Milestones aplenty

February 11, 2009

Another double post day! Check below for an update on cloth diapering.

Today, Abby rolled over from her stomach to her back. Three times in a row! Which would be one time too few for me to catch it on camera. 😦

I cut her hair in the back last week and have started putting the front in a doofy little ponytail or clipped off to the side. It’s so long it gets in her eyes, though she loves to play with it. She blows air up at it and watches it go up and down in the breeze. Very cute to watch. I trimmed the back because it was down to the middle of her shoulder blades (no joke) and, aside from looking like a Czech Republic hockey player, it was getting matted and stuck in the snaps of her little shirts. She still looks very cute and is patient while I put her kuku in every morning.

And finally. Our little girl no longer needs us to help her find the Land of Nod. Put her in her crib and she puts herself to sleep. Funnily enough, she also no longer wants our help. If you hold her too long, she starts to get fussy, looking longingly at the doobie bears on her crib bumper and craning her body to get over there.

I’m very glad she can do this herself. The gift of sleep is a great thing a parent can give a child.

But damn if I’m not almost in tears over it. She’s getting so big already!

Serenity mentioned that the magic number appeared to be 12. Mine was six.

I should say that I mean weeks, not months. I think we’re going to start trying for No. 2.


Finding more green in cloth diapers

February 11, 2009

Contrary to what you might expect, this post isn’t a commentary on Abby’s new iron supplements.

It’s time for an update on cloth diapering. We’re still going strong with the cloth diapers, solid food and all. Abby is about five and a half months old but I started her on pureed foods a month ago, along with rice cereal. We have used about 50 disposables since she was born, whether it was not having enough cloth to last through Shabbat or chag, attempting to get her through the night with one diaper (um – yeah right – that was a fail – a double-lined cloth diaper is way more absorbent), etc.

I wasn’t sure what we would be doing when Abby started solids. Things change a bit in the diapers when that happens – if you’ve been there, you know what I mean. If you haven’t gotten there yet … well … consider breastfeeding exclusively a bit longer. 😉

As the diapers were getting a bit more odoriferous and tougher to clean, I thought we would start using our Kushies diaper liners. But a funny thing happened – I accidently forgot to take a wipe or two out of a wet cloth diaper. They went through the wash with the rest of the diaper pockets and liners. And they came out soft and clean. And then I had an idea.

And it works. We wash the diaper wipes that we use for wet diapers right along with the rest of the diaper stuff and laundry. They come out soft and clean and we line each cloth diaper with one before we put Abby in it. Wetness goes right through like it’s supposed to, poo sits right on the diaper wipe – we flip the whole mess into the toilet and down it goes. It’s so easy I wish we had tried it when we were just breastfeeding.

Even if you haven’t reached the solid food stage, the wipe liners can also be used to keep diaper rash cream or moisturizer away from the diaper liner itself – that way, your diapers don’t lose their absorbency.

It’s so effective, we’re going to keep up the cloth for the foreseeable future. More money in the bank for us. 😉

***

The following is not for the weak of heart (or stomach) or men – consider yourself warned…

All this going green got me to thinking about the disposable products I was using as well. It seemed a bit hypocritical to put my kiddo is washable things and use disposables myself (heaven help me – maybe I am going all crunchy granola?).

So I bought some washable nursing pads from Kushies. So far, so good – and they wash up nicely and save quite a bit of money (the Avent nursing pads I was using were almost a shekel each – it adds up quickly).

A few weeks after that, my period came back with a vengeance. And I exhausted the last of my supplies of feminine products from the U.S.

Now, I’m not sure if women in Israel just have exceptionally light cycles (must be nice) but I literally could not find any pads out there that were going to get it done. And for reasons unknown to me, tampons are really uncomfortable since I had Abby. Maybe she did break something down there? Dunno. I have adopted a don’t ask, don’t tell policy with that part of my body.

I was just about to relegate myself to a week’s worth of home arrest each month using a newborn diaper as a maxi pad when I stumbled upon this site. So I ordered one of these and this kit. I wasn’t sure if I would find them all very gross or not, but I figured it was worth a shot.

Greatest investment I ever made. The soft flannel is nice to wear, I don’t get a rash the way I use to and the cup is amazing. It keeps me feeling clean, something that really use to bother me – especially in the summer. I can’t say enough positive things about them. The cost was a lot to absorb off the bat, but even if it is more expensive in the long run (which I don’t think it will be) it was totally worth it.


