Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bottle Strike

Ok Moms, I need your help.

I'll even beg.

Please, please, please someone have a great idea for me.

M is currently in the middle of a bottle strike. She's taken a bottle before, for me and a friend who was babysitting her, but only about 10 times in her 15 weeks. This is our first child and yes, I am breast feeding. I just read in my "What to expect the first year" book, month three, that it is recommended that all breast feeding mothers give their baby one bottle a day from week 6 on. WTF? Why are they just now telling me this in month THREE??? Why didnt someone tell me this earlier? My siblings and I were not breastfed, so my mom didnt have any breast feeding advice to give me when we started this whole thing and unfortunately, none of my breastfeeding friends told me this either.

So now what? What do we do?

She SCREAMS like we are trying to torture her when we try to give her a bottle. We've tried Doctor Brown's, Medela, Avent and Ventaire bottles. Wide nipples, narrow nipples. Inserts, no inserts. All to no avail.

So, does anyone have any advice for us? Id really like to be able to leave her with someone for longer than 2.5 hours. (She eats every 3 right now). I feel so tied down and I really dont know what else to try.

Thanks for any helpful suggestions!

Oh, and Happy New Year! =)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our Baby Gear Must-haves

Now that M is 3 months old, I wanted to list our favorite baby gear items thus far.

*I wasnt compensated for any of this and these companies have no idea who I am. These are my own opinions.

Carter's pack and play
We use this as a changing station/cloth diaper holder for downstairs.
So convenient, sturdy, cute. Maybe she'll nap in it one day. 

Carter's Bouncer seat
This isnt the exact one that we have, but it's close enough. 
We keep it upstairs and move it from room to room, wherever we are. 
We mostly use it in the bathroom to put her in during our showers and while we prepare her bath.

Disney Baby Einstein Play Mat 
M loves the toys that come with this. 
She stares at and plays with "Oscar" the octopus the most. 
She also likes the flashing lights.
We keep it downstairs in the living room. 
She plays while I get household chores done.
This is also where we do tummy time. 

Boppy Breastfeeding Pillow
I only use this for nighttime feedings, but I love it. 
I have a few covers for it too. 
Once M can sit up a little more steadily on her own, 
Ill put it behind her to help hold her up.

Boppy newborn lounger
This is great for naps and playtime.
M usually takes her morning nap here. 

Arm's Reach Co-sleeper
This allows the baby to be within reach, but not in the bed with you. 
It connects to your bed. It's great and convenient if you're breast feeding. 
The AAP recommends sleeping in the same room as your baby until they are 6 months old, 
so this is what we are using. 
Nuk Pacifiers
This is the only brand of pacifier that M will take.
We've tried multiple brands and this is her fav.

Fisher Price Zen swing
M wasnt too keen on this early on, but around week 8 she really took to it.
She will sit in it for 10-20 minutes a few times a day. It is big and takes up a lot of room, but 
she likes the mobile and loves the side to side swinging motion. 
The seat is removable and doubles as an infant seat. 

Moby Wrap
This was intimidating at first, but after I figured out how to use it the first time, 
I could get her in and out of it quickly and easily. 
It's perfect for commissary runs. It distributes her weight evenly. 
M falls asleep in it every time.

Bum genius and Fuzzibuns Cloth Diapers
We love these! Im so happy we decided to cloth diaper.
We use the pocket one size versions of both of these and are very happy with them. 
We do occasionally have a poop leak from the leg holes due to M's skinny legs, 
but that doesnt happen often.
Medela On The Go Breast Pump
Great for traveling. Works really well. Easy to use and easy to clean. 
We're not big fans of the bottles that are included, but the pump is great.

Baby Trend Travel System
LOVE this! The handle on the car seat makes it so much easier to hold and carry.
The stroller is easy to fold up and maneuver. I love that it's a jogging stroller and 
has a swivel front wheel. It has two cup holders and speakers with an MP3 hookup. 
It is a bit heavy, but I am able to lift it into and out of the trunk. Travel systems are 
definitely the way to go. 

Bundle Me
This is so great. We live in cold, dreary Germany and this keeps
our little one warm and cozy. She likes her car seat more now that we've added this. 

