Newly Mommy: Gerber Puffs

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We started giving Ittybot Gerber Puffs this week. We started out with Bananas because he LOOOOVES his bananas. They are meant for crawlers and are recommended to babies once they can crawl off their bellies, begins to self-feed with fingers, and begins to use jaw to mash food. 3 out of the 4 isn’t so bad. He still needs to learn how to feed himself. He’s lazy. He knows mommy and daddy would go ahead and feed him.

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I wasn’t sure how he was going to like them but he LOVES them. I can’t wait to let him try the strawberry or blueberry one. We actually went ahead and ordered some of the organic happy baby puffs so my mom could ship them over. I got these gerber ones for almost free after some couponing but I’d rather try to stick with the organic ones.

These have definitely helped me this week during his fits. Just take out a puff and voila! Silence…for about a minute. And repeat.

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And yes, we have tried them and they’re not bad! I’d say it takes 3-5 seconds to completely dissolve.

Jetsettin’: Bruxelles October 2013

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This post is a little late. But let’s face it, almost all my posts are late. I got mommy things to do!

A couple weeks ago, we went to meet my relatives in Belgium FOR THE FIRST TIME! It’s only a 2 hour train ride from where we are. Imagine my anxiety. It’s wonderful to know that we have family here but we did not know how compatible we would be with them. Thank goodness everything went flawlessly. Well, I shouldn’t say flawlessly. When we arrived at the Antwerp Centraal, we couldn’t find any reception or wifi so I could contact my cousin to let her know we have arrived. Soooo, we wandered around for about 35 minutes looking for reception/wifi until we gave in and went to buy a sim card. That was the biggest hiccup of the trip so I think that was a WINN!

Saturday, they were nice enough to take us sightseeing in Brussels or Bruxelles as the locals would say. Such an amazingly beautiful city! All the old architecture was breathtaking and so much character! The Mr and I always make fun of “character” and the hype around it but really, it was beautiful.

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If this is just a taste of all the beautiful “character” I will come across during our stay, I am anxious to get to the other cities!!

Ok to everyone that was wondering and asked me to try out the Belgian waffles. I was gracious enough to go try it out for all of you and yes…IT IS WORTH ALL THE HYPE. I don’t know if it was because we were hungry from all the walking around that day, but o.m.g. YUMMS. I had the banana nutella and the Mr had the strawberry chocolate. He STILL reminisces about it. Can’t wait to go back for more!!

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Next trip is London! Yayy!

Ittybot: Eight Months

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Preston-eight-months-001Ittybot is 8 months today!! I would have to say that today was the easiest “session”. He sat still and looked all adorable like he’s been doing this his whole life. Well, technically he has. I have had a camera in his face since the day he was born. New moms, you know what I’m talkin’ about. Don’t act like you don’t!!

He still doesn’t sleep though the night. Poor me. He hasn’t been very picky about foods but I’d rather not jinx that. He’s been loving some gerber puffs. He can eat a whole container in one day if I’d let him! Still watching his Baby Einstein. I’ve been trying to squeeze in some “Finding Nemo” and “Kung Fu Panda”. He doesn’t lose interest until AT LEAST 10 minutes in so I think we’re making progress.

Let me explain the monster hat. Other than the fact that it’s adorable and it totally suits his personality, I’m “hat training” him. We are traveling to London this weekend and I have heard that it can get brisk. He hasn’t had to wear a hat since he was in the hospital so I figured he would hate it. So we’re training him ahead of time so he doesn’t freak out when I pull it out this weekend. I’d say he’s doing pretty good! He doesn’t pull it off right away, maybe around the 15 minute mark. We still have a lot of work to do!

My experience with nursing

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**Attention: Men, boys, and ladies who aren’t pregnant and don’t have any babies – you should probably click the back button and run along. Things are about to get visual and awkward. Don’t say I didn’t warn you**

**Disclaimer: I’m by no means and expert and these are strictly my experiences, thoughts, and opinions**

I’ve been (not-so-exclusively) nursing for about 7 months now. The ordeal has been a love and hate relationship. I’ve read a couple articles and blog posts on breast feeding and I was shocked at how some people are so condescending towards mothers who choose to go the formula route. Not all mothers are lucky enough to produce milk and maybe some mothers just decide that they don’t want the lifestyle that goes along with breastfeeding. I hated how they made me feel for even considering supplementing. I actually had to stop reading them all together. Anyway, I wanted to share my experiences and hope that it helps some mothers out there! Or provide a good awkward laugh.

