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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Anna turns 4 Months

      I'm waaay behind in writing this.  As you can imagine, my life is crazy and Anna keeps me quite busy.  This leaves little time for much else.  Before you know it, she'll be 5 months!

      The problem with babies is that just when you have what makes them happy or calm or laugh figured out, they go and change the rules and they give you the look of confusion as if to say, "Mom, that's so last week.  I've moved on.  Get with the program."  However, once we do find the newest thing, the happiness is absolute.  Anna definitely keeps us on our toes.  It's just incredible how fast she's grown and quickly she's learned new things.  I swear she changes with every blink of an eye.

      After she rolled over just a few days shy of turning 3 months (on Mother's Day no less) she rolled a few more times that week and then decided she was done for awhile.  She would continue to roll to her side, but that's as far as she went and I didn't expect more than that.  Then after a few weeks, she apparently wanted to give it another try and we now can't put her down on the ground without her trying to roll over onto her tummy.  This makes diaper changes all the more difficult of course....especially poopy ones.  Blech! At first, she would roll over and remember how much she HATED tummy time and start freaking out.  So we'd put her on her back again, but just as quickly she would roll back to her tummy.  Every once in awhile we'd leave her there so she could get use to it, but my mommy guilt would kick in and I caved.  Soon, it wasn't that she didn't like being on her tummy so much as she was frustrated that her attempts at movement got her nowhere.  Well, at least not very far.  Her squirming consisted of her smacking her face down to the ground and wiggling her bum and legs.  Quite adorable, but not very effective.

      I'm afraid we must have sheltered out little lady love too much because when she encounters people  other than Ty and I, she gives them this blank stare as if she's sizing them up or wondering what the heck they are doing.  Every once in awhile she'll flash 'em a smile, but mostly they are reserved for mommy and daddy.  Don't get me wrong, I love being her favorite, but I don't want to her to be too shy around everyone.  Especially since she's so adorable, all need to be in on the fun she is capable of creating. 

      We decided to head to Moses Lake for Memorial Day weekend and that was probably the roughest time she's ever had.  Nap times were ridiculous and she hadn't been acting like our happy little girl for about a week.  Ty and I were stressed to the max.  On Monday, when we went home, we decided to stop in Othello for a bit to hang out with Ty's family.  At some point, something set this poor little girl off and she began a screaming fit that lasted the better part of 2-3 hours.  Ty's dad did some muscle testing for her and found a flood of things.  We decided to feed her early and she promptly fell asleep.  She was better the next day, but still a bit cranky.  However, that night I had developed a clogged milk duct and during a pumping session I became very sick, very quickly.  I earned myself a fever and took a hot bath to help relieve it.  I felt so out of it, but continued to pump more frequently than usual to get rid of the clog.  The clog lasted for about a week and a half and though it's gone, it helped lower my already insufficient supply, on the affected side.  It seems that that duct is now closed for business.  My supply did go back up, though it's still behind what she's eating.  Needless to say, I'm anxiously awaiting the 6 month mark.

Some things we are loving about Anna:

- Her smiles are a constant joy and getting her to smile is my favorite game.  I love that when she gets placed with someone else, she stares at me until we smile at each other.  It's like we have secrets jokes no one else knows.

- Her laugh.  Oh my goodness, the giggle fits she goes into are so fun and her laugh is contagious.  Daddy's still best at getting her to laugh and finding all her tickle spots, but I love listening in.  She loves when you laugh with her, it definitely helps to keep her going. 

- Sleep...pretty good.  Still 6-8 hours, sometimes more if we're really lucky.  We finally started putting her in her own bed at night and during nap times.  The first night I died a little on the inside.  I missed having her next to me so much and was worried I wouldn't be able to tell if she was okay.  I've gotten better, but I still miss waking up to her smile.  

- She has started really loving her tongue and sticks it out whenever she's happy and being goofy.  It's so funny. 

- She loves to do crunches.  She's a big fitness fanatic.  ;)  Just kidding.  She's really trying to sit up and loves it when I help her to sit up or stand. 

-This one isn't necessarily about her as much as it is this new stuff we've been using to treat her head (and now body) of the eczema.  It's called Yoreganics Bye Bye Balm.  Love it!  We saw results right away and it's not as greasy as the coconut oil alone.  We actually ran out and by the next day you could tell.  I definitely made sure to order more.

