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Mr. Independent

Noah James is 6 months old now!  He’s far from a newborn and is getting more and more independent all the time.  Today, he occupied himself for 40 minutes in his bouncer while I vacuumed all around him. He gets super focused on solving the intricacies of a toy and he can focus on that for large chunks of time. 

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He is also always on the move now!  His favorite thing to do is to squirm all the way down on his swing so that his butt is on the floor.  He’s so proud of himself when he does this!

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He is a little wobbly, but he can sit up on his own for the most part now.

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And his feet!  Oh how he loves feet!  His socks are always wet because he has to have a foot in his mouth at all times!

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It doesn’t even need to be his foot!  A friend’s foot works just as well!IMG_0424

 

It is just amazing how much he is learning, growing, and changing.  Reflux is still an issue, but he just started solid foods this week, so we are hoping that solids will help with the reflux and help put weight on him.  He loves to eat and to nurse, but he loses a lot of his milk from spitting up which has slowed his weight gain.  In case the solid food doesn’t help, we’ve scheduled an appointment with a GI doctor for later this month.

Here’s Noah James showing off his love for avacado!

This was his initial reaction…

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But he decided that he loves it!  Today I had to mash up some more because he cried when it was gone!

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Mr. Independent has also spent some time away from mommy this past week.  Dave and I left on Saturday morning for Key Largo, Florida, and returned on Tuesday morning.  Noah had a great time with his grandma.  (I think my mom is still having withdrawls since she left him!)  Noah did great without me… but I was a mess!  I cried all the way to the airport!  We were only gone for 3 days, but I missed him more than I can explain. 

The trip was great!  But it was tough… I had to pump for the month leading up to the trip so that Noah would have enough expressed milk for my mom to give him.  But I also had to pump the whole time we were gone so that my supply wouldn’t drop.  It was tough!  Much tougher than I thought.  Aside from the fact that the last thing you want to do while on a romantic, sunny getaway is to spend time inside attached to a breast pump… it is also just really hard to pump while traveling!  Airports are not made for pumping moms!  I pumped once on the floor of baggage claim and once at an empty gate.  I tried to be discreet, but it was really embarrassing!  And then storing and keeping all that milk cold… it took a lot of planning.  But I arrived home with a cooler full of 90+ ounces of breast milk, so I can tell you that it can indeed be done!

It was such a short trip, that we spent much of the time traveling.  But it was worth it (even with the pumping frustrations).  We had a chance to reconnect, enjoy the sun, and spend some uninterrupted time together.  We snorkeled.

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We read. 

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  We had a picnic and watched the sunset. 

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We went to the beach.

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We ran.  I did 10 miles both days. 

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It was glorious to run outside again!  And since we have snow on the ground in Boston today, it might be a while until I get off the treadmill again. 

It was just a lot of fun and I am very thankful to my wonderful husband for planning this trip for us.  We needed it!  And after a relaxing weekend together, I was more than ready to see this precious face again!IMG_0376

Speaking of that precious face… I hear him waking from his nap.  Time to go!  Smile

I am the worst blogger ever! But in my defense, the only time I am on line is when I am nursing Noah. And even then, my email responses are a mess with typos (and crazy auto correct mistakes!) because I am typing on my iPod. I keep saying that when I can get on my computer and type with 2 hands, I’ll update my blog. But when I have “free time” when Noah James is napping, I want to use it to exercise, clean, or do laundry rather than blog. Maybe my blogging motivation will come back to me….

Noah is not napping well today, but he just fell asleep on me after nursing, so here I am….trapped under a sleeping baby and blogging with one hand (actually, one thumb!).

The last couple of weeks have been filled with play dates! Noah James has a very busy social calendar! I have met a lot of moms in the neighboring communities through a class that I took last month and through a drop in group we go to each week. Noah has such fun taking in the other babies… And I have such fun getting and giving support from/to other moms. It’s scary to be a first time mom and having friends who are going through the same developmental issues you are makes me feel much better. Here’s Noah at yesterday’s play group….

