Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Almost 15 Weeks Old!

I can’t believe how fast Norah is growing up!!!

Last week I had her weighed at the doctor’s office and they said she was 13 lbs. 13 oz., and today they weighed her again and said she was 14 lbs. 5 oz. She had clothes on both times, and they used the same scale…so I don’t understand how it could have gone up so much in a week! Who knows?

Sorry for the lack of a blog last week…things have been hard…although nursing is still going great!!! I think we’ve finally passed that hurdle once and for all. It feels so good to say that. I even have less pain than I did when I wrote the last post…it is very near nonexistent. I also now have about 70 ounces of milk in the freezer!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We’ve had a rough week because Travis caught a bug at school and passed it on to Norah. So she’s been pretty congested in the mornings, and coughing a little bit. She also has felt a bit feverish off and on and has been screaming and crying in the evening out of nowhere. She’s happy one minute, inconsolable the next. She’s more fussy and needy than usual during the day, too, and she has started sometimes refusing to nurse on the right side unless I put her in the football hold (so she’s in the same position as she would be if she was nursing from the left). I suspected that she might have an ear infection which made it painful to lie on one side, but I took her to the doctor today and he couldn’t see anything wrong. He said to give her Tylenol and bring her back if it seems to get worse…

I did that this evening, and she seemed to cry for a shorter length of time, but I just wish I knew what the problem was. I don’t want to just be giving medication “willy-nilly,” if you will. :-P I’d rather treat the cause of the symptoms than just the symptoms. Hopefully, whatever it is, it will resolve itself soon. Anyway, I’ve had a hard time getting much done lately.

I wonder if the nighttime crying could just be because she’s tired…? She goes to sleep as soon as she calms down, but it sounds like a pain cry.

By the way, the doctor also said that even though she appears to be teething, she probably doesn't have any teething pain yet and it will likely take a couple of months for teeth to start coming through. He might be right, but it seemed to me a couple of weeks ago that she was in pain.

She’s been sleeping well once she gets to sleep. For a few nights she has slept for 8 hours in a row, then nursed and gone right back to sleep for a few more hours. I hope it isn’t just because she’s fighting off a cold. I don’t usually do well getting up at 7:00 AM even after I’m on that schedule for a week or a month or more. I’m just not a morning person. I feel the best if I get up around 9. I guess it doesn’t help that I’m not getting continuous sleep for all those hours.

Every night (early morning, really) when I go into Norah’s room to get her, I find that she has spun herself around at least 90 degrees from where she started…and always in the same direction! I think she kicks one leg harder than the other…and she does like to kick! But I’ve known that for about seven months now. J I worry that she’s going to kick so hard she’ll break a toe on the crib slats! She’s already gotten her arm stuck between them twice, too. I finally bought a bumper pad even though they’re not recommended because of the SIDS risk. I haven’t put it in the crib yet. I am such a paranoid person. Maybe I should just dress her in armor and tie her down. (KIDDING!!)

Oh!!!!! NORAH LAUGHED TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! She has been making laugh-ish sounds for a long time, but this was a real laugh. Travis was playing with her…he said she laughed at him when he burped! J Then they just laughed at each other laughing for a while! SOOO cute! I missed the actual first laugh, though… L

And my last bit of news is…I have SO MANY students this year! A private school nearby sought me out and asked me to teach private violin lessons a couple days a week during the school day, which is so great! I would much rather teach during the day than in the evening. I have more students in all of my other teaching venues as well…the total is something like 30 right now, but kids are still signing up! Last May I ended the year with 21. Honestly, I hope I don’t get too many more!!! I need some down time!

Ok, it is WAY past my bedtime, so I will leave it at that! Have a fun Labor Day weekend!

Oh, one more small thing:

I have put two polls on the sidebar. The first is asking who Norah looks more like. We've heard a lot of both, but mostly people think she looks like Travis...I think so too!

I also want to know which of the following photos you think would win if we entered a photo contest! Please vote for the one you like the best! Some of them aren't great in terms of lighting, but Travis can fix them up. I'm numbering them so it will be easy to vote. You can also click on them to see them bigger. Thanks!!!

Number 1.

Number 2.

Number 3.

Number 4.

Number 5.

Number 6.

Number 7.

Number 8.

Number 9.

Number 10.

Number 11.

Number 12.

Number 13.

Number 14.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

13 Weeks Old

Lots of news this week!

First, breastfeeding is going way better! As soon as the supplemental nursing system (the tube thing) came and I used it once, I realized I no longer needed it because nursing had suddenly become much less painful. Now I really wish I hadn’t wasted my money on it! It worked great, though, so if anyone out there needs something like that, Lact-Aid is a good one to get. (If you want mine, you can buy it cheap!!!!)

