Thursday, April 19, 2012

Six Weeks ... Baby Stuff

Arie turned six weeks old on Monday and I thought I would take some time to do a little review of all of the things that I couldn't live without in the past six weeks. 

Moby Wrap. 
This thing is amazing.  Whether he is sleeping or awake, he just wants to be held tight and this does the trick.  As well as being hands free holding that includes a blanket to keep him warm, I can get stuff
done!  I discovered yesterday that Arie even enjoys vacuuming with me. 

This is Arie, 3 days old on a shopping trip to Target.  

 Arie - 9 days old sleeping in the Moby while I clean the house.

About one month old, napping, I had already sat down and loosened the wrap as he was starting to wake up.

And today I vacuumed the house and did diaper laundry with him in the wrap and he's been sleeping for about an hour.  This wrap has been my absolute favorite baby item so far. 

Other than the Moby wrap, there really have been zero other must have's.  I really dislike the Boppy, it only works for me in a chair that has no arm rests or really low ones.  I don't have a fabulous rocker or glider but I do hope to get one as soon as we save up for it. 

I don't even know what other things moms like... I guess things like bottle and wipe warmers are high up on the list, but I don't use bottles at all and Arie gets his butt washed off with room temperature water from a Peri Bottle.  

There have been no special blankets or gadgets that have stuck out to Jack and I at all.  Babies don't require much and lugging him around without all the extra bells and whistles seems to work for us.  

Friday, April 13, 2012

Breastfeeding FAQ and Guest Post

My friend Megan, who is pregnant with her miracle baby, asked me to write a post about my experience with breastfeeding.  With so many negative experiences being blogged about in the last few weeks, (All Bower Power... Katie if you read this, I hope your second child brings a MUCH better breastfeeding experience) and (The Art of Making a Baby) Megan asked me to write about my experience because it has been incredibly positive.  Check out Megan's blog and the Guest Posts here and here.
  • Why did you want to breastfeed?    
Originally, my plan to breastfeed was because we started trying the month I turned 22 years old and we wanted to save money.  Breastfeeding is relatively free compared to formula feeding and my husband and I had planned for me to stay at home with the children and saving money where ever we could would be helpful to make that happen as stress free as possible. 

It wasn't until I started frequenting online forums that I came across the notion that breastfeeding doesn't work for everybody. I had absolutely no knowledge of the specifics of how it worked, except a basic understanding that I had nipples and breasts for a purpose.  I started to see that there were a lot of moms of all ages that had personal issues about breastfeeding, whether they were skeeved out by it or they felt guilty that they didn't want to do it or that they were absolutely determined and then had bumps in the road that they didn't foresee or they literally couldn't physically do it.  I guess that is true with any online community, since there is a concentrated amount of women in one place, you begin to think that issues are more common than they really are or you are suddenly exposed to issues that are common that you had not previously been exposed to.

After 6 months of trying to conceive, I began to have bleeding problems and we knew that we were encountering fertility issues. All thoughts of breastfeeding really went on the back burner.  While most people during their trying to get pregnant journeys research all of the parenting aspects that they think they will pursue, parenting in general became way too painful of a topic for me.

After the one year mark of trying to conceive and officially crossing over into the Infertility side, I met one of my cousin's girlfriend's friend's wife.  (Did you follow that?)  We were decorating Christmas cookies and this girl had brought over her brand new baby and she was breastfeeding him at the table while we were decorating cookies and she had him in a sling.  She was the most peaceful and content looking mom I had ever seen or experienced and I was intrigued.  I began to spend more time with Miranda over the next year that we lived in Wisconsin and I just watched and absorbed her nursing her son.  It was always so peaceful and her baby always seemed happy and she was always holding him in the most loving way and I had just never experienced or noticed such a thing before.  I had never seen a mom so peacefully in love with their child... it's so hard to explain what watching this relationship between Miranda and Keegan did inside my heart.   Infertility was the hardest thing I have ever gone through and watching moms with their children broke my heart, but watching the peaceful way Miranda loved on her baby boy was sort of a balm on my broken heart.  I loved being around them and even though I hardly got to hold Keegan because Miranda always held him, I loved witnessing such a beautiful thing in their nursing relationship.

