Sunday, January 29, 2012

newborn learnings

as the oldest of 9 children, i've often felt like i'ad already been a mom many times over, so the idea of having my own children was never daunting or scary.  i always thought i'd be more than adequately prepared for when it happened.  i mean, i had changed more than my fair share of diapers growing up, had baby-sat (both my own siblings and neighborhoods full of kids) more than anyone else i knew, and had always loved babies.  plus, i love to read/research, and i had done plenty of that in regards to childcare in the months leading up to ronan's birth, so i felt as prepared as i could be.

but having my own child, someone who depends on me for EVERYTHING is a completely different story!  i often found myself overwhelmed and unsure about what to do these first few weeks of ronan's life.  so before this time become a distant memory, for my sake i wanted to jot down some of my key learnings, mostly practical, that i've taken away (from our pediatrician, mommy friends and online resources).

  • hiccups are normal - ronan get the hiccups A LOT!  after almost every feeding, and while they don't seem to bother him all that much, it breaks my heart to see his whole body shake with them for long stretches of time.  but according to his doctor, hiccups are very normal, some babies are just more prone to them, and really they're just caused by spasms of the esophagus.  the best thing i can do is make sure he's adequately burped and wait it out.
  • keep the baby uprightt - at a 45 degree angle at least - after a feeding, for about 15 minutes.  this should greatly help with tummy/gas issues and even hiccups.
  • burp sitting up - rather than placing ronan over my shoulder and patting his back, our pediatrician said a better method when babies are this young is to sit them up, place your hand under their chin to hold their head in place, and pat them on the back.  this method has definitely been more successful with ronan.
  • pump legs in bicycle motion - advice given by a dear friend and mommy of two, this helps extract the gas bubbles that sometimes cause him pain.
  • congestion is normal - i managed to catch a pretty bad cold toward the end of ronan's first week home, and it lasted over a week.  i was extremely congested among other things, and started to notice that ronan was also becoming more congested.  on the couple of occasions i asked the pediatrician and his nurse about this, i was reassured that congestion is very normal in newborns and it would only be concerning if he was so congested it interfered with him breastfeeding.  most likely he didn't catch anything from me, and it was important for me to NOT keep my distance from him, as the antibodies provided in my breast milk were very much needed by him.  i was advised, however, to not kiss on him while sick, and let me just say that was the hardest thing ever!!
  • rapid breathing or panting is normal - again, very common in newborns, and i noticed it never lasts for very long.
  • using a pacifier is ok - this is more of a personal decision and something i just had to come to terms with.  i had sworn i wouldn't use a pacifier with my children but that went out the window the at ronan's first dr. apt on day 2 when he was screaming bloody murder b/c his feeding was long overdue. the paci worked wonders, and while we won't be using it all the time, it's definitely come in handy since.  plus i was reading pacifiers have been show to decrease the risk of SIDS...go figure.
  • newborns don't require daily baths - they don't really get dirty, so sponge baths every few days or even once a week are adequate, especially until their umbilical stump falls off.  also, it's important to keep water out of their ears when washing their hair as it could lead to ear infections.
  • newborns can't see clearly more than 12-18 inches away - apparently, their eyesight is perfect from the beginning, but their brains can't process all the information they see until about 6 months of age, so in the beginning, they can only focus on objects 12-18 inches away.  they also love high contrast colors, and i definitely notice he's drawn to black & white.  the nurse recommended a black & white mobile...maybe a project i can work on when my crafty sister comes to visit in a week.  :-)
  • spit-up is ok - as long as it's not projectile vomit, it's normal for babies to spit-up
  • colic usually doesn't set in until the 3rd week or so - i always assumed that colicky babies were like that from the very beginning, but that's supposedly not the case.  also, in order for a baby to be considered 'colicky' they must cry for more than 3 hours/day, 3 times/week for at least 3 months.  so far so good with ronan, and i'm definitely keeping my fingers crossed.  i CANNOT imagine how difficult it would be to have a baby that was inconsolable for that length of time.
  • hats are good - babies (and probably adults also) lose about 80% of their body heat through their heads, so our doctor recommended a hat for ronan, and the romo mama in me is more than happy to oblige.  even though our house has been kept at 72-73%, it always seems just a bit cold, especially downstairs, so having a hat on his sweet little head just makes me feel better.  

i know this list will continue to grow as i continue to learn the oh-so-many things i DIDN'T know about raising a newborn!

would also love to hear what you other moms out there learned along the way...

