Crunchy Granola Update (16w5d)

I never expected to want to be a Crunchy Granola Mama.  (Well, I never quite met the full CGM classification, I never had any intention of co-sleeping or having a home-birth or delaying/refusing vaccinations.)  But as my pregnancy progressed, the things I found I cared about and the ways I intended to care for my son fell pretty well in line with the Crunchy Granola way.  Some folks thought I was nuts for the things I wanted to do, but it feels right for us.  So, here’s how it’s going:

1)  Exclusive Breastfeeding: yeah.  Um, kind of a non-starter there.  I’ve made as much peace with this as I can, but it still is a cold dagger in my heart that I couldn’t breastfeed Kieran.  That was *the* thing I wanted most of all in this whole pregnancy/birth/parenting experience for myriad reasons.  (Aside from a healthy baby, of course.)  Fortunately, Kieran is thriving on his formula – that makes this bitter pill a little easier to swallow.

2)  Cloth Diapering: GOING GREAT.  Kieran has been in his cloth diapers full time since about 6 weeks.  (Prior to that, he was in cloth & paper diapers because he was just too tiny to use our regular stash of cloth.)

We had Kieran in paper diapers at the Pumpkin Patch so that he could fit into his size 6 overalls last weekend, and neither Paul or I were happy about it.  They smell funny to us now.  They don’t fit *nearly* as well as Kieran’s cloth.  Kieran himself doesn’t seem to like them.  Their only perk for us seems to be a less-fluffy butt.  We have a stash of paper diapers from friends around for emergencies, but we’ll be offloading those onto Paul’s sister when she’s here for the holidays with her little man.Cloth Diapered Baby

Our decision to use Prefold diapers and covers has been a great one for us.  Our wash routine is set: a cold double rinse-only cycle and then a warm/warm wash cycle with a soak and an extra rinse using half the customary amount of dye & perfume free laundry detergent followed by a whirl in the dryer on high. Diaper laundry happens every other day or so, but we never go more than 2 days.  Our diaper pail is a lidded step-on stainless steel trashcan that we use a large moisture-proof bag in to facilitate easy removal of the diapers.  Smells are not an issue.  Really.  The lid on the diaper pail keeps the smell down so that it’s only noticeable when you open the lid to insert another dirty diaper.  Yes, the short walk to the laundry room isn’t exactly pleasant, but there’s no need to hold your nose.

Leaks don’t happen.  (OK, there’s been maybe 5 leaks in nearly 4 months.)  Diaper rash hasn’t happened.   We LOVE our cloth diapers, and the cost savings they bring versus paying for disposables.  (Our power and water bills are comparable to this time last year, so the increase in laundry overall hasn’t been a thing either.)

3) Baby-Wearing: Going much better now that Kieran is a little older.  Kieran hasn’t ever been a fan of the chest-to-chest “cuddle hold”, in or out of a carrier.  He always wants to face out, or be held sitting up sideways in your arms.  This made using our carriers a non-starter until he could hold himself up better and take advantage of non-cuddle-hold options.

Second try forward facing in the MaiTei with feet out, 12 weeksIn the last 3-4 weeks though, I’ve brought out the carriers again, with good results.  The MeiTai style carrier and the SleepyWrap have been the best options.  (I have fears that I never will get to use my RingSling, as Kieran freaks every time we try with that one.  Boo.)  The only limiting factor seems to be that Kieran is a little furnace and gets too warm eventually – which can be as quickly as 30 minutes sometimes.  I try to have him in just a onesie or diaper when I put him in the carrier, Solution for hot baby in the wrap: diaper only!but that’s not always feasible.  Regardless, the carriers have helped us get naps in, get chores done, comforted Mr. Crankypants when nothing else will, and allowed Mama to have some needed cuddle-time with her little man.  I’m happy that carriers are working better for us now, because as he gets heavier, my arthritic elbows are really starting to complain.  I hope to be able to carry Kieran even more as his ability to sit up on his own increases.  Hands-free parenting at 16 weeks!I still haven’t convinced Paul to strap one on during the day – but I think he’s almost there after seeing how Kieran has been calmed by flying on Air Mama this weekend.  (Although they might have even more heat issues, since Kieran gets his furnace-like talents from his Daddy.)

