Some Crazy Things and Updates

I wanted to document some things we’ve been experiencing, so that I don’t forget later on.

  • As noted before, I’ve been reading the book, “No-Cry Sleep Solutions” by Elizabeth Pantley, and I absolutely love it! It has so many suggestions for gently encouraging your baby to sleep that does not include the Crying-It-Out Method, which as we all know, is controversial and no parent does it willingly or happily. Dave doesn’t like that method, and while I’m more consistent with it myself, I don’t like it either because it just breaks my heart to hear her “cry it out.” So over the last week, one of the things I’ve been working on is encouraging her to get an earlier bedtime. It used to be anywhere between 9p and 10:30p. Sometimes even 11p if she’s really fussy and annoyed with us. Heh. I want her to sleep sometime between 8p and 8:30p, to begin with. And eventually by 7:30p. That is the ideal. So I’ve created a pretty stringent “bedtime routine” with her that starts out at 8p to start with. The time doesn’t matter, but the sequence of events does, apparently.
  • Our sleep routine now looks like this: lights dimmed out all throughout the house, sleep music on in her room, she gets changed into her night time diaper, she gets oiled and creamed up by Mommy, gets a massage in the meantime, gets into her pajamas, gets zipped up into her potato-sack sleeping bag, story time in her room on the rocking chair (around 3 or 4 books, to settle her down), lights out while nursing last bottle, burp, rock to sleep in rocking chair or standing up with her “lovey” (her stuffed bunny blankey she sleeps with). When she’s about 85% asleep, we put her into her crib.

    That’s her lovey, the pink bunny!
  • (Note: first 3 days of this new routine was a NIGHTMARE. Yes, absolute NIGHTMARE. It took us over 2 hours to get her settled and into bed, asleep. She wouldn’t have it, and she was confused as to why all the lights were out, and why we were hanging out in her room. After that, piece of cake. The whole routine now takes approximately 20 minutes to complete, from start to sleep finish!)
  • She started going to sleep at 8:30p when the bedtime routine became a success. This was aided by earlier nap times encouraged during the day. She now has late morning naps and mid-afternoon naps, so that she’s ready for bedtime at around 8p-ish. At first, going to bed earlier than 9p didn’t cut it for her. While she easily went down, she didn’t stay down for the whole night. She had about 3 awakenings during the night to start with. Sometimes hungry, sometimes fussy and confused and wants a Mommy-cuddle, and sometimes just wide awake (to which I had to rock her back to sleep in the dark). However, the first successful early-bedtime night was last night! She slept 11 hours straight, no wakings, not even binky emergencies. Woohoo!!!
  • I am now working with her on falling asleep on her own without crying in her crib. Slow classical conditioning, basically. She likes her binky a lot, so it’s not as hard as it would be, but eventually I will wean the binky out as well.
  • Her rash on her face has 98% cleared away. I think it is because the breast milk I’ve been giving her from our storage slowly eliminated eggs. We were using the earlier stash, when I was still eating eggs. Now that we’re dipping into the later stash, some without eggs, her skin has cleared considerably.
  • To date, she has tried the following solid foods: rice cereal, peas, carrots, apple sauce, barley cereal, and avocado. She likes them all except apple sauce (she just has to get used to the different “fruit” taste after getting so much vegetable taste with peas and carrots). She LOVES avocado. She broke out into hives a couple hours after trying barley cereal, so we think she may be allergic. Or intolerant. We may try it again in a couple of weeks to see if it has improved.

    Here she is eating avocado (yesterday) for the first time. It was a surprise taste in her mouth, but she kept opening her mouth for more, so yay!
  • My milk supply is decreasing. I had really sore nipples for the past two weeks, so I wasn’t able to pump as often. This has created my milk supply to lower considerably. I am only making about a bottle and a half a day, versus the 8 bottles I used to make. Ouch. So we decided that we will stretch out the rest of the BM supply and supplement with formula until she’s a year old. We gave her formula (organic) for the first time this morning, since she was a newborn. Within minutes, she broke out into hives and rashes all over her body. OMG!! I bathed her in warm water, creamed her up, and within a couple hours, the rash and hives were gone. She had a bit of cough, and we were afraid she was going to have some respiratory issues, but it seemed to have gone away. She may be lactose-intolerant. We’re going to have to see her doc again to see what will be recommended. I’m uncertain about going soy-based for formula, since I’ve heard a lot of aluminum and extra estrogen can be found in soy, and we don’t want that. *sigh* This girl has so many sensitivities. I hope she grows out of them.
  • She has become quite good at scooting backwards while on her tummy. Still working on going forward though!
  • She can now get onto her hands and knees, in the ready-to-crawl position. She doesn’t quite know how to manage the next steps from there, though. Hehe.
  • She is making more “conversational” sounds, or what sounds like conversational sounds. Her favorite sayings are, “Da? Da da da da da!!” Da?” and “Oh? Oh oh oh? Oh?!” And of course, the grunts continue too.

