hated pumping so much! I was stressed and Eli could feel it. I wanted to feel like a normal person again.  I was tired of my breasts always in so much pain and my hormones were still raging.

Ryan was with me 100%. He just wanted me to be happy and did not have any problem with me switching to formula. Even though Eli was gaining weight like a champ, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I came to peace with the decision and started to wean him. For the next several weeks I felt so guilty about feeding formula to Eli and for giving up. I am not a quitter and just could not stop thinking that maybe I made the wrong choice.  Eli was taking the bottle and formula with no problems and was happy as can be. I became more relaxed and at peace with my decision.

When Eli was around 9 weeks, I started getting sharp abdominal pains. I thought that I was starting my period again so I didn’t think much about it. After a few days though I started losing a lot of blood when I would go to the bathroom and knew there was something wrong. I went to the doctor and she diagnosed me with having c-diff from the antibiotic I took for mastitis.  The next night though, the pain was so intense, I could no longer take it and knew there was something more serious going on. I went to the hospital that morning and was admitted for colitis for 4 days. We left Eli with my mom. Those 4 days were probably the hardest 4 days of my life. I was in excruciating pain and my hormones were still a mess. I missed my new baby so much and didn’t understand why this was happening to me. I was on a liquid diet the entire time I was there and had a colonoscopy on the last day to try to find the problem. They ruled out c-diff and thought it was either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. I was put in isolation while I was there in case it was c-diff so there was no way Eli could be brought to the hospital. I knew at this point that switching to formula was the right choice and that God had it all under control! I couldn’t imagine having to pump while I was in so much pain and how we would have gotten the milk to my mom to feed Eli. (Eli was in Louisville and we were in Lexington)

Eli is now 2 and the happiest kid around! (well…most days…he has his moments!) He has never had an ear infection and only really sick once. He knows how to count to 10, most of his ABC’s, his shapes, colors, animals, etc. He was not harmed in any way by being fed formula and is just as smart as any breast fed baby! 

Some Baby Wise Questions

Yippee! I had some great questions from a blog reader and I am more than happy to answer!!

For people who have not read Baby Wise, there is a misconception that the book says some where not to feed your baby except when she/he is due. But, in the book, it states OVER and OVER if your baby is hungry, then feed him or her! There is a difference between a hungry baby and a baby who maybe is just using his mom/bottle as a pacifier to fall asleep.

Here are the questions I was asked: (my answers are in red)

1) How long do you let a baby cry-it-out? Is there are period where it is too long?
Great question! Every baby is going to be different. The book says up to 45 minutes, but I've personally never had to do it that long. If you start young, babies learn very quickly. With Miles, I would time when I put him down to when he would stop crying and it was always 8 minutes exactly! Those 8 minutes I would do other things around the house so I didn't have to listen to him cry. It is never easy, but I knew he wasn't hungry, didn't have a dirty diaper, and was just furious that I put him down out of my cozy arms! The longest I ever let him cry it out was 20 minutes. Like I said, I didn't follow the book to a T. As a mom, you will be able to distinguish between the cries. Even in the book it says to go and pick your child up if you think there is something wrong. Maybe there is a burp or has some gas. It's up to the parent to make that decision, but there were times when I would go in and rub his back or pick him up and walk him around the room for a few minutes. After a few weeks, he stopped crying at all when I laid him down to sleep and is out within a few minutes. I know there is a big debate on CIO and some mom's feel it is cruel. To each their own. I never felt like it was cruel as I knew he was perfectly fine...just spoiled and wanted to be held! 

Some people co-sleep and if that is what works for your family then that is great! Ryan and I never wanted to bring our children to bed because we feel as though they should be sleeping in their own bed. Plus, we knew it would be hard to break once they got used to it. I can't imagine having my kids in bed with me, but I know there are parents who can't imagine not having them in bed. I like my bed to myself! (well...and Ryan of course!) 

Obviously you have to do what works for your family. Not every baby is a "text-book" case. As the parent, you are the ONLY one, who knows exactly what your child needs! Do what feels right! You will know! 