The image of Keegan and Miranda stuck with me the next three years of trying to conceive.  After 2 years of trying to conceive, we began to think about infant adoption and then after 3 years, we went to a seminar.  While we discovered that it was not for us at that time, I had begun to research induced lactation with an adopted child.  I read a little bit about it and I had seen the bond that Miranda had with Keegan and I thought that breastfeeding would increase my bond with my child.

When I found out that I was pregnant, I began to research breastfeeding and child birth more.  Of course, I asked my source, Miranda, for her advice on a book to get me started and she steered me towards La Leche League's The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.  I bought the most current version on Amazon and devoured it as soon as it came in the mail.  I marked up the margins and underlined and starred so many passages.  I felt so empowered after reading that book and also found myself suddenly much more educated on natural child birth.  I also read The Nursing Mother's Companion and Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding.  I learned so much about how breastmilk was produced, how the baby's bodies were designed to eat breastmilk starting with colostrum, I learned all that I could and soaked it up like a sponge.  I had no idea until I started reading about it that there were countless health benefits for both me and the baby... I thought I was just being frugal by wanting to breastfeed... and then later, I witnessed the emotional connection.  Now I was learning about the physiological workings inside my body and inside my baby's body and how breastfeeding worked exactly and what kinds of effects that would have on my mental health and my physical health and my baby's physical and mental health.  I felt 100% determined to make it work, no matter what the cost at this point.

When I started educating myself about the miracles and wonders of breastfeeding, I educated Jack as well.  When we had learned all that we could, after reading countless online resources and as many breastfeeding articles as I could and the books, my husband and I had come to one undeniable conclusion... How could I NOT breastfeed?

  • were you exposed to breastfeeding as a child? Was it the 'norm' in your family culture?
 I was not exposed to breastfeeding as a child that I can remember.  My youngest cousin that lived close to me just turned 21, and since I'm 26, I don't have too many memories of them as babies.  When I started babysitting around 13, I babysat with my best friend and we babysat her twin brothers. (Who just turned 13 on March 29th!)  They were formula fed and I remember the bottles being made.  When I was 16, my friend had a baby and she formula fed him.  I don't necessarily know if it was the norm in my family, but I was too young to know whether or not my mom breastfed my younger brother who is 2 years younger than me (she didn't) or if my cousins were breastfed at all.
  • what did you do to prepare for breastfeeding? 
I read 3 books on breastfeeding and read as many articles online as I could.  I also chatted with women online who chose to breastfeed and who chose not to breastfeed.  
  • Does it really come naturally? 
 Yes and no.  Yes in that you know where the milk comes out of.  You know generally that it's supposed to work and that your baby's mouth goes on your nipple (areola) and they suck.  But no, in that I didn't know anywhere close to all of the mechanics of it.  Why it works and how it works and what the baby needs and how the baby gets what it needs and all of that.  I learned all of that by researching and reading.  I also needed the help of a lactation consultant at the hospital and a very well versed and experienced nurse at the hospital before we were discharged and I picked a very very pro breastfeeding pediatrician who breastfed her own babies and who ran their practice with a lactation consultant on staff 5 days a week.  I surrounded myself and set myself up for success with breastfeeding.
  • what did the first latch feel like?
This is a tough one to describe.  For me, I'm sure this experience was different than for most first time moms.  The incredible emotions surrounding Arie's first latch was after 4 years of infertility and having a long unmedicated labor and a traumatic delivery.  There were so many emotions surrounding his birth and he was immediately on my naked chest right after he was born and he had latched within 15 minutes or so after being born.  Emotionally, my son latching for the first time felt like a miracle coming to life.  All of my hopes and dreams had suddenly come true and it was right in front of me and physically happening.  Physically, although this took a major back seat, it felt like I was pinched super hard  in a really not nice way on my nipple.  I had no help until about 18 hours after he was born with a lactation consultant, so my first 18 hours was just about like the first latch. Painful but somewhat successful.  
  • did your nurses try to push formula on you in the hospital?
No, my nurses and the hospital pediatrician did not try to push formula on me at the hospital at all.  In fact, formula was never mentioned at all.  The hospital where I delivered him was a very pro-breastfeeding hospital, that I picked for that reason (as well as being pro unmedicated birth)  They never even asked me how I was planning to feed my child, but upon arrival, I had told the nurse that I planned to breastfeed and it must have been marked down in my chart and never mentioned again.

