Thursday, July 28, 2011

Four Months!

As of Monday, Aniston Louise is four months old!

Weight:  13.5 lbs. (home weight--no appointment with the pediatrician this month)

Height:  around 24 inches (home measurement--no appointment with the pediatrician this month)

Clothing Size:  She's still wearing mostly 0-3 month/Carters 3 clothing but is beginning to wear some 3-6 month outfits.  She's outgrown most of her 0-3 month footie pajamas and a couple of dresses.  She seems to be outgrowing things length-wise faster than width-wise. 

Diapers:  Size 1

Feeding:  Aniston has started eating six ounces during feedings this month.  She eats every four hours during the day and doesn't usually wake up during the night.  We're feeding her mostly formula, but she has a bottle or two of frozen breastmilk every day.

Hair/Eyes:  Aniston's eyes are still blue.  Her hair is a light brown with a reddish tint.  It has really grown this month!

Sleep:  Aniston is still sleeping through the night!  We've had two "off" nights this month, but those were solved with a bottle (once) and her pacifier.  Her bedtime is usually between 8-10pm, and she normally wakes up between 6-8am.  She's still taking two long naps every day--in the morning and in the late afternoon--and catnaps in between.  I haven't been a stickler as far as a nap schedule goes.  I've been just taking her cues, and it's worked well for us so far. 

Likes/Dislikes:  She still likes the swing, but not as much now that she's able to control her head well--she wants to be up and looking around!  She has two favorite toys--a puppy and a giraffe.  She likes mirrors.  She still loves to go outside.  She's paying a lot of attention to Lucy and Ethel and likes for them to come close to her.  Aniston still doesn't have much of a tolerance for tummy time (at this rate, she's not going to roll over until she's five. Ha!), but loves to lay on blankets in the floor on her back.  She's most "talkative" then.

Fun Stuff:   
--Aniston holds her head up so well now!
--She's growing and learning every day.  It's amazing to watch how quickly she's changing.
--Aniston coos and squeals constantly!
--In the last two days, she's reached for me once and Bradley once.  Talk about melting your heart!!
--She smiles constantly and laughs out loud.
--She licks everything.
--She's started drooling and continues to blow bubbles.

Mommy's Point of View: 
    I stopped pumping almost two weeks ago, and can't believe how much better I feel!  I know that giving Aniston breastmilk was important, but I (kind of) wish I would have stopped sooner.  I'm able to actually fully enjoy being a mommy now.  I loved it before, but pumping was such a burden.  Our lives revolved around it.  It was just time consuming and, for me, stressful.  I love being able to wake up in the mornings and spend time reading books and playing with Aniston after I feed her.  Before, I had to rush to pump as soon as she finished her bottle.  My day now revolves around her, not pumping, and I love that.  I was also having a lot of anxiety and was on the verge of having to take medication for it.  Since I stopped pumping, most of that has gone away.  I feel like I'm a better mommy to Aniston now....even if she's not getting breastmilk. 
   I'm fairly certain that we have the best baby in the world.  (I may be slightly biased. Ha!)  Really, she's wonderful.  Aniston is the easiest, happiest baby!  She just goes along with whatever we're doing and is usually fine with it.  She doesn't cry much at all and is rarely fussy.  She's sleeping between eight and ten hours a night.  She eats well.  She's healthy.  She's just....perfect!
   Life is so wonderful right now.  This little girl has changed everything, and we are so blessed!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Aniston with her great-grandparents (my mom's parents) last night.  Yesterday was Pop's birthday. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Schnauzers

During my pregnancy with Aniston, I often wondered how the schnauzers would react when we brought her home.  It had been just the four of us for a long time, and they (Lucy especially) were our babies.  They were used to getting all the attention.  I didn't really worry about it, I just wondered.