Some things we aren't loving so much:

- Though we love seeing her smile and laugh, it's IMPOSSIBLE to get her to do it on camera.  As soon as it's within her view, she's stops everything and just stares at this strange contraption pointed in her face.  Getting a picture of her smile or a video of her laugh is quite the accomplishment if it does happen.

- Baby throw up.  It's not awesome. 

-She sleeps well when she does sleep, but getting her there, at night in particular is just crazy.  She can be in her swing or her bouncer and have finally fallen asleep, then as soon as we pick her up, awake.  We put her in her swaddler and had to make sure not wake her then.  It's funny, we could be watching something and it could be loud, but she wouldn't wake up.  You lift her out of her swing and bam, she's awake.  Ugh.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Favorite Baby Items Newborn to 4 Months

      Though my daughter is only a few months old, I've been able to get a lot of hours worth of use out of certain items.  These have become my favorites/can't-do-withouts.  You might be able to go without them or think they are silly, but these are what have worked for us and I'd like to make mention of them for future reference. (All links to these items are attached to their respective pictures.)

Baby Connect (Activity Tracker) app:

      The veteran moms will probably laugh and think I'm such a silly first timer, but I don't care.  This app has saved my sanity.  It tracks EVERYTHING.  Eating (nursing, bottle, for older kids solids), pumping, sleep, diaper changes, doctors appointments, weight, height, length, milestones, the works.  It will even give you graphs of your data and show you the amounts entered in each day.  My favorite feature is the reminder alarms.  I like to be reminded when I need to pump and when Anna needs to eat.  You can get the app for your iPhone, iPad, Android or you can go to the website.

Arm's Reach Cosleeper:

      From the beginning, I wanted my baby to sleep close and to be able to form that bond right away.  I loved (she just moved into her crib in her own room...I died a little) being able to look over at her in the morning and see her beautiful smile when I said, "Good Morning."  I really did love waking up to both my loves every morning.  Though I didn't love getting up in the middle of the night sometimes, it made it easier to take care of her right away with her being right there.  Due to my need to recover and lack of ability to do much other than feed Anna, Ty had her on his side of the bed for the first week or two.  Both of us agree that we were glad we had the cosleeper and and that she was so close to us.  This also collapsible so it has been great for traveling.  The pouches on the side were great for holding ready diapers and wipes and the bottom held the bigger supply.  It was annoying to break it down and dealing with all the locks and such, but I've kinda got the hang of it so that it takes about a minute.

First Years Close and Secure Cosleeper:
      Another cosleeper?  Why yes.  We used this to elevate Anna when she was still a little tiny.  My mom used it and put it on the futon when she would take her for the night while she was here helping out.  She loved it.  This also folds up and making it, too, great for traveling.  If we had a King size bed, we would definitely use it to put her in the middle.  My favorite thing about it is the little night light at the top.  It also makes for a great changing pad.

Snug & Tug Swaddler:

      This was a purchase suggested by my mom because of how well the one my sister-in-law uses for her kiddos worked for them.  I never really gave much thought to swaddling.  Anna has always loved having her hands close to her and we've encouraged it, however at night she can swat at herself and wake herself up.  This means that mommy and/or daddy wakes up.  Once we figured out how it worked, which really turned out to be super easy, we put her in it every night and haven't had trouble with her waking up earlier than she normally would.  The velcro makes it really easy to wrap and hold together without worrying that it will come undone.  That being said, no swaddler is immune to the wiggly-houdini hands of a baby.  For the most part though if you make it tight enough there should be no escapes.

My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow:
      In the beginning, I thought I was going to be an exclusive breastfeeding mother.  Things didn't turn out that way, exactly, but while I was breastfeeding I loved it.  It lifted Anna high enough and I really like the back support it offered by wrapping around me.  The pouch in the front was great for holding Lasinoh and the nipple shield in between feedings.

Fisher Price Papasan Cradle Swing:
       I love, LOVE, this swing.  Hands down one of the best things we bought.  It really is great for her to hang out in while I get things done and she swings away and watches the pretty lights and butterflies above her head.  Anna loves it!  It really helps to get her to give into sleep when she's fighting it.  The great thing about this swing is that you can adjust it to swing back and forth or side to side. 

Fisher Price Calming Vibrations Bouncer:
      Ours doesn't look quite like this and it doesn't have the bar with the danglies, but it's basically the same type.  This is the second best way to get her to calm down or fall asleep.  At first she wasn't a fan of the vibration option, but I think she grew into it.  She definitely loves the bouncing though. 

