Monday, November 22, 2010

For the next one...

It's amazing how much you learn as you journey down this path called parenthood. As we've been transitioning Patrick from his bassinet to his big boy crib, there are several things that I'd change if God were to bless us with another child.
First, I would register for or purchase a video monitor with more than one camera and or monitor. Right now, we've got one camera and one monitor, which is fine when Patrick is in his crib (where the camera is posted) and I'm in the living room (where the monitor is perched). But if I want to take a bath, climb in my own bed, or be anywhere other than the living room, I've got to unplug the monitor and plug it in wherever I am. Also, our monitor is huge, which is a good thing when I'm in the living room. However, when I plop myself into bed at night with the monitor on my night stand, its bright blue light is enough to keep the heaviest sleepers awake.
Second, I will be more perseverant in swaddling the next child. I registered and received several of the swaddles that use velcro. Patrick hated having his arms swaddled, (in fact he sleeps with his arms flung up above his head next to his ears- has since he was born!)and always seemed to get at least one leg out of this type of swaddle. Plus, every time I had to change his diaper during the night (which I was doing quite a bit at first- I found if I didn't, then he wouldn't be awake enough to nurse) it was a pain to mess with the velcro. I've since done some research and I like the Woombie type swaddle- it comes with two way zippers to make diaper changes easier, plus you can get a "convertible" type swaddle, which allows you to let the baby's arms out if he or she doesn't like to have them bound, or when they get old enough to roll. I think one of Patrick's main obstacles to sleeping through the night is how often he startles, and I think swaddling would help with this. I'm going to try to swaddle him more often (arms free!) to see if that helps him sleep through the night better.
Third, I think with the next baby I will truly try to start him or her in his or her big crib, and skip the bassinet step. I have loved having Patrick right next to me in our room, and it has made nursing much easier. But transitioning him to the big boy crib has been a daunting task. Instead, especially in the beginning when I'm nursing every two hours or so, I might put a small twin bed or something similar in the baby's room to sleep on while the baby sleeps in his or her crib. I have to imagine that it'll be easier for me to transition myself to my own bed once the nursing gets spaced out!
Fourth, I love, love, love my Snap and Go stroller (thanks big sister!)because I can literally take the car seat out of the car, snap it into the stroller, and go. However, I've been doing a lot of neighborhood walking and since this stroller has been through two babies (Patrick and my niece Bridget before him), the wheels are starting to squeak and the wear is beginning to show. So, I'll research a second stroller (because I plan on sticking with the Snap and Go stroller brand for every day use with the next baby) that can also be used with a car seat while the baby is younger, then convert to a big kid stroller, that has big enough wheels to handle neighborhood walking. I'd like to avoid the large travel system type stroller though, so it might take some serious research.
So far, those are the things I'd change. I can only imagine what else we'll learn in this awesome adventure!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Baby weight blues

Sigh. Here I am, three months post partum, and the majority of clothing I wear is still maternity clothes. I'm ashamed to admit that, but it's true. I had grand visions of breastfeeding being my ticket back to my pre-pregnancy body. (Not that my pre-pregnancy body couldn't have used some improvement, anyway.) But, that hasn't fully been the case. I will say that in the month after Patrick came, I dropped a bunch of my weight, and actually am only a few pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. But I'm just not satisfied with the way my body looks, and I am so disappointed that my regular clothes are not really fitting! I feel like I still look 3-4 months pregnant! In normal circumstances, I am a huge Weight Watchers believer and have had great success with it. In the back of my mind, however, echo all the stories I've heard of friends' milk drying up because they went on diets or tried to lose their weight too fast. That would be devastating to me! Breastfeeding is one of the best things I do for Patrick, and I'd like to continue until he's about a year old. Also, and maybe this is a cop out, but I simply don't have time to write down everything I eat, to check out points, etc. I've been trying to stick to Lean Cuisines for lunch and dinner (when DH is out of town), because those make it easy to track points. Before I got pregnant, I really started to enjoy going to the gym. It was such a great way for me to pound out the stress of my job, the stress of trying to conceive, and just normal life stress on the elliptical machine or treadmill. I'd clip on my iPod and go for it. Right now, however, Patrick's a little too young for the child care center at my gym, and I'm a little hesitant to leave him in the care of the teenagers that work there anyway. I'm not exactly coordinated, so I tire of workout videos because I feel frustrated and as if I'm not getting much out of it if I can't follow the moves closely enough. So, that leaves walking. Patrick and I have been getting out for about 30-60 minutes a couple of days a week, which has been great. I'm not sure what we'll do once the weather starts getting really cold, but cross that bridge when we get there, right? I just wish I had better self control when it came to my eating. I know part of my problem is I eat because I'm bored, and I'm also one of those girls who "eats her feelings." These feelings could be stress, loneliness, or frustration. DH has been traveling a lot, so I've been having my fair share of all of those feelings. Which, along with convenience, leads me to the drive thru, or to indulge in that pumpkin scone at Starbucks. I guess I've got to quit complaining, suck it up and just DO IT. Wish me luck!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Our (current) cozy bedtime routine

