Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Work Sucks

Where have I been?


And it sucks.

This is week 5 of 9 between maternity leave and summer break and I am not sure I'll survive.

Bug has been very well taken care of by both of my sisters, parents, my godmother and father in law. Everyone is taking turns to make sure Bug doesn't have to go to daycare until I return to work in August. I am so grateful for the help, but miss my little lady terribly.

In addition to being sad about having to be away from Bug, work has been especially shitty. There is drama piled on top of drama.

4 more weeks.
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Monday, March 28, 2011

Hi-ho, Hi-ho, It's Back To Work I Go


Today was the start of my 9-week return to the working world.

So not okay.

Bug had her 2 month appointment and shots on Friday so she was feeling a little under the weather all weekend. Last night her nose stuffed up causing her to wake up every hour. My 5 am alarm turned into a 4:30 am cry so I started out pretty zonked.

Work wasn't too terrible (aside from the fact my boss has a permanent case of the grouchies). No one spit-up or pooped on me. I got to eat lunch with both hands and go to the bathroom on my schedule. I got to talk to grow-ups about stuff other than diapers.

It sucked!

41.5 more work days 'til summer.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Swim Practice = Waterboarding

I haven't been to swim practice in years. 

The last time that I went to a Masters swim practice was two years ago when I got into a verbal altercation with some asshat who yelled at me for pulling on a lane line.  My old gym had a masters level swim practice daily, and while most Masters teams are pretty laid back with many different levels of swimmers, this one was hard core.  And fast.  And mean.

They had no problem running over a newbie who was having trouble keeping up.  And there was no slow lane.  So, when we did backstroke, I grabbed the lane line to help me move along more quickly.  This doesn't cause any harm to the lane line, and trust me, I know how to break them.  Having a group of high school students sit on them is usually the best way.  Pulling on it with one arm, not so much.

This wasn't the place for me.  I'm not serious, and they clearly were.

Before that... I have no idea when my last coached practice was.  College?!?! 

So, I was a little intimidated to be heading to a swim practice at a facility I had never been to before.  They have a reputation for being accommodating and helpful to newbies and people who haven't swam in ages, but they are one of the largest masters clubs in Northern California, running  6 coached workouts a day.

My sister, Bug's Auntie KIA , and her husband have been going to practices there because the main pool is down the street from their house.  Auntie KIA encouraged me to attend, promising that there really were people of all ability levels.  Of course, the perception of speed is often subjective.  She was one of the fastest girls on the team in high school, and her husband's brother swam against Michael Phelps in a prelim for Olympic Trials a few years back.  They are tall and skinny and lanky and fast.

Me, not so much.

But the only way to get better is to practice.  And I do want to get faster, and I do enjoy swimming.  And they offered to babysit. I'm not completely inexperienced, so it couldn't be that bad, right?!?

To begin, the weather was TERRIBLE!  It was 45ยบ, windy and pouring rain.  The rain, I don't mind so much.  You're already wet.  But the cold, I mind A LOT.  Here in California, they don't make indoor pools and think that you can swim outside in any weather.  The worst was swimming in the hail my Junior year of high school.  Not only was it miserably cold, but I had huge welts all over my body from the quarter sized balls of hail that poured down onto me.

I am not that young and ambitious anymore. 

I wore my new bathing suit to my first day of practice.  I'd been putting off my return to the pool because I didn't have a suit that didn't have a hole in it.  So, I ordered one online.  It was a great deal... $25 for a reversible speedo suit.  Looks harmless, right?!?!

The straps are thin, and that's not a bad thing.  It would save me from dealing with tan lines later in the year.

But I didn't bother looking at the picture of the back of the suit.

Holy back fat and side boob, Batman.  This picture doesn't even begin to show how little suit their actually is.  Did I mention I just had a baby?  And I'm tipping the scales at just over 200 pounds. 

Too bad for everyone that had to look at me.  Because I am much more cheap than modest.  And this suit was a final sale.  So..... yeah.  Just be glad you didn't have to be there.

Stop laughing, it gets worse.

Lucky me,  it was IM (Individual Medley) day at the pool.  So our workout consisted of 200's of a stroke other than freestyle.  I have a shoulder injury that prevents me from doing butterfly (THANK GOD!)  I can do breaststroke, but I often have the sensation of traveling backwards when I do because everyone else will fly by me so quickly.   So that leave backstroke.

Because it was pouring rain, it felt like this.

Do you find it as disturbing as I do that I was able to find waterboarding clip art?

And I must have been making some pretty nasty choking noises because the coach came over and told me it was fine if I wanted to do freestyle.

So, I did.

I was left with my thoughts.  Swimming isn't the most mentally stimulating sport, and my mind tends to wander.  I thought about a nice hot shower, what we'd be eating for dinner, and what Bug was doing.  Bad idea.  When I'm not with Bug, my boobs start getting hard and leaky.  I was very thankful that I was in a pool where no one would know that my boobs were leaking.

I didn't die, and I did manage to get in a 1,500 yard swim before I scurried out of the pool at the end of practice (both to hide my fat and to rush back to Bug). 

Now, the real challenge is convincing myself to go back.

Weigh In Wednesday

Date:Wednesday, March 23rd
Current Weight: 202
Change from last week: 0
Total challenge weight loss: -2

So, this is a little late. Miss Bug was a little under the weather today and consequently we were both grouchy.

This week had its ups and downs. DH was out of town from Wednesday to Sunday, making me the solo parent in charge. My family visited, which helped, but it was still a crazy week. And, when my family is here I tend to not pay any attention to what I eat. There were many days where I didn't track.

The good news is I used the free time they gave me to workout. I got in a run and a swim. Obviously it wasn't enough to overcome my poor eating habits, but it did prevent a gain.

This week... I need to track. It's going to be rough, especially since I am going back to work on Monday, but I can do it.
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Free Circo Newborn/Infant Socks at Target

I think you guys know what a cheap bastard I am. So imagine my delight when I discovers that the only socks that stay on Bug's long skinny feet were free at Target right now.

Here's how:

Go to and print the coupon for $1 off any Circo brand clothing or accessory. These socks are $1/pair. $1-$1= FREE!
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Friday, March 18, 2011

How I Became A "Runner"

In high school, I was a "swimmer" and "water polo player".  I put those in quotations because, despite the fact that I was the captain of both teams my junior and senior year, I was one of the worst swimmers on the team.  I am SUPER aggressive in the water thus my alleged prowess in water polo. I also have a knack for remembering swim times, so people think I'm ultra supportive when I tell them how much time they've dropped.  Neither accomplishment had anything to do with real talent.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that the only reason I made the varsity swim team is because captains were elected by the team prior to the first swim meet.

Still, because I spent the better part of my high school years in the pool, I am a better than average swimmer.  I swam at least two miles a day 5 times a week between January and May every year, and was in pretty great shape, despite the fact that I ate curly fries from Arby's every day for lunch.  I could swim at my snail pace for hours, but if anyone asked me to sprint or even speed up a little, they were likely to get the finger.

In college, I'd swim once every few months, but it just wasn't the same. At some point in my relationship with the Dreaded-X, I started doing the couch25k program, but was never consistent and never made it past week 4.  I finally realized that it wasn't swimming that I enjoyed so much in high school and something was less that satisfying about running on the dreadmill.

I was missing a team environment.

I started looking at Team in Training. I wasn't a runner, I hadn't ridden a bike in years, but I knew I could swim.  Somehow, that made me think I could probably do a triathlon if I tried. Quite a leap, I know.

