Bringing Up Baby – Weeks 8 & 9

Biggest Surprise: Nanny Issues

I only took two weeks off of school after I had Baby M. My first two weeks back I had help from family. But with Will working full time this semester instead of having a more flexible schedule with classes,  we knew we would need child care.  We used care.com and interviewed lots of candidates (phone and in person interviews) and ran background checks and finally hired a nanny to help part-time 4 days per week.  Just enough to cover my class and group project meeting times.  We didn’t need her for spring break so she had been with us for about 4 weeks.  It’s so hard to leave your baby with someone you don’t know very well, but we had a nanny cam (see below) so we could check in and make sure everything was going well while we were away.  So one morning I fed Baby M when the nanny got there at 9:30 and, as per our pediatricians instructions at our two-month check-up, I reminded the nanny that we were waiting 2 hours between feedings and that I would be home at noon, but she could have a bottle at 11:30 if needed.  I had already unthawed a bag of milk from the freezer so it was in the fridge ready to go.  I had been building up a little bit of a supply in the freezer from pumping and had all the bags labeled with dates so there were about 10 bags in the freezer.  Will happened to have the day off work so he took me to class and then took the opportunity to run a few errands while we had a babysitter.  At 10:30 he checked the camera and noticed that the nanny was giving Baby M a bottle.   So he let me know and I figured that when we got home, the nanny would say that Baby M was upset and couldn’t wait (which wasn’t really true because as soon as she woke up from her morning nap and fussed she was given the bottle without any attempt to soothe her).  But I was planning to just say ok and show the nanny some of the techniques that I use to soothe the baby when she is fussy and to ask her to try these things first before giving a bottle.  But when we got home she said that Baby M hadn’t eaten since I fed her at 9:30 and that she had just put the milk in the bottle and was about to give it to her when we got home.  I was puzzled by this, but I thought well maybe she started to give her the bottle at 10:30 and put it back in the fridge after she didn’t take it.  So the nanny went home and we went back and watched the camera.  Nope, at 10:30 she had a full bottle – no milk left.  So where did the milk in the bottle in the fridge come from?  Also, there was only one bag in the trash… But I checked the freezer and we were missing the bag from March 30.  I couldn’t believe that she flat out lied to us!  And then, Will looked deeper in the trash and hidden inside of a Panera bag – there was the empty milk bag labeled March 30.  So not only had she lied, but she tried to cover it up.  About something so silly too! Sure enough, checked the camera again and saw her thaw the second bag of milk to make the bottle – and she even went to the front door in the middle of it and looked out like she was making sure nobody was coming.  Part of me wondered if she was trying to get fired – it was just so strange!  Anyway, there was no way that I was going to leave my baby with someone who would lie to my face – even about a small thing like that – so I called and told her that she didn’t need to come back next week and explained that we knew she lied to us.  She actually said to me on the phone, “oh that’s my bad I forgot to tell you that I fed her.”  No, you did not forget when you specifically told me that she hadn’t been fed since I breastfed her (and if you did forget in the time period of 10:30 to noon then I don’t want you watching my child for other reasons).  So this was a very long story to tell you that we don’t have a nanny anymore.  There are only a few more weeks of school left so I will figure something out, but it makes me very nervous about leaving her with anyone that I don’t know and trust.  Like I said, we did background checks and called references and everything.  I am generally a very trusting person because I believe that most people are honest – I hope this hasn’t spooked me from any babysitters that aren’t relatives.  Have you ever had to deal with anything like this?  Please let me know in the comments if you have any advice.

Biggest Challenge: New Feeding Schedule

Our two month checkup was this week and everything was great except she had gone from 30th percentile in weight at 2 weeks old to 20th percentile at 2 months. After discussing her eating and sleeping habits with me the doctor said that it didn’t sound like a supply problem as much as a snacking problem. Lil’ M loved to snack – and use me as a pacifier.  Occaisionally she would have a longer feeding and then go for a 2.5-3 hour stretch, but she really liked to eat every 1.5-2 hours – and just a little bit at a time.  Sometimes she would only take an ounce from a bottle.  And at night a three hour stretch was the exception – mostly it was every 2 hours up to feed.  The doctor said that by 2 months she should be able to get at least 3 ounces per feeding and that a 3 hour plus stretch at night should be the norm, not the exception so she asked me to make her wait at least two hours between feedings and then to gradually stretch this out to longer time periods.  That way she would get hungry and take a full meal instead of just snacking until satisfied.  She said it would be less exhausting for me and would help Baby M put on some weight.  Sooo we have been doing that.  And it is going well so far.  She was a little cranky at first but after a couple of days she seemed to adjust really well (It probably helps that we don’t have a nanny forcing a bottle on her everytime she makes a noise).  The only problem now is that she takes a really long time to eat when I feed her (like 20 min per side sometimes).  Oh and I am having to retrain the girls – I was having letdown every 1.5 hours like clockwork – so thank goodness for nursing pads lol.  We will go back for a weight check in a few weeks and fingers crossed this works so we don’t have to supplement with formula.

