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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nearly 8 Months!!!

Christmas wrap-up; Wednesday was my last day of work for the week, and we got home and went over to the Rubin’s for a cocktail party for our cousins Meg and Justin, who had just come in town for the holidays. It was great to see them again, and to get the holiday festivities started. I was a little worried about how Aurora would do with the first of 3 evenings out, when she usually goes to bed so early (between 6-8pm) but she did fine.

Christmas Eve day I spent at home, trying to get ready for the upcoming days. Ryan had to go in to work, but came home early to catch a nap, since both of us had come down with a bad cold, just in time for the holidays! Luckily Aurora didn’t get sick at all, probably because of the antibodies in my breastmilk for the same sickness we were fighting – Go breastfeeding!!! My Mom came over to help clean up, make my potluck dishes and hang out, then later that afternoon we headed up to Ramona to spend Christmas Eve with Cheryl’s side of the family. Aurora did great, and had no problem with her first Santa encounter.

The next day was crazy; Christmas morning till 10:30 at Cheryl’s house, then over to my Mom’s house till 3pm and over to the Rubin’s for the rest of the day.

Then over to the Stoops on Saturday for after Christmas brunch and to meet Kimmy’s new beau, (who is a TOTAL doll).

We were planning on driving up to Huntington Beach on Sunday to visit my Aunt Tina and her family but she got pretty sick so we decided to put it off till sometime next month. Good thing too, because we were exhausted and the house was an absolute disaster! My Mom came over to help with Aurora and clean up and finally the house is back in order.

I’m pretty sure that Aurora is teething. She has been randomly fussy for no reason, (SCREAMING her head off, like she has never done before) then a while later is fine. She didn’t want to go to bed last night, even though she was clearly exhausted for hours. Finally I just took her into our room and let her hang out on the bed with me and Ryan while he read a book and she and I just laid there until we both got sleepy and I put her to bed. She woke up at midnight and again at 5am crying and wanting to nurse. We will see how today goes. Quick Happy Birthday to Keira, who is 2 today.

She eats a ton and LOVES her food. I am making more interesting foods and she is a fan. Her fav is sweet potatoes and onion with cumin. I have to admit it tastes pretty good! I made a creamy pea batch with mango and garlic and she likes that too. Old standby is cooked apples with banana and cinnamon. Can’t wait till she gets her teeth and she can eat more finger foods, because she is wanting to, just cant yet. (I can wait for the fussiness that goes with teething though). It’s crazy because her friend Hazel already has 4 teeth.

Other than that she is an active baby, getting into everything and pulling herself up on anything she can grasp. She is very much like Ryan though; when you get mad and tell her “no” she gets very upset and starts crying. I feel awful so I don’t do that often. Luckily she is really good and doesn’t get into bad stuff very much – yet.

Some stuff she is already mastering for her age: pulling herself up to stand and cruising, picking things up with her thumb and finger, banging things together, coordinated crawling, wanting to drink from a sippy cup… but hasn’t gotten other things yet like waving goodbye or pointing to things. Saying “mama” and “dada” much more, which makes us happy, but still doesn’t realize what she is saying.

Now on to breastfeeding. I will first say that before having Aurora, I considered breastfeeding to be a simple choice, (to borrow a phrase from a friend), like disposable vs. cloth diapers. After being a working mom now for 5 months, and pumping up to 8 times a day, taking fenugreek and trying to breastfeed whenever possible to keep up production, I can attest that its not that simple. I do still believe that anyone who wants to breastfeed (or provide breastmilk) can. The question is how dedicated you are, and how much time and effort you have in you to put into making it happen. At some point, the cost is not worth the benefits of providing that to your child. And that cost/benefit ratio is different for every mom, and every mom has their breaking point.

I was lucky that Aurora breastfed really well from the beginning, and that I didn’t have any issues in those first 3 months where breastfeeding was getting established. When I went back to work it got a little more complicated. Aurora got used to the bottle and didn’t want to bf if I didn’t have plenty of milk. When I went back to work, the only time that I could bf her was in the morning and at night. The night time one was a problem, since that was the feeding we had chosen to get her used to the bottle before I went back to work, since Ryan could do it and bond with her too. So when I did go back, suddenly I wanted to breastfeed her at night again, and for most of her life she was used to Daddy doing a bottle feeding instead. So basically I was left only being able to do one breastfeeding a day (in the morning) and having to pump throughout the day and evening for the rest of it. THANK God I have an amazing and supportive boss who gave me a place to pump and the flexibility in my schedule to do it when I need to.

