The problem with “Milestones”

On any website or blog about parenting you can find charts or lists of “milestones.”  These “milestones” are things that your baby “should” be able to do by a certain age.  The problem is that these charts generally stick to the average age at which babies are able to do certain things and they don’t reflect the huge range in which these milestones normally occur.  Take teeth as an example: some babies get their first tooth as early as 2 or 3 months (I’ve even heard of a baby who was born with teeth!) and some babies don’t get their first tooth (like our niece) until they are 15 or 16 months.  Getting teeth early or late is neither good nor bad, it just is.  It has to do with genetics.

It’s the physical/mental/emotional/language-development milestones that cause unnecessary worry though: your baby “should” be saying words by a certain age, “should” be rolling over by a certain age, “should” be doing x, y and z by their first birthday and a, b and c by the time they’re 18 months old.  If they can’t do certain things it “could” be a sign that they have this or that developmental disorder, and these days everybody is on the lookout for signs of Autism or Sensory Processing Disorder and other hot-button issues.  Again, the problem is that different babies develop different skills at different times and there is a huge range of what’s normal.  I’ve heard about some babies who crawl at 7 months and walk at 10 months but don’t talk until they’re 2 and I’ve heard of babies who are saying 10 words by their first birthday but don’t start walking until they’re 18 months old.  You never hear about the kids who do things within the “average” timeframe becuase they’re not news-worthy.  You only hear about the ones who are on the extreme ends of the spectrum.  When I really think about Julia’s development, I’m not worried.  My mama-instincts tell me that she’s fine and she’ll eventually learn to do all the things she’s supposed to do, but the doctor’s wife in me gets worried sometimes.

So anyways… there’s this list from the AAP of Developmental Milestones, that Ken pulled up this morning and started getting us a little worried.  Here’s a link to the list: LINK

At first I started to worry… but then I realized that a lot of these things are things Julia shouldn’t be expected to do or know because we don’t really do them with her.  We don’t shake our head “no” or nod “yes” when we say those words so how would she know how to do that?  We don’t frequently play a game of “let’s hide the keys and see if you can find them.”  And though she isn’t saying “Mama” and “Dada” with any meaning yet, she does babble a lot and say “Mamamama” and “Dadadada.”  Reading these lists does make me feel a little nervous but then I talk to other parents of babies her age and they reassure me that everything’s fine.  I also spoke this morning with Julia’s teacher at daycare and she said she’s not worried and that she would let us know if she was concerned.  I trust her because she spends her entire day with kids Julia’s age so she’s able to see how Julia is in comparison to other kids her age.  She may  not search for objects we’ve hidden but she does play “peekaboo” which is testing the same skill that hiding objects tests.  The only thing she mentioned is a little weird (not concerning, just weird) is that Julia won’t roll over from her back when she’s on the floor.  We know that she knows how to because most nights she rolls from her back to her side and eventually to her belly and we usually find her sitting up in the morning but she just doesn’t roll when she’s awake.  She’s lazy, or stubborn or something.  I’m not worried about that since I know she knows how to, she just doesn’t do it.  (And I certainly know who she gets her stubbornness from!)

So the moral of the story is… don’t use the internet as a doctor.  If Julia’s pediatrician is concerned at her 12-month checkup in a few weeks then I will be concerned but until then, I will continue to feel satisfied that Julia is doing just fine and meeting all her milestones.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, some pictures from yesterday in the grocery store.  It started with Julia not paying any attention to me or the camera:

9.16.2013(6)But then when she saw the camera, she put on a big smile:

9.16.2013(5)and then she decided it was really funny that I was taking her photo, so she started laughing hysterically and putting on a show for those around us.  She was just having a ball laughing in the shopping cart! 9.16.2013(8)

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She’s just too funny sometimes!  I love that girl so much!

 

 

What a Weekend!

We had a very busy weekend which was lots of fun but left me feeling exhausted by the time Sunday night came around.  We got in bed at 8 PM last night to read and I heard some snores coming from the other side of the bed by about 9:45!  Though we had a lot of fun, I am left feeling like I need a day or two to recover from the weekend.  I’m thinking next weekend we will be sure to make NO plans and to spend a lot of time just relaxing and hanging out as a family at home (we also have the family picnic next weekend at Julia’s new daycare!).

