The Magic of a Blink

It’s amazing how quickly time passes once you become a parent. You find out you are pregnant, blink, and then there is that little miracle looking back at you.

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Before you know it, you foolishly decide to blink again and your newborn is becoming an interactive little one. Our Cupcake was so fascinated in the world around her and loved exploring. Every day was an adventure. You are happily going along when the urge to blink hits once more. Suddenly your infant has transformed once again.

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Now you have a baby. She can play. She can coo. She certainly can tell you in her own little way what she likes and doesn’t like. A personality emerges. Time passes as it always does and you let those eyelids touch for but a moment and instantly a toddler is born.

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These days are punctuated by a flurry of energy. Movement is the name of the game. What is this and how does it work motivates their world. Life is so fun as you crawl, walk, climb. But just as you settle into your new life of action, that blink is waiting.

IMG_7008Now you have a kid. Not a big kid, in global terms, but a bigger kid than you’ve ever known. She not only walks and talks, but she has opinions. Strong ones. And she knows how to express them! Not every adventure is a new one, but it is always an adventure. Don’t blink just yet, mama.

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Adventures in Nightweaning 

My dear sweet Cupcake has always been an avid nurser. She suffered from reflux and I think this just served to increase her frequency. All throughout the first year of her life, I would rise several times throughout the night to breastfeed my little girl. It was our special quiet time together. 

Sure, I was tired. There were days that I’d get frustrated, but overall it was a great experience. In the dark she’d need me, her mama, and nothing else could soothe her. As she got older she developed the habit of gently rubbing my arm or twirling my hair as she drifted back to sleep. 

Before Cupcake was born, I had no expectations for breastfeeding. I thought I’d try it and take it day by day. Weeks passed into months and then a year quickly arrived. Cupcake was still nursing 3-4x a night. I was exhausted. 

I was too tired to enjoy the nighttime feeds, but also too tired to cope well during the day. I was suffering. This was when we decided it was time to nightwean Cupcake. I researched various methods and decided that Ferber seemed like the best fit for us. 

I channeled my former elementary teacher self and drew a big poster. I included the “rules” and room for us to record what happened. The first few nights were horrible. Cupcake didn’t sleep. We didn’t sleep. She was a mess during the day and was extremely clingy. Her naps got all screwed up. I pushed on. This had worked for so many people and I knew that if I just pushed through, we’d get through this sleep-deprived tunnel. 

After a week, Cupcake still showed no improvement. Things just were getting worse. I had followed the plan perfectly and it had not worked. She was not ready. I returned to nursing her on-demand at night and my happy little girl returned. 

A few months later I was done. We had just moved several states away from all of our family and friends. My husband had started a very demanding job and I felt alone. I was tired and stressed out and again found myself pouring over parenting websites looking for help. 

I learned that it was normal for babies to still wake through the night at this age. I searched some attachment parenting sites, found support, and resumed nursing her through the night with lifted spirits. I was tired, but not alone. 

As Cupcake grew, we had a few nights where she’s sleep for four hours straight, but those were rare. I was starting to really not enjoy nursing Cupcake all night long. So, I again turned to the Internet and found reference to Dr. Jay Gordon and his method for sleep training.

This is the general idea: The parents select a seven-hour window where they will not nurse. He suggests 11p-6a. On nights 1-4, mom will nurse the child anytime before 11p. If the child wakes up between 11-6, mom will nurse, but will put the baby down awake in his/her crib. Mom will hug/cuddle/sing and comfort baby. The baby cannot get more milk unless they fall asleep. If they fall asleep and rise again, mom repeats the process. After 6am, mom resumes breastfeeding as normal. On nights 5-8, mom will NOT nurse baby between 11p and 6a. She should still comfort baby, but not offer milk until 6am. After night 8, mom will continue to NOT breastfed between 11 and 6. Additionally, she will not pick up baby if (s)he wakes up during those times. Mom can still rub baby’s back and continue to talk or soothe baby. Overtime, baby should stop requesting milk and will hopefully stop waking up during that time. 

