Sunday, September 30, 2007

MBB: Most Beautiful Baby

Last night we went to Sue and Mike's Oktoberfest party and Lily was a big star. She was quite content most of the evening. We think she likes being around lots of people, so she's a good party baby. Many relatives who'd not seen her yet finally got to see her and thought she was the bee's knees. Sue's mom said she was "the most beautiful baby I've ever seen." Wow. She got to be held by several different people and seemed to like them all. Except maybe this one woman...I turned around at one point to see that Mary was no longer holding Lily, but a younger woman next to her was, and I didn't recognize her. She didn't really look like she knew how to hold a baby and was kind of struggling. I half-jokingly said "Who are you and what are you doing with my baby?" and she turned around to me and said "Hi, I'm Renee." And I was waiting for "I'm Sue's friend," or "I know Mike from Med School," but nothing. I don't think she's a Mommy. I then half-jokingly said "Can I see some identification?" and a bunch of people laughed but Renee didn't really get it and just said something about a slide show downstairs and handed me Lily. Hmmm.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

What I Want Tonight

Sleep. For both.

Night of the Living Fussbudget

That was last night. When the baby never went to sleep. Or slept on me after I breastfed her but as soon as I put her back in the crib, it was "Hey, hey, I'm not asleep!"

I got about 1 hour of sleep, I think. Then today it was the same, no sleeping, only fussing and crying. Oh my God am I tired. I got some breakfast about noon while holding baby and then I barfed some of it back up. Mmmm. When I breastfed her in the afternoon, she seemed calm and asleep afterwards, laying on me, but as soon as I lay her in the crib, spit up explosion through the mouth and the nose and all over the covers. Aw!! Po baby. It was a rough day.

I did get to go get a haircut after John got home, but I don't like it much. My normal stylist is off on maternity leave still and so I got "Lolita" instead. How can you get a boring haircut from a woman named "Lolita"?

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

That's what my day was like today. Or I guess it's yesterday now, I just haven't gotten to bed yet and it's past 2am.

The Good: the breastfeeding is going much smoother now, usually not a wrestling match. Lily latches on and is quiet and steady and happy. The LC (lactation consultant) said I should be more of a "drill sergeant" in getting her to eat faster, that when she stops sucking, I need to immediately rub her arm or back or tickle her to get her going again. Excuse me, a "drill sergeant"? Is that really necessary, to go all militant on my baby? Other than for my convenience, why does she have to eat faster? Won't that just make her spit up more? In the hospital they were more concerned about making sure she was pacing herself, stopping to breathe and slow down. That seems more like it to me. I'm a slow eater, always have been, and I'm told that's good for my digestion. So why should I force my baby into bad eating habits?

The Bad: Headache. Right between the eyes. Probably because of the weather. We keep getting storms and low pressure systems, which create high pressure systems in my head. The Percoset I was using had suddenly started making me throw up after I swallowed it, even though it had worked fine before. So they gave me Vicadin, which always makes me think of Bret Favre and my gall bladder attacks. Well, you would think Vicadin would kick the headache to the curb, but no. The Vicadin does almost nothing. So I went back to the Perco today and cut it up and took it in shifts with water and food in between and that seemed to work. And it helps much more with the headache. It makes me drowsy and relaxed, which is good, but also bad because I get so sleepy I go cross-eyed when I'm breastfeeding because breastfeeding releases more sleepy chemicals, Prolactin, I think.

The Ugly: I got overwhelmed tonight because of all the little details piled onto lack of sleep. I breastfed Lily at 1am and it went fine, she did great. But the breast she wasn't latched onto leaked all over her sleeper, so I had to change it. Then I held her for a while because I love holding her, but also because the Pede says holding the baby upright for 20 minutes after she finishes eating can help prevent spit up. So I put her in her crib, all nice and sleepy, and guess what? A spit up explosion! Out the mouth, the nose, it was a wonder her head wasn't spinning around like in The Exorcist! I scooped her up and away to the changing table to clean her up and it just kept coming up no matter what I did. I felt so bad for her, that barf through the nose just can't feel good. Po baby. So I started crying. She seemed to be pretty calm, though. So I woke up John and he held her while I cleaned up the barf and the barf rags and myself and went to pump the overflowing breast. Jeez.

