Archive for December, 2008

Getting the sling of it

December 19, 2008

Even before I was pregnant, I assumed I would be a touch earth mama. Most specifically, I had a vision (or fantasy) of myself walking down the downtown mall of Charlottesville, babe in sling, holding a chai latte and running errands. Okay, so maybe it’s more eco-yuppie than hippie chic, but you get the idea. I avoided registering for an infant-friendly stroller and purchased the ergo carrier for my husband, as I would only even need my trusty sling to tote the small one.

Unfortunately, up until last week the small one was having none of this sling thing. Since he was a small to normal sized newborn (7 lbs), my NoJo sling looked huge and I purchased a pocket sling that I planned to use once my c-section scars healed up enough that I was allowed to lift things (about 2 weeks), just to be on the safe side in terms of not destroying my internal stitches (that, and it’s not like I was going anywhere at the time).

The first attempt (at around week 3) was met with abject wailing. You see, we’d been swaddling the small one at night and I think he’d become quite a fan of having his legs straight what with all the being balled up in the womb and all. So when I tried to wedge him into the sling cradle-style, he proceeded to pike his little legs such that I couldn’t possibly squeeze him in comfortably. I was defeated, and after a few more failed attempts over the following week, I resigned myself to putting the sling away until his neck was strong enough that we could try him sitting up, kangaroo style.

Last week, I decided to break out the big guns and try the NoJo out, mostly because while the child is not yet a full 2 months, he is already filling out his 3-6 month clothing and my back was starting to hurt. The NoJo has the benefit of a padded edge, so it works like a cushion for him to lay his head against (unlike the pocket sling, where he ends up with a crease in his check from the fold). It worked! Once I got him wedged in, made sure his legs weren’t sticking out at odd angles, and started walking the house, the small one settled in nicely, looking around quietly and generally being content.

That weekend, he even fell asleep in the sling at a holiday party.

And this week, most of his morning naps have begun in the sling (like now, while I type this very post). I’m even beginning to master the asleep in sling to crib maneuver, but it still needs perfecting.

If only it weren’t so cold (and rainy) outside, I could go grab myself a latte.

Holiday Cheer, sorta

December 16, 2008

We attempted to cart the small one along to his first Christmas party last night, and the biggest lesson we learned is know when to walk off stage.

The hosts are very dear friends of ours, the small one’s godparents as a matter of fact, and many a party at our house has involved their setting up a pack n play in our bedroom so they could stay up past bedtime. We attempted to do the same, arriving 30 minutes early so we could lug in all the requisite baby gear (the aforementioned pack n play, plus the car seat, diaper bag, and the wine and food we brought), set everything up in their guest room and have the little guy happily in the sling on my front before the first guests arrived. And on the arrival part we totally get an A (nothing was forgotten, we left the house on time, we remembered how to set up the damn pack n play and we even managed to mostly  stay out of the hosts’ way while they got ready for the party).

And then the party began. The small one was moderately content in his sling (as long as I kept moving and bopping around, much to the entertainment of the other guests) and even managed to fall asleep on me for a good 30 minutes – the first time he has ever fallen asleep in the sling (heck, the first time the sling didn’t melt into a full blown tantrum after a mere 20 minutes, but I digress). Everyone got to see him, and I even managed to snack on the sweedish meatballs, as they were the one food item that was neither crumbly (cheese board with croustini) nor messy (ribs) nor dangerously drippy (homemade hot wings), and therefore posed the least risk of my blanketing the small one with food droppings.

And then, precisely when he should have been ready for the finally feeding of the night, he awoke. I headed up to the guest room, changed his diaper, nursed him and when I looked at him as I went to put him down, I realized the child was completely and totally awake. And that I had no baby monitor. And that I could never hear him cry from within the depths of the now spirited party. And that I would be subjecting our hosts’ twin 3 year olds and 6 year old to a screaming baby if he didn’t go down, resulting in four unwieldy children. Oh, and he wouldn’t even take his binky.  In short, I was totally screwed.

