Monday, August 30, 2010

Practice for my future role as a Soccer Mom

My brother came down to visit the family and to also attend at swing dance event happening in town this past weekend. The dance and classes were being held at a local university about 20 minutes away from my house. I figured I could drive him back and forth to the university to help him out so he didn't have to rent a car or take public transportation. My sister, who is our live in Nanny, also had some things going on this weekend. She doesn't drive my car yet because she is still unfamiliar with the city and doesn't really do parallel parking. And I had errands to run and some of my own things going on.

I'm sure this is not the case, but I certainly feel like I spent most of my weekend in the car. I definitely have the route to this university memorized even though I'll probably never go back. There was one day where I had to get one person to one thing very early so the other could be on-time and then pick someone up late so the other person could be picked up at the right time. I felt like I needed some sort of colored coded spreadsheet. Is this what a soccer mom feels like?

When Baby Em gets older and starts all her activities I may need to take a class in Scheduling or Time Management or something. Luckily the idea of carpooling has been around forever so I'm sure that will help out. But until then I think I did pretty well on my trial run as Soccer Mom extraordinaire.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I need a vacation after this vacation...

Remember when vacation meant sleeping in late, relaxing, and was stress free. Well add a baby to the mix and you can forget all those things--at least in my case. Earlier this month Baby Em and I traveled to Minnesota to visit family. This trip was just the girls. Dad stayed home.

I figured I could handle it all by myself because I would have tons of family support. And I did but to a certain degree. Everyone wanted to hold Baby Em when she was in a good mood and everyone wanted to play with her when she was smiling. However, when it came to fussy times or changing time or sleeping time it was all me. Just me. No Dad to help out. It was tiring! Super props to all the single Moms who do this everyday. I was having trouble with just a week--not sure how you ladies do it.

Baby Em did pretty well on the trip. She was very flexible with all the traveling, all the attention, and different sleeping arrangements (of course until we got back home but I'll save that for another post). We discovered her new love for water. I took her swimming and she just thought it was the greatest thing. The pool would just calm her down in an instant.

It was also great to see her with all the family, especially my grandmother. Baby Em's middle name is her great-grandmother's first name so they have a very special connection. All the cousins were so fascinated by her but were all a little hesitant to hold her. They warmed up quickly though.

Despite not being very restful, the vacation was a lot of fun. It's these moments that make working during the week not so horrible. We want Baby Em to have the opportunity to meet and know her family, take adventures, and have family fun. I hope I'm helping make that possible for her.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

This baby wearing Mommy and the FAA do not see eye to eye

Two weeks ago Baby Em and I (+ Aunt M) flew to Minnesota to visit our family. It was my grandmother's 75th birthday and she really wanted Baby Em to be in attendance.

I'll have more on the vacation in a later post but first, I need to start out by saying Thank Goodness!!! for Southwest and their two bags fly free because packing for a week long trip with a baby requires a lot of stuff. Baby Em's stuff was packed into the large suitcase while I took the smaller one. There was also a car seat, a stroller and a diaper bag. Forget about my personal carry on--it was all about Baby Em. Luckily, Grandma was able to borrow a Pack-N-Play so ours didn't have to make the trip.

Baby Em has proven to be a very good traveler, whether in the car or on a plane (haven't done a train yet). I think she takes after her Dad in that respect. As soon as we get on the plane Baby Em falls asleep. Her Dad does the same thing. He can sleep anywhere. To help keep her asleep on each leg of the trip, I wrapped Baby Em in the Moby (cradle hold). She wanted to come out on the leg to MN so I spent the whole flight just holding her in my arms. On the way home she was sound asleep by the time we got on the plane and stayed that way while everyone was boarding. Right before take off I was told by a flight attendant that this carrier wasn't a FAA approved safety device and I needed to take Baby Em out. I think I gave her a look of disgust because she said "Don't shoot the messenger. I'm just following regulations." I told her that hopefully regulations require her to rock Baby Em back to sleep after she wakes up--sort of--Isaid it under my breath but I was very annoyed.

