Monday, March 31, 2008

So tired...

Weekends are supposed to be a chance to catch up on sleep while Shafi helps out with Leah. But this past weekend, Leah didn't sleep much, so we didn't sleep much. She seemed to be rebelling against sleeping in the crib. That combined with long sessions of cluster feeding in the evening made for an exhausting weekend. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights she only slept a couple hours in the crib, and then we took turns holding her.

Thankfully she was much better last night. After cluster feeding from 4 to 10, she slept in the crib from 10:30 to 3:30. Longest stretch of sleep I've had in awhile...sort of. She did wake up at 11 - but I picked her up and held her for a couple minutes and put her back down. Then she cried at 1:30 for a few seconds, but when I went to get her, she had fallen back asleep. Luckily I didn't have trouble falling back to sleep each time, so it still felt like a long stretch of sleep. But after feeding her at 3:30, she was pretty much up until 6. I'd get her to sleep and go to put her in the crib, and she'd wake up crying again. At 4:30 she was inconsolable, so I fed her again. But it still took me a long time to get her down after that. And then she was up at 7:30. But I still got around 6 hours of sleep, which is huge in comparison to the past few days. Actually feeling much less run down today.

But of course she's so cute, I can't be mad at her. Here are my favorite couple of pictures from the weekend. There are many more posted on Picasa.

I got a whole series in this outfit - with her in a particularly happy mood:

Not sure if it was the outfit or what, but yes, she does appear to be giving me the finger. Mommy's little girl!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Leah's First Jeans

For some reason, I just love baby jeans. My mom got Leah a pair in 0-3 month size and I put them on her for the first time today. I just had to post so everyone can see how cute she is in them!
Really not much else to say. We've been reading a few short books each day. Leah doesn't pay a whole lot of attention but she does sit happily while I read and point at the pages. She's started to be more interested in more things. She will lay and watch the mobile in her crib for about 15 minutes at a time as long as she's not hungry or overtired. Yesterday I put her in the activity gym and left her to play alone for about 20 minutes and she was happy the whole time. I did check on her often, but it gave me time to get dressed, brush my teeth, eat breakfast. I'm hoping she'll self entertain like that every morning.

And she has officially outgrown the newborn clothes. They are either too short or the sleeves are short or they're tight on her. I have plenty of clothes in the next size, so actually I'm happy to take them out and make room in the dresser drawers. Obviously babies grow out of clothes quickly, but it's so strange to put away clothes already - some of which she has only worn once. I'll keep them in case we have another daughter some day - or to pass on to other family and friends once we're done building our family.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Having lots of fun with Leah

6 weeks is definitely the magic number - Leah has become so much more interactive now. We're really having a lot of fun playing with her. This morning after the 9 a.m. feeding Shafi played with her in the activity gym. She was happy in it for even longer today. And he propped her on the Boppy for some of the time, which put her in arms reach of the hanging toys. She kept hitting the parrot, which has a spinning thing below it. I couldn't tell if it was intentional or not, but then after hitting it a few times she reached out and grabbed the side of the "perch" - and that definitely seemed intentional. When we put her on her tummy she did seem to be attempting to roll over - the way she was moving her legs and rocking back and forth a bit, but this time she didn't get her arm up under her as much and did not end up rolling over.

We also listened to some kids music today - after the next feeding. I bought a couple of Peter Paul & Mary CDs for kids - actually they're called Peter Paul & Mommy. They're full of the songs my father used to play records of (yes, actual records) and sing to us when we were kids. I only played a few of the songs - skipped through to my favorites. She seemed to like the slow ones better - Mockingbird, Puff the Magic Dragon. She did not care for Going to the Zoo, which is more upbeat, or Boa Constrictor, which is not exactly melodic. Not sure whether it was the time or what, but by the end of Puff she was starting to drift off to sleep and I was able to put her down with only a couple minutes of rocking & shushing after that. And the whole thing was definitely nostalgic for me. It's amazing how many of the words I remember of songs I haven't heard in 20 years or so.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Leah is 6 weeks old!

