Thursday, March 27, 2014

Our Breastfeeding Relationship

Next week we are starting Emma on solids, starting with puréed sweet potatoes! Up until now, she has been exclusively breastfed and rarely taken a bottle. That's 7 months of mama feeding and bonding. It's definitely become one of my favorite parts of the day and of being a mom. We use a baby tracker for feedings, sleep and diapers so I actually have a rough estimate of how many total hours have been spent feeding. Yes this might sound OCD to some, but it has been a lifesaver for us when rotating duties back and forth every day and it helps to see how much sleep and how many minutes of feedings she has had per day and how much more she may need.

So we've spent about 347 hours breastfeeding...that's a little over two full weeks! Yes of course it wasn't easy in the beginning. It took months to figure each other out. We dealt with a tongue tie, over supply, dairy allergies and many sleepless nights (still not sleeping through the night)...but it's all been worth it and my favorite part of this motherhood journey so far. I feel truly blessed to be able to do this and don't take it for granted for one second.

There's a part of me that is sad Emma is going to start "weaning" next week, it means she's growing up! I never thought I'd say this, but I'm happy to keep nursing as long as her and I would both like to. It's such a beautiful thing, why stop? Plus, breastmilk is amazing, it heals nearly everything. Can't be bad for her to keep getting liquid gold, right? :)

We're so anxious to see her face and reaction to those first few bites of sweet potatoes. We can tell she's ready to start, she stares at/grabs our food and grabs my hand with her supplements and puts them in her mouth. It's pretty cute!

Side note: I added up how much I've pumped in the last 7 months: 312 oz...most of which is dairy filled and can't be used to feed my baby! :(

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sensitive Baby

Oh how I just love those squishy chubby baby legs and those cute little toes and feet that wrap around each other. I took this picture a few days ago, after we had an entire week of being rash free! I can't believe I just said that…no rashes at all, none. Not sure if I mentioned it, but her rashes were really bad…and I know all babies get rashes (plenty of people have told me this), but I'm pretty sure its not normal or ok for those rashes to bleed all over baby's bedding at night.

Of course, being rash-free meant it was time to introduce some foods back in to my diet to see if anything affected her skin. Our doctor suggested introducing dairy first (the one I felt like was the cause of the problem), so for two nights in a row, I ate a giant bowl of vanilla ice cream. I have to say, after almost two months of being completely dairy free, it did not sit well with me and I actually didn't even like the taste of it. Can you believe it?!

We gave it a little time to process through my system and hers and yesterday, we got our answer. Her cheek rash started flaring up a tiny bit and she developed eczema again on her neck, chest, arms, behind the knees and diaper area. Well, we know I can't eat a giant bowl of ice cream now, but after this clears we'll test for the eggs, peanuts and other sources of dairy like cheese.

While I obviously didn't want her to be sensitive to anything at all, I guess it's kind of a blessing in disguise. I've lost weight the past few weeks and feel better than ever! I'm not too sad about cutting it out of my diet for her sake, but it just becomes an inconvenience when eating at restaurants or other's houses. Hopefully this isn't a life-long thing for her and she grows out of it soon. We've been delaying giving her solids (per doctor's recommendation) because when introducing food, you want to look for rashes and reactions. Well, we'd have a difficult time deciphering what the reactions were to if she was sensitive to something so it's best to wait. If we can get this all sorted out by the time she is 7 months, we'll start then. But really, there's no rush.

The doctor also told us that she has extremely sensitive skin and we need to be careful what we use on her. We have spent so much on creams and lotions and shampoos, it's ridiculous. But, we finally have a regimen that seems to be working. The medicated cream we had is a miracle worker and we found a combination of lotions that work great. We just picked up some super sensitive (and natural) sunscreen, kind of sticker shock on how much it was for a tiny bottle, but with the weather warming up, we need to sure to keep her well protected.

It's nice to have some questions answered and to finally be able to know we can improve her skin and she doesn't have to be super rashy all the time. While I know eczema never really goes away, it feels like we have some control over it now. I'm one happy mama!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Emma: 6 months

Date: March 3

Stats: 14 lbs, 14 oz (25th%), 26.5 in long (75th%) – long and lean baby with chunky legs :)

Sleep: She goes to bed around 6:30pm, falls asleep around 6:45 after taking up a storm and I dream feed her before I go to bed around 9:30. I ended up taking out the midnight dream feed and just let her go as long as she can…usually that is until between 2-3am depending on when that dream feed happened…but lately I think she's waking at that time because she's pooping in the middle of the night again. :( I change her, feed her and then she's back down until about 6 or 6:30am. It's a pretty good routine! Her naps are also doing well as long as we hit the sleepy cues early and don't go over.

Feeding: Exclusively breastfed. Eating every 3 hours during the day, sometimes closer to 4 hours. No solids yet, waiting until around 7 months or until her rashes start improving.

Clothing size: 3-6 month clothing is getting tight, also wears 6-12 month sizes. Just got her some new spring clothes in 9 month size and they fit perfectly!

Likes: riding in the carrier with mommy while we water the garden, not having socks on, stroller strides on Tuesdays and Thursdays, hanging out in mommy and daddy's bed in the morning on weekends, her new Comotomo teething toy, chewing on everything

Dislikes: being overtired while riding in the car, starting to get separation anxiety when someone else holds her

Teeth: None, but we can see two bumps on the bottom!

Biggest changes: She has definitely started teething. It will be so crazy to see her big smile with teeth there! She's super content most of the time and likes just being part of the action and observing everything. She is a big talker and talks herself to sleep at every nap and at bedtime. It's been a challenge with naps because she suddenly will only sleep in her crib and not anywhere else – it makes getting out of the house difficult. We have lost pretty much all the hair on the back of her head! Some of it is starting to grow back in and it's looking really light and blonde. We'll see what her hair ends up looking like…I think I see a curl forming in the front too. She is sitting up now with her arms supporting her and is rolling all over the place. She's gotten better at repositioning herself in the crib by scooting around. We're noticing that she lifts her butt up and is getting herself in crawling position – yikes! She's back in  her cloth diapers and we couldn't be more happy about that. We used disposables for about 3 weeks and towards the end had blowouts almost every day in the car seat. What a mess! Emma and I also joined Stroller Strides/Barre (Fit4Mom) and we try to go 2-3 days a week. It's so fun being outside and working out with her right there. Emma seems to enjoy it too!

Emma's rashes completely cleared up, then she had a flare up, then it went down and then she scratched her cheek up again. It's so close to being gone though! Her cradle cap is STILL there despite our efforts with trying pretty much everything. It's now started bleeding a bit and between that and her cheek bleeding (and other random scratches on her head), she's had bloody sheets a few nights lately. It's really scary and sad to wake up seeing that, but the doctor assured us it's ok and we would look at it at our appointment on Tuesday. I'm still on an elimination diet and treating her with supplements and creams for the rashes, we have our follow up appointment to that this afternoon!