Of course, I was always too chicken to join a team.

In January of 2007, I lost my beloved brown grandmother to multiple myeloma, and all of my reasons for not joining TNT no longer made sense.

DH (DBF at the time) and I had recently relocated, and I didn't know anyone in the area.  I was substitute teaching at different sites everyday, making it nearly impossible to make friends.  It was incredibly lonely and I started to slip back into depression, which had been an ongoing problem for me throughout my childhood, teen years and early twenties.  On top of it, the loss of my grandmother was DEVASTATING.   

TNT was just what the doctor ordered.  I got to be outside, meet people and put my atrophied muscles back to work.

I started "running" the 2.32 mile loop around my neighborhood a few times a week.  I'd start with a 5 minute walk and then try to jog from one light pole to the next without stopping.  I'd rest and then go again.  Each time I went, I tried to jog a little farther before resting until finally I could jog the whole loop.

My current running shoe, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 10.  This is my 4th pair... almost time to try out the 11's.

Now, I still consider myself a "runner", not a runner, because I know I'm slow and I haven't yet gotten to the point where I want to take it too seriously.  My PR in a 5K is 35 minutes exactly.  Its not exactly a break-neck pace.

But... it would be nice to set a new PR.

I continued to run because its convenient.  I only need a pair of running shoes, and I can go as long as I want.  When we got Daisy Dog, she had so much fun that it was hard to schedule a rest day... I felt like I was torturing her.  Now, this is one of the only workouts I can do with Bug in tow.  She, Daisy Dog and I love the opportunity to get out of the house.

Now if it would just stop raining.  Babies don't like rain. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Two Days of Work and a Hot Date

Unfortunately, maternity leave doesn't last forever, and my six weeks are up.  I can still take 6 weeks of unpaid bonding time anytime before Bug's first birthday, but we figured that we'd take full advantage of our relatives while Bug is new and exciting.  My six weeks ran out two days before spring break, so I gladly agreed to come in for those two days and am now enjoying the hell out of my two week spring break.

After spring break, we have an extensive schedule of relatives coming in, one week at a time, to provide in home daycare for us for the 9 weeks until summer vacation comes and I can't wait.  Somehow, spending time with other people's children doesn't seem quite as important now as it did pre-Bug.

Luckily I had a BIG present waiting for me when I got back to my classroom.  One of mind boggling realities of working in public education is that money allocated for one thing can't be used for anything else.  So, my school laid off one of our 10 teachers last week, and the district pink slipped 90 elementary teachers after pink slipping 270 teachers last year, but my school got 2 SMART Boards.  One of them was mine.

Now, my kids are not little and cute as the little buggers in that video, but I'm sure you can imagine the implications for a high school science classroom.  I didn't even have an overhead projector before I left on break so this new toy was not only practical, but proved to be a good distraction.  I spent 2 days figuring out how to use it so that I can spend my spring "break" rewriting all of my lessons so that I can use it.

DH took the two days off of work to be with Bug.  This was the first time that Bug spent the day with him, or anyone but me for that matter, so I didn't expect that it would go well.  But when I got home, the house was clean, the laundry was done and Bug was happily snoozing in her daddy's arms.  She didn't even look happy to see me.  I have no idea what was going on ten minutes earlier... but I was very impressed.

DH spent quite a bit of time muttering something about how he'd set the bar to the appropriate level, but I reminded him that I was still responsible for all of the night nursing and that I'd spent days pumping ahead of time and several hours the night before I went back to work pre-measuring bottles and setting him up for success, but still... kind of amazing.

I decided that he we really needed a night out, and since I'd been cleared for take-off at my 6-week a few days before, we called my youngest sister... now known as Auntie KIA (Know It All... I'll explain later) and asked if she'd mind watching the baby for the evening.  She was thrilled, but since this was a last minute plan, she couldn't get to our house to pick up the baby until 7 that evening.

Maybe you can see where this is going.

I'd purchase movie tickets from Fandango through a  LivingSocial deal that we hadn't used yet (of course), so I let DH pick a movie for our dinner and a movie hot date.  My sister told us to take as much time as we needed, so there was no rush to get back.

He chose a 7:50 showing of Battle: Los Angeles, not giving to eat before the movie.   Oh well... we'd be done by ten and have plenty of time for a quick dinner, a drink and who knew what else.  It didn't matter... as much as I missed Bug, DH and I needed time to reconnect.

I vowed long before I got pregnant that I wouldn't allow a baby to come between me and my time with the hubs... and I definitely wasn't going to be one of those anxious moms that called the sitter 3,000 times on the first night out.

Now, let me tell you a secret.  I knew Battle: LA was going to be a suck fest, but DH rates movies based on the number of bullets that are fired and that meant he'd love it.  So, I could grin and bear it.  But for the record, it was pretty damn terrible.  The dialogue, which thankfully was limited to the seconds between attacks, was beyond painful.  It unfortunately wasn't entertaining enough to keep my mind off of my phone, which I checked 3,000 times, but didn't make a single phone call.  DH didn't seem to notice as the bullet count was among the highest of any movie we'd ever seen.

The movie let out at 10:30... how did that happen?  We agreed that it was too late to squeeze in some private mommy and daddy time and it would make sense to grab a quick bite at a restaurant near Auntie KIA's house.  Unfortunately, Auntie KIA lives in a college town, and on Saturday night all of the restaurants are filled to the brim with drunken college kids.  Not my idea of a romantic evening and finding a table would be next to impossible.  How did we not think of that?

We were at Auntie KIA's by 11 and by the time we had Bug packed and ready to go our dining options were limited to the BK (yuck!) drive through.  Thus, our evening ended not with a BANG (don't be a pervert!), but a whimper.

Being a parents definitely changes things.  It was still a nice to just be alone with DH, even if it was brief.  Next time, we'll plan a little better and make it happen more often.  

Breastfeeding Blog Hop Week 11: Starting Solids

Hey ya'll! Did you notice that I am hosting the blog hop this week! SWWWWWWEEEEET.

Unfortunately, since Bug is 7 weeks old, this is a topic I know almost nothing about. And there is SOOOOO much conflicting information out there. (sorry, a little capslock happy today)

DH and I are both overweight and grew up with some pretty awful eating habits, so it's incredibly important to me that we start Bug on the right track early. So what are we supposed to do.

So I have heard that:
• You should never start solids before three months
• You should never start solids before six months
• You should never start solids before teeth appear.
• Starting solids adds no nutritional value until LO is over a year old because they are getting everything they need from breastmilk.

Um.... (hand raised) when do we start?

Also, I have this plan that I'll make baby food, but I have a feeling that could end up in the discard pile along with the plans that I would become a gestational vegetarian, never breastfeed while checking email and never let Bug watch TV. The ideal doesn't seem to be working out so far. What can I say, Bug loves watching B-Ball with her pops.

And, if she isn't really getting any added nutritional benefit from baby food, can't I just give her a piece of my fruits and veggies for awhile and call that good?

I'm excited to hear what everyone else has to say.

Breastfeeding Blog Hop Week 11: Starting Solids

It’s Week 11 of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop

Topic: Introducing Solids

Share your thoughts on introducing solids. Been there and have advice to share? Looking for tips on how to introduce solids with your little one? Confused about things you’ve read or heard about?

(New to blog hops? Check out: "How To Blog Hop")


Life With Levi

The Slacker Mom & Diary Of A Devil Dog Wife

This Week’s Guest

My Life With Bug

Want to participate in this
week's blog hop?