Paul and I are making our own way with our son, and while it’s never what I’d call easy – it’s a life we honestly never expected to live.  And we’re loving the opportunity.

We live in the future! (11w6d)

When Kieran was first born, we had to track his eating and eliminating to see if he was getting enough to eat (turns out he wasn’t regardless of the diaper count… but I digress.)

We started using the white board in the hospital room to keep track of these details, but a few days after Kieran was born, Paul found a FANTASTIC Android app for our phones called BabyESP (eat, sleep, poop) that allowed us to time breastfeeding (on each boob no less!) and keep track of diapers, as well as when our little man slept. (Which back then was quite often.) Paul loaded this app onto my phone and we have managed to keep track of Kieran’s every activity since.

We LOVE this silly little application. It now syncs to both our phones (thanks to an update about a month ago) and we use it to track Kieran’s bottles (how much he eats, when he starts and stops eating, and notes about what type of formula it is, or if it’s his daily prune-y bottle) as well as his naps/sleeps and medicines. The medicines reminder feature has been a godsend to keep us on track with Kieran’s 3-times-a-day Zantac, which has all but eliminated his acid reflux symptoms. It was a HUGE help to us to keep track of diapers when we were battling constipation for a week. Plus, we have an accurate record of all the formulas we’ve tried and their varying results on the other end… (Not that we always make notes about Kieran’s diapers, but we can if we need to!)

Paul can look at his phone when he gets up with Kieran at 5:00am and see how the overnights went for us – without waking me up to ask! I can see at a glance how things are going for my boys while I’m at work. Being able to confirm that Kieran really is making the “OMG, I’m hungry!!” cry by seeing that it’s been 2 hours on the dot since he had his last bottle makes life a lot easier.

BabyESP even creates charts and graphs for things like average sleep amounts over a week or month (or formula consumption over a week or month) so we can make sure we’re trending in the right directions. Our pediatrician loves having this kind of data available.

I know it sounds all crazy Big Brother, but this has been such a help to us. As we’re trying to get a handle on Kieran’s sleeping schedule, having an accurate record of when he sleeps and for how long is the first step that all the books say to have when trying to create a schedule.

Oh, and the fact that the guy who is behind it all seems to be an actual nice guy who personally responds to tech support queries makes us feel good about supporting this app.

We live in the future. And it’s pretty cool.

Surrounded with Love (5w2d)

As we settle into the daily routine of having a baby, it’s amazing the things we start to take for granted. The tools and gadgets that make life so much easier right now – things that we never would have given a thought to before.

We are so blessed to have friends and family who take an active interest in Kieran’s life – even before he was born! We were (and still are) blessed with gifts from family and friends throughout the pregnancy, not just at the shower – which was overwhelming in a very good way. The little gifts keep coming now, and are hugely appreciated as we discover new things that are required to keep Mr. Kieran happy and healthy.

A huge example of that right now: Kieran is getting slightly thickened feedings now due to his acid reflux – 1t of oat cereal per ounce of formula or EBM. The bottles we have for him (Born Free) don’t really support thickened feedings – which require a different type of nipple. Fortunately, Kelly (Gnoam in the comments) had just sent us yet another care package of hand-me-downs from her 9 month old daughter Kara – which included four 5oz Avent bottles. The Avent system has a FANTASTIC variable flow nipple for thickened feedings. So Kelly’s hand-me-downs saved us from having to go purchase other bottles for these next few months of feedings for Kieran. So HUGE thanks to Kelly (and hubby Peter and Ms. Kara) for the great hand-me-downs.

But even more than that – when I look around Kieran’s room I see what he cannot. That every minute he is surrounded with reminders of how much he was loved before he even arrived. That he is (literally) cradled with and wrapped in love from people who have never met him. Aunt Nita provided his crib; Auntie Lisa & Uncle Mikey provided the mattress and sheets he sleeps on; Donna, Lisa, Kym, Becky, Lisa & Tia, Aunt Cassie & Uncle Kurt, and Grammy Jeanne provided the stuffed friends who keep watch over him as he naps. Every time we change Kieran, we’re grateful to Great Grandma Cat and Grampa John for the wipes warmer which makes all the difference in the world to Mr. Sensitive Tushy. Bathtime is made possible by Uncle Oin & Aunt Cynthia who completely stocked our cabinets with baby necessities, and by Caroline who passed on her baby bath now that her little Hannah has outgrown it.

