Friday, August 17, 2012

Poopity Doopity Doo

I'm not trying to be super gross or anything - but can someone tell me: are poop blowouts a thing?  A phase kids go through?

Again - not to be too gross - but it seems like every day for the past couple of weeks I've had Bates in the shower at least once a day cleaning off blown-out poop.  It's starting to get a little old a freaking lot old.  Sometimes it blows out down the leg; and sometimes it blows out the back.  It's starting to make me nervous to leave the house!  On Monday, I went to take him out of the car at the grocery store and he had poop leaking down his leg!  I had to turn around and drive back home.

According to the size charts (and the fact that he's pretty skinny), I don't think he needs to size up yet.  (We've been wearing Pampers Swaddlers in a size 2, which are listed for 12-18 pounds [he's 15 pounds], and the next size up [2-3] is for 14-22 pounds.)  I also feel pretty confident that I'm putting the diaper on correctly, since blowouts weren't a problem before.  In fact, blowouts weren't even a consistent problem when we had to use prune juice when he hadn't gone in a few days.

Should I maybe try a different brand of diaper?  Does anyone have a favorite?  Any other ideas??

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

First Foods!

Before Bates was even born, I was excited about the prospect of giving him food food (aside from all. the. breastmilk.) when the time came.  But I assumed I would exclusively breastfeed for 6 months before even thinking about anything else.

Well, then there was reality: at 4 months, this kid wanted to eat!  He was obsessed with our food and the act of eating.  He'd grab at our utensils, plates, and food itself.  He would stare as food went from the plate into our mouths.

Our doctor had given us the go-ahead to feed him rice cereal at 4 months if we wanted to; so after a week or so of practice with the spoon, we decided to go for it.  (I think we were also secretly hoping it would help him sleep better at night.  Spoiler alert: it didn't.)

The very first time we fed him (rice cereal + breastmilk), it was pretty funny.  He was totally ready for it:
Was all on board with the spoon:
And then promptly spit out every spoonful:
By the very end of the first feeding, he started to get the hang of it.  The second night we tried, he actually got some food in his belly.  And by the third, he had it down.

The rice cereal, unfortunately, "backed things up" a little, if you know what I mean.  So for a week or so we gave him a tiny bit of prune juice to try to remedy it.  We then decided to go ahead and switch to oatmeal cereal.  And while he still needed prunes occasionally, this was much better than the rice.

But of late has been the really fun stuff: real food!  The first puree we tried was carrots.  He loved them.  The second was sweet potatoes.  Loved those more!  Then squash.  Loved it!  I began to think he would eat anything; I imagined our luck as parents - the kid who eats everything!

Yesterday we tried peas.  He wanted no part of it, ha.  Which, to be fair, as a fan of peas myself, I thought the baby food ones smelled and tasted nasty.  Maybe if I puree my own he'll like them more?

I've been buying little jars of organic baby food for the moment, so I can get an idea of what he likes.  Then I plan to make my own purees and freeze them in ice cube trays.  I'm so excited to make fun mixtures of different veg and fruits!

Any baby food makers out there?  Any tips or tricks?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Our Sleeping Baby - Hallelujah!

You guys read about the sleeping troubles at our house a few weeks ago.  Well - here I am - happy to report that baby boy is: a) sleeping in his own room for naps and nighttime, b) putting himself to sleep in his crib with minimal or no tears, and c) sleeping either all night (roughly 7pm to 6/7am) or waking up once to eat.  And mom is: a) happy and b) well rested.

The day Bates and I left St. Louis was his 5 month birthday.  And essentially the whole time we were there, he slept like crap.  (Not that I was magically expecting him to sleep well or anything, but just as a point of reference, he was not in any way sleeping well.)  So when we got back, I referred to one of the three books I'd read on sleep, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.  (I also read The No-Cry Sleep Solution and The Mom's On Call Guide To Basic Baby Care.  I like HSHHC the best because a) it was the only one written by a doctor and b) I liked the scientific approach to the biology of a baby's sleep.)  The author, Dr. Weissbluth, basically breaks down a child's sleep patterns according to age.