My mother was only able to nurse for about a week (although I’m not quite sure if nursing has to do with genetics or not). And maybe I should have done a little research before I began to write this post. But let’s face it, I don’t have time for that ish. So in the back of my mind, I thought I was doomed with the same fate as well. I’ve read and heard the horror stories of how dreadful breastfeeding is to begin with. To my surprise, it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. I suppose if I went in with absolute low expectations, just about anything will be a pleasant surprise!

Ittybot didn’t want to latch for the first 48 hrs so we battled with him, consulted a lactation nurse SEVERAL times but I really just needed to give Ittybot some time to catch on (or latch on may be a better term). The Mr. was very involved in the process – I know it sounds strange but it was especially helpful because I had an emergency c-section and I wasn’t 100% to battle it out with Ittybot.

Ittybot ended up being a little jaundiced because he didn’t want to eat so we had to result to supplementing with formula. Which was ok with me because I always planned on supplementing with formula in case I run out of milk – then he won’t be so startled by the sudden change. I wanted him to be familiar with both forms of milk.

I had no problem with pumping. I began fenugreek as soon as Ittybot arrived so I was able to pump 4 oz the first few days and quickly worked up to 12 oz by the end of the first week! I was pumping roughly 4-5x daily. Ittybot was only eating 2 oz every 2-3 hrs at that point so we started to freeze the breast milk and stored it away for a rainy day. We ended up having quite a bit stored away. I was a little crazy in the sense that I felt like I ALWAYS needed to keep a stock of 12 bottles of breast milk in the fridge at ALL times. It’s that OCD thing…

I wasn’t nursing as much as I should have because I wanted to know exactly how much breast milk Ittybot was getting. Like most babies, he always fell asleep while nursing so I didn’t know how much milk he was actually consuming. I know, I know, the books and our dear friend Google says that if he unlatches himself and he “seems” satisfied, than he is full. I needed to know and actually see that he was getting at least the 2 oz he needed. Besides, the whole one side leaking while he was nursing totally freaked me out. TMI, I know, but you’re reading this expecting some TMI moments. Get over it. Plus this way, I gave the Mr. some time to feed Ittybot as well 🙂

When I went back to work was when things started to go downhill. I wasn’t pumping nearly as often as I should have. I only pumped once during my 9 hours at work. I let myself get too consumed with work and didn’t make the time needed to go relieve the boobjuices. In order to maintain my supply, I upped my fenugreek intake to 3 pills, 3 times a day. I was told (and I did the extensive research) that if I drank a little bit of beer a day the hops and brewers yeast would also amp up my supply. To my surprise, it did actually work! Remember, DO NOT exceed one beer every 4 hrs. If you are nursing every 2-3 hrs I would recommend even 6-8 hrs. I never did more than one a day out of fear that it may get in my system. Of course, each doctor has their own opinions on this matter but I knew that I would be OK with one beer a day. I should mention at this point I was pumping 8-10 oz 3 times a day (while nursing in the wee hrs of the morning) and Ittybot was consuming 3-4oz every 3-4 hrs.