My weekend started on Friday… I took the day off from work to go shopping with Miss Steffi and left Julia at daycare!  I decided ahead of time that I was going to buy nothing for Julia (both of her grandmothers recently bought her a bunch of new clothes), and only buy myself work-appropriate clothing.  I got two nice outfits, and luckily all the pieces I got can be worn together in various combinations.  After picking up Julia, I went home and met another new babysitter, Jessica.  She is a Hopkins and Kappa alum who is living in Towson while she studies for the GRE and applies to graduate school.  She has a lot of availability and has a lot of experience with kids.  She nannied for a family with 3 kids for 3 months, including one kid who was 6 and-a-half months.  Julia seemed to like her just fine, so we decided to ask her to babysit the following night.

Friday night we went to Shabbat services at one of the Modern Orthodox synagogues in Pikesville.  The Rabbi went to the same Yeshiva as our Rabbi from New Orleans so we figured they might be similar in beliefs, attitudes and personalities and we were right!  We enjoyed the services at the Shul, and then the Rabbi invited us over for dinner.  One of the other congregants offered to drive my car over to the Rabbi’s house so we could walk with him.  We met his wife, who is a dentist, and the older two of his 3 children.  His youngest is a baby boy who is just 2 weeks younger than Julia!  We ended up getting along really well with them and we stayed until nearly 11 PM!  Luckily Julia fell asleep nursing and stayed asleep in my arms for quite a while, then she stayed asleep getting into the car, on the drive home, getting out of the car, getting up the stairs and going in her crib!

Saturday morning we had Julia’s last swim class for this session (we signed up for the fall session of swimming lessons too, so we have a couple of weeks off before they start up again).  She did really well and didn’t cry at all!  I think the swim classes have really helped to make her feel comfortable in the water and it’s been a good way to meet other babies around her age.  It will be good to be signed up for the class again because, even though we’ll learn the same techniques again, it will force us to come to the pool once a week and without the class I don’t know that we would do it on our own.

After swimming, we went home and Julia took a 2-hour nap!  After her nap she got pigtails for the first time, and then we went to two different housewarming parties!  8.19.2013(6)

The first party was hosted by a girl, Lydia, who I met through the Hopkins Kappa chapter.  She and her girlfriend just moved from Charles Village to Hampden and they had a little BBQ gathering at their new house.  The food was delicious and they had a great group of friends.  Everyone was very nice about us having the baby with us.  She was happy crawling around chasing their dogs and being passed from person to person to bounce on their laps.

The second party was hosted by a guy Ken knew in college.  He and his wife have a daughter who is 17 months old and they are expecting a second baby in January.  All of the people at their party had kids ranging in age from 6 months to 6 years old, so there were lots of other kids for Julia to play with and lots of fun toys.  We had a great time!

After the parties, we went home, fed Julia dinner and put her to bed, then the babysitter came over.  This time the babysitter came over for us to go do separate things.  Ken went to see Corey’s band play a gig down in  Dundalk and I went to a Mom’s Night Out with 4 other moms at a Wine Bar in Locust Point.  We both had a great time doing our own thing and we agreed that, even though it was expensive to get a babysitter for 4 hours, it was well worth it for us to be able to go out and do our own thing.  It’s important that we both have friends we can go out with, and sometimes we’ll have separate things we want to do at the same time.

Sunday morning we went out for pancakes at Pete’s Grille and then we went to the Orioles game with Corey & Steffi.  Julia got to meet the Bird (she didn’t know quite what to think of him) and we also made an appearance on the Jumbotron!8.19.2013

After the game, we headed back to Corey & Steffi’s house for a little while, where Corey pulled out one of his guitars to treat us to some music.  Julia was in awe watching him, and she also enjoyed banging on her drum (aka shoe box).  It was really cute to watch them! 8.19.2013(3)

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We then went to the Synagogue again for their annual BBQ Dinner, which was a lot of fun.  We met a few young families with kids and got another chance to talk to the Rabbi & his wife.

This morning I dropped Julia off at her new daycare!  She wore a new outfit and had a pretty bow in her hair: 8.19.2013(4)Drop off seemed to go pretty well.  I met her teachers (who both seemed really nice) and the other kids in her class.  For now there are 5 kids in her class: one boy and 4 girls (but in November they might get one or two more who will be babies moving up from the younger baby room).  Julia is the youngest in her room for now, but only by a couple of weeks.  The teachers said they really work on getting the kids onto a good schedule with just one nap in the afternoon, so I’m hoping that Julia will just slide right into that (I’m keeping my fingers crossed).  I’ll be sure to keep you updated!

