Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Noise is Your Friend

I remember before our wonderful bundle of joy arrived we (I) worried about how she would sleep because we live in an apartment. In all honesty, having a newborn in an apartment can be somewhat terrifying because you can't control that much of the environment. For instance they tell you to control the temperature on your hot water heater--that just isn't an option for most apartment buildings.

But the most troubling for this control freak is the noise control. We live in one of the entry way apartments, which means you hear most of the comings and goings. This was amplified by the fact that, until recently, our entryway door had keys perpetually getting stuck in it. For some reason people thought banging the door against the frame was the most efficient way to remove them; sorry, folks, a little jiggle should do the trick. Our apartment also faces the street, so there is a steady bustle of cars and people walking.
I guess what I'm saying is that our building, that I would characterize as fairly quiet before, becomes excruciatingly loud when you start thinking about a sleeping baby. So I figured out a way to combat this problem: television (our any noise) is your friend.

Even at the hospital, I always had the television on and she didn't leave my room. Then once we arrived home, we have constantly had the television on. I'm really not exaggerating much--we turn the TV off right before the hubby and I go to sleep. I know it sounds simple and ridiculous at the same time. But I didn't want strange voices, door slams, loud hustle and bustle to freak her out. Not to be boastful, but I have to give myself a pat on the back: Noise has never been an issue for her sleeping habits.
But noise isn't really a new idea. Most baby books recommend playing some sort of sounds to soothe sleeping babies (i.e.: white noise, womb sounds, rain, etc). We also do the womb sounds on her snuggle nest and bassinet. Recently she's started "engaging" with toys (she looks and talks to them, but not quite grabbing). So in that regard, we play these sounds with a pink and purple seahorse and a Sleep Sheep.
In all fairness, though, she's my daughter--she likes noise of all kind. I sing to her constantly (poor kid!); and even though it's unintelligible, she's already a chatterbox. Plus, I like being on the go, and having a noise resistant baby makes outings so much easier.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Breastflow Bottles

So, my week for "mommy time" was a little longer, namely because of the 4th of July. It was a nationally holiday and I enjoyed time with my family over a LONG weekend, sue me! 

Any who! We're back on schedule. My mommy must have this week is a the bottle: First Years Breastflow Bottle. For the record, yes, I'm still breast feeding; but occasionally you need a break or you indulge in something that requires you to take a break. 
I know I mentioned in an earlier post about my fear of giving of giving Thia a bottle to early because I didn't want her to have nipple confusion. I also talked about how I overproduced and was in pain/exhaustion and the hubby gave her the first bottle at about 2 weeks old. I was horrified that I did this, but I had to for my sanity and sleep schedule. 
This was that first bottle!
Before little miss Thia arrived I did my research on bottles. I read about the ones that reduce colic and then you have bargain brands. But during my breast feeding class (yes, I took a class), the instructor mentioned the Breastflow Bottle; so I included it in my research. I will admit, it looks a bit complicated with it's two nipples; but it's truly a Godsend for a breast feeding mom (and not really complicated, just put the blue nipple in the grooves). 

The Breastflow Bottle mimics the feel of actual breast feeding in a couple of ways. The first is the size of the outer nipple. It's overly sized to mimic mom's breast. The second reason is those complicated two nipples I mentioned. The dual nipples create a similar suction to the breast. Both of these make the bottle fantastic for a breast feeding mom. Each feature keeps your baby from getting lazy with a small nipple or an easy flow nipple. 

I'm not saying that only breast feeding moms should use the Breastflow Bottle. It also claims to reduce colic (I have to believe that's accurate because my child is not colic-y). Plus they aren't badly priced at the full set at the beginning of the post only costing $16. But I also think this bottle is fantastic must have for moms who are having trouble with breast feeding at first and aren't quite there yet. It gets the baby used to the work of feeding, which means moms can just focus on the latch!