Here’s what happened in our house:

Night 1- Cupcake woke up at 10pm. I nursed her as normal and she went back to sleep. She woke up at 1:30a. I briefly nursed her and put her down awake. She called out for more milk, but I told her that “milkies” were sleeping. She cried and asked me to hold her hand. It took her about an hour to fall back asleep. She woke at 6:08 and I nursed her as normal. We survived night 1! 

Night 2: Her first night waking wasn’t until 1am. I was scared of this scenario, since now she was going to be going from 7p-6a without milk. But it was only day 2, so I decided to push on. Again, some (a lot of) hand holding did a lot of good and she slept until 6:30am! Wahoo! 

Night 3: She was really hard to put down for bed tonight. She kept screaming for more milk and wouldn’t settle. I prepared myself for a long night. It was also my husband’s first night back home after a week of night shift. Cupcake woke at 10 and I nursed her. She woke at 2:30 and would not go back to sleep. After trying to console her for over 45 minutes, I walked out of her room. I put on my headphones and listed to a nighttime meditation to block her out. She must have fallen back asleep because I didn’t hear anything from her again until 5:15. In my half-wake state, I picked her up and started nursing her. Whoops! She was then up for the day! Yuck! 

Night 4: huh?! She nursed at 10:30 and then slept until 7! This was great! I was a bit bewildered  by the extra sleep! I was happy, but also a little sad because this was the last night we’d be night nursing and she slept  through it! 

Night 5: I was so scared of this night. No night nursing. How were we going to manage that? I decided I’d offer her a sippy cup of water so I didn’t have to worry she was thirsty. She woke up 10:59 and I dashed to her room to fit in one more session. I kissed her little baby face a million times and may have gotten a bit emotional. I knew this was the right choice. I was happier and more well-rested. I needed this, but it was also sad to see that part of her babyhood end since I knew it was me that was pushing for it. She woke at 12:30. I went in with her water and she cried for milk, but after a few minutes settled for cuddles and water. She woke at 5:47 and I rationalized that she couldn’t tell time so I went to go nurse her. I was greeted by a happy little girl saying, “Hi mama!” Success! 

Nights 6-8: I adjusted her times from 11-5a, since she wakes almost every day in the 5 o’clock hour. With a quick nursing, she goes back to sleep for another hour or two! 

Tonight I supposed to be night 9, where I stop picking her up. I don’t think I’m quite ready for that yet, so I’m going to continue what we’re doing because it works for us! 

She has been so much happier these days. I think she is benefitting from the extra sleep. I think having a well-rested mommy is also helping! While this method certainly won’t work for everyone- it worked for us! 

  

On Our First Birthday 

Sweet daughter, 

Today something truly momentous happened. You turned one. So did I, I suppose. One year of being your mommy has been my greatest adventure. Over the last year we’ve shared 365 days of sunrises and sunsets. We’ve shared laughter and cries. We’ve grown together and learned a lot. 

On the day you were born, nothing else mattered in the whole world except for you. For perhaps only a fraction of a second, you held the distinction of being the youngest person on Earth. And while a new miracle quickly took over that title, I was mesmerized. 

Some women have really hard pregnancies and some just don’t like being pregnant. While it certainly wasn’t the most relaxing nine months of my life, they were the most magical I had ever experienced. You were my little buddy, with me wherever I went. When the cold winter months hit, I’d wrap us up under a warm blanket and rub my belly, hoping against hope that you felt my love. I would talk to you constantly about everything I was seeing, hearing, and doing. You were my everything. But, then you were born. And I had to share you. 



Now, don’t get me wrong, I was so excited to share you with the world. I couldn’t wait for you to meet your amazing Daddy. I knew Grandma and Grandpa would be bursting at the seems to become grandparents. I couldn’t wait to lay you in your nursery, the same one that your great-grandmother raised your Poppy in. I wanted to be the best mommy, just like your Jammie was for me. Plus, I kinda sorta made you- and you were perfect- so I wanted to show you off. 

But, nonetheless, I was a bit sad at the loss of our secret little bond we had. So as they laid you in my arms, all I could think to say was, “Hi baby.” The time at the hospital passed in a blur and we were home before we knew it. 