Best Baby Care Item: MamaRoo Infant Seat

You’ve probably noticed it in a few pictures (check out the collages from weeks 2, 6, and 8).  We love our MamaRoo.  Will and I first heard of the MamaRoo way before we were even thinking of babies because Richard Ayoade featured it on an episode of Gadget Man (have I mentioned that Will and I love strange British TV?). Since he is brilliant and funny and more entertaining than I am, I will just leave you with this episode.

Best Mommy Care Item: Drop Cam

Will and I got a Drop Cam last fall when we were preparing for Baby M’s arrival to test out as a baby monitor.  We started using it as a way to check in on the house while we were out (and it probably saved us from coming home to a big mess of trash one day when I forgot to close the baby gate all the way and Tesla got out).  It is super easy to set-up and you can check on things on your phone.  Live viewing is free through the app and there are subscriptions for if you want to save the footage for various lengths of time (1 week, 1 month, 1 year I believe).  You can even have it send you notifications when movement is detected in certain zones (how we caught Tesla) and when loud noises occur.  It definitely came in handy this week and provides some piece of mind if you have to leave your child with a baby sitter.

Favorite Memory: First Trip to Campus with Mom

Now that flu season is winding down and we have had our two-month shots, I am more comfortable having Baby M out and about.  It helps that spring is here too, so taking the stroller for a walk to campus is pretty fun – lots to see and narrate to Baby M and a great way to get our Vitamin D :)

Other Thoughts to Share: Finding Ways for Dad to Help

I am really lucky to have such a great partner in raising our little one. Will has always been very eager to help – but it did take us a few weeks to figure out how he could best help me out.  One of the best things about the way we are working together now is that we have figured out that we both have strengths and weaknesses and we can use these to our advantage.  For instance, Will isn’t great at staying up late at night, but he is really good at being able to get up and go right back to sleep.  Whereas I can get by on less sleep and stay up even when I am tired, but if I have to get all the way up in the middle of the night it takes me longer to fall back to sleep.  So we have worked out a system where Will goes to bed before the baby and I, but then for middle of the night feedings and diaper changes, I feed her but stay in bed and he takes her for the diaper change and then brings her back for her second side.  It made such a big difference to me when we started doing this!  It sounds like a little thing, but you would be surprised how much better I felt.  My advice to new parents is be willing to be flexible in the beginning.  Hopefully dad will be like my Will and be willing to try out lots of ways to help so that you can find what works best for your team.  Don’t think that you have to have all your routines set up and everything figured out in the first couple of weeks.

Week 8 Part 1
Week 8 Part 1
Week 8 Part 2
Week 8 Part 2
Week 9
Week 9

Bringing Up Baby – Weeks 6 & 7

Biggest Surprise: Say Goodbye to Light Packing

Spring break was last week so we took the opportunity to visit the grandparents over the weekend and then my mom and I took baby M to visit my sister for a couple of days. The trips went well but boy does traveling with a baby take a lot of stuff! I used to pride myself on being such a light packer – just my backpack and a medium sized purse could get me a whole week almost anywhere – no longer. We had the car filled and we didn’t even take the stroller or a pack and play. But with all the diapers and breast pump and extra outfits for everyone in case of spit ups or blowouts, it makes for a fuller car than our trips pre-little one.

Biggest Challenge: Knowing What to Expect

Just when we think we have something figured out, little miss changes it up on us. Not to be crude, but let’s take pooping for example (Because really, how have I gone so far into this series without talking about baby poop yet?). We were getting to be poop experts, knew what color and consistency and how often (just about every feeding) and how to change the diaper without it getting everywhere. But then sometime during week 7 she suddenly slowed down. We didn’t have a poop for 2 days! And of course we are scouring the Internet – is this normal? She’s exclusively breastfed so she can’t be constipated. How long can they go? A whole week?!? Luckily, my sister is a pediatric nurse practitioner and my mom is a pediatric nurse. So I have great information when I need it. And yes, it turns out that it is normal for their intestinal tract to slow down after about 6 weeks. I guess this is just one of our first little lessons that parenting is always going to throw us a few curve balls and we better be able to go with the flow.