And to end this long post, here are a couple of photos of Lily Bean.

Daddy and Lily Bean having a cuddle.

Boy, look at that face. We’re in trouble!

Some New Things

Lily has been doing so many new things lately. We could hardly keep track! It seems like she is growing exponentially. She’s getting geared up to start her first solid foods — rice cereal — pretty soon. We’re making it a day o’ fun for her. Nana Sylvia will come over to witness the awesome event, and it’s going to be so darn cute. I bought her first utensils and bowls and containers yesterday (I had to wait till I get paid before I could do so), and I’m so excited to use them!

Some things she is doing that seems to have appeared out of nowhere:

  • She’s bouncing a LOT. She is always bouncing. Boingy boingy boingy. Before we got the jolly jumper, that was her main source of entertainment. She wanted us to hold her in an upright, standing position and off she goes — bounce bounce bounce. She really likes exercising those strong legs of hers. Now, we can’t get her off the jolly jumper. She cries! She even tries to do the bouncing motion while she’s feeding!
  • She’s giggling and laughing at anticipation. This is AWESOME because we recognized that she was giggling when we tickled her. Then, after a while, she would start giggling knowing that our hands were coming near. I’m trying to get a video of it because it’s SO DARN CUTE! “Here comes the ticky ticky finnggeersss…!!” and out comes those cute little baby giggles and these big, wide grins on her face. She squeaks and squeals at the anticipation of being giggled. That is SO awesome. Cause and effect, baby!
  • She is “making strange,” as Nana Sylv puts it. She is on the timid side when out of the home, even at family gatherings. Sometimes, she won’t even let Daddy hold her — only Mommy! Now, she is getting better, especially since over the holidays, when we had lots and lots of family gatherings and family events. Separation anxiety is pretty big right now. I’m trying to take her out more to help alleviate her timidness — out on my errands and stuff like that.
  • We took her to the allergy pediatrician on the 29th, and after a series of tests, we have determined that she is VERY allergic (and I mean, VERY — hives and all) to eggs — both egg yolk and egg white. She’s mildly allergic to cats (dander and saliva). So, now I am completely off eggs (grr), and the doc gave me strict orders to de-clutter the house and vacuum more often and shave the cat. Okay, just kidding. But we do have to give Tink more baths. Boy she’s going to love that. I also have to get back on a meat diet because I can’t eat eggs, and have to limit my nuts intake. Need more sources of protein.
  • She’s recognizing our sign language practices more and more regularly now. Especially “milk” and “hungry.”
  • She is really much stronger on her tummy, lifting both arms straight up to hold herself up. She likes doing this and squirming around to see where she can go. She is still trying to flip from her back to the stomach.
  • She’s finally gone from a “small” to a “medium” size in her cloth diapering. It’s cute. She’s only 13 pounds, solid, and it’s already been 5.5 months! We started moving her up to the “medium” size in her BumGenius 3.0s when we realized she was leaking more and more out of the small sized snaps because it was too small for her.

I know there are more, but I don’t remember them. Heh. Meanwhile, on my end, I’m going to be gradually decrease my pumping/breast feeding. It’s time to start using the savings supply we have in the freezer. I think about another month and a half or maybe even two, I should be able to completely stop breastfeeding and pumping altogether. She’s taking the bottle very well now (as well as the boob whenever I give it to her). I have enough frozen BM in our freezer to last at least a few months, especially when she starts eating solids and being introduced to other sources of sustenance outside of just breast milk. This is great, as I am really hating pumping. It’s tedious, annoying, and sometimes makes my back hurt because I have to bend over like a crooked old lady while I pump so that the milk doesn’t pool and puddle around the nipple area. Someone should get on it and make better pumps so that at least we can pump with dignity, darn it!!

Here’s how much is stored in our free-standing freezer. We had to get a freezer just for breast milk because I was overflowing our refrigerator freezer after just a few weeks. There are actually THREE levels to this freezer. You are seeing the first two levels, as the last level is completely full of breast milk. Time to start using up this supply.

It’s crazy to think that my two B-sized boobs made all this milk in just a little over 4 months. :P Crazy, huh?

Here’s a video of Lily Bean laughing and giggling away while my sister is holding her. We learned just a couple of days ago that Lily loves when we make farm animal sounds. So we were trying to figure out which animals would make her laugh. It was hilarious the expressions she gave us.

The Boob Juice Supply

In case you’re curious, this is how much boob juice I make per day… approximately 10 bottles, each bottle having 6 ounces. She drinks approximately 6 bottles per day, and nurses twice. It’s neat knowing how much she drinks with the bottle.

