Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Here's a cute little video so you can hear Charlie's giggles. Quite possibly my favorite sound in the world! (Sorry for the crazy camera angles... I was recording it myself on my iPhone.)

Breastfeeding Goal #2...

...accomplished! You may remember that my first goal was to make it to six weeks (the time most experts say is the toughest to get through - so don't give up!) After making it to six weeks, I set my next goal to be the end of the school year, i.e., through the three weeks of pumping while Charlie stayed home with family. It was a rough start and I definitely felt a little overwhelmed at first, but we did it! Charlie took his bottles like a champ and I was able to replace the 20 oz. he consumed while I was at work. Phew! Along the way, I learned a few tricks that I think will help me immensely when I go back to school in September.
  1. If possible, keep your pumping equipment set up so you don't have to waste time at each session. I will be pumping in the closet in my classroom and I'm going to set up a comfortable little station for myself. I'll keep a comfy chair in there next to a small table. I can keep the pump set up on the table with the tubing and power cord ready to go. This way, I'll just have to attach the tubes and switch on the power cord.
  2. Probably the most time consuming maintenance part of pumping is washing the parts. Someone recommended keeping the parts in a Ziploc baggie in the fridge between sessions. Brilliant! I'm lucky enough to have a mini-fridge in my classroom so this will be very easy. At the end of the day I'll just bring the baggie home and wash them along with the bottles from day care.
  3. Most people know that your supply is greatest in the morning. I pump once at home after Charlie's first feeding at 5 AM and get at least 5 oz. from one side. I also plan/hope to feed him again before we leave for the day. I'm not sure I could pump more than 15 oz. at work so this system works well for me. I could probably also pump before I go to bed since Charlie last eats at 7 PM, but sometimes I go to bed not long after him. :)
So that's it - the plan for back-to-school. I'm sure there will be some days when I'm going to want to quit, but I know I can do this. It's very important to me that Charlie get only breastmilk until he's a year old. I take those recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics very seriously!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Consolidating Sleep

In yet another sign that our little Charles is growing up, I think he's starting to consolidate his sleep. Charlie was king of the forty-minute nap. But lately, he's started taking longer naps in the morning and afternoon (one and a half to over two hours long!) It's just so weird to think of him having any sort of predictable schedule, but it looks like he's on his way...

And I know it's been a while since I posted one of these videos... Can you believe how big he's getting??

Monday, June 20, 2011

Breathable Bumpers

Not long ago Baby Charlie would lay on his back, swaddled in his crib. He would awake in the exact same spot. Fast forward to the past week - our little man is moving! This afternoon when I put him down for his nap, he moved from his back to his tummy, and from the middle of the crib to the edge. This makes him mad! I totally understand... I wouldn't want to sleep pressed up against my hard headboard either. Enter this little contraption:

It's a breathable bumper made of mesh fabric. This will hopefully keep Charlie comfortable and keep his arms and legs inside the crib. The mesh makes me feel better about keeping air circulating too. Hopefully a win-win situation. The reviews seem good so I ordered two (one for home and one for my mom and dad's). I'll keep you posted on how it works...

This weekend I also ordered a new portable crib mattress for the pack n play down the shore. With my summer vacation approaching, I'm hoping Charlie and I will be able to enjoy a few days relaxing at the beach/pool. He actually does really well in the pack n play, but I feel badly with him sleeping on that lightly padded cardboard. As he gets bigger I think the mattress will be more comfortable. As I've mentioned before, using cloth diapers and nursing has kept our expenses down tremendously since Charles was born. It makes it that much easier to justify these unexpected expenditures to keep our guy happy and safe, especially when he's sleeping. A happy, sleeping baby = a happy mommy!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tummy Sleeping

Well it's official... we have a tummy sleeper. Charlie rolls on to his stomach as soon as you lay him in the crib and puts himself to sleep that way. We are no longer swaddling (obviously) and he's doing a great job! Last night he slept from 7-5:15, with a few little wake-ups. I only had to go in once because he put himself back to sleep within a few minutes each time. He also returned to his typical nap schedule (two in the morning and two or three in the afternoon for 40-50 minutes each). Phew... I was so nervous about the de-swaddling process but he solved it for me with his new rolling skills. ;)

I also wanted to report that I am becoming an expert pumper! When I first started at work it took over half an hour, but I've gotten it down to about 20 minutes now. I don't really enjoy pumping, but with my Simple Wishes bra I'm able to eat lunch, play on my iPhone, or do whatever else I can while sitting at the table. And between my early morning pumping session and the two or three I fit in at work, I'm able to replace the twenty ounces that Charlie is drinking while I'm at work. This experience is helping me feel more confident about being able to continue nursing when I'm back in the classroom in September.

How sexy is this??   ;)
Tomorrow I am home with Charlie (I'm taking my last personal day) and I cannot wait to spend the day with him. It's amazing how much I miss him during the day - he's all I think about! We might also stop by a friend's house and Charlie could have his first experience in a swimming pool. You know I'll be taking photos. (Well, someone else will be taking them since I'll be holding him.) ;)  Enjoy this beautiful weather!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Imagination vs. Reality

As you may know, Charlie had not yet rolled over. I wasn't too worried about it since he had plenty of tummy time and great head and neck control. In my mind, I envisioned his first roll over experience. We'd be playing together on the floor... maybe singing songs or giggling together. I would place a favorite toy to his side and put my face near it. Charlie would be so in love with us both that he'd reach over and roll. He'd be so excited and I'd be so proud! Yay Charlie!