I did have a pushy nurse who tried to push pumping on me.  I refused to pump because I didn't think it was necessary.  I asked repeatedly the first day for a lactation consultant, but the place was super busy (there were 25 babies born the day my son was born.)  Arie slept a LOT the first day to the point where I was very concerned.  I asked the nurses several times why he was sleeping so long (It turned out it was because of his circumcision and jaundice... the lactation consultant explained it to us when she came)  The nurses wouldn't listen to me that I couldn't wake him up and suggested that I pump to feed him.  I told them that I didn't want to use a bottle at all and they suggested that I pump and feed him with a syringe.  I explained again that he had no problem whatsoever latching, it was that he wouldn't wake up to eat that was my problem.  The nurse ignored me completely and came back with a breastpump.  I asked for the syringes and she told me that they don't have syringes.  Um what? You just told me to use a syringe.  I did not use the pump and just continued trying to get him to wake up.  She also said that I needed to use a nipple shield.  Uhhhh no, I don't.

When the lactation consultant came in several hours later, she was furious that the nurse dumped the pump in my room.  She was also more that furious that the nurse told me that I needed to use a nipple shield because of the shape of my nipples/areolas.  She assured me that I did not need the pump or the shield if I didn't want it and that my son would be perfectly capable of eating once we woke him up and that the pump would cause more damage to my supply than good since he was already latching.  She helped me wake him up by undressing him down to his diaper and helping me take my top off so that we could do skin to skin.  She explained the benefits of his skin on my skin and how that was going to help him.  After about 2 hours of help, Arie had been able to feed for about 25 minutes on each breast. She also taught me the hamburger hold and how I had to hold my breast and pinch my areola to make it fit comfortably in my son's mouth for him to have a successful latch.  I still have to do this at 5 1/2 weeks old. 
(Hamburger hold... don't mind the middle finger... that's really what I was taking a picture of haha) 

The breast pump stayed in the corner of my hospital room taking up space until we left.  

  • My baby was screaming from hunger before my milk came in. Shouldn't I give him formula?
In my experience, Arie didn't scream of hunger.  He screamed because he was cold or because his diaper was wet or because he wasn't being held skin to skin.  Some of what I learned in my research was how valuable and important the colostrum that I was producing was to my baby and that colostrum IS breastmilk.  Colostrum acts as a laxative to help the baby get all of the meconium, tar like poop out of their system that has built up since they have been swallowing amniotic fluid in the womb.  Colostrum is incredibly vital and necessary for newborns and it has every nutrient that the baby needs.  Some falsely worry about the baby not getting enough in the first days but what they aren't realizing is that the baby's stomach is so tiny that a table spoon or two is ALL that will fit in their stomach and all that they will need to consume in the first few days.  If your baby gets it's cord blood after birth, your baby is well equipped to handle the first few days after birth where all they consume is colostrum.  Colostrum is high in calories and protein.

from -

So, your baby is not starving.  There are several reasons why your baby could be crying, but the maximum stomach capacity is hardly variable.  Your baby does NOT need that much colostrum/milk at ALL until your "milk comes in."  And also, "Milk coming in" is a myth.  Colostrum is still breastmilk.  It is specifically designed and intended for your newborn baby.  Your BEST bet on getting your milk supply to meet your baby's needs is by keeping them at your breast as much as possible.  If you allow your baby to nurse (even "comfort nurse") for 30+ minutes, that is how your body will be signaled that it's time to release more milk. 

  • What do you have against formula? It's seems so much easier!
This is a tricky question because I don't want formula feeding moms to take my choices and feelings about formula personally.  What I do is what I believe is best for my child, and to each their own.  So, please take this not as a judgment but as my personal beliefs being stated.

