Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Going back to work sucks.

I had my first cry at 5:00 this morning.

And then I cried off and on until 6:30, when I pulled into my parent's driveway.

Every time I looked at her, or thought about leaving her, the tears started flowing.  I think it hurt most to know that she would cry, and I wouldn't be able to comfort her.  I was also extremely worried about the bottle situation; prior to this afternoon, we hadn't successfully introduced the bottle to Lucy Lu (don't you worry, there is a post coming on that).

I left Lucy at 7:05, and I didn't return home to my sweet pea until 5:25 - easily the longest day of my life.

Everyone was incredibly sweet and welcoming at work, and I had TONS of work to keep me busy, BUT the day moved at a snail's pace.  I'm dreading the rest of the week.  At least the first day is behind us...

I was able to pump three times throughout the day.  I'm hoping to get on a better schedule over time, because it was a little overwhelming and awkward today.  I noticed that my supply took a bit of a hit after my first pumping session; I didn't eat breakfast until about 9:00 (and I woke up at 3:45) and I didn't drink nearly enough water.  Combine both of those factors with loads of stress, and you've got yourself a less than ideal pumping session.  Don't fret, dear readers!  I guzzled some water, and things improved almost immediately.

Believe me when I say that I am TRYING to find a way to stay home with Goose:  Casey and I are taking steps to sell my car; I'm researching part-time jobs in town; and, I've drafted a new, single income budget.  Hopefully one day very soon, this dream will become a reality; and, if not, my company has implemented a Flex Time program, that may enable me to work earlier hours and/or work from home.
Reunited at last!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Hi from New England

Howdy folks!  I've missed everyone so much, I thought I'd say a quick hello while Goose was eating.

We're having loads of fun; enjoying lots of good food and family.  I can't believe how quickly the trip is flying by, only three more days until we are home and back to the daily grind.  I have so so SO much to tell you about...breastfeeding at the Intrepid...my deep HATE for disposable diapers....and baby wearing in NY (talk about a workout) - I'll tell you all about it once we're home.

Gotta run though, we're taking a ride down to my hometown.  Yay!!!  Here's a pic of Lucy Goose rockin a sun hat:     

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fare thee well, dear readers!

The Shelton's are going back east for Memorial Day!  We leave tonight on a red eye; and, we return next Monday, bright and early. 

We're going to New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and then back to New Jersey.  Its been a whooping four years since I've been back home, and it will be Casey AND Goosey's first time!  We're traveling with my parents and siblings; can you visualize the six of us and Goose traipsing through the airport?  We're sure to make a scene - we can't even go to Sweet Tomatoes without all hell breaking loose.

There are so many things to look forward to on this trip: the food, the family, the adventures, THE FOOD; but, I think I'm most excited for the private suite my parents got us...overlooking the New York City skyline.   Thanks Mom & Dad, we love you guys!  What an AWESOME anniversary present!!!

We are bringing the lap top, but I'm not anticipating a lot of time to blog.  You can count on a huge update when we get home though!  I can't wait to tell you all how ridiculous it is to pack for a baby.  Oy ve!

Goose waving bye bye, or saluting - if you're Casey...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Smart Pumping

Disclaimer:  Brother, if you're reading this, you may want to stop...boob talk to follow.

I often imagine my readers shaking their heads in disbelief while reading my posts: at the stupidity, strange choices, and oversharing. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those posts.  Just know that I tell you these things because I love you guys and I want you to avoid my mistakes.

I don't know if most women have this knowledge passed down to them, if they're born with it, or if they really did their homework prior to giving birth; but, I didn't have a clue what I was doing up until recently.  I had read the breast pump instruction manual, so I knew how to pump, BUT I didn't know how to pump effectively or how to store breast millk.  One day, after dumping TWELVE bottles of breast milk down the kitchen sink, I decided it was time to google.

In the beginning, I mainly pumped for relief (mistake #1).  The twelve bottles that I threw out were one ounce portions, that I had pumped at random and couldn't combine due to their dates (mistake #2).

So, how do you pump effectively?  Well....when your milk comes in, your boobs transform into these rock-hard, mini watermelons; naturally, increasing your supply is the last thing on your mind.  In order to become the most efficient dairy cow (or breastfeeding goddess, whichever you prefer), you should pump frequently in the early weeks to build up your freezer supply and stimulate production.  Your body will adjust supply over time to meet your baby's needs. 

Pumping on top of breastfeeding is a little challenging, because you can't skip a feeding to pump.  You've got two options:  pumping after each feeding and/or pumping first thing in the morning.  Pumping after each feeding can become a little tedious, especially for just an ounce of milk; but, it does have its benefits.  Completely emptying the breast reduces the risk of clogged milk ducts and helps build supply.  Pumping in the morning is extremely effective.  When your baby sleeps for long stretches of time (hopefully at night), your boobs become engorged; as a result you can pump 5 ounces, and still have milk left to nurse your baby.

