Thursday, May 31, 2012

[Babycakes] Family and Nursery Photo Shoot

Yesterday was an awesome day.  Ashlynn and I headed over to our photographer's studio (a super sweet pool house) to finally get Ashlynn's "newborn" photos.  

I had contacted Amanda before Ashlynn was born to set up the shoot for sometime around her due date, May 21.  When she came early - April 18!- I contacted Amanda and asked what she usually did for preemies.  She normally prefers to shoot newborns within the first 10 days after birth since they are usually the most sleepy, and thus cooperative, during that period.  We decided we would wait a few weeks and let A gain some extra weight, and in the meantime do a little at home family and nursery session.

Amanda came over the day before Mother's Day, when A was three and half weeks old.  I'm so excited to finally share these pictures with you all!

(Be forewarned... photo heavy!)

...and of course the nursery!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

[Wednesday's Weekly Check-In] Week 6

Weight: Since she was 7lb 10oz on Monday, May 21st, I'm guessing she's most likely in the 8lb ballpark now.

Medical Issues:  After watching her more closely and doing some symptom research, it seems our little Pip has Silent Reflux.  The back arching and grunting has been going on for as long as we can remember.  We originally just thought it was baby stuff and growing pains.  Then two weeks ago, she starting getting really fussy after waking up and again right before she was going to eat.  I thought it was a let-down issue (which it could still be), but now after a weekend of more spitting up, shrill cries and needing to be burped, frequent hiccups (also from day 1), it seems she fits the bill.   

On Friday, I thought she was starting a growth spurt - again she may be - but after the weekend of the symptoms getting progressively worse and a baby that needed to snuggle 24/7, I've called the pediatrician.  She agreed it sounds like reflux and suggested I make a few changes.  I've cut out caffeine ::tear:: and dairy ::full out sobs::.  

I'm hoping to see some changes by the end of the week. 

Sleep:  Mostly good.  On average, she'll get a four and half hour stretch.  However, on Friday night she slept from 10:30pm to 6am!  It's just too bad that I wake up every hour or two.

Clothes: Newborn. Mainly onesies and summer pieces.  It's been too hot for long sleeve sleeper pjs.

Visitors:  Auntie Abby (my BF) came over on Friday.  It was so nice to have some adult interaction while the Husband was at work.  Sometimes I think I might go crazy from singing, and subsequently making up my own words to, nursery rhymes.

Diet: All milk, all the time.  

Girlfriend has been nursing every hour or two outside of naps since Friday.  Again, could be a growth spurt or it could be her trying to suppress the acid of the reflux with the breast milk (a natural antacid)

Baby Gear Love:

Books! - In addition to my horrendous singing and narrating everything I do, I've finally broke out the books to engage A now that she's alert more often during the day.  The one she seemed the most drawn to (meaning actually looking at the pages a bit as I read) was Little Miss Sunshine.  

Moby Wrap - Still loving the Moby Wrap.  Not only is it great for carrying A around in to keep her vertical for her reflux, but it was great to have while visiting with our neighbors outside.

Crying: Our little happy sleepy baby has become a bit of a crier.  However, she doesn't really have a colicky cry as she does just a loud one when needing to be burped or uncomfortable from the reflux bothering her.  It doesn't last long, but it sure breaks my heart to see her pain.  Overall, I'd just classify her as fussy.

Postpartum - 
I had my own doctor appointment this week, some how I've managed to drop nearly all the pregnancy weight.  I'm 4lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight. After hopefully being cleared to exercise at my postpartum appointment next week and the new changes in my diet, I should get back to my goal weight - fingers crossed!

As I mentioned above, to help A from experiencing heartburn I need to adjust my diet.  The usual culprits and biggest offenders are caffeine and dairy.

After almost a year of not drinking coffee, you'd think it'd be easy to ditch after only having for 6 weeks.  It's too bad because I actually LOVE coffee and now that I had it, I'm pretty sad to give it up.  Especially after getting a broken 4 hours a sleep at night. 

