Fiona : 4 months

Late, as per usual, but this is accurate for Fiona at 4 months! 

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Stats: Fiona is 14 lbs 8oz (54%) and 24 inches long (28%). Weight has stayed right on track but our little girl is getting short! The doc says that babies grow in weird spurts and we won’t know if she’ll stay short(ish) or not… but we’re not concerned about it.

Clothing Size: She is mostly in 6 month clothes. Some 3-6 fit her still though.

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Sleep: This has been a real challenge for the first time in her life. It is pretty much changing almost daily but we’ve dealt with some crazy rough nights resulting in a level of sleep deprivation I haven’t seen since the newborn days. Naps also got iffy, first requiring we rock her to sleep, then making a habit of waking after only 30 min (unrested), then deciding that only I can put her to sleep and screaming whenever B tried to put her down. And now in the last week her latest “trick” is screaaaaming every time either of us try to put her down to sleep. She is clearly tired, she will start to drift off, then screams. And screams and screams. It’s the craziest thing. But, we knew 4 months is notorious for being horrible for sleep so aren’t shocked it happened (although we’re maybe a little shocked at how bad it is, since this is the worst sleep she’s ever had– worse even than her first few weeks of life). We have learned that singing to her seems to calm her down usually, so that was a happy discovery. Our pediatrician suggested we both swaddle wean and sleep train now, at the same time. I’m hesitant because it seems like a lot for her to deal with all at once… but we’re still discussing it.

Eating: Eating is…… okay. Which feels like a victory. Fia does have reflux AND is allergic to both dairy and soy. That seems to be the definite cause of our food refusal issues. At this point she will eat awake, willingly, and without fussing– but only when she is tired, immediately before a nap. She needs to be tired, swaddled, and rocked in the glider in our room so she can stare at the fan. Oh, and she only wants me to feed her. So eating isn’t what I would call EASY. But, it is sustainable (for now), and I don’t wake up every day fearful of trying to feed her– so it is a huge huge improvement. Oh also, we switched her to all formula this month. Between her allergies, her sleep issues stealing my pumping time, and my lack of sleep (and stress?) causing my already-low supply to plummet… it was just time. I knew when I gave up breastfeeding that I wasn’t going to make it long-term pumping, although I’d hoped to make it a little longer. But it was just not sustainable anymore and I’m so happy to be done pumping now!

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Milestones: This was a big month for little miss! She found her toes and thinks they are awesome. With that, she started rolling from her back onto her sides while playing with her feet. She hasn’t rolled over yet, but when on her belly she is getting really close to being able to roll to her back. She also figured out how to support herself on her arms when laying on her belly, although she doesn’t do it often. She’s also just seeming much more aware of her surroundings. Anything within her swing-zone is fair play to get chewed on, and boy does she love to chew. We’re not sure if she is teething or not (since we can’t see any teeth nubs), but she has gone from mouthing things to legit gnawing on them. Her favorite things to chew on are her Sophie, and our fingers. She is also getting a lot more stable sitting up. She can spend a LONG time sitting in her bumbo now (really, she is only limited by her boredom, not by her ability to stay upright), and when we prop her up against the couch she rarely falls over anymore. She actually tries to sit up from laying down all the time, and we had a rough few days when every single time we laid her down she strained to sit up. It’s funny and a bit sad because she’s still a ways off from pulling that maneuver off! She’s also able to stand up now while holding onto our fingers, rather than us having to hold onto her body, and she can pull herself up from laying down to standing up just by us holding her hands. Strong little girl!

Things I want to remember: Her giggles. I love her laugh so much. It’s like a lightbulb went on for her this month. She was aware of us before and we had gotten smiles and some giggles, but these things really ramped up this month. She watches us all the time and the smiles come so much more easily now (unless she’s in a mood). She is also starting to get some of that quintessential baby wonderment. There is a cow hanging from her jumper and every time I spin it she just makes the biggest surprised-face look ever, and it cracks me up. And this has also been a good month for brief trips out. She is predictably happy for 60-90 minutes after she wakes up (and really even a bit longer if we’re out and about) and has really gotten to liking my putting her in my ring sling. I wear her on my hip now so she can look around and she’s always so content to just stare at our surroundings and smile at people. She’s my little sidekick and I love her so!

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Outings/Adventures: We really didn’t take Fiona out anywhere this month other than the usual places to run errands or do a little shopping. It felt like we had sort of a busy month with my parents in town twice, B out of town once, and my having photo shoots almost every weekend. Plus with her challenging sleep we sort of just holed up and did a lot of hanging out this month.

Favorites: Fiona’s favorites are her hands, her Sophie, and our hands. My favorites are her giggling, getting surprised, and when she stands up holding our hands (we call her hula baby because she shakes her hips haha). B’s favorites are when she laughs at him and when she chills happily on the couch with him while he watches football.

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What I’ve learned: Nothing lasts. This month was a little mentally tough because my awesome sleeping baby took such a nosedive into horrible sleeping and the one thing I thought I could count on with her (good sleeping!) was taken away. But every time we hit a really really bad day, a good day was just around the corner. And every time we had a fabulous day, a worse day would follow.

