Thursday, March 29, 2012

DYRN: Nasal aspirators

We have been fighting a cold since Sunday night. I don't know if it is all the pollen or the hot one day cold the next but something has really gotten the snot flowing. Orion is 11 months old now and this is only the second time he has gotten the sniffles so I count myself lucky. Both times I have gotten sick right along side him. I think this is because we are together every day all day and he loves to cough in my face.

I wish babies knew how to blow their nose! I got so scared that he would drown in snot during the night during his first cold. Until he knows how to blow his nose, it is my job to get out the snot. We have gone through 3 nasal aspirators and have found the Nosefrida to be the best option. Orion doesn't like any of them and fights me whenever I try to get out the snot. He doesn't understand that it is in his best interest. He also fights me during every diaper change so I think he is just fiercely independent.

The first nasal aspirator came with our baby first aid kit. Before I used it I thought it was great because it came apart for easy cleaning and the tip was clear so I could see if I was getting any snot. When I used it for the first time, it sounded like it was working but I wasn't getting anything. It was also cumbersome in my hand, it was too small and came apart easily.

Next we tried a cute little Sassy blue elephant. Isn't it cute? and I am such a sucker for cute! But it did not get the job done. Now it is a fun squirting bath toy so it wasn't $3 totally wasted. With each of these aspirators, Orion would fuss and fight. They also have to be reinserted in the hopes of getting out the snot and they have very little suction power.

The Nosefrida snot sucker is great because it works, is quick, easy to clean, and you can see what your getting. Yes I know it looks weird and the idea of sucking the snot out of your child's nose is gross. But you really do not have to worry about snot getting in your mouth. I have not seen the snot go beyond the first two inches of the tube. I am the designated snot sucker in the house as my husband don't play that, so he holds that baby while I suck, teamwork. With any nasal aspirator, I think it helps to have someone hold the baby so you can get it over with quickly.

This morning I had to clear Orion's nose and my husband held him while I sucked out the snot as per our arrangement. Orion was crying with all his might and afterwards only wanted Daddy to hold him. But Daddy had to go to work and this made Orion cry even more! He cried so hard but by the time Patrick was out the door I had rocked and sushed Orion to sleep. I was able to put him down in his crib and we both got over an hour and a half of sleep.

Yes, you do really need a nasal aspirator and you should have one on hand before you need one. I highly recommend the Nosefrieda and no one is paying me to say that. It also helps to have a saline spray on hand. The saline will dissolve the mucus and it is impossible to overdose on according to my Pediatrician so spray away. Good luck battling the boggie monsters!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Splash Class

Earlier this month, Orion and I started a swim class at our local rec center. The class meets on Mondays and Wednesday from noon to 12:30 for a total of 7 classes. I love the water and I want my baby to love it too. Some of my happiest childhood memories were spent in the pool with my Dad. We took Orion to our friends pool once last summer, he may have been about 4 months old (pictured above). He was pretty stoic throughout that experience but afterwards he passed out on my lap with such exhaustion(pictured below)!

I really had no idea what I was getting into with this swim class, the logistics are ridiculous! For a half hour class it takes almost 4-5 hours of my time. We usually leave the house at 11:30am, the rec center is 5 minutes away so getting there is no big deal. The first class I did not bring in the stroller which was a big mistake as I had no place to put baby boy down. I learned from that first class that it is OK to bring in the stroller.

We usually get in the pool a little early because I like to leave myself plenty of time. I do not like feeling rushed or being late especially if there are wet slippery floors and I am carrying a baby. I do bring the stroller pool side but that is mostly so I can watch it to make sure it doesn't get stolen. I do not like to put a soaking wet, pool smelling, swim diaper wearing baby into the stroller.

When we get into the locker room, I change first and then I get Orion changed. The class description stated that he would need a swim diaper. I was so hung up on the swim diaper I didn't think he needed anything else to wear. Of course all the other babies had on rash guards and bathing suits. I even went out after that first class to buy him a swim outfit but decided to return it. He would have, most likely, outgrown that outfit by the time summer comes and we are outside swimming. It was really cute though!

The class is really fun with 3 other moms with babies 6 months, 10 months, and 2 years old. Socialization is important for both baby and mommy! The teacher is really nice and brings out a bunch of different toys to play with. We have played with buckets, squirt toys (which Orion loves to chew on), watering cans, pool noodles, and balls. Orion likes to try to eat the big red ball. Sometimes he wants to be held by the swim teacher which is really cute!

I think the class was more for me to become more comfortable in the water holding my squirmy baby. At our most recent class, it really seemed like Orion was ready to doggy paddle away from me. Regardless of the fact that my baby is a genius (just like his Daddy), I know he really isn't able to swim yet. I haven't even put his head under water as I am afraid he will hate the experience and it will scar him for life or he will get an ear infection.