Giving up dairy is even harder.  Since I don't eat meat, the majority of my protein is dairy based.  Also, ever since coming home from the hospital, my go to quick meal is cereal.  I've been eating almost 2 bowls a day, sometimes a Carnation Instant Breakfast, ice cream or chocolate milk at night, greek yogurt for lunch, cheese sticks for snacks, and that doesn't include half & half in my coffee, butter, or things like ricotta and sour cream  I'm going to cut the obvious culprits cold turkey for a least week since it can take that long (or longer) for the effects to be seen.  I'm not going label crazy, as milk is in bunch of other products - think butter or milk in baked goods or even granola bars.  Hopefully we see some improvement quickly.


We finally started Tummy Time for real this week.  Up until now, we've been doing it while she lays on our chest and she works on lifting her head.  I finally broke out the playmat and starting giving her a little time each day on her belly for her to hold her head up and even scoot along a bit by pushing with her legs.  Some days she lasts longer than others, averaging about five minutes before she's had enough.  

Friday, May 25, 2012

[Giveaway] Shabby Apple Winner

Congratulations Kristal!  You'll be contacted shortly...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

[Giveaway] Reminder!

The Shabby Apple $50 Gift Card Giveaway ends tonight!

Please enter here to win!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

[Wednesday's Weekly Check-In] Week 5

Weight: Ashlynn was born weighing 5lb 1oz, she was discharged from the hospital at 4lb 12oz and got back to her birth weight at 10 days old.  Six days later, she gained six ounces.  So at just over 2 weeks she was 5lb 7oz.

On Monday, we had our 1 Month Check Up.  We had high hopes she continued to gain an ounce a day which would have brought her to 6lb 9oz.   The Husband went all Price is Right and guessed 6lb 7oz and I was aggressive with 6lb 12oz.

7lb 10oz!!  We both stared at the scale in disbelief, in 30 days she nearly gained a whole 3lbs!  What a little beast!  Guess I can stop worrying about how breastfeeding is going... We are so so so proud of our little slob growing so big.  She also grew two full inches and is now 19 1/4" long.

Medical Issues:  While it's hard to be 100% sure, due to the shrill cries we get during and after eating I think we are battling some gas issues.  Trying harder to take more breaks for burping before the pressure builds up and causes her to cry out.  

Doctor seems pleased with her color, no more jaundice testing!

Sleep:  The doctor said we no long have to wake her for feedings and we can let her dictate her own meals.  While she sleeps a bit longer, I've been getting about 3-4 hour stretches.  12 or 1am to 3 or 4am and then again until 6am.  I'm actually being woken up by the pressure of my milk supply more so than a hungry baby.

(just a little sneak peek at our in-home photo shoot)

Clothes: Newborn.  Some footless one-pieces are even looking a little short!

Visitors:  Our friends, JC and NC, came down from NJ to hang out with A (and us) for the afternoon on Saturday.  NC even brought us some fancy (and DELICIOUS) arugula pesto mac and cheese, salad, and lemon ricotta cookies.  I love friends visiting.  I really love friends visiting who also bring yummy food.

Diet: Milk.  I actually can't remember the last bottle.  I think the husband tried to give one a few mornings ago and she refused it, waiting instead to feed with me.  That's my girl!

Baby Gear Love:
Newborn Prefold DiapersI bought a dozen of these to possibly use during the newborn stage and to later use as doublers in the pocket diapers for extra absorbency.  Instead I've been using them as burp cloths and I actually refuse to grab any of my others.  
Bumpkin Bibs - Again, these are actually absorbent compared to the little cotton drool bibs. The terry cloth soaks up all the milk dribble and cleans up any spit up easily, as well as keeps her clothes dry.

Moby Wrap - I tried out the Moby Wrap about a week ago, but was so nervous that she was still too small.  Now that I know she's pushing 8lbs and gives some solid attempts at holding up that noggin, I broke it back out yesterday.  I was able to get so much done around the house, while she stayed snug and content in her favorite place (on my chest).  I still worry that she may get too hot or that I may have the wrap too snug or too loose, but I guess that's normal for a rookie baby wearer.

