Friday, September 13, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 53)

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes about isolation, Chardonnaydo, and the creepiness of Furbies (vol. 232)

1) A Wegman's is opening near us, and I just signed up for my Wegman's card today. Word on the street has it that I should be excited ecstatic. I guess I'll have to wait for our store to open to see how I feel about it, but I have a feeling I'm going to like this little enormous store :)

2) John is growing like crazy. He is now crawling all over the place, pulling up and stealing Joseph's toys. Joseph is fine with the first two accomplishments, but isn't too keen on having his little brother take his toys (even the ones he isn't playing with).
I guess it won't surprise you that one of Joseph's current favorite words is "mine!" We've been working on sharing a lot around here. Very often Joseph will say "mine!" then he'll look at me, realize I'm watching, tentatively offer the toy back to John and say "share." It's a work in progress. Sharing is seriously hard business.

3) Most of the time, though, the boys play well together. It's especially sweet when Joseph tries to play games with John. Recently he's started crawling really fast across the kitchen and John giddily follows. They go back and forth and back and forth laughing the whole time. It's really cute to watch.
Joseph decides he needs to have his picture taken, too.
He jumps in during John's "6 month photo shoot."

4) Our mom's group took a little field trip to the fire station a couple weeks ago. All the kids loved it. Here are a couple pictures from the trip.

5) We went to a train museum near us for Labor Day and Joseph loved it. When I say loved I'm not even a little bit exaggerating. It was a small museum that had one large room with a display in the middle and one small room with a fairly large lego display. Granted, the displays were interactive in that you could push buttons to make the trains or people or various objects move, but still it was only two rooms. We spent two and a half hours there. Crazy. We met up with some friends at the park afterwards and one of them said "I can't believe you were there for two and a half hours!"

6) Joseph started Preschool last week. We joined a homeschool co-op that meets once a week for a few hours. So far he's loving it (not surprising). I'm excited for Joseph to have this opportunity. And, as much as I balk at the idea, it's been good for me to have a little more structure to my week.
Sadly, I was a terrible mom and didn't take the obligatory "1st day of (pre)school" photo. I didn't even dress him in particularly cute clothes for his first day. Ah well. You live and learn. Maybe next year.

7) We've been enjoying a few of the warmer days at some local fountains. So much fun!

Thanks for hosting, Jen!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

For My (Not So) Newly Pregnant Friends

I started this post about six months ago when I first found out that one of my best friends was having her first baby. Fast forward six months and here I am realizing that she's due in one week!!! I needed to finish it ASAP so all my sage wisdom ramble-y thoughts wouldn't go to waste. The post got long, so I've split it up into two posts. This is my "opinions and thoughts about everything but sleep" post. I hope it's helpful to my first-time mom friends!

If you plan on using disposables, Target diapers are the way to go. I love them because they're cute, inexpensive and work as well or better than every other disposable diaper I've tried. The only caveat to this is I prefer Pampers diapers for the newborn stage simply because they're "green line indicator" works much better than the Target "disappearing blue dots indicator." But once they're into size 1 diapers you don't need the indicator anymore - you're going to know when they peed.

Joseph is all smiles while sporting his
adorable cloth diaper :)
I have a love/hate relationship with my cloth diapers. I love them because they save me money and contain blowouts infinitely better than disposables. And did I mention they're adorable on baby bottoms? They are. BUT! They do require more work. You have to change them more frequently (those disposables can hold a lot) and you have extra loads of laundry. The laundry really isn't a big deal to me - I don't mind doing laundry. The extra changes were a big deal to me...until I recently discovered hemp liners. My hemp liners have helped me fall back in love with my cloth diapers. Before I discovered the hemp liners I had to change each cloth diaper ever 1-2 hours (basically every time one of the boys peed which meant changing 2 diapers every 1-2 hours....that's a lot of diaper changes in one day!). Now they can go 3-4 hours without being changed. This makes a huge difference when you're trying to diaper a toddler who doesn't want to sit/lay still for any diaper changes. I didn't use our cloth diapers for many moons because I got tired of fighting Joseph to change his diaper. Now I'm back into it, and since I discovered the hemp liners I haven't looked back.
Note: I do still use disposable diapers at night and when we're on vacation and sometimes when we're going to be out all day simply because they're so easy to use. But I'm trying more and more these days to use our cloth diapers as much as possible - especially if we'll just be out for the day.

