Friday, September 13, 2013

New Orleans with the Kiddos

*Catch-up post from this summer...hopefully a few more of these to come.

We arrived in New Orleans with not much of a plan except trying to do some wandering around, seeing some street performers and eating at Cafe du Monde. Upon arrival we asked the concierge at at the hotel and he told us the three most popular activities for kids are 1) the cool zoo (like a water park in the zoo), 2) the aquarium, and 3) story land. Since we had recently been to the aquarium and zoo in our hometown (and they are $$$) we decided on Storyland as our kid-centered activity. We decided to visit Storyland in the morning and leave the French Quarter for the afternoon post nap. 

We had a quick breakfast at a diner down the street from the hotel and then drove to City Park. The park is huge and we could tell that there was a lot of exploring to do there, but we had limited time and a destination so we went directly to Storyland. In sum, Little Boy absolutely loved it! It was story book characters and structures that he could walk in/on/over. (We also realized that he doesn't know very many classic fairy tales yet so we need to get on that!) Adjacent to Storyland is a little amusement park called Carousel Gardens. Little Boy was too small to go on most rides but he did go on his very first carousel and very first ferris wheel ride. 

We had some snacks and headed to the hotel to try for a nap. That was a total fail! So we decided to just leave and head to the French Quarter for lunch and wanderings. We had a great lunch at the Acme Oyster House, then walked down to  have beignets and coffee for dessert. We enjoyed just walking around and  watching street performances and finally the heat was just too much and we headed back to the hotel for a dip in the pool before dinner. Of course Little Boy passed out in the stroller on the way back! And Baby Brother? He was a trooper and let us do what we wanted to do. All in all a really great day!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Quick Trip to the Beach

After this post, M decided we needed to re-group to prevent burn out. So we decided to head out of town for the weekend. Here are the highlights:

Friday, September 6, 2013

Breastfeeding the Second Time Around and Tandem Nursing

Baby Brother was born knowing how to latch on and that is a blessing I do not take for granted. While he did not nurse immediately following the birth, within a couple of hours he sure did and by his second day of life my milk had come in and we were on our way. During the early weeks, we woke Baby Brother up every two hours during the day to feed and I think that was instrumental in getting his days and nights sorted out, because in no time he was giving us a 4-5 hour stretch at night which by 6 weeks extended to 8-9 hours! (Of course since this post is about nursing and not sleep I will not go into details but he's not giving us that same stretch at the moment).

Along the way, we have definitely had a few bumps. First and foremost, dealing with MSPI has been rough. Secondly, just as with Little Boy I have gotten a few blocked ducts and once almost mastitis, but being hyper-aware of this and pulling out the pump and nursing in crazy positions we have managed to avoid anything serious. With Little Boy I was able to take lecithin to prevent the blocked ducts, but since I am soy-free I haven't been able to do that and have been relying on drinking lots of water and pumping to take care of any issues as they come up.

Things that have made a big difference in my comfort this time around have been:

  • Getting a glider; I love it and have not had any back pain from leaning over while sitting on the bed. 
  • Learning to nurse in the side-lying position: we started at about 6 weeks and quickly mastered it helping night wakings be MUCH easier to handle. 
  • Using a My Brestfriend pillow in the early days for better positioning, then a Boppy for a little while after that, and now nothing because the kiddo is big and just lies in my lap. 
  • Focusing 100% of my effort on breastfeeding in the early days. No cleaning, no cooking, no worrying about guests (and yes I was nursing in the living room with no cover). The only thing I did other than nursing/carrying/changing Baby Brother was trying to spend quality time with Little Boy. I really think this is essential in establishing a good groove and I wish it was easier for other new moms to do just that.

Other differences? I have not been pumping on a regular basis, just as needed and a few short sessions here and there with the manual pump in the early days to make a small freezer stash. If I'm feeling particularly full I just pump a couple of ounces and call it a day. Baby Brother has never had a bottle, so at this point even if he were to get pumped milk we would just move onto a cup. I never use a nursing cover. Ever. It it is a pain to get situated with it, a pain to keep it in place, an extra thing to carry, and mostly because I just don't care. I actually see myself as a walking poster board for breastfeeding (in a place where it's not very popular) and when asked people are actually shocked that Baby Brother is such a big baby and has been fed solely breast milk until the past couple of weeks when we started solids. Finally, the biggest difference of all is that I am tandem nursing.

My milk monsters

During Baby Brother's first week of life, Little Boy did not get to nurse. M would do the bedtime routine with him and that was that. By the end of the week though, Little Boy was begging to nurse and I felt comfortable that Baby Brother was nursing well and establishing my supply so I let Little Boy nurse before he went to bed. During the next few weeks, Little Boy was extremely jealous and wanted to be a baby as well and so he began nursing before his nap time and then for a short time upon wake-up as well. He did/does not like to share, so I do not nurse them at the same time. This was exhausting and I actually felt like it was too much for me (physically).

As soon as we left town, just before Little Boy turned two, that morning session was eliminated (by M getting him from bed). Since then we have stuck with twice a day, but now that Little Boy is going to preschool we are working on eliminating the pre-nap session as well since I'm just getting tired of it. I don't offer if he doesn't specifically ask. Our bedtime session is the only one I really enjoy because Little Boy is calm and gets his cuddles and one-on-one time with Mommy. It is always after Baby Brother has already gone to bed, so I am not worried about him and Little Boy can take his time.

What more is there to say? I never in a million years imagined going down this road, but if it helps keep my boy healthy (the research indicates it does), well then I'm not going to push him to wean (at least for a little while longer). 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Little Boy's First Day of Preschool

I mentioned earlier that I was searching for a preschool and I'm happy to say that we found one, we started, and so far I am feeling great about the decision! Let me rewind a bit: I started the search by making a list of all the options near our house within a couple mile radius. There were A LOT of options. I then looked up their websites and narrowed down to about 10 places that were a) not religiously affiliated, b) were more than just daycare. From there we made some calls, focusing on those that we got personal recommendations for. When all was said and done, after visiting the schools and ruling some out for being too academic (workbooks for 2 year olds? no thanks!), too religious (even though there was no mention on the website), too tech-y for my taste (iPads for 2 year olds? not my cup of tea), we were left with two options. My preferred school originally was a Montessori, but it was too far away to walk and the drive there would have left me sitting in traffic every morning. Considering it's only a half day, I just couldn't justify the drive.

So our final choice ended up being a small hands-on preschool that has a little of everything (arts, gym, play etc), is a 20 minute walk/3 minute drive from the house, and with teachers that made us feel comfortable and created a warm environment. I also liked that they have a suggested menu (we bring our own lunch based on a schedule so that the kids eat more of less the same but I have control of the ingredients), that they were easy going with us on the registration (I did it the day before school started), and that we found out about some acquaintances that also send their kids there. The day before Little Boy started we went to meet his teacher and I was put really at ease finding out that she likes to emphasize the same things I was hoping for: socialization and independence.

After all that, there's not much to say about the first day. Little Boy had a great time, came home tired but happy, and was excited to go the next day. We still have an adjustment period ahead of us as the day was a little long for him and I still need to streamline our morning routine. All in all though I'm excited for some one-on-one time with Baby Brother and having some time to tackle projects around the house when he's napping!