Archive | May, 2012

Baby Products Galore!

31 May

I just read a “Baby Must Haves” post over on one of my favorite blogs.  I have read at least 15 of these from different bloggers since I got pregnant and I find it really interesting how each list is different.  It just goes to show that every baby and every family have different needs.  Since I know a lot of people who either just had a baby or are expecting soon, I thought I’d do my own.  There are so many contraptions out there to spend money on.  Chloe is not quite five months old yet, but I don’t imagine things are going to change too terribly much in the next week.  So here’s a rundown of things that were essential to us (and those that we could’ve lived without) up until this point.

Things we needed:

1. Boppy Infant Lounger.  If you’ve seen any pictures of Chloe from the first few months of her life, you know that we used this thing all. the. time.  It was portable and comfortable for her.  They don’t recommend that you put it on elevated surfaces, but when she was tiny we’d put it in the middle of the table while we ate.  Or on the couch with us while we watched TV.  She spent a lot of time napping in it, too.  I’d say she outgrew this by 2.5-3 months.

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Tiny Chloe on the boppy lounger.

2. Boppy Nursing Pillow.  Breastfeeding is hard and this pillow made it much easier.  When we were having hour long nursing sessions and nursing every hour or hour and a half, it was a life saver.  My hands were free to read, play on my phone, whatever.  She has since outgrown it (I posted on this earlier when I thought she was just trying to make things difficult.  She’s just gotten to big for it.).  I recommend having at least two pillow covers though.  Ours have seen a lot of spit up and vomit.  We used this until she was four months old.  Now we use it to help her learn to sit up.  She loves to sit up in the floor and we place this around her so when she falls (and she always does).

3.  Aden and Anias swaddling blankets. We swaddled her in two of these until we figured out that she hated being swaddled. They are soft and breathable (and super cute).  Now we use them for spit clothes, blankets, sun shields and toys.  Chloe is really into texture right now and loves to feel them.  My mom thought they were too expensive, but now she’s a believer, too.  We have 8 of them and honestly, I want more.  

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First day home, all swaddled up (and probably hating it).

4.  Sleep sacks.  The link is for the Aden and Anias one that we are using currently.  I have two.  They are the perfect weight for summer.  When it was colder, I used some long sleeve fleece one’s that were gifts.  They kept her warm and comfy without the risk of a blanket getting on her face.  I use blankets at naptime now, but she moves around so much at night that I’d be afraid she’d get it on her face.  I imagine we’ll use these for a few more months.

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Worst iPhone picture ever, but you get the idea.

5.  Stroller and car seat combination.  I wanted one of those expensive jogging strollers, but am glad that we didn’t lay out the cash for it now.  Our Graco stoller has worked perfectly for us so far.  It’s so easy to just plop the car seat in the stroller and go.  She’s probably ready to ride in it like a big girl, but hasn’t liked it every time I’ve tried.  I’m getting a used jogging stroller from family that is probably much nicer than one we could’ve bought, so I’m fine with what we’ve got.  In other words, unless you are a very serious runner, you can do without a B.O.B.

6. Activity Mat.  We got a Baby Einstien one as a gift and it’s been great.  She has loved laying there and batting at toys, etc,.  Now that she can really grab things, I think she’s over it, but it’s been nice to be able to lay her down and do a few things and know that she’s entertained (at least for a few minutes).

7.  Baby Monitor.  We have the old school audio-only one and I don’t see any reason to splurge on the video monitor.  I know that I would be obsessed with watching her and wouldn’t be able to enjoy time with my husband when she’s asleep.  Hearing her scoot around and talk in there is plenty.  That said, I am glad we have one.  I can go outside, downstairs, whatever, and always hear what she’s doing.  We actually don’t use it after we’ve gone to bed either, since her room is just down the hall.

8.  Bumbo seat.  Chloe loves the Bumbo.  It’s helping her learn to sit up and it’s so easy to plop her down in it and let her play.  We recently got the tray that attaches to it and it’s cut down on the times I have to get up and pick up the toys that she has dropped.  We actually thought about just using this instead of a high chair, but have decided that we’d rather have something more formal for her to sit in at meal times.

9.  Sophie.  My baby loves this thing.  Her eyes light up when it’s around.  It’s squeaky and gets kind of annoying, but it keeps her occupied most of the time.  I don’t feel like she needs a lot of toys right now, but this one is a keeper.

10.  Sound Machine. I can’t find ours online, but I think when she hears it, she knows its bedtime.  She likes the ocean sound best and I leave it on until we go to bed.  It has a timer, so it’s great.  It has also been a lifesaver in getting her to sleep all night.  If I hear her talking in there, I can creep in and turn it on for half an hour and she’s back asleep.