Day in the life : 4 months

I have been meaning to do another one of these for about a month, but I kept waiting for us to have a new “normal.” But the truth is… there is no normal! Sure, we have some general routines… but every day is different. I have an idea in my head of what our “normal day” should look like, but I don’t know if we’ve ever achieved that magical day of perfect eating and perfect sleeping and perfect happiness all day. Apparently babies are not tomogatchis where you can just do the right stuff in the right order and have a predictable outcome! Who knew? (And really, I DID know.. but knowing and giving up the quest for that perfect day are two very different things).

So anyways. This was today. It was moderately normal. I’d classify it as a great eating day. A good sleeping day. And really a pretty generally good day start to finish!

12:05am- she’s up, put paci in. she spits it out, put paci in. repeat repeat. rock her bassinet. She finally falls asleep about 12:30.

3:15am- she’s up, put paci in.

4:40am- she’s up, put paci in.

5:15am- she’s up, put paci in. she spits it out, put paci in. repeat repeat. rock her bassinet. I think she’s asleep….? nope. get up and use the bathroom because once I get stuck under her, sometimes I’m there a while! In the 2 minutes it takes me, she starts screaming and wakes b up. Mix up a bottle to see if she’ll eat.  pick her up at 5:45, check her diaper, and carry her to the glider to rock her. She eats 1.5oz and doesn’t want anymore. Start rocking her. She’s out immediately, but somewhat restlessly. Finally set her back down 6:15 and crawl into bed. Try to fall back asleep but at this point I’ve been up an hour so I just toss and turn.

7:05am- She’s up and I hear her fill her diaper. B hears her too and wakes up. He gets up with her and I finally fall back asleep. He changes her diaper, gives her her prevacid, and gets her dressed, then plays with her on her playmat.

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7:45- I wake up and can’t sleep so I throw on some clothes and head downstairs. I take over “play” duty and B feeds the pets then heads up to shower.

8:30- she’s sleepy so I get her bottles ready and take her upstairs. Diaper change, swaddle, and feed her. She eats great– 5.25 oz. It takes her about 10 minutes to fall asleep and she’s down about 9, there isn’t any crying and I consider that a major victory.

9:15- I set her down gently in her bassinet and do a silent victory dance that she didn’t wake up. She almost always does the first time when I set her down in the morning. We’re off to a great start! I head downstairs and make myself some oatmeal and coffee while staring at the monitor to make sure she doesn’t wake up. She wakes once, spitting out her paci– I run up and replace it and she falls back asleep. victory!

9:30- I eat breakfast, send a couple emails, make a couple of phone calls, and then veg online for a little bit. Days when I get a little free time in the morning do wonders for my mental health!

11:00- She’s been kicking around (with eyes closed) for a little bit so I know she’s about ready to get up. I want to run to Target when she gets up so I quietly go into our bedroom to put on some jeans and brush my teeth. She wakes up and starts smiling at me. I get her up and we chat a few minutes on the bed while she wakes up, she likes to ease into her day after each nap (I can relate). I change her and check my diaper bag to make sure I’m stocked with essentials.

11:20- We’re off to target! I love running errands with Fia now, so long as she is well rested. On the way, we drop a package at UPS. We get to Target and I wear her in my sling and she loves looking around, smiling at people, and coo’ing at stuff. We have some fun shopping to do, because in addition to the basics we get to pick out a birthday present for Fia’s future friend who is turning 1 (daughter of a friend having a party this weekend). We check out and I call over to Max and Ermas and order some soup for curbside pickup. We swing by and I pick up my soup, which I’ll have for lunch (I love curbside pickup with a baby, seriously).

12:20- We’re home again and the car is unloaded. I put Fia on what I’ve deemed our “play quilt” on the floor. She kicks around a bit and practicing rolling side to side.

12:35- she’s tired! Diaper changed, bottles made, and upstairs to nap. I swaddle her up and feed her, she eats 6.5 oz– awesome! She falls asleep pretty fast, and is out at about 1pm. I rock her until 1:20 and head downstairs, doing another victory dance that I was able to set her down successfully again. Seriously, this never happens.

1:20- downstairs. I put away the stuff we got at target, wash bottles, and tidy up the kitchen a bit. I’m glued to the monitor thinking she’ll wake up– but she doesn’t! I heat up my soup and head downstairs to eat at about 1:45. I surf online a bit while I eat and watch a show.

2:30- My mom is leaving for vacation tomorrow so I give her a call to chat. While we’re chatting I straighten up the great room and unload the dishwasher.

2:55- She’s up! I put her on the bed and unswaddle her and we chat a minute. I get her some toys and put the monitor on her, then hop in the shower. We have a nice ledge behind glass that I can set her monitor on so I can keep an eye on her, and she hangs out happily playing with her toys while I shower. I usually try to shower while she is asleep, but lately she’s been waking up when I turn the shower on so I have to do it while she’s awake.

