Archive for December, 2007

breast vs. bottle: weird perspective

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

due to a bunch of randomness today (sickness, leftover pumped milk, feverish sleeping husband), i fed charlotte 1.5 oz of milk from a bottle for the first time today. it wasn’t her first bottle (she averages about 2-3 a week), but it was the first time i’ve fed her.

“they” say that one of the benefits of breastfeeding is the extra bonding you cannot get from bottle-feeding. yes, yes, there’s special hormones released when your nipples are stimulated that make you feel good, blah, blah whatever.

but the thing is, 7 weeks into it, breastfeeding is pretty boring. it’s not that i ignore her or anything, but i can do other things while she’s feeding: watch tv, read the internet, eat, think about any number of things, etc etc. bottle-feeding is much more interactive. you’ve got to hold the bottle, make sure she’s latched on, watch to make sure she’s actually swallowing/eating, etc etc.

perhaps it was just the novelty, but i felt more connected to her while bottle-feeding.

baby week 6: yes, we have no tomatoes

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

did i mention a few weeks ago that i’d given up tomatoes in hopes that it might be causing some of the fussiness?  

well, i did. for about three weeks i’ve been tomato free. no pasta sauces, no pizza, not even a slice on a hamburger. i won’t say it’s been torture, but i’m itching to make something comforting and domestic for dinner and my top 3 (only) favorite recipes are spaghetti sauce, manicotti, and meatloaf. all are heavily tomato sauce/paste based.

we didn’t think that the lack of tomatoes had an impact on the colic after all. it had gotten worse over the weeks, before leveling out with a predictable schedule. it starts one hour after she eats and lasts about 25 minutes. episodes that occur between 3 and 7 pm are usually longer and stronger. if you can get her into a deep sleep before it happens, she’ll usually sleep right through it, especially over night.

two nights ago, we ate some pasta that had bits of tomatoes in it. it came from a frozen package so they weren’t fresh or anything. the next morning (about 3 feedings later), she had a red rash on her bottom that was eerily like what i had when i was a baby and someone fed me anything tomato-y. even with the butt paste it grew worse during the day. merry christmas poor baby. now, every time she poops, even the little mini-smears that are mostly farts, she screams in pain. it’s slowly fading, and should be gone tomorrow, but one thing’s for certain: no more tomatoes for me.

besides that, things are going really well. the colic, while not gone, is at least predictable, which is always helpful. she keeps her neck up most of the time now, when she’s being held upright. it only threatens to flop when she’s sleepy. she still doesn’t seem to understand that tummy time is where she should be learning to keep it up/push up/etc. instead she just lays with her cheek on the pad, looking at something at eye level.

she’s really looking around these days. i didn’t realize how alert she was, since she’s the only baby i know, until so many people commented on it at christmas. she can clearly spot/watch people several feet away, and will gaze up and hold eye contact with most people who hold her. she recognizes me by sight now. yesterday morning while she and ryan were on the couch and she was fussing a bit, i came up behind them and she stopped and started cooing. of course, she went right back to fussing when she realized that i wasn’t immediately picking her up to feed her ;)

she’s smiling a whole lot, too. the first smiles we “counted” happened saturday during the day. before then she’d sort of stare off into the distance and quirk her mouth a bit. saturday was the first day she’d look at you and respond to your voice/actions with a grin. i took copious pictures, of course, but the still shots don’t really do the grin justice. i almost got a giggle out of her while we were playing on sunday, so i don’t think laughing is far off.

i’m amazed at how quickly she’s been changing the past 2 or 3 weeks.

baby week 5: healthy lungs

Monday, December 17th, 2007

so, she cries a lot. i worry that there’s something wrong, since she doesn’t exactly fit the perfect pattern of colic, but i think it’s still colic. she cries about an hour to 90 minutes after probably 2/3 of her feedings. there isn’t any discernible pattern based on what i’ve eaten, although i’ve taken tomatoes out of my diet after learning that both my cousin and i had problems with them, as did our grandmother. most of the time she can sleep through the bad phase, but not always. most of the time a walk around our apartment to look at the lights will distract her into quietness, but not always. i think that’s the “symptom” that has me most convinced it’s either colic or some other “not a big deal” thing (which is really what colic is — a catch all for unexplainable crying that generally goes away after a while). i remind myself when i can’t stand to hear her scream that if it was a terrible thing, pretty lights wouldn’t distract her, nor would rhythmic thumping on her back.

