Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Confessions: Week 8-11

Am I a terrible Catholic or what?  Its been weeks since my last confession!!

ETA:  Today marks my 3 month pump-iversary.  Wowza!

Confession #22:  I'm beginning to hate my right boob.

Confession #23:  I'm beginning to hate pumping in general.  Not so much that I'd ever think about quitting, but the flange situation combined with the general discomfort of pumping and the amount of time it takes me to can get frustrating some days...

Confession #24:  Two weeks ago a MAN walked in on me pumping.  I will never understand what would possess someone to open a closed door without knocking.  And then that following weekend, at a friend's baby shower, three separate women walked in on me nursing Lulu.  Granted I was in the purse room/office, but still, closed door!! 

These confessions are part of a series that I started shortly after returning to work, Confessions of a Pumping Mother.  My confessions range from ramblings to fun facts, to accidental mishaps (like this) and extreme pumping.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This is how I get ready in the morning...

Playmats are a life saver. 

In a perfect world Lulu would sleep until about 6 am, just in time for me to finish getting ready for the day.  Actually, in a really perfect world, I'd be a stay at home momma, and I wouldn't have to be up that early!  But, I digress...since we don't live in a perfect world, Lulu tends to start stirring around 5:30.

...while I'm still wandering around the house in my underwear, with my wet hair wrapped in a towel and Q-tips in my ears.

So when she wakes up, I usually bolt into the bedroom to snuggle with my warm, sleepy baby.  And when we eventually get up (since I've been known to fall back asleep), Lulu goes on her playmat for 10-15 minutes and I finish getting ready. 

Its not so long ago that I had to get ready this way:

Such fond memories...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lucy's Schedule

Lucy's schedule is non-existant.

......and its starting to be a problem.

Lucy's current caregivers (my dad, brother, and sister) tag team baby duty Monday through Friday, while Casey and I are off gallivanting 50 minutes west of F. Thrills.   

From the very beginning, Casey and I have leaned towards the attachment parenting style.  And we've followed the 7 B's to a T.  The 7 B's, for those not hip to the AP lingo are Birth Bonding, Breastfeeding, Babywearing, Bedding close to Baby, Belief in the language value of Baby's cry, Beware of baby trainers, and Balance.

Being sans schedule falls under the "Beware of baby trainers" category.  We have a nighttime ritual, but it doesn't commence at the same time every night.  We look for Lulu's cues to figure out when she's tired and ready for bed.  She recently started rubbing her eyes when she gets tired - which is adorable and a huge improvement from the spontaneous and inconsolable crying.

No one likes to see this face.

But like I said, being without a schedule is starting to affect everyone.  My dad/Fallon/Cole have to hold Lucy all day long or she gets fussy.  I'm talking can't put her down for ten minutes fussy.  And she's kinda heavy to be holding for ten hours straight.  Just sayin'!

I guess utilizing the Attachment Parenting style is great, for those who get to be a stay at home mom...but for those that have to continue working, it makes childcare a little troublesome for your daycare providers.  Back in the day, when I was on maternity leave, I was never able to accomplish a whole lot while Casey was at work (i.e.: showering, eating, using the bathroom....let alone anything truly productive - like laundry or cleaning).  So to impose that kind of responsibility on not one, but three people's lives, is a pretty craptastic feeling.

I have no idea what a good schedule looks like or whats to be expected from a 5 month old;  She's never been a very good napper.  But her lousy sleeping habits and constant need to be held have to be remedied.  I've done a little reading about infant sleep habits (which I shall post about later), but I'm trying to find some inspiration for a good, healthy schedule for Lulu (suggestions?).  I'm hoping to be able to persuade my Dad/Cole/Fallon to try out babywearing and this new schedule, because I think it could make everyone's lives a little easier.

What's your baby's schedule like?  Are any of you ladies following the Attachment Parenting style?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cloth Diapers: A Great Value!

