Thursday, August 30, 2012

8 Weeks and Counting

Nicolette will be 8 weeks old tonight at 9:20 pm and is growing by leaps and bounds.  We haven't had a weight check in 2 weeks but I stepped on the scale with her today and it looks like she weighs somewhere around 10 lbs!  I see chunky little leg and arm rolls creeping up and her cheeks are getting fuller and fuller...all this makes mommy VERY happy!  Hooray!  There's something about her that reminds me of my Great Grandmother (we called her Little Grandma because she was a tiny little thing).  Part of it is because she wobbles her head back and forth and I remember Little Grandma doing that as she got older, but I think there's also something about her face that reminds me of Little G as well...I'll have to dig up some pictures of her to compare.

During her 6th week Nicolette decided that she would start crying to let mommy and daddy know when she's getting tired.  It is absolutely pitiful.  She can barely hold her eyes open but will still cry for 5-10 minutes (once in a great while a bit longer) before falling asleep.  The only exception to this is her middle of the night feedings.  I still have to wake her 1-2 times in the middle of the night to feed and she has no trouble going right back to sleep after those feedings (Praise the Lord).  For the life of me I do not understand why babies and children fight sleep so hard...don't they know how GOOD it feels????

During her 7th week Nicolette started using her arms a LOT more!  She reached up and batted at the toys on her bouncy seat and is really focusing on looking at things like the bear mobile on her bassinet or the toys on the bouncy seat.  She'll turn her head back and forth to follow her rattle when I have her laying on her back and these are all things that she couldn't (or wouldn't) do just a week before!  Her legs are really strong...if I hold her in my lap, she'll push up to standing with her legs while her body is leaned up against me.  It's hard to believe how strong she's getting so quickly.  The saddest development is her discovery of her super power...the bottom lip.  Just before she cries she now sticks out her bottom lip for a few seconds, then it starts to quiver and then the cries are unleashed.  It breaks my heart every time I see it and don't even start with daddy...he is powerless against the bottom lip.  I'm sure she'll use this to her advantage as she gets older.

We'll see what the 8th week brings - Every day is a little different so it's impossible to set a schedule at this point.  For example I had made a reservation to go to a Mommy & Baby Yoga class today at 12:30.  I fed Nicolette at 7:30am hoping that she'd want to eat again around 10:30 and then around 1:30 when the class was finished.  Well, she sabotaged those efforts by eating at 7:30, then again at 9:30, 11, 12 and 1:30 making it IMPOSSIBLE to get to the class...I hate to back out on commitments and the old me would have totally freaked out about having to cancel last minute but the new mommy me says, "oh well, we'll catch it next time".

And the most exciting news is that this week I notified my colleagues that I've decided to become a full time stay at home mommy.  It was not a decision that was made lightly by any means.  I have absolutely LOVED my time working at The Ballantyne Hotel.  The management, ownership and staff are the best that I have ever worked with and I feel blessed to have spent nearly 5 years there.  At some point in time I know I will have to go back to work and I only hope and pray that there is still a place for me there!  While it was not a decision that I took lightly, it was a no-brainer for me.  Once we laid eyes on this precious little one there was no doubt in our minds that we both wanted me to stay home with her.  I would gladly move into a trailer in order to stay at home with Nicolette.  With how quickly she's changing I couldn't imagine it any other way.  I don't want to miss a thing!

So we'll be on to all sorts of new adventures and I guess I'm going to have to get used to wearing real need to strut around the house in my 4" heels...slippers have been my footwear of choice as of late.  :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Hunger Games

No I'm not talking about the book or movie (actually haven't even picked up those books or seen the movie)...I'm talking about my APPETITE!  What in the world has happened?  Throughout my pregnancy my appetite stayed really consistent and even decreased a little from normal and that continued for my first 2-3 weeks after delivering Nicolette but now it's an entirely different story.  I am NEVER full!  And I am hungry ALL THE TIME!  I feel like I want to eat constantly and I'm not talking little snacks.  I try to eat my normal veggie/hummus or piece of fruit snack to see if that squashes the cravings but NO WAY body wants a meal and a BIG ONE!  I had heard that your appetite increases while breastfeeding and especially when pumping as much as I have been but this is ridiculous.  I can almost out-eat my husband and for those who know Dave Randazzo you can understand that that is A LOT of food!!!!