Things I have but could live without:

1.  Electric Breast Pump.  First of all, Chloe won’t take a bottle.  I could live without a breast pump altogether.  However, I do have a pretty nice freezer stash if something were to happen and we couldn’t nurse anymore.  Also, we plan to use it on her cereal/in sippy cups, etc,. whenever we’re done nursing.  I pump about 10 oz. a day and throw it in the freezer.  I’m pretty sure I could’ve just used a manual and been just fine.  If I were working, this would be another story.  It is convenient, just not necessary for our situation. (Luckily I got a crazy good deal on mine ($80 for a $299 one!) because we found a woman who had used it for two days and decided not to breastfeed.

2.  Swing.  Chloe has never been a big fan of the swing.  I know a lot of parents swear by them, but she hasn’t like it.  I try to put her in it every couple of days to see if she’s changed her mind, but no.  We always end up like this:

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The one we got has a bouncy/vibrating chair that detaches, though and it has been fantastic.  Until she started sleeping in her crib, she often got a nap in it.  Even though it didn’t work with Chloe, we’re going to keep it and hope that #2 (if that ever happens) likes it.

3.  Wipe Warmer.  I got three of these as gifts and figured that they would come in handy.  Um.  Chloe likes her butt wiped with cold wipes for some reason.  I’ve gotten it out and tried it and she isn’t happy. People swear by these too, though, so maybe it’ll work with the next one?

4. Bottles.  Hunter and I were really excited to use our Dr. Brown’s glass bottles, but the whole bottle thing is a no go as of yet.

Okay, so those are the things that come to mind now, but I’m sure I’ll have more later.  

What things have helped you the most?  What could you live without?

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Wednesday

30 May

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The playmat has lost its luster. We need to get the jumparoo soon (Dad?).

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Teeth hurt.

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No, really. They do.

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But Mommy holding me makes it better.

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So do naps with thumbs and blankies.

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And time outside with Mommy. (please ignore lack of makeup on my face and focus on the nice blob of drool on Chloe’s)

Progress?

29 May

This weekend was an adventure.  An adventure in when not to try to figure out some sort of napping schedule.  Seriously.  Don’t do it when your child is teething.  It will make both of you miserable.  

But we persevered.  I wouldn’t say any progress was made in the napping front (although today is looking promising–already had one 1h 15min nap!) and I’ll do an update on that situation once I have been a little more successful.

We spent a lot of time outside and with family and friends.  Here are some pictures to recap:

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I went to run some errands and come home to find this…

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I keep finding her in this position when I sit her up with the boppy. Thumb in mouth, bib in hand, giraffe in reach.

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Dancing with Daddy. She is absolutely loving having Hunter home more since school is out.

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Poor thing had a hard day yesterday (teething) and passed out after gnawing my hand off. Memorial day was just too much for her!

She also finally laughed at someone other than me!  My Dad got a chuckle out of her on Sunday and Hunter got one out of her yesterday.  Thank goodness.  I was beginning to think that I must just be really funny looking.  

Hanging onto Me

28 May

I know it’s a given, but it is sort of unbelievable how life changes when you have a child.  Everyone tells you that it will happen, that your life will be unrecognizable, but you can’t truly comprehend it until it happens.  I had picturesque visions of continuing on just as we always had the day we brought Chloe home.  Reality hits hard though (or maybe it’s just sleep deprivation).

You read a lot about Mommy guilt in relation to the way we parent.  I’m not paying enough attention to my kid.  I have to go back to work.  I can’t afford such and such toy.  Whatever.  What I haven’t read much about is feeling guilty for missing parts of one’s life before children.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want my life to be any different now.  Chloe brings such joy to me everyday.  Things are just different than they were before (duh).  I know that our lives will never be the same, but my goal is to try to (re)incorporate some of the things we love to do together, alone and now, as a family of three, back into our lives.

Walks.  I’ve been trying to get Chloe on a nap schedule and therefore, have been avoiding walks.  She always falls asleep in the stroller if we walk more than 30 minutes so I’ve been skipping them.  I think early morning walks will be best for us because of the heat that comes in the afternoon.  Maybe she won’t go to sleep if she’s just woken up for the day?  This is something that Hunter and I have always loved doing together and I want Chloe to enjoy it too.

Running.  I am a runner who never runs anymore.  Since Chloe won’t take a bottle I’ve let myself make excuses about running.  The truth is that it’s hard to get back out there.  Chloe isn’t going to starve to death, especially now that she’s spaced her feedings out more.  My goal is to run at least three days a week if possible.  Sometimes Hunter will be at work and the stars won’t align, but I’m going to try.