Apparently, according to the flight attendant, carrying Baby Em in that matter would inflict more harm on the baby than just having her in my lap during an on-flight incident--like having to stop suddenly or strong turbulence. I still didn't understand her explanation because my thinking is that having Baby Em close to me would provide more security than just holding her on the lap. What if the turbulence caused me to let go or the deceleration threw her against the seat in front of us and me against her. I wouldn't be able to stop because my hands would be around her. However, annoyed as I was, I did take her out and just held her for the rest of the flight.

I've done some research into this issue because I was still wondering what the FAA regulation said. What I was able to find was that, first, it seems this regulation is very antiquated. It was set for situations a long time ago when seat belts were different and airlines were trying to prevent parents from buckling their lap baby in with them. Second, the regulation only requires that during take-offs, landings and taxing that the baby not be restrained by the seat belt or by any type of carrier (unless FAA approved). However, during the remaining portion(s) of the flight it is OK. So, what I should do is wrap the baby to get on the plane, unwrap the baby for take-off, wrap the baby back up, and then unwrap again for landing. Yeah, right. Never gonna happen.

I wonder if Baby Em had not wanted to get out on the flight to MN if that flight attendant would have said the same thing to me. It seems, from reading similar posts, that some attendants will say something and some will not. Either because they don't fully understand the regulation themselves or maybe they just don't notice.

I think the people making these regulations need to better understand baby wearing and the carriers we use. I still plan on carrying Baby Em in a carrier next time we fly. So far it's been the best thing for both us. She can get to sleep and I can read a book. We'll just leave it to the luck of the draw and hopefully our next flight attendant won't say or notice anything.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Baby and I go on tour with a new kind of (w)rap

So I mentioned in a previous post that my little family was planning on attending a baby wearing workshop. We did go. It was informative but we didn't try on any of the carriers. Baby Em was a perfect little angel through information portion of the workshop. She even let one of the speakers use her as a model without any fuss. But as soon as Daddy and I tried to wear her in the different carriers she started screaming. She didn't want to feed or sleep. Baby Em just could not be comforted. So we left.

I was disappointed because I thought that being able to wear the different types of carriers would help with my decision of which one to buy. Each carrier costs just enough that I'm not in a position to buy one, try it for awhile, and then buy something different if I don't like it. So I had to do some more research and then hope for the best (the plus side of having to pump in my office is I can use this time to do all my "baby stuff" research).

I already own the Moby and it's been working great. It's been very helpful when I've needed to be hands free and Baby Em wanted to be held. However, as she gets heavier the material starts to sag and she doesn't seem as comfortable in the cradle hold, which I use a lot because it allows her to fall asleep when we are out and about. Baby Em also loves to face out when being carried so she can see everything. However, the only carriers I have found that allow you to do that, like the Baby Bjorn or the Snugli, hurt my back every time I wear them. So I needed something with more support. I've heard great things about the Ergo and the Beco and know many people using them. They don't have a forward facing option (yet) but these were still the carriers that I was leaning towards.

During my research I've discovered that the Beco has a new version of their carrier that has yet to be released. This newer version will allow you to carry your baby forward facing and is a carrier that, if you like it, you can use with your baby through their toddler years. I'm hoping that it will be released just in time for me to get an awesome Christmas gift (Mom, hopefully you're reading this).

Until then, I started watching Craigslist for anyone selling a Mei Tai carrier, which is a cheaper option (not by much) to the Beco or the Ergo. I thought it would be a good replacement for the Moby when it stopped doing its job. The Mei Tai carrier provides better material base to prevent Baby Em from sagging and it sort of works like a swaddle blanket in that it doesn't allow her limbs don't move around much which is helpful in getting her to take a nap in the carrier when we're out doing errands. I eventually found a woman who was selling her carrier--brand was Mei Tai Baby--she couldn't use it (or didn't want to use it) because it was a girly pattern and she had a boy. It's worked great so far and it packs up so nicely in the diaper bag. So far it's been worth the expense and has already paid for itself.