So far I haven't gained any weight (Thank you Jesus)...I managed to lose all of my pregnancy weight and then some within 2 weeks so am really hoping that the pounds don't start piling back on.  Now I say that I lost the weight HOWEVER my body does not look the same.  I have this lovely little Pillsbury Doughboy pooch that I can't wait to get rid of but I know that that isn't going to go anywhere without exercise.  I followed the Dr's orders exactly and did not exercise other than walking until 6-7 weeks.  This morning I went for my first run (and that was actually the first time that I've been separated from Nicolette for more than 15 minutes since she was born) this morning.  It was a short run - 2 1/2 miles and I don't think that I'll be able to run longer than that for a while.  I went right after I fed her and I also pumped before going and wore 2 sports bras and I was still very uncomfortable by the end of the run.  I'm hoping to be able to run in the mornings after our early morning feeding so that Nicolette can sleep and The Italian can be available before he starts working just in case she wakes up.  I also have to be careful with the exercise as over exercise and/or not eating enough calories can quickly tank my milk supply so we'll feel it out and see how it's going.

In other news I went to my first La Leche League meeting yesterday and was joined by a couple of my dear friends and their sweet babies.  It was nice to be around other mommies and to hear about different mommy-related topics.  I'm looking forward to being a part of that group each month!  My Lactation Consultant (Jennifer Corbin) is one of the leaders of the group and while I was there she took a quick look at Nicolette and said that I can start weaning off of the pumping!!!  HOORAY!!!  So instead of 8-10 times per day I can go down to 5-7 for a while and then gradually continue to taper off.  I'll probably always try to pump once or twice a day just to maintain and stockpile  milk as well.  Speaking of stash is quickly outgrowing our freezer and little Miss has NO interest in taking a bottle...eeek!  We're going to try a couple of different types of bottles to see if that helps and also need to work on Daddy's confidence with the bottle.  As soon as she starts to look the least bit unhappy he gets worried, puts the bottle down and cuddles her...if that keeps up the child will never eat!  :)  Then again I've worked so hard to establish a supply so that I can nurse I'm not going to freak out if I'm not able to get her to take a bottle...I'm also happy to nurse whenever she needs it.  We can always save the milk to put in sippy cups when she's ready for those (I'm guessing 6 months or so for sippy cups, right?)

So that's life in a nutshell around here - not much free time to be had but we love it and wouldn't have it any other way!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Furbaby Friday...

Just a quick shout out to our favorite Furbabies!  I feel bad that I've been neglecting them a bit over the past 6 weeks.  You'll always be our favorite dog-child and cat-child.  xoxo

Chance - the greatest dog-child

Sasha (aka. Sasha Fierce - cat-child extraordinaire)
We can't wait until Baby Nicolette is old enough to love and appreciate these furbabies as much as we do!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pump, Pump, Pump it up!

Great news this morning - Nicolette gained another 4.25 oz last week so I think we're on the right track with breastfeeding!  HOORAY!

Caught mid-stretch...When I see her in her sweet little leg warmers I can't help but sing "She's a Maniac, Maniac on the floor" - you know from "Flashdance"?  :) )

I'm still pumping 8-10 times a day (for 15-20 minutes per session) which is exhausting but totally worth it.  I was continuing to supplement our nursing sessions with an ounce of expressed breast milk via the SNS however as of last Tuesday (or Wednesday I can't seem to keep my days straight anymore) Nicolette voluntarily weaned herself off of the SNS feeder.  She just suddenly absolutely refused to have anything to do with it (despite how much her mommy tried to force feed her that way out of fear that the little one wouldn't be getting enough to eat otherwise...there are women who have to use the SNS feeder for 4-6 months before their supply is built up enough to exclusively nurse their babies).  It scared the dickens out of me and I was so worried that we were going to have a bad weight check this week because of it but that couldn't have been further from the truth.  We had appropriate weight gain (appx. 2/3 oz per day) withOUT the supplement...all of that crazy pumping must have REALLY worked! 