Movies. We have a ton of movies at our house and have always loved curling up on the couch with one.  Now that we’re both tired all of the time, we’re more likely to fall asleep on the couch watch a short TV show before bed.  I know we might not be able to go to theater as often as we used to but we can certainly stay up past our insanely early bedtime and watch a movie together once in a while.

Writing.  I’m doing a lot more of this now that I started the blog, but I had started a book when I was pregnant and just stopped.  It’s what I love and I need to do it more often.

Reading.  Now that she’s napping in her crib (although for very short periods of time), I have time to do a little reading.  I’m too tired at night and end up falling asleep, but I need to set aside time to do it during the day.

Cooking and baking.  These are other things I love to do.  I’m doing them now, but not enjoying them.  I’m always concerned with the next naptime or feeding and don’t let myself relax and have fun.

Socializing.  Having a baby can be isolating.  It’s hard to leave the house especially when they’re small because you need so many things.  Or they’re crying.  Whatever.  It’s just hard.  Not to mention that I’m a total control freak and have a hard time letting people do things for me (like watch my child).  I need to do things with and without Chloe and become a normal human again.  I’ve always been a homebody, but I need to find Mommy friends and keep in contact with my other friends.

There are many other things, but the moral of this story is that I need to keep myself in tact while still being a Mom.  I honestly didn’t know how hard it was going to be.  Doing these things and feeling more like myself isn’t only important for me, but for the example that I’m going to set for her.  Happy Momma equals happy baby (and vice versa).

How do you find the time and energy to hang onto yourself while putting your all into motherhood?

I’ll have lots of pictures of little Miss Chloe tomorrow!

Random Musings

25 May

Do babies get a second wind?  I’m keeping Chloe up longer than usual today to try to get her to nap better and so far, so good.  She was up for the day at 6:30 and I just put her down for her first nap (around 9:15).  She got fussy around the time I would normally put her down, but after a few minutes was fine again.  Maybe this will work out for us.  

Babies are so confusing and they don’t come with instructions.  I’m so thankful that I get to stay home with her and figure things out on our own time.  Do babies in daycare have to be on a set schedule??  I never even thought about it.  

We’re hunkering down here at the Mullins house today so that I can pay close attention to what’s going to work for her.  Hunter wanted to go on a walk this morning and I wouldn’t let him put her in the stroller or Ergo because I knew she’d conk out immediately.  So he carried her.  It was interesting.  Thank goodness for strollers and carriers, because we didn’t make it too far. 

Chloe’s newest development is that she has learned how to make things squeak or to make lots of noise by banging them.  Her Sophie giraffe has taken a beating this morning between her gnawing on it to make it squeak and hitting it as hard as she can on her tray.  Throwing them also seems to tickle her.  

We’ve also been working on sitting up.  She wants to do it all of the time, so I figure it’s time to learn how.  She’s always trying to pull her head up and loves it when we prop her up.  I guess it’s just getting a different view of things? She can hold it for about 15 seconds and then she topples over. She hasn’t figured out how to use her hands to balance yet, but soon I’m sure.  

Anyway, I don’t have any new pictures today but I’ll try to take a lot on this (long) weekend!  

Nap Wars

24 May

I’m in the midst of the Nap Wars 2012 so this will be brief.  Chloe has decided that naps are for losers and doesn’t want to take them.  She’ll go to sleep for 10 minutes or so and then wake up.  Does this mean that she just isn’t tired or ready for a nap?  I’ve been putting her down every 2 hours or so because she seems tired.  She rubs her eyes, yawns, her eyes glaze over, etc,.  Maybe she’s ready to start spacing them out more?

Because of our lack of naps yesterday, she was ridiculously overtired last night at bedtime and acted insane.  Like…sucking on my neck and babbling into my ear really loud.  Hilarious, yes.  But it stopped being funny after an hour of trying to get her to bed.

Advice?

Here are a few pictures from yesterday:

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Too many choices!

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Hunter and Chloe playing with McDougal.

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I later came downstairs to find Hunter asleep with the duck…haha.

And…she’s awake.

Attachment Parenting a la Mullins

23 May

Ever since the Time article came out and attachment parenting hit the chopping block, I’ve looked a lot closer at our evolving parenting style.  I’m not going to give you a run down of the article or critisize the implications of the cover and the story; you can find a billion of those kinds of reactions in numerous blogs and articles.   Instead, I’m going to talk a little bit about our take on attachment parenting and the parts of it that we are implementing and those that we aren’t.

