Tuesday, December 10, 2013

five months old!

Our beautiful baby is five months old already! A lot has happened in her life in the past month. She got her first two (bottom) teeth, she is rolling all over the floor, she laughs a lot, is doing mini-push-ups on the floor and loves playing with her hands and feet. She's discovered a few new sounds her mouth can make, and practices all of them until she turns red in the face!

Her Aunts Emily and Anna and Uncle Linus came to visit her and gave her lots of hugs and kisses during Thanksgiving break. She is going to have a busy fifth month of her life, as she'll be visiting Arizona to see her great grandmother Nan and her Great Uncle Kurt! Then Isa and Mama will be going to Chicago for the Christmas and New Year's holidays. She's a very well-traveled girl already!

Monday, December 2, 2013

First tooth!

Isa got her first tooth! It's the bottom left (from her perspective). We're so glad the teeth are finally cutting through, she's been suffering through a lot of teething pain in the past couple of weeks and especially in the past couple of days while her aunts (emily and anna) and uncle (linus) visited. So, we're finally seeing the fruits of her hard work and I hope the teething pain will begin to settle for her! Pictures to come when I can find a way to stick my camera into those gums :) (update: got the pic!)

In the meantime, here are some recent pics of the baby girl:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

4 months old

Isa is four months old, but she's so much bigger and stronger than what I thought a four month old would be. She's really good at using her hands, picking things up, and putting them in her mouth, She loves drooling right now also. I'm sure her teeth are coming soon. She's such a good girl, she's so nice to her mom and dad, and it makes it easy to be nice to her.

Isa got her vaccinations the other day, and she was really, really tough. She did cry, but she's such a strong girl. I'm really impressed at how resilient of a small person she is. Her papa held her close after her shots, then her mama nursed her and she fell asleep quickly after nursing. She slept so much and so well for the next couple of days.

She got weighed and measured at the doctor the other day. Her new stats are:

weight: 19 pounds 2 ounces (above the 99th percentile)
length: 27 inches (above the 99th percentile)
head circumference: 17 inches (above the 99th percentile)

Her sleeping habits have changed up a bit lately. She doesn't sleep for longer than an hour for her naps during the day, but she sleeps pretty regularly for 12-13 hours at night. At night, however, she'll only sleep that long with her mama by her side. She starts to get tired around 7, sleeps for a little while on her own, but wakes up without her mama. Then at about 9 I get ready for bed and go lay down with her and she sleeps pretty regularly until between 8 and 8:30 am (with nursing in between, which is not an issue because I am basically asleep when I nurse her).

We are wrapping up the semester. I will get my MA this semester and Patrick will get his at the end of next semester. We are finding juggling parenthood and school has been getting easier, especially with the help of friends. Auntie Em, Uncle Linus and Tia Anna are coming for Thanksgiving, so that should be really fun!

Enjoy these new pictures of Isa, and as always, the most updated pics will be at the link in the upper right corner of this page.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

3 months old

Isa has been 3 months old for a couple of weeks now. So much has changed since two months. It really feels like 3 months is a huge milestone in both the baby's world as well as the mama's. She holding her head steady, using her hands to grab things, rolling over (back to front), smiling, laughing, bearing weight on her legs when we hold her in the standing position, razzing with her lips, using consonant and vowel sounds, so much!

The 3 month mark made a huge difference in this girl's attitude. She went from being generally frustrated with a lot of things (especially the act of falling asleep) to falling into a pattern of sleep and awake, easily falling asleep on her own and crying rarely, if ever. She's gone several days without crying at all a couple of times. I now know that she stays up between 90 minutes and 2 and a half hours between naps. She's never really awake for more than 3 hours at a time. She now rubs her eyes when she's sleepy and it's our cue to give her a nice environment to sleep in, even if that just means putting her in the other room. We still make noise during the day, and she can sleep through it. Yet, we make sure to at least help her to fall asleep so that she doesn't get too cranky.

In general, she's just a joy to be around, and there are much less frustrations than there were before 3 months. We can easily leave her with our friends for an hour or two without much trouble. When she sleeps, she sleeps soundly and comfortably. When she's awake, she's usually laughing, smiling at us or rolling around on the floor or biting on a toy. She's pretty contended to play on her own for short bursts of time, which has freed up a bit of time for me to get stuff done while she's both awake and asleep. Now that she needs less help falling asleep (she can fall asleep in the bed or in her rocking chair by herself), that also frees up some time.

I think my favorite part of the day with her are in the first few moments of her waking up in the morning. She usually springs straight into laughter upon waking up. What a noise to start the day -- your baby laughing at nothing in particular! My friend Jill who is an artist sent us some contemporary art which we have pinned to the ceiling for Isa to look at. One piece of art is a picture of a little boy. I think Isa thinks it's her best friend because each morning she wakes up, looks at the ceiling and bursts into laughter. It's really so much fun being her mama.