I think most Growing Baby Shelton readers are aware of the HUGE savings that come with cloth diapering.  For those that aren't, let me fill you in!    

Zoolikins has an awesome breakdown of the cost to use disposables in their Cloth Diaper 101 (along with a hundred other reasons why cloth is far superior)!  Parents that use disposable diapers can expect to spend an average of $3000 to diaper their babe from birth to potty training.  OUTRAGEOUS!  And then, of course, multiply that by the number of children you hope to have.  So...our family for example, could expect to spend around $12,000. 

I'd rather buy a car with that money.  I'd rather spend that money on anything other than diapers.

Surprisingly, though, not everyone feels that way (obviously...since the majority of parents use disposables).  I think a lot of people assume cloth will be difficult or smelly or just plain weird.  I also think some people are unaware of the improvements that have been made to the cloth diaper.  Whenever I tell someone we cloth diaper, they immediately picture a prefold with a giant safety pin.  Lastly, I think some people (like me) might be turned off by the price per diaper - at first.  There are so many different systems, the cost per diaper ranges from $1.50-45.00, with the average pocket dipe falling somewhere in the middle of that.

Our stash has little variance. We're mostly a BumGenius family, with a few dozen prefolds thrown in for good measure.  We stocked up on the BumGenius 3.0 All In One diapers after they were discontinued in January, and I'm proud to say we've never spent more than $9.99 per diaper (the original price was $17.99).  But even that price sounds steep to someone that's not familiar with cloth diapering.

I think we've spent around $800 on our entire stash.  Job well done, if I do say so myself!  We'll never have to buy another diaper for the rest of our diaper changing days (though we probably will, because I am a bit of a fluff shopaholic).  AND we can reuse these very diapers on our future children; meaning we'll have spent $800 instead of $12,000.

Those savings are pretty awesome, but they could be better.  What if, instead of paying $9.99 a diaper, we only had to pay $5.00 a diaper?

A friend of mine (Hi Becky!) recently opened my eyes to a new brand of cloth diapers:  Sun Baby Diapers.  These are one size pocket diapers made by a WAHM (work at home mom) named Sun Pei in Shanghai, China.  They sell for $5.00 a diaper, and they're sold in sets of one or two dozen.  Its a phenomenal value.  I absolutely love these diapers.  And don't think for one second that you're sacrificing quality or cuteness when you buy these diapers.  There are SO many cute patterns to choose from, and they are the softest diapers I've ever felt - softer than our BumGenius AND Fuzzibunz diapers.  

Here's Goosey modeling a few of my favorite prints:

So if you're still weary about choosing cloth or converting to cloth, I'd love to persuade you.  If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line or comment here. 

Are you already a cloth diapering family?  Tell me why you love it!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Put some breast milk on it.

Catchy title, huh?

Last week I got the mother of all cracks on my right nipple. 

I first noticed it whilst pumping at work (yup, just said "whilst").  At first I thought, "Hmm, maybe this is what a clogged duct feels like..."  So I immediately began texting other breastfeeding mothers for advice.  I then texted Casey, not a breastfeeding mother, but a boob man, and insisted he examine my nipple the moment I got home that evening.

I had an inkling that maybe my spiffy new flanges were too big.  Casey later confirmed my suspicions when he pointed out a crack in the shape of a perfect circle at the base of my nipple.  You see when your breastshield is too big, it pulls too much of the breast tissue into the funnel.  This causes chafing and, ultimately, cracking. 

It was crazy painful to pump - like cringing, fighting back tears painful.  The pain actually reminded me of the first two weeks I breastfed Goose.  Fortunately, nursing was not painful.

When I first told Casey about the pain I was having, he responded with, "Just put some breast milk on it."  So I did just that.  Throughout the day I would massage breast milk into the crack, and I used a little Lansinoh nipple cream at nighttime.  But what I find interesting about this whole situation is that the crack only happened on my right side...that same side is also the "under performer".  Coincidence? 

