From the category archives:

Month 2

Sleep

by Esther on Wed, Jul 14th, 2010

in Baby,Challenges,Month 2,Sleep

“Is he sleeping through the night?”

I must get asked this question at least 4 times a week.  The first person who asked it was asking when our little baby boy was only 2 weeks old!  ”Of course he’s not!” I answered.  Had he been sleeping through the night at 2 weeks of age, I would have been ripping my hair out wondering what was wrong.

According to every book I read about infants and sleep, he won’t be physically or mentally prepared to sleep through the night until he’s about 4 months of age.  This is universally accepted from the rigid Baby Wise to the attachment parenting guru, Dr. Sears.  So?  Why am I being asked this question about my 8 week old?

About 4 nights ago, our Lucky Crane slept for a full 6 hours.  I, however, have not gotten 6 hours of full sleep since he was born.  For the last 2 hours of that 6 hour stretch, I laid on the couch next to the pram, dozing and waiting for him to wake with my huge aching breasts, telling myself not to worry and NOT to wake the sleeping baby.

So, you see, he’s not the only one who’s not quite ready to sleep through the night.

We have adapted pretty well to the strange new parent sleeping cycle.  I try to let Milton sleep through most of the feeding shifts because he has to have brains enough to work with during the day, whereas I can (and often do) take a two hour nap in the afternoon right next to the baby.  The biggest physical problem I’ve noticed in myself after a couple of months of sleeping in 2 hour bursts is that I’m grinding my teeth quite a bit and spending a lot of my day with an aching jaw.  I’m hoping that my next acupuncture appointment can relieve some of that pressure.  I know for a fact that quitting coffee would also relieve some pressure… but I’m not sure how to do that just now.  I tried to quit right after the birth, but was so plagued by the withdraw headache that I went right back to my cup in the morning and have not felt one ounce of guilt.  This isn’t a huge problem, though, the headaches from coffee withdraw are far far worse than the occasional headache from my jaw being troublesome.

I get a lot done in the middle of the afternoon and early evenings when our guy sleeps for long bursts.  And I get a lot of cuddle sleepy times in between 6am and 10am, when we both wake and sleep in each other’s arms between bursts of cluster feeding.  This has become one of my favorite times of the day!  I truly believe in breast feeding on demand, and feel very connected to him through this process.

So.  No, our boy is not sleeping through the night.  But we’re feeling pretty alright about that for now.

Sleepy men

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So.  I want to lose 10 pounds of baby weight by the end of the summer.

I kept in pretty good shape through my pregnancy!  I did yoga very regularly and walked everywhere.  My eating habits are pretty darn good, too.   But, still, I gained 35 pounds.  2o of that came off right away, and then 5 more were sweat into the bed in the first week or two after his birth.  That was great!  I had never undergone such a physical change so quickly.  There were days when I looked into the mirror and said things like, “I can’t believe I EVER thought I needed to lose a single pound before pregnancy!”  After all those weeks of growing bigger and BIGGER, I felt so tiny in those first weeks after labor and delivery.

That said, my skinny feelings are over.  Like, really over.  Nothing fits.  I have a closet full of pretty dresses that won’t zip over my anything.  I have a shelf full of size 28 jeans that can barely fit around my ample thighs.  It’s not horrible.  It’s not earth-shattering.  It’s certainly not a deep and meaty thing to talk about… but it I do feel a little disheartened.

I am stoked to be a mom, but I want to be a hot mom!  I want to be a mom with something that resembles my old body.  I realize that I’ll have a little bit of extra that requires me to wear my Spanks a little more often, but I at least want my dresses to zip.

SO!  With all of this in mind, I have eaten my last almond croissant for a while and I am getting down to business with proper eating.  I’m sure that I’ll feel like eating the floor often enough, and I’m also sure that I’ll let myself eat the floor since I am breast-feeding a boy who is above the 95th percentile for size… but the floor had better be made of whole grains, veggies, and lean proteins.  No more fish and chips from Ivar’s, no more sneaking cookies, and no more rationalizing french toast for breakfast.

I am also glad to have the green light to work out to my heart’s content again.  Mind you, my heart’s content isn’t all that much… it’s usually just enough.

To help my workouts, I have made a promise to myself to be more outdoorsy. We live in the Pacific Northwest, and this is absolutely stunning country.  When I moved here, it was my intention to get more in touch with my love of nature.  I had lost touch with the land after all of those years living in New York City!  It can’t be helped!  So I figured I’d get back in touch with mother nature in the Olympics and the Cascades, no problem.  Yet, I’ve been here for two and a half years now and have only been on ONE single hike.  It’s just hard to get moving in the great outdoors when you’re a total downtown dweller with no car.

I vocalized all of this to a friend recently, and she let me know that she too needs to be more outdoorsy!  AND!  She actually has a car.

We made a date to head out to our first hike today with another girlfriend in tow!  It wasn’t a huge hike, but it was still a pretty impressive feat for our first time out.  We hiked the trail to Rattlesnake Ledge, which is 4 miles, roundtrip, and about a 1200 foot elevation gain.