Patrick says he can't pick one favorite part of the day, but he loves it when he kisses her and she smiles so big he can't even kiss her lips because they're open in a huge grin. A chasm of happiness. She loves affection, but can also spend time alone exploring.

So, basically we're adjusting well. Things are getting easier as Isa gets adjusted to life outside the fish bowl and we get adjusted to caring for this little girl. She's a happy, smart, strong and relaxed girl. We are in love with this baby girl, and we think she could totally be a plus size baby model. :)

Oh, and for fun here's a side-by-side of Isa and I, both at 3 months:

Sunday, September 29, 2013

ups and downs

We've had some ups and downs in the past couple of weeks in New Mama Land.

First, my back had been hurting me for a couple of weeks from standing and rocking my big baby girl to sleep. I didn't pay much attention to it, and all of a sudden one day I heard a *clunk* in the middle of my back and I could barely breathe because of the pain. The pain got worse throughout the day and I emailed Patrick, and told him to come home as soon as he could. I couldn't even lift the baby. I panicked, thinking about how I was supposed to take care of this girl for the next few hours until her papa arrived home. Isa must've known that her mama needed her cooperation, because she sat quietly in her chair and let me rock her with my feet for the next few hours. That night, after sleeping for a couple of hours, I was in so much pain I couldn't even get out of bed. I literally could not even roll to my side! Patrick got me up out of bed and I finished my night of sleep on the floor in the front room. He brought the baby to me to nurse and got me set up in our rocking chair so that I didn't need to lift her at all. He took care of me all day and I took care of myself, so I could heal up and care for my girl. I made a hot pack out of beans and a sock and had it on my back most of the day. I used a tennis ball against the floor to loosen the muscles of my back so that the bones could go back in place. By the next night, Patrick popped the ribs back into place and I healed over the next couple of days. Since then, I've been vigilant about using the tennis ball to rub my back out and using a heat pack whenever I start to feel the muscles tightening up. I also spoke with my mom and she suggested to strengthen my back with a few exercises, so I'll be doing those as well.

But that was just the beginning! A few days later I experienced a very severe plugged duct in my breast. A whole section of my right breast was full of milk, sore, and very warm to the touch. I recognized these symptoms and looked up online how to treat this problem. The solution is simple: heat, massage, nurse, repeat. I did this, and although the pain was fairly bad, I made Isa stick to that breast for most of the night and by the morning it felt as if most of the milk had drained. I was so grateful to my little sucker, and I felt good for a few days. Then, all of a sudden, on this past Friday my health started to deteriorate quickly. I felt tired and fatigued. Then I started to get chills and my temperature began to rise. I knew something wasn't right, but didn't know what it was. I got the flu shot, so it shouldn't be the flu. Then, I remembered it could be mastitis, an infection of a plugged milk duct. I felt my breast and it still felt tender (but not as full) in the same place as before. I also looked at my nipple and saw a small white dot on it. I did some google diagnosing and realized that my duct was probably still plugged and it looks like I have what's called a milk blister or bleb (we'll find out for sure when I go to the doctor tomorrow). I called the doctor early Saturday morning, she called in a prescription for an antibiotic for me, and I tried my best to get Isa to suck the plug out, to no avail. I massaged the breast, applied warm compresses, tried to squeeze the blister, tried to pump it out, I tried everything! In the meantime, my breasts we becoming engorged due to the extra pumping I was doing.

And then the worst/best thing happened: Isa slept through the night for the first time. She slept 8 hours straight at the exact moment I needed her to nurse frequently!!! That little butthead! I woke her up after 8 hours because I couldn't stand the pressure in my breasts anymore, but she might've slept longer even! She went back down for another 5 hours and ended up sleeping from about 8 pm until 9 am! The engorgement has since subsided, along with the high temperature, but the white dot is still on my nipple and my breast is still sore. I'm going to go to the doctor tomorrow to try to get that dealt with. On the plus side, our baby might be in a new sleep pattern! Woo hoo! She's growing up so fast.

For every challenge in this new role, there's another little miracle. My body is still adjusting to all these changes, but our little girl just rolls with the punches and helps me out in every way she knows how. When my back goes out, she sits quietly in her chair; when my breasts become engorged, she nurses; when I feel sick, she sleeps through the night so I can get my sleep. She doesn't know how good she is to me, but I love her for it anyways!

I'll post a three month update, more on Isa's growth and changes soon. Until then, see our updated photos in the upper right hand corner of this page.

she's reading a book about circles

Friday, September 6, 2013

2 months old

We still have a huge baby on our hands! Isa had her two month checkup today and here are the new stats:

Weight: 16 pounds 6 ounces (above 99th percentile)
Length: 24.7 inches (above 99th percentile)
Head circumference: 16.25 inches (95th percentile)

She's growing out of everything so fast! She's already out of her size one cloth diapers and she's starting to stretch out the 6 month onesies she's been wearing. Luckily, she got so many gifts while in Chicago and should be set on clothing for the next few months.