After 2 weeks of pumping I now have at least a gallon of expressed milk safely tucked away in our freezer.  I don't know how that's going to do us any good though since Miss Priss refuses to take a bottle...oh well, time will tell.  I would really hate to have to throw any of this out!    
The stash - this stuff is liquid gold...hours and hours of hard work to build this up!
We have a follow up with the Lactation Consultant this week to make sure that we're staying on track but other than that I hope and pray that we are pretty much set with this breastfeeding stuff.

Breastfeeding is definitely the hardest thing I've ever done.  Harder than my 3 failed IUIs, harder than IVF even with the daily shots and medications...even harder than natural childbirth.  For someone who is a control freak like me it's really hard not to know if she's actually getting milk and if she is how much is she getting.  I'm one who likes to track things down to the tiniest detail (and import it neatly into a spreadsheet) so all of this "unknown" information was pretty scary to me (still is).  I spent several nights in tears terrified that she wasn't getting enough to eat and trying to force feed her either breast milk or formula from a bottle or the SNS without any luck.  Spent night after night desperately trying to wake her up enough to even latch on much less nurse.  Now she's still a sleepy little nurser and I have to perk her up quite a bit but it is a MILLION times better than where we were 3 weeks ago..what should probably only take 20-30 minutes takes us 45 minutes to sometimes over an hour and then I have to pump for 15-20 minutes after that...and then factor in time to rock her before I pump so that she falls asleep, then washing bottles and transferring milk afterwards so I don't have much (if any free time).  On days where she eats every 3 hours I have an hour or so in between to shower, get dressed, do a load of laundry, catch a quick nap, etc.  But on days when she wants to nurse every 2 hours I literally have no time, just barely enough for me to eat (toast or something super easy to grab) and use the restroom.  

Today was a great 3 hour day.  I even managed to fanagle (is that how you spell that word???) a trip to Trader Joe's!  I loved this - I'm a weirdo who actually loves grocery shopping so to be able to go and take a little time and pick out things that I wanted was a welcome excursion for me.  

Next week I have even MORE field trips planned with little miss in tow...a couple of baby showers, a La Leche League Meeting and a jewelry party.  I'm excited to see how it goes being "out and about" a bit more...hoping that the LC gives me the go ahead to cut out a couple of pumping sessions so that I'm not always so confined to the house!

Since I felt so incredibly caught off guard with our breastfeeding troubles I thought I'd put together a little list of...  

Things I Wish I Would Have Known BEFORE Breastfeeding: 
  1. It is HARD work!
  2. Although it is a natural, biological function it does not come easily to all mommies (or babies for that matter...babies need practice too).
  3. That it can take two months or more for mommy and baby to form a comfortable nursing relationship.  (we didn't start clicking until nearly 6 weeks).
  4. LOTS of mommies have LOTS of problems with breastfeeding.  From all of the mothers I've spoken with MORE of them had issues than not.  It's not this seamless experience where your baby is placed on your chest and instinctively starts nursing (at least not for most of the mommies I've spoken to).  I wish I had known this earlier on and perhaps I wouldn't have been so hard on myself.  
  5. How LONG nursing sessions can take - I've had nursing sessions as short as 20 minutes (maybe 2 or 3 times) but more often than not we're nursing for 40+ minutes (with the longest on record being 1 hour and 20 minutes). 
  6. That you have to man-handle your baby...I always had these images of this sweet gentle baby nicely "latching on"...well that isn't the case.  In the hospital my 3am nurse took my precious baby's head and literally jammed it right on there.  
  7. New mommies should ask for help even if they think that things are going fine - better to get help as EARLY in the process as possible.
  8. There is an organization called the La Leche League which meets monthly.  Their whole purpose is to educate women about breastfeeding and provide mother-to-mother support and encouragement.  It would have been so helpful to attend at least one of these meetings BEFORE having Nicolette.  I just assumed that since breastfeeding is natural that it would just happen for us...especially since I had a non-medicated birth and wouldn't be dealing with a drowsy baby or mommy due to drugs administered during labor.
  9. That it can HURT when things aren't going right...cracks, blisters, etc are all battle scars that may be earned along the way and although it isn't correct it is normal to have some of these things...they're all signs that the baby's latch is not correct.  FYI - Virgin Coconut Oil works WONDERS on blisters and cracks!  Better than any other topical ointment I tried.  And it's all natural!  
My loves :) - this little one loves her daddy!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Happy 1 Month Birthday Nicolette!