Let it be known that before Chloe was born I didn’t have a plan for what kind of parent I was going to be.  I wanted to do what worked best for her and not go into it with preconceived expectations and ideas that would only result in disappointment when those things didn’t work out for us.  I was only 100% sure of a few things:  1) I was going to have a baby. 2) I would love her unconditionally. 3) I wouldn’t get to sleep for a long, long time.  I say all of this to provide a sort of disclaimer.  I don’t believe there is a “right” way to parent.  Each family is different and you have to do what works for yours.  I’m not with Alanis Morissette and the whole “attachment parenting will keep them out of therapy later” thing.  This is what is working for us right now.

Dr. Sears, who seems to be the strongest advocate of AP, outlines it with the 7 Baby B’s.  This makes it easier to talk about because I’ll have something to refer to as far as the “expectations” of attachment parenting.

1. Birth Bonding. I missed out on the “initial” period of bonding because I had a c-section.  It was unplanned and it took them a while to get Chloe to me.  I was fairly upset about it, but I knew that it was for medical reasons.  Once everything was checked out and both she and I were given the green light, they placed her on my chest.  And we bonded.  Honestly, I didn’t see any issues because we weren’t skin to skin right after birth.  I think it could be very important when it comes to breastfeeding, but I lucked out and got a baby that didn’t have any trouble.  So there’s one of the “B’s” that we did not partake in.

2.  Breastfeeding.  This one was very important to me.  Not only is it a great bonding experience for mothers and their babies, breastmilk contains a lot of nutrients that formula does not.  (Here’s where my disclaimer comes in:  I realize that formula fed babies turn out just fine.  I did.  It was important to me to try my best to breastfeed, but if I was not able to, I wasn’t going to be too upset.)  Breastfeeding has been the most difficult and the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.  I watch her grow and I watch those adorable baby rolls develop and I know that I made that.  I am able to sustain another life with just my body.  I don’t know how long we’ll keep it up–at least a year–and I’m not ruling out extended breastfeeding.  America has placed some kind of stigma on breastfeeding (over-sexualized); in other countries, weaning a baby at the age of one isn’t necessarily the norm.  The benefits a child gets from breastmilk continue for as long as they receive it.  Anyway, that’s another post for another day.

3.  Babywearing.  I’ve done my fair share of babywearing in the past 4.5 months.  When she was tiny, it would calm her down instantly.  Put her in the Moby wrap and she’d go to sleep.  There were nights when she wouldn’t go to bed and we’d put her in the Ergo and do laps around the house.  Now, she doesn’t always go to sleep, but it does always calm her down.  I feel like I learned her cues quicker because she was always so close to me.  This didn’t make her over-clingy; she’s becoming more independent everyday.  However, we do have a stroller and I use it often to take her on walks.  I think we’re pretty well in the middle on this one.

4.  Bedding close to baby (or co-sleeping).  Chloe slept in a bassinet beside me for the first 4 or 5 weeks of her life.  I wasn’t comfortable bed sharing with something so small and fragile.  It worked for us then.  Ultimately though, we decided to move her to her crib at a fairly young age.  Chloe was a loud sleeper (not so much anymore) and I was so tuned into her noises that I couldn’t get any sleep.  When we put her in her crib, she slept longer.  I guess the girl just needed her own space.  I think the idea of co-sleeping and bed sharing would be very convenient, especially during those early days when you’re getting up every 2 hours (or more) to feed.  It just wasn’t in the cards for us.  Sometimes it doesn’t feel right to have her down the hall, but in the end, I think it’s been the best thing for our family.

5.  Belief in the language of your baby’s cry.  This is one that I’m a stickler to.  People told me I should just let her cry, etc,. etc,.  But to me, her cry was telling me she needed something.  Sometimes it was to be fed, to change a diaper but sometimes it was simply to be close to me.  I felt like ignoring that need, whatever it was, was cruel and unnecessary.  I want her to trust us and there was no reason for us not to respond to each and every cry.  This helped me learn what her different cries mean and now I’m able to quickly figure out what she needs.

6.  Beware of baby trainers.  I know that some people swear by baby trainers.  Whether it’s Ferber, Babywise, Healthy Sleep Habits, or whatever, I know that they work for some people.  Chloe isn’t on a schedule, or at least not one I came up with.  I’ve tracked her sleep habits and feeding habits and we’ve gotten on something that resembles a schedule some days.  But Chloe is in charge and I try to pay attention to what she needs.  Again, this is just what works for us.

7.  Balance.  This is the point that I struggle on the most.  Obviously, I hadn’t been out with my husband for 4.5 months until last week.  Finding balance is going to be my goal for the next couple of months because I think it will make everyone happier.

With all of that said, I think our parenting style is a moderate form of attachment parenting. We’ve taken some of the facets outlined and modified them to fit our lifestyle.  I think most things about AP would’ve been impossible if I wasn’t able to stay home with Chloe.  And that would’ve been just fine, too.