And that doesn’t even start with the clothes!! Admittedly, nearly everything he’s worn at this point was provided by Mama & Daddy (or Kelly again with the hand-me-downs in newborn sizes) but Paul and I look ahead with a bittersweet glance to the future when Kieran can wear outfits provided by everyone – from adorable onesies, to rompers and safari outfits and teeny tiny smoking jackets. (I don’t think any of us expected me to have such a tiny little peanut!) But the flannel blankets that we received from so many people have been put into daily use – as well as the burp cloths! (Admittedly, I wish the burp cloths weren’t so needed now – the reflux really made those a necessity.) Once he’s able to wear the outfits that fill his dresser and closet – we’ll think of the friends and family who gifted him with such cute togs every time we change his clothes!

The books we’ve been gifted with right before I gave birth are being put to use already – not that Kieran has much of an attention span… but it’s nice to have something to read to him.

So thank you, again, to everyone. The love and support that you have shown Paul and I since we announced our news last Thanksgiving to our family and to the world at Christmas; the care and concern and interest shown during the roller coaster ride of my pregnancy; the generosity shown as we transformed our house into a haven for our son; and the fact that you’re even reading this now… it means more to us that we can say. Kieran has no idea how lucky he is.

Weekend Plans (35w)

I have to keep reminding myself that this weekend isn’t necessarily our “last” weekend. I’m thinking it would be nice for Paul and I to go out or something – like on a date while we still can, either this weekend or next weekend. We’ll see.

This weekend is errands and more prep.

  • I have a coupon for USA Baby for 20% off any one thing. I called, and that includes breast pumps – which is unheard of. Babies R Us (BRU) has a coupon right now for 15% off breast pumps, and I was crazy excited about that. But when the dang thing starts at $280, I’ll take another 5% and smile. The plan is to rent a hospital-grade pump for the first month, and then switch to the personal style if everything is working OK. If for whatever reason I can’t used the personal pump, I’ll return it since the box will be unopened. Yes, my cheapness knows no bounds.
  • Gotta swing by BRU anyway to try to exchange some clothes that we bought in April. They had an incredible sale that we took advantage of, as a hedge against the shower. I assumed most of it would get returned (or at least half) because of the bounty we got at the shower, but when Paul and I sorted through it all this week, he convinced me to keep all of it. There’s a couple of heavier terrycloth sleepers and an adorable sweatsuit that are in 6mo sizes that I’d like to swap for 9mo, since I’m afraid that the little man will be a size 6 in like September or October when it would still be too warm to wear them. I am hoping to keep my resolve and not make any other purchases while I’m there. Heh. We’ll see how that goes. (The little guy’s closet is pretty full now though – so I keep reminding myself of that.)
  • Groceries for dinners gotta happen today. I’m gonna make a couple of our favorite dinners in bulk this weekend (Ragu Bolognese and Creamy Italian Chicken at least) and freeze them in containers so we can have some home-cooked meals for a bit after the little guy comes home. So a bit of groceries and a grip of rubbermaid containers are on the list as well.

Other than that…. I’ve got one more load of baby laundry to do: all the receiving blankets and burp cloths and baby socks. I’ve been enjoying doing this laundry this week, folding and putting away the clothes that will be in the first pictures of my son’s life. Reveling in the fact that I have these tiny clothes at all in my house. Smiling smugly that I now have opinions on brands and know that Carter’s runs tall and skinny, Gerber runs even skinnier and smaller and Circo seems to be made for Amazons. Even with my rock-hard belly as a constant reminder, I’m still caught off guard by the knowledge that we’re having a baby.