Nicolette 1 month
What a complete and total blur this month has been!  My days are all mixed up and I swear it feels like it hasn't been more than a week since we were in the hospital with our brand new baby.  But alas, Miss Nicolette is 1 month old today!  Words cannot express how much I love her.  Even though we've been struggling (mightily) with our breastfeeding I wouldn't trade a single minute that I have had with her for anything in the world!

We love Nicolette's little faces - daddy loves her Popeye face and mommy loves her sweet smiles and Blue Steel face :)  (for those not familiar with Zoolander, please refer to the following video (  Now here's Nicolette's version:

Nicolette's "Blue Steel" face - Supermodel in training
We have several nicknames for our baby - mommy calls her "Baby" all the time...I'm afraid that she's going to grow up thinking that her name actually IS baby instead of Nicolette!  Some other favorite nicknames are Stinkerbell, Sweet Pea, Peanut, Punkin & Nugget.

Daddy loves cuddle time with Baby Nicolette but still gets a little confused about what to do when she gets a little fussy.  This morning he took her outside in the Baby Bjorn and they had some nice daddy daughter time that way.

Mommy was brave enough to take Nicolette to Trader Joe's with her this morning and had a clueless First Time Mommy (FTM) moment...I took the carseat in and put it inside the shopping cart (because I've read horror stories about people who have placed the carseat on the top of the shopping cart) and then realized that when the carseat is in the shopping cart, there is literally NO room for groceries!  Poor Nicolette had Cucumbers and Zucchini tucked on either side of her seat and I just loaded up the bottom because I didn't know what else to do.  Note for next time - I will baby wear either with the Bjorn or a wrap carrier so that my hands and shopping cart are free!  It was actually nice to get out of the house - I'm one of the weird people who actually enjoy grocery shopping so I felt a little more like "me" simply by running this small errand.

Nicolette is an EXCELLENT sleeper - she can sleep through Chance the dog-child barking, mommy vacuuming, mommy trying to breastfeed (= FRUSTRATING) pretty much anything.  I'm sure this won't last forever so I'm trying to appreciate it instead of getting so irritated and worried about not being able to wake her up for a feeding schedule.
I mean how rotten do I feel trying to interrupt this beauty sleep?
or this one..
or this one...
or this one...
or this one?
 by bit we're making progress on the breastfeeding - I've decided that the 3 hour feeding intervals are for the birds.  As of today, I'm letting her decide when she's hungry and that has made ALL the difference.  For the past week I've been trying to force the child to eat every 2-3 hours (per Doctor and Lactation Consultant advice) but today I started waiting for her to cue me - sometimes it's 4 hours, sometimes it's 1 1/2 - 2 hours and so far she hasn't been fussy at all, has stayed awake through most of her feedings and has actually eaten more that way!

Milk Drunk
"Thank you mommy for letting me eat when I want to instead of shoving a boob in my face while I'm trying to sleep..."
I'm still using the Supplemental Nutrition System when I feed her and pumping every 2 hours or so to help build my supply so sleep for me is a distant memory but it will be all worth it once we finally get this straightened out!  Hoping and praying that within a week or two that we'll be off the SNS as that takes a lot of extra time and creates all sorts of other headaches (but at least I'm not dealing with nipple confusion from introducing a bottle and this is actually good practice for both her and I).

We have a weigh in at the doctor's office tomorrow and mommy is praying for some nice gains - ready to see some chubby little rolls on this sweet pea!

