It took a few years of marriage before Greg and I were ready to give up our "no kid" status. Truth be told, we were loving life exactly the way it was. We had total freedom to do whatever, whenever we wanted:
Spontaneous weekend trips to wine country
Luxurious vacations in sunny destinations
Random week nights out to concerts, comedy shows, or happy hours with friends
It was a super hard decision to make as to when we really wanted to "give it all up", but one that clearly changed our lives in the most fantastic way.
But still - it makes me really appreciate all of the carefree times we did have as a twosome. It was so awesome to be able to make decisions without first asking myself:
Who will watch Ben?
Have I planned each of his meals carefully?
Have I written out his schedule?
How tired will I be tomorrow if we go out tonight (aka will I have enough energy to chase him around the house)?
Tonight, we get to go out for dinner and drinks with friends (kid-free!!). It is funny how things like uninterrupted conversation and getting to sit and enjoy a lingering meal at a restaurant (instead of us taking turns entertaining Ben and power-eating so that we can leave quickly) seem like the biggest treat in the world now! I have been looking forward to this all week!
So, while these occasions are most definitely rare these days, I think that I appreciate them even more. And having the memories to look back on definitely reminds us that life has been good to us, and makes me look forward to experiencing this next phase and what is in store for our future!
Ben has been doing this more and more often in the past couple of days. I think the first time we saw him do it was Monday, the day after he turned 9 months old. I think he must have been thinking, "What would a 9 month old do"?
He is up to 10-15 seconds of standing completely unsupported. I think walking is just around the corner!
Greg and I love to hate these jammies. My mom bought them for Ben in a 2 pack for Christmas (with the other pair being much cuter). The thing is, these jammies are incredibly soft and since we pretty much think Ben is cute in everything, we feel like he can pull them off :)
And just in case you cannot tell, these jammies say the following all over them:
You QUACK me up!
And also, the animals are not JUST ducks and cows, they have pigs and horses too - which seems very inconsistent to me. Why does it not also say, "oink, oink"?
And why am I spending so much time analyzing these jammies?
Saturday was a boring and rainy one in Seattle. After completing all of our running around by 10:30 am, we returned home for the day with no other plans. Typically, I love these days as it feels nice to have a day free of commitments. This day, however, I was GOING OUT OF MY MIND by mid-afternoon. Greg was feeling lazy, so I finally decided to leave Ben with Greg and headed over to Rachel's! It was so wonderful to spend a few hours enjoying some wine and girl time - and we decided to make some treats!
As Ben gets older and older (sob) it is becomming a lot easier for me to break free for longer and longer periods of time (yay)! Thanks for turning my boring day around, Rachel!
Homemade strawberry ice cream (with strawberries from Rachel's garden)!
I subscribe to several different parenting websites, and typically receive 3-5 emails a day on various parenting and baby topics. Many of them are pretty helpful, while some of them are just stating the obvious. And from time to time, the subject and content has me saying "MAN - this would have been so helpful a few months ago"!
This is one of those articles. This article by Fit Pregnancy addressed several of the questions I had about breastfeeding, which I was able to have answered either by asking some of my friends, or by just experiencing it and working through it myself.
Anyway, I'm copying the content here with [a few additional notes] that were helpful to me.
Nursing changes as your baby grows. Here’s how to adapt.
The first days and weeks of breastfeeding often boil down to sheer survival: getting your baby to latch onto (and stay on!) your breast; functioning on what often feels like mere minutes of sleep; and willing yourself to keep going if you’re having problems. Yet at some point down the road, when you and your baby have made it through the getting-to-know-each-other period, you’re likely to have different questions and concerns. Here’s a look at some of the breastfeeding issues you’re likely to face throughout the first year.
Month 1I’ve heard that getting a proper latch is essential for successful breastfeeding. Is it really that important?
Yes, it’s that important. If you don’t have a proper latch, your baby may not get enough milk, and you could develop sore and cracked nipples. Following are tips from Corky Harvey, R.N., M.S., I.B.C.L.C., co-owner of The Pump Station stores in Southern California, on how to get it right (click here for step-by-step photos):
- Position your baby so he is lying on his side, his belly flush against yours.
- Prop up the baby with a pillow and hold him up to your breast; don’t lean over toward him.