Here's what you need to do:

  1. Find a post on your blog related to this week's topic –
    Introducing Solids. You can write a new post, or use a past post..
  2. Link up your post. (Be sure to use the URL for your
    post, not your blog homepage). Have more than one post you want to add? Go ahead and
    link them all!
  3. Add the linky code to the bottom of your post, then
    copy/paste these guidelines above the linky. (You can grab the linky code by clicking
    the "Get Code Here" link in the lower right corner of the Linky box below)


  • Show your hosts some love – follow them on GFC. Leave a

    comment that you found them through the BFing Blog Hop so they can follow you back!

  • Check out some of the other blogs that linked up – the more
    blogs you follow (and comment on), the more followers you’ll gain.

  • Grab the Breastfeeding Blog Hop button below and display
    it on your sidebar or in your post.

Each week a Guest Host will be chosen by from
the participants in the previous week's blog hop.

This linky will be open two
days - Thursday, 03/17 & Friday, 03/18.

Life With Levi

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Weigh In-Wednesday: Week 2 Check In

Spring In2 Action

Date: March 16th
Current Weight: 202 pounds
Change from Last Week: 1 pound
Challenge Weight Loss: 2 pounds
Pregnancy Weight Lost: 25 Pounds
Next Goal: 197 pounds

Woohooh!  I'm officially 25 pounds down and feeling really damn good about it.  I've had a loss for two weeks in a row, and though the pounds aren't melting away, I'm headed in the right direction.  For the first time, I'm feeling confident that this weight will come off.  I'm only 5 pounds away from the halfway point!    

I'm starting to feel like I'm getting the eating aspect of my weight loss under control.  I've been tracking more frequently on MyFitnessPal and though I haven't been as good as I know I can be, its making me really think about what I'm putting into my body.  Because I'm breastfeeding, I feel like I'm ALWAYS hungry, but I'm making better food about the type of foods I am eating.  I'm still battling my newfound addiction to sweets, but eating more fruit is helping.  And, I know it better if I slowly loose weight, especially right now, because I don't want to jeopardize my milk production.

It rained or was pretty cold almost all week.  Since I'm responsible for Bug about 22 hours a day most days, she needs to be a part of my workout routine.  This is so much harder when we are inside.

I'm also struggling with the fact that my body can't do the things it used to do.  I'm trying to look solely at my post pregnancy progress, but its hard to forget that at this exact time last year,  I was running a 5k 3 times a week and playing adult league water polo two nights a week.  I was in great (for me) shape.  Now, I'm struggling to run for 90 second intervals.

But it is getting easier every time that I work out.

And, I had a huge NSV (non-scale victory).  I went down a pant size from a 16 to a 14... I'll be back in a 10 or dare I dream, an 8 in no time.   

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March Super Mom of the Month

Something too exciting happened and I couldn't wait to share it with you all. 

I woke up this morning to find out that Christie at Average Mom's Wear Capes picked me to be her March Supermom of the Month!  This is absolutely amazing because, if you've read my blog at all you know I have a major crush on her blog.

What she wrote is BEYOND sweet and makes this blog look WAY cooler than it is. Check it out!

Oh and I also got this fancy button!

In the immortal words of Wayne and Garth (who I have been thinking about quite a bit lately because Bug's hairdo is reminiscent of Dana Carvey's) .... I'm so not worthy.

(BTW... did you know Wayne's World is Mundo de Wayne in Spanish.  I learned that from youTube.)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Auntie Bullhorn

One of the joys of motherhood is watching your family members evolve from their pre-baby roles into daddies, grandmas and grandpas, and aunties and uncles. Watching my sisters transform from the bane of my existence in my teenage years, to friends in adulthood and now to Bug's aunts has been a unique pleasure I never would have imagined prior to Bug's arrival.

A couple of months ago, I wrote about how my sisters helped me to prepare for Bug.  Shit really hasn't hit the fan yet, and Bug has been an incredibly easy baby, but they really have had my back. 

My middle sister, former All-American rugby player and general hard-ass has been a real surprise.  Before Bug came around, she was TERRIFIED of babies and generally disliked children.  In fact, the sound of children singing has always been on the top of her list of annoyances and she is the first one to comment about an unruly child in public.  I wouldn't say she hated children.... but there was definitely a mutual dislike between her and the tiny humans.

When my sister was little, she was deemed "Grandma's revenge" for her bull-in-a-china-shop demeanor.  She learned to channel her freakish strength and energy into sports from an early age, and ultimately she ended up making the All American team for women's rugby.  Just over a year ago, she ended up marrying a young man with a similar demeanor.  It isn't unusual for the two of them to break out into a wrestling match during a family dinner.  In fact, 3 days before their wedding, they were playing a sporty game of chase in their small apartment when my soon-to-be BIL got a little too close for comfort and my sister decided to jump over the couch to get away.  She snagged her toe on the back cushion, fell onto her shoulder, and ended up in a sling for the wedding. 

Oh, and did I mention she is L-O-U-D!  All throughout high school and college we noticed that boys who were more than a little hearing impaired (or gluttons for punishment) tended to be the ones who followed her around the most.  Thus, her new nickname... Auntie Bullhorn.
My dad started calling her Auntie Bullhorn when he noticed that my sister's voice repeatedly triggered Bug's startle reflex.  When Auntie Bullhorn talks, Bug's sleepy hands go flying into the air with uncanny predictability. 

The morning that Bug was born, Auntie Bullhorn held Bug as though she were a nuclear bomb capable of detonating at any moment if handles improperly.  Luckily, they had a breakthrough early on when Bug spit up while on her back in her hospital room bassinet.  I'd only been out of the delivery room for about an hour and was still pretty numb from my epidural.  I tried to get up to help Bug, who was making a terrible choking noise.  My sister stared, panic stricken, until she ultimately decided to roll the tiny baby over.  The amniotic fluid erupted from her miniature mouth and the chocking noise stopped.  After that, she told everyone that she'd saved Bug's life and continued on in her new roll as auntie with renewed confidence.

Amazingly enough, Auntie Bullhorn has become one of Bug's favorite caretakers.  She spends most of her days off at my house playing dress-up, having tummy time, and bouncing up and down on my balance ball to quiet Bug's cries.  Auntie Bullhorn has also replaced her Nordstrom Rack addiction with an addiction to buying the cutest little outfits I have ever seen.    

Auntie Bullhorn spent the week in Portland visiting her SIL, and missed our weekly visit.  We sent her this....

 And this is what I got back...
        "....This is the best thing that ever happened to me!"

Strange how a baby in the family changes things.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Breastfeeding Blog Hop Week 10: Product Reviews

Here are my reviews on the breastfeeding items I have used so far:
  • My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow.  The Good: This pillow makes the early days of nursing much easier.  We spent A LOT of time trying to nurse in the beginning, and not getting very far, but this kept me comfortable.  The Bad: We only used it for a few weeks.  It takes too much time to pull it out every time Bug is hungry.
  • Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads.  The Good: They are comfy and have a sticky side so they stay put.  They are also very absorbent. The Bad: They totally show through my thinner nursing bras and make it look like I'm a 7th grader trying to give myself a little something extra.  Also, each pad is individually wrapped making quite a bit of excess waste and those damn wrappers are EVERYWHERE.  Not because I'm really that environmentally conscious (obviously if I used disposable pads), but because I'm cheap I tried...