sometimes the crying lasts until we feed her again (and often through the feeding), sometimes she’ll cry herself to sleep, and sometimes a pacifier works. the joke in the house the past few days is that the 17th thing you try is the one that’s going to work. sadly, the pattern seems to be holding. 

swaddling used to be a great solution to the fussy/crying, but she’s learned how to avoid swaddling. the girl has some seriously strong legs. some days she’s so anti-swaddling that any time you set her on her back (to change, to swing, or to cradle in your arms), she starts howling. this may also be belly related. i know when i’ve got bad acid issues, the last place i want to be is on my back. the best way we’ve found to trick her into swaddling is to feed her into a food-coma, burp her quickly and then wrap her up before the fog lifts. of course, dumping a breast’s worth of food in her belly pretty much guarantees that within a couple of hours, we’re going to have to de-swaddle.

they say that colic “peaks” around 6 weeks old, and we’ve definitely seen an up-kick in intensity and duration the past few days. here’s hoping the peak happens soon. 

other approaching milestones are on the horizon as well. she’s learning how to twist her body, which makes changing more difficult, but means that intentional turning over is going to happen soon. at least, once she figures out that twisting is good for more than just demonstrating displeasure when she’s being lifted by her ankles. when she’s not screaming and not sucking on a pacifier, she’s definitely cooing. she can make a few different sounds now, and we’re both consciously repeating them back to her, and also engaging her in a “conversation” when she does it. i haven’t noticed her recognizing me or ryan yet, but it seems that when she’s fussing in her crib and i call out to her to let her know i’m on my way, she calms a bit. she may just be taking a breath. she can see much farther than before as well, which means no more looming over the crib to see if she’s asleep. our presence on the edges seems to disturb her awake. it means she’s much more interested in her toys and swings and such, which has been very useful for entertaining her in this brief moments when she’s awake and not angry at the world ;)

and then there’s the smiling thing. while some people have insisted that she’s been smiling for weeks, i’ve yet to see anything that i’m 100% confident is a true smile. she’s getting quite close though. today while we were on the changing table (her favorite place to hang out and coo) she seemed to be enjoying herself while i cooed and tickled and smiled at her. i certainly had her attention some of the time and her face (lips included) was twitching as if she was trying to do something intentional, but without really knowing what or how to accomplish it.

breastfeeding is still going well. i’m struggling to find opportunities to pump. on some mornings when i’m feeling particularly “full” and she’s complying by sleeping in, i’ll pump a decent amount. the trouble is that for the rest of the day, i feel a bit empty and i worry that she’s not getting enough. logic (and dirty diapers) tells me that she is, but it still worries me.

she’s had a bottle a few times this past week, and gets some quality time with the pacifier almost every day, but i’m quite pleased to report that the breast is still her favorite. every so often it takes her a few sucks longer to get going, but the reinforcement of the let-down seems to be combatting the bottle and the paci just fine.

she’s had quite a few outings thanks to the colic. since the carseat and a drive are often the easiest solutions to her attitude, hopping in the car to head to drive through dinner, the mall, or some other shopping destination has been a sanity-saving solution. i’ve become quite a pro at breast-feeding in the back of the car while ryan watches over us in parking lots. i just wish it weren’t so cold/nasty outside so that we could take some afternoon walks.

and then there’s me, i suppose. i’m learning and trying my best to remember that i’m not just at home and have to tend to a baby, but that the baby is my job right now. it makes me more focused on actively interacting with her and making sure i’m doing things to encourage her development. i struggle on occasion with feeling normal. even though we go “out” most nights, i go from loft to garage to building and back again. i’m never really outside, and never far enough “away” from charlotte to feel like i’ve gotten a break. sadly, even when ryan is “in charge” of her, i can’t shake it. it’s not until i do something that is a physical separation that i even realize i was missing it. then again, when i go more than a couple of hours without holding her (either because we’re running errands or because we’re visiting with folks who won’t put her down) i miss having her in my arms. i think there really is something to that whole bonding/hormone thing ;)

speaking of, i’m going to start back at work after the new year. there’s still some kinks/details that need to be worked out, like how much i’ll be working and exactly what i’ll be doing, but it’s pretty much a done deal. i’m looking forward to the opportunities for “normal”, even if it is work stress, but i’m also a bit worried about being away from her on a regular basis, especially when i start working 8 hour days. fortunately, my commute is about 15 minutes on foot, so i won’t be gone for more than 9ish hours at a stretch. i could easily even see her on my lunch breaks if i need a fix.