Moby Wrap:

      A friend gifted me the Evenflo BabyGo carrier and we've tried a few times and neither us or the baby cared for it.  It just seemed difficult to figure out.  The Moby, however, was really simple.  Anna loves being wrapped up close and snuggly.  Especially when she was brand new.  In the beginning, THIS was definitely a guarantee that she would fall asleep.  Can you tell that was a big deal?  Haha.  She is always very secure and leaves my hands and arms available to get things done.  

Aden & Anais Burp Cloths:
      Nobody likes baby throw up, well any kind of throw up for that matter, but it happens and there really isn't any way to avoid it.  Burp cloths are a must.  Of all the ones I have, the Aden & Anais ones are THE best.  They are super absorbent and large.  I really love the way they curve in the middle so it fits nicely on the shoulder.  When she is older they can be used as bibs with the help of the little snaps on the ends.  I have three of these and so wish I had more.  I got them on for a bargain.

 Simple Saline Spray:
      The first time Anna became congested, I kind of freaked out.  I didn't know what to do and how to help her get over that.  I used the suction bulb, but it just didn't seem to do much.  Then I did some researching and remembered that my brother and sister-in-law gave us this stuff (actually it isn't the baby kind, but seemed to be just fine).  I enlisted Ty's help with holding her down so I could spray and suction with better ease.  Anna hated the experience, but eventually sort of got used to the routine.  Lay down while daddy holds her still, mommy sprays the saline up the nose, wait a little bit, then mommy uses the suction bulb to get out any mucus possible.  By using the saline spray, you can actually get the bulb further in (because apparently you're supposed to go as deep as you can) and get more accomplished.  I firmly believe this helped relieve her congestion much quicker than normal.  The saline itself helps to fight off infection and virus.  All-in-all, I will definitely always have this stuff handy.

Escali Baby/Toddler Scale:
       This was a Zulily purchase and I have not regretted it, though it was a bit of a splurge.  I love being able to check her weight at will and it's incredibly accurate and easy to read.  It works a lot like a kitchen food scale in that you can adjust the unit type, tare, and memory.  I really like the tare feature so that I can lay a blanket down and it doesn't count towards her weight and she can be warm.  Once she's old enough, the cradle portion can be removed and she can stand on a small scale.  I love using it!

Breast Pumps
This was definitely deserving of it's own category.

Phillips Avent Manual Pump:
      When we first started with breast feeding, I wasn't sure my milk was coming in and if Anna was getting enough from me (something that would later be proven).  So we decided to get a manual pump because the one I had bought at a garage sale wasn't giving me any suction (that's the next one).  Ginger had suggested the Avent bottles and so we went with their manual pump.  It took a little getting used to, but eventually I got the hang of pumping and was able to get the suction I needed to produce.  Turns out what I needed was the massage cushion with the five petals to help initiate the let down.  This was a great benefit, but manual takes a lot of effort and my hands were killing me by the end.  Also, it seemed like the bottle kept untwisting somehow and I had to keep checking it to make sure it stayed in place. 

Medela Single Deluxe Breast Pump:

      At some point, I had had enough of the manual and thought I'd give the electric one I bought at the garage sale a try.  At first, it was the same story as before and I didn't get any suction.  Then, I decided to put on the massage cushion and whoala!  Finally, I didn't have to keep doing it the hard way.  It really was great to finally not have to manually pump anymore. 

Phillips Avent Massage Cushion for Let Down:

      After awhile of pumping, I was finally able to not need the cushions, but like I said, in the beginning it was completely necessary for me and are good for those of us who are flat or inverted.  Though they are Phillips brand they fit on all of my Medela breastsheilds. 

Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with On the Go Tote:
       As great as the electric pump was, it was still a single.  Doing one side at a time was taking a really long time and it was starting to wear on me.  Ty and I discussed it and agreed that a double pump would be a great investment because I would still be using it for awhile and then it would come in handy with any future children.  BEST DECISION EVER!!  It, obviously, takes half the time and when we go somewhere it's really easy to pack up and take.  I highly recommend it if you are in the market.  

      It's important to note that a lot of the regular baby items were thrifted by garage sale or craigslist.  Just because it's your first doesn't mean you should spend an outrageous amount of money.  Nearly all of Anna's clothes are hand-me-downs.  Not like she knows.  

      I hope this might be of some help to someone.  If not, it was good for me to get it all down so I can remember for the next little one.  What are/were your favorite things to use for your baby during the first four months?  I'd love to compare since these are the only things I've used so far. 
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