Tuesday, July 26, 2011

And she's off

That's right folks, after a month of rocking the "I'm gonna go from sitting to crawl position to back to sitting thing" and the I'm going to just roll, squirm and scooch to get wherever, she finally just took off tonight in her room.

I know 8 months old is a normal crawling age, but Kaitlyn crawled at 6 and it left me wondering.  Especially since it seemed like Samantha had wanted to crawl and tried to crawl but these:

12 1/2 inch ham-hocks she calls thighs were possibly hindering her.  I mean, her arms are skinny, her feet are tiny and her body isn't as chubby.

And of course, I have a Dr. Google problem, which had me at this article, you know, saying how kids that don't crawl by 9 months have problems later in school, which then led me to a search on obesity, which then led me on more searches and of course worries.  Which is what I did last night.  Her crawling today was a big relief, and we're so proud of her!

And just so share her excited face:

Bye Bye Breastfeeding

The week before Samantha turned 8 months, my milk started to dry up.  Not just a little.  But a drastic amount, to the point where poor Samantha was hungry, thirsty and not wetting enough diapers.  For days, I tried nursing more to help bring it back.  I drank more water, cut out anything bad, ate more, and it did not help.

I had been through this road with Kaitlyn to.  With Kaitlyn, I added herbs, teas, tinctures, old wives tales and anything I could think of to try and protect my supply.  I got 2 1/2 more months.  It was frustrating.  I constantly worried about whether she was getting enough, weighed her before and after every meal with the baby scale and didn't enjoy it at all.  But, she spit up formula worse than she did breast milk, and she was miserable on formula. Which, is why she went to milk at 10 months.  With, her doctor's approval, obviously.

This time, I wasn't going to stress about it.  I really, really, really wanted to get to a year of breastfeeding, but not at all possible costs.  I refused to have breastfeeding turn into something that wasn't enjoyable, something that was so stressful I was ripping my hair out and something that caused me to worry about my daughter around the clock.

I'll be honest.  I do not like formula.  I know there is nothing wrong with it.  And I know many kids thrive on formula.  I know that it passes regulations and protocols.  I know all this.  But, I still hated it.  I hated the smell, I hated the cost, I felt that it was gross and actually did (and still kinda do) feel guilty about giving it to my kid.  I know I should be proud that we went nearly 8 months without opening a can of the stuff, but instead I do feel let down that I didn't make it further.

At first, we were still nursing at night.  It comforted her and me, and it's when my supply has always been the most abundant.  But, we've gone over 24 hours without nursing now and she doesn't try to latch on through my clothes anymore.  She's excited about a bottle and is finally taking more than 2-4 ounces at a time.

I know that there isn't anything wrong with formula and I'm not sure why I have such a stigma about it.  It's not poison.  It's nutrition and nourishing her should be all that truly matters.  But, I have to admit, I really do miss nursing.  I miss cuddling her so close and no matter how similar the bottle can be at feeding times, it just isn't the same.  But, there is one huge positive to formula.  Our youngest princess, the queen of spit-up who will easily spit up 2-4 oz after every feeding, even on Enfamil's A.R. spit up formula, has spit up once in the past week she's been on Similac's spit up formula.  That is a HUGE plus.   It's just one more reminder that she isn't our little, itty, bitty, nuzzle into your chest baby anymore.  She's on her way to toddlerhood, no matter how much I try to prevent it....

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My thoughts on "SIDS" prevention

I'm sure I'm not alone in how I feel, I'm sure that there are many other parents who have lost children to SIDS that feel the same way about the prevention campaigns.  They are not what they seem.  Nor are they what they intend to be.

Since the beginning of the "back to sleep" campaign, many counties have done away with using "SIDS" as a cause of death.  For a while, this really bothered me.  I realize now, it didn't bother me because of it not being used, it bothered me because it skews what the "back to sleep" campaign has really accomplished.