After class, I get Orion toweled off and into a diaper. Then I will put him in the stroller and dress myself. I like to wear a maxi dress with nothing underneath as it makes getting changed a breeze. And how cool is that machine that takes the wet out of your swimsuit! Once I am dressed, I can get Orion dressed without getting him soaking wet from my wetness. I wear my hair in a ponytail while in the pool so I don't have to fuss with it. Then we roll out and head for home.

It is usually after 1pm by the time we get home which means lunchtime. There is something about being in a pool, even for only a half hour that makes me hungry. So I fix us lunch, something quick and easy. I will usually have leftovers and give Orion something he can pick up and eat himself. Once I am done eating and have spent a few minutes not holding the baby, I am ready to hold him and nurse him up. He will nurse and fall asleep on me for an hour or more. I will spend this time chilling on the couch and catching up on what I have DVR'd.

Once he wakes up, I put him in the infant car seat carrier and we hit the bathroom. He can watch me though our shower door and hear my voice and I can scrub down. I never have time to do anything fancy like shave or exfoliate but I am happy to get the smell of chlorine off of me. Once I am dressed, it is time for Orion to have his bath. I am still bathing him in the kitchen sink to save my back and knees from the inconvenience of bathing such a little man in a baby bath tub inside of a full size tub.

By the time was are all showered it is 4pm and I am too tired to even think about cooking dinner. Good thing we tend to make something big on Sunday to get us through the week and we do love a frittata for dinner which is wicked easy and quick to make. If I had known that swim class was going to take so much effort, I would have only done it once a week. There also isn't much you can teach a 10 month old about swimming. He mastered splashing on the first day and has been perfecting splashing me in the face ever since.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Two dogs and a little baby

In my mid twenties, I was a little bit obsessed with Pomeranians. There was an elderly man in our South Philly neighborhood who had a cute little Pom named Petey. It was always such a treat to see them out and about even if I had to run a block or two to catch up with them. I really wanted a dog but was content at this point to enjoy other people’s dogs. The city was full of dogs of all types and sizes!

My mother had always wanted a Chinese Crested hairless. Her neighbor had a small herd of them and she became smitten. When she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, her friends got together and gave her a Crested puppy for her 60th birthday. Their time together was short as my mother passed away a week later. This silly little hairless puppy named Mr. Broadway needed a home.

My landlord would not let us have a dog so we had to find a new place to live. We moved into the first place we could find and afford which really was not the nicest. We became proud puppy parents and our first piece of business was to change Mr. Broadway’s name, no way was I calling out that name on the streets. We named him Squeeky as that was my mother’s biker name (yes, she was a biker chick and Rolling Thunder member). It was also fitting because Squeeky makes very silly squeaking sounds.

We had this wonderful, ridiculous, hairless dog who was the opposite of my dream dog. I was amazed by how much I loved him and how much of a comfort that little dog was after my mother's death. A few months later, we decided Squeeky needed a furry fluffy friend to keep him warm on cold winter nights. We got Fizgig when he was about 6 weeks old, just a little handful of fluff. They became like Firc and Frack. They snuggled together and Squeeky would lick Fizgig's face. They were an odd couple, I would sometimes refer to them as the Ying Yang twins. Squeeky was like an Emo/Goth kid and Fizgig was a cheerleader. They got along like a house on fire and Squeeky would often stand up for his little brother at the dog park.

Dogs were a good lead up to having a baby. When we inherited Squeeky in 2005, we suddenly found ourselves talking about poop more than we ever could have imagined. Squeeky was a pretty easy dog but Fizgig was not. Fizgig was all teeth and wanted to play constantly. Squeeky only ever wanted to curl up in a lap. We had been fooled into having a second dog because the first one was so easy. I hear this often happens with babies.

There was a time when Patrick would leave for work and the dogs would curl up in bed with me. Fizgig at my feet and Squeeky would curl up by my chest or belly. Fizgig being fluffy likes to be above the blankets and Squeeky being the constantly cold pup likes to be cozy under the blankets. I am glad the dogs figured out who got what spot and didn't fight about their placement. This has changed since Orion has taken Squeeky's spot in the bed. Now Squeeky gets in the bed and is all like "who the hell is in my spot and what am I supposed to do?". Eventually he will settle down and find a different spot.

I love my dogs but sometimes I wish I didn’t have any dogs. Fizgig is an alert barker and anytime we have visitors he freaks out for a good 10 minutes. Or if he hears a car door outside, or a doorbell rings on TV. Squeeky is a crotchey old man who is very jealous of the baby. When Orion was very little, Squeeky tried to knock him out of my lap to reclaim the spot that was rightfully his. Even now there are times when I am nursing the baby and Squeeky gets into my lap and refuses to move when I need to get up. Too often I get trapped under a sleeping baby and 2 dogs when I really really need to pee.