**********

and because i can't help myself, here's a quick pic of my little man in one of the most adorable little outfits he's received - and so appropriate for our little RBI!  :)


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ronan Brent Isaacson - the first 2 weeks

i have a baby.
he's 2 weeks old.
his name is ronan brent isaacson and he's the new love of my life.

i've waited so long to be a mom, and now that i have a little one to hold, it seems surreal.  just like often times during my pregnancy it felt surreal that it was really my turn to share in the joy of awaiting a little one to call my own, two weeks into it, i still have moments when i can't believe there's a baby sleeping in the room next door and he's mine, all mine.

these first 2 weeks have been a blur.  in some ways the days have flown by, but more often than not, it feels like we've been on this new-parent journey forever.  it must be the sleepless nights, the days and nights that all blend together until you have no idea what time of day it is, much less what day of the week or what the date is.  everything revolves around the next feeding, the next nap, the next diaper change...and then the cycle continues.

there are so many other words i could use to describe these first 2 weeks and how i've felt -

zombie
hazy
exhausted
emotional
painful
scared
worried
overwhelmed
LOVE

but really, there are no words that can adequately express what it's like.  i don't think anyone or anything could every prepare a first time parent, especially a first time mom, for the reality of bringing a baby home for the first time.  and that's probably why not a lot of mom's talk about it.  or they don't want to remember or admit what it's really like.  or they forgot.  and now that i'm in the thick of it, i can say  it's one of those things that must be experienced first-hand to be understood and appreciated.

let's just say, the first couple of weeks we've been in 'survival mode'.  where having time to take a shower is a true luxury, where every cry, hiccup, sniffle, sneeze, stuffed nose is cause for alarm and results in a call to the pediatrician's office, where overwhelming exhaustion threatens to take over at all times, and where leaving the house for any other reason than a doctor's visit takes much more effort than it could ever be worth.

and yet, all of that is completely overshadowed by the vast and fierce love i feel for my son, my baby.  it's a love unlike any other, and one that truly can't be understood until experienced, just like i'd been told so many times in the past.  it's a love that reaches to the very core of who i am as a woman and now a mom and an emotion so strong it almost scares me.  i definitely understand the term 'mama bear' now, that's for sure! 

i've already had moments of panic where i feel like ronan's getting too big too quickly.  i want to freeze time, i want him to stay my newborn infant for just a while longer.  i can already see the physical changes in him as each day goes on.  he's getting bigger, more alert, and while those are all great things, i want and need more time to savor him as the baby i brought home from the hospital.  to kiss those tiny fingers and toes, to smell the intoxicating newborn smell, to have him fall asleep on my chest and hear his heartbeat sync with mine.  i'm told each stage in a baby's life has it's own special moments, but for now, my heart is completely enamored with the ronan i know at 2 weeks old.

**********
the things that helped us survive the first 2 weeks -
  • visitors who came bearing food - having a fridge stocked up with meals and meals dropped off by family and friends was such a blessing especially the first week!  i'm convinced there's no better gift one can give first time parents in the first few weeks than food.
  • swaddleme swaddlers - sure, we learned how to swaddle using swaddle blankets in one of the many baby prep classes we took, but when it came down to it, swaddling a live baby vs. a doll - 2 very different things!  it's a good thing we received some swaddleme blankets as gifts because they've been used every single day and make swaddling a piece of cake!
  • boppy nursing pillow - i know some moms don't find this product very useful, but i brought it to the hospital and began using it for nursing from the very beginning.  i've tried using a regular pillow, but it's not the same. 
  • boppy newborn lounger - this has been a great way to have ronan hang out with the fam on the couch and it's also been great for his daily tummy time.
  • iphone - the first couple of weeks i didn't have time nor the desire to get on the computer.  but my iphone became invaluable especially during those late night feedings.  the aps that got the most use - pinterest, facebook, words with friends, baby center & tetris.  my iphone was also the primary photo taking mechanism these first couple of weeks.  always handy and so much easier to take videos and pictures than pulling out my big DSLR.  the majority of the pictures taken have been taken with my phone.
  • babyconnect app - this app has been a lifesaver in tracking feedings and diaper changes (yes, one of the many fun things that must be done!)  highly recommend for parents of newborns
  • baby center - the website, the app, the forums, all of it!  such an invaluable resource both during pregnancy and now as a new mom. 
  • lansinoh lanolin 
  • the bassinet attachment for our stroller - this has been ronan's crib since we brought him home.  i thought i'd be able to put him in his crib from day 1, but that didn't happen.  we'll probably never use the bassinet stroller attachment again after this, so it's been great to get this use out of it.  the stroller/bassinet is right by the bed and makes middle of the night feedings so much more convenient.