We have the one shown above, with legs. We love it! M got to the point where she was
constantly breaking out of her swaddle blankets at night and waking up. This solves that problem.
It also keeps her warm and cozy. The 3-6 month size is too long. but still fits her. It gives her just enough play and movement of her arms to keep her happy. She hates the Swaddle Me's. She will struggle
against them until I take it off. The Woombie, she likes. 
 Cloud b Twilight Constellation Nightlite
This is so great. I keep it in our room and use it when I want to see the baby and when Im feeding her during the night. It is so soft, it doesnt wake M or J up when I turn it on, but it provides enough light for
me to be able to see her clearly. Another awesome feature? It turns itself off after 45 minutes!

What are your favorite baby gear items? Please share!

*All images from

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Book Review: The 90-Minute Baby Sleep Program

Not my image

This book has changed my life. 

True story. 

(I seriously hope Im not jinxing myself by writing about this...)

From the very beginning, Baby M has been a very spirited, fiery baby. That will translate to full of personality, charismatic and passionate when she's older. Many of our early days were spent walking the floors, bouncing and yes, sometimes crying. The word that we used most often to describe her during weeks 2-10 was "fussy." I hated this. It broke my heart, not knowing what was wrong or how I could help. When I would talk to friends and family about it, they just said that babies cry and at that age, fussiness is normal and expected. I understood this, but I felt like there was more to it.

M rarely slept during the day. Rarely. Naps were like a golden gift when they did occur. My mom told me I never slept as a baby, so I thought M was just coming by it honestly. But I kept thinking, "Arent babies supposed to sleep?" All of the books said babies her age sleep 15-20 hrs a day. Ha! We were lucky if M slept 10 hours a day. She would fuss and fuss until she eventually wore herself out.

Being a first time mother is exhausting and very, very hard. I called my mom in tears more than once, lamenting that I must be a bad mother or doing something wrong. Why else would M be so fussy and seemingly unhappy? Dont get me wrong- she wasnt always fussy or always crying, but I remember once saying that she was probably fussy 50% of the time.

And then, the day after Thanksgiving, my husband gave me a gift. An early Christmas present. We were having an especially difficult day. A very "Black Friday" indeed. The gift was this book. I had put it on my Amazon wishlist after reading about it in an email from I read the book that day and decided to try the suggestions the following day.

That Saturday, our world began to change. We implemented the plan in the book and our days became so much better, our baby so much happier. Our days are now structured on a flexible schedule. I am so much happier, better able to deal with any fussiness and less stressed. I can actually get things done around the house and I feel comfortable running errands. Most importantly, M has flourished! She wakes up in the morning smiling and laughs and "talks" all day long. She's a little ham, making J and I laugh all the time. No longer is she a "fussy" baby, but a happy baby. And as her momma, I couldnt be happier about that!

Now, Im not saying we dont have bad days or that M is never fussy. What I am saying is that those happen infrequently. Out of a 7 day week, we probably have 1.5 bad days now. Before, it was more like 3-4 bad days a week.

The main points of the book include:
*Start the timer from the moment the baby wakes up.
*~90 minutes later, the baby will be ready for a nap.
*The point that was most key for us--- because she is so young, the baby will need help falling asleep.
*When the baby wakes from her nap, start the timer again.

M wakes, eats (every 3-5 hours), plays for an hour-hour and fifteen minutes and then goes down for a nap ~90 minutes after waking. This is our schedule all day long. The times vary depending on what time she wakes up every day, but the routine doesnt. I didnt realize that she just needed help falling asleep. It was a "lightbulb" moment, when I read that. So now, when she starts displaying her sleepy signals, I swaddle her arms, place her in the side lying position in my arms, give her her paci and either walk with a bounce or sit and pat her bottom until she falls asleep. She naps for 45 mins-2.5 hours at each nap. All along, she just needed more sleep and a little help getting there.

This book may not work for everyone, but it worked for us. Now, if she would just sleep through the night...

*I was not compensated in any way for this review. This is my own, personal opinion.  

Monday, December 19, 2011


Dont you just love it when:

*You're finished Christmas shopping!
*Your baby wakes up smiling and happy. Totally makes my morning.
*You're back to pre-pregnancy weight 12 weeks after delivery. Woohoo!
*Your baby is good in public, especially during a dinner out.
*You can fit into a dress you wore in high school.
*Your baby sleeps longer than a 3 hour stretch at night.
*Your husband is on vacation. Two weeks off coming up and I cant wait!
*Your baby doesnt get sick even though you and your husband both had the same virus.
*You get caught up on laundry. Yes!
*Your family and friends shower you and your family with love.
*You get into a flexible daily routine that makes both momma and baby happy.
*Your parents send 14 boxes of things for the baby and Christmas presents. Cant wait till Christmas morning.
*You see your child discover new things and develop new skills.
*Your mom comes to visit. T minus two weeks and counting!
*You get a child free date night with your hubby.
*The sun shines in the winter.
*The holiday season is in full swing. I love this time of the year.

and on the reverse side of things....