Our next adventure will be wearing her on my back with the Mei Tai and seeing if she enjoys being carried that way. Or maybe we'll even convince Daddy to use the Mei Tai.

Until then, look for Mommy and Baby Em (w)rapping in a city near you.

Peace out!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Got Milk?

"Got Breast milk?" asks Baby Em.

There was no doubt in my mind that when I was pregnant with Baby Em I would breastfeed after she was born. The first few weeks were a struggle because of sore nipples, latching issues, and other things. There were times when I wanted to give up but thanks to the support of my husband and others I continued, knowing that it was the best thing for her.

One thing that was never a problem was supply. There was plenty of milk--sometimes even too much milk. I had a freezer full of breast milk that I had pumped before going back to work. Because of this abundant supply I thought that the decision to pump while at work would be super easy. Of course I would be able to produce enough milk for Baby Em to have for the following day. Of course I would never run out or have to formula feed because there was a huge stockpile of breast milk in the freezer for emergencies. Of course I was wrong.

In the first week I learned that even if I have a super awesome pumping machine it will still not be able to get as much milk as my baby. I learned that even with a schedule it's hard to always follow and sometimes a pumping session gets pushed back or even missed. I learned that smelling a baby blanket or looking at pictures will help me produce more milk--not a lot more but more and every drop helps. The list goes on and on and on. It's safe to say that I learned A LOT about pumping in the first week back at work.

Baby Em has been fed formula and survived. It's not what I wanted to do but I couldn't let her starve. I did have extreme guilt for awhile for not being able to supply all of my baby's food but we've made do and I've learned not to be so hard on myself (at least for this issue). When I'm with her I try to feed her myself as much as I can. I feel it helps to strengthen our bond and it helps with supply.

I hope to continue breastfeeding Baby Em as long as it feels right/works for both of us. So until that endtime occurs it's Moo Time for Mommy.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dr. Jeckyll and Baby Hyde

Baby Em has a great ability to be all cute and cuddly one minute and the next to turn into a total terror. This weekend was no exception except that the time between the mood changes was about a day.

On Saturday, my little family and I decided to venture out and attend Artscape. We weren't sure how long we would last because of the ridiculously hot day but we thought it would still be nice to get out of the house for a bit. Because we were taking the bus I decided that I would wrap Baby Em up in the Moby. I wrapped her in the cradle hold because I was hoping that she would nap. Other than both us getting a little sweaty, the Moby experience went great. I was surprised at how little Baby Em fussed when she was put in it and how long she slept while wrapped up. For the first few minutes she just kind of sat there like she was trying to figure out was going on. Pretty soon she was lulled to sleep either by my walking or maybe the motion of the bus. I felt really comfortable carrying Baby Em in the Moby. I would guess that she is close 14lbs now and she did not feel too heavy and my back didn't hurt.

We ended up being out for about 4 hours--door to door--and Baby Em did not fuss at all. When she woke up from her first nap she was happy and all smiles. We put her in her stroller for awhile so she could look around and I could cool off. One thing about the Moby is that you do get hot and having my little furnace so close to me doesn't help either. We saw some cool things and had a great time out of the house. When it was time to get back on the bus Baby Em went right back in the Moby and was content. I don't remember too much about the rest of the day which probably means the rest of the day went pretty well too.

Sunday was a totally different Baby Em. We had some friends in town who spent Saturday night at our place. After we were all awake we decided to play a game. It was going well until it was time to get Baby Em to nap. Baby Em does not like to nap. She fights her tiredness and wants to stay awake which then makes her super fussy. Because the Moby worked so well on Saturday I thought I would try it again. She did not like it. So I held her and walked around with her. This whole episode certainly slowed the game down but we were able to get through it. I was finally able to calm her down enough to get her in the Moby and go to lunch with our friends. We made it through lunch but had a small fussy moment when it was time for Baby Em's lunch. Though, I can't complain about that one because I get fussy when I'm hungry too.