Crying: As I mentioned above, we've been battling more cries recently.  I think most of them have to do with gas as she stops as soon as a burp or other gas passes.  She also loves laying snuggled on our chests, which is another option to help calming her.  Lastly, I finally watched the Happiest Baby on the Block dvd my neighbor lent me and the 5 S's do work, and fast!  (swaddle, side/stomach, shush, swing, and suck)

Post Partum - Some things I haven't mentioned....

Remember my killer back pain?  Where my rib was sitting on a nerve and I could barely sit at my desk or sleep longer than an hour without having to move to relieve the pain?  Gone.  I haven't felt a thing since Ashlynn joined us. Hallelujah!

Heartburn.  I never experienced acid reflux until I hit my 3rd Tri, while I'm sure it has something to do with my baby's full head of hair, it also kindly disappeared after birth.  Thank you!

Middle of the night bathroom trips to pee, gone. Now, only waking in the middle of the night to feed the baby.
Things I relished in during the 1st month post partum -  sleeping on my stomach, goat cheese, Sam Adams Summer Ale, sashimi and sushi, bleu cheese dressing, dippy eggs (over easy), and mimosas!


Ashlynn turned 1 Month Old on Friday!

We also had our first outing, 'Mommy and Me' style.  Since I rented a hospital grade pump from the hospital (she was so early I never had a chance to buy my own), it was due to be returned over the weekend.  Thursday, I got showered and dressed and made our way down to Babies R Us.  We made a return, picked out some clothes, grabbed a new pump, and checked out.  We even threw in a stop at the post office for good measure.

With the new confidence under our belts, we went out Friday to return the rented pump and swing by my office (right down the road from the hospital) to meet my boss and coworkers.

While getting out of the house is a bit of a chore (schedule looks like: feeding, shower/dress, feeding, change baby, pack up what is coming with us, eat something, feeding, get to the car and go!... be gone long enough to be home for, you guessed it, a feeding!), it is SO nice to get out of the house and feel like a functioning human again.  Today we are going back to the post office and maybe we'll even swing by Starbucks or so to treat ourselves (er... myself).

Friday, May 18, 2012

[Giveaway] $50 Shabby Apple Gift Card

Want to win $50 to Shabby Apple?!

Here's your chance!  Shabby Apple is an online retailer known for their modest cuts and lady like styling.  If you haven't been by the site to check them out in a while, they are more than just the vintage style dresses they started as, now carrying maternity items, active wear, children's dresses, and loads of accessories from shoes to nail polish.


1. “Like” Shabby Apple on Facebook 
2.  Post a comment here stating your FAVORITE item at Shabby Apple and leave your email address so you can be contacted in case you win!

* Contest will be open until Midnight EST on Thursday, May 24th. Contest winner must have a US mailing address.

* The winner will be randomly selected (from and announced on Friday, May 25th. 

...Not a winner or don't want to wait until next week to shop?  For 10% off your purchase use coupon code: strawberryswingandotherthings10off 

Good Luck!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

[Wednesday's Weekly Check-In] Week 4

Weight: No doctor appointments this week, but she has her 1 month check up next Monday.  We are hoping to see her around 6lbs 8oz by then.  That way she'll be continuing to gain roughly an ounce a day.  Considering how much bigger she looks in her car seat and that newborn clothes are fitting her without any problems, we definitely think the weight is going in the right direction.

Medical Issues: None (known)

Sleep:  (see diet).  Due to the change in eating habits, sleep has changed as well.  Sunday and Monday were rough where the Pip just wanted to go all nocturnal and stay up from 2-5am (my usual 3 hour stretch of sleep!).  

Clothes: Newborn.

Visitors:  Nana came over on Friday to help me clean the house before our little family photo shoot on Saturday. So appreciated.

Diet: Milk, with barely any bottles! After the growth spurt symptoms continued through Thursday, Friday Ashlynn was a doll.  Saturday we had a photographer come by, so after some closely spaced meals in the morning and a big bottle before the pictures (to hopefully keep her in a milk coma and cooperative - which worked!), she spent all of Mother's Day cluster feeding, as well as most of Monday, Tuesday, and today.  I finally feel like I'm feeding "on demand".  Hopefully she's still getting enough to continue her weight gain...

