Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The babymoon is over

Eric's mom left on Sunday, and Eric's classes resumed yesterday. The babymoon is definitely over. Inga doesn't like being put down, so yesterday morning I had to hold her and get the two other children fed, dressed, teeth brushed, coats on, and out the door to the indoor track. Not my idea of fun. I was going to leave the kids at the track with my friends and have some quiet time at home the rest of the morning. But once I got there, I decided I might as well stay and talk. This morning Eric took the kids to the track. I managed to get Inga to nap on the bed while I sewed four slings.

Getting the kids dressed--Zari especially--is a huge stress for me. I've asked Eric to take over that task before he leaves for work. Zari has been acting up a lot since Inga was born. I'd expected that Dio would be the one with adjustment issues this time around, but he's taken everything in stride. He does ask to nurse more often--I don't blame him, now that there's milk in abundance!--but otherwise he's his same goofy self. Zari, on the other hand, has been really obstinate, disobedient, contrary, and temperamental. As a result, she's been getting way too much negative attention from us. I can tell this has been affecting her. It would bother me, too, if I were always being reprimanded or scolded or told that I was doing something wrong. So I'm trying to figure out how to meet her needs for emotional connection, affection, and positive interaction, when I'm already feeling emotionally overstretched taking care of an infant. 

Inga has been really fussy the past few days. I suspect it's due to pain from a plugged duct under her left nipple. (Did you know that infant girls will sometimes produce small amounts of breastmilk due to maternal hormones?) It's red and hard as a rock, and she screams when I touch it. Poor girl. I hope it goes away soon.

On the up side, I've been sleeping wonderfully. I don't have to sit up or even work to latch Inga on at night, other than turning her onto her side and opening my shirt. We both sleep really well with her in the crook of my arm. She will even sleep on her back as long as she's making body contact with me, and my sleep feels very restful between nursing sessions. By the way, someone asked about sleeping with babies in this position. I don't ever put her on top of my arm. Instead, she lies on the bed and her head is basically in my armpit. I wrap the blankets around my other arm, which keeps them well away from her head.

I have a few disposable diapers left over that I've been using at night. I have to admit that I like using disposables at night! I'm a bit tempted to buy more just for nights; after all, it's just one diaper per day. Or I could sew some newborn-sized pocket diapers. I'd have to change those probably once during the night. Not as bad as my cloth AIOs that need changing every 2-3 hours tops, but the lure of disposables for nights is pretty hard to resist...

I'm looking forward to my second babymoon at the end of this month when my mom comes out to visit.


  1. Both of my girls produced some milk as newborns. I can't imagine what engorgement felt like to them as newborns. :/ E even produced a trace of lochia!

  2. Cousin Maria here--my oldest is acting up too and getting lots of negative attention. Dave and I talked last night about how we can change this. It is really hard to deal with a cranky 5 year old when I have been up with a crying newborn all night. I hope it gets better for you too!

    PS The sling is a miracle tool with Hannah. She will sleep almost all day in that thing. Thanks!

  3. I hear you on the night-time diapering! I do it, and I've absolved myself of guilt ;)

  4. I've so been there before! It's beautiful and hard at the same time.

    I want to say something about the plugged duct. One of my sons was producing milk as an infant, and his breasts were swollen and hard just around his nipples. I found that if I squeezed them slightly, milk came out! I found out that the mother's hormones can cause that to happen, even for baby boys. Eventually it dried up and he was fine, and I don't think any ducts ever got clogged.

    I'm glad you'll have another baby moon :)

  5. Getting to the hard stuff, well, its never easy. I wish all moms got to rest and eat chocolate and all that stuff, for as long as they needed, not just a week or two.

    Zari will turn nice again, promise. But I know its the last thing that helps.

    Its so cool that you are getting more help again soon.

  6. Thanks for admitting that something stresses you out! I am pretty amazed that you have everybody dressed, fed, and pottied and make it out of the house before noon, a feat that I find hard to accomplish some days (and my youngest is 16 months old, not 16 days old).

  7. its not only infant girls. Infant boys too. I could squeeze milk out of my son until about 8mo.

  8. re: getting dressed in the morning: I solved this nightmare with my 4 year old, by me choosing 2 outfits and laying them out on the floor for her. She gets to choose one of them. That satisfies her need to pick her own clothes, without the tantrums at the closet. (Glad you will get more help soon! My husband only got two days paternity leave this time.... my Asher is 6 weeks now, it goes fast!)
    Sarah plus 3 littlies too.