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3:15- I’m done showering and I’m dressed and Fia and I head downstairs. I change her and get her dressed in outfit 2 for the day because it’s hotter now than it was in the morning. We head down and I put her in her jumper for a bit. I love watching her hop around and play with all the toys! Then we move to her playmat and she kicks and bats at the hanging toys. Then we move to her quilt and she starts rolling around a bit but at 4pm she starts rubbing her eyes. Nooo! I was hoping to keep her up until 5 because the 4-5 hour is a really awkward time to put her down for a nap (because it leaves not enough time for a 4th nap, but too much time then before bed after she wakes up). I try to distract her with toys and rolling, but at 4:15 she is inconsolably tired so I give up and take her upstairs. Change her. Bottles made. Swaddle her up.

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4:20: attempt to feed. She takes 1 oz and starts crying. Uh oh. I let her get too tired and now she’s hungry but too tired to eat. I spend the next 20 minutes rocking her while she cries and whines, until she calms down and is very sleepy but still awake. I offer a bottle again and she takes 2 more oz– good enough. She falls immediately asleep.

5:10: I attempt to set her down and she wakes up. damn. I try to get her back to sleep but at 5:25 I give up and take her back downstairs. She’s happy and we play on the floor a bit.

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5:45: she’s rubbing her eyes again so I take her back upstairs. I offer another bottle and she takes 3.75 oz (awesome!). But then she starts crying. And whining. B gets home at 6:10 and she’s still crying. I tell him to start dinner because it will take 45 min and surely she’ll be asleep by then. ha-ha-ha. I try all my best tricks. Various rocking speeds, shushing, singing, bouncing, head rubbing….

6:45: B comes up to check progress. I hand her off and let him try. He rocks her 5 minutes and she fills her diaper. Damn. I get her changed and take her back to keep rocking her while he heads back down to work on dinner.

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7:15: I give up on the nap. This is generally a bad situation because usually when she misses a nap she is super duper cranky the rest of the night, but she’s actually pretty happy! We watch daddy grill and head downstairs to play with some toys.

7:45: dinner is ready so I put her in her jumper and B and I eat while she hops around and plays with the jumper toys.

8:00: B takes Fia back to the floor to play a bit more while I throw diapers in the wash and clean up dinner. Then I head back downstairs and we get 15 minutes to all lay on the floor together and hang out– best 15 min of the day!

8:25: She’s sleepy so B takes her upstairs while I make her bottles. B was planning to try to put her down tonight but usually when she misses her last nap she goes into epic meltdown mode at bed time, and he has a much harder time feeding her and putting her down than I do anyways– so he opts out of the nightly routine. He changes her and gets her onesie off. I swaddle her up and sit down with her. B hangs on our bed with his iPad because we expect a rough night and I handle the screaming better when I have company. I’m shocked that she eats 4.75oz! I expected she’d refuse to eat due to being overtired– this is a huge win. She spends about 10 min looking around the room while I rock her and she’s asleep! Seriously the easiest bedtime ever, and after our failed last nap I am so surprised and grateful!

9:00: B and I head downstairs. He feeds the pets while I wash bottles and turn diapers on for their second cycle. We’re almost never done this early (usually it’s closer to 9:30) so I decide on a victory beverage of hot chocolate and baileys. We head downstairs to watch some DVR’d shows and hang out!

10:45: We head up to bed. B let’s stew out and goes upstairs to hang the diapers to dry. I get the early-morning bottles ready and head upstairs.

11:00: Bed!

Like I said– over all today was pretty great. It was a little odd in that usually we have 4 naps and today we really only had two super long ones (and one tiny stalled one). But Fiona ate great and was pretty happy all day, I actually got a great amount of time to myself, and we got a little time to just chill as a family, so I am happy!

Fiona: 3 months

I’m a couple weeks late, but this info is accurate for 3 months! 

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Stats: Fiona didn’t have a well check for 3 months, but we did happen to be in the doctor’s office 2 days before she turned 3 months so I have real stats! She was 12 lbs 15 oz and 23.75″ long. I didn’t get the percentages on those… but seems pretty average to me!

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Clothing Size: She didn’t gain THAT much in the last month, but somehow she seems to have grown a lot– maybe that extra (almost) inch? Almost all of her 0-3 clothes are too small, and some of the 3 month stuff is too small. She is wearing some 3 month, lots of 3-6 month, and a few 6 month items.

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Sleep: Fiona is still doing pretty well with sleep, although it was sort of a generally rough last few weeks. She had started sleeping all the way through the night, 9-7 or even 9-8 a few days, and it was incredible. Then we had a big set-back with her eating and it really screwed up her sleeping so the last week or so she’s been waking up more and fussing and sometimes getting up for the day really early (3:30 or 4:30 am). But I feel like this is all related to her eating and when we get that sorted out (again) she’ll hopefully go back to sleeping well at night. Her naps have been really stellar for the most part this month though! She is taking 3-4 naps per day, and usually at least one or two of them is 2 hours. The best thing about this is that she is generally well rested and is super happy between naps.

