Thursday, April 30, 2009


Caleb was born Thanksgiving Day. Noah was born Christmas Eve. They both have mamas who like cloth diapers and home made baby food. And they went on their first outing together!

Granted, it was to the mechanic so I could pick up my loaner car. But it was still a first for both our boys, so we took a picture. I hope we have many more outings to come!

Caleb on the front lawn

Last Monday (Apr. 20th) was a beautiful day, and I had the urge to get Caleb out and take some pictures. So I grabbed a blanket and plopped him on the front lawn.
And here are some of the photos we got that day!

He's started reaching for everything, and the camera was no exception!

Look at those gums!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I have known Sophie since she was 4 months old. She's turning three next month! She calls me YiYi (though that's recently evolved to Yiddy) and loves her Jon. But above all, she loves her Baby Caleb. She talks about him and has named all her baby dolls Baby Caleb. For the first bit of Caleb's life, Sophie was battling colds and other contagious things, so Caleb was two months old before we got these pictures.

We had another chance for the two friends to get together for photos at the beginning of this month, about two months after the other photos were taken.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bathtime Fun, Three Months Old

Caleb takes his bathtime splashing very seriously!

This photo was taken a month later, this time with bathtime toys from Nana and Grandad! And the octopus just happened to be where it was...we did not put it there!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Come to the dark side.....

Caleb at 4 months. He would rotate around until his head was right by the monitor. I could hear his breathing through the monitor. It sounded a bit like baby Darth Vader.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Feeding time

Nursing takes up quite a bit of my day, so let me tell you some of the helpful things I have related to the topic:

First, I have a Boppy pillow. This helps hold Caleb in place while he's nursing, and gives my arms a rest. I have tried a My Breast Friend pillow as well, and thought it actually worked better, but really, My Breast Friend? Yeah, I'm not buying that. Rename it, and I might. Or give it to me, because I'm always a sucker for a deal. Anyway, it was nice because it stayed tight against my stomach, where the Boppy will slide away, so Caleb is eventually sitting on my lap. However, the Boppy still keeps his head up and his body turned the right way, so I still like it, and it's handy when others are holding Caleb, too, just to rest their arms. As Caleb has gotten older and we've both gotten more experience under our belts, I can now nurse him without the Boppy, but still choose to when I'm at home.

Next, I have burp cloths. I call them diaper cloths or drop cloths...never burp cloths. I have no idea why, but it's all about the same. Cloth diapers really are the best burp cloths, and I keep one draped over the Boppy to keep it clean. Sometimes I think there's a hole in Caleb's chin for all the milk that gets everywhere.

Nursing bras are very handy. Regular bras are just a lot of hassle when you're trying to get a crying baby fed discreetly. I have one that's padded with underwire and one with no padding or underwire, both from Motherhood. They're okay. The fit isn't that great, but I'm just not willing to spend a lot of money on a bra, which is what I'd have to do for a better fit.

Nursing tops are also good. The only ones I have are tank tops--one black and one white--that I wear under other clothes. I do this especially when I know I'll be nursing in public, because it means that I can lift my shirt up and still have the tank on underneath. There's only one part of me that's uncovered, and it's usually covered by a baby (who handily likes to throw his arm over his face while he eats, so it's even more covered). I also bought a couple cheap and stretchy non-nursing tank tops for the same reason. I just pull them down for feeding, and it keeps my midsection covered.

For the first six weeks, I used a nipple shield. This was recommended to me by the nurses and the lactation consultant to help Caleb latch on better. Not everyone needs this, but I did. However, I think we used it for too long, because Caleb didn't develop a very good latch, and it just prolonged the "breaking in" period for me. Goody.

That brings us to our next product: lanolin. Lanolin helps heal and protect dry, cracked nipples. I had to use it for the first two months, though some people don't need it that long. I recommend the Medela brand, because it's a very good consistency. I have the Lansinoh brand, and it's really gooey and gummy. You're supposed to rub it between your fingers before applying, but the Medela brand doesn't require that.

In the beginning of nursing, most women will leak milk. They'll leak when they're feeding their babies, when their milk lets down, and when it's been awhile between feedings. Some women continue to leak milk until their babies wean. I don't know which one I am (I'm thinking the second group), but here are my reviews/recommendations of three products.

One is Johnson's nursing pads. These are one of the less expensive brands ($7 a box), but they're very comfortable. The pros are 1) very cushy, 2) not a weird shape that looks funny under your shirt. The cons are 1) not individually wrapped, so hard to take with you, 2) not very thin, again hard to take with you, 3) can stick to sore nipples, which just ain't pretty, and 4) can hold in moisture. I had to change my nursing pads every time I nursed, and was going through a box of these a week. Plus I think the constant moisture contributed to my getting thrush. Woohoo.