 2) What do you do when your baby is sick and wakes in the night? How does one not break the trained sleep habit, while tending to the baby's needs?
If you have a sick baby then of course you do whatever it takes to soothe them. There is nothing in the book that says ignore a sick child. If they wake in the night then I go in to see what the problem is. If they need to be rocked then I rock them. If they need to be walked around the room until they fall back to sleep, then that is what I do. 

You will not ruin all of your hard work by tending to those needs when they are sick. Your baby will return to his normal routine once he is back to feeling himself. There have been times when Eli has been very sick and wakes in the middle of the night and I have just brought him to bed with us. The next night we'd just put him in his bed and he'd sleep just like he always had. 

 3) What do you do about growth spurts? Is there ever a point when the baby genuinely needs nourishment during the night? 
I have never dealt with growth spurts. My boys have never acted more hungry than normal. Miles nurses every 3-3.5 hours and is completely satisfied until his next feeding. If he were to wake up hungry, truly hungry, then I would for sure feed him, just like the book recommends. When he was a little older, but still waking up several times, I would first give him my finger or a paci to see if he was really hungry or just waking up. If he attacked it like a piece of meat, then I knew he was really hungry and I would feed him. If he didn't act interested in the paci at all, then I knew he was just waking up out of habit. But, as the book says over and over, if your baby needs nourishment, (which you will know) then by all means feed him. It doesn't matter how long it has been since the last feeding. Just feed him! 

4)When do you cuddle? 
I cuddle whenever they aren't sleeping! Play time might consist of just sitting in my arms with me reading a book or playing with a toy. I sing to him, talk to him, read to him. When he is awake, he gets complete interaction with me, and more kisses and hugs than I am sure he wants! :-) 

Both Eli and Miles have a smile on their face all day long! They laugh and giggle, and know they are loved, as we are constantly loving on them! 

Teaching your baby to sleep

Do you enjoy sleeping 8+ hours every night? 

Do you enjoy waking up feeling rested?

Wouldn't it be nice to wake up to a happy and rested baby?

If you answered yes to these questions, then you need to buy the book Baby Wise TODAY! I am not one who turns to books for advice. In fact, this was the first and only "advice" type book I've ever owned. I remember being at a bible study while pregnant and doting on a 4 month old little boy. I asked his mom how he was doing at night, and she said to me "he usually sleeps 10-12 hours straight!" WHAT??

She then went on to tell me I need to buy the book Baby Wise. I was a bit skeptical on how a book can make my baby sleep so well, but it sounded very good to me, so I went for it. I think I paid about $8 for it on amazon. Here is the link:
It was the BEST $8 I've ever spent!! 

People always say to me "you're so lucky" when they hear how well both of my children sleep. I always just laugh it off, but truthfully, it's not luck people. It's HARD WORK! I trained both of my boys to be excellent sleepers. It was the best thing I did! 

Now, with every book, you have to take some things with a grain of salt. I did not follow the book word by word. However, I did use the basic principle and listened to its great advice. 

The books main idea is this: eat, play, sleep. Remember that!! EAT, PLAY, SLEEP!! 

The baby should always follow that pattern. When Miles wakes up he immediately eats. Then he has play time, and then he will sleep right up to his next feeding. This is important because if I fed him when he was sleepy, he would not get a full feeding, therefore only "snacking" and he would wake up during the night due to being hungry. Your baby needs to get all of his calories during the daytime, so he won't bother you at night. 

With Eli, he was the PERFECT baby! He has been a sleeper since day 1 and truthfully, required very little training. Other than the eat, play, sleep... he pretty much put himself on a schedule. 

Miles, on the other hand, was a different story. He had to be trained. It was hard work...exhausting, but I did it and now he is an excellent sleeper just like his brother! 

I will post later on how important sleep training is and setting a schedule, but just wanted to post a short summary on this book so that if you are expecting you can buy this book now before the baby arrives! 

I PROMISE you will thank me later!! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Birth Classes and Hospital Tour

Most hospitals offer classes to assist parents before the baby arrives. These can be on breast feeding, child birthing, CPR, etc. Ryan and I didn't attend any classes as I had been around babies all my life and didn't feel as if they were necessary. I figured all I needed to know for the actual birth, was how to breathe, and I had that down pat.

