Grumpy baby is leaping

It’s been a couple weeks of my son crying, being fussy, and being plan old grumpy. I thought at first it was just a growth spurt and maybe starting to teeth. It may very well be that, but just recently I learned babies make developmental leaps.

The other day I was talking to my friend who is also a mom and I was telling her my son was being so grumpy. She suggested an app called the Wonder Weeks. It cost a couple dollars, but is so worth it. It goes by a baby’s due date, not the actual date born. The app calculates baby’s brain growth from conception, not birth since babies can be born early or late making it hard to say how far along their brain development is. It shows a chart of baby’s grumpy, neutral, and happy weeks. When baby is being all too difficult it’s most likely a developmental leap. Their brain is starting to perceive the world differently with each leap and baby gets closers to how we see and perceive things. The app does a really good job explaining the times of developmental growth and shows what baby will learn by the end of a leap. The app also informs you of common signs that baby is going through a leap and ways to help them through the leap.

Currently my son is almost done leap four. The app suggested a few things to try for this leap and one of his favorites is peek-a-boo. Prior to this leap he had no reaction to this game. But now he laughs away when I play peek-a-boo with him. This is just one of many things he enjoys from the suggestions. I do notice a couple of signs of this leap too. He has greater mood swings and wants more attention/cuddle time, which I’m always happy giving him more cuddles. There is a list of abilities that I see my son has also learned and the last one on the list makes me laugh a bit, grumbles when impatient. This couldn’t be more true! He should be coming to the end of his fourth leap this week. I notice he seems to be getting in a better mood each day as he is almost finished this leap.

I hope you will give this app a try if your confused why baby is moody and grumpy. It really is helping me understand a lot about my baby. Also a plus is this app comes in a few different languages!

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Moving with baby

There is a bittersweetness to moving. I had been packing for a month and planned this during my pregnancy to move from my mom’s to my boyfriend’s. I stayed in my hometown to have my son because giving birth in a city without family nearby while my boyfriend could possibly be at work scared me. I was very grateful he agreed with my wishes. That last month before our son was born was difficult since I didn’t want to travel very far. My boyfriend did his best to visit when he could, but three hours each way is quite difficult. After our son was born he took off work for the week and stayed at my mom’s with me. He ran and got me everything I needed postpartum, changed diapers, and everything else. My mom cleaned and brought us meals to my room that week. It was really great to feel so much love and to have all the help.

So two months later my son and I were all packed and ready to move. I packed all his things in his own boxes marked baby and kept his essentials in his diaper bag for easy access. My boyfriend arrived with the U-haul that morning. We hired people to load the truck from the U-haul website. They were very professional, efficient, and everything arrived without a scratch. This made it easy for me so I could care for my son while the truck was being packed. Also it was very cost efficient. The whole move costed about a quarter of what movers costed. When it came time to leave, I hugged my mom and her dog, cried a few tears, and thanked her for all she did to help me and my son.

When we were looking for a moving truck to rent I really didn’t need a huge truck, but the problem was the small trucks only had two seats. We needed three. So we went with the 15′ truck just so we could have the third seat. It really worked out well with the car seat. So as we prepared to leave we strapped our son in and waved good bye. Even though it was a little sad to leave my mom, it was such an exciting moment to start my new life. During the drive our son was mostly good until he became hungry. Usually I breastfeed but being we were on a tight schedule we couldn’t stop. Luckily I packed some formula and was able to give him a bottle while he sat in the car seat. After that he fell asleep for the rest of the ride. We drove for a couple hours and finally reached our destination. We hired other movers for the city unpacking, but we didn’t get them through U-haul. Sadly they weren’t very professional and it was a bit stressful. One of the men was clearly drunk and smelled of liquor, so my boyfriend ended up helping move everything.

After everything was in we were living in a box fort for that evening. That week I was able to unpack most of the boxes and after 3 weeks I was able to start decorating and making the apartment more like home rather that living in a bachelor pad. It’s been a month now and our son seemed to handle the move well. He seems very comfortable in his new home.

Making the best of postpartum healing

I was totally unprepared for my postpartum experience. Thank goodness for the local drug stores and Amazon. Here I would like to let you know things I already had from the hospital or things I needed to buy post birth. Every mom is different with their needs, so what worked for me may not suit your needs. But hopefully I can help other moms by pointing them in the right direction if they need something.