I can store up to two bottles per day in our freezer. While I was sick, I was making less milk (or rather, just enough for her each day, and no extra). So now I’m getting back to the regular groove of being able to save about 10 to 12 ounces in the freezer per day, outside of what she already drinks. She’s drinking more and more each day, too, so I’m keeping up the supply. At this rate, I’m hoping that I can quit nursing/pumping altogether at around 8 to 9 months, and just start using our freezer supply up until a year. She’ll start solids at 6 months.

The Lily’s Independence

Our little Lily Bean is a see-saw. What do I mean by that, you ask? Well, she can roll over, but she doesn’t think she can. We’ve seen her do it before, but she’s convinced herself that it’s very hard, so now she’s see-sawing from one side to the next. Sticks her cute cloth diaper bum up into the air, and tries to roll over bum-first. Then she flips back onto her tummy. It’s very cute.

She’s been seeing a lot of her Nana Sylv (Dave’s mom), and she loves spending time with The Nana. It’s good to have at least one grandparent in the picture on a regular basis, especially Nana. Nana is good for the Lily Bean. She’s going to have a great relationship with her.

Lily Bean’s latest and greatest task is being able to push her hand on our chest when we’re holding her, so that she can prop herself up a little more straight to look around the room in a more upright position. She’s depending less on us to hold her in a position she wants to be, and learning that she can do it herself for the most part. When she can’t, she yelps for help. Heh. Cutie pie.

She’s also reaching out for our faces and exploring our facial features. She likes touching my mouth and nose, and loves when I kiss her hand. It’s very cute.

“What is that silly face for, Daddy?”

Feeding Update

I haven’t updated regarding how breast feeding has been going in a long time. After the first month was over, things got a LOT easier. Dave and I went out to buy the Medela hand pump, but it didn’t work very well. Having to hand pump for one drop at a time on each boob was a real big waste of time. So I begged and begged the husband to go back to the store to get the electric Medela Swing pump. He did. I got my money’s worth. Now I’m pumping milk 3 to 4 times a day, and making enough milk for twins. I’m storing whatever Lily doesn’t drink everyday in the freezer, and now our freezer is overfilled with stored bags of breast milk. It’s weird, I know. This is for when I go back to work and can’t feed her on my own.

In the beginning, Lily got used to the bottle right away because my milk wasn’t coming in. She at first preferred the bottle over the boob because it was quicker and easier. Immediate gratification and all. I was having a really hard time due to my emotional chemical imbalance after giving birth. I felt all sorts of guilt and shame. I’m glad that didn’t last very long. After about a week, Lily proved to be as smart as we thought she was, and took to both the bottle and the boob consistently and regularly. Now, I’m learning to recognize when she prefers one over the other, and we’re both learning from each other. I’m not feeling as guilty, and am just glad she is eating as much as she is, and gaining weight adequately. She’s gained half of her birth weight by the end of 2 months, so I’m happy.

There is no guilt associated with how much she recognizes me and loves me. Every time she sees me after a nap, her face lights up and she smiles and smiles. And then she’d babble and talk to me like she hasn’t seen me in years. I just love it. It makes my heart warm up and I feel like it’s going to burst with joy and pride and love.

Now, the patterns of feeding are as follows:

- She likes to take the boob in the middle of the night when she wakes up for a feeding. It’s faster, and easier. She also feeds QUITE quickly, very rarely exceeding 10 minutes at a time. This worried me at first, as I thought that she wasn’t getting enough when she fed off me. However, when I realized that I can get a full 6 oz at a time when I’m pumping, in about 10 minutes, I realized that Lily’s getting more than her fair share even after just 8 minutes of latching on.

- Right before bedtime (around 8:30p to midnight, depending on when she wants to fall asleep), Lily enjoys the bottle much more. This is when she is her fussiest, yelling out that she’s tired but can’t seem to fall asleep. She’s just absolutely exhausted, and when I try to latch her, she screams bloody murder. She won’t take my boob no matter how hard I try. When we try the bottle with her, it’s instant and she falls asleep right away.

- During the day, it can come and go as she pleases. Sometimes she prefers the boob, sometimes she prefers the bottle. She is definitely getting both regularly everyday. When Dave feeds her, she of course gets the bottle, and she enjoys that just as much as she does when she’s latching on to me.

Nipple confusion lasted about a week, at most. After that, I think it was just that I had to accept that she wants the bottle during some feedings and the boob during others. We have a very versatile, adaptable little girl in our hands, folks! I think it helped that the first two days after birth, she took to the boob right away, and then introducing the bottle on the third day. She was able to get used to both at a very early age.