The support has been most welcome in the last few weeks because Noah’s reflux got pretty bad. We tried inclining his mattress. We tried more frequent feedings (every 2 hours!) and keeping him upright afterward. Nothing was working and even his weight gain slowed significantly. He loves to nurse and eats a lot…but it all comes back up! Finally, last week he went on Prevacid and I went on a soy and dairy free diet. This is not an easy diet! There is soy and milk in everything. But I am determined to continue breastfeeding and if this could help, I’ll do it. It will take a couple more weeks to know whether the soy or dairy is contributing to the problem because it takes up to 3 weeks for the proteins to get out of mom’s body and milk. But I think we are already seeing a bit of an improvement from the Prevacid. I’m hopeful, but anxious for our next weigh in appointment.

Aside from all of the reflux troubles, I must say, this is one happy baby. He loves to smile and laugh. He has just discovered how wonderful it is to eat his toes! And he is sitting up quite well too. He likes to help mommy clean in his carrier which is a great help to me. Here he is ready to go!

And here he is after helping me vacuum. Vacuuming is exhausting!

Dave has had to do quite a bit of traveling lately. He came back from his last trip itching to see Noah! (Me too, I think. But mostly Noah!). It cracked me up when he walked in the door from his last trip and was wearing the same thing Noah was wearing! Those boys are in sync…even when they’re an ocean apart!

The last couple of weeks have been exhausting with Dave away, Noah’s reflux, and trying to keep the house together. But I feel so grateful to have made so many new mommy friends; so grateful to my own mom for visiting with us while Dave is away; so grateful for a husband who takes such loving care of us; and so grateful for this smiley face!

Making Progress

We’ve made a lot of progress here this week in terms of sleep. After a few rocky nights getting to sleep, Noah now goes down all by himself! He’s waking up a couple of times every night, but I can live with that since he can now put himself right back to sleep. Me, on the other hand…. While he falls right back to sleep after nursing, I lie in bed staring at the ceiling! I don’t know why, but it leaves me pretty sleepy. I just can’t blame Noah for it now! :)

I’m off tomorrow to spend a few days with my family while Dave is off on business. I’m excited to see my grandparents. My grandfather is having surgery today and my grandmother has been really sick these past couple of weeks. I know it will help them both to see their great grandson!

I also get to have my hair cut since I have my mom to hold Noah while I get pampered! It’s a long time coming! One thing they don’t tell you is that several months after giving birth your hair starts to fall out! After having thicker hair while pregnant, the hormones start to shift and you lose all the extra hair. I feel like I’m balding and I can’t wait for a new haircut to make me feel pretty again!

Noah and I are off to our last “mommy and me”-type class today. It has been such fun watching Noah James interact with other babies. And I’ve gotten to know some other moms too so we will have more playdates in the future. Being a stay at home mom is a dream come true for me, but making connections outside of the house is so important. It can be scary and lonely to be home alone with questions and concerns and no one to talk to who is able to talk back. Especially as a first time mom. Having the support and friendship of other moms makes all the difference!

Time to start the day. It’s 5:30 am and I have a good hour to get in a treadmill run before this little darling wakes up….

Emerging from a Fog

I feel like we have been in a fog for the past month or so. Noah James went from being a super sleeper who needed to nurse once in the night and then going right back to sleep…. To a cranky baby who woke several times during the night (claiming to be hungry) and wouldn’t go back to sleep easily. He was exhausted and so were we!

This happens at about 4 months for many babies. Their sleep cycle changes, and at the same time they are learning to be a little manipulative. Example… Noah will scream in his swing beside the dinner table while
we eat. But as soon as you look at him, he smiles and laughs! He knows his cries work!

Normal or not, what was going on was not sustainable. So last weekend we began sleep training. There are many viewpoints on how to best teach (or reteach, in our case) a baby how to sleep. Some say crying is inevitable, while others say that allowing a child to cry scars them for life. I fall somewhere in the middle. Noah James had learned that all he had to do was cry and he would get to be held and nursed, even if he wasnt hungry. I knew a little crying would have to be involved, but there was no way that I was going to be able to let him cry endlessly either.

