Tuesday, February 24, 2009

ONE month old - already?

I have no idea where the past month has gone. Well, I take that back. The past month has been full of firsts, learning, loving, breastfeeding, diapers, emotions, sleep deprivation, and everything else that comes along with the first month of being a new parent. I'd like to think we are surviving and thriving! Of course some days are easier than others but right now as I look down at my sweet boy, all snuggled up against me, sleeping so soundly, I KNOW that it has all been worth it. The love I feel for him is one that I've never known before...Even when he's screaming his head off and I'm trying to figure out what he needs.

What's been going on over the past month:
Everyone told us that the first two weeks were the most difficult but that was not the case for us. Those weeks had their challenges but he was a pretty easy baby then. He was super sleepy and barely cried at all. He woke every 2 hours to eat and have his diaper changed. He'd give us a few minutes of alert time where he'd gaze at us and his new world, then he'd drift off to sleep again.

I was emotional, especially in the afternoons and evenings. I expected the baby blues, but I thought they'd revolve more around the baby or how our lives have changed. Instead they were about Matt. I missed him even when he was sitting right next to me! I would cry when thinking about him being at work instead of at home with us [Edited to add that he was at home with us for a week and a half. We treasured that time together!]. It was a little unreasonable but it was how I felt. Thankfully, things have improved in that area.

My recovery from labor and delivery was more painful after leaving the hospital but that has also improved.

Breastfeeding FORTUNATELY came easily for Ethan. He got the hang of it right away and I learned with practice. We are also fortunate that the Lactation Consultant at the hospital where we delivered is wonderful!! She has been incredibly helpful and supportive. The hormones that brought on my baby blues/tears came as soon as my milk came in. Wow, I NEVER expected engorgement to be as painful as it was. It was severe and I still think about how insanely uncomfortable those 4 days were.

The next two weeks provided some more challenges. Ethan was showing signs of possibly having reflux and was not as sleepy or as happy. It was obvious that he was in pain. After attending a breastfeeding group and talking with the LC, I decided to start eliminating things from my diet that could be upsetting his digestive system. I miss milk and cheese (and most other dairy) but it seems to have helped him. I also eliminated caffeine and most tomato products. We're still keeping our fingers crossed that his issues were being caused by my diet and not by reflux.

It takes more work to get him to go to sleep then it used to. We're figuring out what works for him, although it can change so quickly (as most things with him do!). He has about an hour of awake time after his feedings. Sometimes he'll pass out before that but most of the time he tries to stay awake and fights sleep... which makes for a cranky baby boy!

He is starting to look more like an infant then a newborn now. Check out the difference after only a month:

He is steadily gaining weight as well. He was 6lbs 12oz at birth and 10lbs even today.

His favorite time of day seems to be the late afternoon. He loves to lay on the changing table after that diaper change and stare at the ceiling fan. We also use that happy time for singing to him, reading a book, and tummy time if he's up for it. He is not a fan of the bouncer chair. I hope he'll like it someday as mom's rave about those types of chairs giving them some free time. I'd love it if he would sit in it while I did things around the house or took a shower but he'll only sit in it for about 3 minutes before he starts fussing. On his 3 week bday he decided that he liked the swing. He does not care to swing side to side but enjoys front to back swinging. He likes to stare at the bookshelf while he swings and *sometimes* falls asleep in it. He also enjoys being carried around in the moby style wrap and the beco butterfly carrier.

Happy 1 month birthday baby boy! This was us...on your birth day. I couldn't have been happier to see you.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

He's already bigger than our cat!

Seriously. In less than four weeks he's gone from 6 pounds 12 ounces to 9 pounds 2 ounces. One of our cats weighs less than that! My tiny newborn baby boy is growing so quickly!

I have a bunch of posts in my mind. I think about creating them but Ethan is keeping me pretty busy these days. He's sleeping on me right now. I'd love to lean down and kiss his cheek but fear waking the beast.

It's been a big week here.
-We celebrated Ethan's first Valentine's Day with a trip to 'Nama's house' (Matt's mother's home). He hung out there while Matt and I went grocery shopping at Wegmans. Probably doesn't sound romantic for a Valentine's outing, but we miss our Sunday tradition and can't wait to include Ethan in that. Ethan did very well while he was there.

-Also on Valentine's Day Ethan met his GREAT Grandparents for the first time! My grandfather hasn't ever changed a diaper and doesn't really hold babies but he held "E.J.". We've been trying that out as a name for him. Grandaddy called him that the entire visit. Too cute!

-We went shopping together for the first time. I needed to get a baby shower gift so we made a trip to Babies R Us. Matt doesn't enjoy errands as much as I do but he was excited about this outing as our family of 3!

-Yesterday was Ethan's first trip to the mall. More shopping :) After nearly a month, I was feeling a little cabin fever. I didn't want to take him out in public this soon (BRU included) but Matt convinced me that it would be okay. Luckily, no one touched him, he slept through most of the outing, and we found some CUTE new outfits for him. We met Matt there over his lunch break and had a fun time.

-We had his first professional photos taken today. He cried through most of the session but we think the photographer was able to get a few good shots. We'll have to wait until early next week to view our proofs.