- Using your free hand, place your thumb and fingers around your areola (the dark area surrounding the nipple).
- Tilt your baby’s head back slightly and gently touch him with your nipple just above his upper lip.
- When his mouth is open wide, scoop your breast into his mouth. Place his lower jaw on first, well behind the nipple.
- Tilt his head forward, placing his upper jaw deeply on the breast. Make sure he takes the entire nipple and at least 1 1∕2 inches of the areola in his mouth.
[If your baby is falling asleep or stops sucking, you can gently stroke behind their ear to trigger the sucking reflex].
Month 2How can I tell if my baby is getting enough milk?
This is one of the most common questions among breastfeeding moms, because unlike with a bottle, you just can’t tell how much milk your baby is getting. To make sure you’re both on the right track, your pediatrician will monitor his weight closely, especially for the first several weeks. In the meantime, pay attention to his diapers: He should have six to eight wet ones and at least two “seedy,” mustard- colored stools daily by the time he’s 7 days old. Also keep this in mind: “As long as your baby is gaining weight consistently and his diapers show that he is eating enough, you can assume that he’s getting plenty of milk,” says Jeanette Panchula, R.N., P.H.N., I.B.C.L.C., a lactation consultant at the Solano County Department of Public Health and the California Department of Public Health’s Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health division. If you’re still concerned, schedule a weight check with your pediatrician.
Month 3I’m going back to my full-time job in a few weeks and want to keep breastfeeding. How do I handle pumping?
First off, alert your employer about your plans so that you can work together to find the best place for you to pump. “It will help things go more smoothly if you can figure out where and when you will pump before you actually get back to work,” Panchula says. You should have begun pumping when your baby was 3 weeks or 4 weeks old, both to get him used to taking a bottle and so you’ll have a supply of breast milk stored in the freezer. If you haven’t started, get going! Since you’ll be returning to work full time, you’ll probably want to rent or buy a double electric pump because it expresses both breasts at once and therefore cuts down on pumping time. (For some great models, see “Nursing” in our Buyer's Guide) When you return to work, try to pump as often—and at about the same times—as your baby normally nurses.
[See my post here about the importance of relaxing and visualization].
Month 4I’d like to have an occasional glass of wine. How long do I need to wait after drinking before nursing my baby?
In general, the alcohol from one drink—8 ounces of beer, 6 ounces of wine or one shot of hard alcohol—tends to be metabolized (and thus absent from your milk) within two to three hours, at which time it’s safe to nurse your baby. But a better guideline is this: As long as you’re feeling any effects from the alcohol, even if you are just a bit tipsy or giddy, don’t put your baby to the breast. Want to be even more sure? Try MilkScreen, a home test for alcohol in breast milk (milkscreen.com).
[I was a lot more conservative in the first 3 months about carefully timing my wine intake around Ben's feedings. After I got the hang of things, (and after I realized that one glass of wine didn't make me feel any effects of alcohol whatsoever), I would not worry about waiting the 2-3 hours after having a glass with dinner to feed him.
Additionally, the whole "pump and dump" thing? I rarely did/do that. If it is time for you to feed or pump (or if you just need to express milk) and you are feeling the effects of booze, then yes - feed your baby a bottle and pump and dump your milk. If your baby is down for the night, and you enjoy a few glasses (or a bottle) of wine, and it's not at a time when you would be feeding your baby anyway, there is no need to pump and dump your milk! It will simply metabolize in the way it normally would, and when it's time to feed again (assuming the alcohol has worn off), you can just go for it. For the longest time I didn't quite understand this. I kind of thought that the "tainted milk" would just hang out there for awhile and needed to be dumped, but my understanding of it all is that just is not the case.
Month 5I’ve heard that breastfed babies usually take longer to sleep through the night. Should my son be doing this yet?
First, keep in mind that “sleeping through the night” at this age actually means five or six hours, not eight or nine. Second, every baby is different. Some will start sleeping through at 3 months old; others won’t until much later. “Babies sleep through the night when they’re ready, whether or not they’re breastfed,” Panchula says.
That said, because breast milk is digested so completely and more quickly than formula, breastfed babies do tend to eat—and therefore wake—more frequently than formula-fed babies. (Tip: Don’t look at the clock! Feed the baby whenever he’s hungry, day or night.)