Axelrod rode in his Ergo carrier, which is so perfect for longer walks.  He fared pretty well!  I had to stop in the middle of the climb to nurse him.  Once we got to the summit point, I changed him like a big brave hippie with all of these totally stunning views around us.  Then, he lay there on the rock with us, wide eyed.  He really loves being outside in the sunshine!  He gets so alert and I wonder just what he can see out there.  He always cries when I pick him up to move to our next destination.  I love that he can sit still and enjoy himself so much, and don’t take a moment of that peace for granted.

On the way down the mountain, he got a little difficult and I figured out how to nurse him in his Ergo while hiking down the mountain.  I felt very proud of myself, like the La Leche League should give me a special advanced nursing badge or something.  And now?  I guess I’m fully a PNW mom.

I did learn a few things for our next hike.  Like!?  Maybe I should have had pants and booties on the baby to keep his little legs and feet away from all of those mosquitos.  And maybe I should have brought a banana with me, because I sure wanted one.  Maybe I should have brought a little pad for him to lay on (though laying on the Ergo seemed to make him happy enough).  But we did a pretty good job, and boy am I ever tired tonight.

And, all that diet talk aside… and I totally ordered a beer when we went out for lunch after our hike.  Gosh, was it ever deeeelicious.

Burping on the trail

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We three got all gussied up last weekend for a lovely wedding! It was my first real night to play dress-up since our boy was born, and I really tried to represent for all new and exhausted moms out there.

I bought a new dress, dictated outfits for Milton and Axelrod (they only rolled their eyes at me a little), and hopped up the street to the salon I work in to (finally) get my legs waxed earlier in the week. The day of the wedding, I even had my makeup done at VAIN! Thank goodness it’s only a few blocks away and my girl Belinda can work fast on under eye circles.

The bride walked down the asile to Spiritualized’s Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space and I about crumpled in a thousand romantic tears.  I even missed the perfect shot of her walking down the aisle because I was just so overwhelmed taking in the beauty of it all.  Admittedly, it doesn’t take much to set me off these days.  All anybody ever needs to make me cry is a mix of love, family, and gorgeous music … add some pretty dresses on a sublime Pacific North-West day and a couple making a life-long commitment to each other and I am done for!

We took some photos of each other holding the baby in all our sunny day finery!

My Handsome Gentlemen

Getting used to his monkey suit

Sadly, the little vintage romper that our little boy is sporting barely fit his baby flub!  I had to leave his zipper partly undone.  I’m so glad he got to wear it out once!  He’s growing out of his adorable duds way too quickly.  Between the both of us being so chubby, I don’t know how I’ll ever keep up with finding outfits that work.

I have to admit!  I made one big fat mothering mistake with our outfit planning.  I couldn’t find a dress that I liked that was good for nursing.  Milton and I figured that we could just bring a few bottles to the wedding with us.  I don’t mean to sound cold when telling you that I choose fashion over nursing, but the boy doesn’t really have a problem taking bottles from his dad in the middle of the day or in the evening when I go to the gym!  But, apparently! nothing but a boob will do for his 6-8pm bedtime witching hours.  Now we know!  I spent a good portion of the wedding reception in the bathroom with my pretty dress around my waist and my baby at my breast.

That lesson learned, I think that I’ll be going out in our neighborhood once a week this summer so that Milton can show him just how great it is to be dadded down with a bottle!

Once I momed him down, we put him straight into the Ergo on Milton and had ourselves some cake and dancing times.  We were home by 10 for a final bedtime, enjoyed by all, high on love and romance.

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It’s bittersweet to report that we have attended our 6 week midwife appointment and no longer have an officially legitimate need to hang out with the ladies at Rainy City Midwifery.

I was really looking forward to the appointment.  I desperately wanted a physical green light to get back to spinning class and, even more, wanted to weigh in my HUGE child.

For days before the appointment, as we looked at our baby who seems to grow larger during every nap, Milton and I would ask each other, “How much do you think he weighs now?”  We took bets.  Fourteen pounds max was the general consensus.

Well?  Our baby exceeded our fattest expectations!  He weighed in, perfectly naked, at a whopping 14 pounds and 7 ounces!  He is 24.25 inches long.  He is above the 95th percentile for both height and weight.

On our way out of our midwife office, we met another baby who is 6 months old.  My 6 week old outweighs her by over a pound!  Can you imagine?  No wonder my back already aches from his sling!

Fatty in the Sling!

In other news, our midwives were surprised to note that my abdominal muscles have already magically closed back together.  This means that I can get back to spinning and all of those other terrible classes that I LOVE going to the gym to take.  Which means that maybe someday I’ll lose this 10 pounds of mom fat…. (but that’s a whole ‘nother entry).

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This Guy

Please don’t crucify me for admitting this to the public at large, but I was a little worried all through my pregnancy that I wouldn’t bond with our baby.  It’s not that I didn’t want to be a mother… getting pregnant and extending our family was something I worked pretty hard at doing for a while.  From making sure I was healthy in every possible way to making sure I was somewhat financially sound before walking down the road to parenthood- I planned everything.