Over the last few weeks, I've been trying to work out an enjoyable, practical bedtime routine for Patrick. I feel like having such a routine settles him down, soothes him as he becomes more and more tired, and is a special bonding time for us. When I first started this a few weeks ago, the routine started with bath time. Patrick loves being in the water, loves the silly songs I make up, and it was a good time for me to work on ridding him of his cradle cap. The horrible part, however, was when bath time would end. He would be fine when I took him out of the tub, fine with the towels wrapped around him, fine while I dried him off. It was when I would lay him down on the changing table for a new diaper that he would FREAK OUT. Mind you, our changing pad is lined with a nice, warm, soft, fuzzy changing pad cover. So, it wasn't as if it was cold or uncomfortable. He was no longer wet, and it's not extremely cold in our house so it wasn't as if he was freezing cold. But he would scream BLOODY MURDER!! All the way through the diaper change, through being dressed, almost to the point at which I thought he was going to make himself throw up. It would take considerable soothing from me before he'd calm down. At first I wondered if he was just cold, or just disliked the end of bath time. But then I realized it was simply my son being over tired and extremely fussy. A bath at bed time would either have to come a good bit earlier, so that he wasn't over tired, or would have to be removed from the daily bedtime routine. I opted for removing it from the daily bedtime routine to another part of the day. Over the last few days, we've really been enjoying our late afternoon and bedtime routine. I'm not sure how long it will last, but here's how it goes:
Usually around 4 pm, Patrick is up from his most recent nap and I'm looking for a way to get out of the house. Thus, it's time for our daily neighborhood walk! The last few days we've been walking for almost an hour. Some of the time, Patrick is awake, and some of the time he's enjoying a snooze.
Home by 5 or so, and mama needs a shower. So, he enjoys some play time in the bouncy seat while I shower and dress. Then, it's time for a diaper change for Patrick, along with jammies. At this point, he's usually rubbing his eyes or playing with his hair, two cues that he's getting sleepy. Jammies either consist of a one piece sleeper with feet, or a long sleeved onsie, covered by his sleep sack. But, between the clean diaper and jammies comes baby massage! I LOVE Johnson and Johnson's lavender scented lotion, and I make sure to put it on Patrick's legs and feet, (he especially laughs and giggles while I rub his feet!) his arms, shoulders and belly.
After jammies, it's time to read some books sitting in the glider together. Patrick is surprisingly good at being still and paying attention (as much as a 3 month old can!). We've been reading the same books for a while- Goodnight Gorilla, Mommy Hugs, I Love My Daddy Because, Where is Baby's Belly button?, and I Love You Through and Through. We always read I Love You Through and Through last, and it is my absolute favorite!
Then, if he's not too fussy or acting too tired, we list all the people who love him, (an idea I stole from Erin Lane. Her blog is Tales from a Marketing Mama- check the blogs I follow!), we say a prayer asking God to bless his family and friends, and ask Mama Mary to pray for us. Then it's time to nurse, and down to sleep.
Phew! Sounds like a lot, I know, but it has been such a sweet way to spend our evenings together. He's been getting to sleep by about 6:30 or so, and he'll sleep (waking up about every 4 hours on average- sometimes longer- to nurse) then he's up by 7. There are always variations on how the nights go, but right now this routine is working for us, and is a blessing to our evenings!

Such a sweet, relaxed day...