So, let this be a lesson to all the breastfeeding mothers that pump at one point or another:  a proper fitting breastshield/flange/whatchamacallit is of the utmost importance!!  I never would've thought that I, of all people, would have smaller than average nipples, but that apparently is the case...   

For more information on proper sizing, check out the Medela website.  I also like this diagram for comparing different size shields. 

Unfortunately, most stores that I've been in only carry the medium size shield (24 mm)....  So if you're like me, with unusually small nipples, you'll need to order online.    

photo source

Thursday, August 18, 2011

5 Months

Dear Goosey Girl:

Happy 5 Month Birthday, my love!  You are the sweetest, most beautiful girl in the world, and this past month has really brought out your personality!    

At 5 months:

You are the happiest girl in the world!  And that's no exaggeration, everyone that's ever met you can attest to that.

You talk all day long, and I absolutely love it.  I keep waiting for you to look up at me and say Hi Momma!

You are almost sitting up on your own.

You have phenomenal leg and neck strength.

You've started blowing little raspberries.  Generally on my neck.

You have taken the pacifier ONE TIME in your five months. 

You are a professional roller.  Anytime I set you on your wiggle worm mat, you immediately roll to your belly.

You're still not sleeping through the night - especially this past week!  But I don't mind one bit, because we've got the rest of our lives to sleep.

You still bed-share with Daddy and I full time.

You're pushing 19 pounds and you are 26 inches long.  Hence my "mom arms".

You still wear medium size cloth diapers (thank God!) and you'll be graduating to 6-9 month clothing this weekend - after some shopping and unpacking.

You are still exclusively breastfed (much to Grammy's dismay).  You get three bottles a day while you're with Grampy and the boob the rest of the time.  We plan to test drive solids on your 6 month birthday. 

You LOVE mirrors and you've finally started to really play with your toys.  Especially Spottie.

Your big girl legs have officially outgrown the Bumbo.  ::sigh:: 

You love your Daddy.  You have so much fun with him.  The two of you play and play and play every night together.  He makes you giggle and smile like no one else can.

You are quite the swimmer, you just love the water.  You do a baby doggy paddle in the pool and you kick your legs at bath time.  Two of the cutest things I've ever seen.

You still don't have any teeth, but everything you touch goes right to your mouth.

And, much to my surprise, this was your best monthly photo shoot to date!  Here are a few of my favorites...

We love you, beautiful! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

All the C-Section Ladies!

Now put your hands up!  Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!

Oh, wait...  What?  That's not how the song goes?

I've been having an internal debate for some time now...

To c-section or not to c-section?  

Baby #2, that is... 

(Yes, I really am thinking that far ahead.  No, I am not pregnant.  Yet.)

My cesarean left me with a buttload of side effects, good and bad.  I feel muscle spasms and phantom baby kicks on the daily.  And if I'm really lucky, I'll get these sharp burning pains along my incision.  But you know what, I think I'd do it all over again.

Help me decide!  Lets weigh the pros and cons, shall we?

Less postpartum bleeding
Pain in a different area (belly, not the girly bits)
No painful sex
Plan for baby's arrival
Speedy delivery
No (potential) problems with incontinence or hemorrhoids 
No cone head baby

Can't hold baby right away
Daddy can't cut the cord
Repeat abdominal surgery may cause problems later in life (hernia, scar tissue)
Excruciating recovery when done med-free
Muscle spasms
Scar (which isn't even that bad)
I feel like I've failed as a woman.

I guess on that note, I should at least "try" a VBAC next time around.  I say "try" because with my luck, baby #2 (and #3 and #4) will be breech.  Where's that positive thinking when you need it?  I guess there's always the version - because that went over real well last time.

Any c-section mommas out there?  How was your recovery?  Are you thinking of trying a VBAC next time?  I'd love to hear any and all opinions on the matter! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

4 (almost 5) Month Wake

::waves::  Hello everyone!  I've missed you!