Looking back now, I do wish I would have taken a class on breast feeding. I knew it was going to be hard, but I had no idea everything that can go wrong and where to turn for help. Otherwise, I felt prepared for the birth and afterwards. (I'll do another post soon on what I've learned with breast feeding and my experience with both)

If you do not have much experience with babies or are feeling anxious about the birth, then I would definitely take a class! Even if it is information you already know, it can't hurt!

We did however take a tour of the hospital, which I was so glad we did and HIGHLY recommend to other couples getting ready to have a baby. If you're not sure the hospital offers a tour, check out their website or simply call the labor/delivery unit. It was really nice to be able to see where everything would take place. I was able to find out where triage was and where we would go first when arriving on the big day. After triage we were shown an actual delivery room and the nice lady showed us everything from how the bed came apart to where the baby would go immediately after he was born. I felt like there would be enough "unknowns" on the actual day, so being able to become familiar with the hospital was one thing I did not have to worry about. I remember her even walking pass the O.R. and saying "and here is where you will go if you have a c-section." I also remember clearly looking at Ryan and saying "we don't have to worry about that!" haha. How wrong was I!

She was able to answer any questions I had such as: how many people could be in the delivery room, was there an age restriction on visitors, would I get a private room, did they allow video cameras in the delivery room, etc.

So, if you are going to deliver your sweet bundle of joy at a hospital, make sure you take a tour first! That way when you go into labor you won't have to spend 30 minutes trying to figure out which direction you go once you're off the elevators.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What the heck do we register for??

If you’re like every new parent then the idea of registering for baby items can be overwhelming. Then you enter into the baby Mecca such as Babys R’ Us or BuyBuy Baby, and you become even more stressed out. Who knew there could be so many different car seats, strollers, cribs, etc? A new parent has to learn an entirely new language from boppy to bumbo to bjorn and so on. But the most important thing to remember is that you can survive without the latest gadgets. All a baby truly needs is food, sleep, and most importantly love! So, don’t let the process of registering stress you out! You will only get to register once so enjoy it! Ask someone who has experience to go with you for help and take your time. You can always add or take off items later!

Some important things to remember when registering:

  • I think it is a good idea to go to the store you are going to register at a few weeks before to take the shock off. (especially if you’ve never stepped foot in one before!)  Walk around and take your time looking at everything you might need. As I said, it is an overwhelming process!  For first time parents, registering can be too much…a brain overload! Going in beforehand will at least get you comfortable with the store and will allow you to process all of the possibilities.
  • While you are browsing, make note of items you like so that you can research them online before making the final selection. There are so many websites that do reviews and even stores such as Babys R Us have parents reviews, which I found to be the most helpful!  The cutest bath tub or jungle gym just might not be the best quality. Who knows better than other parents? 
  • Do your research, especially on car seats! Don’t pick the cheapest one to save money and don’t pick the most expensive, thinking it must be the best. Car seats will save your child’s life if in an accident so you want the BEST!
  • Unless you know 100% that this is going to be your only child, do not register for gender specific items. Especially for your large items such as car seat, stroller, pack n’ play, high chair, etc. The frilly, pink travel system might be the cutest thing you’ve ever seen for your soon to be princess, but your prince a few years later might think otherwise. These items are expensive and unless you have a lot of money and plan on buying them all over again, stick to gender neutral.
  • Make sure you have items on your list that are reasonably priced. Not everyone can afford a $50+ gift so put items that are $25 and under as well.
  • Don’t have the mindset that “this is too expensive and we’ll never get it.” If you have your heart set on a travel system, go ahead and register for it. A lot of times your work friends or mothers will go in together and purchase these larger items and if they don’t, you can always use gift cards you receive to purchase yourself.
  • Avoid adding a lot of clothes to your registry. Once the baby arrives you will receive an ABUNDANCE of clothes from friends and family.  Babies grow SO FAST that he or she won’t even be able to wear most of the outfits they have been given, especially if you have bigger babies. Both of my boys were good size babies and great eaters, so they outgrew the 0-3 months in no time!