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Eating: Unmitigated disaster. We had a few good weeks after I quit breastfeeding where she took the bottle pretty easily, rarely fought, and easily got in plenty of ounces every day. Then one day she woke up and decided to just stop eating. Like, she just would. not. take. a. bottle. It was insane. To make a long story short… 3 doctor’s visits and one upper GI series later… we think we’ve figured out that she has both reflux and also some food intolerances (dairy and possibly soy) that were making eating painful for her and made her not want to eat anymore. We have her on reflux meds now, a new hypoallergenic formula, and I’m off dairy and soy entirely (so hard!). Things have been getting steadily better since I’ve been off of dairy and soy and I’m starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m really really hopeful that by the time I do our 4 month update we will have eating entirely figured out for the first time in Fia’s life. The silver lining to this whole drama is that because of her reflux I have to hold her upright for 20 minutes after feeding her, which means I’ve been rocking her to sleep a lot more than I ever have before, and I am really enjoying the cuddles!

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Milestones: Fiona is doing so much now! She makes funny faces and smiles all the time. She coo’s and gurgles and squeals and squeaks. She can grab toys and is putting everything in her mouth. She is starting to laugh more. She’s just so much fun!! She’s a super strong little girl and does great standing up (with a hand or two on her to make sure she doesn’t topple!) and she can lift her legs/arms/head up great during tummy time. She hasn’t quite figured out that she can put her arms down to help push her up during tummy time, nor has she rolled. But I think she has all the strength and just hasn’t thought to try yet.

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Things I Want to Remember: Nothing is more important than a healthy baby! We had a somewhat stressful month health-wise with a cardiology appointment to check up on a heart murmur (turned out to be totally fine) and then our nightmare feeding situation. Getting a clean bill of health for Fiona is really all that matters in the end, and I think that going through this month will help me not sweat the small stuff so much and just be grateful she’s healthy! I also want to remember just how much fun I’m having. I’m not saying that the days aren’t hard sometimes. There are bad nap days and bad eating days and just cranky pants days (me or her or both). But being home with Fiona right now is awesome, and I enjoy her so much.

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Outings/Adventures: We took Fiona out to eat for the first time this month! We went to one of our favorite burger places and she did pretty well! She got a little bit fussy towards the end of our meal but never actually cried. We also took her to her second party, where she laughed really really hard at my friends’ dogs and it was awesome. Also, my parents hosted an open house and she got to meet my grandma and the rest of my family. It was a bit of a stressful day because it was a few days after our eating trouble started, but I was really happy that she got to meet my grandma!

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Favorites: Pets! Nothing gets Fia laughing like animal antics. Our friends’ dogs chasing each other around, or the cats playing with a rope toy– she thinks it is great. She’s also started to get into toys more and she likes her sophie a lot. Also, her hands. Can’t get enough of chewing on those hands! My favorite is seeing her laugh or just smile really big. I think B would say the same! He puts her up on his legs and talks to her and she “talks” back and it is basically the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

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What I’ve Learned: Sometimes you have to fight for your kid. Our first ped diagnosed Fia with reflux and basically ignored me when I told her that we still had a baby who wouldn’t eat and needed more help. I suggested it may be an allergy and even asked if I could/should try hypoallergenic formula and was told no. I decided to find a new pediatrician and when I met with her she immediately suggested I try the hypoallergenic formula and try an elimination diet. I’m so glad I trusted my instincts to not trust the first doctor and find someone who would actually listen to me and help me fix what I knew to be a problem.

 

 

Feeding my kid…

I’ve been planning this post for weeks, but I wanted to wait until we had things all worked out to do it. I think (hope?) we’ve gotten to the point where we have a sustainable plan for getting Fiona to eat, so here we go!

Let me start by saying, I always planned to breastfeed. I never thought it would be a problem. My mom breastfed me with no problems, I read a whole book about breastfeeding, and my pregnancy had been so easy I just felt like I must be made for baby-having… which I assumed meant I’d be able to feed my baby with no problems too.

Not the case.

Because I had a c-section we knew my milk might take a little longer than usual to come in, but I know that babies generally do lose some weight at first and then gain it back and it just isn’t that big of a deal– you keep at it. So I started breastfeeding as soon as I could (tried the first time in the recovery room less than an hour after birth). I also got a lactation consultant (LC) to come see me within a few hours of birth at the hospital to help work on Fia’s latch. I knew it was more shallow than it should be, but couldn’t figure out how to make it better.

While in the hospital I had visits from LCs twice/day every day I was there. By the time I left we thought we’d worked out a pretty good latch with her, although it still hurt me and was still causing me a bit of damage. We thought that maybe it was just a learning curve and normal new breastfeeding pain. Also while we were in the hospital Fia was diagnosed with jaundice (on day 2) and the pediatrician told us the best way to treat was by supplementing with formula. The best natural way to treat jaundice is to make sure the baby is pooping a lot (because that clears out their system) and in order to do that– they need to eat a lot. So we said okay to supplementing and started a process of breastfeeding, then pumping and feeding her whatever I’d pumped, and then supplementing with formula. Every 3 hours. The process took 1.5 hours, so we were spending half our day, day and night, feeding her. It worked though and her jaundice levels came way down and eventually resolved themselves with no further treatment– and when we left the hospital on Friday her weight was back up to 8 lb 2 oz (birth weight of 8 lb 4 oz).