About last night

February 10, 2009

Yesterday, Abby didn’t nap so well during the day. It’s clear the naps are going to be a challenge for a while yet. But.

Jeremy put her in her crib last night at 8 p.m. I didn’t give her a dream feed – for no good reason other than I was too busy with work and never thought she would get through the whole night anyway.

She woke up at 6:40 this morning, without so much as a peep overnight. And she played in her crib this morning for about 10 minutes before we went to get her.

Almost 11 hours straight. Amazingly, 12 hours doesn’t seem so farfetched right now. 😉

Sleep training is a challenge. It’s hard to stick to the house as much as we did. And it’s tough when she doesn’t want to nap – do you force it or let her stay up even if she’s getting overtired? But all I can say is we’re really glad we did it. We both woke up feeling well rested, which means we can engage her and care for her better during the day.

It took about 10 days to get to this point, but it was absolutely worth it.


Tips from the trenches

February 9, 2009

A friend in the U.S. who just had a little one emailed me this week. So glad to hear from her! We emailed back and forth about life with a newborn, breastfeeding and the usually mommy chatter. She asked if I had any good tips on how to get through nursing in the beginning (and the middle … and the whatever part I’m in now). Here’s what I’ve got for her … and I might as well share it with you too. Some are probably pretty well known, others might be … dare I say it … unique.

  • If your little one is refusing the boob, try and trick them into nursing. Either give them some expressed breast milk in a bottle or a pacifier if they will take one and as they start to drowse off on your lap, pull a fast one on them. Gently remove the bottle or paci and pop them back on to the breast. It was my experience that if I could get Abby back on the breast once or twice, she usually realized she missed it and started nursing again. If nothing else, it’s a more convenient way to ride out a nursing strike if it saves you a few pumping sessions.
  • If your little one isn’t gaining weight quickly enough (or quickly enough for Tipat Chalav, which is sometimes a different thing entirely) and you are advised to supplement with formula, ask if you can simply add some formula to expressed breast milk to up the calorie content first. Or at least split a bottle of breast milk with formula so that every bottle has some breast milk in it. Breast milk varies in flavor, smell and other ways depending on the time of day, Mom’s diet, etc. If your baby gets use to the monotone flavor of formula, it can be more challenging to get them back on the gourmet palette of breast milk.
  • For sore nipples (which I had way later than expected, since we were all nipple shields all the time in the beginning), I took a three-pronged approach. First, lanolin or Dr. Newman’s cream. Second, air time: keep them dry and not in contact with anything (I highly recommend these). Third, to keep any leaking milk away from them, insert an Avent or Johnson and Johnson’s nursing pad inside the Medela shell. This alone might have actually kept me nursing as long as I have.
  • When you think you’re about to get your period back, consider getting some Fenugreek. For some people, it works really well. For others, it does nothing. For me, it was somewhere in the middle but it got us through some tough times when I could only pump.
  • If you don’t need the breastshell jobbies, then I have a better recipe for the greatest nursing pads EVER. Get an Always maxipad. Doesn’t have to be that absorbent (or then again, maybe it does – you know yourself best). Cut the nice rounded ends off. They are lined with the same stuff as most nursing pads, but they are much cheaper, just as absorbent, flatter and have adhesive all over the back so they actually stay in place. BONUS: Different levels of absorption for overnights. And the stay dry wicking top liner actually keeps your breasts nice and dry and clean and they don’t stick to sore nipples.
  • And lastly. If you are going to be pumping a lot and you have access to one, get yourself a Medela Freestyle. It is hands down the nicest pump made. You can actually pump completely handsfree, which means you can do something else and not have to sit hunched forward, etc. You are more relaxed – ergo more milk. And it’s easy to assemble and the parts are big and heavy duty silicone so you don’t get nervous losing or damaging something when you wash it (I borrowed a friend’s pump at first and was petrified that I would lose one of those little membranes!). Also the pump is teency tiny in comparison to others, so if you have to take a pump to work, it’s really one to consider. I cannot say enough good about it.

And now, dear readers, what are your best tips? Leave them in the comments or over on your blog and let me know!


At the intersection of work and play

February 9, 2009

I had a bright idea at work. Feel free to join in!

And yes – I will catch up on posts. Sleep is still going well, but I’m redesigning our work Web site with a tight deadline. 😉


In a nutshell

February 7, 2009

Abby is sleeping really well.