  • NUK Ultra Thin Nursing Pads.  The Good: They are thin and much less expensive.  They aren't visible, even in my thinnest bra.  The Bad: I don't have super leaky boobies, so I didn't need much absorbency, but if I did, I don't think these would be effective enough.  Also, they don't have a sticky backside, so they slide around a bit.
  • Medela Pump in Style (with backpack).  The Good:  So far, it works well.  I haven't had any major issues.  I didn't really want a backpack, but it comes in handy when I am doing some hands-free pumping and I need to wander around my house.  This pump comes with a battery adapter, so I can roam wherever I want to and a car adapter, which I haven't needed to use yet, but I'm sure I will eventually.  
  • Simple Wishes Hands-Free Pumping Bustier.   The Good: It is very good at holding the bottles.  They are DEFINITELY not going anywhere when I'm using this.  Also, its easily adjustable and will fit no matter how much weight I loose, if I ever get around to loosing it.  The BAD: Its not very comfortable and it doesn't look good under my clothes.  I got this because I wanted to be able to pump quickly at work while still being able to answer emails and doing paperwork, but I have to plan what I am going to wear so that it isn't obvious that I'm wearing it.  

Right now I'm looking for a better alternative for hands-free pumping and a nursing tank that doesn't look like a nursing tank.  Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Weigh In Wednesday: Spring In 2 Action Week 1 Check In

Date: March 9th
Current Weight: 203 pounds
Change from Last Week: 1 pound
Pregnancy Weight Lost: 24 Pounds
Next Goal: 197 pounds

Spring In2 Action

I finally lost a pound, which is absolutely AMAZING because I didn't work out AT ALL last week.  Why?

Well, Bug had her 6 week growth spurt early and spent most of the week on my boob.  It's kind of hard to run with an infant hanging from your boobie.

Also, my grandmother passed away last Thursday.  I wasn't terribly upset because she has been suffering from dementia and congestive heart failure for more than 10 years and there have been several times when we were sure she wouldn't last another year.  She was bed ridden and her quality of life was pretty bad.  That didn't stop me from trying to eat all of my bad feelings away.  Damn those girl scout cookies.  

I did check out My Fitness Pal, another recommendation from Christie O. over at Average Moms Wear Capes.  It allows me to count my calories and track workouts (if I ever get around to doing one again!).  And, its free.

I am not very good at counting calories, especially if I cook something and I'm not quite sure how to count it.  I frequently give up the calorie counting after lunch, but even when I'm only tracking some of my calories, it does make me aware of how much I'm taking in.

Tomorrow, I have to head back to work.  Its only for 2 days, and then I'm off for 2 weeks for spring break, but the thought is absolutely killing me.  It will most likely be good for my weightloss, but I really am not looking forward to it.

I'll be checking in when I can.  I have about a billion things I want to write about when I have time.

Ha Ha!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Breastfeeding Blog Hop Week 9: Tips for New Moms

I don't know if I can be considered a veteran mom since Bug is only 5 weeks old. But there are many things that I wish I would have known and done if I had a big do-over. Here are my new mommy dos and dont's.

DO start trying to breastfeed as soon and as often as possible.

DO ask for help. Even if you have a LO who latches perfectly the first time there are so many people available to help you in the hospital and they don't follow you home. Ask questions and get as much help as you can when it is readily available.

DON'T let them do it for you. In my experience there were many nurses who just grabbed my nipple and tried to put it in my baby's mouth without helping me to do it on my own.

DON'T assume that breastfeeding will be easy. I think most moms will agree that its one of the most challenging aspects of new motherhood.

DON'T panic. Many doctors and nurses will make you feel like you need to be a breastfeeding pro right away, especially if your LO is loosing a lot of weight. You have as much time as it takes. Through my struggles I have found MANY moms who weren't able to breastfeed for weeks. One mom I met was patient enough to stick it out for 8 weeks before having success.

DON'T feel like you can't undo something. I had a meltdown when I had to supplement because everything I'd read made it sound like it would permanently ruin my supply. Not so.

DO know it gets easier as your baby's mouth grows and they become more coordinated.

DO be persistent. There are so many places to get help, but they won't seek you out. Its easy to get lost in the shuffle and not get what you need.

DO pump. It will help boost your supply.

DO relax and enjoy your baby.

Update:  I'd like to clarify on my pumping comment.  I'd suggest pumping AFTER each feeding if you are concerned with your supply.  Or, if breastfeeding isn't working out, you can still give your baby breastmilk by pumping and bottle feeding.  But I wouldn't suggest exclusively pumping unless you have to (like I did for the first 4 weeks!) because my production has increased significantly since Bug has taken to the breast.  Who knew?!?  
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Weigh In Wednesday: The Battle Of the Pastries

Date: March 2nd
Current Weight: 204 pounds
Change from Last Week: 0
Pregnancy Weight Lost: 23 Pounds
Next Goal: 186 pounds

Bug's Weight Last Week: 9 pounds 8 ounces
Bug's Current Weight: 10lbs 1 oz

Wooohooo!  Bug is officially off of the pediatrician's watch list because she is gaining weight like a mad woman.  Me, I'm not doing much, but this week, I have been feeling pretty content with my body.  If you hadn't already read, Bug and I are a breastfeeding duo and it has done wonders for my mood and self esteem.  Weird.  So much of my self image is now tied to how she is doing.

Soooo, you may have noticed  that I'm at 204 for the third week in a row.  I can assure you, it is not because I didn't work out enough.  In addition to jogging twice last week, we walked two days and I let Jillian Michael's kick my ass as I fumbled through 30 Day Shred on Monday.  It wasn't pretty, but it was effective.  My abs are still tight.

I also did a fantastic job of eating my fruits and veggies this week.  Bug and I headed to the Farmer's Market on Saturday and I have already eaten almost everything I bought.  

The problem... was pastries.  I didn't have any of those Reduced Fat Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cakes until yesterday, and I didn't even buy it.  My well meaning sister grabbed me one and I was too hungry to refuse.  I did however eat 3 bear claws, a cinnamon roll and a lemon bar.  Add up those calories and you have at least a pound that I could have lost if I would have had just a little more self control.  I have no idea what my issue is.  I'm usually not at all interested in sweets.

The good news is that I started a new challenge today.  I joined the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans new fitness challenge, the Spring In 2 Action Challenge, which is a six week challenge starting today.

My partner JoAnn and I are competing against other teams to reach our fitness goals.  I am so stoked to have this little motivational push and the support of a teammate to push me when I don't feel like eating well or working out.   

So this week I am going to commit to these three things:
  •  Up my fruit and veggie servings to 5 a day.
  • Limit my pastries to 1 this week.  Isn't it sad that I have to even say this? 
  • Get in 3 workouts this week. 
Let's do this!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

True Confessions Tuesday

I have decided to link up with the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans for True Confession Tuesday because I have much to be guilty about.  Here goes:
  1. Since being pregnant with Bug, I have replaced my addiction love of wine with a new found love of pastries.  I've never been much for sweets, I'm more of a savory and salty kind of gal, but.... holy crap!  It's bad!  I've had 3 bear claws, a cinnamon roll and a reduced fat cinnamon swirl coffee cake from Starbucks this week.  I swore that I would not, under any circumstances, eat a piece of cinnamon swirl coffee cake this week and then my sister brought me a piece this morning.  Bitch!  BTW, does the cinnamon swirl coffee cake count as a pastry?
  2. When I haven't made dinner, which is happening quite often since Bug came around, DH calls me on his way home to ask me what I'd like him to pick up.  I never know what I want, so I ask him to think of something.  He guesses, and if he gets something I don't want, I get pissed.  I'm the worst wife ever.
  3. My cat, who I have had for 7 years, is seriously in danger of becoming an outdoor kitty.  He is pooping everywhere.  WHY?  WHY?  WHY?  My house smells like cat shit right now, despite my best efforts to clean up his messes.  I am trying to remind myself that he is the most loving cat and he is probably having a hard time because we have gotten a puppy and a baby in the last year, but I am having A LOT of trouble.  Anyone want a cat?