Over the past year, I’ve come to realize that the secret little bond we had was nothing. When you call out for me in the night to come feed you, although I am tired and sleepy, I smile. You call for me. What magic. When you take a tumble, you reach out for me. When you decide you don’t want your diaper changed, or to be in your car seat, or to do whatever it is that we’re doing- you are soothed by my singing, my hugs, my love. 



You can be busily playing and smiling and the whole world thinks you’re happy, but I can tell that you’re secretly tired, or upset, or mad. As soon as I bring you to a quiet place, you dissolve into tears because you know you’re in a safe enough place to do so. You know Daddy and I will take care of you. 



You have learned such amazing things over the last year! You can walk, talk, and dance. You laugh and play peekaboo. You can roll a ball. You have a knack for taking off any shoe or sock we put on you. 



But, as much as you’ve learned, I’ve learned more. I’ve learned that sometimes the most wonderful moments occur at a 3am nursing session when I’m so tired I can barely function. You reach up, touch my cheek, and I’m cured. I’ve learned to slow down and to truly smell the roses, crunch the leaves and watch a bird sit in a tree, because nature is stunning, even in it’s simplest form. I’ve learned that our secret little bond of pregnancy is gone, and has been replaced by a much larger, much better one. I’ve learned that literally nothing matters unless I know you’re safe, cared for, and healthy. 



So while today we will place a candle on the top of your cake, Mommy will be there to help you, because it’s my birth-day and I couldn’t be more excited. 



Love always (and in all ways),

Mommy 

On Pins and Needles 

I’m just waiting. 

Waiting for the crying to start. Waiting to hear the tummy grumbles. Waiting. 

Who knew a bite of yogurt could evoke such fear? 

The first two weeks of Cupcake’s life were magic. Nursing hurt like all hell, but she was doing great. Within three days of leaving the hospital, she had gotten back up to birth weight, plus some. She ate like a champ. I was motivated to keep nursing until finally it stopped hurting. It was heaven and life was good.  

But it quickly became apparent that something was amiss. Cupcake spit up non-stop. We’d go through about 5-6 burp cloths a day and at least two wardrobe changes for all of us. My washing machine became my BFF. 

My friends meant well, but who wants to hold a pukey baby? The answer is almost no one. We tried every trick in the book, but it was getting worse. We held her upright after nursing. We let her sleep on an incline. Nothing helped. She was miserable. Admittedly, I was, too. 

I didn’t know how to help my baby. I felt like I was failing at this momming business. I spent hours and hours researching. I kept a food diary for two months to try and identify a link with when her spitting up was worst. We put her on Zantac to stop her potential reflux. Nothing was getting better. 

One night, as I changed my pajamas for the second time, I stumbled across a webpage that changed everything. I started reading about babies that have a cow’s milk protein intolerance (CMPI) These babies not only react to any dairy they ingest, they react to the cow’s milk proteins that get passed through breastmilk due to their mother’s diet.  Nursing mothers need to completely eliminate all forms of dairy from their diet if their baby has a CMPI. 

The difficulty is that a nursing mom can’t just stop eating dairy for a day to see a difference. It takes several weeks without these foods to notice a change. Additionally, dairy is hidden in SO many foods. As hard as it would be for this cheese and chocolate lover, I knew I had to try. I figured I had nothing to lose. If I went dairy-free for three weeks and there was no improvement, I wouldn’t be any worse off. At least I felt like I was finally doing something instead of just letting Cupcake be miserable. 

On August 10, I started my journey. I read every label in our house and knew which foods were “safe” (hint, hint, not many of them!). It was hard. I missed cheese. I wanted pizza and lasagna. I missed chocolate. I missed the freedom of ordering at a restaurant without having to talk to 5 different people to get my order right. 

However, within two weeks I noticed a change in my baby girl. She went from spitting up so many times a day I couldn’t even count, to just once or twice. She slept better. She seemed so much happier. I saw a lot less of my washing machine.  As time went on, she continued to improve. 

 I went to her next pediatrician appointment and told them what I was doing. They thought that her issues were strictly reflux and wanted to increase her prescription Zantac since she was growing and needed a higher dose. I declined.