That next Monday we saw the pediatrician who gave us the blessing to stop supplementing with formula, as the jaundice had resolved. Her weight was still 8 lb 2 oz, but the pediatrician seemed happy that she was so close to birth weight at only 1 week old.

Thus started two weeks of hell. Fiona cried all the time. No really. All. The. Time. If she wasn’t eating or sleeping, she was crying. Luckily she slept decently, and I was feeding her every 2-3 hours (each breastfeeding session taking 60+ min). But that still meant that she was screaming 5-7 hours/day. Like literally screaming. Not whining, fussing, or sad crying. Wailing. We were losing our damn minds. It was not a good week in our home.

The next Tuesday we saw the pediatrician again and we told her that Fiona was crying ALL THE TIME. She said some babies cry a lot. Sigh. Fiona’s weight was 8 lb 3 oz. Which didn’t seem like enough to me– but the pediatrician said it was close enough to birth weight and they were just looking for her to be at birth weight by 2 weeks so it was fine. Enter week 2 of hell. Eat, sleep, scream, repeat. I tried to make an appointment with an outpatient LC but she wasn’t available until the next Monday. I called an LC help line and asked about my supply and she said that if Fiona was eating all the time, it was fine. Also by this time I was in a LOT of pain breastfeeding. I had large open wounds and feeding was extremely painful for me.

The next Monday we met with an outpatient LC for the first time and did a weighted feed. Fiona weighed only 8 lb 5 oz at 3 weeks old. And during the weighted feed she got only 2 oz from me. The LC said with certainty– I have a low milk supply and our daughter is hungry. She’s not gaining enough weight (she gained 3 oz in 2.5 weeks– newborns should gain 5-7 oz/week). She’s not getting enough from me. That is why she is eating for over an hour per session. That’s why she is sucking so hard she is wounding me. Thats why she’s screaming even when she’s done eating. She was hungry for two weeks and we didn’t know. (Cue guilt). She recommended we start supplementing again to get this kid fed while I work on my supply. She also prescribed All Purpose Nipple Ointment to help get me healed.

That week we started a cycle of breastfeeding (no more than 40 min as per the LC), then I pumped while B fed Fia whatever I’d pumped last time and then supplement with formula. It was a long week but Fiona was sooooooo much happier. Immediately the screaming reduced to almost nothing. It was like magic and I finally started falling in love with my baby, rather than loving her because she was mine but also sort of fearing her every time her eyes opened because I knew it meant screaming.

The next week at our LC appointment Fiona weighted 9 lb 6 oz! She was certainly making up for lost time and the LC was thrilled. But unfortunately when Fiona fed again, she still got only 2 oz. No increase in my supply. The LC told me I could stop pumping after every breastfeeding session and just breastfeed and supplement as needed. She also told me that since I was still dealing with such extreme pain, and since my wounds had actually gotten worse rather than better in the intervening week– she wanted us to get Fiona evaluated for a posterior tongue tie. This is the type that is very hard to see/diagnose and you need to go to a specialist to get fixed. A specialist that is 1.5 hours from our home, and that unfortunately was on vacation that week. The earliest we could get in was the next Friday. She also said that my open wounds were putting me at risk for a breast infection and I really needed to get myself healed, so she thought I should take a break from breastfeeding and just pump/feed until I was healed, but she warned me that sometimes when young babies take a break from breastfeeding they refuse to start back up. So I opted to just breastfeed at night and pump during the day.

So we toughed it out another 1.5 weeks and took Fiona to be evaluated at 5.5 weeks. She did have a posterior tongue tie AND a lip tie. We had both “clipped” via laser– which was probably more traumatic for me than it was for her (although she was not a fan). That weekend she went on a nursing strike and refused to breastfeed, but by the following Tuesday she was willing to nurse again. I was still nursing at night and pumping/feeding during the day because I was still not healed, but I noticed that her latch seemed better than ever at this point and breastfeeding her started to hurt less.

Then the next Sunday rolled around, and we had another nursing strike. I called the LC on Monday and was told that because I’d been unable to breastfeed her exclusively she might be developing a bottle preference and if she refused to nurse there wasn’t much I could do. She suggested trying a nipple shield, and said if that didn’t work I’d probably just have to give up nursing and pump/bottle feed.

She did NOT care for the nipple shield but the next morning I tried nursing her again (sans shield) and she did it! I decided enough was enough, and wounds or not I was going to breastfeed my kid. So I just breastfed her every meal despite the pain from my (still not healed) wounds, and supplemented afterwards. Everything was going great and I was really hopeful that we had worked out our issues (finally) after 8 weeks. She seemed happy, I was thrilled to be back to breastfeeding and not having to pump, and I actually seemed to start healing a little bit now that her latch was better.

Everything was great until the next Monday when it was like a switch flipped and Fia decided she hated bottles. She would finish breastfeeding and be clearly still hungry (she has a specific hungry cry + she chews on her hand), but would fight and cry and thrash when we put the bottle in her mouth. If we kept trying she’d eventually take it and then eat ravenously. But as the week wore on, we lost more and more battles. By Friday I had only been able to get 1.5 ounces from a bottle into her, which is about 8 short of what she needs. That night she cried for an hour because she was so hungry, she’d already breastfed and I had nothing more to give her, and she refused to take the bottle.