  9. Go for the disposable diaper(s) at night. You need all the uninterpreted sleep you can get with 3 children to take care of.

  10. We used disposable diapers at night for over a year because I did not want to get up at night and change a diaper. Now she stays dry overnight so we use a cloth dipe as just a precaution.

    Sorry poor Inga has a plugged duct. Would a warm wash cloth be soothing to her?

    As for Zari, maybe you've already tried, but I wonder if she's old enough to understand why you need her to help you out by being cooperative right now. I really don't know if that is at all realistic since I haven't parented a 5 year old yet. Or maybe offer her some mom time if she gets dressed quickly like, "If you get all your clothes on in 10 min (set a timer) I can read to you for 10 min or go for a 10 min walk."

  11. I had my 5th 6 months ago and my 3rd is the same age as Zari. Both #3 and #4 had bouts of acting up. I find bribery works wonders... Well, it's more of an incentive for good behavior. I find small candies they like, jelly beans, gummy bears, smarties... and I show them the candy and explain that good behavior earns a treat. I do one battle at a time though, otherwise you can't keep up with it all and they get too much candy. Our big battle is getting shoes and coats on, then allowing their older siblings to help them get into the van. Coats and shoes on quickly and cheerfully = one gummy. In the van on time with no battles = one more gummy. I'm amazed how well this works!! Now, I'm mean, and if they act up and throw a fit, I eat the gummy in front of them, so they really know that they lost it, it's not waiting for later... I usually only have to do this once or twice! Anyways, maybe this would work for Zari? It's so nice to have something that works that you're not giving negitive attention for!

  12. I don't know whether it would help or not, but if you were to take some soy lecithin capsules, that might get into your milk and then help when she ingests it as well. :/ Just a thought. I got horrible plugged ducts for the first 9 months I nursed my daughter, and those things really helped me out a lot. It thins out the milk to help the plug pass. A warm wash cloth like someone else mentioned over the area while you apply as much gentle pressure as she'll tolerate, rubbing toward her nipple, should also help clear it. Poor baby. That's probably right up there with teething pain!

  13. I must tell you about the bag system for clothing.

    Get some 1.5 gal or 2 gal ziplock bags (probably 2 gal since she's so big). Match up all clothing into an outfit; bottom, top, underwear, socks, accessories.

    Take a picture of each outfit.

    Print picture out.

    Tape picture to front of bag.

    Put clothes in bag.

    Each day she gets a choice between two bags. Whichever one she doesn't choose becomes a choice for tomorrow.

    It works wonders for so many of my friends with hard to dress little girls.

  14. That bag idea is pure genius! My daughter isn't all that choosy yet, but I can see the day is coming.

    Rixa, when I cloth diapered, I always, always used a disposable at night. You are right - the lure of uninterrupted sleep WAS too powerful to make me want to do anything else. Don't feel guilty - feel RESTED!!! :P

    Hahaha!!! the word verification is "driest." That's great! :)

  15. The getting dressed issue has nothing to do with pickiness over clothes, unfortunately. Zari doesn't really care yet what she wears. The battle is just getting her to DO it. I hate nagging her, and we've tried so many things that work for a few weeks and then lose their charm. Maybe the candy idea will work--immediate reward, positive reinforcement. I'll have to give it a try.

  16. I'm sure you'll get lots of wonderful advice. The thing I found that worked with my middle child, after his baby sister was born.. was hold him *often*. Any time I wasn't holding the baby, I'd ask him to be close to me, or anytime I was holding the baby and could manage the both of them at once (Like on the couch).

    Give as much positive attention as you can, cooking with them, doing laundry with them (not sure if your kids like that, but mine find it a treat, for now.) Any little thing you can do to include her and praise her while she's doing it.

    Eventually W. learned that he was still mommy's special boy and that mommy could love lots of kiddos at once.

  17. You need some wool! I've always used wool at night and never had leaks, even with supersoaker boys. With a newborn, you can get a wool sleepsack and put that over a wool soaker with a nice thick diaper underneath. BULLETPROOF! Felted or crocheted wool is best for nighttime, knit not so good unless you double it up with something else (like the sleepsack and soaker option). I've never had luck keeping AIOs or pockets leak-free, so wool is the best way to go IMO!