More later... he's waking.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Helpful items

I loved reading these lists on what was helpful to others during the first few weeks with a newborn. So here is mine...

A boppy pillow. I used it in the hospital and at home for each feeding. It wasn't until the 2nd week that I was comfortable nursing w/o it but I still prefer to use it.

Aden and Anais cotton muslin wraps. Ethan was breaking out of the flannel receiving blankets so these were SUPER helpful during that time. They are also much more breathable while still keeping him warm.

A Swaddle Me was too big for Ethan during the first 2 weeks but we're nearing our 3rd week and he's about 8 pounds now so I tried it again. He fought it like crazy the first time I put it on him but he settled down shortly after and slept much more soundly.

TONS of washcloths. We were given about 30 washcloths and we thought that was WAY too many. Well, Ethan developed a diaper rash during his first week home so we had to stop using baby wipes. We used wet washcloths instead so it was great to have a lot of them. They are also really handy to have on the changing table to cover his penis during changes. We've forgotten or moved it a couple of times and he peed on us, the wall, everything!

Gerber prefold diapers to use as burp cloths. We have these all over the house. They are not great as cloth diapers (not absorbent enough)but fantastic burp cloths. You can get them anywhere (the link I posted was just one that came up with a Google search). I think we bought ours at Babies R Us but I know Target has them too.

MAM pacifiers. We allowed the nurses to give him a pacifier in the hospital since breastfeeding was going well. They gave him one of these. We had some at home too. He didn't really take it much the first two weeks but likes it now. We tried a Soothies brand one too but the nipple was too long. He gagged! This is just what worked for him and was recommended by the Lactation Consultant I've met with.

Ameda Purely Yours breast pump. By day 3 my milk came in and I was SEVERELY engorged. It was incredibly painful. I pumped for comfort and am so glad that I had a pump here at home during the first week. I didn't continue pumping because I didn't want to have an oversupply.
Things that helped me with engorgement were cold compresses, waiting to shower until right after a feeding, and ice packs when it was unbearable.

We had him wear little side snap shirts like they put on him in the hospital. He wore these for about the first week. His umbilical cord stump fell off when he was about 12 days old.

Homedics Sound Spa Lillaby is WONDERFUL! Other ladies recommended it to me and I'm glad I listened to them! We use the ocean sound above his bassinet, which I think reminds him of the sounds in the womb. The projection is nice because I use it as a night light to check on him. It's not a bright light and an easy button to push when I'm trying to determine if he's just grunting in his sleep or waking up to eat.

We call him Mr. Whoozit. Ethan LOVES to look at him while getting his diaper changed. Especially the back of him which is black and white. Ethan is a squirmy little guy and doesn't care for diaper change time. It's nice to have a few moments where he's content during this time ... just gazing at Mr. Whoozit. BTW, I found him for much less on Amazon then the link I posted so search around if you're going to buy it.

Mr. Peacock is another favorite. He is black, white, and red on back so Ethan loves looking at him too. We hang him from the bar of his bouncer. He prefers it to the toys on the bar right now. It gives us a few minutes to eat/get something done.

The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD. I have used it for work so I was familiar with the techniques but reviewed it twice again with Matt before Ethan was born. These techniques have been REALLY helpful in soothing Ethan.

Another soothing item has been an exercise ball. Matt bounces with Ethan and it calms him down and often times puts him right to sleep.

I'm sure there's more and I'll rave about those things later.

Hospital Bag

What to pack in the hospital bag? I often see this question posted so I'll add my list here...

-underwear - didn't wear mine. I wore those awesome mesh ones instead :) Actually, I took 2 pairs of these home and wore them the first 2 days at home too.
-comfy outfit for coming home
-comfy clothes for hospital stay - I didn't wear b/c I sported the hospital gowns the entire time. They were so much easier for breastfeeding.
-robe - was great for when we had visitors
-toiletries - I loved having my usual shampoo & etc to use
-makeup, hairbrush, hair ties - surprisingly I put on makeup the 2nd day b/c Ethan was being seen by the ped and I had energy
-chapstick - I can't live w/o it but it's nice to have when you're breathing through labor pains & drying out your lips
-cash for DH for snacks/meals
-snacks for DH during labor and I ended up eating a cereal bar in the middle of the night while up breastfeeding
-DH's comfy outfit, pajamas, toiletries, etc
-cell phone charger
-pillows from home - I loved that I had these
-it was suggested that I bring my breast pump in case I needed to pump but I didn't need to use it there.
-rice heating pack... would have been great for back labor but by that point I was too focused on my breathing to ask for it
-ipod - again, I was too focused on my breathing to even think about using it
-a little photo album with a few special pictures in it. This probably sounds silly but it can help with distraction for a bit ... pics of our cats, a wedding pic of us, our own birth hospital pics (motivation b/c I wondered if Ethan would look like either of us at birth)
-boppy- this was a necessity and I used it for each feeding
-slippers - I didn't use them but I've heard people who have had to walk the halls did
-nursing bra and tank - I didn't wear one until going home
-baby blanket
-baby outfits for hospital photo and for going home
-baby book for his footprints after birth
-DH swimsuit in case he got in the tub with me but I didn't use the tub

I always overpack and we needed a cart to take all of our stuff out but I'd rather have more than wish I had brought something.