If you have a boy make it a habit to put a wipe over his "master of surprises" as soon as you take his diaper off. You may still end up with a puddle under baby to clean up, but that's a heck of a lot better than trying to find the pee that spewed across the room and/or in their (or your!) face. You will probably only need to do this for the first few weeks, but until then....beware!

A fussy baby isn't necessarily a hungry baby. There are so many reasons babies cry. Many of these reasons are obvious (dirty diaper, hunger, tiredness), but others aren't quite as obvious (gas, over stimulation, too hot or too cold).
An easy way to deal with gas is by pumping baby's legs in a bicycle-type motion to help the gas move through their system. Burping baby during and after each feeding will also help with gas.
It's ok, John. Joseph won't hurt you :)
Feeling baby's ears is a good way to check baby's temperature (or so I've been told).
Knowing whether your baby is too hot or too cold can be hard to figure out. I will often feel my boys' ears and hands (and sometimes feet) when I'm trying to determine if they're too hot/cold. Either extreme can make baby quite fussy or interrupt their sleep (the worst!).
Over stimulation can be a big cause of fussiness in babies. I didn't learn this lesson very well until we had John. Sometimes John would be fussy and I would go through a mental checklist as to why he could be fussy and then I'd think - "hmm, he slept recently and is fed and changed, but Joseph has been running around like crazy and making a lot of noise. Maybe he's just over stimulated." Sure enough as soon as I took John upstairs for some quiet time with mommy he would settle down. It was nearly instantaneous. So, especially during those first weeks/months be aware of baby's stimulation. Less is more in their world.

If you plan to breastfeed...
        1) Don't let baby fall asleep at the breast. This is one of those things that is easier said than done, but it is so important - especially in those first few weeks when baby is developing their sleep associations. It's probably going to happen now and again, but do your best to make sure baby doesn't fall asleep at the breast otherwise you'll have to break the habit later on (which can be a painful habit to break!).
        2) Nursing is going to hurt (for a while), but don't let that dissuade you from breastfeeding. I know lots of lactation consultants say it isn't supposed to hurt, but I have yet to meet a mom who breastfed who said they had no pain in the beginning. Give yourself a few weeks to adjust and the pain should start to alleviate after a few weeks. Until then, you just have to grin and bear it :( I recommend using Lanolin to help protect the nipple and once the pain subsides you can also express a drop of your breast milk and coat the nipple with that - it has similar protection as the Lanolin (and is so much easier and more convenient). I've also heard great things about cold compresses (like this or this), but have never used them myself.
        3) Pacifiers are not the devil - use them if you want. From my experience (and that of my friends) it won't affect your breastfeeding success.
"Don't even think about taking my paci." - John
With Joseph we had to greatly encourage the pacifier. He was nursing something like 8-10 hours a day and not sleeping and super fussy. So, after about 2 (or 3 or 4??) weeks of being a human pacifier and me reaching pretty close to my breaking point (because Joseph almost never slept more than 2 hours at a time - even sleeping 2 hours straight was rare for him) my dad suggested we try giving him a pacifier. Oh - we had tried to give him one before, but he wanted nothing to do with it. But, we kept offering it...over and over again we would offer it. And he did eventually take the pacifier. He gave it up around 5 months, but by that point he was at least consistently sleeping in 2 hours chunks - sometimes even giving me 4-6 hours of (broken) sleep each night! Woohoo!
John was the complete opposite. From the moment we offered the pacifier he loved it. If he felt it near his mouth he would reach for it/your hand and pull it to his mouth.
Both boys have been great nursers and neither have had "nipple confusion." Needless to say, I'm a fan of pacifiers.