Monday, July 30, 2012

Cloth Diapering

The other day, *B* and I went to our insurance agent. After our business was done, we chatted since I've known this man since I was a little girl. He mentioned how expensive kids were "with diapers and formula and all." We showed him our cloth diapers and he was shocked at how easy they are now.  We've got two major types of diapers in our stash.

We asked for FuzziBunz on our registry and received twelve of them.
 Miss F enjoying her FuzziBunz:

My mother, as you may remember, gave us an insane number of inserts for them. We wanted more diapers, but buying more FuzziBunz means getting more inserts, which we didn't want.

It turns out that the FuzziBunz inserts can be used with other diapers, specifically Flip diapers. In this way, they can be used with the same shell a number of times. The only thing is that you have to use a liner between the insert and the baby.

Miss F in a Flip:

We also found that disposable wipes are a pain to use with cloth diapers. We'd have to find a place to throw them out.  More often than not, they'd end up in the washer.  So we just decided to use cloth wipes as well.
Picture from the BumGenius website.

We use a peri-bottle that I got at the hospital for the diaper bag because it closes tight.  At home, we use condiment bottles that we got for a dollar each from the grocery store.
All we have to do is squirt a little bit of water on the cloth wipes and use as normal.  They go right into the wet bag with the rest of the diaper material.

So far we've had very little in the way of leaks and issues.  Between gifts and what we've spent ourselves, it cost us about $200 to create a large diaper stash that will last us through multiple children.  With Pampers being roughly $0.20 a diaper, we'll break even at 1000 diapers.  Given that Miss F can easily go through 10 diapers a day (and has been going through many more than that recently), we'll break even in about three months.  I'd say that's a worthwhile purchase!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Down Side of Montessori

*B* and I read Montessori from the Start after a coworker gave it to me as a baby shower gift. We love most of its principles, and were excited to institute them right away when Miss F was born. We made the first mobile for her to use a week or two after she was born.

I've been trying to do more research on Montessori for the under three age range, but I haven't found much. I found Chasing Cheerios, How We Montessori, and Feeding the Soil. For now, it seems I only need to consider mobiles, rattles, and room arrangements. It doesn't seem like a lot, but it's been stressful and frustrating.  I want someone to explain how and when I can implement these things, but usually I'm just pointed to a catalog.  Everything in those catalogs is so expensive.  Luckily, we've been able to make the mobiles.

Miss F's second mobile will be three octahedrons: red, blue, and yellow (gold).  I got mirrored scrapbook paper and this template to make the octahedrons.  I taped the template down to the plastic surrounding the paper, and traced it with a mechanical pencil without the lead.  
Then it was easy to fold down the sides.

I still have to decide how I'm going to hang them, but that will be the easy part.

The next mobile in the series is a Gobbi mobile.  It should look like this:
 Photo from How We Montessori

Easy, right?  So I thought.  I bought some papier mache ornaments from Michael's.
I also bought some felt because A) five skeins of yarn was expensive and B) I didn't want to have to wind the string around the ball and deal with it getting messed up.  I should have bought the yarn.  The felt ended up squaring off the balls and no amount of trimming made it fit well.
I used double sided tape to put on the felt, so nothing is lost.  I'll just run out and get some yarn.  Maybe I'll find something to knit with the remnants of each skein.

I started to make one more mobile, but it really doesn't fit in with any of the development milestones. 

I might finish it and put it over Miss F's cradle because, though it's not ideal, it's better than the blank wall she stares at now.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Happier Days

Today has been a great day.  It's been the first day since Monday that *B* has been home.  He was amazingly sweet and took Miss F (who gets up at 4 am for the day) and let me sleep from her 6 am feeding to 9 am.  He got to see what it was like to be me for a little while.  He was amazed that it took four hours for him to be able to put her down long enough to use the restroom.

Our nursing problems appear to be fixing themselves.  Well, I don't know if I'd put it that way exactly - both Miss F and I have worked hard at them.  But she seems to be much more content, as am I.  We've even got a very small supply of stored milk in case I need to go somewhere without her or vice versa.

Another amazing find today was a sling for Miss F.  We have a backpack-like carrier, but she hates it.  I couldn't justify spending $50 for a piece of fabric that she may or may not like and be able to fit into for very long.  *B* and I went to the consignment store in town, however, and found a very nice sling for only $15!  While it's pinky and flowery, *B* wore Miss F while we went browsing our local antique shops today with *B*'s sister and her husband.

Tonight was also Miss F's first bath ever:

 While not thrilled, she didn't scream either.  It was a relatively pleasant experience.

 Miss F's froggie towel got her nice and warm and dry.

By the time bathtime was over, Miss F was plum tuckered out!

I love that last picture.  It really does make me smile.  It's the first picture where I really and honestly look at it and see what I've always wanted - a family.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Scariest Realization of Miss F's Life

Yesterday, I had an appointment with a lactation consultant. She came to my house and really helped with the issues we were having.

She was holding Miss F upright and she made a strange discovery: my baby has a HUGE lump between her neck and shoulder. I never saw this thing before! Her chubby chin covers it in most positions. Immediately I thought of permanent disfigurement, or worse, a tumor. We got into the pediatrician an hour later. The lump was non-moveable and very hard.