I can't believe she's already 6 weeks old. It's hard to explain, but I feel like she's been here for so long - and then I also feel like we brought her home from the hospital just yesterday.

Leah has been eating much more normally this week, but she's been harder to put to sleep than she had been. After most feedings it takes me around 45 minutes to get her back to sleep, and she still won't go down in the crib without being very sound asleep first. So even if she only eats every 4 hours, I only get about 2.5 hours of sleep in between - leaving me with a similar amount of sleep to when she was eating every 3 hours. But I'm doing fine overall. Glad it's a long weekend - Shafi gets baby duty tomorrow while I go for my 6 week post-partum checkup and to buy new nursing bras - yes, exciting stuff.

Leah is definitely getting more and more interactive, so she's becoming a lot more fun if more demanding. Yesterday I read her a few books, including some little books called "Black on White" and "White on Black." They have big silhouette type shapes on each page. Supposedly babies can see those well, while more complex pictures and colors are still too much. It was fun to flip through those and just talk about each page. And sometimes I'd sing something to go with the picture - like Rubber Ducky (from Sesame Street). I need to look that one up and see if there are more lyrics or if the chorus that I know is really the whole song. I also read her a book called Old McDonald and friends that has the words to the song and some farm animal stories - fables I guess, as they all have a moral. She fell asleep during that one - but I finished the book anyway.

And today I got out the activity gym - from the Fisher Price Rainforest Collection. It was an absolute blast to watch her. She looked up at the lights and the hanging toys and she definitely seemed to like listening to the jungle sounds. The sound stopped after 15 or 20 minutes and she fussed a little until I restarted it. I put her on her tummy...and she rolled over to her back! Big milestone - the first rollover. She couldn't go back to front yet, but I had read that comes later. Makes sense since she can use her arms - and the weight of her head - to push herself over from front to back. I took lots of great pictures. We played for about half an hour before she started to get tired and fussy - so then I put her in the sling and lulled her to sleep.

And another big accomplishment today - after we went for a walk around noon I put her in the car seat swing - and she's been in it sleeping for almost an hour! I kept her swaddled, so only the chest strap is on, not the strap that goes between her legs, but I decided she really can't move enough to get out of it yet - so should be fine. And maybe she just needed to be swaddled in order to sleep in it. I've also got it turned up to the highest setting - which I would have though would be too much swing - but when I had it lower she was stirring and I thought she was going to wake up, so I kept turning it up. I'm hopeful that she'll continue to like the swing and I can put it by the bathroom when I want to shower - and we can put it by the table when we want to eat dinner - basically use it for times when we really need her to stay down. It would definitely be nice to be able to make it through dinner without her crying and one of us having to go pick her up and eat the rest of the meal one-handed or take turns eating dinner.

Here are a few of the best pics of Leah in the activity gym - there are lots more on my Picasa site in the 2 month album.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Relief - the growth spurt has passed!

Our little 9 pound binge-eater seems to be back to normal. She slept for 3 hours in Shafi's arms last night after he got home. And after feeding her at 9 p.m., she slept until 1 a.m. then until 4 a.m., and 8 a.m. And at each feeding she ate only for 15-20 minutes - much more normal.

But her few days of constant eating definitely upped my milk supply, which I guess is what is supposed to happen. After feeding her at 11:30 this morning, I pumped at 12:30 - and got 2 ounces from each side (well, 1.8 and 2.2). It was amazing to watch the milk flow - only a few short weeks ago I would pump for 15 or 20 minutes and be lucky to get 1/2 an ounce total from the two. Hopefully my very sore nipples will heal over the next day or two.

Yesterday I experimented with multiple methods of carrying Leah and getting her to sleep. The sling is still the best, but she was happy in the BabyBjorn, too. I just found that it put her too high in front of me - harder to do things like fix a sandwich (and eat it) and fold laundry because I had to tilt my head to peer around her.