    I just bought a crochet wool soaker at a thrift store today for 25 cents. It looks to be about small size, so maybe too big for Inga yet, but would you like me to send it to you?

  18. I have been sorely tempted by disposables at night, but we tried doubling up the diapers (not sure of the terminology - we use a system in which there is a fleece layer between baby's bottom and the diaper) and that's worked very well. At this point, I'm more tempted to use a disposable when we go out, especially if she hasn't had a BM yet that day.

    About the Zari's behavior, she sounds a lot like my 5-year-old, and the negative-behavior-yielding-negative-attention cycle can be bad - pretty self-reinforcing. Keeping my son in preschool helped because he had opportunities to just do his 5-year-old stuff without getting shushed and scolded. And when I'm able to give him attention and hugs BEFORE he starts acting up, that helps. But sometimes the baby needs stuff, and he has to wait. I understand why it's hard for him, and I try to tell him that sometimes it's hard for me too!

    And having to nag him - like telling him five times to put his socks on and he still doesn't put his socks on! - that drives me nuts. Very hard to keep my patience at those times.

  19. My 4 year old boy- every single time I want him to get dressed, it has to be a game where I count and see how fast he can put on each article of clothing... It's really amazing... It takes about 15 seconds for him to put on his pants when I'm counting, and 45 minutes for him to put them on when I'm not. ;)

  20. My 4 yr old doesn't dress himself and makes us chase him around the house to get dressed. We're struggling with the negative behaviour too - too much scolding going on in this house some days and it is exhausting and frustrating.

    Go with the disposables at night, it will let you get more uninterrupted sleep and saves you from extra washing of blankets and sheets.

  21. My daughther got mastitis when she was about 4 monthhs old. We tried to wait it out but once she started running a low-grade fever and she started to have red streaking around it the doctor said it was time to try antibiotics. It cleared up very quickly.

    I'm glad you worked out Inga's sleeping issues. Rest, too often after a baby is born, is like an old friend you don't see often enough.

    I hope everything turns out well with Zari, I'm sure it'll pass (not that it makes it any easier now.)

  22. I used to use the 'if you don't get dressed i will take you out as you are' approach and then follow through. Only once got to school in the pyjamas.

  23. For a plugged duct of my own I have use warm castor oil compresses. I put it on at night under a Nirsing bra with a plastic baggie between the compress and my bra, the next morning it's gone!!! I would HIGHLY recommend trying something like this for your little one! If nothing else maybe just rubbing some castor oil on the skin a few times a day!?

  24. I'm going to agree with a pp recommendation of wool for overnight!! In fact, my little guy is just 7 months old and we had to put disposables on him for overnight for a week and he leaked every.single.night (I even tried a couple different sizes that I had kicking around from my oldest). Very annoying. He's back in a cloth fitted (I use S'Bish bamboo) w/ a wool cover and there is not a leak to be found. You just need to lanolize the wool (very easy). It's awesome. And breathable. And awesome. Seriously.

    I haven't commented yet, but congratulations on the birth of your daughter Inga!! She's beautiful :)

  25. How about getting the advice of a pediatrician about that plugged duct?

  26. Glad I'm not the only one that dreads dressing my little ones in the morning! My 5 yr old is the worst! I put his underwear on and then he darts off to find something he MUST have! He comes back and I am barely able to get his shirt on and then he's off at full speed again.... I just try to remind myself that someday, when he's away at college, I'll miss that little guy that could run at the speed of light!! Best of luck!!

  27. My girls (3) all had breastmilk and periods after birth! My last girl had rock hard clogged ducts under both nipples, but they didn't seem to trouble her. My newest (boy) is having a "period" too!

    About the clogged duct, though, in case you haven't tried it, you could try warm compresses and cold pressed castor oil a few times a day. I know warm compresses helped my clogged ducts feel relieved when I've had that problem a number of times.

    I'm sure other essential oils could help, but Cold Pressed Castor Oil is SO easy on new skin.... Just a suggestion of something I would use (and have) for various topical applications on newborns. I'm totally not a doc or anything, just relating what's worked for me.

    Of course, you probably know all about these. :) Cause you ROCK!