I thoroughly enjoyed my week off of work!  But wouldn't you know it?  The week I decide to stay home is the week Lucy comes into her 4 month wake.  What is the 4 month wake, you ask?  Let me tell you....

A truly rare site in the Shelton home.

At 4 months old a baby's little brain begins developing cognitive thought.  Babies are observing the world and learning from the moment they are born, but the real fun happens from age 4-7 months.  Babies begin to understand cause and effect, their attention span and memory increases, and (closer to 7 months) object permanence.  Neat, huh?

Casey and I have always known that Lulu is absolutely brilliant, just look at her:

"Oh my, Dada!  Your glasses look dirty, I'll clean them for you."
All these super cool developments do come with a price tag...  Oh hello, fussiness!  What up, distracted eater!  Goodbye, naptime!  Au revoir, sleeping through the night!

So for the last week or so Lucy has been extremely fussy and distracted while breastfeeding.  Like, eat for five seconds - pause - look around, eat for another 10 seconds - pause - whip her head around (with my boob still in her mouth) to see something distracted.  And holy hell, is she a fuss pot!  I have no idea what she wants.  This is the first time I've ever felt truly frustrated as a new mom.

She's also cut her two 60+ minute naps to three, sometimes four, 15-20 minute naps.  And my favorite side effect, so far, has been her nighttime sleeping....she has literally woke up a minimum of five times each night for the last six nights.  Every hour on the hour, after 11 pm.  Including last night.  Only this week, I do have to work.  ::sobs::    

My good friend, Jenn, told me all about the 4 month wake over lunch last week, since her little cutie pie (who's just ten days younger than Lulu) is going through the very same thing.  All along I had been blaming teething pains, ha!

The week wasn't all bad though...

We had lunch dates with baby friends

We swam

We had a birthday

Birthday Daddy!
We got new fluff (post to come!)

Yes, that's a paci.  No, she's still not taking them.
And we even started sitting up on our own!

Unfortunately, the only pic I managed to take is blurry.  Poo.
How was everyone's week?  Fill me in!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I have a lot on my mind.

Thank God I don't have work tomorrow, because I can't sleep.

I know I said "minimal" blogging this week, but I have a lot on my mind.  Like a lot, A LOT.

Every night I pray.  I've said the same prayer for years (with the recent addition of Lucy).  I thank God for Lucy, Casey, my parents and siblings, and I ask that He guide us to happiness.  I ask that he provide for us, as he always has.  Well lately my prayer list has gotten a lot longer.  Sometimes I fall asleep before I finish praying.  Sometimes I forget to pray for certain things because there is just so much on my mind and so much to pray for....

Lucy's health
Lucy's happiness
Lucy's future
Casey's health
Casey's happiness
Our marriage
Casey's job
My parents
My parents mental and physical health
My parent's marriage
My brother
My brother's actions
My brother's future
My sister
My sister's future
Our house
Selling our house
Buying a new house
Decorating a new house
Our cars
Casey's education
My job
Getting Lucy baptised
Getting pregnant again
Lucy's rash
All things baby related - babyproofing, crawling, milestones in general
Checking account balance
Savings account balance
What's for dinner?
Friends that kinda suck
Friends that kinda rock

I'm probably leaving something off.  And as I've put this list to words, I've expanded on each item in my head.  You can thank me later for not sharing.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bonding Time

I'm taking the week off.  No work.  Minimal blogging.  Just me and my Goose (until Loverboy gets home from work).  Hip hip HOORAY!

What will I do all week, you ask?  I'm going to lay in bed and/or on my dirty old couch with Lulu until my arms fall off (or until Lulu needs to be changed...whichever comes first).    

Friday, August 5, 2011

Confessions: Week 7

Confession #19:  I beat that crazy lady to the conference room!  I turned the corner and cut her off (accidentally, of course), and all but ran to get to the conference room before her.

