2 Months: Gender Equality

Look who’s 2 months!  He actually turned 2 months a week ago, but I wanted to get the stats from his doctor visit.

This little chunker is now 13lbs 2oz and 23″ tall.  He jumped up from the 40% to the 70% for weight in the last month so he may not be a monster baby yet, but he’s working on it!

We’re just starting to get “real” smiles out of Wesley which I gotta admit is pretty damn cool. He’s more and more alert, making eye contact, and usually sleeping about 5 hours at night. Basically he’s a pretty darn good baby–he even survived his 2 month vaccinations like a champ!

And now for your monthly rant:

I’m not a crazed feminist by any means. Quite frankly I believe there are differences between the sexes, but “different” doesn’t mean “superior.”  For either gender.  I recognize there are common preferences that may be used for targeted marketing (ex. a lot of little girls do like pink), but I am sick to death of overly stereotypical advertising. This means that nothing brings out my feminist side quite like looking at baby gear.

Men Are Not Idiots

At least, they’re no more likely to be idiots than women.  A lot of baby commercials portray men as completely incompetent. I even have seen onsies with the head/arm/leg holes labeled and “Dad, you’ve got this” printed in the center.  This sort of thing makes me feel downright twitchy.  It’s not cool to assume women can’t use power tools, or code, or be athletic, and it just as not cool to assume that men handle babies (or cook, or sew, etc). In fact, dads can be pretty badass.

There’s More to Life Than Gray

Whenever I would look at baby clothes and sort them by “gender neutral” everything would be gray.  Gray with sheep. Seriously? There are lots of gender neutral color and pattern options, how did it get limited to gray?  And apparently sheep are the only “neutral” animal?  If you’re trying to find gender neutral options, your best bet it to search under “boy” because that usually seems to mean “not pink or floral”

Which brings me to….

Gender is Not a Color

I was searching Amazon for pacifiers the other day and rather than list the colors as “blue/green” and “pink/purple” they would be listed as “boy colors” and “girl colors.”  There was even a set that had a fox on a blue background and a raccoon on a tan background that was labeled as “boy colors.” Is it that hard to label things by color or pattern and leave gender out of it? Maybe your little girl likes cars.  Maybe your little boy likes pink. These things don’t have to be gender specific. I have to give a shoutout to Primary because a while back I saw an advertisement of theirs that said pink wasn’t just for girls and showed a bunch of adorable little boys rockin’ some pink.

That all being said, I don’t think children need all gender neutral clothes and gear.  We definitely dress Wesley in a slightly more “boyish” style and if we had had a girl I would have fully embraced pink and ruffles.  I still wanted a gender neutral base wardrobe and accessories/gear though so if we have a second kid we’ll have plenty of things to reuse.

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

1 Month: Makin’ Milk

1Month

Our little peanut is 1 month old! Wesley is now 9lbs 12oz and 21″ long. He’s keeping his eyes open longer and starting to focus on faces.  He’s discovered his fingers and I’ve already caught him sucking his thumb. Unfortunately, he’s also learned how to wail, but luckily he tends to calm down as soon as he’s cuddled.

Most people include likes and dislikes with monthly updates, but at this point he likes food, napping on mommy or daddy, and farting.  He dislikes having to wait for food and being poopy. There’s not much excitement in being 1 month old…

If you’ve been reading at all about having a baby, you’ve probably also read that breastfeeding is Hard. I’m here to tell you it’s not hard, it’s stupidly frustrating and seemingly impossible at times! If anyone tells you that their baby had a perfect latch from day one and was always full and happy, you have my permission to punch her in the boob.*

Breastfeeding has been hands-down the hardest and most stressful part of having an infant around.  It didn’t help matters that Wesley was an early baby either.  Even though he was technically fully developed, it’s apparently pretty common for early babies to respond more like premies when it comes to feeding.  Pretty much he would go to latch and immediately fall asleep without actually eating anything.  It’s even more frustrating in the first few days before your milk comes in and we ended up having to supplement with donor breast milk while we were in the hospital.

Even once we got back home and my milk came in, it never seemed  like there was enough to keep Wesley satisfied. It’s been a rough journey, but if you’re struggling too know that you are not alone! Talk to your mom friends, find a lactation consultant, and/or find a breastfeeding support group. Here are some things that helped me, but be sure to check with your pediatrician or lactation consultant since I am obviously not a doctor.**

Drink Drink Drink

Water that is.  Hydrating the heck out of yourself is one of the best ways to ramp up milk production.  Having a partner who will constantly refill your water cup throughout the day is incredibly helpful since it’s easy to get distracted and forget on your own (guilty).