Obviously this is just what worked breast  best (ha!) for me. Every baby is different and you have to do what works for you and your baby. But I know the Breastflow Bottles give me a peace of mind that I wouldn't have with a different bottle.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Week for Mommy Time

I wanted to put up a quick note so that no one worries about me. I am still around and will be in full force next week again. This week I'm doing something for me. But more on that next week...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Two Month Shots

I'd heard stories from some of my mom friends about the illustrious two month shots. A couple days before I thought, "My baby is so happy--we've got this." Then the night before I had horrible nightmares--I mean worst case scenarios nightmares. The reality: somewhere in between, but I realize we were much closer to "we've got this" now that I'm no longer in the moment.

On Tuesday, my anxiety was high because I didn't want to cause my child any pain. Also, I learned the night before that the hubs couldn't go with me. I will admit I was mad because I didn't want to be the only parent associated with this pain! Selfish, I know, but true. (Go ahead and judge me, but I didn't want my two month old daughter to blame me.)

She was so happy and cheerful before we left, and then peacefully sleeping before we entered the office. But once they started measuring her head she started fussing and I knew I was in for a traumatizing visit. I managed to calm Thia while waiting for the doctor, and she seemed happy until the first shot went in. She went from mildly fussy, to eyes bulging and screaming. I had never heard my baby girl scream like that since she came out of the womb.

I managed to get her calmed down and gave her Tylenol before we left the doctor's office. Once we got home we snuggled and fell asleep on the couch. The hubs was peacefully sleeping upstairs after working overnight...that was until the Tylenol wore off. She woke up from our nap screaming enough to wake the dead. Through the tears I managed to get more Tylenol in her and feed her. All while the hubby tells me, "If I had known it would be this bad, I would have gone with you." I asked what he thought he would be like; his response: "I thought she'd be fussy for 30 minutes and that would be it." I rolled my eyes.

But I have to tell you that those screams will haunt whatever nightmares I have. They were beyond traumatizing. As a mom those sounds convey the worst feeling: helplessness. You can give her some medication, hold her, love her; but you can't "fix" this pain you allowed to happen. I know I will be hesitant at four months, but vaccines need to happen; it just won't make it any less heartbreaking for this mom. 

All in all though, we were very lucky. She was fussy and screaming a few times (I didn't let the Tylenol run out again until the next afternoon), but she didn't have a fever or any other side effect. Trust me if she had, I would have known--I didn't get much sleep those 24 hours. Now that I've rested, I realize that we totally had this despite being deathly worried at first.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ooo's and Aahhh's

Sorry for no blog yesterday, I was dealing with a fussy baby who just had her two month shots (this will be tomorrow's blog). But today is a more fun, less emotionally draining topic--my baby talks! Sort of, she's cooing--so she thinks she's talking (and for all purposes, so do I).

All parents know that a smile melts your heart, but when you hear your child laugh or coo it explodes your heart. Thia's been making her own words (sounds) for a couple of weeks now, and I can't get enough of it. We seriously sit and "talk" for hours a day. To be completely frank, they are the best conversations I've ever had in my life.
One of the funniest sounds she makes is very high pitched. It sounds like a cross between a laugh and a cry. The first time I heard it I thought something was wrong, but then I noticed she was smiling. The first time my mom and husband saw it, they both told her "oh, no" thinking she was about to cry. I had to explain that she was thoroughly amused and just telling them that. Now that I've realized this is a "word," it's actually one of my favorite sounds. 

While I can't get enough of our conversations, I eat it up even more when the husband gets home and gets her going. I think this is because I'm the bystander watching someone else enjoy similar priceless moments I have everyday. Also, it shows off how smart she is! 
I know all babies do this, and it's nothing new to the world. However, it's new to my world! What were some of your thoughts when you're baby started "talking?"

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thia and Her Beds

If my daughter had blond hair, I would call her Goldilocks. Two months in and we still haven't figured out which bed works best. I mean, if we don't count accessories like a swing and bouncer, she has (or rather thinks has) four beds.