I believe that God designed my body to sustain a pregnancy while I carry my baby.  I also believe that God designed my breasts to sustain my baby after it is born.  After researching exactly what is in breast milk and how it works and the countless benefits for my baby, I personally believe that following God's plan and design for motherhood is how it should be for me.  I believe that there is a reason that my breasts produce milk and my husband's do not and that it is 100% natural for me to be the sole food provider for my child.

Now as far as formula being "easier"... I have never heard anything more ridiculous.

Here is what I know and have seen with formula feeding moms:
-They need bottles... and often times, moms have to try several different brands of bottles and nipples in order to get the most successful match for their baby.  Bottles are expensive.  Nipples are expensive.
-With bottles comes with washing bottles and nipples and sterilizing.  Sometimes requiring special equipment which costs money.  Also, the amount of time it takes to wash bottles and mix formula is time away from your child and time away from every day life.
-Formula is EXPENSIVE.  Often times, babies struggle with formula and parents have to try several different options before they settle on the formula that works best for their child without causing too much gastrointestinal distress.  Formula runs out, so if you are not constantly keeping an eye on your supply of formula, you may find yourself in the middle of the night having to run to the store with a screaming starving baby.
-Formula has preservatives and often gets recalled.  I could not imagine the stress of constantly watching the ingredient lists on cans of formula to make sure that there was nothing unsafe for my baby to consume.  I could also not even imagine the stress that would come with finding out that I had been feeding my child a formula that had been recalled because it was unsafe.
-Formula poop stinks.  There is absolutely a difference in the smell factor of the bowel movements of an exclusively breastfed baby and a formula fed baby.
-Formula is not natural.  There is nothing man made that can compare in benefits to breast milk.  There is unending research that shows the benefits of immunity in breast milk and how each meal is specifically tailored to your baby each time they eat at the breast as opposed to formula which has exactly the same content each time your child feeds.
-Formula is stressful.  You have to watch exactly how much you are feeding your baby each time because you have to measure it out.  You don't want to underfeed them and you don't want to overfeed them.  When your baby is crying, you have no idea how much more or possibly how much less formula to give them in order to satisfy them.
-With formula, you need water and electricity.  In the event of a natural disaster or power outage, it becomes stressful to find a way to feed your child. 

With breastfeeding (exclusively, no pumping) I have no equipment to buy.  I have no amounts to measure, nothing to sterilize or wash, nothing extra packed into my diaper bag while I'm out.  I do not need to worry about running out, if my baby still seems hungry, I put him back on my breast and he has the freedom to eat as much or as little as he wants.  I never have to be concerned with the amount of ounces he is eating since my breasts have no gauges.  In the event of a natural disaster, I have the perfect food for him at the perfect temperature no matter what time of day or year.  By the amount of diapers I change and my baby's healthy weight gain, that's how I can tell if he is getting enough to eat.  Is he sleeping peacefully and is he content? Then he's eating enough.  Easy peasy.  Also, no watching the clock for a schedule... since I can't overfeed my breastfed baby, I don't have to watch the clock to make sure he goes a certain amount of time between feedings.  He can eat whenever he's hungry and that makes it much less stressful on me because if he gets hungry an hour before his scheduled time to eat, I don't have to find some way to occupy him and pacify him to pass the hour before it's time to feed him. 
  • How long did it take for your milk to come in? 
By the second day, I was sure my milk was in. 
  • Did you see a lactation specialist in the hospital?
Yes!  She was amazing.  She really explained things very well and was VERY encouraging.  I highly recommend it. There was also this amazing nurse who helped us check out and she spent almost 2 hours helping me too.  When they really know what they're doing and they are happy to help, it makes a huge difference. 
  • How many times do you have to feed him? I heard formula babies sleep longer through the night.
Pretty much since he was born, he eats every 1 to 4 hours around the clock.  At 5 1/2 weeks old, he usually cluster feeds between 6-10pm and then sleeps from around 10pm to 12am-2am and then wakes up again between 4-6am. (and continues this few hours awake and few hours sleeping throughout the day)    I have heard that formula fed babies sleep longer too, but I don't mind the interruption in the middle of the night.  I get more snuggles and I have time to start a load of laundry or get diaper laundry done because it takes a couple hours in between each step,  And for me, I have had insomnia and had to wake up to pee since I was about 8 weeks pregnant... so it's actually an improvement to only get up once or twice.  
Middle of the night feedings are the quiet time where it's just me and him, and as tired as I am, I still don't mind waking him to this little face.
  • How do you know he's getting enough milk?
Look at his diaper output. Check out for information on this.