But let's go back to the Good. I'm feeling closer to my baby lately. I love holding her and kissing her and looking into her eyes. I feel so happy when I can comfort her when she's upset. It feels good that she and I are figuring out together how to do the breastfeeding thing, because it is a joint effort. In fact, I find that when she nurses, I am less sore than when I pump. And they do get sore, these milk machines. Sometimes I get really cranky about it. Anyway, I remember when I first held Lily in the hospital and she felt so fragile and tiny. Then when we got her home, I still felt awkward holding her, picking her up, trying to support her head and hug her body, and just carry her around. Now it feels right, like I know where she fits. That's a really satisfying feeling, affirming that I am THE MOMMY.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Baby Calls

Like bird calls, once you learn them, you know what each one means ("Chicken Hawk approaching, fly away quickly"; "Hey, baby, wanna mate?"; etc.). So I'm learning Lily's different baby calls, which at this point are all pretty much baby cries. Generally the loudest one, the one she really puts her all into, is the one that means "I'm hungry. NOW," or, more literally, "My God, aren't you people ever going to feed me??!!" Then there's the kind of whiny one that's a bit half-assed. That one usually means "I'm tired but you can't make me go to sleep. So there." Several others are still a mystery.

I've had a couple dreams where she could actually talk in words and it freaked me out. One of them she said "I want to go home" and when I looked closer, I found it wasn't my baby I was carrying, but some other child who I quickly put down before anyone might accuse me of being a babynapper.

One-Arm Carry

I'm getting better at this. I can carry Lily with one arm and hold the bottle or other necessary item with the other. At first I thought this would be impossible, because I need to support her body and head, but I think it's getting easier as she can hold her head up more. I'd wear pants with pockets all the time so I could carry other stuff. Now it's getting better. But sometimes she'll just wing her head back and scare the crap out of me!

So now that you aren't supposed to let babies sleep on their tummies anymore (they call the campaign "Back To Sleep"--yes, we got a handout in the hospital), you have to give them tummy time while they're awake. So we do it on the play mat a few minutes a day, and it's torture to watch her struggle, I hate it. She gets all frustrated, which is normal, but I hate seeing her unhappy! I want to reach over and help, but then I know that would just delay her getting stronger. Ugh.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Blah Day

Today I've felt sick like I'm getting a cold, so John stayed home and I slept until noon. It was good to sleep, but I still feel just drained of energy and motivation to do anything. Lily has been good today, I've breastfed her a a couple of times with success, but I am just so tired. It's a little scary, feeling sick when I have this little bundle of energy to take care of, so I'm really glad John could stay home today.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Start Reading To Your Child Early

And pick quality reading material.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

LGB's: Little Golden Books

I still have a bunch of these from when I was a kid in the 60's, and even some from when my sis Kathy was growing up in the 50's. I just love these books. The old ones are the best, now known as "classic" Little Golden Books. They also now have "character" LGB's, including Barbie, but let's not talk about that. Anyhow, Random House has been reissuing a lot of the old classics, so they're not hard to find. I've been going through the Paperback Swap database and using my credits on getting them. One of my personal favorites (that I still have) is now on the "classics" list: The Monster At the End Of This Book, starring Grover from Sesame Street. Ah, Grover, so loveable. This was B.E., that is, Before Elmo, who I find patronizing. He and Barney are just sickening, I'm sorry.

Garage Sale -- score!

I haven't been to hardly any garage sales this season, and I miss it. I missed the huge annual one over at Minnehaha Academy, dangit. So this morning on the way home from an appointment, I allowed myself to follow one sign and go see what I could find. Baby stuff! I got a bouncy chair for $5! It's a Fisher Price and looks very similar to the the one Carrie Kennedy is loaning us until her second bambino arrives. They probably cost about $30-40 new. I also got a a couple of clothing thingees and a Little Golden Book that I'll either use for altering or keep to read to Lily. I love garage sales and thrift stores. Some people buy lottery tickets, I like finding deals.