She went to sleep at 8:30 p.m. on Friday night without a tear, in her crib and without her pacifier.

I opted not to wake her for a dreamfeed, as she hadn’t napped all that well during the day. Again, I’m glad I didn’t – she slept until 5:30 a.m. Nine hours straight without a single peep.

But what is even better news – in our opinion – is what happened Saturday morning. We put her down for her first nap. After 45 minutes we heard her stirring in her room, but we didn’t go in. And for the first time ever (!), Abby put herself back to sleep.

She also slept well throughout the afternoon. When it comes to nighttimes, it’s almost as though we have a different baby in the house.

I’m going to feed her at 11 p.m. tonight in hopes that it will keep her down until 7 a.m. Yes, we could let her stay in her crib in the morning until a more reasonable wakeup time, but she was very hungry this morning. I think that’s what woke her up. I’m not entirely sure she’s getting enough calories during the day yet, so I don’t want to push it at night yet.

We’ll see how tonight’s dreamfeed affects things. And yes, I’m behind one post but I’ll try and catch up later.


Pulling the plug

February 6, 2009

Two posts today: Read below first if you’re following the sleeping saga. 🙂

After much success with Abby falling asleep in her crib (albeit, with some attention from us and a Mama or Abba within reach – our reach, not hers) with her pacifier, we thought we might try to tackle another goal on our sleep training list.

Though getting Abby to sleep through the night every night is a nice idea (maybe – my breasts still aren’t so sure about this), it pales in comparison to weaning her off her pacifier. I have nothing against her pacifier in general. It makes her happy when she’s stuck in a crappy situation (such as on a crowded, standing room only bus during a 45-minute ride back from Jerusalem) where I’m somewhat limited in how I can soothe her. I don’t like the idea of plugging a kid up when they’re at home and need your attention, but there are times it comes in handy.

Abby has always fallen asleep at the breast. When she pops herself off, I pop the paci in. To the crib she goes. And she always slept well that way – on her back. When she began being a side sleeper, we had paci problems. The pacifier falls out. She’s not quite adept enough to get it back in (though to give her the benefit of the doubt, I’m not sure I would be if I were sound asleep in a dark room with somewhat limited fine motor skills – she does quite well with it during the day). And then she wakes. Sometimes, it’s once a night and that’s when I nurse her.

But lately, it’s been every 45 minutes. All night long. That’s no good for us or a baby.

In addition, the pick-up-put-down technique doesn’t mix so well with a pacifier. The whole point of PU/PD is that you teach the baby that although you are there and they haven’t been abandoned, they need to self-soothe and put themselves to sleep in their crib. If you’re constantly having to replace the plug, they aren’t self-sufficient sleepwise. So before we tackle eliminating the night feedings or reach a point where we can actually leave a drowsy girl in her crib with a kiss goodnight and know she’ll fall asleep, we have to pull the pacifier.

We eliminated all pacifiers this morning. It made naps much more challenging to say the least. All told, Abby should nap roughly 4-5 hours during the day, if she sticks to the schedule we’re following (we can tweak, of course – but you have to have something to start with and this is what is suggested for 5 month olds). Thursday she slept for a combined total of 75 minutes from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Suffice it to say she didn’t have a hard time falling asleep when she nursed before bedtime. I actually had to jostle her awake so that she was going into her crib awake.

She did wake 45 minutes later – my guess is it was out of habit, at this point – but we did the PU/PD technique with her and she fell back to sleep from a wide-awake rage in her crib without nursing or the pacifier. It took 20 minutes to get her back down. That was at 8:30 and it’s 11:30 now and although I’ve heard little sleeping dreaming noises coming from her room, she is still sound asleep.

This sets the stage. From here, we can work toward putting her in her crib after her bedtime routine and leaving her to fall asleep on her own. The sheer thought of it makes me giddy. Bring on the night feedings! If I know I can put my girl back in her crib and she’ll go to the land of Nod, I welcome a good night feed.

You can imagine how much Jeremy appreciates it. When your baby only nurses to sleep, it makes it somewhat challenging for your husband to care for her alone without losing his sanity. Poor Abby has always found his chest to be a bit flat, if you will.

So – the night is young. But we have high hopes. And determination. And a plan. And even if it doesn’t get better than this for a long while yet, “this” is pretty fabulous.