We settled on a moderate CIO (cry it out) plan. We would put him in his crib drowsy but still awake. All of the sleep experts agree on this… If the baby is placed in his crib already asleep he doesn’t learn how to fall asleep on his own. He needs the rocking, nursing, or whatever else mom used to help him fall asleep. The idea is for baby to learn how to sooth himself to sleep, both at bedtime and when he awakens in the middle of the night.

So into bed drowsy, but awake. Of course Noah James starts
screaming the moment he is put down. On night #1 he was to cry for three minutes before someone went in to sooth him. Then we would pick him up, pat his back, say “I love you,” then put him back down. Many people
say you shouldn’t pick up the baby, but because Noah has reflux issues we felt it was important that he got a few pats on the back in case he had to spit up. Next, we waited 5 minutes before going to him and repeating the process. The next interval was 10 minutes. The intervals have gotten slightly longer each night.

Last night was night #3. He screamed for the first 5 minutes. Stopped when we picked him up and patted him. Screamed for the next 10 minute interval. Stopped again when he was picked up and patted. And then, miracle of miracles, he stopped crying 11 minutes in to the 15 minute interval. He slept until 12:30 when he awoke, legitimately hungry. I fed him and he soothed himself right back to sleep. When he started crying at 4:30, I was afraid we were up for the day, but he fussed for less than 5 minutes and soothed himself back to sleep….until 7:00! 11 1/2 hours with one feeding. That is something we can sustain!

Best of all, because he was well rested, he took a nice long morning nap and has been in a great mood today. Sleep begets sleep. It is much easier to get a well rested baby/child to sleep than one who is overly tired. Best piece of baby advise I got! In fact, he is now taking an afternoon nap…a good sign for tonight!

I know we will still have rough nights, but the past 3 nights have shown us that Noah can sleep through the night like he used to… And we are strong enough to stick with the program!

My mom came to help us with the first couple of nights of sleep training. She also babysat so we could have a Valentines Day date night. When you don’t get out much (or at all!), dinner and a movie is thrilling!!

I feel so lucky to have such a special Valentine in my life. Dave, I couldn’t ask for a better partner or friend than you. And seeing you sharing special times with Noah James, rocking him to sleep or making up silly songs, makes me love you that much more.

I leave you all with a few pictures of our newest little Valentine (who is still napping!).

This is my first attempt to blog from my iPod Touch word press app. Bear with me :)

This has been a nice week. More snow meant that my mom got stuck here for an extra day and Dave had to work from home one day. I don’t mind the snow when I can be snuggly indoors with the people I love.

My mom has been coming to visit every week to allow me time to study for my biochemistry course and Dave has been taking Noah James on adventures ( some might call them errands) on Saturdays to give me quiet time too. I’ve been really lucky with all the support. Unfortunately, I am just not understanding this material. Trying to teach myself through dvd’ed lectures an online notes is just not working. So this week I made the difficult decision to quit the course. I have always been the straight A student and have never quit anything academically related. But I feel like I am just missing precious time with Noah James and with my family because I am not taking in the material. Theres no payoff for the sacrifice. So I’m done!

If I am honest with myself, I don’t know for sure if a dietetics program is right for me at this time in my life. With a baby I just don’t know if I want to make that financial and time commitment. I want to work with kids and families around healthy living. Since I have degrees in counseling, I thought nutrition counseling would be a way I could do this. But perhaps I can do the same thing without having to do such a long program. Personally training? Health/PE teacher? Since I am doing my dream job now, staying home with my darling boy, I have some time to think about it.

It’s a good decision right now in particular because studying is even harder with no sleep. Noah James is hitting that 4 month growth spurt/sleep regression. Nighttimes and naps are both challenges. he is also spitting up a lot which makes it hard for him to get back to sleep at night after nursing. But like the good times, this is also a phase, and once we get through this we should be on to another calmer stage. On a more positive note, Noah is now an expert at tummy time and can roll very easily from belly to back! My little man is growing up!