I've been feeling a bit sorry for myself lately, as DH has been traveling for work A LOT. As in, to Chicago. For work. He also has to travel a good bit around the state for work, which leaves me a bit lonely and feeling a wee bit like a single parent while he's gone. Today being Saturday, I was feeling a little more blue because the weekends are our time to be together as a family, and he's not here this weekend. So I decided to get out of the house and try to make the best of it. Patrick and I had such a nice day! We were up by 7, nursed, with him playing on his play mat for a bit while I had breakfast and fed the dog. After he tired of playing on the mat, he spent some time in his bouncy seat laughing at the toys while I showered and got dressed. By then it was about 8:15 or so and he was ready for a nap. While he napped (he only really goes about 30-45 minutes usually) I moved some laundry around, folded clothes, took care of dishes, wiped down the kitchen counters, and brought in the big trash can and recycling bin from the curb. After he woke up, I finished getting ready and out the door we went-- mall time! It was a beautiful fall day, a wee bit chilly when we first got to the mall, but I was loving it. Our first order of business, of course- STARBUCKS. And yes, I indulged in a pumpkin scone, my ultimate weakness. What can I say, I am a girl who eats her feelings. Patrick is at the age at which he doesn't mind the stroller at all, because the motion of it puts him to sleep most of the time, and the rest of the time he simply laughs at the toys on his car seat or laughs at me making faces at him. I realize how lucky I am that I can spend over an hour going into various stores, trying on clothes, looking for Christmas gifts, enjoying Bath and Body Works, etc. with zero fussing from my baby. Oh, and the fact that just about 10 ladies stopped me to peek at him and admire my beautiful baby didn't hurt my mall experience. :) Once home, he napped while I had lunch with my aunt, then we snuggled, played, nursed, he napped some more, went for a walk around the neighborhood, another shower for mama and bouncy seat for him, then it was time for our bedtime routine. It was just a very relaxed day, and to be honest, it was lovely. I didn't really ever feel stressed out today, which was a blessing from the last few days. I've been putting a lot of pressure on myself to get him into his big boy crib, and it hasn't been going well. Today I just let it go and enjoyed my time with him. Now I've got my sweet slumbering baby on the video monitor and a little time to myself. I pray that tonight goes smoothly and tomorrow's another relaxed day! We miss DH, of course, but I do feel like we made the most of today, and I'm feeling very thankful for my life and the blessings I have.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Approaching 3 months...

I can't believe Patrick is almost three months old! (He'll be 3 months on the 7th.) Every day I look at him and am just amazed at how BIG he seems to be compared to the little bug we brought home from the hospital. As we are approaching this milestone of sorts, I realize that it is coming time for Patrick to sleep in his own room, in his crib. For now he's been in our room, in his Fisher Price Newborn Rock and Play sleeper. He loves it, and so do I. He has just gotten used to taking naps in it, after I lined it with a fuzzy/fleece type blanket. He is addicted to that kind of material. I got the idea after I noticed him stroking the fuzzy part of his swing by his head as he was drifing off to sleep one day. Also, I've been making sure to give him his "lovey" blanket- fleece on one side, satin on the other, with a monkey attached to it. He will rub this lovey against his face and even pull it over his head to get himself to sleep. This still makes me nervous, but the blanket is small and thin, and he can still breathe well with it like this. I'm incredibly nervous and a little sad about starting him in his crib. It's been such a comfort to me to be able to turn over in bed and see his sweet little face, or hear him giggle in his sleep. It's also very convenient for night nursing- I can just pick him up, nurse, and put him back. I don't even have to get out of bed. Once in the crib, I'll have to walk halfway across the house to nurse him. One of my hopes is that by moving him to his own room, he'll begin to go for longer stretches between nursing. At 11 pounds, he's a little big/old to be nursing every two hours as he does most nights. Mostly I figure he does that because he's accustomed, and because it's comforting. I'm also a little scared because the bed he has now is on an incline, which helps immensely with his spitting up. He has spit up much less after eating since we put him in this bed than when he was sleeping flat in the bassinet. I'm hoping if I burp him well enough after each feeding, this won't be a problem. I think my goal for having him in his crib for the majority of his naps and bedtime is Dec. 1. I'm not sure how well I'll do with this goal, especially since we may have a long weekend or two away between now and then, which means he'll be back sleeping in the Rock and Play for those trips. As much as I've enjoyed having Patrick in our room with us, I think if we're blessed with any more children, I may just start them off in their crib from the beginning. It may mean that I sleep in the baby's room on a twin bed or something, but maybe it'll be easier to adjust to sleeping in the crib if they start out that way!