It was a tipping point. I’d bought into all the “breast is best” data— but for MY kid? When I wasn’t making enough to just breastfeed her and breastfeeding her  meant that she would refuse bottles and then be hungry? Something had to change. I decided to try going back to just breastfeeding her at night and bottle feeding all day. I thought if she was only breastfeeding twice/day and bottle feeding 5 times/day she’d get used to both again. But she didn’t. She would continue to fight us on the bottle throughout the weekend, and any progress we made with her on Saturday was destroyed on Sunday by my breastfeeding her overnight.

So I quit.

I was honestly, shockingly, heartbroken over it. I never thought I’d care. Breastfeeding had been such a crazy (painful) challenge for me that I would’ve thought I’d be happy to be forced to give it up. But that bond (the one I’d always rolled my eyes at because I just didn’t get it)? It sneaks up on you. And I miss the snuggles, especially since Fiona is not a very snuggly baby. And I miss the way she’d fall asleep nursing and sleep in my arms for a few minutes (the only time she ever slept on me anymore). That sleepy happy milk-drunk face, that honestly can’t be replace by a bottle (at least not for her)…

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But it wasn’t worth it. Not if it meant hours of crying every day because she was hungry and wouldn’t take a bottle.

So now I pump. And we bottle feed. She gets about 2/3 breast milk and 1/3 formula, and now that she never breastfeeds she fights the bottle far less. We’ve been at the new plan for a week and I wouldn’t say we’ve got it entirely figured out. She still refuses the bottle and screams sometimes and we’re not sure why. But for most meals she takes the bottle with no problem now and we have our happy baby back.

I never ever expected feeding my baby to be so hard. I assumed I would breastfeed and it would just work, like it has for billions of women across the millennia. Or if for some reason it didn’t work it would be immediately obvious and we’d formula feed and I’d be fine with it. I never expected two months of struggle and pain and lactation consultant appointments and fighting. But I’m hopeful that we’ve now found what works for Fia and we can put this battle mostly behind us.

Fiona: 2 months

Wow– two months already! Here we go!

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Stats: Fiona was 12lb 0oz and 23 inches at her 2 month appointment! She’s 60th percentile for both height and weight, so perfectly proportional (something I don’t think I’ve ever been!) and right about average.

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Clothing Size: Fiona has started to outgrow some of her 0-3 month stuff, although that is also partially because of her cloth diapers (which we started in week 5). She also fits solidly into a lot of her 3 month stuff at this point.

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Sleep: Fiona continues to be awesome in the night sleep department. She started getting on a pretty regular schedule of sleeping 10-5, waking to nurse, and then going back down until 7. The last week she has been sleeping until 8! We’re considering trying to move her bed time up a bit earlier because she seems to get tired around 8pm and and it would be nice to have some extra time with B in the evenings. We did put her down at 8pm last night because she was falling asleep, and it went horribly (she fell right asleep but then woke up at 3:30am to eat and never went fully back to sleep after that!)— but she had had her vaccines at her appointment yesterday and was definitely feeling the effects all day. Today we put her down again at 9, but I think we might try moving her back to 8 again some time soon. Naps are a bit hit or miss. I’m trying to do a 3 hour EASY (eat, activity, sleep, you) schedule with her, which some days works perfectly… and some days doesn’t work at all. Getting her down for a nap is rarely a problem anymore, but I’ve noticed that when she sleeps for 1-1.5 hours she wakes up happy and our day goes on very well. When she wakes up after 30-40 minutes it is pretty much impossible to put her back to sleep, but she is still cranky and tired. When that happens it often sets us off on a bad foot for the rest of the day because then she is overtired and continues to not sleep or eat well. I have not yet figured out how to fix the problem– but I am working at it!

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Eating: Biggest challenge by far this month. It sucked. Really bad. I can’t even get into it in this post… except maybe to summarize and say that I think I’m done breastfeeding. And I’m really sad about it.

Milestones: I feel like Fiona has changed so much this month! She started making really good eye contact and smiling more and more. In the last week or two she started “talking” a lot too, and her coos are adorable. She can now track us with her eyes, and she watches as I move around her when she’s on her play mat. She flails and kicks a lot, and while she isn’t “reaching and grabbing” yet… she does sometimes get hold of one of her toys and hold onto it and seems to find that very funny. She’s also doing much better on tummy time, and when I hold her stomach she can sit up really well! We also tried her bumbo for the first time today and she did so well! She’s a strong little girl!

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Things I Want to Remember: So much this month! I feel like this month Fiona got really fun. As soon as she started smiling we started having a real two-way relationship. She follows me more with her eyes and she smiles really big when I “boop” her nose. She also loves when I sing “I love you a Bushel and a Peck” to her, and she loooves watching the fan. She’ll just smile and smile and kick and kick watching that fan go around and around. I also want to remember this month for breastfeeding. For a brief period I thought that we’d worked through our feeding issues and we got into a good breastfeeding routine. I never thought I’d be one of those people who was into breastfeeding for the bond, but I’ll admit that there is something that is just so incredibly sweet about how content she was when feeding. It was a contentment beyond anything else I can do for her, and when she was satisfied she’d pull away with her eyes closed and the sweetest happy look on her face. I will most certainly miss that!