In my mind, I was sort of waiting for the 6-month mark to try any more sleep training.  But I was surprised to see that Dr. Weissbluth biologically grouped 3-4 month olds together, and then 5-9 month olds.  Out of sleep deprivation and straight-up hope, we decided to see if the month that had passed since our last attempt was enough for Bates to be ready.

We first tried putting him down without rocking him to sleep for his morning nap on a Saturday.  He cried for 50 minutes!  Fifty!  But then fell asleep.  For the afternoon nap, he cried for 20.  We were making progress!  When we put him down for the nighttime, he cried for about 15.  Then he woke up at 10:30 and sobbed hysterically.

This was the hardest part of the whole thing because this was usually when I would go and console him back to sleep.  Jonathan and I sat in the family room listening to him while I cried and Jonathan started to lose resolve, saying "maybe I'll just go in there for a second to comfort him and then slip out."  But the book said if you really wanted to be aggressive about solving sleep problems, you needed to stand firm.  In fact, there was a little mantra in the book you were supposed to read out loud if you needed reminding.  Through tears, I read it, something like: "My baby is crying because he loves me and wants to spend time with me.  But I love my baby so much and since I know how important sleep is, I'm going to let him sleep."  The book said if you go comfort your crying baby after X amount of time, you're basically teaching him to cry for said amount of time before you'll go to him.

So Bates cried until 11.  Half an hour.  And then.....and then....

HE SLEPT UNTIL 7:15 THE NEXT DAY!

I woke up around 4am, I think, and was like, "he's dead!"  I ran into his room.  But nope - not dead - just sleeping.  He hadn't slept that long in maybe 7 weeks?

So that night confirmed for us that he was ready.  Ready to be in his own room, learn to put himself to sleep, and ready to comfort himself back to sleep if/when he wakes up in the night.

There have definitely been some nights when he wakes up and cries for a little bit, but overall, we're in a great place!  I can't tell you how nice it is to be well rested!  I'm also so glad we didn't push it at 4 months, when he clearly wasn't ready.  I know there will be more sleep "regressions" as the months go by, but I at least feel like he's learned some valuable sleeping "tools" that he can use.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hovawart

Olympics are over.  My life can pick back up again.  Seriously - does anyone else feel like this?  It seems like I've done nothing in my free time for the past two weeks but watch Olympics.  But whatev - go USA!

So this past weekend in Memphis was in-cred-i-ble in terms of weather.  We've had the typical hot, nasty summer, but thanks to an awesome cool-wave, temps this weekend topped out around 90 (which is straight-up arctic compared to 105).  So on Saturday, we decided to take Bates to the park about a mile-ish from our house.  (We wanted to see if he would be into the baby swing.  It was decent for him, but there wasn't really a way we could put him in it without the sun shining in his face, so that made him like it less I think.)

More exciting than the baby swing, though, was our walk down to the park.  We passed a house that had a couple kids playing in the front yard and a dog tied up on a long leash.  As we approached, per normal, the dog came running over to greet Hank.  As he did, the kids called out, "don't worry, she won't hurt you" (not that I thought she would).  But anyway, as she ran over, I noticed she looked just like Hank!
This was sort of a weird thing, because I've never seen another dog who resembles him so much.  I said to the kids, "whoa - your dog looks just like mine!"  The kids' mom, then came out and was like, "oh my gosh, you have a Hovawart, too!"  She called her other dog out from the house and WOW - that one looked even more like Hankdog!

It turns out "Hovawart" is a breed and the woman found out her dogs were Hovawarts in almost the same way I was finding out about Hank (that is, a stranger mentioned it).  This woman's family happened to be in Albany NY last year when there was a national Hovawart convention, so they attended.  They became so smitten with the breed that they decided to adopt another one (the one who was running in the yard).

The dogs can be Hank's coloring, all black, or all blonde.  I'm sure he's not pure bred (because why on Earth would a rare German breed of dog be at a shelter in Memphis), but I've never seen another breed of dog he resembles so much.  (We thought all along he was half Gordon Setter - but he looks so much more like a Hovawart than GS it's crazy!)

Check it out:
http://www.thepetdirectory.us/Hovawart.htm
http://www.22dog.com/breeds/Hovawart.html