Anyway, anyone who has done the research will tell you that pumping does not stimulate your milk production the same way that a baby does, and without the baby to jump start your production on the turn of a dime, you have to rely on pumping every 2 hours and fenugreek to bring it back up. It is hard work. And sometimes you just cant pump every 2 hours! Its all of the work and then some of the bottles and storage, and none of the convenience of breastfeeding. And eventually, if you don’t have any baby stimulation, your body will probably decrease production and it will dwindle away. And forget unexpected things that decrease your production; stress, getting sick, not being able to pump consistently for a day or two due to whatever, etc.

Well I made it this far (almost 8 months). I was hoping to make it to a full year, but that is not going to happen. We have needed to supplement with formula here and there when my production goes down anyway and there is now more of that. I’m still hoping to produce until a year, but we will see. Recently my production dropped, and I tried to get it back up with no avail. And with all the holiday stuff going on it was impossible to pump every 2 hours, so I just decided I was done with it! THEN Aurora was really good about feeding and brought some of my production back up. So Im providing about 10-14 oz a day of breastmilk for her, and she drinks about 18-24 oz a day, so she is still getting over half of her intake as breastmilk. My decision for here on out is to NOT stress about it. I will try to breastfeed when I can, pump when I can, produce as much as my body does, but I will not obsess about taking the fenugreek and pumping every 2 hours, monitoring my daily production like a dairy farmer. Since I decided this, I have been so much happier! A weight has been lifted from my shoulders! And I have to say that I have the most wonderful and supportive husband, who is behind me 100%.

I have learned A LOT on this first go, and hopefully things will be easier and I will be more successful with our next child. But if I am not, that will be ok too, because Aurora has taught me to be easier on myself. I’m a good and loving mom, and my children will be raised well, with the best that Ryan and I have to offer.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

7 Months Old... and Counting!!!

I don’t know how Aurora manages to develop so quickly but I feel like every time I turn around she is doing something new. Less than 2 months ago she couldn’t get around much by herself… then we propped her up and she was able to sit up on her own. Then she began to catch herself when she would start to fall instead of falling face first into the ground. From that position she learned to fall forward into a crawling position, and began to (with great effort) crawl forward a few feet. After getting the crawling down in a more coordinated movement, she surprised us by pushing back into a sitting position. And now, just this week, can pull herself up along something sturdy to standing position! I think we are in trouble and she’s going to be walking within the next 2 months for sure, maybe less. At least she will still be too short to reach most things.

We are finally growing out of some of the 3-6 month old stuff, and going into the straight 6 month stuff (which is just a little too big for her) and trying to find as much cold weather clothes for her since she is her daddy’s girl; cold all the time and needs to bundle up like she’s camping in Patagonia! Fleece sleepers, socks or tights, pants and long sleeve onsies are our best friends these days. She is for sure taller than she is wide so the length of her clothes is what she grows out of first.

She generally seems to be a bigger fan of the airy/breathy sounds your mouth can make than the sounds that your lips make. She is finally “talking” a little more though, thank goodness. This whole time she has mostly just made cooing noises, no “mama”, “baba” or “gaga” sounds for her. So she is finally exploring with some of those other sounds.

Very excited about her first Christmas. We got our tree up 2 weekends ago, and it’s sooo pretty! I love all the decorations and already have some gifts wrapped under the tree. We have already learned the “no” word; thankfully she is impressionable and heeds our requests instead of ignoring them. Although she can’t touch, she LOVES the lights, ornaments, and the wrapped presents. She loves paper and so I give her a piece of the wrapping paper to play with. I think she likes the crinkle noises it makes.

We got our Xmas letter out this week, YEA, right on time. We decided to do a huge 4 page letter since this was such a momentous year, and used lots of pics instead of just doing one photo card and a 1 page letter. So any of you who don’t get one by Monday and want to get added to our distribution list, send me your address!

Oh yea and one more thing! She is finally truly sleeping all the way through the night. From 7pm to 6am the next morning, Ryan and I have uninterrupted “us” time. We normally go on a double duty cleaning frenzy, catch up with our shows/movies, or do a project together (like Xmas cards) in those precious hours after she goes to bed and before we do.