Outings/Adventures: We took Fiona to her first social outing! One of our good friends had a bbq for July 4 and we took Fiona along– she did great! We managed to stay there from about 4-8, and I even managed to feed her there (first time I’d breastfed her outside of our home or the hospital). I was so glad she managed to nap and hang out while out, it made me feel like going out is a little bit more do-able.

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Favorites: Fiona’s favorite things are the fan in our bedroom, the giraffe that hangs from her play mat, and when you sing to her or talk to her in silly voices. My favoritest thing ever (in life) is when I do something she thinks is funny and breaks into a huuuuge toothless grin and gives me a coo that is almost a laugh. I love making that kid happy. B’s favorite thing is “talking” with her. He sits her up on his legs and she coo’s and he coo’s back and it’s like they have a little conversation. So cute. Also when he sings journey to her.

What I’ve Learned: The importance of naps! Fiona really needs to be PUT to sleep with a routine and not just left to fall asleep on her own, even for naps, and I’ve learned that when she is well rested she is a super happy baby. I haven’t quite figured out how to make sure she is well rested all the time, but I’m working on it! I also think that this month, now that I’m feeling that I’m more on top of this whole “mom” thing and not just trying to survive each day, I realized how much I really want to remember all the details of this time in our life. It’s entirely possible that Fiona may be our only baby and she is already growing so damn fast! On one hand I love it because every day she is more fun than the day before (well– there is certainly an upward trend, but some days she is just a cranky pants lol). On the other hand I know that I’ll miss when she could fit snuggly on my shoulder or in my arms. Last month I wrote how I wanted to remember the snuggles, and I’m glad I enjoyed them while they were happening because Fiona has already become a far less snuggly baby. I think I need to remember daily, and not just once a month, to try to enjoy all the time I have with her right now.

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Things that are awesome.

… continued from my last post about the the top 10 sucky things about parenthood so far. The top 10 things that I’m loving about Fiona and being her mom!

10) Fia’s little monkey feet. And her tiny hands. And her chubby thighs. And her squishy cheeks. And basically all parts of her… staring at the most adorable baby ever is not a bad way to spend your way. Not that I wouldn’t love her if she wasn’t cute. But come on…. 

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9) The fact that she’s a rock star sleeper. Of all the traits a baby can have, I seriously appreciate this. Before Fia was born I was most worried about sleep. Neither B nor I are particularly good on no sleep, so I just wasn’t sure how I would handle a kid that was up every 2 hours for months. It makes me feel like maybe we all really do get the babies we can handle– I couldn’t handle a baby who didn’t sleep and I got an awesome sleeper… but maybe I’m more able to handle our feeding issues than someone else would’ve been.

8) All her funny faces. Which is actually different than just her being so damn cute. She’s starting to get a personality and I love watching it develop. She spends a lot of time looking like she’s figuring things out, and sometimes she gets this super surly look… glimpses of her teenage self! 

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7) Figuring out what she needs. The learning curve to parenting is so steep. I’m figuring her out, she’s figuring me out, and we’re slowly working into a routine that works for both of us. I love that I’m getting to the point where I can generally tell why she’s upset if she is. It makes me feel like a good mom when I realize I know the difference between a hungry cry and a tired cry!

6) The way she stretches post-nap. It makes me laugh every. single. time.

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5)  Dreaming of the future. Every day Fia becomes more the person she’s going to be. She is changing and growing so fast! I’m not particularly anxious to move past this time in our life, but I do think she is just going to get more and more fun. I love thinking about the first time I’ll get to put pigtails in her hair. The first time she asks me to do her nails. Come to think of it, the first time she says ANYTHING! I’m so curious about who she is going to be, even though I know I’ll miss her being tiny when she gets too old to curl up on my chest and snuggle. 

4) Watching her watch the fan in our room. I have no idea why it is SO fascinating, but it makes her happy every time. I’ve never in my life been so caught up on laundry because I do it every day so that she can lay on the bed and watch the fan while I fold clothes! 

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3) Making her happy. Sometimes when she is close to sleep I stroke her forehead and she smiles and closes her eyes and drifts off and it’s the best thing ever. Or when she got that fully satisfied look after breastfeeding… making her happy makes my entire day. 

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2) Speaking of happy… her smile. I’m not really a person who cries a lot, particularly not happy tears. But I literally cried the first time she made eye contact with me and smiled and I knew that smile was for me. For someone who was never a baby person before… I’m shocked at how entirely true it is that there is nothing better than when your baby smiles at you. I spend half her awake time singing and talking to her in stupid voices trying to win those amazing little smiles and happy coo’s. 