Friday, September 21, 2007

First Public Breastfeeding of Lily!

Yes, I actually breastfed her away from home. This is a huge deal for me. I still can't imagine wearing a nursing shirt and having that work, just tucking her in there like it's nuthin'.

So when I say public, I don't mean I sat in a public area, with signs pointing the way to the spectacle: "Free Show! Boobies! This way!" No, no, no. I visited John at work and after our lunch together we went to a private room to feed Lily. General Mills actually has at least half a dozen "mother's rooms" for breastfeeding or pumping. And they aren't little closets, either, they're really nice. The one we went into had a big comfy chair with nice fat arms to rest my arms on while holding Lily, a little shelf attached to one side where you could set your drink or something (breastfeeding and pumping make you really thirsty), a sink, a fridge, a big table, parenting magazines, and they even had breast pumps!! Way to go, General Mills.

So Lily did absolutely great with the breastfeeding. Good Baby! Minimal wrestling to get her latched on.

More Secret Words from the Breast Pump

My friend Lisa commented in my previous post about the breast pump talking to me that I should listen to music while I'm pumping so I can't hear the voices...but I like the voices! Maybe she's worried I'll start hearing it tell me to go postal.

Tonight while I was pumping and John was holding the baby, he said it sounded like it was saying a lot of different things:
powder bush
pile of what?
roquefort sofa
go Smith
don't stop
low flat
what now?

Wow, I think he's more tired than I am today. My favorite is "pile of what?" Well, he is technically sick, maybe that has something to do with it. I had to take him home from work cuz he had a bad stomach ache. So now he's hallucinating more than I am. Insanity loves company, isn't that a famous quote?

Binky Falls Out then Baby Wants It Back Immediately

Would it be wrong to duct tape it in place? Oh, shut up, I'm only kidding.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mom Loves Being A Grandma

I so love this picture of my Mom holding Lily. She just can't believe how fun it is to be a Grandma! It's really sweet to see in my Mom, that she's gotten this unexpected gift she never knew she wanted until it came.

Fore and Aft

Like a ship. Actually, it's fore and hind, like parts of a cow or other livestock. If you haven't guessed, I'm talking about breastmilk. Evidently there are two types of breastmilk: foremilk and hindmilk. It sounds like hindmilk should be from, oh, I don't know, your butt? But it isn't. Foremilk is the milk that comes out first in each feeding (or pumping), and hindmilk is the part that comes out at the end. Evidently, the foremilk is more watery, and the hindmilk is the rich stuff with the most nutrients. So the hindmilk is what's best for the baby. Of course it is, because that's going to be the hardest to get to. Now the Lactation Consultant says I have so much milk (good Lord, and to think how worried I've been about milk production) that it would be better if I could express or pump out some of the foremilk before I feed Lily, so that she's not eating too much "salad." Well, that's convenient. NOT! Crikey. I'm trying it, but you know, when Lily starts crying because she's hungry NOW, she's not too keen on waiting 10-15 minutes while Mommy hooks up and dumps the salad.

I'm cranky because breastfeeding has not gone well today. I suppose it's normal to have good days and bad days. She just wouldn't latch on to the right side this morning and I couldn't deal with it so I had to heat up a bottle. Which of course meant putting her down in the crib while I got the bottle ready, and she was crying and screaming unhappily. Aw. I feel bad for her when she can't latch on. It's like we're both trying so hard and we just can't get it sometimes.

Right now I can write because I have her in the Moby. It's the cradle hold and it's the first time we've tried this hold. I don't think she likes it too much, she looks a little squished. But I thought that was kind of the goal of this holder thingee, to squish baby up next to Mommy. Hmm. Well, some days you're just a fussy baby, I guess.

Sleep is a beautiful thing

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Explosive Poo

What's up with the anti-gravity poo? I'm holding Lily upright and suddenly there's a diaper-filling noise, and it goes up her back! Yipes! I think the diapers are on tight enough, it's just that the poo is so, um, forceful? Kind of scary.