After Aniston was born, we sent a hat that she had worn home for them to sniff.  I had read that if a dog got used to the new baby's smell before the baby actually came home then the transition would be easier.  I'm not sure if it helped (how can you really tell anyway?), but we did it and will do it again when/if we have another baby.  Honestly, they didn't pay much attention when we walked in with Aniston.  I think they were just glad to have us home.  After loving on them for a bit, we introduced them to Aniston. 

Lucy was (of course) a bit skeptical at first.  (It reminded me of the way she acted when we brought Ethel home.  Ha!)  For the first week Lucy wouldn't have anything to do with me.  No matter how much I tried, she wouldn't let me pet her or even be near her.  She's always been a lap dog, but for that first week she would sit on the love seat all by herself rather than sit with me.  I'm not sure if that was because of Aniston or if she was just mad that I left on that Friday morning telling her I would only be gone a couple of hours for an appointment and then didn't come home until Monday afternoon.  (Yes, I tell them where I'm going and how long I'll be gone.  Yes, I know that's ridiculous.)  After awhile, though, she warmed up and was back to her usual self.  From the very beginning, Ethel was just....Ethel.  She's always in her own little world and nothing really phases her.  As long as she gets her fair share of petting, she's good to go.

We've had a couple incidents here and there, as was expected.  One day when Aniston was crying and Bradley was holding her, Lucy went up and bumped Aniston on the top of the head with her nose as if to say, "Stop it."  Another time Ethel made a soaring leap from our bed into Aniston's pack and play while Aniston was in the pack and play.  Neither the schnauzer nor the baby were harmed in that ordeal (Aniston actually slept through it). 

Overall, though, it's all gone really well.  What was most surprising to me was that their barking didn't bother Aniston in the least, even on her first day at home.  I guess she'd heard it for nine months and it was just normal for her!  Their barks never once startled her, but when Bradley or I would raise our voice to tell them to be quiet that would cause her to startle.  I'm beginning to think Aniston will be the one who does most of the startling.  She's learned that she can squeal this week, and it is so high-pitched!  For Lucy (who practically falls down every time someone spins the wheel on The Price Is Right), squealing is pretty scary.

Aniston is beginning to pay more attention to them, and they're beginning to get more comfortable being near her.  Lucy and Ethel are careful not to actually touch Aniston very often, but they'll get close.  Aniston has started smiling when she sees them.  They're protective of her and keep a close eye on her especially when we have company.  They're not big fans of her crying--they run to their crate when she starts--but, luckily, that doesn't happen too often and, when it does it doesn't last long. 

I'm really happy with the way things are going.  It looks like the start of a beautiful friendship between the two schnauzers and the baby....at least until the baby learns to pull ears and tails.  ;)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Formula

(This post is insanely long, and probably incredibly boring.  Sorry about that.  It also probably falls in the TMI category.  Sorry about that too.) 

At my first appointment with the regular OB/GYN (after I had been released from REACH), the OB coordinator (who is also the practice's lactation consultant) asked if I was planning to breastfeed.  My answer was pretty quick--yes, that was what I planned to do.  I knew it would benefit both the baby and myself, and that was that.  Decision made, or so I thought.

After Aniston's birth, while we were still in the recovery room, the nurses encouraged me to try to feed Aniston.  I tried, and she just wouldn't.  She wouldn't latch on, she didn't show any interest in it at all, and quickly fell asleep.  They assured me that it was okay.  After all, we'd both been through a fairly traumatic experience, my blood pressure was insanely high, the epidural had affected me in ways I didn't know were possible (as in, my whole body was numb, not just the lower half), and Aniston's heart rate had been very low.  It wasn't a great start to breastfeeding, but I had no doubt that it would improve.

I continued to struggle with breastfeeding while in the hospital.  Of course, there was only colostrum, but Aniston wouldn't latch on long enough to get even that.  I'm pretty sure I met with every lactation consultant they have on staff during our hospital stay.  On Sunday, Aniston's bilirubin level was at 9.9.  If it rose to 10, she would have to be treated for jaundice.  Since eating and going to the bathroom more often would help with that, it was decided that we would supplement with formula.  We used the cup and syringe feeding method to avoid using a bottle to avoid nipple confusion.  It worked, and the bilirubin level decreased.