Dont you just hate it when:

*The military throws you a curveball and you have to change your plans.
*Your baby goes through a growth spurt. Every two hour feedings during the night are no fun.
*It's pouring down rain and you have to go to the commissary. Worse, with a baby.
*You run out of pumpkin spice coffee and cant buy more around here. =(
*There's nothing good on AFN. Wait, there's rarely ever anything good on AFN. I miss real TV.
*You've worked so hard to get your baby to sleep and the moment you put her down, her eyes pop open and she's wide awake again. Sigh.
*You dont see the sun for days and days. Boo to the never ending grey skies and rain.
*You get sick and your husband is TDY. And you still have to take care of a baby.
*You have obligations to attend to, but all you want to do is stay in your PJs and snuggle with the cutest little girl in the world.
*It's the middle of December and you havent received any Christmas cards.
*You have to go on base and stand in line to get your mail. I miss mail being delivered right to your home. Id love to be able to just walk to the mailbox.
*You cant find a parking spot.
*You live in a country that doesnt know what good Mexican food is. We tried a new Mexican restaurant last night and as per all the Mexican restaurants in Germany, it sucked. Bad food and too strong, watered down drinks. I really miss good Mexican food.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Blog Swap

Riding the Roller Coaster

If you havent heard, Wife on the Roller Coaster from Riding the Roller Coaster is hosting a MilSpouse Holiday Blog Swap. This is my very first blog swap and Im really excited about it. There are some great bloggers participating, so be sure to check them all out. Just stop by the Wife's blog to see them all. I cant wait to read everyone's posts, which are all about Christmas.
You can find my post on how the military has affected our holiday seasons over the years on Nicole's blog at Flip Flops and Combat Boots. 

Im hosting Katie F. from The Life of an Army Wife. Katie is an Army wife from Wisconsin and new momma to a beautiful little five month old girl. Stop by her blog to find out more and to see some photos of her little cutie!

Here's her post:

Hello. My name is Katie F and I write over at The Life of an Army Wife. I love the holiday season. Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. I love listening to Christmas music, driving around looking at decorations and the warm fuzzy feeling you get curled up in your living room with the ones you love enjoying the lights of your Christmas tree

My family is big on traditions. My parent's made Christmas so special and I knew that I wanted to do the same for my kids. Now that our daughter is here we went all out for Christmas this year. The last few years we have gone home to WI to be with our families for the holiday's. This year a 17 hour drive with a 5 month old was out of the question so it will be our first Christmas just the three of us. While it's sad knowing we won't be going home for Christmas I am excited to start our own family traditions along with incorporating some of our families traditions.

One major tradition my family did was giving us a new ornament each year. Every year in the beginning of December my parent's gave us a new ornament to put on the tree. They always had some sort of meaning or represented us in some way whether it be a ballerina ornament or a high heel, it was always special to see what my parents had picked for us. And now 27 years later I have 27 ornament's to hang on my own tree. The hubs and I decided to start this tradition with our daughter and a few weeks ago headed to Hallmark to pick out Baby's first Christmas ornament. It is hanging proudly on our tree and our family member's have even joined in our tradition and purchased some ornament's for her

Other traditions include going to church on Christmas Eve, cooking a big meal for us to enjoy. A traditional turkey with all the trimmings on Christmas eve and a traditional italian dinner on Christmas day. 

Traditions are meant to be passed down and shared with one another. That is what makes Christmas so special for us. Sharing them with our daughter along with starting our own new traditions. Traditions that will last a life time and that will hopefully be passed along to our grandchildren. So even though we will be far away from our families this year they will be close by in spirit. What sort of traditions do you all enjoy during the holiday's?

I know one tradition I plan on starting is The Elf on a shelf. When Gianna gets a little older I think it will be such a cute experience for her. I see so many people blogging about it that I can't wait to start it. 

