Friday, 31 October 2014

5 Month Udate

Paloma turned 5 months old in Mexico! I'm a little late getting this post up, but I have to post it so I have a reference when I create her baby book when she turns one! I'll probably have to come back and add things as I remember, but for now:



Firsts:

  • International travel
  • Swim in the ocean
  • Sitting up unassisted
  • She found a blankie she loves

Likes:
  • Her silk blankie aka Mama's head scarf
  • The water
  • Falling asleep on Mama's back in the wrap
  • Her teething keys


Dislikes:
  • Teething
  • Being bored
  • Toys that talk (I bought her a Rock n' Roll Elmo and she cries whenever I try to show it to her)


Monday, 27 October 2014

#Microblog Mondays - Riviera Maya Edition

Just a little update to say we are enjoying our little family get away before the Winter. A post about travelling with baby (and more pics!) coming soon!







Friday, 17 October 2014

Baby Sleep

Do you ever find that the process of writing about an issue you are having helps you resolve it? It took me a few days to finish writing this post. I wrote when I had time and when I didn't, I composed sentences in my head. By the time I was ready to publish it, I felt like I had a better idea of how I want to handle Paloma's naps. Read on...

Baby sleep. If this isn't the most talked about/thought about aspect of parenting, I don't know what is. Strangers see you with a baby and it's one of the first thing they ask: "Is she sleeping through the night?"  Why is sleep the thing that people focus on? I just don't get it. There is so much more to parenting than your baby's sleep habits, but I'll admit that often times it feels like my life revolves around getting her to sleep and waiting for her next nap.

Paloma has become a 40 minute napper. Sometimes less. I used to put her to sleep with a pacifier, but now she detests the thing with a passion. (Just ask Andino who heard her screaming this morning in disgust as I repeatedly tried to get her to take it.) Then I started nursing & rocking her to sleep and then transferring her to the crib once she was fast asleep. The problem with that is, it would take me 20 minutes of putting her to sleep in my arms before laying her in her crib. That would give me only 10-20 minutes to myself before I'd hear her crying again. In that short window of time, I'd try to quickly wash my face / do the dishes / mop the floor or some other productive thing. Then she'd wake up and I'd be back to entertaining her. It became exhausting. And she's a really easy going baby. When she's awake, she's usually happy to play in her exersaucer or jolly jumper or lay on the floor sucking on Sofia the Giraffe if I have to get something done. (Unless she's having a fussy day.) If she's fussy, I just put her in my wrap and she doesn't make a peep. Especially now that she's big enough to put her in back carries, there have been plenty of times where I had her on my back while I did housework. Sometimes she falls asleep laying her head against my back and sometimes she just looks around. But as nice as that is... it's also nice to have time to myself without a baby attached to my body or in my arms or staring at me. 

Paloma has been doing her nights for a long time now. (Thank God) Sometimes I wonder if the reason she only takes short naps during the day is because she is getting the vast majority of her sleep at night, so she doesn't need many hours of day time sleep. She usually starts to get sleepy anywhere from an hour and 15 minutes to 2 hours awake. Then she takes a little power snooze to recharge her batteries. I think once she's able to stay awake for longer stretches of time without getting tired, her naps will become less frequent and longer. Normally, when I see the signs she's tired (rubbing her eyes and yawning) I start putting her to sleep by nursing her. Yesterday, as soon as she yawned I put her in the crib, turned the lights off and turned on her little musical aquarium. And after a few minutes of fussing she fell asleep!! For only 40 minutes, yes... but she fell asleep on her own. I had 40 minutes all to myself and I didn't know what to do with all that time! (I blogged) Since then, I've continued to try to get her to fall asleep on her own in her crib and so far, it's worked a few times. Not every time by any means, but a few times... which is better than no times. The morning naps are much easier than the late afternoon naps.

Truth be told, I am so sick of trying to mold my baby into  the perfect napper as determined by the sleep specialists. Who are those people anyway? I think they are the only parents whose children sleep perfectly, because every other parent I talk to seems to have one issue or another with their child's sleep. Paloma is only 4.5 months old and I've already wasted hours of my life googling baby sleep, only to have her do what she would have done anyway. I really feel like there is way too much pressure on parents to master their children's sleep. To have them on the proper schedule, to not use sleep props and to certainly not nurse them to sleep. For all naps to occur in the crib for a minimum of an hour and the list of dos and don'ts goes on. Whenever I try to follow all that advice I feel like a slave to my baby's constant naps.