  • Emotional aspects of BFing
I have already written a little bit about our struggle with infertility, but this plays a big role in breast feeding too and how I feel about it emotionally.  I longed for my whole life to be a mom and for years while we tried unsuccessfully, I longed to be a mom.  I yearned to be the one my child ran to and needed for comfort.  I prayed to be needed.  In the books that I read about breastfeeding, they explained the way the oxytocin is released during each nursing session and how breastfeeding can help to ward off post partum depression.  I had already spent so many years so sad that I was looking forward to this "safe guard" against depression.

For me, breastfeeding is the ultimate.  It's getting to be 100% mom, 100% of the time.  I feed him 24 hours a day and when he cries, I can calm him in seconds with nursing him.  It's amazing and fantastic and nothing that I can imagine could make me feel more needed by him.  This type of emotional high is something that I dreamed motherhood would be like.  As much as it probably bothers Jack that there are times that he can't get Arie to calm down or stop crying, it makes my heart overflow to be able to hold him close and have him feel instantly calm and secure and safe.  I have nothing to compare it to obviously, and I have no perspective of what a formula feeding mom experiences like this so I have no idea if it's the same, but that is what I personally get out of breastfeeding.

 I do consider it to be a big bonding experience, especially now that he makes eye contact with me while he's nursing.
  • Do you pump?
No, I do not pump.  I thought I would want to so that I could donate breast milk, but I tried pumping several times and I absolutely hated it.  It's really not for me.  Plus, I'm a stay at home mom, so I have no need for a pump.  
  • Has there ever been a moment when you wanted to throw in the towel and just give him formula?
No.  The amount that I educated myself about all of the amazing benefits of breast feeding far outweighed any desire that I might have to feed him formula.  I definitely do get tired and even the other night, I woke Jack up at about 3am and asked him to feed Arie.  Jack was half asleep and lifted his shirt and grabbed his breast area.  It made me laugh and Jack smiled and went back to sleep.  It can be exhausting and incredibly emotionally draining while he's cluster feeding and it seems like he won't ever fall back asleep and he's uncomfortable and you are just at your wits end because you are so tired, but even then I have never once felt even a smidgen of desire to go open the can of formula in my pantry that was sent to me against my will as a sample when someone sold my information.  
  • Do you think you would have such a strong bond with your baby if you were bottle feeding? 
I have absolutely no way to compare, since Arie has never taken a bottle of expressed breast milk or formula.  I would assume not since part of the connection is that my body is still physically sustaining him, but I can't say for sure. 
  • How does it make you feel to know that your breasts are sustaining life? 
Kinda like a super hero.  I'm serious, I remember when I discovered that my boobs were leaking when I was pregnant and I felt like I should have a cape.  My boobs work, I thought to myself! How exciting!  It's pretty amazing to experience, especially since I believe that God designed my body to work like this, it's just amazing to see creation working like it does.  
  • Are your breasts sore all the time? 
No, not at all.  When my milk "came in" and my breasts started really producing a lot more volume of milk, my boobs were sore, but not too bad.  I nursed Arie as much as he wanted to and it was not even 24 hours of sore breasts.  Occasionally, my breasts will tingle and be a little sore and hard if Arie takes a slightly longer nap than usual or a couple hours after he has finished cluster feeding, but it is really not hard to handle or even something that I would consider taking anything for.  
  • Do you wake up leaking? 
Yup!  And when I get out of the shower, I leak.  I made some handmade breast pads but I have found the disposable ones are a bit more absorbent.  I sleep with a nursing tank top on and breast pads in the cups and that keeps me from waking up soaking wet.  Especially because I sleep with Arie next to me, I wake up with him rooting and that makes breast milk let down.
  • Do you nurse in public? How do you feel about nursing in public?
Yup. I will feed my baby when ever he is hungry, where ever I am.  I have mostly nursed in my truck before we walk into a store or something.  I will sit in the back seat next to his car seat.  I have nursed in the pediatrician's office, during his one month check up.  The doctor had finished his exam so I sat there and nursed him and chatted with him through the rest of the appointment while Arie nursed.  I can't think of anywhere else off the top of my head.