this is a really rambling, disorganized post with no real “end.” i blame the mush of watching too much television and the new-mother fatigue that makes me not care enough to muster the energy to fix it :)

one month old today!

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

it is like charlotte woke up and thought “today i am one month old. as such, i will now demonstrate skills that i showed no advancement towards as recently as my 1am feeding this morning.”she has spent the morning cooing instead of crying (hurrah!). i[rolled herself over]i on the tummy time mat (technically she had a teeny bit of help from the pillow she was propped up on, but it was negligible), and started interacting with toys that have been dangling from her face for a week or more. not just “hey, i can see that suddenly” (which is also kind of new–at least the duration of her focus is), but “let me hit that with my hand and make it rattle, and when it does, i’ll let out a satisfied coo.”am floored.

baby week 3: pacifier 1; breast-feeding 0

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

sigh…. ”they” tell you to be careful introducing a pacifier into the life of a baby who breast-feeds. the line is typically something like “do not introduce a pacifier until breast-feeding is well established,” and that moment is defined as 3 weeks or a month or so. this is also the time when it’s “safe” to introduce bottle feeding. the worry is two-fold. getting milk out of a breast is harder than a bottle, so if she sucks on something “easy” (paci included) she’ll be less interested in sucking properly on the breast, which can lead to all sorts of supply issues on top of having a baby who doesn’t get enough to eat. the other paci-specific issue is that babies who get all their sucking needs out with the pacifier may be less interested in sucking at meal time, leading to the same supply/demand issues. pacifiers made of body parts (my fingers, her hands) don’t have the same risks since they’re not nipple-like, and we use those as needed/effective. unfortunately, they also don’t work as well.well, we waited as long as we could to start with the pacifier. we might not have needed it at all, had she not gotten so inconsolably fussy/angry/colicy. we hadn’t quite reached the 3 week mark, but since she’d been such a good latcher (from birth), and a hearty eater (drains a breast in under 4 minutes) we figured we were “safe” as long as we used it in extreme moderation. basically, the last resort is a car ride, and the one just before that is the pacifier. we used it a few times late last week, and everything seemed to be fine. in fact, she wasn’t really that big of a fan of the paci. we even tried several different types.all that changed on saturday. saturday was one of our most trying days, and we all benefitted from the moments of quiet that it afforded us. it was just so hard to watch her get so upset (for no fix-able reason) knowing that we could soothe her so easily. saturday night, however, i noticed a change in her latching. she was slurping funny, almost like there was a whole in her straw, and it was frustrating her and hurting me. she was still interested in eating regularly, however.sunday, we tried a bit more moderation with the pacifier, but unfortunately, sunday was worse than saturday so it got used more than we would have liked. she continued to have issues with latching, and was rather insistent that she have *something* to suck on at all waking moments. i acknowledged defeat, and vowed that when we made it through the day, i would cut her off again, no matter how awful it made monday.well, today wasn’t too bad, but she showed another sign of the pacifier’s evil influence. instead of giving her the pacifier when she got fussy between meal times, i put her back to breast. this meant “feeding” every hour or so between 10 and 2. unfortunately, charlotte had learned that she could just suck lightly on the breast to get her soothing fix without being troubled by any pesky milk. fortunately, i could combat that by forcing the milk out, but that just made her cranky. all that extra eating meant for extra fussing and colic, though.we managed to go all day without using the pacifier. it wasn’t until about 10ish that we relented. all her needs were met and she was even swaddled (swaddling makes her happy and sleepy), but still screaming her head off. fortunately, she only needed a few moments of calm before drifting off to as much as i can plan one day to the next right now, i plan on treating tomorrow much the same.