Ken is on call this week, so keep your fingers crossed that there aren’t too many eye injuries between now and Friday morning.  Next weekend, like I mentioned, we have the family picnic at Julia’s new daycare.  The following weekend is Labor Day, when Ken’s parents are coming to visit!  We have a lot to look forward to over the next few weeks!

Daycare, Doctors, and Pumping at Work

As you can tell from the title of this post, there’s a lot I want to discuss in this post… these are some of the things that are on my mind these days:

Daycare:

In an ideal world, money would be no object and I would be able to stay home with Julia until she’s ready to go to preschool.  At that time, we would find a reasonably affordable preschool with an educational philosophy we wholeheartedly support and with teachers who are loving, nurturing, supportive and understanding.  Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world and, as a family of three, we cannot live on Ken’s salary alone so I need to work.  I also think that for my own sanity and peace of mind I need to work and I would not enjoy staying home with Julia full time (which is why I am very glad to have a part-time job with very flexible hours for the time being).  Working gives me time to be an adult, to exercise my intellectual capacity and helps me to appreciate the time I have at home with Julia so much more than I would if I were home with her full time.  So with all that in mind, we had to find a daycare… and since my boss wanted me to start working very soon after we moved here, we were in somewhat of a bind and needed to find a daycare very quickly.  Luckily we were able to look at daycares during our first week in town when my mom was still here with us.  What we decided to do was send Julia to one daycare for her first 6 weeks and then to switch her to a second one at the beginning of the official “school year.”

There are pros and cons to both daycares but the longer we have her in the first one, the more excited I am about switching her to the second one… I don’t want to give names but here’s the scenario:

Daycare 1: It’s great because it’s very convenient.  It’s RIGHT across the street from the Hospital so in an emergency, I could be there in 5 minutes.  If I run I could probably be there in 2 minutes.  It’s also nice because they provide breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack for the kids, which means that at Julia’s age, all we have to provide are bottles of either breast milk or formula.  It is quite expensive–with the discount we get for being hospital employees, it’s $346.50 per week.  It’s also very corporate because it’s a chain, so they have corporate policies they have to follow.

Quite a few issues have come up in the past few weeks that have made rather upset with them, though to be honest, I have not been good about voicing my dissatisfaction.  First, they had a “cookie day” theme day, when they gave all the kids cookies.  Julia is 10 months old and should not be eating cookies unless I am consulted first.  Under the age of 1 kids really shouldn’t be having unnecessary sugar like that.  It’s not that hard to pick up the phone and call me–“Hello, Mrs. Julia’s Mom, today’s cookie day at school.  Would it be okay to give Julia a cookie?”  Chances are I would ask what kind of cookie it is, how much sugar it has, etc. and I would probably say it’s okay, but I would rather be consulted first.  Second, one kid brought in cupcakes for her birthday and Julia was given a cupcake.  Again, I should have been consulted before giving my baby a cupcake.  It’s not that hard to pick up the phone and call to check that it’s okay to give her a cupcake.  What if she were allergic to gluten or eggs, or the food coloring used in the icing?  Third, there was one day I dropped Julia off earlier than usual and when I dropped her off, I told them that I was going to be later than usual picking her up because I had an appointment and for that reason I brought in 3 bottles, whereas I only normally bring 2.  When I picked her up at the end of the day, she had only been given 1 of the bottles.  (They gave some BS reason about how they tried pouring the bottle into a sippy cup but she didn’t seem to want it so they gave up and didn’t give her the bottle.)  Finally, yesterday I brought her to daycare with her usual 2 bottles of breast milk and for some reason they gave her both bottles before 11:30 AM.  That means that between 8:30 and 11:30 she drank 10 oz. of breast milk.  They should have spaced out the bottles a little better so that she didn’t have to go without a bottle from 11:30 until 4 PM when I picked her up.

Daycare 2: On Monday morning we are switching Julia to a new Daycare… it’s actually a preschool that goes from the age of 10 weeks up to 5 years old when kids can move on to kindergarten.  Julia will be in their older infant room that normally starts around 11 months (so she’ll probably be the youngest baby in the room).  It’s affiliated with a reform synagogue, which is nice because the activities she does, the songs she sings, the art projects she works on will be Jewish themed.  She’ll come home with “Happy Passover” art projects instead of “Happy Easter” projects.  They’ll sing Shabbat songs every Friday and if they get snacks provided by the school they’ll be marked kosher.  The daycare also doesn’t allow pork products or shellfish so if she happens to share her lunch with another kid, she won’t be picking up a piece of bacon from someone’s plate.  This daycare does not provide food so we’ll have to pack breakfast, lunch and snacks to send with her each day, but the tuition is much more affordable (around $1200/month instead of $346.50 per week–doesn’t seem like a big difference but if you add up the difference over the course of the year, we’ll save quite a bit of money in the long run).  The big downside is it’s farther away.  It’s about 15 minutes from the hospital, which means an extra 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon.  But I think in the long run, it will be worth it… we’ll see!