I guess I don't have any specific feelings about nursing in public, as much as I would have about a baby being fed however it's fed.  It is what it is, it's a hungry baby eating.  I personally have larger breasts which makes it more difficult to be discreet while nursing in public and I think it would be very noticeable if I didn't take some measures to help myself be more discreet.  I generally wear a nursing tank top with a nursing bra (Bravado is awesome!) and that way it covers up my belly and each individual side will snap down at a time.  Then I try to wear a tshirt or a long sleeve shirt over the nursing tank so that I have something that I can lift up and it will cover the top part of my breast and the tank top will cover my belly so that only my nipple is exposed and Arie's face/head will cover the rest of what is exposed.  While out shopping with my husband, he came back to the truck and was talking to me while I was nursing Arie in the back seat and he was standing in the other door of the truck and suddenly he said that he hadn't even realized that I was nursing him.  So if my husband who constantly oggles my boobs didn't notice what I was doing, I would say I am pretty successful at being discreet. 
  • Breastfeeding is supposed to be a natural thing, why do I need to "prepare" for it? 
I suppose it is more natural for some people than others.  If you had a lot of younger siblings that you were old enough to remember them being babies and growing up, and your mom nursed and you were around that, you probably don't need anywhere close to as much preparation as someone who was never exposed to it and never experienced it.  I needed to prepare for it and educate myself because I wanted to have a fully complete opinion on it about why I wanted to do it and I wanted to know exactly how it worked and what it did and why.

  • Do you think success is possible with no preparation?
Like I said in the last question, definitely, IF you have been exposed and around it.  I read a lot of Amish fiction and the Amish breastfeed their babies.  If you lived in a community and family where your mom and sisters and aunts and every woman you know breastfeeds, you would be exposed to it constantly.  When you are around it that much, you will naturally pick up on the ins and outs of why and how it works and how you know it's working and you would have a lot of people around who have found their tried and true methods of troubleshooting and making it work.  While that requires no preparation on your part, since you aren't actually doing the work, you are just around it, it is still technically preparation.

There are also women out there who just choose to do it and make it work themselves even with zero support.  I think it's possible, but it will definitely be easier and less worrisome if you are educated and prepare and get knowledge about the whole process including possible issues.
  • Where does your baby sleep?
We have a crib in his nursery and a pack'n'play in our bedroom next to my side of the bed.  But, Arie sleeps with us in our bed, in my arm.  I sleep on my left side and he sleeps in the crook of my arm, facing me, in between Jack and I.  
(Side lying nursing in bed.)

This is how we sleep every night.  I wasn't sleeping in this picture, but when I do go to sleep, my pillow is pushed much further back and I sleep on the very edge of it so that it's no where close to Arie's head.  Also, all the blankets that he has are his receiving blanket and my arm that goes around him blocks the quilt that Jack and I sleep under from covering him.  

This is how he sleeps almost every night.  For some reason he has always liked his hands in his face, and he sleeps with his hands right by his head. 

He falls back to sleep when side lying nursing in bed.
  • How does your husband feel about breastfeeding?
I would have to ask him to be 100% sure, but I am pretty sure that he felt the same way about breastfeeding as I did in the beginning.  It's free/super cheap, so definitely that's the choice for us.  Once I became more educated and started reading to him the information that I found about it, both of us came to a unanimous decision that breastfeeding was absolutely what we wanted to pursue.  Both of us have pretty "traditional" views on gender roles and he looks at breastfeeding as an extension of motherhood and mothering and that feeding him is my "job" or "role" if that makes sense.  He really doesn't feel the need to share that bonding part with me and it makes him happy to see me doing it.  Plus, Jack really enjoys that my boobs are out almost all the time... like I said, my husband likes to oogle.

 I hear a lot of women say that they think their husband will want to feed their baby too or that they would like help with the feedings.  For me, 24/7, even though I have to feed him, I can always tag Jack in and let him burp Arie and I can go back to sleep.  Whenever Jack is home, he spends a lot of time burping Arie after I feed him.   