And I was able to trick her into sleeping in the swing for a few minutes. I put her in the car seat - she cried. Then I swung the car seat for a couple minutes - she fell asleep. Then I quickly put it into the swing frame and turned the swing on - she stayed asleep - for 5 minutes. I tried 3 times - 4 minutes the 2nd time and 5 minutes the 3rd time. Oh well - we'll try again next week - maybe she'll get used to it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My little piggy

Leah just won't stop eating! OK, obviously I don't want her to stop eating. But whatever I thought was a growth spurt / cluster feeding / a lot of work before - this is a whole new level. For the past 2 nights she's been up about every 2 hours wanting to eat. And she's been eating for at least 30 minutes. I don't mean just sitting there pretending to eat - I mean actively eating. If I take her off after 20 minutes or so but before she's done, she'll be quiet for a couple of minutes - but then she's screaming - her hungry cry. And I have to put her back on. Sometimes I think she's done, but no, she's just nodded off for a bit and after I get her re-swaddled and try to put her down, she's giving me that hungry cry again. And during the day she's eating at least that often. Yesterday there were 2 times that she went 3 hours between feedings - but other than that it was about 1.5 hours during the day and 2 at night.

I'm seriously exhausted. Basically I haven't been able to sleep for more than an hour stretch at a time at night - by the time she eats and I get her to sleep it's been an hour or so and then she's up in an hour to eat again. Yesterday I napped for 2 hours when Shafi got home. That was somewhat helpful - but not enough to catch up on sleep. And during the day she just won't sleep in the crib - or anywhere but in my arms. At least I've figured out that even though she cries for a couple minutes when I put her in the sling, then she gets comfortable and falls asleep. So while I can't nap with her in the sling, at least I can be somewhat mobile and have both hands free - helpful for eating, doing laundry, typing, writing thank you notes.

I can't imagine that she needs to grow any faster than the pound a week she has been growing - but I don't know what else would be causing this voracious appetite. I'm just hoping it subsides soon!

This is what she looks like when she's not getting what she wants:

Still cute - but oh-so-loud!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Leah's First Trip Out of New York

Yesterday we left New York City and New York state for the first time since Leah was born. We went to my friend Eilisa's baby shower in Philadelphia. We got up at 7:30 - that was when Leah let us know she was ready for breakfast. And after feeding her, getting ready, finishing packing a bag of stuff for Leah, packing lunch for us, picking up the rental car, and feeding Leah again, we were on the road about 10:15. The drive to Philly was only about 2 hours and 15 minutes even though it was pouring rain the whole way.

Leah loved the car. She fussed when we put her in the car seat, but once we were on our way, she was happy as can be. And by the time we had been on the BQE for about 5 minutes she was sound asleep. She woke up here and there along the way, but always went right back to sleep. Then when we got to Philly we hit a lot of traffic and she woke up and fussed a bit when we stopped at lights. I was able to get her to take a pacifier, which calmed her down enough to keep her pretty quiet until we got to Eilisa's house - about 15 minutes or so.

I fed her when we got there, and then we had our lunch, and then I fed her again before heading out to the shower. She slept soundly while I was gone - about 2 and a half hours. Shafi stayed at the house with her. They napped together on the couch for awhile. We brought about 3 ounces of expressed breastmilk in a bottle in case he needed to feed her while I was gone, but it proved unnecessary.

I fed her again before we headed out and we were back on the road home around 6:30. She slept the whole way (2 hours) and for another hour after we got home. That was great, because I was able to just leave her sleeping in the car seat while I had dinner and got ready for bed. Then I got her up and fed her and had her down sleeping in the crib by 10:00 - which meant I got to go to bed.

Overall it was a pretty smooth trip. We did have a diaper change issue at Eilisa's house before I left for the shower - Leah projectile pooped while we changed her - luckily most of it landed on the linoleum floor and was easily cleaned up.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Leah is a month old!