I’m sure this daycare will have its fair share of issues too, but so far they’ve already made a much better impression… we even got a postcard from Julia’s teachers saying they’re excited to meet her and have her in their class, and the whole place just feels a lot more cozy and nurturing.  I’m sure I’ll have complaints about them a few months from now, but at this point in time, I’m looking forward to her starting there on Monday morning!

Doctors:

Since we moved here, I’ve been on the hunt to find Julia a new pediatrician.  We moved here in June and wanted to find a doctor quickly so we could have her 9-month check up in July.  Luckily, I found a doctor quickly who was able to see her for her 9-month checkup but I was not a huge fan of his.  Part of the problem is that he is in solo practice.  There are 4 doctors who are all in solo practice who cover for one another if one of them is out of town.  The problem is they’re in 4 different places, don’t have access to the same records, and you never know who will be on at the time that you need to see the doctor.  Also, because they’re all by themselves, it’s hard to get an appointment.  When I tried to schedule Julia’s 1-year checkup, their “next availability” wasn’t until the 23rd of October (she’ll be 1 on the 8th).

In New Orleans we took Julia to a group practice that we loved.  They had 5 doctors so there was always someone available.  If you didn’t like one of the doctors, you could see a different one.  They had sick visits available on Saturdays and an answering service available after hours and on weekends.  We found that we didn’t like one of the doctors in the practice but we were generally able to schedule Julia’s well visits with a doctor we did like and if Julia was sick, we would just see whoever was available.  We hoped to find something similar here in Baltimore.

I got recommendations about two different group practices but unfortunately one of them is not included on our insurance at the highest level, so we would have to pay higher copays and 20% of all costs.  I went to visit the one group practice that does take our insurance, and I liked the doctor I met there.  They seem to have good appointment availability (we scheduled her 1-year checkup for October 9th), they have drop-in hours from 4-6 every day and sick appointments available on weekends.  It’s fairly convenient (about a 20 minute drive from our house) and has easy and inexpensive parking (it was $1 when I went for the “meet & greet” appointment).

In New Orleans, if we had a question for the doctor after hours, the doctor would call us back to answer our questions so that if other questions came up in the meantime, or we needed clarification on something, the doctor was on the phone with us and we could ask additional questions.  The other day, I had to call Julia’s doctor about a few things, so I called the group practice here in Baltimore where we have scheduled her 1-year checkup… I spoke with an assistant first who relayed my questions to the doctor and then the assistant called me back.  I wish the doctor himself had called so that I could have asked for additional clarification or any follow-up questions that came up.  Also, the answers he gave were very conservative (to be specific, I asked when it’s okay to put blankets on Julia in the crib, and when it’s okay to put the bumpers on the crib.  He said not until she’s 2 years old for both of those!  But then I looked up the recommendation on the AAP website and there they say that it’s generally thought to be safe at 12 months.)  When I asked a follow-up question, the assistant said she would check with the doctor and get back to us so she did just that, called the doctor again and called us back with his answer.  Rather than making multiple phone calls it would be easier to just have the doctor call in the first place to answer our questions.

When looking for a pediatrician, you want someone who will be able to give sound medical and parenting advice but who will also not be too conservative in their recommendations.  You want someone who will respect your judgment and instinct as a parent but who will also answer any questions you have with answers that are well-informed, researched and have some reason behind them.  We will go back to this group practice for Julia’s 1-year checkup but we’ll have to see how we like them when Ken is there with me and when we are able to ask follow-up questiosn and ask for the reason behind their answers.  Hopefully we’ll like them as much as we liked her doctors in New Orleans!