The other day John had her diaper off for changing, and as will sometimes happen, his timing was off, and the poo exploded with no happy little nappy (there are Sesame Street muppet characters on these particular diapers) to contain it. It shot out like 4 feet onto a closet door! I couldn't help it, I said, "Holy Crap!" Then I cleaned it up while we were laughing. And she just lied there contentedly, kicking her little feet while John did damage control on the changing pad.

Why am I not breastfeeding all the time?

This was the question the lactation consultant asked me this week when I came in with Lily. If it's working so much better now, what's stopping me from doing it exclusively, as in no bottles, (even if what is in the bottles is breast milk)? I felt like I couldn't just say "because I don't wanna." But the more I think about it, no, I don't wanna all the time. Sometimes I want Daddy to feed the baby, which won't happen if she's always nursing. I think there's important bonding there. Sometimes I don't have the energy to deal with the concentration necessary for breastfeeding (keep her chin up, nose out, make sure she's latched on properly, tickle her to wake her up if she gets drowsy and stops sucking, if she is sucking 4 times between swallows, it's time to switch to the other breast, etc., etc., etc.). It's a lot of frickin' work. Sometimes I love doing it, but sometimes not. That seems normal. I don't want to be supermom.

She also said she wondered why the Neosure and Iron supplements are necessary, as our Pede doc said they are for about a year. The LC is sure my breast milk contains all the magical powers of nutrient that Lily needs, you know, nature and all that. Ah, c'mon. I think I'll have to side with the Pede doc on this one.

Should Baby Count for the Carpool Lane?

I think so. But then I would, being a new mom with a fussy baby in the backseat who I can't reach or see. I want the fastest possible way there, wherever there is. And besides, she's a future driver. The carpool lane doesn't have a sign that says "you must be this tall to go on this lane," so there. I mean, hey, I don't count the dog when I'm driving with her, so I'm not that crazy. But I think baby should count to get me carpool lane perks.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My Breast Pump Talks to Me

I just got this new breast pump because it's time to relinquish the fancypants one we've been renting and insurance has been covering for 3 months. And the new one is not so quiet as the $2000 hospital-grade one. It makes a lotta noise and I swear it sounds like words. Not always the same words, either. One moment it's "halibut" and the next it's "The Black Pearl." It probably changes with my psychological state. For instance, the other night I was writing a letter to my dear aunt Louise, who is dying, and I could hear the pump saying, in the voice of my grandfather, "hell of a thing." I know it sounds like I'm on drugs, and okay, I am, but not those kinds of drugs.

The Glamour of Breastfeeding

Yeah, right. Well, I finally went to a lactation specialist this week and got a lot of help. She told me stuff the LS's in the hospital never mentioned, like how if baby keeps coming off the breast but wants more, and she's making a lot of noise breathing, it's because the milk is coming too fast. Solution? Slouch down backwards so gravity will help slow the flow. So now I'm slouching down to the point of reclining, and Lily is doing great! This makes me very happy. And it doesn't hurt, what a miracle! The other thing the LS said was that when the milk is coming too fast, baby will draw back her suck from the whole aereole to the tip of the nipple, which is excruciatingly painful. Aha! Finally some useful information.

I was really crabby for several weeks after bringing her home, about the bill of goods I was sold about breastfeeding. The medical profession really pushes hard on the idea of breastfeeding being the best thing for you to do for baby, but they don't talk about the difficulties. The general message is that if it hurts, you must be doing it wrong. Thank you so much, I needed that self-esteem boost, especially being a new mom and trying to figure all this out.

I'm not doing all the little widgety adjustments the LS told me, but hey, I'm getting the main thing, getting her latched on and comfy and it doesn't hurt me. It's just ridiculous how many tiny adjustments they show you, like I'm going to remember all that. Not to mention the fact that it's a wrestling match with hungry baby to get her latched on right, during which she can get frustrated (along with me) and start crying. Of course then I have a nice big open mouth to aim at the breast and if I can get her on the crying stops immediately! Magic!