For me, SIDS is not a cause of death.  How could the cause of death be Sudden Infant Death?  How does that even make sense?  The cause of death cannot be death.  It just can't be.  And no matter how desperately I search and search for answers to find a cause, I am slowly coming to terms that sometimes, no matter how much we want something, or how much we love something, or what we would do for something, we don't get to keep it.  We could have done everything right (and in my opinion we did and then some) and Matthew could have still died.  He would still be gone.

Back to sleep?  Check.  Breastfeed?  Check.  No smoking?  Check.  Circulating fan?  Check.  No over bundling?  Check.  Sleep close to parents?  Check.  Make it to 39 weeks.  Sorry, we didn't get that one.  :(  But, babies are born earlier than 33 weeks all the time and survive past a year and live long, fun filled lives.

How can we both preach that there are all these things that we can do to prevent SIDS and also be told there is nothing we can do to stop it?  What if we reduce all the risks and our risks are 0 and our baby still dies?  Then what.  What was the point?

I think instead of being called SIDS prevention tips, it should be tips for a healthy baby.  Keeping lots of stuffed animals out of the bed won't prevent SIDS, but it will prevent suffocation.  Same with those who say they know someone whose baby died from SIDS after they rolled over on them in their sleep.  Again, that is not SIDS, it is suffocation.  Not smoking around a baby equals a healthier baby.  One with stronger lungs, fewer respiratory infections and therefore fewer risks of death in general.

I think it's important for parents to be given guidelines on basic newborn safety and ways to prevent suffocation, I just hate that it is marketed as SIDS prevention.  SIDS does not equal suffocation.  SIDS does not have any rhyme or reason.  SIDS is the complete shutdown of all systems, an infant cannot be resuscitated from SIDS.

The simple, painful truth is, sometimes, very loved, wanted and well cared for babies die suddenly, without a reason and leave behind a forever grieving family.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

8 month old Princess

Happy 8 months Samantha!

First thing this morning, nice and early (thanks Archie and Chico for that by the way!) I got Samantha changed and took her measurements, in shock that in 4 short months we'll be celebrating her birthday!  I'm sure this post is going to be filled with pictures because little Miss has so much personality and has grown leaps and bounds this month!

So, let's start with the numbers :)

Length: 28.25"  I have her at 27" for last month and 26" for 6 months.  So she's growing.  She is at the 88% mark
Weight: 19 lbs, 8 oz.  Before breakfast and no diaper.  A couple weeks ago, she was at 18.6, after breakfast, dressed at the dr office, so that's a big growth.  She is at the 78% mark for weight.  For reference, Kaitlyn was 2 oz lighter at her 15 month appt!
Head Circumference: 17.25"  Her head is huge to me!  But, it's only at the 60% mark.  Then again, at 15 months, Kaitlyn's was only 17.75" so....  lol.

So, she is a big baby!  But, she has teeny little feet.  She is wearing 3-6 month shoes, based on me trying them on at BRU last week.  But, she hasn't actually worn shoes other than as a flower girl in May.  She is wearing 12 month clothes and some 18 month things in swim suits and the likes.

This month she has really grown.  She is scooting around everywhere and will do this kinda army crawl like thing.  She wants to crawl, and she goes from sitting to a crawl like position, eager to get something she wants.  But, she just isn't there yet.  And you can see her get so frustrated in trying.  She really, really, really wants to crawl.  She has gotten fast about rolling everywhere, and can crawl backwards and scoot in circles all over the place.

And even though she wants to crawl, even more so she wants to walk.  She hates to to be sat down, she will lock her legs so you're forced to help her walk.  But, her chubby thighs are just too chubby and she can't support them too well yet.  She is constantly trying to pull herself up to stand.  She has used my legs to pull herself up to a sitting position, and tries to pull on things to stand but that chubbiness I think is holding her back.  She'll get there.

And no teeth yet.  Not even a one.  She's been teething a lot, but that's been going on for months, so I don't know that one is even all that close to arriving.  Time will tell.