Clearly I needed to find another way. So I found LilyPadz. LilyPadz are silicone nursing pads. They apply pressure, preventing leaking and thus eliminating the need for something to soak it up. They're reusable (the package says up to two months), so hopefully I'm saving a little money by spending $20 on one pair. I love these! First, they don't require a bra, so I can finally sleep without a bra (and can go get the massage I was given for Christmas!). I can also wear them in the swimming pool in the summer. However, if Caleb skips a feeding (at night), then it's pretty certain that I will leak. But during the day, it works pretty great.

I've been using the LilyPadz for awhile now, and I'm still on the first pair, so that's good! However, I've been thinking that silicone against my skin 24 hours a day for a couple months can't be that great, and a friend gave me her cloth nursing pads she was done with, so I'm trying them out. They've been washed a lot, so they've pilled up, which makes them itchy. But otherwise, they're good. They don't apply pressure like the LilyPadz, so I have to put my arms to my chest whenever I feel my milk let down to prevent leaks, but that's fine. One advantage is that the cloth pads fold right up into the bra when I have to fold it down to feed Caleb. The LilyPadz won't do that, so I have to set them somewhere, which can be awkward out in public. I still wear the LilyPadz at night.

I'm also so glad I have a Medela breast pump. I really don't like being hooked up to a machine for 20 minutes of my life, but seeing the rewards of several ounces of milk in little bottles in my fridge makes it worthwhile. No, wait. Being able to hand a bottle to someone and leave my child for longer than 2 hours makes it worthwhile!

Pumping milk requires storage, and I use First Years Milk Storage Organizer, with a spring at the back to keep the bags of milk upright and pushed forward. It really helps to fill the bags (I use Lansinoh bags, but don't have a particular preference) with milk and lay them flat to freeze, then put them in the container. When I did as the package recommended, and just stuck the bags (unfrozen) in the container, they froze all different shapes and didn't fit as well. EDIT: I ran out of room in the organizer and went to buy another, only to be reminded that it cost over $20! So, I bought an ice cube box for a couple bucks, and it works great!

I can be a bit scatterbrained, and going on little sleep makes things worse, so I'm very glad I found out about MilkBands. MilkBands are silicone bracelets (like the LiveStrong Lance Armstrong bands) that have little markers that slide along minute and hour segments, so I can mark what time Caleb ate last. It also has "left" written on one side, and "right" on the other, so I flip it each time I feed. For those of you who don't know why it would say "left" and "right," and because this blog is about providing information, a nursing mama is supposed to alternate which boob she starts feeding on. That way, the baby empties the right, and then just takes what he needs to fill up on the left. Then, the next feeding, he starts on the left and empties it, which helps keep things even--physically even as well as keeping the milk supply even on both sides by regulating demand.

In order to use the MilkBand to its fullest, it's important to have a watch or clock somewhere. And I have a little flashlight to shine on the clock for the night feedings.

For public feedings, a nursing cover is a must! I tried to go without it once, and ended up with a blanket that wouldn't stay up, and I'm pretty sure more than a few indecent moments. Ever since then I've kept mine handy when we're going out. Teresa made it for me, and it's got terry cloth on the inside, so I don't even need the burp cloth. And when I'm out and about, the fewer things required for feeding, the better!

KarenD gave me a neck pillow, and it has been a huge life saver! At least a neck saver! My neck and shoulder muscles were killing me from feedings where I was too tired to hold my head up, and my chin was ending up on my chest. The neck pillow lets me stay comfortable...sometimes too comfortable! Sometimes I've left the nursery after a late-night feeding rubbing my eyes and wondering, "Did Caleb really take an hour to eat...or did I doze off?"

Other items that are nice to have on hand are a glass of water, a book, pencil and paper, and a phone. Or a computer! Though I've noticed as Caleb gets older that he's more distracted, so I usually can't do something that's too noisy or is a big bright light, like a computer monitor.

Though this list is extensive, don't get overwhelmed! These are just things that help. But really, especially after the "break-in" period has passed and your milk has regulated (which took me about 4 months, most people much faster), all you need is you and the baby! And it really is worth it. I'd go through the pain and frustration again for the sweet bonding experience of nursing.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Before I forget

I forgot to mention one item I used at the end of my pregnancy. Well, I mentioned it, but I didn't know if it would work. It's Arbonne's Water Relief gel, and it does indeed reduce swelling! I used it 3-4 times a day, and noticed a definite difference from when I didn't use it. So I would recommend!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sleepy time

Here is another post I never put up! This was written January 1st, so Caleb was 5 weeks old.


