Saturday, November 28, 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jog

Whew! We had a blast on our trip to California. Perhaps best of all, Jack was a great little traveler. Thanks in large part to your suggestions, but also due to his just being a an awesome little boy, we made it through all flights, long car trips, and many unfamiliar places with no meltdowns. In fact he LOVED meeting new people and seeing new things. I will now have to stop being such a homebody. Once I recover from this trip.

Other great parts of the trip (in somewhat chronological order) included eating at Umami Burger in LA with Whitney and Alex. If you live in LA, I recommend a trip.

Meeting Aunt Dina.

Staying with Ryan and Laurel and having a cookie party with most of the old peeps from LA 1st at their place. It felt pretty much just like the good old days.

Getting my hair done by Lacey (At long last! Hallelujah!) and having dinner with the Birds, Nielsens, and the lovely Colleen.

A brief trip to Balboa Island (near Newport). We almost didn't make it after I failed to get directions before we departed. But with help from friends, and a few strangers, we made it. And it was so worth it! Cute shops and the delicious Balboa Bar. Totally worth a visit.

We got to hang out with both of Evan's best friends, Aaron and Andy, and their families. (Aaron came later, so he's not in the picture). It was delightful to get to hang out with them and their kiddos. And sooo nice of of Aaron and Jennie to take care of us throughout our San Diego stay.

Thanksgiving and Evan's birthday (same day). It was nearly a debacle after we were stuck in traffic for about 3.5 hours on our way to Thanksgiving dinner with Evan's extended family. However, we did eventually make it, and we loved having Jack cooed over by all the relatives. Evan also blew out all 30 of his we'll probably be winning the lottery soon.

We introduced Jack to the ocean for the first time. We dipped his feet in the water, and he seemed to take it ok, despite the chilly temp. Meanwhile, we also fell back in love with San Diego and California. We would love to move back, but it's not to be just yet. Anyway, it was a fabulous trip. I would write more, but it's time to go clean up some of the aftermath of unpacking our suitcases.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Please Advise: First Trip with Baby

Ok, I know you folks are a mobile group. So I'd like to ask those of you who have kids (or those of you without kids but who have traveled with kids) for some advice. In about a week and a half, we're taking our first long trip (2 hours in the car, 1.5 hours at the airport, 5 hours in the air, .5 hours to destination, followed by 1 week in California, then repeat in reverse). A lot of the advice I've seen online is geared toward traveling with older children, but right now I only need advice pertaining to one 4.5-month-old baby.

Please offer up anything and everything you think might be useful. Tips, products, strategies, etc. But here are a few questions to get you started:

  • We're thinking of buying luggage since we currently have a mishmash of duffle bags and suitcases...any thoughts on quality/not super expensive brands?
  • What and how much of everything should I bring (considering that I will have access to laundry)? What should I buy there (I'm thinking diapers)?
  • Ideas for handling a squirmy/potentially fussy baby on the flight? It's Southwest and we didn't buy him his own seat, but we are planning on bringing the car seat to check or use if there are extra seats. Also, Evan paid the $10 fee for both flights to ensure that he's in the first boarding group and can get us primo seats.
  • I doubt Jack will nurse in such an unfamiliar environment, and I'm not that excited to try, but I will need to pump. Thoughts on the best way to accomplish this? Also, does bottle feeding help pop babies' ears the way breastfeeding is supposed to?
  • Ideas on getting him to sleep in unfamiliar environments?
  • What other tips am I not even thinking of?

Monday, November 9, 2009

There Goes The Neighborhood and Sleep Training

When we moved into our little duplex almost a year and a half ago, we were thrilled with it because it seemed so big compared to our old studio. And it's still a nice place. BUT, the neighbors have progressively gotten much worse. Even though we live in a pretty cute area of town, we now have 1) Pot smoking scum bags across the street 2) Hillbillies who are always grillin' or working on cars on one side of us 3) Large, loud barking dogs across the alley and 4) New neighbors who share our wall and who are very loud. This includes loud talking in another language, loud TV after bedtime, snoring we can hear through our wall, and screaming children. (And I thought that WE were going to be the annoying neighbors with the crying baby).

It's enough to make us WANT to move, but probably not enough to make us ACTUALLY move. Too much trouble for now. But it is one more thing that makes us more likely to move out of state after Evan hits his 2-year mark at work in about 6 months.

In happier news, we've started sleep training Jack, and it's going surprisingly well! We started this weekend, and so far the longest he's cried is 30 mins. However, he's had several nap times and even a night when he went to sleep after only token protests! Yahoo!

EDIT: Sorry about my unwitting use of a slur in the above post. It has been changed. I honestly didn't know it was a slur. I'm naive.