best advice received -
  • give breastfeeding at least 2 weeks - contrary to what EVERY SINGLE lactation specialist will tell you, breastfeeding hurts, it REALLY hurts, even if you're doing it right!  our doctor came to visit us our second day in the hospital and i'll never forget his perspective on it: "they're going to tell you it's not supposed to hurt - that's bulls**t!  it's not natural, and it will hurt.  but stick with it for 2 weeks, and it will get better after that"  and i must say, he was right.  it's still not completely pain-free, but every day is better than the day before and i'm determined to stick with it.
  • sleep when the baby sleeps - i heard this from everyone!  but i've never been able to take naps. ever.  i was always envious of people who could take 30 minute power naps in the middle of the day.  so i assumed it would be the same now.  wrong!  i guess the body does get to a certain level of exhaustion where it will nap anywhere, anytime.  it's so tempting to want to clean the house, catch up on laundry, watch mindless tv, etc. while the baby sleeps, but the few times i've done that i've really paid for it at night when getting up to feed mister ronan has been excruciatingly unbearable.  so i've learned to take at least one nap while he's sleeping during the day.  i still feel like i will never again be caught up on sleep, but that nap has made a big difference.
  • i'm sure there's more, but that's all i can think of right now...

**********

and because i can hear my little man call for me, that's all i have time for.  except to share some of my fav pictures from the first couple of weeks - all taken with my handy-dandy iphone.  enjoy!


[at the hospital]





 [with auntie jen]

 [daddy's little man at his first dr's apt]


[happy on his lounger]

[he's getting ready for the superbowl!] 

[there's room for everyone on the couch] 

[with grandma]




Friday, January 6, 2012

just two days...

before baby boy isaacson's official due date.  i was convinced he was going to come early, but it looks like he's determined to prove me wrong.  :)  i suppose there ARE still 2 days left, but since i haven't felt a SINGLE contraction yet, i'm going to assume he's going to be the stereotypical 'late' first baby.


THIS WEEK marked my first official full week of maternity leave.

I ENJOYED time to just relax, watch tv, read and get ready for baby.

I DIDN'T ENJOY the return of the rain.  december spoiled us with it's incredible weather; i'd forgotten how annoying it can be to be out & about in the rain, especially when you can't move as quickly to get out of it!  plus this weather makes me CRAVE coffee like nobody's business - the real stuff, not the decaf that i indulge in every so often.

I ALSO got a bit stir crazy at times because it's just not in my nature to relax for very long.  so i found other ways to occupy my time (cleaning, baking, laundry, errands), which is probably what led to the severe lower abdominal pain i started feeling and which led the hubby to declare that i'm not allowed to be on my feet for more than 5 minute increments.  well that didn't last very long.  :)

I FELT WEIRD not going into work.  i can't remember the last time i just stayed home without a schedule or agenda or because i was sick..  i've held a job since i was 15 years old, so it must be before that.

I DIDN'T MISS traffic!  watching traffic reports on the early morning news made me feel soooo relieved it wasn't me.

I HEARD FROM family and friends anxiously awaiting news of baby boy.  once tuesday hit , everyone was calling...and i didn't mind one bit!  :)  i think it was due to the holidays being over and everyone getting back into their routine this week.  i feel very blessed to have an incredible support system.

I HAVEN'T BEEN FEELING like baby boy needs to get here NOW.  yes, i CANNOT wait to meet him and be done being pregnant.  but i think because this is the first time in many, many years that i've had time to myself, time to somewhat feel caught up on my multiple to-do lists, and time with just the hubs and pups while it's still the 3 of us, i'm ok with baby boy coming when he's good and ready.  now, talk to me this time next week and i may be singing a different tune.