The most important thing of all however is that we will be together this Christmas. Celebrating the holiday's when your loved one is deployed is always hard and it has taught me to never take time together for granted.

Thank you for your great post Katie!

What are some of your Christmas traditions?

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Birth Story, Part 3

*Warning: Part 3 includes the delivery and some things that may be TMI for some of you. 

In case you missed the beginning...

Part 1
Part 2

So the epidural isnt working on the left side and I can feel everything. From the beginning, the contractions had been focused in my back. (My mom told me she also had "back labor.") Now that the epidural wasnt working, the back pain on my left side was excruciating.

At 7:00 the change of shift came on and my new nurse was Alexis and she told me that a midwife would be the one to deliver my baby. I was so happy it wouldn’t be the doctor from the night shift. At 8:10, she came in to check my progress. J had just left a few minutes before to run down and get some breakfast. The poor guy was starving. Id been on the Pitocin for a little less than two hours. The midwife lifted up the sheet and said, “Whoa! I can see the baby’s head. You’re dilated to 10 and the baby’s head is at 2+.” We were all so shocked! They hadn’t expected me to progress so quickly, even on the Pitocin. I called J and said, get up here now, I’m dilated to a 10! The midwife laughed and said there wasn’t any hurry; she was going to let me labor down for a while before I started pushing. I relayed the message to J, who was very relived. He did rush back upstairs. He said he thought I was joking at first, because I was so calm. He almost threw his food down in the cafeteria and ran. Thankfully he brought the food with him and didnt make a mess. 

So as I’m laboring down, the contractions are getting worse and worse and are coming less than two minutes apart. Things began to get hazy at that point. I remember the nurse saying that there was no reason for me to be in so much pain, especially with an epidural and she was going to get the anesthetist. At some point he came in a said he was going to give me a “half bolus” directly into the epidural. I was in the zone at that point and don’t remember much except Jason helping me focus on my breathing. Around 9:30 the nurse came back in and said it was time to start pushing. Thankfully by that time the bolus had just kicked in and I was feeling nothing but relief. She had me push a couple of times but then stopped me because the baby’s head was right there and she was afraid I would deliver without the midwife being there. At 9:40 the midwife arrived and I began pushing. J was on my right, mom was on my left and the midwife and nurse were at the end of the bed. I remember my mom saying, “She has so much hair!” over and over. 

I loved the midwife. She was very concerned with giving me the safest, quickest delivery and preventing a tear. She also wanted all of us to participate in the delivery. So she had Jason lift my right leg, which was extra numb from the bolus, and mom lift the left leg. She had me hold my thighs as well. This wasnt working for me because I was too numb. After a few minutes, she told me to lift my pelvis with each push like Michael Jackson thrusted his. We all cracked up at that, but it worked! She had me grab my ankles, with mom and Jason supporting my legs, and thrust upward. She said this would help prevent a tear. 

After a total of fourteen minutes of pushing, and 17.5 hrs of labor, M was born at 9:54 am. She was perfect! The cord was wrapped around her neck once, but the midwife was so calm and unwrapped it without us even knowing. It wasn’t until we were filling out our discharge paperwork that we found out she had a nuchal cord. She dried her off a little and placed her right up on my chest. She waited until the umbilical cord stopped pulsating, letting M get all the stem cells. I loved that she did that. I had read about it during pregnancy, but didn’t think they would be willing to do it. Once it had stopped pulsating, J was allowed to cut the cord. I didnt even feel or realize when the placenta delivered, which was fine with me because I did not want to see it. They let M lay on me while they cleaned her up. I also breast fed her within the first 20 minutes after she was born, before they took her over to weigh and bathe her. After an hour they took her over to give her the Vitamin K shot, the eye ointment, weigh and measure her. She weighed 6 lbs, 12 oz. We all took a guess before they weighed her and the midwife guessed it correctly! She was 18 ¾ inches long. Afterward, they brought her back to me and let me breast feed her again. I was allowed to eat at that point. Finally! I was starving! We got in lots of snuggle time too. J and mom held M and lots of pictures were made. Then it was time for her first bath. While they bathed her, Alexis helped me to the bathroom so I could clean up and get a shower. Unfortunately, my right leg was extra dead from the bolus so I looked like a drunk person trying to walk to the bathroom. She and J practically carried me. The numbness didnt completely wear off of the right side for six hours. 