Now here's how it really went down. At 2:30 this morning Charlie woke up. I clicked on the video monitor and prepared to wait a few minutes to see if he'd put himself to sleep. After a couple of minutes went by I clicked it on again... and there was Baby Charlie on his tummy! Yikes! I ran into the room and flipped him back over, which made him freak out even more. I then had to unswaddle him (freakout #3) and tried to help soothe him back to sleep. He did finally fall asleep about an hour later... and then woke again around 4:30. I fed him them and put him back down. He slept for another hour or so. The rest of the day has been interesting to say the least. We have quit swaddling cold turkey for naps and tonight will be our first experience for bedtime. You'll remember that Charlie has a problem with finger sucking and keeping himself awake. The over/under on how many times we're going to have to get up is five. I'm taking the over and JA took the under (he claims to be an optimist.) I hope he wins.

Charlie did roll over once more for me this morning, but only once he got really annoyed with lying on the floor. It is wrong that I cheered when he started to cry after the roll? Yeah, probably... ;)  Anywho, wish us luck with the de-swaddling process. Hopefully it will be like our transition to the crib and we'll be back to normal by week's end!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Four Month Visit

Our baby is growing! Charlie went in for his four month doctor's appointment. He is currently 13 pounds, 3 ounces and 26 inches long. He is a lean, mean, baby machine! ;)  At first I was nervous that he was too skinny, but the doctor assured me that he was fine. She also said that the growth charts and percentiles are based on formula fed babies so they don't necessarily apply to breastfed babies. We talked about starting solids and I've decided that we'll start sometime this summer (when he's about six months old). Very exciting!

Charlie also got a few more vaccines today and handled the needles like a champ. He actually stopped crying once I picked him up. I nursed him right afterward and he was all smiles again. He seemed fine the rest of the day and even attended a neighborhood party this afternoon. He is such a good boy!

Only eight more days of pumping work before I'm off for the summer. I can not wait to take Charlie swimming and to the beach (with proper clothing and shade-cover, of course). How cute is he going to look? Especially in this adorable pirate ensemble from Auntie Abby:

I'll be sure to take lots of pics when Charlie dons his first swimsuit. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Working Girl

So I've survived my first two days back to work. My mom is doing a phenomenal job with Charlie (like I knew she would) and I am actually enjoying being back at school. What I'm not enjoying, however, is pumping. Ugh... what a pain. I dislike preparing and washing bottles and I especially dislike having to worry about when I'll have the time in my schedule. Yesterday and today worked out well because the teachers I was subbing for had prep times in the morning and afternoon. But tomorrow through Friday I'm in a Kindergarten classroom (that's a whole other challenge!) and she only has one prep in the morning. My plan is to pump then, pump at lunch, and pump right after school. Lunch is at 11:30 and school ends at 3:00. Not ideal, but what can you do? This is also really making me question how this will work in September when I'm back in my classroom. I have forty minutes for planning time and forty minutes for lunch each day. I'm new to pumping so maybe this will change, but it takes me five minutes to set up, twenty minutes to pump, and about seven minutes to clean up and store my equipment. That doesn't leave much time, does it? And how do I make copies, meet with parents, or talk with colleagues? I just don't understand how this works... I'm going to have to consult with my friend Alice... :) 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Charlie is four months old!

That's one-third of a year people - can you believe it?? I sure can't... At each month mark I find myself reflecting on when we first brought Charles home from the hospital. He was so tiny, and I was so clueless. Well, he's definitely grown, and I'm a little less clueless. We've come a long way...

I go back to work tomorrow, and I know that everything will be fine. Charlie's in good hands and it will be god to see my colleagues again. Wish us luck!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Trial Run

Tomorrow I am visiting my classroom as a mystery reader. I'm so excited to see my class and to be back at school, especially since I get to bring Charlie with me. On Monday I have to go back to work without him... that will be a bit more challenging. :) Since I carry our health insurance I have to go back or we would have lost it for the summer months and had to pay out of pocket - ick. Thankfully, my mom, JA, and JA's mom are going to watch Charlie so we won't have to start day care until September.

This little trial run will give me a good idea about pumping at work. I am really struggling with how this is going to go. As a teacher, I have set times each day for planning while my class has PE, music, art, etc. The problem is that those classes are not necessarily at the same time each day. The only thing that stays constant is my lunch period. If Charlie is eating every 2-2.5 hours, then I should also be pumping at those same intervals. There's no way this will happen at work. Best case scenario - I feed him just before I go, pump during my planning time, pump at lunch, and pump right after school. It won't be so bad for these next few weeks because I'll just be subbing, as opposed to returning to my classroom. But next year, in addition to pumping during planning and lunch times, I'll have to find times to make copies, meet with parents, and collaborate with colleagues. It's already stressing me out (which won't be good for my supply either!) Oh boy... I think I better go to bed before I really get myself all worked up.