Once you've pumped, you'll need to store your milk in a manner that best suits your needs.  First off, know that you can combine milk from different pumping sessions within a 24 hour period.  I find it best to freeze your milk in 2 and 4 ounce portions; this is helpful for those making your baby's bottles.  There are many containers for storing breast milk:  bags, bottles, jars, and even ice cube trays...  I've tried the bags and I've tried the bottles; the bags are inexpensive and a great space saver.  But, bottles and jars have their advantages too; after researching a bit, it seems as though bottles and jars do a better job protecting the nutrients in breast milk (source).  If you scroll towards the bottom of this page, you can see an excellent guide for storing breast milk at different temperatures.

Lastly, I have to plug these micro-steam sterilizing bags one more time!  They make cleaning your pump accessories and bottles SO easy!!!

 This girl likes herself some breast milk.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Goose is two months old.

Our big TWO MONTH old Goose

Somebody pinch me...a whole TWO months ago Lucy Goosey was born.  It can't be!  Where has the time gone?!!!

We visited a friend in the hospital on Tuesday night, who had given birth that morning, and Lucy looked ginormous next to the new baby boy.  Casey and I could not believe how small he was, and we certainly couldn't believe that our Goosey used to be that small. 

This afternoon we went to the pediatrician, and Goose had a great check up.  Dr. Joy said she continues to be amazed with Goosey's weight gain; as always, she was very complimentary of my breast milk (awkward much?).  Here are Lucy's two month stats:

Height:  22.5 inches (50th percentile)
Weight:  12 pounds, 7 ounces (75th percentile)
Noggin: 15 inches (75th percentile)

This was by far our worst appointment to date...worse than the time we found out Goosey lost too much weight...today Lucy Goose got her second set of immunizations.  I was fortunate enough to miss the first set (the day she was born); there is nothing more painful than hearing your baby cry and not being able to do anything about it.  Goosey was a champ, like always, she held up better than I did; she got three pokes and one drink.  Our pediatrician likes to do combination vaccines, which I am grateful for (less pokes for Goose).  The potential side effects sound terrible, but Dr. Joy said only a handful of her patients have experienced them over the past 13 years.  We're praying Lucy is spared!

From here on out, we see the pediatrician bi-monthly.  Yay!  Unfortunately, the next two appointments (four and six months) will include more immunizations.  Boo!

In other news, Goosey is right on track developmentally!  This month's milestones include:

Intentional smiles
Recognizing our voices and "talking" with us
Improved neck control
Self soothes by sucking on her fingers
Reaching out to us (Dr. Joy said that was early, woo woo!)  

I think I'm most proud of (or grateful for) Goosey's AWESOME sleep schedule.  She seems to have her nights and days established; she slept SIX hours straight this past Saturday night.  That's a new record!  She's been sleeping for four and five hours straight (at night) for weeks, but six hours was absolutely magical.  It was a perfectly timed anniversary gift for her Daddy and I, thanks Goose!  

Two whole months...I can't believe it.  Goose...we love you, but you gotta slow down!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

I'm a little peeved...

My daughter's name is LUCY.

Acceptable nicknames include Goose, Lulu, and variations of both.

Despite the endless options for addressing my sweet little Goose, there are A LOT of people that like to refer to her as "the baby": 

"Are you bringing the baby?"

"How's the baby?"

"I want to see the baby."

She is a person, just like you and me.  How would you like to be called "the girl" or "the boy"?  Parents don't debate over names for months and months to have it completely disregarded.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Well I've been breastfeeding my sweet baby Goose for almost two months now, and I have A LOT to say about it.  First off, you may have noticed that I recently renamed Lucy; she is now Goose (to me and her daddy at least).  Second, breastfeeding is AWESOME.  I love it.  Now, please don't worry, this isn't one of those preachy posts about breastfeeding vs. formula feeding; I have no opinion on that debate.  I could never, and would never, judge the way a parent chooses to feed their child.  This post is about my experience with breastfeeding thus far.

Initially breastfeeding was pretty darn uncomfy.  I had read and heard from many that that was to be expected, so I prepared myself from the first time I fed Lucy.  I don't know if it was all the pain medication pulsing through my veins or the shock from holding my daughter for the first time, but the pain really wasn't that bad; it wasn't pleasant, but it also wasn't excruciating.  When Dr. O put Lucy in my arms, she immediately stuck her finger in Goose's mouth, and said, "She's about to rip my finger off, you better feed that girl!"  Our awesome nurse, Chelsea, rushed to my side and helped me feed Lucy for the first time.  Goose latched on immediately and went to work; I can only describe this sensation as a pinching.

In those first few days of life, a baby nurses almost constantly; this is called Cluster Feeding.  This is because the milk hasn't come in and your boobs are full of this thick, yellow stuff called Colostrum.  The Colostrum comes out at a much slower rate; 30 minutes of nursing is equivalent to 30 drops of Colostrum.  So, because your nips never get a chance to rest, the "its not so bad" feeling quickly turns into agonizing, fist clenching pain.  Your nips just get so incredibly sore and SCABBY.  For me, the pain lasted until Lucy's two week birthday - especially on the left side - nowadays, it is completely pain free.  I read that the pain fades for most women after two to three weeks (so for those just starting out, just know that it does get better).  Aside from the constant action, a lot of the pain can be attributed to the baby's latch and feeding position.