Month 6My baby seems ready for solids. How and when should I introduce them?
“Breast milk still is the most important part of your baby’s diet at this age, so breastfeed right before you offer cereal or other foods,” says Debi Page Ferrarello, R.N., M.S., I.B.C.L.C., director of family education and lactation at Penn Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Health System. When you do offer solids, start with rice cereal and gradually add a cooked or mashed fruit or vegetable. (Many pediatricians believe it’s fine to start with a finely puréed fruit or vegetable, or even meat; check with your doc to see what she recommends.) Be sure to wait three to five days before introducing a different food so you can trace the cause of any allergic reaction.
Month 7Can I take birth-control pills if I’m breastfeeding?
“Yes. But opt for a progestin-only ‘mini-pill,’ since pills containing estrogen can decrease milk supply,” Ferrarello says. Depo-Provera—an injection given every three months— is another progestin-only contraceptive that is safe to use while breastfeeding; wait six weeks after childbirth before beginning use.
Month 8 I keep getting clogged milk ducts. What causes them, and what can I do to treat them?
“One of the risk factors for clogged ducts is a change in a baby’s feeding pattern,” Ferrarello says. “If your baby is nursing less frequently because he’s eating more solids, milk ‘stasis’— when milk sits in the breast—can occur and cause the ducts to clog.” The best way to treat clogged ducts is by nursing or pumping often from the affected breast, applying warm compresses, and getting plenty of fluids and rest. If you have a fever or flulike symptoms, see your doctor; you may have mastitis, an infection that often requires antibiotics.
Month 9 My baby keeps biting me! How can I make him stop?
Take him off the breast as soon as he starts to bite, say, “No biting!” and keep him off the breast until the next feeding. Also be alert: Biting usually happens toward the end of a feeding, so if you can tell that your baby is almost finished nursing, remove him from the breast before he clamps down.
Month 10My baby often seems uninterested in nursing. Is this normal?
“This is completely normal at this age,” Harvey says. “Babies are curious about their world and really start to explore now.” Your budding toddler may be distracted by every noise he hears, which causes him to pull away from the breast; or he may be crawling, in which case he really wants to explore. While this might be a frustrating time for you, it should pass; it typically doesn’t mean that the baby is ready to wean.
Month 11My baby is eating more solids. How many times a day should he be nursing?
“A minimum of four times a day is what we expect,” Harvey says. “A baby this age should be getting about 16 to 20 ounces of breast milk daily.” At the end of the first year, half of a baby’s calories should be coming from breast milk.
Month 12I’m not sure I’m ready to wean. Are there any good reasons to breastfeed for longer than a year?
There are many reasons to continue nursing, but one of the best is your baby’s health: Breast milk continues not only to protect him from many illnesses, but it also will help him recover more quickly if he does get sick. “As long as your baby is drinking breast milk, he’s getting all the immunological benefits nursing provides,” Harvey says. But there’s more. “A nursing mother and her infant have a special bond, and there is no reason any woman should be in a hurry to give it up,” Harvey adds. “As long as she and the baby are happy, there is no reason to wean.”
Well, I'll say it again - HOW is Ben 9 months old?? He has been out as long as he was in!
Looking back on my 8 month post, it is crazy to see how much progress Ben has made with his crawling! He most certainly is now crawling directly towards whatever it is that he wants. When I walk from the living room towards the kitchen, he will crawl right after me....and then turn around and follow me back into the other room. (I love that). He now also follows Maxwell around, which is super fun for both of them ;) He has also crawled directly into the entertainment center a couple times, resulting in a black eye (his second....of probably many...lovely).
Ben will pull himself up onto everything....all the time. He loves to explore the areas around him. He loves to crawl into the bathroom while I'm taking a bath and then stand there and splash the water around. He will also now stand and let go with both hands for a few seconds - working on his balance! Greg has watched him crawl up 3 stairs, too!
Naps and bedtime are getting better (again). He still will cry for a bit when going down, but he seems to be learning to calm himself down more quickly and eventually will give in and snooze. This morning, I could hear him laughing to himself in his crib (a first) before he fell asleep.
He is back to sleeping from 8 pm until about 5:30 am (usually), eating, and then going back down until 7 am.