The pediatrician was really nonchalant. Apparently Miss F broke her collarbone when she was born! She didn't cry when people moved her or pressed on it. But that knot is the bone mending. I've been going over every interaction we had with her trying to make sure that a) I didn't cause it after she was born and b) I didn't unset it by being less than absolutely careful with her. I knew being a parent would be scary and full of bumps and bruises, but I didn't think I had to worry about broken bones this soon!

If you look hard, there's a lump below her neck wrinkle and above the onesie sleeve.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Weight Gain and Weight Loss

When Miss F was born, she weighed 9 lbs 6 oz. When she left the hospital two days later, she weighed 8 lbs 13 oz. Because she was so dehydrated, she weighed only 8 lbs 6 oz at her first check up when she was for days old. But we persevered, and by her second check up at 11 days old, she was 9 lbs 1 oz.
We had her pediatrician appointment yesterday, and at 18 days old, she hadn't gotten back to birth weight. She was 9 lbs 5 oz. She had also spent the previous night and that morning screaming uncontrollably.  She nursed every hour, but wasn't comforted.

At the pediatrician, we tried everything to get that one ounce to get back to birth weight. I nursed her, but she had been cluster feeding so there wasn't much there. Despite having nursed so much, my supply seemed low.  The pediatrician had us give her some formula and she immediately stored screaming, but then she wet a diaper, so the weight gain was negated.

Starting last night, at our pediatrician's recommendation, I've been taking fenugreek pills and drinking mother's milk tea. I have to get in contact with a lactation consultant today.
I really don't want to give Miss F formula, but I'd rather do that than starve her. I'm hopeful that the herbs well help to get me where she needs me to be and that our weight check on Friday will be positive.


Since Miss F's birth, I've lost 31 of the 33 lbs I gained. While I'm very happy that my weight loss from last year is not all lost, I'm definitely in different shape than I was last September. It seems I'll have to learn to exercise, feed, and dress this new body all over again.

I'm not currently dieting because of the effect it could have on my supply, but I am trying to eat healthy foods. It's been difficult this week because my best friend is in town, and we tend to east poorly when she's here. But she leaves Thursday, and it's back to real food at that point. I'm looking forward to getting healthy again and even picking up running if I can manage it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Montessori Mobiles

For the past week or so, I've been somewhat concerned that we haven't been helping Miss F's development along.  When she wasn't sleeping or nursing, she was staring off at nothing.  We were given, read, and loved "Montessori from the Start" by Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jensen.  In it, they talk about different mobiles to engage the little one.  *B* is pretty good at creating geometric designs, so we created a mobile.  I started to make one piece, and he took over.

He even sketched out his designs before drawing them out.  The mobile doesn't look like anything special from our perspective.
But from Miss F's perspective, there are some interesting designs:

It's amazing how much more engaged Miss F is since we put the mobile up.  She stares at the patterns pretty intently, though for relatively short periods of time.  As she grows, I'll make more mobiles according to her development.

I've been reading more blogs about Montessori methods, namely Chasing Cheerios and How We Montessori.  In some respects, I really like them because they demonstrate activities for young children.  In another way, it's difficult because Miss F is so young that there's not much I can do with her.  I feel like I'm neglecting her, though I spend probably a few hours a day with her in my arms without distractions.  But for now, I think that successful nursing, cloth diapering with minimal leakage, sleeping up to four hours at a shot, and what little I can do to keep her occupied will be sufficient for me.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Strange Dreams in Our First Week

We came home from the hospital on a Saturday, and my mom stayed over Saturday and Sunday nights. Since then, I've been having strange dreams or feelings or something.
The first couple of days' dreams were that Miss F was in bed with us instead of her cradle next to the bed. I frantically pat around the bed looking for her and wake *B* up asking if he put her back.
The last two nights I've dreamed that someone else was watching her, had brought her to me to nurse, and I didn't know where she was after I finished. It was kind of like someone passed her off to me, but I didn't know if they took her back before leaving. When I wake up and check the cradle, there she is.
I don't know how much more of these I can handle. They break up the very small chunks of sleep that I do manage to get. I'm thinking that as week two goes on, these things will fade.
Miss F at one week old:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Rough Start

Miss F is now five days old, and we came home from the hospital Saturday afternoon.  While we had been charting feedings and wet and messy diapers, we hadn't looked at the trends.  On Saturday afternoon, Miss F became a bit fussy and it was a struggle to nurse her. 

By Sunday, she refused to nurse at all.  When I'd try to nurse her, she'd violently shake her head from side to side.  She wouldn't even try to latch.  She'd scream constantly until she was absolutely hoarse and raspy. Nothing satisfied her, not even the pacifier.  I just bawled because my milk was in and I couldn't feed or soothe my baby.  I couldn't help her at all.  I knew I had milk, but when I held her up, she'd just scream at the breast.  It was one of the most frustrating experiences I've ever had.  To get something into her, I pumped and *B* spoon fed her out of a medicine spoon. 

We ended up taking her to the pediatrician Monday evening.  It turns out she was severely dehydrated (shocker).  She had lost a whole pound since birth.  When he asked, we said she hadn't had a messy diaper in two days.  After going over our records, it turned out it had been three days, and she was only four days old. 
We spoon fed her a whole ounce of breast milk (which felt like a ton for such a little girl).  Within the hour, she had a huge blowout of a diaper, and she's had two more since.  She's been demanding to nurse about every two hours now.  She's better than she was, going through her functions mostly as normal, and she's not fussing anymore.  While we started out on a rocky footing, she seems pretty content now.

 Four days old on daddy's lap

Hanging out in her swing at five days old