  • Have you ever had sore, cracked nipples?
Sore, absolutely.  Red and really really sore, definitely.  But not cracked.  We cemented what a correct latch feels like with the LC at the hospital and using lanolin a lot during the first few weeks between each feeding REALLY helped with my sore nipples.  
  • But aren't breast sexual? 
Yes and no.  To be perfectly clear, there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING sexual about breastfeeding your child.  It feels good emotionally and physically there is a connection with your baby, but there is nothing sexual in nature about it, for me.

It does bother me when Jack gets all happy about seeing my boobs all the time.  I like that my husband is attracted to me, but I have to remind him not to make comments while our child is latched on.  Also, I refuse to french kiss Jack while Arie is latched.  Jack and I kiss a LOT, and we always have, so it's a bit of an adjustment to not be able to freely kiss my husband whenever I want or he wants, but I feel weird about any kind of kiss like that when Arie is latched.

Jack makes jokes about it whenever I show him how Arie takes naps hugging my boobs or I tell him how my boobs are comforting for him and that sometimes he will be screaming and then I put him to my breast to see if he wants to eat and sometimes he just wants his face by it.  Sometimes that's just what he needs and Jack will joke that sometimes that's just what Jack needs too.  Obviously he means it in a completely different way than what my baby needs.  It's really hard to explain this.

Both my husband and I do have a sense of humor about him loving and needing my boobs though.  This is Arie napping with his face pressed between my boobs.  I had to laugh.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Arie - 1 Month Old

My little man is one month and 6 days old!  It definitely goes by fast, but that's what everyone says.  I just wanted to type up a quick 1 month update for me and for baby Arie :)

Postpartum Recovery:
All of my stitches are completely healed and we are back in business.  We are officially trying to conceive again and I feel better than new.  I definitely wondered if I would ever feel whole again and it took about 3 1/2 weeks for me to stop bleeding and then another few days to feel like my old self again and trust me, everything works even better than it did before.  My back no longer hurts at the spot where they put in my (failed) epidural and I'm ready to start going for walks every day!  Just waiting for the weather to warm up!  I did join weight watchers again and I'm looking forward to watching that work for me again like it did before I got pregnant!  I have 6 lbs to go to get to my pre-pregnancy weight and then I would like to lose another 50lbs total.

Everyone tells you to "sleep now" before you have the baby, but that is totally ridiculous.  And I really do get plenty of sleep now.  Newborn babies really do sleep a lot (most of them anyway, and mine included.)  Arie goes to sleep somewhere between 8-10pm and then sleeps until 12am-3am depending on when he went to sleep and is up for his first middle of the night nursing session for anywhere from 15 minutes while I change his diaper and get back in bed to nurse him or go downstairs and sit in the lazyboy recliner and nurse him to a couple hours.  Then he goes back to sleep for a few more hours and I get a few more hours of sleep.  During the week, I get up by myself in the middle of the night so that Jack gets a good night's sleep to go to work.  During the weekends, usually Jack will get up and change Arie's diaper and bring him back to me and I will nurse him.  Last weekend, I guess I got so in to my routine that I didn't even bother waking Jack up.  He has been working some overtime that overlaps into the weekends, so maybe that's why I got used to not waking him up at night.

 Jack doesn't mind getting up with me at all, but it's just easier for me to get up since Jack can't feed him.  I am still taking naps during the day if I feel like I need to and by the end of the day I'm definitely ready to go to bed when Arie is.

Cloth Diapering
It really is a huge success.  This past weekend, we went to two different family parties where we were away from home for several hours and we even cloth diapered out of the house.  It really is much easier to cloth away from home than try to keep disposables on hand just in case we want to leave the house.  I have 3 wet bags that I can use and I just pack them into my diaper bag and we change his diaper like normal and put the diaper in the wet bag to be emptied into his diaper pail once we get home.