She also had 5 vaccination shots and cried like I've never seen her before! It was so, so heartbreaking to watch her face scrunch up and get all red and tears stream out of her eyes. Luckily, her crying was hard and fast. After only a few minutes of crying she fell asleep in my arms. All day she's been a little lethargic and fussy, and we gave her a small dose of infant tylenol to help to ease her pain.

Outside of today, she's generally a very happy baby. She's been smiling and even (we think) laughing! It is so fun waking up in the morning with this warm little body next to me, cooing at me and so happy to see me looking back at her.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Baby schedules

I've been reading up on people's night time routines, wondering if and/or when babies have the ability to sleep through the night. Our night time schedule allows me to get plenty of sleep, as sometimes I don't even remember feeding Isa because she's so close and it's so easy to nurse her I barely wake up. Nevertheless, I was wondering if there might be a point in the future when I can put her in her crib late at night and not need to nurse her until the early morning. So I was looking into this and came across this whole parent-led versus child-led scheduling concept. I didn't even realize this was a thing.

Then I came to realize that what we're doing can be considered child-led scheduling, or in other words: no scheduling at all. Isa's sleeping, eating, and waking hours change each day just as mine do. Some days I get up at 7 am, some days 10 am. Some days I nap in the afternoon, most days I don't. Some days I eat lunch at noon and dinner at 7 pm, others I eat one big meal at 4 or 5 pm. The same is true of Isa. I guess I'm lucky in that I don't have to go to a 9 to 5 type job and therefore can care for Isa as she needs it and do my work in between. Am I missing the upside to getting on a better schedule? Is this something that will come more with time? I remember in Chicago people asking me what is her bedtime and I didn't even know how to answer that question. Bedtime? She sleeps when she's tired which, right now, is basically all day long. How often does she eat? Anywhere between every hour to every 4 or 5 hours, entirely dependent on what she needs at the time. Sometimes she wants to be closer to me or she's having a growth spurt so she eats little snacks all day long, other times she sleeps or plays for a good four hours or so before she needs to eat again. I just follow her lead. Should I be doing this differently? I don't know because I couldn't imagine it another way. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

7 weeks old

Isa is seven weeks old now and she's changing gradually but noticeably. She's smiling now! Real smiles! When she's in the right alert mood and we smile at her, she smiles back. The first time she did this for sure was at Grandma and Poppy's house in front of her Aunt Lindsey and Grandparents -- we all enjoyed seeing her huge grin.

She's spent the last two weeks or so in Chicago getting to know her extended family. She slept most of the way on both plane rides (there and back) and was an excellent traveler overall. We've figured out that as long and she's being held she will be happy and the main trouble we have with her is if she's stuck in a car seat or stroller without being picked up -- she can get majorly fussy.

She really enjoyed being held by everyone in Chicago, and everyone just fell in love with her. She also got to meet many other kids including Amelia Schultz, Charlotte Siefert, Stella Fry, Molly and Craig McShane, and Abby Kollpainter.

I have also been reading Jared Diamond's new book The World Until Yesterday, and in it there's a lot of information about how hunter-gatherer societies raise their children differently from us. I tend to look to the practices of hunter gatherers for information on so-called "natural" practices, only because human beings were nomadic hunter-gatherers for the vast majority of our history as a species, so it would only make sense that our bodies are set up to live our lives as hunter gatherers do. Many of the ailments of modern man are a result of getting away from those original practices. Obviously, I wouldn't want to return to the days of infanticide or average death at age 50 or so, but there are plenty of very healthy practices that hunter-gatherers do that I'd love to try to emulate. A few of the child rearing practices I'm going to try to incorporate include:

- Picking up the baby within 10 seconds of her beginning to cry (HG babies cry half as much as western babies)
- Holding the baby a lot, and/or wearing her when I can
- Nursing her on demand, not on a schedule
- Extended breastfeeding, at least beyond one year if not longer (the average age of weaning throughout the world is between 2 and 3 years old)
- Co-sleeping or sleeping with the baby in the bed with me at night (this is the norm throughout the world, including many European and East Asian countries)
- Having many different adults hold and care for the baby
- No physical punishment
- Having an environment available where the baby is free to explore without being told 'no' constantly
- Having the baby play in multi-age playgroups
- Letting her play be educational -- that is, not giving her toys made for children exclusively, but encouraging her to imagine and practice adult activities through play (this is also common in Montessori education)

We're hoping these things will help Isa to be a secure, imaginative and loved baby and person!