Pump Pump Pump!

Breast milk production is a supply and demand situation so you can try and trick your body into making more.  I tend to pump after Wesley nurses because he can’t seem to get everything on his own.  Matt and I also split the night shift  so I make sure to pump right before I go to bed so Matt has a bottle ready for the next feeding (letting me sleep through one!). You may also have a little one that just cannot seem to latch and it may be easier to pump and bottle feed.  You do you mama!

Herbal Supplements

The lactation consultant in the hospital recommended Go-Lacta (Malungay).  My endless internet quest for boosting milk supply mostly turned up recommendations for Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle. Our pediatrician recommended all of the above. Lots of people also recommended Mother’s Milk tea, but the flavors (anise) aren’t my thing so I prefer taking capsule supplements.

Cookies!

Yes, cookies!  Or whatever baked goods you desire.  There are tons of recipes out there for lactation cookies/breads/smoothies.  What they all have in common in Brewers Yeast and Flax Meal so if you’re baking savvy you can probably modify an existing favorite recipe.  Other food recommendations for boosting milk production include oatmeal, red Gatorade (?), and Starbucks “Pink Drink” (???).

This is the recipe I used for oatmeal cookies.  You can totally switch around the “mix ins” for your own personal taste too.  Not a fan of coconut?  Skip it.  Feel like nuts?  Add ’em! You could also swap out the chocolate chips for a dried fruit (raisins/craisins/blue berries).

Don’t be afraid to supplement

Even doing all of the above we still have to supplement with formula.  We decided the most important thing was to make sure our little guy was getting enough food.  Anytime we supplement with formula I also make sure to pump and we give him any pumped milk the same day since there is a risk with supplementing that your milk supply will go down.

Our pediatrician (who is also a lactation consultant) is 100% on board with what we’re doing.  Every bit of breast milk your baby gets is great and moms need to take care of themselves too (rather than wear themselves down stressing about about milk production). If you see magic promises of freezers full of breast milk on Pinterest, take them with a grain of salt.  These things can help, but they may not be a magic instant fix.

Just remember, the most important thing is feeding your baby, so even if breastfeeding doesn’t work out for you at all, it’s ok, you are not a failure!  As long as your baby is getting the necessary calories and checking out fine with the pediatrician, you’re doing great!

 

*Ok, not really, moms need to support other moms.  If you’re one of the stupidly luckily mamas who had zero issues with breastfeeding, yay for you!  Just be aware that your fellow mamas may be struggling  and may also be close to (or well past) tears.

**Matt really likes to tell people “Trust me, I’m a doctor.” And while he does indeed have a doctorate, no one in their right mind trusts lawyers 🙂

Save

Save

Save

New Mom Hacks

Hey look, it’s Wesley’s due date today!  Little dude is about 2 1/2 weeks old!  He was back to his birth weight within a week and was over 8lbs as of Tuesday.  His newborn clothes are already getting snug!  Kiddo also survived his first bath… actually he fell asleep in the bath so my mom is convinced he didn’t actually pick up any genes from our side of the family.

WesWeek1

I’ve been busy recovering so not much has been happening on the home improvement front (although I just starting working on the final nursery project!).  Plenty has been happening on the postpartum and baby front though, so if that’s not your jam go ahead an skip the rest of the post.

The following aren’t all exactly “hacks,” but just some suggestions for new moms that I think would be helpful.

Stock Up

We didn’t get  a chance to do this since the kiddo surprised us early.  I ended up sending Matt out on a Target run the day we got back from the hospital.  If you can I would make sure you have plenty of the following items:

  • Toliet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Paper plates
  • Easy meals/freezer meals
  • Dish soap/dishwasher detergent/hand soap/laundry detergent (free and clear or baby specific)
  • Batteries, if you have any baby gear that uses them

Also make sure you have:

  • Nursing bras
  • Hands-free pumping bra
  • Full coverage undies (fear no granny panty! especially if there’s a chance you may have a c-section because lower-cut waistbands may hit your stitches)
  • Pain relief options for sore breasts–I immediately ordered nipple cream. Lansinoh Soothies, and the Lansinoh TheraPearls before anything got uncomfortable.
  • Nipple pads (personally I prefer the reusable bamboo ones)
  • Maxi pads (if you don’t buy these ahead of time suddenly you’re sending your husband off on his own to the feminine hygiene aisle and that’s just kind of cruel)
  • Stool softener (check with your health care provider about what is safe to take postpartum, especially if you’re breastfeeding.  They’ll probably automatically give you something in the hospital, but you’ll want more once you get home… it’s one of those awesome post-delivery occurrences that people don’t tend to warn you about)
Baskets for All the Things

1. Bathroom baskets

Life after giving birth is…. messy to say the least and pretty uncomfortable for a while. Bathroom trips especially become An Event.  Make it easier on yourself and stock a postpartum basket in any bathroom you use frequently.  These are what I’ve found useful:

  • Pain relief spray (like Dermoplast)
  • Witch hazel pads (like Tucks)
  • Peri bottle
  • Super overnight maxi pads/regular maxi pads/panty liners depending on how far recovered you are.  Some women really like adult diapers for the worst of it too.