UPDATE: The next door neighbors are pumping something with a deep base rhythm. I hate them. I feel like I am in college again - but not in a good way. Dina: We want to move to Cali, but we'd likely be in a similar situation there, only being able to afford a tiny apartment next to some new douchebags. On the bright side: We don't own our place, so we can move. :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Let's Talk About Boobs, Shall We?

Ok, not SO much boobs as breast feeding, and my love-hate relationship with it.

Here's how it began: Before Jack was born I listened to podcasts and read books about breast feeding. I was determined to do it no matter what. In the hospital, I was able to breast feed Jack soon after giving birth, despite having had a C-section. However, I didn't get the latch down right away and he bruised my nipples quite a bit. I saw the lactation consultants every day, and one of them gave me a silicone nipple shield. For those of you who don't know, it's a clear plastic nipple with holes in the tip. It helps the baby latch better. Ideally you're supposed to help the baby latch, then slip it off, and go without.

Here's what I did: I never stopped using it. I don't really know if that's what caused my problem. But after about 3 months of relatively great (in hindsight) breast feeding, Jack started refusing to take my breast. He would arch his back and scream rather than latch on.

I looked up all the information I could on nursing strikes. I couldn't find out exactly what might be causing the problem, but one of my books said to pump and feed the baby by bottle for a few days until the strike passed. It never did. I thought it might be related to his reflux, but since we've had him on Prevacid the refusing only got better for a little while.

I could almost always get Jack to latch on during the middle of the night feedings when he was very tired. But recently even that has become a problem. I called the lactation consultant (again) and she recommended that I rent one of the kind of expensive hospital-grade pumps in order to keep my milk supply (which had seemed to be dwindling) up. I did that.

So now I'm pumping at least 8 times a day and bottle feeding and washing bottles. Oy - what a pain! But I'm still glad I can give him my milk. I'm just bummed to be missing out on the closeness of breast feeding and the relative ease of always having the warm milk at the ready.

Now I don't know how long I'll be able to continue this. The pump ($40/month plus a one-time $45 fee) is still way cheaper than all the formula my chubby little guy would be drinking. I would have loved to breast feed for at least a year, but now I'm setting my sights on at least six months? Maybe introducing some solids when Jack turns 4 months on Monday will make things easier?

Here's where you can chime in and commiserate about breast feeding trials. Oh, and if you have any tips/ideas on why Jack is doing that or how I could solve it, feel free to chime in. But please note: I'm pretty sure it's not what I'm eating, perfume or soap I'm wearing, distractions in the room I'm feeding in. He won't take the breast without the nipple shield (I've tried shoving his head on it) and he won't take it lying on his side, football, both of us lying down, or him sitting up. A bath does not relax him enough to take it, nor does lots of skin-to-skin contact.

My potential last resort before I just give up on the whole thing is taking him to the chiropractor who helped my niece a ton with reflux. Apparently he's this really old guy who actually spends time touching the kid and making sure everything is in it's proper place (unlike my pediatrician, who, I think, prefers to do most things visually while I hold Jack).

Or I guess I could go in to the hospital and let them see me try to force feed the little guy.

The whole thing is just so frustrating/disappointing every time. I feel rejected (even though I know he's a baby and it's not his fault) and I feel exhausted after the physical struggle of trying to control his back-arching convulsions. Is pumping the milk good enough, or should I keep banging my head trying to figure out the breast feeding? Alright, ignore how I tried to lead you to answer that pumping is good enough, give me your honest opinion.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I Am An Awesome Mom Part 2: I Got My Baby Sick

Yep, it's Jack's first cold, and we're all on high alert, sort of. First of all, I should say that I blame the people at church who come to church sick or bring their sick kids who cough everywhere. I went to church on Sunday feeling fine, but by Monday evening I was feeling foul.

It's been a rough week full of mucus for all three of us. I went down first, then I brought Jack and Evan down with me. Luckily Jack has been doing pretty well, just being a tad fussier than usual and harder to get to sleep. Speaking of, he just woke up for like the 100th time tonight. Anyway, we're just very grateful it hasn't been more serious. But it did put a damper on our Halloween--we stayed home. Jack's adorable Wonder Bread costume went pretty much unused.

The absolute best part of the week was a 24-hour visit from our friend Colleen! We all rallied enough to be able to enjoy her time here, and we had fun eating Texas dishes like barbecue and chicken-fried steak, plus chocolate chunk pumpkin bread and blueberry pancakes. :) The weather and our health didn't permit for a ton of fun outside the house, but Colleen made it seem fine that we were just hanging out. So cheers to Colleen and to Texas visitors!