Pumping at Work:

I LOVE breastfeeding.  I HATE pumping.  It’s not that I hate the act of pumping.  It doesn’t hurt, I don’t find it uncomfortable and I actually love that pumping at work helps me to maintain the breastfeeding relationship we have when we’re together.  What I hate about pumping is the stress, the constant worry that I’m not making enough milk to send with Julia to daycare each day.  I also hate that ever since she started daycare, I’ve gotten pushed by her daycare providers to either send more bottles or bigger bottles.  We started out sending 3 3-oz. bottles.  That wasn’t enough so we increased it to 3 4-oz. bottles.  That wasn’t enough so we increased it to 3 5-oz. bottles, but that was more than I could pump each day which meant saying “goodbye” to our freezer stash.  In New Orleans toward the end, she was getting 3 5-oz. bottles a day.  That’s 15 ounces of milk each day that I needed to pump.  I was pumping every 2 hours plus once after she went to sleep.  But, if you look at Kelly Mom, or most websites about breastfeeding, they say that the average is 1-1.5 oz per hour that you’re away from the baby.  So if I’m away from her for 7 hours, she should need 7-10 oz. of milk during that time.  These days I’m sending her with 2 5-oz. bottles each day which should be enough.

Part of the problem is this: there’s no way to know how much milk Julia consumes when she is with me since I nurse her on demand (i.e. whenever she wants to), so I never know how much milk to send with her to daycare.  I’m not interested in drinking gallons of water every day, taking Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle, eating Lactation Cookies every day and putting yucky-tasting Brewer’s Yeast in my Oatmeal every morning.  I will do what I need to do to make enough milk for her but I don’t want to stress constantly about trying to increase my supply.  Also, when I was doing all of those things a few months ago, I didn’t see a huge increase.  Maybe I would make 1-2 more ounces each day but it’s not enough that it’s worth all that stress.

I am very much looking forward to the day she turns 1 and we can start giving her whole cow’s milk.  It’s not that I want to give her cow’s milk INSTEAD of breast milk since I do want to keep nursing her when we are together.  It’s that I want to be able to add cow’s milk in with her breast milk so that I don’t have to stress about being the ONLY source of her milk.  I also want to not have to worry about pumping and using up our freezer stash if I need a day out and need to leave her with Ken.  It will be much easier to leave her during the day when she can have whole cow’s milk.  If she’s a little thirsty after finishing a bottle, it’s easy to just pour more milk into a cup for her.  I generally pump 10-12 oz. of milk each day between 2 pumping sessions at work and one after Julia goes to sleep at night.  What I would like to be able to do is to give her 3 bottles (since daycare keeps saying she needs more bottles) with 4 oz. of breast milk and 3 oz. of cow’s milk (since they also say she needs bigger bottles).  I don’t necessarily want to stop pumping since I think pumping will help me to maintain our breastfeeding relationship.  I just don’t want my pumped milk to be the only source of her milk.

That’s all for now… if you read all that, you get a cookie and a high five!  Thanks for listening 🙂

Baby’s Firsts

I haven’t written in a while because things have been a little busy here in Baby Land…

Even though Ken was working most of the weekend, Julia and I had a lot of fun!  Saturday morning Julia and I spent the morning at home, playing and enjoying the sun on the porch.  photo

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After a morning nap, we celebrated our friends’ graduation from Medical School!  We got a chance to hang out with Kathleen’s family for lunch and with Liz’s family for dinner.  It’s so funny to think that this was actually Julia’s second time going to the Tulane Med School graduation since she was technically there last year when Ken graduated from Medical School, only she was in my belly at the time!  image

Julia really seems to love social events… while we were with Kathleen’s family, she loved being held by Kathleen’s sister and her boyfriend, and she was so happy to watch the dogs running around the room.  She even laughed when the dogs started barking at someone knocking on the door!

Sunday we went to the zoo with our Mommy & Baby Friends.  It was Julia’s first time going to the zoo!  She slept for a while, and was sleeping when we took this stroller picture of all the babies in front of the Elephant Fountain.   It was really hot and muggy out and I had to put sunscreen on her for the first time, but I’m glad we got a chance to go to the zoo before leaving New Orleans.  I’m definitely excited that Baltimore has a good zoo, since when Julia gets to be a little older, it will be a lot of fun to have a zoo to go to.   image_1

I think she’s still a little too young to appreciate the animals at the zoo, since she was more interested in looking at all the people than she was in looking at the animals, but I had a good time at least, and enjoyed hanging out with the other Moms.  It’s always nice to talk with moms of babies the same age so that you can compare and contrast and talk about things that are working, things that aren’t working, etc.  We ended up talking most of the time about what the babies are eating, how they’re sleeping, what fun tricks they can do, what toys they like to play with, etc.  We also stopped for lunch in one of the cafeterias–it was nice to sit in the AC for a while and it gave us a chance to nurse the babies and then let them play on the table for a little while.  photo