I got a bottle of Dermoplast, a container of witch hazel pads, and a peri bottle from the hospital so if you’re a 1 bathroom house you probably won’t need to go out an get them.  I did end up buying duplicates so I could have everything I needed in our second bathroom too.

I meant to pick up an inexpensive sitz bath but you can also just fill the tub with a few inches of water for the same results. My midwife recommended soaking both for pain relief and for helping the stitches dissolve.  Personally I think it would be easier to be at chair height rather than haul myself in and out of the tub… but I also have a big deep claw foot so that’s a lot of hauling.*

2. Breastfeeding/Pumping baskets

If you’re breastfeeding you may also want a strategically placed feeding basket stashed on each level. If you’re pumping you may just want a way to corral all the parts.

  • Burp cloths
  • Nipple cream
  • Nipple pads
  • Nipple** shield (if using)
  • First aid tape (if you’re using a nipple shield and have a flail-y baby, tape is a game changer)

3. Changing baskets

This is another one that probably only matters if you have a large or multi-floor house.  We have a changing station setup on each floor–a permanent one in the nursery and a small basket downstairs with a changing pad, diapers, wipes, and diaper cream.

Padsicles

I saw these all over Pinterest and have long since decided that I have no pride, so why the hell not?  Basically you just saturate a pad with aloe and witch hazel and pop it in the freezer.  Bam!  Soothing ice pack for your lady bits (because this is NOT a time when you want to be relying on the frozen peas… unless you really hate peas).

Nursing Undershirt

If you’re breastfeeding you’re going to want some nice, accessible shirts, and if you at all self-conscious or shy you’re going to want to stay as covered as possible.  I saw this hack on the Pinterest and think it’s brilliant!  If you don’t want to  buy a ton of nursing specific tops you can pair these with some looser fitting shirts and just pull them up without baring your postpartum belly.  I also LOVE this drapey shirt from amazon.  It covers the bra straps and provides similar coverage to a nursing scarf.

Breast Pump Bag

I my breast pump was fully covered by insurance, but it didn’t come with a bag.  No biggie, I can find a bag designed to fit it, right?  Well, sure if I want to shell out $100 for one. Um, no.  After some browsing I started looking at large lunch bags.  I found one with dimensions to fit my pump + some extra space and picked up a mini cooler pouch too.  This way I can stash my milk in the fridge at work but keep everything together as I tote it back and forth. An extra pocket on the lunch bag also works great for storing the small stuff.  If you use a separate cooler pouch you don’t really need an insulated lunch bag, they just happen to be a good size, nicely structured, and cheap.

Some women seem to stock their pumping bags with everything under the sun. I have my pump, nipple pads, milk storage bags, and a hands free pumping bra.  I figure I can stash other useful items, like a cardigan and snacks, in my desk rather than needing a huge bag to haul everything in. Heck, my purse is already big enough so I can (and have!) fit Harry Potter book 7 in it with all my other crap.

FYI: I have the Spectra S2 pump and after much searching I found this cooler (XL) and this mini pouch (XS) are just about perfect for it (although I do use storage bags instead of the bottles that came with the pump).

Layered Crib Sheets

Wesley is still sharing our room so we haven’t seen this in action yet, but it seems like a really good idea.  When you make up the crib, put on a sheet, then a mattress protector, then another sheet, another mattress protector, and finally another sheet.  If something unfortunate seeps out of your baby (especially in the middle of the night!) you just have to strip off the top 2 layers and you’re good to go! (our crib mattress already had a water proof layer which is why we started with a sheet instead of a mattress protector).

Related: make sure you have multiple covers for your changing pad.  It’s probably not worth layering them, it’s just a good idea to have backups as babies tend to explode from both ends.

 

*True story: damn near got stuck in the bathtub while I was pregnant.

**I think I just set some sort of record for how many times I’ve used the word “nipple” in a post

Save

Save

Save

Save