That night my husband and I took Baby Em to a baby wearing class. As I have mentioned before I hate the Bjorn and want to get something new but there are a million different types of carriers out there. I this class would help narrow the list down and we might find a type better suited for us (at least me). I learned a bunch about different types of carriers and was looking forward to trying them on but Baby Em was not having it. She just cried and cried. She didn't want to be fed, she didn't want to be rocked, she didn't want to be up--I don't know what she wanted. Thank goodness the women giving the lectures were Moms too or else I totally would have been more embarrassed than I was. But because Baby Em was in a terrible fit I didn't get to try any of the carriers on. By the time we got home I was ready to give her away and trade in for a new model. But somehow we both survived.

As my Mom always says, Baby Em is going to teach me patience. She certainly tried it this weekend. And that little stinker must know when she has gone too far because on Sunday night when I was getting her ready for bed she gave me the biggest smile and her first big giggle. It was the cutest thing. It was that giggle that made me decide to keep least for a few more days.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Business as usual...

Baby Em has a very particular day schedule. It's not one that this Mommy likes very much but I'm working through it (and so is her Nanny). I feel like it's worse on the weekends but maybe the Nanny can tolerate it more than I can and so she doesn't think Baby Em is that fussy.

Anyways, Baby Em usually starts her day around 9am (I'm not counting the other couple of times she wakes up for feeding in the wee hours of the morning). At this time she feeds, usually for about 15 minutes. Then it's play time which lasts between 30 to 45 minutes. Then it's nap time but nap time is never easy. As soon as she has been awake for 45 minutes to an hour she gets really fussy, will fight with you and eventually falls asleep--in your arms. Once I have her to sleep she must stay there because as soon as I try to put her down to go to sleep she immediately wakes up. Now a lot of people will tell me that I must have coddled her from birth and that is why she can't get to sleep anywhere but in someones arms. However, this is not the case, I was very good about getting her to sleep in her bassinet, in her swing and her bouncy seat. This is just something that has started in the last month--somewhere around 11 weeks. So once she is asleep she stays asleep for 40 to 50 minutes and the whole thing starts all over again and repeats itself until bedtime which is around 8:30.

I recently posted my story on a baby blog site and got some great advice which I hope to try next week. The first thing I'll be trying is upping Baby Em's breast milk intake. Currently she is eating 4 oz every two hours or so. I'm going to try to up her feedings to 5 oz. We'll see how it goes. It could just mean a lot more spit up but if she does take it maybe she'll feel more satisfied and go longer between feedings. I can't start earlier because I don't have a great breast milk supply and so I'm hoping this weekend to add in a couple of extra pumping sessions to help increase that. Hopefully this will work.

Otherwise the second thing I'll try is putting Baby Em to bed sooner. Unfortunately for my husband and I this will mean less time with Baby Em when we come home from work but if it means a happier baby I'm willing to try it. We will just have to make up for it on the weekends.

I'm also looking into different carriers that I could use. This way if I do have to have her close in order for her to fall asleep maybe this will work and I'll still have my hands free. We've been experimenting with different Moby holds. I also like the Kozy carrier, a type of Mei Tai baby carrier. This weekend the little family is going to a baby wearing workshop to try different things out.

Funny thing about Baby Em and her schedule, this past weekend we had some friends over on Sunday to watch the World Cup match. I figured I would probably being spending most of my time in Baby Em's room trying to calm her down. However, it ended up being a very good day for Baby Em and she only fussed once but was easy to get calm again. I guess Baby Em understands the meaning of guests and was on her best behavior. If only she understood the meaning of "driving me crazy" and she would be on her best behavior for Mommy.

I love my little girl.