Then came the inadvertent test in October. My husband and I had weaned Cupcake off her Zantac with no problems. We were at a party and, although I had checked the ingredients in one dish, I hadn’t checked closely enough and ended up eating some dairy. I had only has two bites when I realized. 

To try and make it a true test, I didn’t even mention it to my husband. I wanted to see if he observed any changes. Within 24 hours, Cupcake had spit up a few times, which she hadn’t done in quite some time. He definitely noticed the change in her and asked me if I had eaten anything strange! Thankfully, I had only ingested a small amount, so her symptoms stopped relatively quickly after one long night of not sleeping and quite a few tears. 

So I skipped all the dairy filled goodies of the holidays and had settled myself with the idea that I hadn’t had “real” pizza since August. Eating dairy-free was becoming easier and I was starting to not miss most of the foods I used to eat. 

Although I get the feeling the pediatrician might not totally agree with me, he’s being supportive. We found a dairy introduction guide to trial slightly before her first birthday, so that we could discuss the results at her one year appointment. 

So here I am. Waiting. 

I am about to give my daughter her first taste of dairy. If it goes well, we get to try butter next (yum!). If not, I willingly subjected my poor baby to the pain and discomfort that will follow.

Here goes nothing… 



Update: It has now been 24 hours since she had the yogurt. So far, all has been good! Totally as if nothing had happened. I am frightened to get too excited yet, but I am about to burst!!! 

Stomach Bug and the Baby

Oh my goodness gracious. The last few days have been some of the hardest momming I’ve ever done! I literally feel like it’s all been a blur and I cannot believe we all managed to survive. I need to write this all down so the next time this happens *shudder* I can remember that we made it through! 

On Wednesday, I felt off. I had been battling a rough cold, but it was starting to improve. My stomach wasn’t 100%, but it was no big deal. My husband had a late shift, so I did the nighttime routine with Cupcake myself. I spent the next two hours scrubbing the house because we were leaving the cold Northeast for beautiful Florida the next day (yay!). 

My husband got home at 11 and I woke up as he crawled into bed. I woke up and realized my stomach was in knots. I will not detail what the rest of the night consisted of. I will just say that I eventually gave up and just brought my pillow and blanket into the bathroom. Somewhere around 4am, I told my hubby to cancel our flight. There was no way I’d survive the trip. It was a difficult decision, but one I had to make. 

Thursday was horrible. I was no longer getting sick, but I was in so much pain. I had a million aches and pains. I was exhausted. Since we were supposed to be on a trip, my husband had the day off. I have no clue how single moms do it, but major props to them. I don’t know how on Earth I would have made it through the day without him. I wasn’t at my momming best, that’s for sure! 

By Thursday evening, I managed to have a bit of rice for dinner and we were getting ready to tuck Cupcake in. And then all broke loose, and my darling Cupcake got sick. It was like so sad to see how miserable she felt. We were so worried about trying to keep her hydrated, but she couldn’t keep anything in. After several hours, her tummy quieted enough to let her nurse and sleep for a few hours on me. 

I still felt miserable, but obviously when momming duties call, everything else gets put to the side. To top it off, my poor husband came down with the horrible cold Cupcake and I had been dealing with in the days leading up to the stomach troubles. We were all down for the count. 

Friday was a long day. Thank goodness, Cupcake seemed better. She was able to nurse and ate a few crackers throughout the day. She was super clingy, which usually wouldn’t be a problem for me. But, I still felt horrid. My stomach was constantly cramping, everything hurt, and I was exhausted. My hubby was not doing much better. It was like living the newborn days all over again, we napped when she napped. And we tried trading off as much as possible so we could sneak in extra naps. 

We are now into our third day. Cupcake seems mostly recovered, but still is eating cautiously. She wants to nurse on overload. This is probably a combination of her needing to rebuild my supply and overcome her mild dehydration. My husband’s cold is much more manageable and he’s managed to avoid the stomach bug (lucky guy seems to never get them!). I am definitely in a lot of pain still. I ate about a half cup of rice for breakfast and was stuffed. Sitting upright makes me kind of dizzy and feeding Cupcake is taking a bit of a toll on me while I try to rehydrate myself.