Bed #1: Her crib. To be honest, I'm not comfortable with her sleeping in a different bedroom from me. I know at some point I will be, but that point isn't here yet. She's slept in it once when her dad was in there working overnight. This didn't bother me because he was in the room. Since then and before then it hasn't happened because we haven't been in the room (although the hubby's tried to talk me into it a few times).
Bed #2: Her bassinet. She sleeps fairly well in this, and it was something I insisted on.   According to Dr. Karp and several other medical professionals having your child near you (bassinet, co-sleeper, etc) drops the risk of SIDS. I told you last week that I have mommy paranoia, and this is one of the biggest worries I think any mom has. So, I try to do everything in my power to keep this risk low. We bought the First Years 5-in-1. The basket comes off and can be used in any room in the house. It also props up and can be a bouncer; it has a changing table under the basket. The bassinet also features several different sounds: lullaby, heart beat, rain, and white noise. It also has a vibration setting. Truly a fabulous value if you want your baby near but not IN your bed!

Bed #3: Mommy and Daddy's bed. This is her favorite bed, but mainly when she's on top of mommy or daddy. This adds to my fears. This worries me because I worry that something could happen to her if she were to fall off of mommy or daddy. Worry was the reason I bought the fourth bed.

Bed #4: Her Snuggle Nest.  The snuggle nest is the best of both worlds. It's a co-sleeper that is on her parents' bed. She has her own space clearly marked out on our bed. Not only does it have her own space, it also plays a lullaby, womb noise, and has a night light. This co-sleeper cannot be done if you have a bed smaller than a queen size though. To be honest, even on our queen size the husband complains about not having enough room. But I'd trade us being a little uncomfortable for some peace of mind. 
She sleeps well in the last three beds. Our little bundle starts out in #2 or #4. Typically after her early morning feeding, she snuggles with mommy for an hour or so until we get out of bed. Ultimately (when she's older) she'll sleep in her crib, but until then it's whatever makes her happy. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Swaddling Made Easy

Every doctor, book, nurse, and talk show nowadays recommends swaddling your baby. They even taught us swaddling in our childbirth prep class. After hearing the overwhelming recommendations, I knew this was a parenting technique I wanted to do. Swaddling a baby keeps them held tight and is supposed to mimic feeling like the baby is still in the womb. It also keeps the baby from waking themselves with the Moro (or startle) reflex.

I remember thinking as soon as Thia arrived I would swaddle her like crazy; Thia, of course, had other ideas. I guess she was well and truly ready to be out into the real world. When you swaddle a baby, their arms are tightly snug at their side inside the blanket. 

My overly active daughter in the womb (she moved so much that if I didn't feel her for an hour I worried) didn't like being confined by any means. The only time Thia actually enjoyed being swaddled would be if she was already asleep, which is counterproductive to the teaching techniques. Most recommend swaddling as a way to help calm fussy babies. 

The best book I read during pregnancy was The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp, and he recommends just that. It was a gift from my loving, wonderful sister-in-law (and recommended by my pediatrician) that I will now include in any baby shower gift. Dr. Karp talks about swaddling and teaches a relatively easy technique (DUDU technique--down, up, down, up). And although my daughter doesn't dig the standard swaddling, the other information is beyond helpful with a new little person in your life. 
On the seldom occasions where she has let us swaddle her in a standard blanket, her arms are always out within 30 minutes top, which means she can still startle herself awake. So I decided to try a "blanket" my mom and I bought on a whim while I was pregnant. It's called a "swaddleme." It's a little more elastic than a normal blanket. It also has a pouch for the feet, which gives the baby more freedom than a blanket. The baby's hands are still tightly at their side so they don't wake themselves up with the Moro Reflex.

I can't fully explain why this product works for my daughter when a regular blanket doesn't; the reasons above are guesses, but it does work for her. She's still not as happy as a clam at first, but within a minute or so she's soothed. It's even become part of our nightly "schedule." (Schedule is in quotes because at this point it's wishful thinking, but a girl can dream.) But I like to think that once she feels the feet pouch she knows it's time for a longer leg sleep. 

I'm curious if other moms have the swaddling conflict. Maybe other babies like the feeling? It's always entirely possible that Thia got her mom's stubbornness and just wants it her way.