A Few Words About Growth Spurts

Bug is 5 weeks old today.

This morning, my confidence as a new mother was at an all time high.  We had a follow up appointment with our new lactation consultant and personal savior Barbara at 9 am.  Bug weighed in at 10 pounds, 1 oz, an awe inspiring gain of 9 ounces in the last 6 days. A-MAY-ZING!

She was a little breastfeeding champion.  There was no fussing or fighting to get her latched and her latch on both sides was absolutely perfect.  My supply is up, and I have actually been able to pump a few extra ounces a day to save for when I go back to work.  We did so well that we have officially been taken off of the naughty list which has kept us heading to the doctors office or a lactation appointment at least once a week for the past 5 weeks.

But tonight, I feel like I have no idea what the hell I'm doing.

Bug has been fussing like nobody's business, and it appears that there is nothing I can do to calm her down.  She has been sleeping for no more than 45 minutes at a time since 2:00 this afternoon.  Then she wakes up screaming and rooting.  I have been providing the Boobie Buffet, she eats, fusses, spits up, fusses, and falls asleep for a little while and then wakes up screaming and rooting.  She has even had spurts of rooting only moments after spitting up.

I've seen this before.

2 weeks after Bug was born I left her with DH so that I could take a friend to dinner for her 30th birthday (because I was too tired and nothing appropriate fit so I opted out of an appearance at her party that weekend).  I was gone for 2 and a half hours because I spoiled myself with a solo trip to Target after dinner.

When I got home, DH informed me that Bug had screamed the entire time I was gone and he'd like to schedule a vasectomy for the following day.  Thinking he was just being an impatient prick, I told him he needed to put on his big boy pants and put a little more effort into his new role as daddy.

Then she did the same thing every night for the next week and I got to do a lot of apologizing.

Apparently, this was growth spurt number one.

I've been mentally and physically preparing for the 6-week growth spurt since then.  But I assumed we'd have another week.  I think I'm wrong again, a trend I am noticing is common in early motherhood.

I now find myself lusting after that bottle of wine that I have had in my fridge since September, left over from our fancy-shmancy wedding, but feel too guilty to pop open and enjoy.

I am also feeling an overwhelming need to buy this onesie.

  In conclusion, growth spurts suck and Mommy needs a drink.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Free Naturipe Produce Coupons

This is a little random, I know, but I have recently become completely and totally addicted to couponing.  I am naturally a cheap bastard with a streak of psycho competitiveness.  Couponing has become a game to me... me against the store, and I am determined to win.  I'm getting a little nutty.

I haven't come out of the closet on this blog about what a crazy lady I am, but then I came across this deal and I couldn't keep my mouth shut.

I prefer to buy organic produce, which, as we all know if more expensive.  As my ideal family grocery budget is $60 a week, this doesn't give me a lot to spend on pricey produce.   

I recently read a blog somewhere, and now have no idea where, that many companies will send you coupons if you write to them and let them know that you are trying to improve your eating habits and would like to try their produce.  My local grocery store carries a considerable amount of Naturipe organic berries, so I decided to search their website for coupons and when I didn't find any I submitted a request asking for coupons to try their product, and look what I got!

They sent me 6 coupons that total $18 in savings, including 3 coupons for free products up to a $5 value. 

Total win!

You can also receive coupons by signing up for Berry Blast membership.

Do you have any great deals that you can't keep to yourself?  Link up below.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dear Bug: Our First Month Together

Dear Bug,

I can't believe that a month ago you were still bouncing around in my belly. I can no longer imagine life without you, nor would I want to. In this month, you have gone from being a virtual stranger to the person my entire world revolves around.

I have to admit, I really wasn't sure I wanted a baby. I was afraid because I knew my life would never be the same after you came around. But in this month I have come to realize that you are the something that was always missing from my life.

It hasn't been easy. All of books I read and research I did couldn't prepare me for just how much you changed my life. People told me I wouldn't be sleeping much and all of my time would be devoted to you. I somehow imagined that you'd spend a significant amount of time in your swing, or a crib or something and I'd be able to continue one with my day-to-day routine while you slept. But you are truly my Snuggle Bug. You LOVE being held and don't spend much time outside of my arms, though you will (thankfully) tolerate your co-sleeper in 2-3 hour stretches throughout the night. (By the way, you just spit up down my shirt and into my bra!)

We are learning so much together. I am slowly learning the things I need to know about you to keep you happy and healthy, and you have grown incredibly strong. You can hold your head up while you are on your tummy and even look around for a few seconds before taking a break. In the last week you discovered the animals hanging from the mobile on your swing, learned to smile when I smile, and rolled over from your tummy to your back once (though you haven't been able to repeat it... yet). We are also starting to figure out that whole breastfeeding thing and I can't tell you how entertaining it is to listen to your noises when you eat. Daddy says you feed like a baby velociraptor.

Sometimes I can't believe you are mine. You were already over 1/3 of mommy's height when you were born and your legs are so incredibly long that you are starting to hit the ends of your 0-3 month old feety jammies, though they are loose everywhere else. At your last doctors appointment you were in the 95th percentile for height and 53rd for weight, something very foreign to your short and chubby mom. But you have my brow, most noticable when you are angry, and a ton of hair, just like me. Your dad and I spend a lot of time figuring out which parts you inherited from whom.  It doesn't really matter because the parts fit together perfectly and you are absolutely stunning.

My life has changed this month is more ways than I ever could have imagined, but there has never been even a momentary wish that I could go back to my old life. There is nothing I have experienced that is more wonderful than being your mom, and I am so excited to watch you continue to grow.

Love always,

Your adoring Mommy Bug

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Breastfeeding Blog Hop: Milestones

This is perfect timing for this post.  I am beyond excited to announce that by some miracle, my Bug has decided to breastfeed.

How did this happen?

I had tried many times, to no avail, to get help from Kaiser.  They'd continued to schedule me with a nurse practitioner, who was nice, but wasn't getting the job done.  She'd taught me how to use a nipple shield (TERRIBLE) and promised to help me to get Bug to breastfeed without it, but never followed through with scheduling an appointment.  Bug was able to use the nipple shield well at first, but within days, she was gumming the end of my nipple causing quite a bit of pain.  I quit using it and went back to pumping and bottle feeding.

After reading everyone's posts on support last week, I realized that I needed to push a little harder to get some support for me and Bug.  I attended my first La Leche League meeting last Thursday in hopes that I'd be able to find an LC that could help us out.

What ended up happening was the group went around discussing the benefits of breastfeeding and I burst into a big teary mess.  I didn't just cry, I broke down into hysterics to the point where I couldn't even explain why I was crying.  I finally managed to get out a few sentences explaining the problem, and was met with overwhelming support, which of course made me cry more.  Stupid post pregnancy hormones.

They suggested an LC who worked with WIC, a program that helps with the nutritional needs of low income pregnant and breastfeeding women.  I never thought to look to them for help because I don't qualify as low income.  However, they provide lactation support to all women, regardless of income.

The minute I got home, I called and requested to speak with this LC who I was told could help anyone and found out that she could only provide service to people living within the county where they are located.  I live 2 miles over the county line, and therefore, didn't qualify.

More tears.