I’m not really sure what changed. It might just be that her mouth is now big enough that it doesn’t hurt, even if she’s still tongue thrusting. Leslie told me that would probably happen eventually. Anyway, it still hurts a bit – sometimes more than others – but it is NOTHING compared to what it was. I can even fall asleep while nursing her during the night, which is something I’ve been looking forward to being able to do. And I am quite certain (and very hopeful) that this is a permanent improvement, since I’ve been nursing her day and night for almost a week.

I’ve also experienced some other great improvements regarding breastfeeding:

Norah nurses less frequently and for a much shorter amount of time than she used to. It used to take 45 minutes for her to finish, and then she’d be hungry again in an hour. Now she eats for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, every two or three hours.

I don’t have to worry about her having enough to eat. My supply seems to have increased from all the pumping I had been doing, and just since last Monday (a little over a week ago), I have stored 12 bags of milk totaling 51 ½ ounces in my freezer!!!!!!! I am SO excited about that – and relieved! Maybe she’ll never have to eat formula again! I wish I had started storing milk when she was born. I was worried about ending up with an oversupply…ha!

Breastfeeding has FINALLY become easy! When I decided to breastfeed (which really wasn’t much of a decision – I just always knew I would), I looked forward to the simplicity of it. No hassle. No mess. No baby crying while I prepare a bottle. But up to now it’s been much harder than I had anticipated. Finally, all I have to do is latch her on whenever she gets hungry! I’m also spending MUCH less time hooked up to the pump. I’m now pumping every night after Norah is asleep, and some mornings if I have more milk than she wants. I will keep storing milk until I have no room left in my freezer! If she doesn’t drink it all, it’s good for making baby food.

In other exciting news (depending on how you look at it…), Norah seems to be teething already! She’s been a little fussy, especially in the evenings, and drooling everywhere, and chewing on her fingers. She’s also suddenly taken to using a pacifier. Before last Thursday, when I offered it to her since nothing else was doing the trick, she had done without it completely for two weeks or more. Now she’ll take it almost every time we offer it. She doesn’t seem to like the teething ring much, though. We got her two different types, and she doesn’t really like either one. She might like them more when she’s a bit older. The discomfort is, unfortunately, causing some fussiness while she nurses, but hopefully it will not cause me any undue pain. As adorable as she’ll be with a few little teeth in that smile, I am not ready for this yet!

That covers all the big stuff, I think. Norah has started to jump a bit in the doorway jumper, and she’ll entertain herself in it for longer than she used to (maybe 30 minutes). She says a lot of new syllables, like “die,” “gee,” “ghghee,” etc. She is beginning to use her hands with more purpose. She pulled out her pacifier and put it back in twice in a row today!

She loves to sit in the Bumbo seat on the table while we eat dinner. Someone even gave us a tray for it, which is great to put toys on.

She’s so big! We just got out the 3-6 month clothes, and some of them are barely long enough!!! I guess we should have gotten them out sooner! I’m not sure what she weighs now. I’m guessing around 13 lbs.

She is a great sleeper in the sense that she will put herself to sleep quickly and with no fussing if we put her in the crib when she’s tired. I would like to get her on a better schedule though. She tends to take three naps a day, but they’re all usually less than an hour long. I’d like her to have a longer nap, even if that means eliminating one. It’s been really hard for me to get anything done during the day.

Travis started back at school last week, which is a huge change for us after a whole summer of the three of us together all the time. It’s a challenge, for sure. Even though I feel like I don’t have much time to get anything done, I actually feel like a more productive person than I ever have been. There can be no procrastination with a baby, because you never know when you’ll another free moment. While I wish Norah could stay a baby forever, I’m also anxious for her to be able to entertain herself a bit more.

Another thing I’m anxious for is to have her talk to me. That way I won’t have to guess what she wants, and my whole day won’t feel like a one-sided conversation! I mean, she’s attentive for sure, but…you know what I mean.

I am going to start doing some sign language with her. I’m starting with the sign for “milk,” so she can tell me when she’s hungry. We’ll see how long it takes for her to start doing it! (It’s a super easy one. You just pretend like you’re milking a cow.)

Anyway, I guess that’s it for this week! J Have a good one!

Here are a couple of pictures of Norah playing dress-up. Ok…I was playing dress-up.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

11 1/2 Weeks Old

Norah has a few new tricks this week!

She can sit in her Bumbo seat! We tried it a few weeks ago and she wasn’t ready for it yet, but now she can sit up fairly well in it and seems to like it! This photo is the first time she sat in it successfully.