Sleeping is a crazy thing with a newborn. It's like there is no differentiation between night and day. The first couple of weeks, Caleb slept in a pack-n-play in our room. Well...he mostly slept in our bed, actually. It was just so cold, and he seemed so little in his big bed. I'd lay him down and a few minutes later I could hear him wiggling, then he'd start to make noises, then whimper, then whine a little, then it would turn into an all-out cry, at which point I'd put him next to me and he'd sleep great. When he would wake up, I'd head to the nursery to feed him (because everything was set up so nicely in there). Jon would get up as well and do laundry or something like that, because really, it could just as well have been daytime.

By the end of two weeks, I was pretty ready for Caleb to move to the nursery. He didn't sleep that well in the pack-n-play, and the nursery really was set up so nicely for him. Jon, however, didn't want to see him go, because he was just so tiny, and could we really trust the baby monitor? What if something happened? Well, we started letting Caleb nap in the nursery during the day, and about that time Jon's mom (Nana) figured out that Caleb slept much better on his side than he did on his back (with the help of a sleep positioner wedge). It wasn't long before we gained confidence in the baby monitor and trusted that our baby would stay alive even if we weren't in the same room with him, so he moved to the nursery at two weeks. There, on a softer mattress and positioned on his side, he slept great! He started sleeping with only one real night-time wakeup, which is the way it still is today at 5 weeks.

Now, he eats every three hours or so. He's a VERY slow eater, taking about an hour when it's all said and done! That gives me two hours in between to get things done. At night, he skips a feeding, so we get a pretty good stint of sleep before he wakes up between 5 and 6 for his next meal. I've learned that at that point, I better get up! He's ready for the day, and if I try to lay back down, I'm struggling with a baby who doesn't want to lay down, and it ends up being the middle of the afternoon before I ever get a shower.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Roll Over

Caleb's first rollover! You'll also notice his squeals. He's found out he can squeal, and he loves it.


Well, I wrote this a long time back, but never posted it. Guess I should!

First Birthday: Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 2008
First Smile: Hard to tell, but I'd say somewhere close to 3 weeks. Confirmed by the doctor at 4 weeks.
First Eye contact: Starting around 2 weeks
Lost his cord: Right at 3 weeks, Dec. 19
First non-sponge bath: Dec. 23, 2008. Screamed bloody murder!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

First Easter

Well, most of the pictures are a blur, but Caleb's face is so expressive, I left them in. Here's his first Easter!

Monday, April 13, 2009

My cutie boy

I tried out a new lens (24-70mm), a new prop (bean bag), and a new look (light background instead of dark), using my favorite subject and his blue blanket. A home-bound lady in the church made it for him and gave it to him when he was dedicated.

Friday, April 10, 2009

First Swing

We had our annual birthday celebration at the park this year, and Caleb tried out the swing for the first time! Here was his reaction:
Caleb's been on the swings two other times since then. The first time he fell asleep! So the next time I made the swing go a little higher, and he was all smiles.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

First Parade and Festival

Leanna and I whisked Caleb away on an impromptu trip to my parents' house for their town's Dogwood Festival. It was beautiful weather, and we all enjoyed the short visit. We went down on Friday, came back on Saturday, went to a wedding that night, church and birthday celebration the next day, and Caleb was a trooper through it all! I'm thinking he's a laid back little kid.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Caleb's 4-month Checkup

On Monday Caleb had his 4-month checkup and shots. Here are his stats:

Weight: 13lbs 11 oz (55th percentile)
Length: 26 1/2 in. (95th percentile)
Head: 50th percentile

So he's about average, but very tall! He's grown 5 1/2 inches since birth! Dr. P said that if she just saw his face, she'd think Caleb was 12-18 months--I guess because he doesn't have little baby features and he has a head full of hair! I don't really see it, but she is the one who sees babies all day, so I guess she'd know. And they do call him "little old man" in the nursery....

Dr. P laid him on his back and lifted him to a sitting position to see how he handled his head. Well, he flopped it back and let it hang, which is NOT what he was supposed to do. By 4 months, he's supposed to be able to keep his head in line with the rest of his body when being lifted like that. So, we have to work on that. It makes sense, because I'm still very careful with his head, and always support it when I'm lifting him from a diaper change or playtime on the floor. So now I know to let him start doing the work himself. And he CAN hold his head straight; he just doesn't do it all the time. Sometimes he almost pushes his head back and opens his mouth wide like he's on some roller coaster ride and lovin' it. Stinker.