 The hospital I delivered at is known for its strong support of breastfeeding.  Before we were discharged on Monday, I had to meet with yet another lactation consultant to develop a "breastfeeding plan".  The other ladies had been incredibly supportive and kind.  This lady....not so much.  She frowned about me supplementing with formula, and told me that if I was giving her formula anyway, I might as well be using a bottle.  Boy, did I feel like a failure!  Bradley still swears he doesn't believe the lady was being rude or judgmental, but I definitely felt judged.  Still, though, she developed a plan for us which included pumping for 15-20 minutes after each feeding. 

After we got home on Monday, my milk came in and I thought things would improve.  During the pregnancy, that was my greatest fear--that I wouldn't have enough milk.  In my mind, I truly believed that if I had enough milk, I would have no problem breastfeeding.  The thought of her not being able to latch on never entered my mind.  Aniston still wouldn't latch.  We spent the majority of the week trying to figure out what to do.  Aniston would scream during feedings, I would cry, and Bradley would be helplessly watching.  (That's right.  I wouldn't let him leave the room.  If I had to deal with the screaming, he did too.)  I began dreading feeding her.  It was horrible, not at all the bonding experience I had anticipated.  As soon as the feeding was over, I would be able to breathe for about fifteen minutes...then I would start watching the clock and dreading the next time.  I couldn't even enjoy being with her because of worrying about breastfeeding.

So, a week later, I pretty much gave up on the idea.  I had talked with the lactation consultant at the OB/GYN.  I realized that I had done everything I could do.  She just wouldn't latch, and I couldn't make her.  I could continue trying, hoping that she would get the hang of it, or I could give up.  Since I had been pumping anyway, I chose to begin giving her that milk in a bottle.  Life around here improved quickly!!  There was no more screaming from Aniston, no more crying from me.  I could be happy and enjoy my baby.

Fast forward to week fifteen.  I'm exhausted.  I'm pumping every three to four hours and it's killing me.  I've produced enough to feed her plus freeze a lot.  I'm still producing plenty; that's not the problem.  The problem is I'm tired.  After much thought, I decided to begin the process of switching her to formula this week.  It was a terribly hard decision for me to make, especially since my mind has to make the decision, not my body.  (I've been hoping for weeks that my supply would dwindle and the decision would be made for me.  No such luck.)  Even though I've threatened to quit many times over the last fifteen weeks, I never have.  This time, though, I'm serious.  I'm finished.   

I gave Aniston her first bottle of formula on Wednesday night.  While I fed her, I cried.  I have such jumbled emotions about it. On one hand, I feel hugely guilty about stopping.  On the other, I'm thrilled at the idea of my life not revolving around pumping.  I know that she will be just fine on formula.  Plenty of babies are.  (I recently read somewhere that nine out of every ten babies are fed formula at some point during their first year.  That made me feel better.)  Since Wednesday she's had several more ounces and seems to be doing great.  We're going to feed her mostly formula this weekend just to make sure she tolerates it well before I really try to decrease my supply.  Between what I've frozen over the last couple of months and what I'll continue to pump as I wean, Aniston will be able to have at least one bottle of breastmilk a day for a long time.

I hope I'm doing the right thing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (Well....not really)


This fluffy playmat was made by Bradley’s Mamaw Frances.  She actually gave it to us when we found out we were pregnant with Peanut two years ago, and it’s been waiting in the closet ever since.  Yesterday, sweet Aniston played on it for the first time.  I wish Mamaw Frances could have seen her.  She always had faith that we would be able to have a child of our own and she prayed for us constantly.  When we found out I was pregnant again, she was so happy.  I’ll always cherish the memory of sitting by her bed and showing her ultrasound pictures.  Her smile was so sweet.  Mamaw passed away before we found out the baby’s gender, but she always insisted that it would be a girl.  I’m so grateful for the time I was able to spend with her.  She was such a precious person, and I wish Aniston could have known her.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Promises, Promises