Apparently, this was the perfect time to call Kaiser.  I cried to the advice nurse who helped me get in touch with lactation support.  Within an hour, someone called me back.  I was scheduled for the first available appointment the following Tuesday.

And guess what?!?!  Within minutes of meeting with Barbara, my new LC and personal hero, Bug had latched.  She showed me how to recreate the latch.

And she has done it every time since.  HOOOORRRAAAYYY!

I don't think I've ever been so proud, relieved, excited, you name it.  I can't tell you how wonderful its been.

Don't get me wrong, its incredibly awkward as she refuses to open her mouth wide enough most of the time.  We have a long way to go, but for the first time I feel like we are well on our way.

Four weeks after Bug was born, to the day, we learned how to breastfeed.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Weigh In Wednesday: Week 3

Date: February 22nd
Current Weight: 204 pounds
Change from Last Week: 0
Pregnancy Weight Lost: 23 Pounds
Next Goal: 186 pounds

Bug's Weight Last Week: 8 pounds 11.2 ounces
This Week's Goal: 9 pounds, 1 ounce
Bug's Current Weight: 9lbs, 6 oz
Next Week's Goal: 9 pounds, 13 oz

Take a look at Bug's weight!  It AMAZING!  We met with an LC yesterday (more on that later) and had a weigh in, and OMG!  She's back on pace.  We'll have another weigh in next week, and if we get a good number 2 weeks in a row, our weight concerns may be a thing of the past.  It's nice to feel like I'm doing something right for a change.

Me... well, at least it didn't go up.  

I had 3 goals for last week:
  1. I'd make and eat breakfast.  Mission accomplished thanks to Christy at Average Mom's Wear Capes for inspiring my one-handed breakfast selection for this week.
  2. I'd make it to the grocery store and work on making dinner again.  I left Bug at my sister's on Sunday morning and was able to take a leisurely trip to Target and Trader Joe's.  Not only did I buy groceries that helped me limit my intake of crap this week, but I LOVED the alone time.  (Sorry Bug!).  I made black bean enchiladas that were easy and DH approved.
  3. I'd work out at least once.  On Monday, Daisy Dog and I did the 2.33 mile loop around my neighborhood, again, without the company of Bug.  I did week 1 day 1 of the couch to 5k program and then walked the rest of the loop.  I was worried I wouldn't be able to do it, but it was actually a little too easy.  I want to start out slow, but, I also am hoping to do my first post pregnancy 5k, the Zoo Zoom, on April 10th.  It's one I've always wanted to do, and if I'm not concerned with my time there is no reason not to.  Although.... it would be nice to set a new PR.  Um, maybe later in the year.
My training partner Daisy at the end of our walk.  She looks tired, but, um no.  Not even close.

      So, I accomplished all three of my goals for the week.  BIG pat on the back to me.  I'm not officially a super model yet, but I am going to continue to focus on making healthy lifestyle changes. 

    Here are my goals for this week:
    1. Zumba anyone?  I am going to up my workout goal to at least twice this week.  Me and one of my homies have a date for Zumba on Saturday.  I have never done it before, and I have the coordination of an elephant on stilts, so it should be fun for everyone who gets the chance to watch me.
    2. Get at least 3 servings of fruits and veggies a day.  I know I should opt for more, but I have to start somewhere. 
    3. Stay away from the Reduced Fat Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake at Starbucks.  I am addicted.  There are too many drive through Starbucks around me and I can't stopped eating these because they are delicious cinnamony moist and delicious gooey goodness.  But, did you know these little bastards pack a whopping 340 calories.  Yikes!  No mas.    

      Tuesday, February 22, 2011

      One Handed Breakfast

      One of my goals for the week was to start eating breakfast. I need something easy that can be eaten in one hand and filling enough to last me until whenever it is I am able to eat again.

      Thanks to Christie over at Average Mom's Wear Capes who suggested baking egg beaters in a muffin tin and adding a little cheese. I modified her suggestion a little and used whole eggs (because that's what I had) and adding veggies.  Check out the recipe below.

      I added half of a whole wheat bagel with an organic butter spread and apple slices from Trader Joes. The whole breakfast is about 400 calories, filling, and can be prepared and eaten while holding a Bug.

      6 whole eggs
      3 cups baby spinach torn into smaller pieces
      1 tbsp chopped chives 
      1/2 cup diced baby bell peppers
      1/2 cup shredded cheese
      - Mix all ingredients except cheese and pour into muffin tin.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Add cheese and bake for another 10 minutes.  Voila!

      Thanks Christie!
      Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

      Wednesday, February 16, 2011

      Breastfeeding Blog Hop: Support ~ Week 7

      My mom has been my biggest supporter and advocate through this breastfeeding journey.

      It started as soon as she found out I was planning to breastfeed.

      It wasn't until then that I found out that my mom was never able to successfully breastfeed me.  I remember my mom breastfeeding my sisters, at least for a little while, but I guesss I never really gave it much thought.  I'd always just assumed I was breastfed. 

      I was born in 1981, a year when just over half of new moms breastfed.  Neither of my grandmothers breastfed because it just wasn't what you did at the time.  They weren't able to provide support to my mom.  I had difficulty latching, and I quickly lost weight.  She became self-conscious of her decision to breastfeed and felt that everyone was blaming her for my weight loss, which could easily be rectified by switching to formula.  Over time, she reluctantly gave in and switched to formula.  She had more success with my sisters, but only nursed my sisters for the first 6 weeks or so because it was too hard.  She promised that when I had my baby, she would be there to support me, no matter what I decided to do.

      But I wouldn't need support.  I was prepared. 

      I attended prenatal breastfeeding classes, read everything I could get my hands on, and adjusted my birth plan to make sure that latching on in the delivery room was a priority.  My baby would do just fine.

      And then she didn't.

      The first encounters with breastfeeding were difficult, but I wasn't too worried.  The day after we left the hospital, I took Bug in for a weight check.  Her weight had dipped from her birth weight of 8 pounds 11 ounces to 7 pounds 9 ounces, and her Pediatrician recommended I supplement.  I'd pump to maintain my supply, and it was a temporary solution.  She'd have her tied-tongue clipped, and it she'd be a breastfeeding baby in no time. 

      I called my mom every night to update her on Bug's progress and told her everything was going just fine.  And every night she told me that if it ever wasn't fine, she'd be there for me.

      The night before Bug's surgery, I told her that I wasn't expecting much, but I was hoping that there would be some noticible change.  My mom said that if there wasn't, she'd be there for me.

      I was worried about the surgery, but Bug slept through the whole thing.  The doctor numbed her tongue and then held it up with a tongue depressor and clipped her frenulum with a tiny pair of scissors.  And just like that, it was done.  Later that evening, Bug experimented with her new tongue, rolling it around in her mouth. 

      I decided to give breastfeeding a try.  We'd been given a nipple shield by a lactation consultant at our last appointment.  I placed it on my nipple, positioned Bug, and tried to get her to feed.  She gummed the nipple a few times then burst into hysterical tears.  I cried with her. 

      DH supported me the best way he new how.  He told me that it was okay if she was never able to latch on.  He told me we could use formula, or I could continue to pump and everything would be fine.

      But it wasn't fine with me. 

      I called my mom for our nightly check in, and told her that the surgery had gone well, and everything was fine.  And she told me that if it wasn't, that was okay too. 

      Once again, I burst into tears, and so did she. We spent a long time crying on the phone together and sharing this mutual heartbreak.  I don't know what I would have done without her support.