Confession #20:  When I pump it feels like my nipples are slowly being split open.  Me no likey.

Confession #21:  I only put Lucy to the breast twice yesterday.  That is just how little I saw her.  Part of that is my fault, because we had to reschedule our date night from Friday to Thursday, BUT that ten hour work day isn't helping the situation.

These confessions are part of a series that I started shortly after returning to work, Confessions of a Pumping Mother.  My confessions range from ramblings to fun facts, to accidental mishaps (like this) and extreme pumpingDid you miss last week's confessions

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sassy Pediatricians

Lulu got her 4 month vaccinations on Monday.  It sucked.

She got them at her new pediatrician's office. 

We recently broke up with Pediatrician #1 (after being treated poorly for about four months).  I never actually got around to interviewing pediatricians while I was pregnant.  So we went with a one-woman practice that came very highly recommended.... 

We should have switched practices after the first appointment, when she not only made me cry, but also made us wait 2.5 hours to be seen.  She was an excellent doctor.  We really trusted her opinion and valued her dedication; BUT...we did not appreciate her blunt, extremist comments, nor did we like waiting for hours on end and/or being rescheduled time and time again.  So we switched.

And that sassy pediatrician charged me for it!  25 bucks!  25 lousy bucks to transfer Goosey's file.  The nerve!  AND we even picked it up!  I've never paid to transfer files, and we've changed doctors several times over the years.  Naturally, this pissed me off.  And naturally, I let her know that.  Good riddance!

Enter Pediatrician #2.  I like them.  I really do.  Their office is in Fountain Hills.  They actually have a staff.  They were recognized as one of the best doctors in Arizona in some magazine.  We're cool. 

What's not cool is the sassy nursing staff.  I just can't escape the sass!  They're not the friendliest bunch of gals, at least they weren't until they heard two words:  exclusively breastfed.  Not that that should matter to them, but their tone instantly warmed when they asked about Goosey's diet.

It doesn't personally bother me, so long as my little Goosey girl receives good care (and in a timely manner). 

Who me?
Has anyone out there experienced a similar situation?  Or noticed a difference in attitudes of health care professionals when it comes to breast milk vs. formula?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A New Soul

No, not the song.

Our NEW whip!

Over the weekend we said goodbye to my little yellow car and ventured into a unique, but ultimately awesome car buying experience.

You see, we're trying to cut bills.  We're doing this to avoid future whiny this

In the last month we've sold both of our cars, reduced our grocery budget by 66%, reduced our cable bill by 50% (we were going to cancel it completely, but then they bribed us into staying by cutting our bill in half for the duration of our contract), installed a programmable thermostat, and we've reigned in a lot of our unnecessary spending (eating out, Home Depot, etc).

We do this, so that I can stay home with this little Goose:

So back to this unique and awesome car buying experience of ours....  Casey, the Craigslist Guru, sold the Cobalt on Saturday afternoon and we immediately set out for the Scottsdale Motor Mile afterward.  For those not familiar with the Scottsdale Motor Mile, its the absolute worst place on earth to buy a car.  Seriously.  We spent the better part of 5 hours shopping two dealerships, with absolutely no success.  After drowning our sorrows at Yogurtology, we headed home, extremely frustrated and tired.  Sunday started out much the same, and ended rather abruptly, when my mom, Grammy Goose, had a brilliant idea.

My brother had bought a Kia Soul earlier this year and quickly decided he'd rather have another, more manly, car.  So my parents bought it off of him.  The Kia became their spare car.  And I had been driving this spare car of theirs for the past 3 weeks, while Casey was restoring our Superbeetle.  Well having a spare car is cool and all, but it was an added expense they never really wanted.  Soooo....we bought the Kia off of them!

This car is PERFECT!  This arrangement lowers our monthly payment and insurance by 58%.  It's roomy, it's NEW, and it's totally big enough for a second car seat (when the time comes)!  We're a couple of happy campers, fo sho.