Despite the lack if sleep (both his and mine!) we spent my second day without the obligation to study doing something fun together. Grandma Jan (Dave’s mom) sent me her recipe for Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookies. There are few foods Dave actually craves. But cookies are one of them. Today Noah and I did our first baking project!

Before anyone calls child protective services over Noah sitting on the counter in his Bumbo chair, I pulled out all if the ingredients ahead of time so my back was never to him. He loved watching the process!

I am looking forward to a weekend free of studying. Unfortunately, we have more snow on the way. But I’m excited to spend time relaxing at home with my boys.

I’ll leave you with a few more shots of the snow since last week’s additional foot!

Our icicles from the outside ( these have been chopped down and have reformed already!)

The view of our driveway from the livingroom (what driveway!?)

And out the guest room window…

Enough snow please!!!

Is it Spring Yet???

I don’t think the kids in Boston have had a full week of school since returning from Christmas Break.  We’ve had at least one major storm every week.  I think the foot we got last night really pushed all of us over the edge.  We are ready for spring!!  There is no more room for the snow!  Here are a couple shots of our winter wonderland…

Here are our icicles.  They go almost to the ground.  This doesn’t say good things about the amount of heat we’re losing!

 

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This is the view from our upstairs guest room.  The snow on the eaves makes for very little visibility!

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This is a view of the house from the street.  The tiny speck in the garage is Noah James.  He got all bundled up to help me finish shoveling today.

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Its hard to tell from the picture, but the snow on the side of the driveway is above my head!  We don’t have a really long driveway, but it sure does feel long when you have to shovel!

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We no longer have a front entrance to our house.  Sure hope the garage door doesn’t break!

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Noah James was a big help.  Dave did a bunch this morning.  Enough to get his car out.  Then I did the foot of the driveway (you know…where the snow plow comes through and makes a 3 foot high pile of dense, icy snow).  Noah was a good sport, but was less than pleased by this afternoon’s “playtime.”

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It was so windy while I was shoveling that I had to put him in the garage to keep him out of the wind. 

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He watched for a bit, looking very cold and uncomfortable.  Then he fell asleep!

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He was such a good boy, but he did not enjoy being in the cold.  I rewarded him with a little Baby Eistein while I blog.  I can’t get over how much he loves these DVDs.  He is entranced!

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We don’t watch a lot of tv and he watches even less.  But when he is given a chance to stare at the flickering lights and the people and animals on the screen, he absolutely loves it!

While on the subject of Mister Noah James.  He’s been having a rough time lately.  I think he is in the very beginning stages of teething.  He must have something in his mouth at all times!  When there’s nothing around, his hands are in his mouth.  And the drool is out of control!!

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He had some little red dots on his neck that I was attributing to all of the wetness from the drool.  But last week, I realized that his back, belly and arms also had red bumps and rough patches.  I took him to the doctor and the doctor didn’t know what it was from.  She said it wasn’t a virus or an allergy, and was likely reacting to something he was in contact with.  I didn’t change any soaps, lotions or detergents, so I have no idea!  He isn’t itchy and seems to not notice.  That’s great, but I still want to get rid of these bumps.  This isn’t a great picture, but do any moms out there have any ideas???

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The bumps are hard to see, but they remind me of those clear little poison ivy bumps.  Yuck!  Noah turned 4 months on January 22nd, so we have his 4 month well checkup at the doctor next week.  If the bumps aren’t gone by then, I am going to push harder for something specific that I can do.  Right now I am just putting lotion on him in case its caused by dry skin, and rubbing Aquaphor around his neck to form a barrier from all the drool!

Thank goodness the rash isn’t bothering him, because the poor little guy has other problems.  A lot of babies who were good sleepers regress around 4 months, and Noah James seems to be struggling a little more lately.  But to make it worse, we decided to try weaning him from his swaddle. The doctor said it was time to start easing him out of it.  So we are leaving one arm out of the swaddle.  You’d think we were standing the poor kid on his head!  He’s all out of sorts.  He hits himself in the face and wakes right up!  We are very tempted to swaddle him back up, but last night went much better.  Wish us luck tonight!!