She sleeps in her crib! We started putting her in there for some of her naps, and she seemed to like it. She looks at the mural on the wall and sometimes smiles at it! I’ve also seen her staring at blue things a lot, so I think it’s her favorite color – glad we picked it for her walls! Anyway, we started putting her in there for her first stretch of sleep at night, because I have a hard time sleeping when I’m so honed in on her that every move she makes wakes me up. And I’m finally at the point where I’m less paranoid (I don’t feel like I have to check on her every five minutes). I also think it’s good to get her used to going to sleep in her own room, so eventually when she sleeps through the night she’ll just be in there all night.

She also can go to sleep on her own sometimes, which is wonderful. In the middle of the night after I feed her, I put her in the playpen next to our bed (which is really more like a bassinet, with the platform up high) and she always goes back to sleep unless she’s still hungry.

This next one amazes me.

I started working with her on opening her mouth wider when she latches on to nurse, and I would say, “Ah,” and let her latch on when her mouth was open wide enough. A couple of days into it, she started saying, “Ah,” after me, and now she usually does it without me even reminding her! Today she even did it to let me know she wanted more!!! I would almost consider that a first word – verbal communication! She also cries less while waiting for me to let her latch on because she knows what I want her to do. It is so amazing.

So, nursing. Let’s talk about that.

Breastfeeding has been such a roller coaster ride for me. I keep thinking things are getting better, only to realize that I’ve been injured all over again and it still hurts more than I can stand. At the moment, things are no better, except that I’ve gotten into a routine now. I pump during the day and only let her nurse on the left since it hurts way less, and during the night I nurse on both sides. I do nighttime nursing because it’s really annoying to pump when I really want to be asleep, and the pain isn’t that bad if I give it a break during the day so I’m not constantly getting bruises on top of bruises.

Oh, AND I finally bought a new pump (the Medela “Swing”). I hate that I had to go and buy an expensive electric pump, when under normal circumstances I would have done fine with my five-dollar like-new manual one. It just got to be such a pain when I’m doing it all day long. I felt like I was going to end up with carpel tunnel. I do like it, though, if you can attribute the word “like” to something that accomplishes something so un-exciting. It’s much easier, and I don’t dread it so much. (Ooh! I just discovered that I can type and pump simultaneously with this thing if I prop it up with the Boppy pillow!)

I say things are no better “at the moment,” because I’ve come up with an idea that I have high hopes for. First, I’ll tell you that I called Leslie again to see if she had any more ideas for me. (I am so grateful to her. She has taken on my problems almost as if they were her own, and diligently sought answers for me.) She got in touch with a retired lactation consultant named Elsie, who had a few pieces of advice. First, she gave us a better way of doing the suck training (use daddy’s thumb, since it’s bigger, and pull down on her chin). She also said that we really need to get her off of bottles, because “she’s learning to be a good bottle drinker instead of a good nurser.”

I had already been aware of this since I know that nursing and bottle feeding require different types of sucking, but I didn’t know what to do about it because she has to get her food somehow.

Elsie’s idea was to feed her with a cup. She said to use a small cup, like a medicine cup, touch it to her lips, and make her “lap it up like a kitten.” The idea is to teach her that she has to stick out her tongue to get food. This sounded a little ridiculous to me, but I would try anything.

It was a total disaster. It would take three people (or a strait jacket) to keep her still and hold the cup at the right angle without spilling, plus I think it would have taken literally all day to finish one feeding that way. It was pointless.

So, I came up with an idea of my own (after also trying and failing with a syringe).

Supplemental nursing system. It’s a container of milk with a very thin tube that goes into the baby’s mouth while nursing. It’s usually used when the mother wants to breastfeed but has a low milk supply, sometimes temporarily and sometimes long term.

I just ordered a Lact-Aid brand one new from Ebay, and can’t wait to get it! It gets better reviews than the Medela version. It’s another gadget I really wish I didn’t have to spend money on, but it will be worth it if it can get Norah to nurse better by avoiding bottles. Even if we had to use it long term I’d feel better about that. I feel a little bit heartbroken every time she gets a bottle, because I feel like it’s taking away our precious bonding time.

I’ll just do a better version of what I’m doing now: pump from the right, and nurse on the left with the pumped milk coming through the tube. Another positive is that it might help increase my supply on the left, which is the low-producing side.

Another encouraging thing Elsie said is that most babies eventually grow out of tongue thrusting on their own. However, I have no idea how long it usually takes. So we’ll keep working with her on it, and my hope is that I will only have to use the tube thing for a few weeks.

We took Norah on her first camping trip! We neglected to bring the camera, but she seemed to really like it. We only went for one night in order to avoid the heat, which worked out pretty well.

I guess I’ll leave it at that for now so I can get this posted! As usual, here are some more photos!