Archive | March, 2013

Definition of Vacation

29 Mar

Wow, this Spring Break has been interesting. First, we got snowed in and thought we might have to cancel our road trip. Then, we ended up going, and it was not the most relaxing time in the car, especially with both kiddos crying in the car nonstop for the last three hours. We were seriously 40 minutes from our destination and we passed a hotel and I seriously considered stopping there. It was tough.

After being “on vacation” for about 24 hours, sweet little Hadassah got super sick throwing up. She puked constantly for about 6 hours, then it slowed up. Either way, I could tell it wasn’t fun. Five days later, this horrible virus has conquered 8 of the 9 people in the house. Emmanuel is the only one left standing healthy at this moment and I am just praying praying fervently that he does not get it. Sickness like that is just too serious for babies. So please join me in praying for his health. I am hoping my body is really pumping out the antibodies in my breast milk, although my supply really plummeted after I spent hours throwing up and got super dehydrated.

So, what is vacation? I don’t know, but we were supposedly on it this week.

Happy Good Friday. We have been made alive though His death!


We’re Not in Kansas Anymore!

24 Mar

Ok, we are still in Kansas, but I will say this phrase happily in about 100 miles. We are in the middle of a very long road trip across the Midwest. This is our first long road trip as a family of four. Come to think of it, this is Hadassah’s first long trip in the car.

We anticipated leaving yesterday afternoon for our “Spring” break trip, but unfortunately a snowstorm swept across the country closing key highways of our trip. I had times everything so perfectly to leave at our proposed departure time. I just started the dishwasher, all electronic devices were charged 100%, and there wasn’t a piece of trash in our house. Then I learned about the road closures and was lost at what we were going to do with ourselves without a fixed departure time.

Luckily we were able to leave today, which was behind schedule but the roads have been good so I won’t complain. All last week I was getting excited for vacation time but stressed about driving with two babies. After being in the road for 10 hours, I can honestly say it hasn’t been bad! We have been stopping every 2 hours for me to feed Emmanuel. Unfortunately, even though I was super prepared and brought a nice amount of pumped milk, plus formula, plus a double electric pump (with extra batteries), plus a manual pump, my little guy has been mostly refusing the bottle (this is a “yay!” moment and a *sigh* moment). He has resorted to crying about 3 times plus a major meltdown. Now he is sleeping peacefully and I refuse to stop for at least 4 hours (if I have to pee in a cup, so be it. Emmanuel wakes up every time the car stops and I’m not risking it!)

I have been trying to have the mentality of just enjoying the road trip. It is time we have to spend together as a family. I think that is a huge part of why Hadassah has loved being in the car this long. She has been in close proximity to both her parents for over 10 hours straight! There is no escaping us here!

Last week I secured a portable DVD player for our trip, and we didn’t even break it out until hour 5. That was only because Emmanuel had just gotten over a crying fit and was sleeping, and Hadassah wanted to be chatty Kathy and I didn’t want her to wake up Emmanuel.

Pictured is a shot of the gorgeous windmill farms in central Kansas. Hadassah loved them and kept calling them “stars”


How to: Breast Feed Laying Down

22 Mar

When I was in the hospital right after having Hadassah, I met with a lactation consultant. Although breast feeding is “natural,” it does not mean it is easy, and it certainly did not come naturally to me! (side thought – I wonder if there are lactation consultants in tribal villages in the world, and how they go about getting started off successfully with breast feeding… maybe I will investigate and that will be another post!)

I had read the books on breast feeding and the cradle hold and the football hold and thought, “okay, that sounds easy.” I remember the first time I tried to feed Hadassah I cradled her, just as I would have cradled a baby doll as a girl… Her head was facing the ceiling, and the nurse told me I needed to have her body facing me. I remember thinking, “what?!” and now I chuckle at my ignorance. I thought she would just turn her head and eat (WRONG!). Obviously I had a lot to learn after having a baby, and honestly I think I still have some things to learn about milk and breast feeding.