When Squeeky is in a lap or on the couch, he will defend his spot and growl at the baby. Squeeky has snapped at the baby a few times and we know if Squeeky is on the couch and Orion comes by Squeeky will snap. So we have to make sure it doesn't get to that point. Squeeky has always been the lap admiral, defender of laps. When we would go to the dog park Squeeky would prefer to sit in a lap and would defend that lap from any dog that would come by. Squeeky has never bitten anyone and has only 4 teeth and prefers to swallow his food instead of chewing it but we do not want to test him.

Fizgig is more tolerant of the baby but this has been tested. Orion loves Fizgig, he loves to chase the dog, grab his leash, pull his fur. Usually, we make sure he is gentle when he pets Fizgig but sometimes Orion will have a big handful of fluff. Fizgig has snapped at Orion only once or twice so we have been really lucky. Orion has even knocked Fizgig in the face with a toy and Fizgig just ran off like a good boy. I do not like to leave the baby alone with the dogs but it does sometimes happen for a few minutes while I go run to do something.

I would be devastated if Orion was ever injured by my dogs. If you have dogs and will be having a baby there are a few things to keep in mind. It is easier to call a dog to come than call a baby. If I think the dogs are getting too close to Orion I will call the dog's name. They will usually get distracted and come to me. It is very important that your dogs will come when called. Squeeky is a bit stubborn with this command but he does stop whatever he is doing when I call him.

I didn’t know until we were leaving the hospital that they recommend keeping the baby away from the dogs (or cat if you have one) until said baby is 6 weeks old. I remember thinking, how the hell am I gonna do that as the dogs have been all over everything in the house and we did not clean everything before birthing the baby?! When I told this bit of information to my lactation consultant she thought it was a bunch of hog wash. She had grown up on a farm and felt that “we” shelter our kids way too much. We did try to keep the dogs from licking the baby but he did come in contact with them. (Fizgig loves to lick the baby!!! Which is really odd as Squeeky is the dog that licks everything all the time but he never licks the baby.)

When the baby comes home from the hospital, suddenly everything is always about the baby. I am sure my dogs felt left out. I came home from the hospital and went straight up to bed and hardly paid them any notice even though I hadn't been home for 5 days. We did try to make time for the puppies but it was very hard at first. Now we have family pack play time every day. I will sit on the floor to read to Orion and the dogs join us and I pet them or we toss a ball together. The floor is neutral territory and the dogs are very good with the baby when we are all on the floor together.

We make sure the baby does not bother the dogs when they are eating. Our dogs do not growl if you try to take their food away from them or at least that has not happened yet. Just because your dog hasn't done something in the past does not mean he will never exhibit that behavior. I want our dogs to know that they do have some time where the baby is not involved. If the dogs are in their crates (we have always crated our dogs at night or when we are not home) the baby does not go near the crates. If Fizgig is in his crate and Orion goes crawling over Fizgig will freak out. And of course when Fizgig is in his crate all Orion wants to do is go crawling over by the puppy. These can be frustrating times!

The other day I told Patrick that we will not be getting future dogs until our kids are teenagers. Even then we might become a cat family. It is easy to get overwhelmed when the baby is crying and the dogs are barking. But I love my dogs and there is no getting rid of them. They do need to understand that I love my baby more and will always put his needs first. Orion is the new head of the pack and even though he is small and poops his pants, he is deserving of their respect.

We have a million pictures of Orion with Fizgig but have been unable to get a single good photo of Orion with Squeeky. This is as close as we have gotten but it sums things up pretty well.

Monday, March 12, 2012

DYRN nursing pillows

Do you really need a nursing pillow? No, not really but I honestly do not know how women were able to nurse before these pillows. I love! love! love! my nursing pillow. Orion is 10 ½ months old and we still use our nursing pillow. I am not looking forward to nursing without it but we may have to stop using it soon as Orion is getting so big!

I had registered for a My Breast Friend nursing pillow but then I found a cuter one online. So I added the Balboa Baby nursing pillow to my registry. This was a mistake but sometimes I am a sucker for looks. When we brought Orion home from the hospital he was 4 days old and the Balboa Baby pillow was not much good for anything. Orion was so small that he would fall into the gap between me and the pillow. Luckily, the next day was our first visit to the pediatrician which included time with a lactation consultant.

The lactation consultant had almost every nursing pillow on the market. The first one I tried was the My Breast Friend and I fell in love. Since this nursing pillow wraps around you, it can get right next to your body so there is no gap for the baby to fall into. This pillow also has little baby pillow head lifts which work great to help the baby get to the boob and help with positioning. After our visit, I sent my husband out to pick me up one of my very own.