  28. I third the opinion of going with a wool soaker. :O)

    Thank you for responding to my question about your sleeping arrangement. From this description, it sounds just how I do it. I always thought that when mothers were talking about their babies sleeping in the crook of their arm, that they were literally sleeping with their head right on top of the elbow or something like that. My arm is right above baby's head with the blankets held back by the other arm just like you described. :O)

  29. You are such an awesome mom.

    My nephew hated getting dressed in the morning and then realized that if he wore his school clothes to bed (minutes shoes) the night before, he could just wake up and go to school. Not very fashionable, but it works. :)

    We use disposables at night too! I'm so glad I'm not the only one! Reading the comments made me feel like there is a whole community of CD by day and sposies by night people!!

  30. I was just coming in to suggest what K La did - why not just let Zari sleep in her clothes? That way no one has to deal with anything in the morning except maybe putting on socks.

    I instituted something when #2 was born where every night before DD's bedtime I would sit with her on the rocker and just talk to her - tell her how special she is and how much I love her and what an amazing big sister she is, etc. I really felt like it made a huge difference in her ability to cope with the baby, and even to this day she has never said anything negative about him. (I'm just waiting for the day he crawls around and takes her stuff!)

  31. Rixa, I just want to say that I think you're doing such an amazing job making the difficult transition from two to three children.
    I was wondering about Zari and dressing. Does she really *need* to get dressed by a certain time, or at all? If you aren't going anywhere that particular day, would it be acceptable to allow her to be in control of this one small aspect of her life, when so many other things may seem out of her control right now? It just seems like it may be potentially a "small thing" that feels like a "big thing" unnecessarily. And by the time this newborn period is over, so may her resistance to dressing be over :-). I wish you well however you decide to work through it all.

  32. I'm really surprised to read that you were having to hold Inga, instead of wear her.
    I also agree to relax your expectations of Zari. If she wants to run around in pajamas, what's wrong with that?
    My mantra for a long time when the kids seem to do something for negative attention (intentional or not), "I will not engage". State the issue, state a solution or two, state a consequence/result, and then leave it alone.
    Also, does Inga get "dressed" or is she in sleepers? Maybe Zari can help get her dressed in 'real' clothes and then Inga can help Zari :)

  33. I don't think I expressed myself right...if Inga is in sleepers or pajama type outfits, Zari might be resisting getting dressed because Inga gets lots of attention and she doesn't get "dressed".
    I also second the wool covers! Awesome things!
    And...are you homeschooling Zari? You've never mentioned any school, and she's 5? That would mean kindergarten here, even grade 1 depending on when the birthday is (both my girls' birthdays are in Nov, so they started JK when they were 3).

  34. When I say hold Inga, that includes in a sling...I love using a sling, but it's still harder to get things done with a baby in a sling, versus no baby and no sling!

    Zari is just 4 and wouldn't be starting kindergarten until fall 2012. I haven't decided if we're going to homeschool or public school. Lots of fence-sitting for me right now, and frankly neither option is very appealing.

  35. I understand your feelings about school. Whenever I think about home school I feel completely overwhelmed just by the idea of it. I have two school-age children and one who will be ready for Kindergarten in the fall. We sent our kids to public school until this year when we started the transition to a charter school. Our oldest is at the charter school this year and we anticipate having all 3 of our school children in the charter school by fall. So far I'm very impressed with the school, and I feel there's a better system there. The kids, parents, and teachers involved are more invested in the education and there's better support and communication in comparison with public school. Unlike private school there's no cost involved, but they ask the parents to contribute volunteer hours. It helps keep the parents and school better connected. I'm glad we have options between regular public school and home school. With 5 kids 10 and under I'm grateful I don't have to do everything myself. Best wishes with whatever you decide to do!

  36. I am an ER nurse and have seen two dead infants in the last three years from being suffocated by sleeping parents.

    IT IS NOT SAFE to sleep with your baby.

  37. to the above poster, as tragic as two dead infants are, that isn't necessarily an indication of cosleeping being high risk. in any case, most cases of parents suffocating babies in their sleep involve intoxicated parents, or parents who fell asleep with baby on a couch or other unsafe sleeping spot.

  38. To the ER nurse above: how many dead babies did you see from "SIDS" who slept in cribs? It was called "crib death" for a reason - more babies die in cribs than sleeping with their parents. The death of a baby is unfortunate no matter how it happens. But mothers have been safely sleeping with their babies for thousands of years. These new-fangled cribs, however, have seen an increase in infant mortality rates due to the separation of mother and baby.


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