So I brought him downstairs to see if we could tire him out, but my husband was a little far on the spirited side himself, so the gentle and quite lets get you to bed rocking he’s so good at quickly transitioned into the rocking that is normally used when he’s fussy, which resulted in an even more awake, albeit happy baby.  At this point, we were an hour past bedtime and the hostess, recognizing my look of ditress, fished out one of her old baby monitors from the closet and it was onto attempt number two.

So I put him in the pack n play, got him to take his binky, and headed downstairs with monitor in hand.  And every ten minutes or so he’d spit out the binky, work himself into a tissy, and off I’d run upstairs to re-binky him.  I tried to nurse him again (now that we were 2 hours past bedtime), but he had no interest in it, so I gave up and instead went the route of least resistance – I convinced my husband it was time to leave.  The pack up went relatively smoothly (or as smoothly as it could go when a drunk guy tries to close up a pack n play for the third time ever) and I drove home, hoping the car ride would put the small one right to sleep.

And it did.  Until I put him in his crib when we got home (now 10 PM – three hours past bedtime).  And then the great binky shuffle restarted, with my sticking it in his mouth, his sucking until he nearly falls asleep and then spitting it out such that it lands right next to his head, which he then proceeds to move such that his cheek is smashed up against the binky, waking himself up and starting the whole process over again.  I tried nursing – no interest.  I changed his diaper three more times.  I walked with him.  I tried to get him to lay down with me.  I tried letting him crying it out.  All to no avail, and all while my husband was cuddled up with the dog, passed out on the couch.

And finally, at 11:30, he went down.  He even sleep until 7 AM (although I awoke at 5 PM in desperate need of pumping, as the girls assumed they would still need to be at the ready for a middle of the night feeding).  And the next day he was a-okay fine, as if nothing had changed.

I think the pack n play will only be broken out when we are actually spending the night somewhere – otherwise we’ll be leaving earlier or having people at our house.

On Poop

December 15, 2008

Not the small one’s, my own.

Have you ever had to take a dump under pressure, like when you are at the office or on an airplane and you just want to make things as quick as possible? Sucks, doesn’t it?

Try pooping while your baby is screaming. Oh yeah, and you’re constipated (breastfeeding can do that as you are pretty much always slightly dehydrated from all the milk making).

So how was your morning?

A day off from diapers

December 8, 2008

My husband did the most amazing thing for me this weekend – he gave me Saturday off.  That’s right, After the first morning feeding until we put him down for the night, I didn’t change a single diaper.  And it was wonderful.

It’s amazing just how nice it was to only have to breastfeed the small one – to skip the fussying and crying that inevitably comes with diapering (and the inevitable outfit change, and getting peed on).  By the time the first middle of the night feeding came around and subsequently my first diaper change in 18 hours, I was refreshed and ready for it.  And even though it was only one day, and I still did everything else I normally do for the child, it was one of the most effective vacations I’ve ever taken.   To all you new moms out there, I highly recommend this.  Thanks, husband!

Over-exposed

December 3, 2008

If there’s anything I’ve learned breastfeeding, it’s that modesty goes out the window.

Here’s how the evolution occurred… Day 1 at the hospital and my parents come to visit – I make my dad stand in the entryway while I get the small one to latch on and serve as my nursing cover.  By day 3, I no longer care about nursing in front of my father.  By week 2, I even nurse in front of my little brother, although I believe this proves to be more awkward for him than it was for me. By week 4, I’m nursing at a pre-Thanksgiving get together that a male co-worker of mine is also attending, vaguely covered by a receiving blanket while we discus everything I’ve been missing at the office as of late.

And today… not that I need to be modest in front of my own husband, but today I did the one thing I swore I would never do – I pumped in front of him.  That’s right folks, those sexy fleshy orbs he used to paw at have officially been seen in their most udder-like state.