I've been up since our 3am feeding but surprising feel A-ok...a little drowsy, but I took the time between feedings to shower and actually blow dry my's amazing how much I appreciate the little things now!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Future's so bright I've gotta wear shades...

Her future's so bright she's gotta wear shades!
Thanks to everyone who private messaged, commented and emailed regarding my last post!  I hate to hear that so many women have struggled with the same thing however I have to admit that it was awfully reassuring to hear from so many of you who struggled through similar difficulties and were able to work things out in the long run!  It renewed my confidence and gave me a boost of energy to carry on!

With that said - today was a great day.  My parents came over to help with some housekeeping which was VERY MUCH APPRECIATED!  I get stressed out living in what I call "chaos" - which in my warped mind is leaving the bed unmade and having dirty dishes in the sink (neurotic, I know)!.  Thankfully my parents understand this about me and were willing to help out!
Nicolette and I had a good day with feedings too.  I still had to supplement with the SNS with expressed breast milk but not nearly as much as the past few days.  She is also currently spending more "active time" nursing - so I think we're on an upswing.  Also my expressed milk production has nearly doubled so hopefully all of the herbs, pumping and nursing are doing their job and helping to give my body a jump start!  I'm exhausted but this is only temporary and will be worth it whether it works or not.  If it works - HOORAY!  Mission Accomplished!  If it doesn't at least I can rest assured that I did everything I knew to do to be able to accomplish my goal of exclusively breastfeeding my daughter.
Afternoon naptime is our favorite!  
When many of you wrote to me you noted that you also had "latching issues".  I'm proud to say  that today we had nearly "perfect latches" almost every single time!  I came across this website this morning with some tips about how to establish a good latch.  The one thing that I was surprised to read was that they recommend NOT using pillows or a boppy or a my brest friend.  (I have ALL of them - just hoping to find something that works.  So I thought ok - I've tried everything else.  I'm going to try this sans pillow...wouldn't you know that the FIRST time I tried it without a pillow this little princess latched right on, no pain, no fussing around, just popped right on and went about her business.  Sweet relief!  It used to take 10 minutes or so just to kind of get her situated and then once she was most of the time it hurt like the dickens because she wasn't "on" right.  I'm hoping that this new trick continues to work!!!!

My favorite "treatment" for this low milk supply issue has to be a recipe from my dear friend and fellow Domestic Goddess Mrs. Tiffany Sayegh.  They're called "Lactation Cookies - how cool is that?  Medicine in the form of a tasty little treat!  I whipped up a batch this evening (again thank you mom and dad for going to the grocery store to pick up some of the ingredients for me) and I must say they were DELICIOUS!  I've included the recipe below.  Please note the yield is HUGE - 3 dozen cookies! So what I did was scoop out two to bake tonight and then rolled the remainder of the batter into to "logs" wrapped in saran wrap and stored them in the freezer, that way I can just pull a log out and slice off one or two to bake at a time and I don't find myself one night eating 1-2 dozen cookies after a 3am feeding just because I'm bored.

Lactation Cookies
Yield 3 doz cookies

4 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp flaxseed meal

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. brown sugar, firmly packed

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

2 c. flour (I used 1c. all purpose & 1c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
4 Tbsp brewer's yeast
1 tsp salt

3 c. old fashioned oats
1 bag "chips" of your choice (chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter, white chocolate, or a combo)

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Mix the flaxseed meal & water and let sit 3-5 minutes
  • In a mixer cream the sugars & butter together
  • Add eggs and mix well
  • Add flaxseed meal & vanilla and mix well
  • In a separate bowl sift togethrt flour, brewer's yeast, baking soda & salt
  • Gradually add dry ingredients to butter mixture
  • Stir in oats & chips
  • Scoop onto a baking sheet
  • Bake 10-12 minutes (I like my cookies gooey so I baked 10 minutes and they were perfect!)
  • Let sit on the baking sheet 2-3 minutes afterwards to firm up then transfer to a wire rack to cool
Bon Apetit!  Next time I'm going to add walnuts - yummy!!!