For the first day or two of Lucy's life, I was just putting the very tip in her mouth; that is completely wrong.  Don't do that.  Also, don't wait to seek help; schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant as soon as possible after giving birth.  My discomfort and scabbing could have been prevented; I hope that my mistakes will help another breastfeeding momma.  For the best latch possible, you should make a "C" with your hand, and compress your breast so that you get as much of your nipple into the baby's mouth.

You've got a few options regarding position.  My favorite position is side-lying.  At first I was reluctant to try this position, because of my incision; but, it truly enables the best latch possible.  There is also the football hold and the traditional cradle hold.  The football hold is great for c-section mommas; however, it requires a few pillows (or some serious muscles).  The traditional cradle hold is ideal for feeding in public places and/or in front of others; but, it gets a little tiresome...holding a chunky baby for 30+ minutes is no easy task.  Speaking of pillows...most mommas are familiar with breastfeeding pillows (i.e.:  Boppy and Breast Friend).  I have the Boppy.  It is an ingenious invention, but I still prefer to feed Goose lying down (sans pillows).

 Me, Goose, and Daisy enjoying some side-lying action

Now, while I was prepared for the physical demands of breastfeeding, I was not prepared for the emotional demands.  Breastfeeding is exhausting, stressful, rewarding, awkward, beautiful, oh ya, and, EXHAUSTING!  Casey and I desperately wanted to avoid nipple confusion.  We agreed that Lucy was not to receive any artificial nipples before her six week birthday; that meant all feedings, until that point, were on me.  Calling the situation "stressful" would be a massive understatement; but, as stressful as it may be at times, I wouldn't have it any other way.  Since I started breastfeeding, I have:  pulled my car over to feed Lucy on the side of the road, fallen asleep with my boob out more than once, breastfed standing in stinky, nasty public bathrooms, and I regularly walk around the house with my bra cup yanked out of my shirt. 

 Its THIS exhausting.  
(Yes, I really just posted this picture.)

I am so grateful to be able to breastfeed; it is a beautiful and natural process.  I cherish the bond I've developed with Goose because of it.  I hope that this post was somewhat helpful, or at least interesting - God knows it was long enough!  For those mommas planning to breastfeed and those just starting out, I wish you all the luck in the world, and I hope you love the experience as much as I have.  To wrap up this ginormous post, I have two short lists...

Miscellaneous tidbits:

Pack nursing bras and tanks in your hospital bag!
  Lactation cookies are delicious and beneficial to your supply.
Kellymom is a great online resource for questions and concerns.
Pack a spare shirt for yourself in the diaper bag, leaks are not so cute.
Your boobs will literally spray like water guns, it is so weird!
Your boobs are going to be HUGE.

Essential supplies:

Breastfeeding cover (hands-free is essential)
Breast pump
Breast milk storage system (I prefer bags to bottles)
Nursing pads (cloth, of course - I have 36)
Nursing tank tops

This post was long overdue, hence the length (I actually started writing it in the beginning of April).  Coming up next, Smart Pumping and Introducing the bottle to the breastfed baby...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My first Mother's Day

Happy belated Mother's Day to all the momma's and momma's to-be!

I had a great day!  Casey and Lucy sure know how to spoil a girl!  I woke up an hour later than usual, because Casey was sweet enough to take Lucy into the living room to play when she woke up (at 5:30).  When I finally got up, I was greeted by two smiling faces and a steaming cup of (decaf) lemon tea.  I was surprised to find two presents waiting for me on the coffee table.

Try not to be too jealous of my shiny, new food processor.  I foresee lots of homemade baby food and pesto sauce in our future (yum!).

We lounged around the house for a bit and then headed out to Sweet Tomatoes for lunch with my family.  Gotta love never ending salad and muffins!  Apparently Sweet Tomatoes was THEE place to be on Mother's Day, because it was absolutely mobbed.  Later that day we popped over for a visit with Casey's mom, and our day ended with pizza and a House marathon.  Not a bad day, if I may say so myself.

Now to start planning Father's Day...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Battle Congestion

 Our arsenal:

Booger bulbs

Saline spray


Upright sleeping (thanks for the shoulder, Poppy!)

We've also hung out in a steamy bathroom a time or two...that was sticky.  So far, we've had the most luck with the saline spray, and the worst luck with the bulbs; seriously, those things suck - they made her nostrils swell.  Poor Lucy has had a nose full of crud for the past two days.  No fever, no coughing, and she's still the hungry hippo we know and love.  I know its nothing major, but I still feel horrible for her.  All babies should be spared any illness; they're too small and innocent to be the recipient of such annoyances. 

Mommy, I'm fine.  Now please quit sticking things in my nose!