One of the moms also had a really nice camera with her and took some great photos!  image_1

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Monday after work, before picking up Julia, I stopped to visit Baby Leigha.  She is just so precious and teeny tiny.  It’s hard to believe she’s just about the same size that Julia was when she was born.  It’s amazing how many changes they go through in such a short period of time!  Julia looks closer in size to our 20-month old neighbor than she does to Leigha, even though she’s closer in age to Leigha.  image_3

Evan and Jade seem to be doing well with Leigha at home, though of course they are exhausted (they’re supposed to be–they have a newborn!).  It’s nice to feel as though we are a source of information for them since we were just there a few months ago and we understand what they are going through.  It’s always nice to have someone who has the newborn stage fresh in their memory while  you’re going through it so they can remind you that this, too, shall pass.  I also feel like seeing us and Julia is kind of like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for them, since they can see what they have to look forward to!

When I picked Julia up from daycare Monday afternoon, they told me that she had thrown up three times after her last bottle of the day and that she had diarrhea.  This was her first time exhibiting any sort of gastro-intestinal symptoms, so they suggested we keep an eye on her.  I got her home, where she was a bit more fussy than usual, but didn’t seem too sick… but since she did have a bit of a fever, we gave her Tylenol, and then she went to sleep without a problem.  She woke up after an hour, screaming, which is very unlike her, so I went in to check on her.  The minute I sat down to nurse her, she threw up, and her vomit was red from the Tylenol.  After nursing, she went right back to sleep and slept through the night.

Tuesday morning she seemed okay… she nursed fine, didn’t throw up, didn’t have a fever, etc. so I took her to daycare and asked them to call me if there were any problems.  Around 11:30 AM they called to say that Julia had a fever.  I picked her up at about 12:30, by which time her fever had gone down, but she had two little sores on her tongue.  I wasn’t really sure what they were or how I could make them hurt less, so I called the doctor to schedule an appointment for that afternoon.  Julia seemed miserable Tuesday afternoon… her tongue was clearly bothering her–she kept sticking it out, was drooling a lot, and the only thing that seemed to help was nursing and sucking on things–her thumb, her pacifier, toys, etc.

At the doctor, her temperature was about 100 degrees, and it turned out she had an ear infection in one ear.  The doctor said that probably what happened was she got an upper respiratory viral infection, which could have caused the nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and then she developed a secondary ear infection.  The trend amongst pediatricians is to prescribe fewer antibiotics but the doctor said that in a baby as young as she is, she does like to treat ear infections, especially when they are accompanied by a fever.  If she didn’t have the fever, we probably would have just let her clear the infection on her own.  So this is baby’s first ear infection and first course of antibiotics!  I asked the doctor about how contagious she was, and the doctor said that the general rule of thumb is that kids should be on antibiotics for 24 hours before going back to school, so I kept her home Wednesday and took the day off to stay home with her.  When Julia is sick, she sleeps more than usual, and that was what tipped off the folks at daycare that something was not quite right.  Tuesday morning she took a 2 hour nap at daycare.  Then, when we got home, she took a 30-minute nap before we went to the doctor and she took another 45-minute nap when we got home from the doctor.  image_4

Wednesday, we spent most of the day at home, but we did run out to get a few errands done… and Julia went in the grocery cart at Rouse’s for the first time!  She loved it and was smiling the whole time!  I think she liked being able to look around at everything and everyone.  She was making lots of happy cooing noises and lots of people stopped to smile at her!  image_5

Last night was the first night in a while that Julia didn’t sleep through the night.  She woke up at about 2:15 and since she’s sick, we didn’t feel comfortable letting her cry.  Ken went to get her from her crib and I nursed her in bed, which, of course, made her go back to her old ways… she only slept for about a half an hour between 2:15 and 4 AM, at which point I decided to go back into her room to put her to sleep.  I nursed her for about 10 more minutes until she seemed calm and sleepy, and then I put her in her crib with her pacifier and she went back to sleep for about 2 more hours.

When she gets sick, I can’t help but think of it as a blessing and a curse… of course it’s a curse because I don’t like to see her sick.  It breaks my heart when she’s not feeling well or in pain and there’s not much I can do to help her feel better.  She’s also so small, vulnerable and helpless and I can’t explain to her that if she rests, drinks fluids, and takes her medicines, she’ll feel better in a day or two.  She can’t understand what’s happening, which makes it worse.  At the same time, it’s almost a blessing when she’s sick since it means I get to stay home with her… we get extra snuggles and we get to take Mommy & Baby Nap Time together.