Baby Gear Love:
Bright Starts Bouncer - My In Laws bought us our bouncer off our registry.  I didn't want both a swing and bouncer and I had bought the swing with a gift card we received at A's shower.  The swing is still in the box and now that the bouncer is a hit, it'll be going back to the store.  The bouncer has found a current home keeping A happy and occupied while I shower and dry my hair.  I can bring it in the bathroom with me so I can see if she's crying, which is my biggest worry when I'm showering.

Aden + Anais Swaddlers - These light weight (muslin) swaddlers are great now that the temps have been rising.  I can still swaddle Ashlynn at bedtime over her sleeper pj's and not fear she's going to over heat in our room which can get pretty warm when we keep the air off.

Crying: I'm starting to learn the difference between the hunger cries, 'I need to burp' cries, 'I'm messing my diapee cries, and the 'somebody please snuggle me' cries. 

We finally introduced the pacifier on Monday.  I was hesitant to start using one until she showed strong signs of having breast feeding under control.  After a few fussy nights where she just wanted to be held or prolonged nursing sessions with some comfort nursing, we figured I'd stop being the human pacifier and we'd give her a real one so I could sleep.  She took it right away, and seems to be a big fan, soothing herself quickly.  Still looking for that extra sleep though...

Post Partum - Some random facts about my journey.

Hunger.  I eat more now than I ever did pregnant.  I'm sure a lot of it has to do with breastfeeding, but I eat about 2 bowls of cereal a day, in addition to other easy or one handed foods greek yogurt cups, string cheese, granola bars, and of course tasty dinners made by the Husband (the new resident chef) and dessert.  Never pass on dessert.

Milestones:  So many firsts!

First Photo Shoot
First Stroller Ride
First Cluster Feeding Session
First Blow Out
First Pacifier
First Time Peeing all over Mommy immediately after a bath, thanks sweetie!

... and she finally found her thumb.  She's been trying to suck her thumb since birth, but always had a hard time getting it to face the right direction to actually get in her mouth.  She finally got it!

[Wishlist Wednesday] Baby Friendly

(1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Just a few items for summer I'd consider adding to my closet.  Easy tops that wouldn't be impossible to nurse in, nor hard to wash out inevitable spit up.  To be honest, most days are spent around the house in gym clothes, but I'm hoping we'll soon be getting out more and that'll require showering, brushing my teeth, and putting on clothes that I don't plan to sleep in.

Baby steps.

What's on your wishlist?

Monday, May 14, 2012

[Holidays] First Timer

My first Mother's Day was amazing!  After a great Saturday with perfect weather, fresh flowers, a professional photo session (more on that later!), and our maiden voyage around the block in our Britax B-Agile stroller, Sunday topped it.

The Husband let me sleep in and when I did wake to nurse A, she ate right away no fight or issues at all.  Actually, she spent almost the whole day cluster feeding, switching from side to side each hour with no problems and we barely used any bottles to supplement!  We've had some major feeding issues on the left side ("I can't turn left") but she seemed to completely forget.  The Husband made me some dippy eggs an toast for breakfast - a favorite I gave up during pregnancy (under cooked eggs).  I was gifted a trip to the spa to pamper myself and he's still looking for the 'perfect' gift from A. With her arriving early, he hasn't had too much time to get out and shop, so he gets a pass.

We just had a nice quiet day at home, lots of snuggles and minimal fussing (though we did get our first blowout, ha!) and I was doted on nicely having meals cooked for me, house cleaned, and even my first Sam Adams Summer Ale of the season.

Hope All the Mommies and Mommies To Be were just as spoiled!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mommies out there!

Being that this is my first Mother's Day, it really has taken on a new meaning and it is just so much more than I ever could have imagined.  And in light of that, it makes me appreciate and love my own Mom more than I could have ever thought.  All she's done for me and the love she must have felt (and hopefully still does) is something I could have never imagined or understood, until now.

Thank you, Mom.  For the all the opportunities, support, and love you gave without me ever asking.