I promise to be a better blogger.  Just like I've promised 431 times in the past, oh say, three months or so.  I promise I'll document more of Aniston's precious little life through the blog.  I promise I won't miss blogging about any more holidays or special occasions or trips or anything.  I cringe every time I log on and look at the little "Hi, there!" ticker thing.  People are still visiting my blog, and there's nothing new there to visit.  Bless.  You can expect daily posts from me from now on.  Daily!  I promise.  ;)

Meanwhile, Aniston's little eyes just popped open.  Nap time is apparently over, and so is blogging time for this mommy.  Maybe I'll learn to juggle all this soon?  Maybe???

Three Months!

Aniston's three month birthday was on June 25.  I'm late in posting, but here's a look back at the third month!

Weight:  10 pounds 15 ounces (as of 6/3/11--50th percentile)

Height:  21 3/4 inches (as of 6/3/11--25th percentile)

Clothing Size:  Aniston was still wearing newborns at the beginning of the month, but quickly moved into size 0-3/Carter's 3.  By the 25th, most of her clothes actually fit.

Diapers:  Size 1

Feeding:  Aniston is eating between four and five ounces every three hours during the day.  She usually wants a little more in the morning and in her last bottle at night.  I'm still pumping, so other than the two days of supplementing with formula in the hospital, she's been entirely breastfed. 

Hair/Eyes:  Her eyes seem to get lighter by the day and are blue.  Her hair is beginning to grow back on top.  It's a light brown and still has a reddish tint, especially in the sunlight.

Sleep:  On June 21, Aniston slept through the night for the very first time!  Hallelujah!  She was always precious during those 3am feedings, but I'm glad to see them go, and hope they don't return!  Since the 21st, she's done really well.  We've only had one night when she woke up around 4am.  Aniston is still sleeping in her room in the bassinet on her pack & play.  I think Bradley wants to move her to the crib in her own room, but I don't know that I'm ready for that just yet.  She's still a great napper during the day.  Her longest nap is usually after her first feeding, and then she catnaps during the rest of the day.  She's much more alert now. 

Likes/Dislikes:  Aniston continues to love her swing and the mobiles.  She has lots of great conversations with the animals!  She loves music, and it often helps to calm her.  She's still not a fan of tummy time at all.  She loves to go outside.  Bath time has definitely improved this month! 

Fun Stuff:   
--Since I decided not to return to the classroom for the remainder of the year, I wanted to visit my class before school ended.  Aniston and I went to visit on June 7.  The students absolutely loved her!  The funniest thing, though, was that they repeatedly talked about how different I looked.  I'm glad they thought I looked different, since the last time they saw me I was nine months pregnant! 
--We took our first trip to the beach as a family of three this month.  Aniston did so well!  I had worried about the ride, but she slept most of the way and when she was awake, she was happy.  She wasn't too sure of the ocean! 
--Bradley's sister, Jessica, and her husband, Adam, had a baby boy on June 2!  It's wonderful that Aniston and Colton are so close in age.  Aniston looks huge compared to him!
--Aniston is smiling all the time now, and has started laughing a little every now and then.  She loves to stick out her tongue, and it just thrills her when you stick yours out in return!
--She has recently started licking everything.  Her hands, our hands, blankets, toys....anything that comes near her mouth! 
--At the beginning of the month Aniston was beginning to hold her head up a bit on her own.  Now she's holding it up all the time with very little bobbling.  She loves looking over our shoulders and checking out her surroundings.  Since she's able to hold her head up so well now, she's beginning to enjoy sitting in her Bumbo.

Mommy's Point of View:  Aniston is growing so quickly!  It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine and not pay attention to how fast the time is passing.  She has changed our lives so much already and is such a blessing to our entire family!  I love watching the way everyone interacts with her, especially my grandparents (her great-grandparents).  They just love her to pieces and can be so silly!  It makes me happy to see how happy they are.