      We are still struggling, and I am reaching out in every way that I know how.  We've been to support groups, lactation consultants associated with our insurance company, outside lactation consultants and tomorrow we are heading to a La Leche League meeting.  I am hoping that at some point, Bug will be able to latch consistently and I'm doing everything I can to make that happen.

      But if it doesn't, I know my mom will be there to support me.

      Weigh In Wednesday: Week 2

      Date: February 15th
      Current Weight: 204 pounds
      Change from Last Week: +3
      Pregnancy Weight Lost: 23 Pounds
      Next Goal: 186 pounds

      Bug's Weight: 8 pounds 11.2 ounces
      Next Week's Goal: 9 pounds, 1 ounce

      If you've ever been concerned about your weight, you've had a moment like this.  You step on the scale and feels like someone has punched you in the chest.  You feel fat, discouraged, and more than a little helpless.

      I guess those days of dropping an ass-ton of weight without doing anything different are over.  Darn.  I liked those.  Now I have to decide what to do. 

      I have been spending a LOT of time thinking about weight.  That, and breastfeeding, are taking up most of the mental space not allocated to the moment to moment care of her Bugness.  You may have noticed I have included her weight as well.  Why?  She is also having a bit of a weight issue.  Hers is the opposite of mine.  At her three week appointment, her pediatrician told me that she isn't gaining wieght quickly enough.  He'd like to see her gaining about 3/4 of an ounce a day, and in the last 11 days, she'd only gained 5 ounces.  Breastfeeding isn't going well, but I'll be spending plenty of time talking about that.

      Its been a VERY long time since I've been happy with my weight and I have wanted to do something about it for awhile.  And I have changed many of my eating habits, lost quite a bit of weight, and gained a chunk of it back while pregnant.  No big deal.  I can live with that.
      I know how to loose weight.  In fact, I am great at it.  In the past, I have had a TON of success with Weight Watchers.  I lost 30+ pounds.  I can get back into the 160's pretty easily and I know if I stuck with the program, I'd easily be able to get to my goal weight. 

      But I can't stick with it. 

      Having a daughter has changed the way I think about my weight.  I worry about her modeling her eating habits after my own and it scares me.

      I am a serial dieter.

      I eat like crap for a few months until my weight gets to where I can't tolerate it anymore.  Then I diet.  Then it gets old and I stop.  Then I eat like crap for a few months.  The cycle continues.  I gain and lose the same 10, 15, 20 pounds over and over and over again.

      This is me this morning, trying to squeeze into a pair of jeans that was practically falling off of me before I got pregnant.  Don't worry, that skin you see isn't crotch or tummy or anything gross like that.  Its my leg.  I barely got these suckers over my knees. 

      Yes, I just had a baby.  Yes, it will take time to loose that weight.  But if I'm being honest, I let myself get completely out of control and ate whatever the hell I wanted during my pregnancy.  I continued my unhealthy relationship with food.

      And it has to stop. 

      Because I don't want my daughter to have this feeling. 

      So, what do I do about it?

      My first thought was to go back to Weight Watchers. 

      And then I read this post by Colleen over at the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans.  Colleen discusses what we all know... that diets don't work.  Focusing on healthy living does.

      What do I want to model for my daughter?  Do I want her to see me on a diet? Or do I want to model a healthy lifestyle?

      Of course, I want to model a healthy lifestyle. 

      Will Weight Watchers help me do that? 

      Not sure.  It has helped me learn to eat fruits and veggies.  It has helped me to eat whole grains and high protein foods.  But so far, it hasn't helped me make a lifestyle change.  It hasn't turned into more than a diet for me. 

      I know there is a new program out.  If anyone can fill me in on the changes, I'd love to hear your feedback.

      But for the next week, I'm going to set a few goals to make minor changes in my lifestyle.  Here are my goals for the week:
      1. I will find a way to eat breakfast.  I haven't been eating until around noon everyday because mornings are, um, challenging.  Any suggestions for easy breakfast ideas would be greatly appreciated.
      2. I will go grocery shopping and make dinner at least once this week in an attempt to get back to my goal of distraction free dining at night. 
      3. I will exercise at least once. 
      Easy, right?!?! 

      We'll see how it goes.

      Tuesday, February 15, 2011

      Daddy's Little Girl

      DH has struggled with the new daddy thing a little. I have been struggling with balancing not being a total nag and getting him to be more helpful. He hasn't been able to take time off to spend with her because we made a team decision to save his days off for when I go back to work, and consequently he is having a little trouble learning her cues and all the little extras that need to be done around here.

      Well, he's making an effort. This morning he woke up early to feed and dress her so I could get a little extra sleep. Check out the wardrobe choice.
      Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

      Sunday, February 13, 2011


      I had intended to write about the ups and downs of breastfeeding in the order that they happened, but today we had a huge breastfeeding victory and I couldn't wait to share. 

      This morning I couldn't find my stupid nipple shield and decided that I would try to get Bug to latch without it.  And it worked!  She breastfed all by herself... and I know she got plenty of milk because she had a little spit up after. 

      Its taken two weeks and five days, and I know this rollercoaster ride is far from over... but we did it!

      Saturday, February 12, 2011

      Top 10 Registry Recommendations for Your Newborn

      In these first few weeks as a mom, I've discovered what items I can and can't live without.  Here's a list of the top 10 things that got me through the first few weeks:

      1. The Arms Reach Co-Sleeper Bassinet:  In the last few days, Bug has a decided she doesn't want to be around anyone but me and she doesn't want to be put down.  However, she sleeps in her co-sleeper every night very happily.  It's close enough to where she can still be near me, and I can pat her tummy while she falls asleep.  There is also a canopy that can be purchased separately, which has been a life saver because it keeps the cats out when we aren't in the room.  You might remember, I had a little trouble with George and Lox using the co-sleeper as their personal love den.

      2.  The Sleep Sheep by Cloud B: This sheep plays 4 sounds (heart beat, ocean waves, rain and whales) for 23 or 45 minutes.  After feeding Bug, I turn on the sheep to the whale noises and rock her to sleep and she is out cold in minutes.  LOVE THIS!  In fact, I love it so much, I'm getting the travel size so that we can keep it in the diaper bag.  Cloud B also makes the same products with different animals. 

      3. The Sleepy Wrap.  Did I mention my Bug will rarely let me put her down during the day without a fight?   Did I also mention that the school I work for doesn't seem to understand the concept of maternity leave, so they call me constantly to do things.  It would be impossible without the Sleepy Wrap.  Its similar to the Moby, but personally, I prefer the fabric of the sleepy wrap.  Bug can hang out in here for hours and I have heard, though we are definitely not there yet, that many moms can breastfeed their babies while in the wrap.  That would be wonderful!  It takes a few tries to get the hang of putting it one, but there are a ton of youtube videos to show you how to use it.    

      4. A swing.  I don't care which.  The only time Bug will let me put her down during the day is in a swing.  I have one downstairs and one upstairs in the master bathroom, which has allowed me to shower daily, quite a feat for a new mom.   Babies only use swings for so long and then their parents get rid of them to free up some space in their house.  I got both of mine for free, but you can also find them cheap at garage sales and craigslist.  There are a few things I would recommend looking for in a swing.  First, one that allows you to adjust the amount that the seat is reclined is very nice to have.  Secondly, I'd recommend one that can be plugged in and will use batteries.