I cannot go on without at least bringing up that scary topic of being engorged. New mommies: this is torture. And yes, you WILL get engorged. Your girls will feel rock hard and they will feel like they will burst. And sometimes they will. By burst, I mean you will start leaking uncontrollably (queue the breast pads). I have found that warm compressions are a good relief.  The BEST relief? Nursing. I’ve had to wrestle and beg and plead to Ittybot to nurse on command. He has a short attention span so he will latch then unlatch to look around. Well, when you’re engorged and start the flow – the flow don’t stop! I’ve squirted him in the face/eye several times. Good thing breast milk is an anti-septic so if he had any eye funk or any other craziness going on I helped with that too 🙂

Fast forward to month six. Amidst our move from FL, road trip, vacation, and move to Europe my supply has dwindled to almost nothing. The stress and lack of attention to maintaining my supply has taken its toll. I have had to substitute with formula so often because we have been so busy that my body thinks that it doesn’t need to produce any more. Now that we’re here in Europe, I have been trying to nurse a lot more often and I have been consistently taking my fenugreek. I haven’t tried any beer since I have been here. The {crappy} hotel room that we are in does not have a mini fridge to store milk so I also haven’t been pumping. Therefore, they don’t get “emptied” so my body is slowly shutting down the boobjuice factory. It’s sad and I admit that I have let it get me down sometimes. I start to think that if I’m not able to produce the necessary food for my baby and that I may be an unfit mother. Then the Mr. knocks some sense into me that I’ve done what I can and the circumstances made it hard to maintain my supply. He still thinks I’m a great mommy and that’s what matters. Well, Ittybot matters too but he really can’t tell me that I’m a crap mother yet.

I think I’ve grazed over my whole experience. I hope that it gives my fellow mommies out there a little insight to the struggles of breast feeding. All in all, it’s really not bad. And if you’re not able to nurse, that’s ok too! Plenty of babies have made it out alive on formula! Like me!

Our Happily Ever After… : Sh!t Just got real 2013

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Well! As you saw in my recent post, we’ve made it to the Nederlands. The first couple weeks was filled with jet lag and one angry Ittybot. I have to admit that I was pretty set on turning around and going back home when I first got here. It was cold, rainy, and I was trapped in a dumpy hotel room with said angry baby. We didn’t set out to explore right away. Ittybot had a little cold when we got here so we were hibernating until he got better.

As soon as Ittybot was feeling better, we set out to find what was important to us: an Asian market. It was the key to our survival. We needed to know that we would be able to cook Asian food. This was even more vital because the Chinese restaurants here are overpriced for less than stellar food. Much to our relief, we found one in Den Haag! Queue the musiccc!

We heard there was a “better” one in Amsterdam so we set out on Sunday morning to go get us some Pho! Well my friends, I didn’t realize Sunday was, “I’ll be open if I feel like it” day. Like a couple of crazy creepers, we stood outside the pho shop peeking in to see if there was anyone in there. I could hear people doing dishes downstairs and I was tempted to start yelling for service. If I weren’t so afraid of what special sauces may come with my pho, I would have! So, Chinatown was (or Tokyo Town as they would call it) was uneventful.

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We were wandering around and found ourselves in the red light district and alleyways full of “coffee shops”. I needed to run Ittybot out of there but I kept my cool. I can say that I’ve been here and didn’t do that. It was strange and I can’t quite put the experience into words. I didn’t know how to behave. Is it ok to look into the windows if I’m a female or would they feel like I was judging them? I just kept walking and stared straight ahead. I’m sure I’ll end up back there when visitors’ start coming over so I’ll be better prepared next time.

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On October 1st, 2013, we moved into our new home for the time being. Who knows how long we’ll be here. With our extensive list of must haves, this one seemed to hit most of them. I have to admit the stairs in this country freak the hell out of me. They’re small and STEEP. Thankfully, the landlord installed a baby gate for us at the top of the stairs. Looks like Ittybot won’t be learning how to go up and down the stairs until he’s in the states! Unfortunately, the apartment would not be available as furnished until November 1st so we decided to go ahead and furnish the place ourselves and move in a month early. This place looks like a fancy dorm room! We didn’t want to splurge on furniture because we don’t know what tomorrow holds. I’d hate to throw down thousands of dollars and find out that we have to leave several months later. Plus, this saves us money for traveling! We both agreed that we’ll go dirt cheap on la casa so we can take more frequent trips.

And that’s where we’re at now. Finally got all the laundry done and cooked some food that I was craving. Grocery shopping is a nightmare. We can only do small trips since we don’t have a car. Talk about self-control at the grocery store! So the weekends will be full of shopping for food and little items to make this place feel like “home”.