Of course, there’s context to the story… the small one slept eight straight hours last night (8 PM to 4 AM), which is pretty much the best thing ever.  That being said, no one warned me that despite his sleeping soundly, the child would forgot to let my breasts know, as they were up and ready for the usual 2 AM meet up for drinks and got stood up.  And by ready I mean completely engorged.  So I got up and used my manual pump to drain the worst off side, leaving the other side good and full in case the small one awoke the moment I put the pump down, desperately in need of a milk cocktail.  And two hours later, when he did decide to take a late second dinner, he fed like a champ.  Unfortunately not quite champ enough for my poor left boob (something I was too tired to notice at the time, being that time was 4 freakin’ AM).  So when I got up this morning, said breast was throbbing at the top, where one milk duct managed to clog itself.  This, as you can imagine, is no fun.  I mean hard lump that is visible from across the room that even the manual pump won’t drain no fun.

And so, after I hit breakdown mode this afternoon (the point at which even moving my left arm caused shooting pain, despite having nursed on that side repeatedly), my husband (who is amazing, I might add now) created a one man bucket brigade for hot compresses, dampening a wash cloth with scalding water and running it to me, only to run back and repeat with another so as to try and warm the milk out of my boob from the outside, all while I attempted to pump.  Let me explain this in all it’s gory details – the pump cones I stick over my breasts are a clear plastic, which means you can watch in all its nature channel style authenticity, the milk being sucked from my nipples and collect in what is basically a small ziplock freezer bag.  It was just about the least sexy thing a couple of heterosexual kids could do to a boob shy of performing a dissection.

The good news is it worked and the girls appear to be back in good working order (although slightly worse for the wear and rather sore).  The bad news is that, shy of taking a dump in front of him (there’s one upside of not having given birth vaginally), I don’t think I have any modesty left when it comes to my relationship with my husband.

And I may have to start buying lingerie after today when I someday allow him to get within groping distance again.

A Pacifying Defeat

December 2, 2008

While I didn’t go into parenthood with an opinion on the matter, my husband was firmly against using a pacifier.  So firmly against it he bitched and moaned when I bought one, just in case we had a melt down at 4 AM and I didn’t feel like driving to the 24 hour grocery store in a desperate search for something to sooth our child.

And while yesterday’s scenario was not so severe that it warrants an “i told you so,” we did break down and use the pacifier.  AND IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM!!!

You see, the small one has a terrible rash on his face (not sure if it is excema or just disastrously bad baby acne), and when we put some baby face lotion on it to heal things up a bit (confession – we have a family photo scheduled for today so we may have been a bit over zealous with the cream in the name of vanity) the small one screamed bloody murder.  And then continued to fuss for an hour and a half.  He wouldn’t nurse.  He would only kind of calm down when walked, but even the slightest slowing of pace resulted in a fully alert and none too happy baby.  Even the magic chest that is my husband’s failed to bring him any comfort.  But what really did it was that said husband had a severe bout of stomach pain all last night, leaving him too incapacitated to help me quell the small one.

So I broke out the all natural rubber, hippie dippie pacifier I’d purchased at the local eco shop, which is to say I had to boil water (10 minutes) and then boil the pacifier to sanitize it for it’s first use for 5 minutes.  Meaning that by the time the water was bubbling, the little fellow was asleep in my arms and I put him down upstairs, amused at our close encounter with weakness in the form of oral fixation for our boy.  Of course, the moment I returned downstairs the wailing began again and I rushed to cool off the now clean binky and ran it upstairs.  He took to it right away, closed his eyes and sucked vigorously at that thing for an hour.

And the best part?  He then slept 5 straight hours… meaning I didn’t have to wake up to feed him until 3 AM.  Sure, it was probably all the fussing from earlier that resulted in this record breaking sleep-a-thon, but the pacifier is now here to stay.

I managed to get him back down the rest of the night without it, but it is firmly planted in his mouth right now.  Next I’ll be buying him toy guns and feeding him McDonalds, I know.