I'm not saying I don't  want to care at all about her sleep schedule and routines, I just want to care less. To go with the flow and not care so much if she misses a nap and gets overtired. To not schedule my life around her sleep. Andino really wants that too. He often tells me he's seen babies up dancing well into the night or asleep in a wrap as their Mama dances at various music festivals he's played at. And I want to be like that too! I want that for Paloma. I want her to have fun memories of watching her Dad on stage at hippy music festivals and seeing all the free-spirited people dancing and having fun. I don't want to miss out on those things because she needs to go to sleep. Easier said than done though, because I do really care when I see her staring off into the distance with a glazed look in her eyes from exhaustion and when she screams and cries before I finally get her down because she was too tired to sleep. I want to be more free spirited and go with the flow when it comes to her naps and sleep, but how do I accomplish that? I start her bed time routine around 7:00 with a bath, then story time then I nurse her to sleep. Sometimes she wakes up again at 8:00 for another feed and goes straight back down until morning. We keep her room dark and the noise down in the house and she sleeps. Andino and I get a couple of hours with each other every night and for the most part, we all wake up well-rested so I'd definitely say I'm happy with her nighttime sleep.

Fast forward to today, when I am finally publishing this post and here's what I've figured out. Paloma is able to nap on the go, if I have her in my wrap. Even sometimes in her carseat if we drape a blanket over top. Sometimes, she's too excited by what's going on around her to be able to calm down enough to take a little nap. I've decided I'll use my judgement during the times when she's not able to nap on the go and if need be, find the time to slip away somewhere quiet and help her nap. As for the times when there is an evening event that I'd like to attend with her, Andino and I have decided to not worry about her schedule for that one night. A missed nap or late bed time here & there will not make that big of a difference in her life & the memories we make as a family will be worth it. Parenting (like all things in life) is about being flexible.



Monday, 13 October 2014

Breastmilk Donation

I just pumped my first 200 ml of milk to donate! I am so happy to become a breastmilk donor for our local NICU. I have about 15 bags of milk that I pumped when Paloma was 2-3 months old and I was looking for a place to donate it when my husband heard on the radio that the NICU had just opened a milk bank. It is being run by a non profit organization in a neighbouring province and I called them to find out how I could become a donor. They asked me a ton of questions over the phone and after I passed the initial screening, they sent me more information and forms through email which I have to fill out and send back along with the results of some blood tests. I'm not looking forward to having my blood drawn, but I figure I've done it so much over the past few years what's one more time for a good cause? 

So this morning, I strapped Paloma into my carrier and walked down to my Doctor's office so he could sign a few forms saying that to the best of his knowledge I am healthy enough to donate milk to premature babies and also give me the lab requisitions for the required blood tests. I like my family Doctor. He was so helpful & supportive over the past few years as we tried to grow our family, even giving me hugs on a few occasions as I left his office in tears . I'll never forget the day he broke the news that we had severe infertility. It was Valentine's day 2012 and he had just received the results of our labs. He pulled his chair up close and told me the numbers. "Is that really bad?" I asked. He and his wife had personally been through numerous IVF cycles before moving on to surrogacy, so he knows his stuff. "You'll need IVF" he said. "So there's no chance we can conceive on our own?" he didn't give me false hope. I could tell it wasn't easy for him to break the news to me and I appreciated his honesty. When I became pregnant, he was genuinely happy for me. Needless to say, I didn't mind visiting my Doctor to get the lab requisitions.

After the Doctor, we stopped at the NICU on our way home (I live a 10 minute walk from the hospital. Let me tell you, I was SO HAPPY to live that close when we were driving there while I was in labour!) I met a few nurses and a nutritionist in the NICU and they were all so excited that I would be donating. They gave me a tote and FILLED it with sterile bottles to collect my milk in. Looking at so many bottles, it's hard to imagine filling so many, but I'm sure it will only take a few months. I wrote before about the challenges we faced in the beginning from my oversupply. Paloma just couldn't handle the forceful flow of my milk when she was a newborn. When she was 2 months old, I finally discovered that if I pumped first thing in the morning, the flow wouldn't be as fast and she wouldn't choke. Along with the milk I already had, I'm also pumping 100 ml a day to donate. I am so glad the NICU is able to take the milk. I couldn't think of a better place for it!

Monday, 6 October 2014

#MicroblogMonday Bedtime Stories


Some of my favourite childhood memories are of when my parents would read me bedtime stories. I have two brothers, but we each had our own individual story time with one of our parents before bed. It's a tradition I am so happy to be able to carry on with my own daughter. These days, it has gotten a little harder because she loves to reach out and try to shove each & every page into her mouth, but I love reading to her. 


Story time with Dad

Story time with Nanny

 
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