The lactation consultant at the hospital helped me get the positions down correctly. I also remember her helping me with the side-lying position. “This is great for when you need to rest and relax!” I remember her gushing. Resting and relaxing sounded really good at that moment, as I hadn’t slept in about 36 hours. The side-lying position was tricky at the beginning with Hadassah, and I think it might have been due to just learning how to breast feed in general. I think it probably got easier, but as I am breast feeding Emmanuel I can’t really say that I love it. I feel like it is comfortable only on occasion with Emmanuel. For example, if Emmanuel sleeps till 4am, I have lots of milk and my breasts are full. If I try the side-lying position in the afternoon or at night, or even in the middle of the night after Emmanuel has been up every two hours it just doesn’t work comfortably. I think it has to do with the fact that my boobs get deflated at certain times of the day, and if I am in the side lying position with deflated boobs, I actually have to hold them while feeding Emmanuel. Not fun. Not relaxing.

Below I will go over some tips for using the side-lying position, and then two of my very own invented positions! I hope they help out other moms, because I just discovered these positions on my own the other month. It took me 10+ months of breast feeding to figure it out. Next on my list of things to figure out are How to Nurse Using my Moby Wrap, and How to Nurse While Baby is in the Car Seat. I’ve googled both of these and still cannot figure it out. So once/if I do, I will definitely share my additional tips!

Side-lying Position Tips

Get in the side-lying position, as mentioned in published books. As mentioned above, I don’t really like this position. My only tip for making it better is make sure you are using two pillows for your head. I use 2 down pillows here. Then, make sure the top pillow is over your shoulder, and tuck your arm under that pillow as well (bent). Tuck a pillow behind your back for support, and tuck a pillow behind baby so you don’t have to hold baby and you can relax your body and muscles a little more. Also, just yesterday I discovered another tip to share! I am pretty sure the standard for this position is to lay down with baby, bodies parallel, and baby feeds off the breast closest to the bed. However, if you are smaller chested like me and struggle in the same way as I do with this position, try feeding off of the breast not closest to the bed! It just occurred to me to do this yesterday!!! I think it may help a bit to know this is an option and the position is a bit more versatile.

Now: On to the BETTER STUFF!!!!!!!!!!!

The Arm-Chair Position

That is what I am naming this position. The name is subject to change. Yesterday I was talking about how I loved sleeping on my back while pregnant, but for some reason I still sleep on my side while not pregnant. I remember thinking, “I wish I could just lay on my back and feed Hadassah!” when she was about 7-8 months. I imagined that if I fed her when she was a toddler, I could just lay on my back and she would have the physical skills to breast feed like that. However, we never made it that long, and I thought breast feeding while on my back was an impossibility for a tiny baby. Several weeks ago I discovered that it is not! Woohoo!

Place 3 pillows on top of each other for your head area. Instead of just putting your head on the pillows, lay on the pillows starting at about your lower part of your shoulders. You should be on your back (not your side). Place a pillow on each side of you, so it looks like you are sitting in an armchair. Make sure the pillow for the side that you will be feeding on is placed on top of your three (or possibly just the bottom two of the three pillows) head pillows (about 1/3 of the “arm” pillow should be overlapping your head pillows). The other “arm” doesn’t matter so much, and is actually optional. So adjust it to your comfort once you get going. Place baby on top of you, perpendicular, to feed. You should be laying on your back, your arm supported. Even though you are slightly elevated at your upper back, you feel like you are laying down. The “arm” pillows make it so you can relax your arm muscles. This is how I feed Emmanuel almost all the time in the middle of the night. I love it. Maybe some day I will make a video, because I am not great with written instructions.

Well, believe it or not, this has taken me an extremely long time to write, so I will write about my second position in a future post.

How to: Sleep While Pregnant

20 Mar

No, this is not “How to Teach Your Child Spanish – Part 2”. Sorry. I actually found the hard copy of my document I previously posted about and glanced at it quickly. Unfortunately, I don’t think it works here… Those recommendations work better for an older student who was just starting to study Spanish and in a classroom setting. It is still pretty awesome though.

I wrote this at around midnight the other night. I decided to try to treat my insomnia (no longer pregnancy insomnia, but I am sure I can blame it on hormones) by sharing my strategies for how to sleep while pregnant. No, I am not pregnant (even though I have had a few cases of unexplained nausea in the past week…hmmm…), but I found I cannot break my habit of sleeping like a pregnant lady!