The next obstacle is to move him from our room to his crib.  We aren’t stupid enough to try making both changes at once, so we chose to tackle the swaddle first.  Right now, Noah sleeps in the Fisher Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper. This thing is great and I highly recommend it.

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Noah spits up a lot and struggles with reflux issues (I couldn’t tell you how many bibs we go through in one day!!), so sleeping in a cradle that has an incline has really helped him.  Moving to his flat crib will be a definite adjustment!  Any moms out there have any suggestions about weaning a baby from a swaddle or moving him to a crib?  Any helpful hints would be great!

Between the spitting up, the rash, and the sleep issues, Noah has been grumpier than usual.  But his “grumpy” is still pretty happy!  We still get plenty of smiles, so I’ll leave you with some happy Noah pictures and keep the fussy ones to myself!  Before any fussiness sets in this afternoon, I’m going to try to squeeze in a little more studying.  Biochemistry is kicking my butt!  Fortunately, I have a face like this to look at!  Smile

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Snow Day!

Just like most of the country, we spent yesterday digging out from under piles of snow.  The digging part wasn’t fun, but being snowed in was!  Dave had to work from home, so we had a snuggly day with our little man.  Noah James wore his snowsuit for the first time and we took him out to touch the snow.  Look how deep our snow was!

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Noah didn’t know what to make of it.  He wasn’t smiling, but he wasn’t upset either.  He just took it all in with wide eyes.  I didn’t keep him out long.  The wind was really blowing and he doesn’t have mittens.  We left Daddy to do the   digging. 

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A baby is a nice excuse to get out of shoveling duties!  Fortunately for Dave, a neighbor came by with a snow blower and helped him out. What’s an appropriate gift for a neighbor who went above and beyond? 

In other news… Noah has been growing in leaps and bounds! He’s much bigger.  Probably 11 pounds now.  That’s still really small compared to most babies on the verge of 4 months, but since he started out tiny, he is showing a lot of growth.  He’s even getting pudgy cheeks and thighs, as well as a little Buddha belly! 

Beyond the physical growth, I am amazed by how quickly he is learning new things!  My mom bought Noah a Bumbo chair and a Winkle.  Moms and dads know just what I’m talking about.  Anyone else probably thinks I’ve gone nuts!  Here’s Noah James in his Bumbo, playing with a Winkle!

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This seat is great because it helps him to sit upright, something he seems desperate to do!  When we first gave him the Winkle a couple of days ago he concentrated on it with all of his might….looking at it, then looking at his hand.  Finally, he would wrap his fingers around it and manage to get it to his mouth, grunting all the way with the exertion of it!  Today…I gave him his Winkle and immediately, he picked it up and stuffed it in his mouth!  It is so amazing to see so much growth and learning in such a short period.  He changes every day!

While we’re talking about Bumbos and Winkles, let me introduce you to a Whozit as well.  I thought this was the ugliest thing ever when we got it!

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This was a gift when he was born and my first thought was “where can I put this ugly thing so that it doesn’t take away from the cuteness of his nursery!”  It turns out, this is a really popular toy and Noah James loves it!  It is made of many different fabrics, textures, sounds, and colors.  There’s even a little mirror under the nose.  This morning, I hung it from Noah’s play mat and he spent 20 minutes (!!!) playing with that nose and pulling the arms!  Nothing has kept him entertained that long!  I just might be able to study effectively again!

Speaking of studying, it is now time for me to dive back into biochemistry (my last prerequisite course!).  I was granted an extension when Noah was born because I was unable to devote time to the course.  But now I am 3 months from my new deadline, so its time to return to amino acids, the TCA cycle, and pKa’s.  Aren’t you jealous?!  A big thank you in advance to my mom who is going to give me an afternoon or two each week to study alone, and to Dave who will be on Daddy Duty on Saturday and/or Sunday afternoon.  This is tough material and the only way I’ll learn it is with peace and quiet.  I’m really lucky to have so much support!

Time to nurse my little man to sleep.  We try to have him down at 8 so that Dave and I have at least an hour of alone time before I turn in.  I hope everyone is surviving the snow and staying warm.  

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