Anyway… that’s my story… sorry it was so long, but a lot has happened since I wrote last!  There’s a lot coming up in the next several weeks, too… here’s what I know of so far:

Saturday: Crawfish Boil at Ken’s Masonic Lodge

Monday: Memorial Day (Ken will be working nights so he probably won’t be the best company but hopefully we’ll get to spend a few hours together during the day before he has to go back into the hospital for his Monday night shift).

Next weekend: Goodbye Weekend for our Rabbi & his family at our Synagogue.  We’re getting a babysitter to watch Julia Friday night and Sunday night so we can go to the events at the Shul.  Also next weekend, our friend Caitlin will be in town for a wedding and we will (hopefully) have a chance to see her and introduce her to the baby!

June 3rd: My last day at work!

June 7th: Julia’s 8-month checkup, just a day before she officially turns 8 months old!

June 10th: Packing up our moving truck, and my parents get into town to help with the move!

June 11th: We hit the road for our move to Baltimore!

June 15th: We move into our new house in Baltimore!

So as you can see, life is a little stressful right now… but we’re rolling with the punches and taking it one day at a time.  Luckily, Ken and I have a good balance: he gets really stressed out by big things like this while I’m usually the calm one during big life changes.  We’ve always done well as a team when we need to get things done and I’m sure this won’t be an exception!

7 Months!

Today Julia is 7 Months Old!  We will be taking her this afternoon for her 7-Month Checkup so I can give you updates tomorrow about her height and weight.7 months 3

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Milestones: sitting up really consistently now.  Still not rolling over or crawling yet.  7 months 4

Eating: at Daycare she takes 3 5-oz. bottles and in addition to that she nurses 3-4 times/day.  On the days we are together, she generally nurses 6-7 times per day.  She’s also eating solids now but not very consistently (we haven’t really figured out the timing as far as when she nurses, when we should give her solids, etc.)… so far she has liked sweet potatoes, avocado, pears, bananas, and she LOVES baby yogurt!  She also eats baby oatmeal cereal and we have stopped giving her rice cereal (it made her poops rock-hard and I’ve read a lot of negative things about rice cereal).  So far peas were not a hit and she also has not liked the apricot and sweet potato blend that I sent her with to daycare.  We need to start working on more vegetables though, so we’re going to be trying carrots and maybe spinach or broccoli in the next few weeks.  One of the ladies at daycare suggested disguising the vegetables by mixing them with fruits, so we might try mixing

Sleeping: Julia generally goes to sleep sometime between 6:15 and 7:15 and wakes up sometime between 5 and 6.  Sometimes she will wake up once in the middle of the night for a diaper change and feeding, but she usually goes to sleep very easily after that feeding.  7 months 2

Playing: Julia loves to play with her feet, and she’s definitely at the stage now where she will put everything into her mouth.  At restaurants if we have her sitting on our lap, we have to be careful about what’s in front of us (food, silverware, napkins, drinks, etc.) because whatever is in front of her, she will grab and put in her mouth.  If anything even comes close to her mouth, she grabs it and puts it in her mouth.  She loves it when we sing to her, especially if the singing involves any kind of hand motions, clapping or gestures, and she loves getting kisses and raspberries.  We don’t ever have her watch TV but if the TV happens to be on where we are (a restaurant, someone else’s house, etc.) she is absolutely enthralled by the colors and the movement on TV.  I can see why for some parents it’s very tempting to just plop their kid down in front of the TV.  Julia is also very fascinated by the baby she sees in the mirror.  Whenever possible, I show her the baby in the mirror since I am curious to see when she starts to realize that it’s her and not some other mysterious baby!  She also loves to go in her “exersaucer” or “activity center” as we sometimes call it, and she likes to go in these at daycare, too!

Talking: There are still no discernible words but she’s doing a lot of babbling.  I’ve heard a lot of “bababa” and “dadada” and even some “gagaga” but still no “mamama.”  She also likes to make raspberries a lot and blow bubbles!

That’s all for now… I’ll give another quick update tomorrow with her height and weight information after her doctor’s appointment this afternoon!

