Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rooming In

When we brought Josey home from the hospital, there was no doubt where she would sleep. I had found a bassinet for $25 at Target, and it fit perfectly next to our bed. I pulled the bassinet up against my side because I wanted to be able to hear the smallest squeak and feel the tiniest fidget. When she was a newborn, I found myself reaching into the bassinet to hold her pacifier in place until she went to sleep or holding her hand to give myself some comfort.

Now she is 4 ½ months old and has outgrown her bassinet. For many, this would be the time to make the transition and move her into her room and her full size crib. She already falls asleep in her crib most nights because her room is just off the living room, and since I stay up much later than she does, it makes sense for her to be in her room while I am up. But what about when I go to bed?

I know baby monitors exists, and I know that these days that are pretty reliable. But do I want technology to be the only connection between us in the middle of the night? No. I like the idea of my little girl “rooming in” with us. We all draw comfort from sharing a bedroom. She likes being able to see her daddy first thing in the morning. I like being able to adjust her covers when she kicks them off in the middle of the night. I also like being able to immediately comfort her if she has a bad dream or a tummy ache. So what was the solution? A mini crib.

A mini crib is just that – a miniature version of a regular crib. It’s generally for infants under 1 year. A mini crib is perfect because it fits in the corner of the bedroom next to our bed. It has a full bedding set just like our large crib, and our particular model converts to a rocking crib in case Josey needs some help falling asleep.

If I had known about mini cribs earlier, I would not have purchased a bassinet. A newborn can feel secure in a mini crib, and it does last longer. As long as she fits in it, Josey will be staying in our room.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Breastfeeding Struggle

When I started thinking about having children years ago, I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. I believe it has many benefits for the baby including immune system protection, reduction in allergies, and weight maintenance. I also believe it helps the mother by reducing the risk of breast cancer. It also helps the mother and baby bond. So when my little girl, I set to work doing my very best at being a breastfeeding mommy.

I’ve tried to eat well by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and good fats. I’ve also made myself drink plenty of water every day, even when I’d rather have coffee or soda. I’ve also been diligent in taking the proper vitamins and supplements.

Soon after coming home, my daughter, Josey, was becoming covered in a terrible rash. She also became very colicky. She wasn’t sleeping, and neither was I. At six weeks old, she was diagnosed with a milk allergy. She wasn’t allergic to my milk, but she was allergic to the milk proteins from the foods I ate. So I eliminated milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, butter, and anything else with even trace amounts of milk. I started drinking soy milk and taking extra calcium so we wouldn’t suffer. After a week, her skin cleared, and she became a healthy, happy baby. I thought we’d defeated our breastfeeding demon. But then there was more.

Since she had been sleeping through the night since she was 5 weeks old, and I didn’t want my milk supply to diminish, I would get up every 3 hours in the night to pump. Since she slept all night, she wanted to eat all day, so I’d have to give her the milk I’d pumped in the night to be satisfied. But at 14 weeks, she wasn’t satisfied anymore. I knew I’d have to start supplementing.

Now I have nothing against formula. There are some great formulas on the market today, and I know many mothers have to use and some want to use it. And I don’t blame them. Sometimes breastfeeding can be a struggle when the baby is fussy or when Mommy is tired, and formula can be the answer. I just wanted to give my little one the gift of breastfeeding. And when I couldn’t give her enough, I felt defeated.

Why did I feel defeated? I’m not sure. I think it was because it was something I couldn’t conquer. I was also afraid she’d reject me after she tried formula. No matter how hard I’ve tried, I can’t get my supply up enough for her. I’ve tried herbal supplements, extra pumping, extra water, and none of it has helped. Of course I didn’t want Josey to suffer, so I started giving her just enough formula to make up for my deficiency.

Because of her milk allergy, I chose Similac Sensitive Isomil Soy. It seems like a high quality product, and I thought it would be gentle for her. And you know what? It has been great. She doesn’t it treat it any differently than she does my milk, and it agrees with her. She still wants to breastfeed at every opportunity, and our bond is as strong as ever. While I’m still hoping I can eventually have enough milk for her, I’m glad she’s happy. That little smile makes it all ok.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Beginning

All my life I knew one thing: I wanted to be a wife and mommy. So when I met my husband 5 1/2 years ago, I knew things were falling into place. After a year of dating, we got married. 4 years later we were blessed with a little bundle of sweetness, our baby girl. Now I have everything, but it is a lifestyle that is a little foreign to me.

Up until this point in my life, I've had a very public life. I was at the top of the class every time I graduated, I was in more organizations than I could remember, and I volunteered during every free moment. I've also worked multiple jobs, many at one time. I've been a teacher, personal organizer, baby sitter, piano teacher, and secretary. And now I'm tired of it. Now I want to focus on my family. But even though family is the focus, I still have some professional responsibilities including a part-time job teaching university English and a second job teaching private piano lessons.

So this is my story. It won't always be personal because I doubt anyone would want to read all the mundane details of my life. But it will explore topics that I come across while I'm learning how to be a stay at home mommy. And of course I might have to mention my beautiful little girl and sweet husband a few times.