Best Baby Care Item: Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper

We still aren’t sleeping for very long stretches yet (3 hrs max but usually more like 2), and I really am appreciating our bassinet. This one is really nice – it has a vibrate feature and plays music or forest sounds or a heartbeat – but what I most like is how easily it swivels into place right next to the bed and how the side can be pushed down to make it easier to set her down in the middle of the night. I know parents have very strong feelings about whether baby should be in their own room or not, but for us this has just made the most sense. It would be much harder on me nursing-wise if I had to get all the way up and go into another room to get her. And this way we get the benefits of co-sleeping without the safety problems. When we were pregnant and trying to decide whether to get a bassinet or not, I kept thinking about our first few weeks with Tesla when she was a puppy. When we brought her home initially we kept the crate in another room and at night she would cry and cry. Finally I found some resources online that suggested bringing the crate into the bedroom. This is especially important for puppies if you work outside the home, it said, because the 6-8 hours of sleep time still counts as pack bonding time if you are in the same room. Just being able to hear your breathing and sense your energy makes a difference. Well, not to say that having a baby is like having a dog – in fact Will and I have been laughing lately about how different it is and how silly we were to think that being pet parents prepared us for being people parents – but it makes sense to me that if being in the same room would comfort a puppy of course it would comfort a baby too.

Best Mommy Care Item: Medela Breast Pump

I’m really glad that we decided to buy our own breast pump and that we spent the money on the nice model.  I am lucky that the only time I have to be away from her long enough that I have to pump is during my evening MBA classes.  I pump on my break during the 4 hour class.  But building up supply has left us with more options – like for times when I have a test coming up and need to go to a study group or for nights when Will can get up and do a feeding to give me a little longer stretch of sleep.  We’re talking about the value of real options in my finance class right now.  I would say that the flexibility that we’ve gained is worth the investment.

Favorite Memory: Mornings with Miss M and Watching Her Discover Her Thumb

She is so happy in the mornings :)  I have started adding a little extra play and picture time to our morning routine to take advantage of it.  I have also really enjoyed watching her discover her thumb over the last couple of weeks.  She will bring her hand up to one side of her mouth, and then the other, and finally finds it to suck on her fingers.  It is so neat to watch her learning process.

Week 6
Week 6
Week 7

Bringing Up Baby – Weeks 4 & 5

Biggest Surprise: Everything Takes Three Times Longer

I keep thinking that I have added enough extra time to get everything done before I walk out the door, but I still am running late to almost everything lol. Even this blog post is taking longer than normal. It seems like there is always something unexpected that throws us off – an extra diaper change or more feeding time or an outfit change (or maybe some extra snuggles).

Biggest Challenge: Homework

I have gotten the going to class part figured out now, but I still haven’t figured out how to effectively do homework one-handed.  The good news is she is making me much more efficient. No time for perfectionist tendencies when someone wants to eat every two hours.

Best Baby Care Item: Halo Sleepsack Swaddle

I mentioned how difficult sleeping was in a previous post – luckily she has finally started going down in the bassinet at night for a few hours.  A big help with this has been these Sleepsacks.  We have lots of swaddle blankets, but our little miss is squirmy and kept getting her arms out.  These have velcro to make swaddling super simple, and it is strong enough to keep her arms in so she doesn’t wake herself up with the Moro reflex.

Best Mommy Care Item: Healthy Snacks

I thought that I was hungry all the time when I was pregnant, but that was before I knew what breastfeeding was like. Now I am really hungry all the time. And it can be challenging to eat one handed. It has been really helpful to have healthy snacks on hand that I can easily grab when I need a fix. If you are pregnant and trying to figure out how to prepare for after baby arrives, give some thought as to how you are going to feed yourself when it is just you and baby at home. I don’t want to do much more than open the fridge and grab something quick (and I love to cook normally).  My current favorite snacks are fresh blueberries and blackberries and greens whey crisp protein bars.