      5. The First Years Breastflow Bottle.  Think you will be exclusively breastfeeding?  So did I.  And then I had a tongue-tied little girl.  We haven't given up on breastfeeding yet, and these bottles are making the transition between bottle and breast a little easier for both of us.  The baby needs to work to get the milk out of here, and these have really helped Bug get the hang of what she should be doing at my breast... these are like boobs with training wheels.  If you are doing any bottle feeding, I'd recommend these highly.  And its good to have a few bottles around so that you are prepared in the event of an emergency.   

      6.  A breast pump.  I registered for a Medela Pump in Style, but was fortunate that my health insurance also covered the first month of a rental for a hospital grade pump.  Check into it and see what your insurance offers, but remember that breastfeeding supplies are now tax deductible.  Wooohooh!

      Also, make sure that you fill out that little card to register your breast pump.  Mine has already been recalled and we haven't even used it yet.

      7. Baby Gowns with Elastic.  I registered for/bought a bunch of sleep sacks and we don't use them.  These work so much better for late night changing.  Also, she sweats like crazy in the sleep sacks, and that makes her angy.  Nobody likes an angry baby.  Oh, and notice the snaps next to the neck, they make life so much easier when you have a big headed newborn.
      8.  The Bob Revolution Stroller. I know, you don't want to spend $300 for a stroller, but it is so worth it.  We also have a Snap-N-Go stroller (another easy to find used item... we got ours for free) that I keep in the car.  The Snap-N-Go is easy to pull out of the car and to snap the car seat into, but it drives like a crappy car with no power steering.  Its clumsy and difficult to turn and maneuver over bumps, even the tiny bump created by our door frame.  The Bob handles all of this like a champ and handles so nicely.  I still haven't been able to take it on a run, but I did take the hellion Daisy Dog with Bug and I for a walk and it was wonderful.  I have a friend who also got one by having the person who threw her baby shower ask for donations toward the Bob from people who were stumped for gift ideas.  That way, no one person has to shell out the cash for this guy.  

      We got the car seat adapter, which needed a few modifications to make it snug.  Ask, and I'll show you what we did.

      9.  Seventh Generation Diapers and Wipes.  We two packs of these newborn diapers from the woman my sister works for who has more money than time and bought the wrong size and never returned them.  In our prenatal classes, the instructors warned us not to use wipes because newborn skin is so sensitive.  They suggested using cotton balls.  Yuck!  Seriously?!?!  If they want to come over and wipe my kids ass with a cotton ball, they are more than welcome to.  But I decided that we'd use chlorine free, unscented wipes and diapers until there was a problem, and then, if we needed to, we'd switch.  So far, so good.  No rashes or irritations.  The diapers are absorbent and high quality.  The wipes are very thin, which sounds like it would be a problem, but actually, the worked much better than the Babyganics wipes we purchased first, which were much thicker and more expensive.

      10.  A pacifier.  We worried about using one, especially since Bug was having so much trouble latching.  However, after a few days of her attempting to suck her thumb and having a melt down every time it didn't work, we decided to try it.  It made a huge difference in the number of melt downs we had in a day.  We have been using the soothie and the gumdrop, both of which she likes.  Several moms at my Mother and Me group suggested the Wubbanub Pacifier for older babies (right).

      So that is my list... what were the things you couldn't live without as a new mom?

      Friday, February 11, 2011

      Crying Over Spilled Milk

      Breastfeeding is natural.  I've seen the videos of babies, only minutes old, crawling from their mothers stomach to the breast and latching on.  And it looks so easy.

      It hasn't been that way for me.

      The nurse in the delivery room attempted to get Bug latched on as soon as she was cleaned off and assessed.  This relative stranger, who would later help me put on underwear and watch me pee, grabbed at my breast, manipulated my nipple and tried to shove it into Bug's mouth.  She didn't show me how to do anything, and quickly proclaimed that we'd try to get a latch later.

      The next nurse, who met me in the recovery room, did the same and then told me my nipples were just too big for this newborn baby.  She then instructed me to try to get her to latch on every 1-3 hours and write down how long I spent trying.  She returned one time during her shift to take Bug's temperature, but didn't offer any more help.

      Not all of the nurses were the grope and leave type.  A few did show me how to hold Bug myself and how to yank on my own boobs, but nothing was happening in the latching department.

      Bug, however, was doing quite a bit of work.  She peed, she pooped and she spit up a ton of amniotic fluid.  When the nurse weighed her that evening, it was no surprise to me that her weight was down, but her weightloss alarmed the staff.  She'd lost over 7% of her body weight before her first 24 hours of life.

       The next morning, they had me meet with the verbally abusive lactation consultant, or VALC.  Okay, maybe she wasn't verbally abusive, but she was abrupt at best and I might have been a little hormonal.  She assessed Bug's latch and proceeded to tell me everything I'd been doing wrong.

      Then she dropped the big bomb.  According to the VALC, Bug was born tongue tied.  This meant her lingual frenulum (the thingy under your tongue that holds it in place), was short and preventing normal movement.   I tried to get a picture of Bug's, but getting a baby to hold her mouth open long enough to get a picture is virtually impossible.  Hers looked a little like this.

      The VALC explained that this would prevent her from being able to breastfeed until she had surgery.  She also pointed out that I had been starving my newborn baby and we'd need to get her started on formula immediately.  All I heard was starving baby and surgery.

      DH had also been tongue tied, but since he's so freaking old, he grew up during a time when women almost exclusively bottle fed.  He didn't have surgery until 2nd grade, when one of his teachers noticed a speech impediment.  He remembers the surgery, in detail, and said it was awful.  After his tongue was clipped, they had to sew it down to prevent tearing and several days and he was unable to eat, drink or speak.  It sounded like torture to me.

      VALC didn't explain how simple the surgery is for newborns or do anything to put me at ease.  Instead, she hooked me up to a breast pump while she retrieved formula.

      Now, by design, you only produce very small amounts of colostrum in the first 48-72 hours after childbirth.  I now realize that even if Bug had been able to latch, her weight loss would have been the same because no one produces more than a few teeny tiny little drops per feeding.  All babies are "starving" until their mother's milk comes in and a more understanding, less abrupt lactation consultant would have explained this in detail to a frightened, sleep deprived new mom.

      Instead, I was conviced that 1) I was the worst mom ever and 2) I was starving my baby and 3) she needed major surgery and 4) she'd never breast feed.  And aside from the worst mom ever thing, DH pretty much thought the same thing.

      After pumping for 10 minutes, I was able to fill a 1 mL syringe with colostrum and feed it to Bug.

      Definitely not enough to do anything about her weightloss.

      There was still a teeny tiny bit left in the bottle, so I returned to get it and somehow managed to knock the bottle over.  There was a teeny itsy bitsy puddle of colostrum on the counter and in that moment I think I thought that the little itsy bitsy puddle would make the difference between my baby thriving and starving to death.

      And I started to cry.

      DH came over to see what I was upset about, saw the little puddle, and said, "What did you do that for?"  Not good timing.

      I sobbed.  And sobbed.  And sobbed.

      This would be the first of many times that I would cry about breastfeeding.  For me, this has been the most challenging aspect of being a new mom.  It has been 90% terrible and 10% wonderful, as each day Bug and I are hopefully moving forward to becoming a breastfeeding team.  The good news is that she hasn't starved to death, and though her weight did drop to 7 pounds 9 ounces (down 1 pound 2 ounces from her birth weight), she's gained back 14 ounces.  The bad news is that we are mostly pumping and bottle feeding, but we are still working toward breastfeeding.

      I am going to continue to fill you in on the major ups and downs, including Bug's first surgery, the even more terrible lactation consultant from hell, and the things that we have done to make this who process a little easier.

      If you have a similar breastfeeding horror story, share a link below.