Cloth Diaper laundry is really no big deal.  I'm still trying to figure out the best and most successful routine to use with my specific equipment.  I have line dried my diapers several times but it's still chilly enough outside that we are still burning wood so they have a slight smoke smell when I do that.  I have figured out that instead of doing a rinse in the beginning of the cycle that I should do a pre-wash cycle, and instead of pre-washing on cold, I pre-wash on warm.  I also stripped my diapers the other day and I haven't really noticed a difference.  I thought that Arie's little rash on his bum had to do with detergent build up but the little redness reappeared today, so I guess my diapers didn't need to be stripped... but I did read that it's good maintenance to strip them once a month... and since my little man is a month, that means it's time to strip!

He has *ALMOST* grown out of his orange edge GMD's and NB sized Bummis Super Brite covers, but he's not quite big enough for the yellow edge yet.  His XS BumGenius AIO's still fit him, but they never fit super well since they are so wide between the legs.  I still really don't like the Rumparooz Lil Joey's... They just don't dry!  Yesterday I tried his one size BumGenius 4.0's with the infant insert and those fit him very well on the smallest rise setting and the tightest snap setting!  So that's really exciting.  The other super exciting thing about that is that unlike the XS BumGenius AIO's or the Lil Joey's, it appears as though the breastmilk poo DOES rinse right out of the 4.0's!  With the XS BG's and Lil Joey's, we have to use the diaper sprayer to wash off the poop, somehow it just sticks to those diapers.  Our prefolds don't need to be prerinsed.  Even with that extra step of rinsing the occasional diaper, I still would rather cloth diaper any day over using disposables.  The other morning I went through 9 diapers before I even got him off the changing table... he just kept pooping!

I really could not be happier with this choice.  I love nursing him, I love how easily I can get him to calm down, I love the incredible bond that we have and I loooove the convenience and ease of it.  I don't have to wash any bottles or nipples or sanitize anything.  I am also not pumping and I don't have to worry about cleaning or packing any extra equipment to feed my baby... I am self contained and that is awesome too.  I think it's funny when I hear people say that bottle feeding is freeing... but I really can't imagine anything more freeing than breastfeeding.  No matter where I am, no matter what time of day it is, I don't need to search for something to heat up the water, I don't have to mix anything, I don't have to worry about running out of formula and having to run out in the middle of the night with a screaming baby at home... Breastfeeding in my opinion is infinitely more convenient than any of the alternatives.

I have fed my baby in the gas station parking lot, on the side of the road, at friends' houses, at family's houses, and around the clock.  I can feed my baby without even having to roll over in bed, just unsnap my nursing tank and cuddle back up to my babe.  Sometimes he doesn't even have to open his eyes for the middle of the night feeding, he starts rooting in his sleep and I can wake up and nurse him and he falls back asleep without even fully being awake. 

The rest of life
My house really is much cleaner than it has been in a long time, if ever.  Most days, with Arie's naps, I have enough time to keep the kitchen clean and the floors vacuumed and mopped and the laundry caught up.  Today I have done 3 loads of laundry and I am currently working on my fourth, being diaper laundry.  I also vacuumed my whole first floor and mopped the first floor.  I also did the dishes and cleaned the whole kitchen.  I have folded and put away Arie's clothes and folded 4 loads of mine and Jack's laundry.  And now I am having a bit of time here to write in my blog and catch up some.  I also have had time to paint my nails about once a week.  :) 

Random baby stuff
Arie is growing out of his newborn sized clothing!  I hate to say already since he is 5 weeks and 2 days old and that's quite some time to be in newborn sized.  It is definitely bittersweet to be putting away the cute small clothes but it's nice to get a little bit of extra room in the closet.  We have been given so many clothes in the last few weeks and that's super exciting.  This little man is going to be so well dressed.  Since it got up to the 70's and 80's a couple weeks ago, I went out and bought some newborn sized shorts rompers and then it got all cold and spring like again,  so i'm afraid he's going to grow out of those few outfits before he has a chance to wear them again. 

Since he has gotten a little bigger (8lbs 0.6oz at his one month check up!) he fits into the moby wrap better (or maybe I am better at wrapping it).  I got the chance to use it at my aunt's house and he slept in it for almost 4 hours!  Woohoo!  Also, that really made it easier for me not to share holding him :)

I'm losing my train of thought now, so I guess that's all for now.