Back to Work

When I’m at home with Julia, I don’t really have much time to spend on the computer, so I haven’t been keeping up with my blog very well but now that I’m back at work (today is my first day back) I will have a bit more time to keep it going (it helps that I spend the entire day on the computer when I’m at work)!  I have been holding up surprisingly well today, given that today is the first day I’m away from her for more than 3 hours.  I’ve only been crying when someone says something like, “Oh! You’re back?!”  It helps that Julia is at a daycare close to where I work, so I can go visit her during my lunch break today (I’m leaving in 8 minutes to go visit her!).  I also spoke with my supervisor this morning, and she is going to let me start working 7:30-3:30 without a lunch break starting tomorrow, so that way the baby will only be at daycare for 8 hours instead of 9, and I’ll be able to be home with her for a good part of the afternoon.  I’m also hoping that will help with breastfeeding, since I’ll only have to pump 4 times when I’m at work and I’ll be able to just breastfeed her the rest of the time.

For now I just wanted to say I’m back and should be able to blog more regularly now, but in the not-too-distant future, I have some bigger, more content-heavy blog posts up my sleeve.  I’ll just leave you with a few photos of my beautiful baby girl (who holds her head up like a pro now, and has started laughing a little bit!)   image

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28 Weeks. Please pass the champagne!

A few weeks ago when I saw my doctor she said that at 28 weeks I’m allowed to have a small glass of champagne and take a little sigh of relief so that’s my plan this evening!  At 28 weeks, baby is the size of an eggplant.   She’s starting to develop more fat so that her wrinkly skin will start to get smoother, and her lungs are mature enough that she would probably survive if she were born now.  She’s also now able to blink her eyes and she actually has eyelashes on them!  She’s also developing her eyesight so she’s able to see the light that filters through my belly and into my womb.  Her brain is also continuing to develop neurons.  I think from here on out her job is just to grow… to plump up so she has cute and chubby cheeks we can kiss and a soft little baby’s bottom, but at this point most of her organs/systems are fully developed and if she were to be born today, she would (probably) be fine! 

I also have 2 pieces of news…

1) Last night Ken and I met with a Doula for the first time.  Her name was Dana and I actually met her several months ago at our Synagogue’s “Corks n’ Canvas in the Sukkah” program during Sukkot.  She and a few other ladies started a “Collective” of Doulas.  Ken and I both felt very comfortable with her–she answered a lot of our questions and explained what services she, as a Doula, can offer.  We both came away from the meeting feeling like if it’s something we feel we can afford, then it’s probably worth it to have someone else present during labor and delivery.  It is rather expensive ($600 includes a few pre-natal sessions, having her there for the entire time I’m in labor and delivering, and a few post-partum sessions to help with things like breastfeeding, and other post-partum issues) but I think it’s worth it for this important event–the birth of our first child!  Having a Doula means that if Ken needs a break or needs to be relieved for any period of time, there is someone else there who can stay with me to help me work through contractions, and it also means that if I have a C-Section, Ken can go be with the baby after the delivery and the Doula can stay with me to keep me calm and at ease.  Though I would love to have my Mommy there with me, there is a very distinct possibility that she just won’t be in town when I go into labor, in which case it would be very hard for her to get here on time.  Babies come whenever they decide to come, so even if my mom is able to change her plane ticket at the last minute, chances are the baby will come at a time when my mom is not here.  With a Doula we have a guarantee that there is someone in town who can come help out when we need her. 

We’ve decided we’re going to think about it for a week or so and then make a decision but I’m leaning heavily towards wanting to get a Doula.  I feel that it’s a big expense but it’s worth it for such an important occasion.  It’s important that we both feel like this is a positive experience for both of us and I think having a Doula will help to keep us both calm and in a positive mindframe.     

2) My second piece of news is that later this morning we are going to see another daycare center.  It will be the 3rd one I am seeing and the 2nd one for Ken.  This one is called Children’s Place NOLA, and it’s located in Lakeview.  According to Google Maps, it should take me 16 minutes to get there from work, and it’s about 5 miles away from here.  I’m thinking that’s probably not too far… so that if I wanted to, I could go breastfeed during a (slightly extended) lunch break, and it’s nice that it’s sort of half way between home and work.  We’ll just have to see how we like the place and the people.  I do know that this is a brand new building that they built just for the daycare so chances are the facilities are going to be very impressive compared to the slightly older places I’ve seen up until this point.   

That’s all for now… look for a Hump Day Bump Day photo tomorrow!  Until then, have a Happy Tuesday!