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1) The love. I love her so much it makes my heart literally ache sometimes. And every day, somehow, I love her more. And I love B more for being her dad. For helping create her. For being the first one to hold her. For the way he sings to her. I didn’t know how much I could love him until I saw him cry when she was born, or saw him dancing around the living room singing to her. She hasn’t just doubled the love in our home, she’s somehow multiplied it infinitely. 

 

Apparently I’ve turned into a big mush ball, but I blame this blue eyed beauty (and I wouldn’t have it any other way).

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Things that suck.

I wanted to do a post on the best and worst things on parenting (so far)… Fiona is 2 months old today and I can officially say that today there are way more awesome things than sucky things. I’m not quite sure where the tipping point was, but I think maybe somewhere between 4-6 weeks… and it just keeps getting better. But I’m all about truth in blogging so I feel I should share the suck too (also so I remember when the inevitable baby fever strikes and I need to remind myself why MAYBE having just one perfect baby is enough). And since I’m all about ending on a high note, I’ll share the suck first.

Top 10 sucky things about parenting:

10) Waking to feed in the first month. We were blessed with a great sleeper and for that I am eternally grateful. But having to set an alarm for every 3rd hour of the night and then piss my kid off to feed her when all she wants to do was sleep? Suck.

9) Revolving door of guests. I might be in the minority here (although I don’t think so), and I acknowledge that we had some extenuating circumstances (see below re: healing and feeding)… but having guests in and out of our house so much the first 4 weeks of Fiona’s life stressed me the hell out. I thought I was protecting us by not allowing any overnight visitors the first week we were home… but that was not enough honestly. If I ever have another kid, unpopular as it might be, I think that I will have a “grandparents only” visitors rule for anything more than a quick (by which I mean– 1 hour tops) pop-in. And even for grandparents, 3 night max at a time (except my mom honestly– because when you’re having a hard time sometimes you need your mom. Even if you’re almost 30. And I don’t care if it isn’t fair, it’s what I need).

8) Unpredictable schedule. Maybe your kid slept great last night, but who knows what they’ll do tonight. Maybe they just went down for a nap, but do you have 10 minutes or an hour? Do I have time to shower? Can I wash bottles (not being able to hear if she’d cry because the water is running) or will she wake up before I’m done? When should we eat when she’ll be okay enough that we can possibly eat together…? And speaking of…

7) Not eating with two hands. For the first month of Fiona’s life (except when my mom visited) I don’t think B and I ever ate a meal together where we both got to use two hands. Inevitably she’d freak out right before dinner and we’d have to take turns holding her.

6) Crying you can’t stop. The older Fiona gets, the more she only cries when there is a problem. But that was not always the case. Sometimes babies cry and you can’t figure out why and you can’t stop them and it just sucks. You think you now how much it sucks before you have a kid– because you can imagine… having a crying kid sucks right? But you have no idea until it is YOUR kid and you feel incompetent because they are screaming and you have tried everything and what worked last night isn’t working tonight and omg take this kid before I lose my damn mind.

5) Not being able to go out anymore. I mean… I guess we COULD. But we’re scared. B and I have spent our lives being annoyed by crying babies in public. We were always all… omg why would you bring a kid here? Keep that kid at home! And now that we have a kid, we don’t want to be those parents that inflict our crying kid on the world. Not that she cries that much anymore, but I imagine karma will bite us in the ass the first time we try to take her to a restaurant and she’ll scream the whole time. Other than the grocery store or target or the doctor… we haven’t yet taken Fiona anywhere really. Which means we’ve not gone anywhere really. We haven’t eaten in a restaurant together in over 2 months… how crazy is that? (I actually never ate a meal outside of our home until last weekend… wow).

4) Lack of time together. Because I was up so much at night, I wanted to go to bed when Fiona did to maximize my sleep. Which meant B and I had basically zero alone time for 2 months. This is the first week we’ve tried putting her down and coming back downstairs for 30-60 minutes before we head to bed. Already I can tell that just that small amount of alone time every day is making such a difference in our happiness.

3) Speaking of B– his schedule. I’m grateful for his job, and I definitely want him to finish school. He’s doing everything right… but it sucks. I’m alone all day 5 days/week. And 2 nights/week he is in class until after bed time so I’m on my own from wakeup until bed. And then he has group work for his class 1-2x/week as well. So I’m home alone with a baby A LOT. And I love her and it’s actually fun hanging with her a lot of the time now… but that is an awful lot of time to be alone with a baby, especially because of….

2) Healing issues! I had a c section. I’ll write more about that, but for now let’s just say… RECOVERY SUCKS. Especially when you’re home alone. And also…

1) Feeding issues! This will also be a separate post, but has been by FAR our biggest challenge in taking care of Fiona. I have shed more tears over trying to get this little girl fed than I have about anything else in my entire life. Including a rather epic breakup I had in college. When you have trouble feeding your kid, there is nothing worse. They are so tiny and you just want them to be healthy, and when you can’t figure out how to make that happen, it is wholly heartbreaking. And at 2 months, we have still not quite worked this out. I think we may be on our way to a solution, and I can’t even express how excited I’ll be to not have every feeding session be such a struggle!

 

And this got long… so stay tuned for my next post of things that are awesome!