Dr. P also stood him up, which he's loved to do ever since he was born. She said he leg strength was better than most babies his age. When she went to sit him down again, he pushed his legs out straight so he could keep standing. Dr P said, "Well I can see what mom and dad have been working on!" But it's not really true; he just likes to stand!

I asked about Caleb's sleep patterns, and it turns out that pretty much anything under the sun is normal for a 4-month old: 30-minute naps, 2-hour naps, 3 naps a day, one nap a day, sleeping through the night, waking through the's all normal. So my child's 2 or 3 2-hour naps and once-a-night wakeups are perfectly fine.

Dr. P also noticed a tooth coming in! More accurately, Caleb's gums are swollen on the front bottom. She said that could mean his tooth will show up next week, or it could still be a long time. So who knows! He really likes to keep his fingers in his mouth, and maybe that's why. He hasn't been coordinated enough (until maybe this week) to even keep a teether in his mouth, so we'll see if he takes one now. Once his tooth comes in, the dr. said to just wipe it off with a washcloth during bathtime to serve as his toothbrushing for now.

Other questions I asked were about his shoulders that pop often. She said that was normal. And he seems to have a cold right now, and she said to use saline drops and the nose sucker, and a vaporizer might help, too. But mostly it's just time (just like when adults get colds).

The most exciting news of the visit was that Caleb is ready to start solids! So Dr. P laid out a plan for that:
  • Put Caleb in something that reclines: the bouncer or high chair (turns out our high chair reclines!)
  • Feed him 1 1/2 hours after nursing, so he's not overly hungry, once a day
  • Start with a one-grain cereal (we have oatmeal) to get him used to the spoon.
  • Once he's figured out the spoon, go to 2x a day feedings, and add in veggies
  • Veggies in this order: Greens (green beans and peas), then oranges/yellows (Squash, carrots, sweet potatoes)
  • Then fruits: Peachs, Pears, Prunes, Bananas, Apples
  • Add no more than one new food every three days, and keep the previous foods in the rotation as well.
  • By 6 months of age he will probably not have all of these "Stage 1" foods down, but he might.
  • These foods are not his main source of nutrition. That still comes from milk.

So Monday I brought in the high chair and cleaned it up. I pulled out the bowls and spoons. And then we ran out of time. And then date night on Tuesday, coming in late from work on Wednesday, church basketball on Thursday...good grief when are we going to feed this kid? We decided on Wednesday that we just have to do it, because at some point Caleb's going to rely on us to take the time out to feed him (sheesh...). So we did. And it was fun. :)

To make a long post longer, here are some new things lately: He slept through the night for the first time on Saturday night! Of course, he made up for it by waking up just about every three hours last night.

I clipped his finger instead of fingernail for the first time yesterday. He didn't cry or anything, but it sure did bleed! We finally got a tiny bandaid on it, which did the trick.

He also found his feet this week! I thought that was more of a 3-month marker, but not or this kid. I'd convinced myself it was because his cloth diapers were too fluffy for him to bend over to reach his toes, but nope! Now he grabs them with gusto every chance he gets...even while nursing. Yeah, he's a stinker.

This 3-month period has been great. Really, just awesome. Caleb is a laid-back kid, and he can laugh and talk. We know what we're doing...nothing new (parenting-wise) comes in this period. But now we're entering the world of solids, and of a baby that sometimes shows a little short-tempered side to him (last night he was screaming by the time I could get to him to feed him). I can tell that 4 months is going to be very different from 3! He's talking a lot more, getting much better at playing on his own, and it's so much fun to watch.

Friday, April 03, 2009

This is how we do it.

Something I've always thought was weird about mothers was their use of the term "we."

"We're a little grumpy this afternoon because we decided to skip our nap."

"We love Gerber Puffs!"

Well now I get it. Every movement, every cry (and soothing), every like and dislike is very personal to mothers. We're there when they miss their naps--not only there, but the one holding, rocking, feeding, doing everything we can to help the baby nap. We're there when they're grumpy--not only there, but we face the screams, the short tempers, the inconsolable crying as we try to convince our children that they really. really. need a nap.

And we're there when they reach their feet for the first time, master a toy on the exersaucer, giggle at silly noises that we're making, try solids. And the list goes on. Mothers are inextricably linked to their children. When a mom says "We ate rice cereal for the first time today!" she really means it. For the first time, that mother put a little rubber-tipped spoon in that baby's mouth, and celebrated each swallow and wiped up each spit-up. At the end of the last bite, she can honestly say,

"Hooray! We did it!"