I need to pack my hospital bag and the little bag for baby. We have a total of three Newborn sized outfits to choose from to bring the baby home in, and Paul already has veto’d one. (“My son isn’t coming home in something that looks suspiciously like a Dodgers uniform!”) That’s fine, one of remaining two outfits has stripes AND a dinosaur. I think we all know what the little guy will come home in. :)

This weekend we’ll build the bouncer and set up the Pack and Play – all the random stuff we’ve been putting off. Oh, and I’m bringing up the whole idea of actually having a name for the child several times a day. Not getting very far, but I figure Paul will get sick of me bugging him eventually and we’ll figure something out. hee!

Weekend Update (34w1d)

I’m feeling pretty good this weekend. A bit of a headache, which is either BP related or just standard pregnancy. Dunno. Baby is kicking like a total freak all weekend. Not sure what that is about. I’ve stayed on the couch most of the weekend, mostly because that’s what I’m apparently supposed to do; but also there’s a fair amount of pain and pressure when I’m up and about for too long. And sometimes 10 minutes is too long. I’m having more Braxton-Hicks contractions that I’ve ever had too. So that’s something I’ll be mentioning at my next appointment. I’ve got appointments on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for monitoring and I’ll see Dr. Schwartz on Wednesday.

Nesting (or at least my form of it) has set in, I think. I’m more motivated to get things organized. I’m not cleaning cupboards or scrubbing things – let’s not get crazy here. But Saturday evening Paul and I organized all the baby’s clothes and gear that we have so far. I’ve washed all the hand-me-downs and all the new clothes that aren’t on hangers, sorted them all and put them into the dressers by size. Paul brought in some storage cubes and put them on the floor in the baby’s closet, so there’s a place to store all the random toys and gear and whatnot that shouldn’t just be laying around. He set up the froggy humidifier and the turtle nightlight and got the diaper changing pad installed while I futzed with clothing. Next up, we’ll wash and re-hang the stuff on hangers, organizing the closet as we go by size.

(I’m amazed at the HUGE difference in sizing between brands. I’m fairly certain that the Gerber brand size 0-3 onesies would fit the baby *right now* as opposed to the Circo brand size 0-3 onesies that look like they would fit our 14 pound cat fairly well. And then there’s the Carter’s stuff that within the same dang size is all over the place! Ah well, variety and spices and whatnot, right?)

We also figured out the complexities of car seats and their installation today. Turns out that the LATCH system in both our newer cars is the best thing ever. Since it’s eleventy billion degrees outside this week, we’re not gonna bother to install the car seat yet – but at least we know how now. (Also, for the time being we’re going to use the carrier-based car seat in my car, since it’s not like I’m going anywhere with the baby without Paul for a while. The carrier-based car seat is better suited to a smaller baby as opposed to the larger convertible seat we have for my car.)

So this week we’ll get my hospital bag mostly packed. I’ve got nearly everything I need – and I’ll be picking up two nursing bras (that will be too small I’m sure, but they’ll work for now) tomorrow. I’ve got a big list of stuff for my hospital bag, so we’ll pack as much as we can that isn’t day-to-day stuff. The rest of the stuff can get tossed in before we head to the hospital. I’ll deal with proper-fitting nursing bras once sizing sorts itself out. I found a couple good tutorials about turning regular bras into nursing bras, so I’m gonna go that route since they don’t make nursing bras in my size.

So I’m home now, not going back into the office for some time, barring something fairly extraordinary. I knocked myself out on Thursday and Friday to get my stuff wrapped up so I could move my base of work operations home. The plan is that I’m still going to work full time until the baby comes – and I’ve got enough projects and tasks to do that for 2 weeks at least. I want to burn as little paid time as possible before the baby actually gets here. After the baby arrives, I’ll still do some work from home while I’m on maternity leave: payroll, accounts payable and a monthly report or two. Not a huge amount of work, but stuff that I already do, would be difficult to train someone on in less than two months, and allows me to not burn time (and actually earn some back.) I’m so grateful that my supervisor and I have been able to work out an accommodation that works for the agency and for me. This is kind of uncharted territory for my agency, so it’s kind of try-it-and-see. It’s amazing what can be accomplished with a laptop, RDC, e-fax and a printer at home.

So lots going on this week, combined with me trying to stay as calm and relaxed as possible with my feet up at nearly all times. Should be interesting. I have no idea when this kid is gonna come – I figure there’s at least a chance we could be sent to the hospital after every appointment this week. So that should be fun.