By this age, Kaitlyn had 6 teeth, was crawling and was a week away from pulling herself up to stand.  Kaitlyn loved lights and music.  While Samantha isn't crawling, is toothless and isn't able to pull herself up yet (and I highly doubt she'll be walking as early as Kaitlyn did) her fine motor skills are amazing.  Her pincer grasp is so good, there isn't anything she cannot (and will not) pick up.  And successfully shove into her mouth.  She isn't as impressed with music, lights, keyboards and the like, but she loves the intricate detail on toys, she finds the bottom of them with all the wording she can rub her fingers along far more interesting.  And you can see her mind working on overdrive as she is trying to figure it out, that or figure out how to put it in her mouth.

Samantha does love singing, and having books read to her.  She is also learning all about Sesame Street.  She will sit quietly for about 20 minutes of it.  And some mornings, that 20 minutes is amazingly needed.

Sleeping.   Boy how I miss it.  We have transitioned into her crib during nap times.  It was really rough in the beginning.  She would cry for  up to 5 minutes before going to sleep.  Then, after a week, last week, she would cry for maybe 90 seconds and then fall asleep.  This week, she just lays there peacefully and calmly and then goes to sleep.  It's always fun to check on her though because you never know what side of the crib she is going to be on.  Night time sleeping is a whole other story.  I tried to transition her into her crib, but I was weak and after 45 minutes of non-stop crying, I gave up.  I held, cuddled and kissed her to sleep.  Now, we do that most nights, in the co-sleeper.  Then, she sleeps for about 3 hours.  So, usually about 10 PM to 1 AM.  (She added her own nap at about 5 PM lately that I cannot prevent because she will just go to sleep, so I know I need to work out the sleep at night issues to work out that nap issue).  Then, at 1 AM, she is pretty much up every 30 minutes now until about 5:30 AM.  It has been this bad for about a week (before it was every hour to 2 hours), so I'm thinking it's a growth spurt, especially after looking at this morning's weight.  Then, she will sleep from about 5:30 to 8:30 AM before starting the day.

Breastfeeding isn't going as great anymore.  At the beginning of the month, I had a hard, painful milk blockage.  It was not fun.  At all.  But, she was awesome and we got it out by the next day.  2 days later I started my heaviest, most normal, period yet (sorry for the TMI) and my milk supply dropped significantly.  No more feeling let down, no more leaking through the day, no more feeling full and one fussy little girl.  After a couple days of nursing around the clock, I gave in and supplemented with formula.  She downed 6 ounces like it was the best stuff in the world.  So, now we are doing both.  I am breastfeeding as much as she wants and all through the night, which is still every 4 hours or so, but she is also getting formula.  She is getting about 4 oz in the morning, another 4 at lunch time and an evening one of 4 oz.  So, I am sure that with the 12 oz of formula and 6 or so nursing sessions, she's getting plenty.

And she's starting to love to eat again.  She was really over baby food.  She showed no interest really in it, but I was worried about table foods and choking and started researching.  That led me to Baby Led Weaning and I am in love with the theory.  The idea is that you offer babies food, similar to what you are eating (except obviously the salty, overly seasoned and junk food) in pieces they can pick up.  Then, they feed themselves.  They get to explore the flavors, learn to chew and then learn to push it back in their mouth.  So far, so good.  She's loved dry pancakes and toast, devoured blueberries and tomatoes and gotten so excited over chicken!  So, yay!!

Developmentally, she's doing awesome!  She says Mama and Dada and sometimes babababa.  She is clapping like crazy and does this cute monkey face and flaps her arms when she gets super excited, or even a little excited.  She's waving, she lifts her arms up to be picked up and she has learned what separation anxiety is all about.  And if you ask for kisses, she'll open her mouth up nice and wide to greet you :)  She's also learned the fine art of banging stuff together and learned just how loud she can be if she wants to :)

She celebrated her first Fourth of July and loved everything but the fireworks.  She enjoyed the lights, but wasn't that impressed.