Favorite Memory: Miss Personality  

She has started to smile responsively now and is developing quite the little personality. I am having fun documenting it. I think I will let the pictures speak for themselves :)

The Many Faces of Baby M
The Many Faces of Baby M
Week 4
Week 4
Week 5
Week 5

Bringing Up Baby – Weeks 2 & 3

Biggest Surprise: Dreading Going Back to School

I have mentioned before that I am a bit of a workaholic. So I was not expecting to feel so not ready to go back to school after taking two weeks off. As week two went by I was dreading going back more and more.  I guess it’s because I am very proud of lots of things that I have accomplished, but I have never done anything as wonderful as making Baby M.  And the thought of leaving her was really hard – especially after she had been right there with me 24/7 for 43 weeks!  Luckily, I am happy to report that the dread was worse than the actual going back.   And I guess that is my biggest surprise for week 3.  I am very lucky that I only have to leave for a couple of hours at a time to go to class – and there are only 2 days of the week when I have more than one class a day.  This means I don’t have to deal with the same pumping challenges or being away for long stretches that full-time working moms have to deal with.  I still don’t like leaving her, but short time periods definitely make it easier.

Biggest Challenge: Will Got Sick :(

When baby girl was 10 days old, Will woke up and said, “My throat feels a little scratchy, I’m not sure if I should hold her this morning.” And unfortunately he felt worse from there. It wasn’t strep or anything – just a standard upper respiratory virus – but definitely not anything you want around a new mom or baby. Luckily, my mom was still in town and so baby girl and I moved in with mom for almost a week and quarantined Will at home with the dogs. It was the right thing to do. It allowed Will to get some rest and get well, and it kept Lil’ M and I from getting sick. But it was hard on Will to not hold his baby for a week (he said he felt guilty for sleeping and not being able to help) and it was hard on us because we missed him.

Best Baby Care Item: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

I downloaded this album from iTunes for my phone and it is one of the best baby calming tools that we have now.  She loves classical music, especially classical music with strings.  We also got a few classical CDs for her and a CD player (which was surprisingly hard to find – guess they are going the way of the tape player lol), but the Vivaldi is her favorite.  It is really handy to have it on my phone so we can play it anywhere.

Best Mommy Care Item: Coconut Oil

Nursing gets easier everyday, but sore nipples are part of life now.  I have found that coconut oil is the easiest and best relief.  I like it even better than the gel pads that you put in the fridge. It’s naturally anti-microbial and anti-fungal and all that good stuff.  And it’s safe for baby without washing before the next feeding, so need to wash or wipe it off before nursing again. Anything that can take one less step at this point is a good thing :)

Favorite Memory: Sleeping In My Arms and Hugging Me Back

I love watching her sleep in my arms – still her favorite place to sleep.  We have finally gotten her to sleep in the Mamma Roo and the swing some, but boy does she love to be held. It is fine by me though.  I could just watch her sleep and snuggle her for hours.  My favorite week three memory was the first time she hugged me back.  She had just finished eating and I put her on my shoulder to burp and instead of her normal arms flopped out she reached around and grabbed the back of my shoulder with her little right hand.  Ohhh – just made me melt :)

Other Thoughts to Share: 

Have a Post-Partum Plan

It is so important to have help in the first few weeks and it is much easier to ask for help before you need it.  We have had lots of help from family and friends – from my mom helping around the house last week and helping babysit this week while I went back to school to our friend from the gym bringing us casserole for dinner one night to my friend from school bringing me lunch to my aunt and my cousin who are coming next week for a few days to help out – and I am so grateful.  It is hard to know exactly what you will need, but it will help to give it some thought before baby arrives.  Here is a great worksheet that our doula helped us find.  I highly recommend it.

Baby Week 2
Week 2
IMG_3160
Week 3

Who Does Baby M Look Like?

Hi Friends!

Happy Valentine’s Day.  Let’s play a game :) Here are baby pics of me and Will.  Who do you think little Miss M looks like?  This poll will be open for a week.  Looking forward to hearing from you!

XOXO,

M

Baby Will
Baby Will
Baby Meredith
Baby Meredith
Lil' M
Lil’ M

Bringing Up Baby – Week 1

I mentioned in my very first post that one of my original ideas for this blog was an online baby book – so now that baby girl is here I think it is only fitting that I start posting about my sweet little one.  I have really enjoyed writing my Weekly Recipe Roundup posts, so I think I am going to try a weekly baby post.  I want this weekly post to help me capture and share memories, but I also hope it will be helpful to any new moms or moms-to-be out there who might be looking for an additional perspective to add to their bag of tricks.  So without further ado:

Bringing Up Baby Week 1

Biggest Surprise: So in Love

I knew that I would love my baby of course, but I just had no idea how much I would love her.  Will and I have both been puppy parents for a while now and we love our fur babies and feel a huge sense of responsibility for them.  But it is nothing in comparison to how we feel about Baby M.  I really can’t put it into words, but we are just completely smitten and can’t believe how perfect she is.  I can sit for hours just watching her sleep in my arms.  On my more hormonal days I just start crying because I am overcome with how much I love her.  And then I start laughing at myself for being such a baby.