I’ve had several friends lately ask what are my favorite baby items, so I thought I’d share:

(1) Travel System-Chicco Cortina 
This is the one I have used for both my boys and I LOVE it. It is rated #1 for safety and is very well made!  We registered for the one with the 22 lb weight limit. There is also one that goes up to 30 lbs, but truthfully, I can’t imagine carrying a baby around in the seat when he/she is 30 lbs! It gets heavy fast! Miles is 16 pounds right now and I already have a hard time lifting the seat up into the car! I suggest saving the extra money!  

(2)Video Monitor System
This is my most FAVORITE and used gift we received! Actually, we didn’t receive this gift, but I ended up using my gift cards we received at showers to purchase it. It has been a LIFE saver!  I cannot tell you how many trips it has saved me from going into the room and checking to see what was going on. Once you open their door and they see your face then you’re in trouble! If Eli or Miles are crying all I have to do is turn on the monitor and see what’s going on. Are they just transitioning into REM sleep? Have they flipped over?  Bad dream? Even if you have a 1 story house I still suggest a video monitor. It will give you peace of mind in those early days when you haven’t heard a peep and want to make sure they’re still alive! J Even now, with Eli being 2, we still use the monitor. Eli is quiet when he wakes up, so in the morning I can just turn on the monitor, and see if he is awake or still sleeping. When he cries out at night, I can see if he is standing up and fully awake, or still lying down and maybe is just dreaming.

This is the one we bought and I have not had any problems with it whatsoever. They have a newer one out since I’ve bought this, that has an even smaller handheld unit. (looks like a cell phone)

(3)Baby Carrier
We registered and received a Baby Bjorn and loved carrying Eli around in that, but any will do.. just make sure it has good back support. I know a lot of people buy the Ergo brand (sold at outdoor shops and online). It was nice when he was little to not have to take the stroller out or if I was cooking dinner or doing stuff around the house and he was fussy, I could put that on and he’d be as happy as can be, while you are still able to get things around the house finished.  With Miles, I purchased the Moby wrap due to rave reviews, but quite frankly, I found it frustrating and time consuming to put on. I actually had to skype with a friend to figure it out, but I know most people just LOVE theirs. I will say that it was much easier on the back than the baby bjorn we had with Eli.

(4) Baby Einstein Exersaucer
I can’t tell you how much time Eli spent in this. From the time he could hold his head up until he started crawling, he LOVED this. I loved this specific one too.  It is a must have!

(5)A baby swing (not a must have)
Eli loved his and Miles did not! I used it all the time with Eli as he would sleep in it and loved the swaying motion. Miles, had some tummy issues so sitting in the swing did not feel good on his stomach. This is the swing we have and never had any issues. Eli was in it all the time and we never had to change the batteries. 

(6) Pack N’ Play
We have an upstairs so I keep the pack n’play on the 1st floor so I don’t have to run up to their room every time I need to put the baby down or change his diaper. Also, after they grew out of the cradle that my dad made, I kept it by our bed. Eli slept in our room until he started sleeping through the night. Miles, on the other hand, was in his crib in his own room at 2 weeks. (the difference between first and second child)

(7) Bobby Pillow – a MUST HAVE for nursing!!

(8) Diaper Genie… good to take the smell out of the room, but again, not a must have! 

(9) Stool for the tub
I started using this once Eli started taking baths in the actual tub and use it all the time. It is so nice to have a place to sit and also to kneel on when washing his hair. 

(10) A good high chair!! Again, this was something I purchased myself and did not use until Eli was 6 months old or so. I love the one we got. It is a Peg Perego and I found it online very CHEAP!! Albeebaby.com has great deals on baby items and usually has free shipping. 

(11) Booster Seat
Okay.. this item we used ALL THE TIME!! I almost forgot to put it on here! This I just left in the car and would take to restaurants with us. I can’t begin to tell you how many people would come over and ask where we bought it at, because it kept Eli entertained and was so easy to just attach to a chair or put in the booth with us.

There are of course other items to add to your registry, these were just the top on ours. 

For any mom's who read this... what were some of your must-haves?