She LOVES swimming in the pool.  We try to go out there at least once a day.  She doesn't love the sun on her, so she finds a place in the shade she likes and just hangs out.  She spends half the time in the pool in her little floaty boat toy and the other half having us help her swim or keeping her sitting up so she can splish splash.  She loves it.

She is a pretty happy baby, laughs and giggles all the time.  She plays with her sister as much as Kaitlyn will.  She has found the puppies and is infatuated with Archie and Chico.  She has decided that her pacifier is nothing more than a chew toy and loves chewing on them and then taking them in and out of her mouth.  She is still in love with hats and glasses :)

Overall, she's a happy, growing, healthy little 8 month old baby whose first birthday will be here before you know it!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Verdict

Today, the case that rocked the media for the past month about the little girl who stole our hearts 3 years ago came to an end.  Caylee Marie Anthony's life was taken from her much too soon.   She was murdered and not even given the benefit of a decent burial.  Her life ended far too early with so much more to see and learn.  Her passing is a reminder that not everyone is meant to be a parent and reminds us to hug our little ones tightly.

I personally don't understand how someone could ever hurt a child.  They are so innocent, so sweet, so trusting and so beautiful.  The loss of a child isn't something I would wish on anyone, and the thought of someone harming or killing their own child makes me physically ill.

I do not believe the jury had much of a choice in handing down a verdict of not guilty.  I believe she's guilty.  I believe she killed her little girl for selfish, screwed up reasons.  I believe she's a crazy nut job.  I believe she is deserving of a slow, painful, torturous death.

However, I am a BIG supporter of our justice system.  I believe in the right to be tried in front of a jury of our peers.  I believe in our right to be represented by an educated individual or team who do what they can to ensure that we are given our rights, due process and the freedom to represent ourselves to the best of our ability in the courts.  I also believe that our peers should judge us based on the evidence provided in that court room.  The evidence that is permissible by the law.

By utilizing our justice system properly, we allow the innocent to go free.  While I agree that there are probably many innocent people in jail and many guilty roaming the streets, I believe that the way our justice system is set up to be allows fewer innocent to be convicted and fewer guilty to be causing additional mischief.  However, I do believe that our system is becoming corrupt and the more money you have, the more likely you are to go free regardless of guilt, but that's a different story for a different day.

In this case, I do believe that the prosecution failed to prove their case, were over ambitious, and poorly prepared and just overall did an awful job presenting the facts of the case and keeping out the ambiguous and ridiculous tales of make believes and lies.  I mean really, there was no need to do a paternity test on the brother or to have it become evidence in the trial.  Seriously.

I do believe that the jurors of the trial, the ones that sat through all the testimony, saw the grotesque photos of a decomposed child, watched Casey Anthony giggle and laugh through the trial, and listened to expert after expert wanted nothing more than to get justice for that precious little girl.  I'm sure they felt she was guilty as all hell.  I'm sure they wanted nothing more than for her to rot in a small concrete cell before that needle of death was injected in her arm.  I know that's what I wanted.

The jurors will have to live with those visions in their minds forever.  They will have to live with knowing that they couldn't do what they wanted.

BUT, our justice system is not about making decisions based on what you feel or your gut or your heart or your instincts.  It is about weighing the facts presented to you and making a decision.  And the prosecution failed to prove that Casey Anthony was guilty of First Degree murder.  They did a bad job.  They lost the case.  Their inability to properly prepare their case and be realistic with their charges resulted in this piece of scum to be out in the world, enjoying the freedom, the sunshine, the birds chirping and able to procreate once again.

The justice system did not fail Caylee.  The jurors did not fail Caylee.  The prosecution failed Caylee.  I take solace in knowing that she will be judged in a way far harsher than we could ever judge her, and an eternity of Hell is far longer than our life here on Earth.  And I know that Caylee is up above, playing with our angel babies and talking about the beautiful firework show they saw last night.