Biggest Challenge: Sleeping

Baby M has the perfect temperament and sleeps great – as long as she is in someone’s arms lol.  She wants to be held all the time!  I love this, except that it makes sleeping darn near impossible.  Now that we are getting to the end of week 1, we are finally starting to have some luck with putting her in the MammaRoo and the infant car seat, but no luck at all with the bassinet yet.  The real lifesaver this first week is that my mom has come over to help me.  She comes from about 10 or 11pm to 4am and lets me sleep between feedings, and even just 4 hours a night has made a huge difference.  She also has been coming back in the afternoons and helping me from about noon until 5.  And the extra afternoon nap helps too.  Since Will is working, he wasn’t able to help with night duty until the weekend; so having mom here was huge.  This weekend we have been on our own and I think it is going reasonably well.  We’ll see how week two goes.

Best Baby Care Item: The Original Boppy Pillow
The Boppy has been a great tool and not just for nursing. It is great for dad too and helps prevent tight shoulders when we are spending so much time holding little M. To be honest, the Boppy was a little bit hard to use for nursing the first couple of days and actually got in the way. But after we started getting the hang of our best positions it has been great. And like I said, it has been great for everyone’s comfort during normal holding while sitting.

Best Mommy Care Item: Warm Buddy Warming Blanket
This was actually a surprise. My mother-in-law had given me this warming blanket as a gift a couple of years ago but I had only needed it once or twice before. However, when we got home from the hospital I was so surprised how sore my arms and shoulders were and I was looking for something to help. This has been awesome. It’s not as big as a full size blanket so it is easy to maneuver into different shapes. And you just pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes to heat it up so there are no cords to worry about like with a heating pad. It has been great for sore muscles, but it was also really helpful when my milk first came in and I could use it to heat up my chest so I could pump when lil M wasn’t quite keeping up with production yet.

Favorite Memory: Baby Faces

She makes all kinds of funny faces already!  Will says it looks like she is taking her face for a test drive – trying out all kinds of looks.  I wish I could get pictures of all of them. Even her little scowls are the most precious thing ever!

Other Thoughts to Share: 

Breastfeeding
There have been many tough decisions to make since we found out that we were becoming parents, but breastfeeding has not been one of them. From the moment I found out we were pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. The actual execution of breastfeeding, however, has been a little more challenging. And this is after having read books and websites and articles in order to prepare. It is going well now, but the first couple of days were tough. Our biggest challenge was with positioning. To be totally honest, I had to sort of forget everything that I had read and that the lactation consultants had told me. When I was trying to “get it right” it was frustrating for both of us. When I finally let go and just tried to do what felt natural to me, she got the latch and everything else fell into place. Then we could go back and correct the positioning and worry about making my neck and wrist and all of that more comfortable. But what really helped us turn the corner was me letting go of doing it right and just doing what felt good for us.

Introducing the Dogs
We took the dogs to the kennel for a few days of boarding the day I went into labor. We had thought that we would pick them up the day we left the hospital, but we ended up waiting one more night and I think that was a really great decision. The first night at home with baby is a big enough change on its own without adding in extra variables. If there is enough interest I will do a whole post about how we introduced the dogs to baby girl. Just let me know in the comments.

Taking Care of You
Try to do one little thing every day to just take care of you. I never imagined that taking a hot shower and getting to shave my legs would be such a treat lol, but just that one little thing can make such a big difference! Other little treats I indulged in this week: drafting this blog post (I was missing getting to write), posting an announcement to Facebook, and meditating. Maybe next week I will get to bake something 😊

Week 1 with Baby M

She’s here!

Hello my lovely readers!

This is going to be a quick post but I wanted to share my wonderful news that baby girl arrived on Saturday evening, January 31 at 5:27pm, 7 lbs 7 oz.  We were in labor for 38 hours so I am still a little tired (ok a lot tired), but very happy and feeling blessed.  We came home from the hospital Monday evening, last night we picked up the fur babies from the kennel, and we are slowly adjusting to our new family life. Needless to say, Will and I are just head over heels in love with our little bundle of joy.  It will be a few weeks before I am posting recipe round-ups again, but I am hoping that I will have time for a few new post ideas that I have in mind 😉 Thank you all for your good wishes and support!!

XOXO, M

Welcome Home Baby M
Welcome Home Baby M

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