Ben has 4 teeth now, and MAN he looks cute with them :) It is so awesome to see him using them while eating foods now, but not awesome to hear him grinding his teeth. SICK!
I am still nursing him 5 times a day (on average) with the occasional 6th feeding (at 5:30 am). He is starting to really take to food, which is SO GREAT! I try to sit him down and feed him a "balanced" meal 2 times a day at a minimum, with the occasional bite of something if he seems interested in what we are eating (and if it's baby-appropriate). Usually this will be breakfast or lunch, and then sitting down and eating dinner with us. Half of the time he will eat EVERYTHING in front of him, and the other half of the time he is completely uninterested. Work in progress!
Ben is still in 9 and 12 month clothing, and outgrowing some of his 9 month gear.
Lately, Ben seems to be into everything that is not a toy. I mean, he still enjoys his toys, but if given the option between a toy and the vacuum cleaner, or the fireplace, or the cord to something, he will always choose the latter. We are definitely getting our exercise now, following him around all over the place!
Ben is a very social little boy. He enjoys smiling at nearly everybody, which I love! I cannot wait for him to start saying words, but for now, we really enjoy his high-pitched happy squeals, or his full on loud grunty "yells".
We are also noticing that Ben usually uses his left hand when feeding himself. I have no idea of this means he will turn into a lefty for life, but I wanted to note it down here just in case!
Greg's first Father's Day is in the books, and I feel that it's safe to say that I complied with his "whatever Greg wants to do - day" wishes :)
We started the morning off at IHOP - Everett's finest!
After Ben's morning nap, we stopped by to visit my dad to wish him a Happy Father's Day!
Finally, we rounded out the afternoon by spending a couple hours at the Washington Brewer's Festival at Marymoor Park in Redmond. Since we unfortunately were there as Ben was starting to get tired and hungry, Greg had to cram a lot of "tastings" into a short amount of time. My gift to him was to be his DD :)
The rest of the weekend was fun, too!
On Friday evening after work, we checked out the Edmonds Art Festival with Rachel for awhile. I love how Ben looks like he is hanging on for dear life.
On Saturday, we ran errands and made a Costco run. This picture cracks me up: Ben was getting very "kicky" in the Bjorn...and with his legs getting a little longer.....well....Greg needs to be on high alert at all times:
On Saturday evening, we visited our friends Emily and Chris and met their 4 week old Jaxon! Yet ANOTHER little baby boy for Ben to play with :) I love it!
Steph and Mason - taking "New Mom Glow" to a whole new level. BEAUTIFUL!
Back when Ben was just a teeny little baby, during a coffee date with Steph, she shared the news with me that she was pregnant! I was still high off of my new-baby hormones, and could hardly contain my joy for her and her expanding family!
On Monday evening, June 11th at 8:01 pm, Mason James Daurie was finally born! My long time friend Steph (friends since middle school) had her adorable little boy, after quite the labor experience! I knew I was in for a good story, considering the fact that she and I had been in touch at 5:26 pm confirming a coffee date for the following morning:
When I saw that Mason had arrived just a couple hours later (at a hospital about 40 miles south from where Steph lives), I was in SHOCK. Um, what?
I had the pleasure of visiting Steph, her husband Jesse and little Mason today, and finally got the scoop. Steph started feeling "a little uncomfortable" around 6:30 ish on Monday night. While Steph was reluctant, Jesse insisted that they head to the hospital, and on the way (with Kylie, their 7 year old daughter in the back seat), Steph's contractions intensified, her water broke, and Mason was about to make his debut right there on the freeway! They arrived at the hospital MINUTES before Mason came out. I cannot even begin to wrap my mind around such a fast labor, especially considering there was not ONE SECOND of urgency throughout my entire labor with Ben.
I am so incredibly proud of and impressed with Steph! Mason is SO perfect! He is joining such a fun, loving family and has such a great life in store for him.
Steph has been such a wonderful friend, and such a huge help to us since Ben was born. I don't think that more than a couple weeks has gone by without her stopping by with an outfit, a meal, a coffee, or her just dropping by on her lunch hour to see what Ben is up to! I am so excited to be able to do what I can to make life a little easier for HER now that she is adjusting to her new life as a mother of two!
Congrats, Steph! Mason is perfect and we are SO happy to have a new little boy to add to the crew :)