We spent two days in the hospital. Thankfully M was healthy and I didnt have any complications. My only complaint was intense back pain for a few days afterward from the contractions and epidural. My mom stayed with us for the next two weeks and J was off work, so we spent the time getting to know our little one.        

The last 12 weeks havent always been easy, but they have been wonderful. M is the best thing that has ever happened to us. She's our little miracle baby, our greatest blessing. All in all, my labor and delivery were pretty wonderful. Even with a defective epidural, I was very pleased with my experience and will happily do it again one day. The devastatingly brutal sleep deprivation that goes along with having a newborn...well, that's not something I look forward to. We have another year or two before we have to worry about that though.... =)

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Birth Story, Part 2

Check out Part 1 if you missed it!

So on to part two... 

So we're in room 3, the best room...
I changed into a gown and got into bed at 1245. Becky checked my cervix for progress. The hospital's policy is not to admit a patient unless their cervix is dilated to a 4. I was a 2 at my last appointment a week before, so I was hoping I was at least a 4 now. According to her, I was dilated to 3 and 80% effaced. I was a little disappointed and worried they would send me home. Becky asked me if I would like to go home for a while longer or stay and of course I said stay! I wasn’t giving up Room #3! =)

So we made ourselves comfortable and prepared for a long night. Although the contractions were painful, as long as I was walking, they were bearable. There was a moment when I felt like as long as they let me walk, I could handle them indefinitely. Ha! Although I was feeling mighty tough, I knew I really wanted an epidural and didn’t want to miss the window of opportunity for it. I informed my nurse of this so she agreed to come back and check me in a couple of hours. In the meantime I walked, breathed, facetimed with family and laughed with J and mom at the crazy German TV shows that air in the middle of the night.

When Becky came back in to check me at 2:40, I was 5 cm and 90% effaced. The pain was beginning to get pretty intense and I was terrified of missing out on the epidural (this had happened to my friend just two weeks before), so I told Becky I was ready for it. The CRNA arrived at 3:30. When he walked in was pacing the floor, laughing at something J had said. He looked around, said he must be in the wrong room and turned to go. We laughed and called him back in. He said his patients weren’t normally up walking around, laughing. Getting the epidural was an interesting experience. As a former operating room nurse and scrub tech, I had seen countless epidurals placed. One of my best friends is also a CRNA and I had talked to him about it. I knew it would be uncomfortable, and it was, but I underestimated how difficult it would be to have to sit still during the process. The contractions were bearable while I was walking, but so painful while sitting still. The sharp shooting pains down my legs wasn’t anticipated either. Afterward though, I was very thankful for the wonderful numb feeling.

At 4:15 the doctor came in for the first time since I’d arrived. She was about as friendly and animated as a rock. I sincerely hoped she wouldn’t be the one to deliver my baby. Luckily, she went off duty at 7:00 and /i knew I probably wouldnt deliver by then. She checked me at I was still at 5 cm. She said my water was bulging, so she decided to break it to speed things up a bit. Thankfully, due to the epidural, I didn’t feel a thing. Becky suggested we all try and get some rest while we could and she would be back in a couple of hours. I actually slept for an hour, but I was too excited to sleep more. I had fun trying to keep J awake by throwing ice at him. So far the worst part of labor? The hunger pains! I was starving. The popsicles and jello just werent cutting it.

At 6:15 Becky checked me again. I was only 6 cm. Unfortunately, the epidural had slowed my progress. They decided to begin a low dose of Pitocin to try and get my progress back on track, so at 6:25 they started the drip. After 20 minutes, Becky increased the dosage. At this point, I began to feel the contractions again. All I could think was, “Uh oh.” I knew this wasn’t good. I wasn’t supposed to be feeling anything. The contractions continued to get worse and as they did, I realized that I could only feel them on the left side. My right side was still numb, but I could feel everything on the left. Each and every contraction. I tried pushing my pain button, but that didn’t provide any relief. It sucked having to lie in bed during the contractions when all I wanted to do was walk.

Thankfully J was with me. He was awesome! He encouraged me, helped to keep me focused and kept me grounded. He is a funny, funny guy but never once cracked a joke. We’d made a deal beforehand that he wouldn’t make any jokes, complain or eat in front of me. Not that he would ever complain, but I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t have a reason to hurt him. =)  I did let him eat eventually. I didn’t want him to pass out during the big moment!

Stay tuned for Part 3, the big event, coming next week.....