Time flies when you're hardly sleeping and caring for a newborn all day. :)

Leah had her 1 month checkup today. She's huge! She's now 8 pounds 8 ounces - that's a gain of almost 2 pounds in just over 2 weeks (16 days to be exact). And she's 21.5 inches long now - which is also a lot of growth. She's in the 70th percentile in height, 30th in weight, and 50th in head circumfrence. The doctor was really pleased with her growth.

She's healthy overall. She does have an umbilical hernia, which sounds worse than it is. Basically her belly button sticks out sometimes, especially when she cries. That will probably go away on it's own by 18 months. And it doesn't hurt her or anything. But we won't know until then whether she's got an innie or an outie.

I also discussed with the doctor that Leah has been really fussy the last few days, getting worse yesterday and today. And she seems to spit up a lot. I tried a pacifier the last couple days, but while she takes it for a few minutes, she doesn't seem all that interested in it. It definitely doesn't calm her for very long, if at all. Based on my description, the doctor said it sounds like she could have reflux. She said to try a 1/4 teaspoon of maalox or mylanta and see if that helps. If it seems to continue or get worse then we can talk about zantac or something stronger. Obviously it's not stopping her from gaining weight, but it is making her uncomfortable. She has fussy periods where she'll calm down and go to sleep for about 10 minutes, but then she wakes up crying. And during this time she arches her back a lot and spits up a lot - both signs of reflux. She also gets hiccups a lot - another possible sign. The other possibility is that she's overeating, but that's not common in breastfed babies.

I hate to think that she's getting painful heartburn and gas. She seems so unhappy when she has these episodes. I'm trying some simple remedies like holding her more upright during feedings and holding her somewhat upright after feedings. I just read that she should be on her stomach at about a 30 degree angle for about 30 minutes after a feeding. So I'll try that and see if it helps.

Otherwise, there wasn't really anything noteworthy from the doctor's appointment. She said I can feed her on demand, which is what I've been doing the last couple of days. She seems to wake to eat every couple hours during the day and every 3 hours at night - pretty much the schedule I had her on anyway. And she said that if she's happy being swaddled it's fine to keep her swaddled pretty much all the time. We should keep doing what we're doing, which is unswaddling her for feedings and when she has active awake periods - which she really only has for about an hour a day.

We go back in a month for the next checkup and the first set of vaccinations. If possible, we'll schedule that one so that Shafi can join. I think it's going to be rough to watch her get shots.

After a fussy morning, Leah has been great since we got back from the doctor. I fed her and she wasn't spitting up after. And then I put her in the bouncer for a bit. She seemed to really like it for a few minutes - but then she started to cry - seems like 10 minutes is about her limit there. Then I put her in the sling and she's been sleeping soundly for about an hour and a half. I think it'll be a bit too tiring to wear her in the sling all day, but seems wortwhile when she's fussy and I need to get things done - like the laundry I put in a few minutes ago.

She's just starting to wake up now, which probably means she's hungry. It's about that time.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I guess this is a growth spurt

The last couple of days Leah has been eating constantly. Sometimes every hour for half an hour. It's definitely exhausting for me. But I'm happy that she's growing and she's the boss - when she wants to eat she eats. It made for some fussy spells at first, as we didn't realize that she was crying for food at first. Seemed like she couldn't be hungry already after only half an hour or so since finishing her last feeding. But sure enough...we figured it out. Yesterday she seemed to be spitting up a lot. We found that holding her more upright during and after a feeding seemed to solve that problem. Unfortunately for me that means sitting up with her for longer after a feeding before putting her down in the crib. No big deal except at night - although at least she's still sleeping well at night. Last night I fed her every 3 hours but she ate for 30 minutes each time and then I held her for another 30 minutes or so. But then she didn't spit up in the crib, so I guess it worked. This morning she seemed very alert, so we unswaddled her and put her in a sleeper and let her stretch out under the mobile for awhile. She seemed to enjoy it for about 15 minutes - and then she wanted to be held. Looking at her all stretched out we could really tell that she's grown. Looking forward to Friday's 1 month check-up so that we can see how big she is - and make sure she's all healthy of course.