The thing is, I planned everything on a suspicion.  I suspected that becoming a mother might be a good step for me as a woman.  I suspected that having a child would be a great experience for Milton and me.  But like so many other times in my life, my faith was constantly questioning.  Would I be good enough for this guy?  Would I love him enough?  Clean our house enough?  Engage with him enough?  I even wrote to Milton in the middle of my pregnancy with worries that I would leave him with the baby, trotting back east to resume my selfish city girl high life because I just couldn’t take the parental heat.

I was worried that I would be one of those women who just didn’t connect with their babies.  Maybe I worried because having a baby was never a really concrete part of my life plan.  Maybe I worried because I have a hard time keeping up with my own business, much less the business of someone else.  Maybe I worried because I was so free and easy with abusing my body and burning the party candles at both ends for so many years that I wondered if I could really, REALLY be a responsible parent.  For whatever reason, I really worried about taking the heat and giving this guy the responsibility he deserved.

Being a responsible parent, to me, means being a loving parent.  Babies beg for love.  The children, teenagers, and adults they grow into beg for love.  Parental love is the first love any of us can beg to get.  If you care for a child, you are responsible for fulfilling all of that child’s needs, especially the need for love.  I wondered if I could possibly have enough love in me to put up with the spit, the diapers, the plastic baby gear, the aching back, the sleepless nights, or the belly that would lay beside me like a sad puppy after pregnancy.  I figured, if I can adapt to these MAJOR life changes, maybe I could hack my way through the other many years of parenthood.

Today, I am happy to report that I woke up on the second morning of our child’s life, after going through the shock of childbirth and the barely remembered haze of his first 24 hours, and saw my baby’s face in the first morning’s light.  He looked like such a sweet little buddha laying there, stirring in his swaddle and newborn cap!  I felt a surge of LOVE that I couldn’t believe, referred to him as Mr. Snugglepants, and kissed him all over his beautiful face.

Since then, I’ve only gotten worse with the doting.  This guy and I are bonded, for sure.

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Nursing!

by Esther on Thu, Jun 24th, 2010

in Baby,Challenges,Month 2

So, I’ve been waiting and waiting for my newest nursing tanks to arrive in the mail.  I’ve been using Bravado tanks since he was born, but only ordered 2 of them.  Two tanks and one nursing bra?  Yeah.  3 options are not enough for me.  Wanna know why?

WELL!  I just got the tanks from Glamourmom in the mail this morning.  I tried them on and I like them OK, but they’re not perfect.  I can see the nipple cut out contour through the fabric and I really don’t like lines.  So I thought, I’ll think about this for just a minute.  I was torn between sending them back and ordering more Bravado tanks or just keeping them because I’ve been waiting SO long and the lines aren’t totally terrible.  I mean, I usually wear a cardigan or vest of some sort with my nursing tanks, anyhow.  I also thought I should try them out with some different breast pads to see how that looked.  So, I looked around the house for some breast pads, and then my kid started to squirm and squeak in his bouncy seat.  So I looked at my kid, and wow, he is SO SO cute.  Can you believe this cuteness?  I am just beside myself with baby joy when I look at this guy…

Joy

Anyhow, I take a look at this guy and get all fluttery inside because HE IS PERFECT AND AMAZING and I decide that he is going to sleep for a little bit longer while I find a breast pad and look at the lines in my tank top when BAM, I look down and this has happened….

I Guess I'm Keeping This Top

Milk everywhere.  Breast pads are no where to be found.  This top is going straight into the wash and staying in my wardrobe because there are no longer any other options.

And this is how nursing is going for me!  My fountain runnith over.  My faucets are constantly ON.  The tiny breasts that enjoyed so many lusty summers flying perky and free under scant, flimsy silk tops and camis have become mountains of femininity.  I can now make pornographic cleavage out of a rack that once only enjoyed a small “woopsie” when  part of the package popped cutely out of my itsy bitsy tini wini.

I have been trying and trying to go without breast pads all week because these fountains of mine are supposed to regulate by now… but, seriously, I don’t know if the fountain is ever going to stop.  I pumped yesterday after yoga because Milton feeds our dude with a bottle when I go to the gym.  My breasts were so soft when I was done that I could’ve sworn that I wouldn’t leak… but leak I did, just 5 minutes later.  And, honestly, I don’t have to look at my kid’s cuteness in order to spring a leak.   I am pretty sure that Savasana is an oxytocin inducing wonder because I run from class three times a week with two sand dollar sized circles on my tank.  I’ve even started bringing my cardigan into the yoga studio so that I can cover up as soon as the lights go on after class.

I realize that lots of woman have lots of problems with breast feeding, and I am SO thankful that my kid is feeding well enough that he seems to have doubled in size over the past 5 weeks.  But, man, as petty as it sounds, I sure wish I didn’t have to worry so darn much about wet spots in conspicuous areas.

UPDATE:   While I was finishing this entry, Axelrod woke up.  I nursed him.  I was then spit up on in rivulets half a dozen times while still wearing this same tank.  If any of you pregnant girls out there were to ask me, “How many nursing tanks should I get?”  my answer would be, “As many as you can afford, if your breasts and your kid are going to be anything like mine.”

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