Being pregnant is hard work. Not only was I manufacturing a person, at the end of the day, when all I wanted to do was rest my baby-making factory, I discovered I was tossing and turning from insomnia, choking on my heartburn, having fits of breathlessness, or wincing from severe hip pain, just to name a few struggles.

After two pregnancies, I used two different methods of sleeping positions to increase my comfort, leading to sweet and coveted rest!

Practitioners recommend that pregnant ladies sleep on their left side to maximize safety for mother and baby. I spent the longest time during my first pregnancy wishing and pining for sweet sleep on my back. I spent about 2/3 of my second pregnancy just being a rule breaker and sleeping on my back (please talk to your doctor before doing that). Below are descriptions of how to sleep comfortable on your side while pregnant. Many pillows are needed. I always started with a base of two for head support. I had a mix of flat pillows, full pillows, and down pillows.

The basic side comfort position:

Place two pillows under your head, but make sure they (or at least the top one) come down to the top of your shoulder. Place one pillow under your tummy. Place another pillow in between your knees. Place another pillow in between your ankles. Lay another pillow flat behind you, very close and slightly tucked under your back.

The hip pain relief position:

I had to use this for when I was pregnant with Hadassah. Follow all the above instructions. In addition, place a pillow under your side, above your hip (most likely perpendicular to your body). Place another pillow under your thigh. These extra two pillows will take the pressure off your hips and give you some relief!

I don't even have enough pillows anymore, but this is kind of what it looks like for a position to relieve hip pain.  It is annoying, but worth it!

I don’t even have enough pillows anymore, but this is kind of what it looks like for a position to relieve hip pain. It is annoying, but worth it!

With both of the above positions, play with the different types of pillows in different the different areas. If it is not comfortable, adjust it!

Next I will do a post about how to breast feed a baby while laying down and relaxing – something I just figured out on baby #2!

My Picky Eater, or Something Else?

19 Mar

I just sat down to eat my comida, or large mid-day meal.  I made some pasta with white sauce and chicken.  It is soooooo good, and it is SO easy to make.  I used this basic recipe for the base, but tweaked it a little bit.  I doubled the recipe for the thicker sauce recipe.  Then I decided it was too thick, so I added another cup (or two? I didn’t measure) or milk.  I also sautéed 4 giant garlic cloves in with the butter.  In a small frying pan I dumped in a bit of oil and threw in bite sized chicken pieces from one chicken breast.  I also salted and heavily peppered the chicken.  Once it was cooked, I threw it in with the white sauce.  I also cooked some veggie based pasta and then mixed the sauce with the pasta.  I think it took me more time to type this than to make my comida.

So, besides the fact that I like my food and it was easy to make, I am anticipating that Hadassah will love this too, and maybe actually eat like three whole pieces of pasta!  That would be a lot of food for her.  Last month or so I was really stressing about feeding Hadassah, because she is SO picky.  She really isn’t a good eater.  I blame a lot of her preferences on myself, as I was very paranoid about choking for a long time, and also excessively delayed solid food with her.  Oh well.  You live and you learn.  But, in the past week or so, I’ve been making her smoothies, and last month I started her on vitamins.  I will write a post tomorrow or in a few days with the recipe for a great toddler smoothie, since I’ve mentioned it to a few friends with toddlers and they all seemed pretty interested in it.  I think because I put in spinach… a TON of spinach!  Anyway, I kind of feel like I can breathe more easily since I don’t have to stress about her nutrition as much since she is getting lots of spinach in her smoothie and other vitamins in her gummy vitamin.

We are actually going to have a consultation with an occupational therapist on Thursday, which I am looking forward to.

I never would have thought to meet with an OT, but I had been talking to Hadassah’s physical therapist about how she isn’t good with a sippy cup, and that set things in motion.  Yesterday the OT called and we set up an appointment and chatted for a few minutes.  I never really thought Hadassah had a developmental problem that would require therapy, but after talking with the therapist, I am really eager to see what she says.  She mentioned how she is suspecting that Hadassah might have some jaw problems, which makes her seem to be a picky eater because eating is hard (and also makes sense why she loves her “moothies” so much).  Additionally, even though she has pretty good fine motor skills, she just hasn’t been getting how to use a fork, spoon, or and as mentioned above, a sippy cup.  We will see if she is just a normal picky eater, or if there is a strategy we can use to coax along some better eating skills!