I DECIDED UPON a baby/memory book.  well, it's actually this baby book/memory box, and it was a difficult decision to make because what i really wanted was a combination of the 3 baby books i had it narrowed down to.  in the end, i made a decision based on how cute (and more modern) this book/box set was.  plus, it'll be nice having a box to store mementos.  and i already know i'll be going crazy with my camera and have plans to create photo books to document baby's first year and beyond, so this is really to catch everything else.  maybe it's the first-time-mom syndrome or the fact that i'm a very sentimental person or that i'm sometimes a bit too type A, but i want to make sure i had the right medium for capturing all those memories.


I'VE BEEN CRAVING sweets (nothing new there) and avocados.  i've seriously had avocado almost every single day for the past month.  in fact, this is what my breakfast often consists of...yummmm!


and on that note, i'm going to make myself some breakfast!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

baby fix

today i joined a dear friend out and about at 'cafe sip-n-play' with her two little munchkins.  the fact that she even attempted to take a 21 month old and a 5 week old out on her own is more than impressive!

oh, and i got the baby fix i so desperately needed.   :)

here's a bit from our day...













Monday, January 2, 2012

crave photography - giveaway

just discovered crave photography AND the amazing giveaway they currently have underway.  i don't usually post/blog about this sort of thing, but this giveaway is just too good to give up!  :)

check it out here:

http://cravemyphotography.com/blog/25000-fans-giveaway/

Sunday, January 1, 2012

lazy days before baby...

last week marked the start of my maternity leave.

it was the week between christmas and new years.

i completely lost track of the days and dates and i can't remember the last time that's happened.  I LOVED IT.

the week began with me scrambling to wrap up baby things - finishing up the hospital bags, buying last minute baby necessities (crib sheets, etc), running errands, cleaning, and oh so many other things.

but near the end of the week, things started slowing down.

i spent more time on the couch, relaxing with my pups.  she'll always be my first baby, but i know it's inevitable she'll drop down the totem pole of priority once baby boy arrives.  so for now, she's getting lots of extra love and attention.  she's become even more of a snuggle-bug, nestling in really tight against my belly when we're on the couch together.  i think she senses something major is about to change.




i spent more time blogging - i didn't do as great of a job maintaining my blog in 2011, and not nearly as much as i had hoped during my pregnancy, so every post i do get in near the very end of my pregnancy is a small victory in making sure i remember the special moments (and even those routine or mundane).

i finally found time for a MUCH NEEDED mani/pedi.  i may look like a hot mess during labor & delivery but at least my fingers and toes will look cute.  :)

i spent more time reading - currently trying to finish the following two books before baby boy arrives.





i really started missing my DSLR.  i've been taking pretty much all pictures lately with my new phone, which is great, but i have such little control over the quality of the photos being taken.  i love the convenience of a camera phone, but it's just not even close to the same as shooting with a 'real' camera.  baby boy better watch out because his mama is going to be one crazy camera lady once he arrives!

i became mildly obsessed with pinterest, especially getting sucked into all of the insanely adorable baby items and crafty, creative ideas.  i don't consider myself crafty, but pinterest is motivating me to dig down deep and channel my inner domestic diva...

some of my favorite pinterest finds and inspiration -

newborn hats - i MUST learn how to knit, crochet and sew - oh the possibilities would be endless!












and don't even get me started on...

baby booties (aka - little man shoes) - must have them all!








and because i'm determined to document baby boy's development in a series of sorts i've been trying to decide on one of these ideas for what i'm calling my 12-month project -










i'm just not sure i'll be able to stick to just ONE of these ideas.  right now my two favorites are...


 i love the idea of posing baby with a stuffed animal or toy. i already know which one i would use. sure wish i had one of these cool chairs though!




...and this one because of it's simplicity and more modern feel. now just have to find a massive 'R' somewhere...


and lastly, i'll probably do some sort of 12-month series with baby boy and zoe-girl.  i have no doubt they're going to be good buds, and it'll be fun to see them together as he hits each monthly milestone.

****
everyone's telling me to relax and enjoy these last few days because life will never be the same after baby comes. so that's what i plan on doing.  i look forward to starting 2012 by taking it easy, finding even more time to relax this week, and taking time to truly anticipate the arrival of my sweet little man.