The My Breast Friend pillow really helped me, saved me some back pain, and kept my baby happy. I have MS and one of my main issues is fatigue in my arms. I was really nervous about how motherhood was going to affect me. Early on, you spend the majority of your time holding that little bundle of joy. Orion was (still is) a total booby monster. He was nursing for up to 8 hours during his first weeks of life. I think without this pillow I would have had some issues and frustrations.

Orion loves to nurse himself to sleep and the My Breast Friend pillow doubles as a bed. He would (still does) nurse and fall asleep and I didn’t have to actively hold him. I just had to make sure he didn't roll away from me. It is nearly impossible to put a newborn down to bed so this pillow really helped. I had my hands free to eat over a sleeping baby or use my smartphone to help me stay awake. You really want to be sure that you stay awake when sitting up and nursing or holding the baby.

I did continue to use the Balboa pillow. I would use that pillow under lapping with the My Breast Friend and put a portable DVD player on top of the Balboa pillow. I spent many late nights in bed with my sleeping husband next to me while I watched movies, nursing the baby, and hoping I would soon be able to put the baby down in his bassinet. Eventually, I put the Balboa Baby pillow in the car to use when nursing out and about. This pillow became much easier to use when Orion was a few weeks old but them he outgrew it when he was just over 4 months old.

I know some people like to use the Boppy as a nursing pillow but that did not work for us. I am a larger woman and I couldn’t get that pillow to fit me right. The pillow would be too low in my lap causing me to hunch over which is no good for posture. But I do love the Boppy to lay the baby on and for tummy time.

One annoying thing about the My Breast Friend is finding covers for it. For whatever reason, Babies R Us sells the pillow but not extra covers. I had to go on to order extra covers. The covers are air dry so you will want to have at least 3. There were a few occasions when Orion would have a massive spit up on the pillow, we would change covers, and then his diaper would leak. 3 covers was the right amount for us and sometimes I would cover the pillow with a waterproof pad then a receiving blanket.

My motto when it comes to life after baby is whatever makes your life easier and whatever you can afford. I highly recommend a visiting with a lactation consultant. You might be able to try out different pillows and some even have breast pumps you can try if you bring a nipple guard. Nursing is not easy so try to not get frustrated and give up. Ask for help!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Offensive Driving

When driving, we do not always know where we are going. Sometimes we drive to places that we have never been to or we have to slow down to look for an address. Sometimes road signs are confusing. The sign says exit only but doesn’t mention the turn you need to make is before the exit. So you get in the left lane only to return to the right lane. You use your signal and the coast is clear. But then there is an asshole speeding up behind you who thinks that you have switched lanes to many times and won’t let you get over. Why ya gotta be like that? This incident pissed me off for hours afterwards which is stress I do not need. It made me want to smoke a cigarette (I quit when I was 26) and get drunk (which I can’t do as I am still breastfeeding but someday!).

We could all make a change in the world by just cutting each other some slack. Give the strangers around you the benefit of the doubt. Let people get in front of you, will one car length save you that much time. No, it won’t, be it could save stress. I was coming up on a merge where two lanes become one and saw quite a sight in my rearview mirror. The two cars behind me did not want to give up pole position and refused to let the other in front. The woman who speed up and took the lead did a big old happy dancing with fingers flying. Was that really necessary? I wasn’t involved but it made me feel bad for both parties involved.

I think I learned to swear from my mother while driving in the car. Some of the things that would come out of her mouth! I can remember her banging on the steering wheel screaming, “Premature ejaculators, oh they just can’t wait!”. The car can be such a stressful place regardless of traffic which is a whole nother bagga donuts. I have spent a lot of time resisting the urge to flip the bird and yell insults. Once when I was 23 I flipped someone the bird and they chased me for a few miles. They would slow down when I slowed down and eventually caused me to unnecessarily get on the turnpike just to get away. That was such a scary experience and I would never want to put my child through something like that!

Life is stressful enough, we really don't need to create more stress for ourselves. Since being pregnant, I became a more defensive driver. I felt like everyone on the roads was trying to kill me. The feeling has not stopped with the birth of my son. I try to be a better driver and obey posted speed limits but sometimes it is hard. The baby is crying and I just want to get home and I find myself speeding. I have tried to fight this urge because most car accidents occur within 5 miles of your home.

I always joke that my husband is your typical nice, sweet Midwestern man, and it is true. Sometimes when he doesn’t know where he is going or is looking for an address, he will actually pull over and let the people behind him pass. Ain’t that some shit! We should all try to be more forgiving on the roads. Think of the example we are setting for our children. And for the love of Pete, stop texting and driving!!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Getting a leg up

Orion likes to get a leg up when he nurses. He only does this when he nurses on my left side, his favorite side. When he was little it was just a tiny foot on my shoulder and it was so cute. Nowadays, it is a big strong foot pressing on my neck, chin, cheek, mouth, or face. What a silly little man! Anyone else have a baby that did this? How do you make it stop?