This has me seriously wondering how I will handle these situations next year when my husband starts residency and can’t take the time off. I mean, I guess you just do it because you have to, but ack! That’s a nerve-wracking thought for sure. I guess we’ll see when we get there! 

In the meantime, since we’re supposed to be in sunny Florida and now can’t, I shall leave you with an image of me today- rocking out on my beach towel with my Ginger Ale/Gatorade cocktail in my living room. Who said you can’t have a little fun when you’re sick? 



When to Have a Second Baby

I have literally Google’d this several times over the last few months, hoping that one website would tell me what to do. Cupcake will turn 1 in March, and I’m starting to feel ready to add another sweetie to our world. Since Cupcake is such an awesome baby, I definitely want to make sure we’re doing the right thing for all three of us! Unfortunately, everywhere I clicked said essentially the same thing, the right timing is whatever is right for you and your partner.

That’s not helpful! Can’t someone just tell me what to do?!?

From the oldest of my siblings to the youngest is a 17 year span. My younger sister and I are only 19 months apart. Having lived these two extremes, I know how close siblings are depends more on their character than on anything else. Thankfully all of us are close despite our age gap. However, when I was younger, it was easier to relate to my younger sister because she was going through what I was at the same time. Based on that and the experiences in my DH’s family, we always wanted our children to be relatively close in age.

It hit me the other day that if I want our kids to be 2-3 years apart, we are quickly closing in on the time to start ttc! The idea of bringing another baby into our family is exciting and nerve-wracking all at once! We have talked about it and feel like we’re definitely getting ready to continue growing our family. But, there are still a million questions we have!

How will this next cutie be like and unlike Cupcake? How will his or her personality fit in with our family? What unique traits with this little one have? Having recently emerged from the horrors of having a stomach bug with a baby, am I ready for morning sickness again?

Despite all the difficulties of adding another child, we know that we are getting close to ready. There is no one specific reason why, we just both acknowledged we felt it. Perhaps it’s that Cupcake is now older and gaining more independence. Maybe it’s because she’s sleeping better. I’m not sure I can pinpoint one reason; it just feels right.

So I know that I’ve arrived at the same conclusion of everyone else- the timing is right when the timing is right. So simple and so hard all at the same time!

Calling all parents of 2+ children. How far apart are your kiddos spaced? I would love to hear about your experiences!

Momming at Home

Technically, I guess one would say that I am a stay at home mom. This term is usually given to a mom whose career revolves around the raising of her children and caring for her home. I do all of these things, but I always had a problem with the “stay at home” part of it. I feel like Cupcake and I were always out and about from the day we came home from the hospital.

And then winter hit. And I have become a stay at home mom. All of my momming is seeming to occur in the walls of my home. I have to admit that this part of the year always makes me stir-crazy. I actually do not mind winter, per-say. I just dislike being stuck in. And days like today definitely require a lot of in.

Cupcake took an awesome nap this morning, and so I started the shoveling.

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By the time she was awake, the driveway was completely covered again. It looked like I hadn’t been out there for the last 45 minutes clearing all that snow away. Sheesh.

Cupcake can’t really play in the snow for real, so I gave up any hope of a clean driveway and resigned myself to another at home day.

We played with her favorite toys and she even sat still long enough to let me put her hair in pigtails!

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But then I looked at the clock and it was only noon! Hours and hours until Daddy came home. I made myself a second cup of coffee and rearranged the kitchen table to another wall. Then I swept the floor. I tell ya, I sweep at least once a day, but now that Cupcake is learning to feed herself real food… Once a day is not enough! I realized the floor could really use a washing, but had no good ideas of how to do that without Cupcake being around.

So I decided if she was going to be with me, then she was going to help me! I pulled out her tub and attached the booster to make a water table on the kitchen floor.

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(Note, I surrounded the tub with towels and took off her pjs to make the floor not slippery- but I took these blog-appropriate photos first! Please put safety first if you ever try this!!)

Although I went through about 10 towels that I kept changing so she could play safely and we were both soaked to the bone after, it was a blast!

What do you do to keep your little ones busy when you’re stuck inside for what seems like days and days? I need more suggestions!