One thing that was very important for me beginning postpartum were disposable cold packs from CVS. They were perfect for those first couple weeks when I couldn’t sit. They are like a water bed in your underwear that cushions you from the dreaded chairs. Along with a blow up donut pillow the first week or so. Just be careful, using a donut pillow for more than a week or two can make things bulge down there permanently. So after the major bleeding had slowed up (yes, there is lots of blood, no one said birth was clean and pretty, so just be prepared) I switched to Tendher reusable cool packs. They come with 5 reusable red sleeves to slide over the cool packs. They are not as thick as the disposable ones and they don’t absorb as much so they are better after the heavy bleeding slows down.

Another is large, soft cotton pads. You can get disposable ones at the drug store or get reusable ones. I opted for disposable ones since the last thing I wanted to worry about was washing them after a traumatic mess I had going on down there. Cotton disposable pads feel way better than the synthetic stuff rubbing against that delicate area. I used L pads. Also soft liners will be important too once the lochia is minimal. I’m three months and still using liners.

Tucks (or off brands Target or CVS) are a great way to keep it clean below. These witchazel round wipes feel good just to keep in place on your pad while going about your new mommy duties.

At the hospital they gave me a peri bottle along with the witch hazel rounds, the dubicaine ointment and sitz bath below. Fill the bottle with warm water and squirt it before, during, or after you pee. For me urinating was the scariest thing, more so than a bm. It took me 8 hours, the warm water from the peri bottle, sink water running, and a nurse telling me I will have to get a straight catheter to scare me into finally peeing. I still use the peri bottle occasionally to freshen up down there.

Dubicaine is a hemorrhoid ointment. Works great for numbing the swelling in the whole outer region down there. I had a tube from the hospital but you can buy it over the counter at your local drugstore.

Sitz bath is a little basin that fits over your toilet or you can sit in a bath filled with a couple inches of warm water. I waited for my stitches to heal before using this. But ask your doctor if it’s ok to use it sooner.

Breastfeeding can be difficult at first. Your nipples can become sore, cracked, and even bleed if your baby isn’t latched properly. My son didn’t get a wide enough latch for the first couple weeks which made clothing rubbing against my nipples terribly painful. Luckily the lactation consultants gave me soothing gel pads. I used Ameda comfort gels to soothe my sore nipples for first couple weeks, but I’m sure other companies work just as well. You can use them for about 5 days, just be sure to wash them every day to prevent fungus and bacteria growth. Also it’s best to let your nipples get some air too since these are not breathable. Once my milk came in strong I switched to disposable nursing pads since my milk started to leak out of the gels. I wanted to opt for reusable ones but the fabric stuck to some of my cracks that hadn’t fully healed. Also I used lots of lanolin gel. After the first month when my nipples were fully healed and my son was a pro at latching, I was able to switch to the reusable nursing pads. Be sure to wear clean ones everyday and still air your nipples out as that is the best way to promote healing and prevent thrush. I recommend Philips Avent cotton nursing pads.

I am still healing at three months postpartum. I had quite a bit of tearing and still waiting for the day I’ll be completely healed. Even though the pain was terrible for so long, the only thing that got me through the day was seeing my son and knowing how blessed I am to have the greatest gift in life.

Moms, leave a comment on what ways you got relief postpartum.

Hello new world! Becoming a first time mom

It was a hot summer day, the warm humid air clung to me, food and drinks (just water for me) were being enjoyed, and I was spending it with my boyfriend and family at my dad and aunt’s farm. I remember my family waiting in anticipation as my due date was coming up in about a week. I was guessing it would still be quite a few days before my son’s arrival as I shrugged off the fact I was having intense pressure pushing down that wasn’t there a few days before. Also I was sewing and knitting baby clothes like a mad woman. Just before leaving my dad and aunts’s farm we took a few photos in the farm stand, I made plans with my aunt that we would grab lunch in a couple days before my son was born, and hugged everyone goodbye for the day. My boyfriend and I had returned to my mom’s house where I had been living. My plan was to give birth at the hospital in my hometown so my mom could help me the first couple months when my boyfriend returned to work after the first week of our son’s birth. My plan was to move in with my boyfriend once I healed up (though who knew, I’m still not healed up properly at 2 months! More on that in a further post).

That evening he made the 3 hour ride back to NY. Just before bed we talked on the phone and I joked, watch our son come tonight after you just got home. Well our son made sure that joke came true. A couple hours later as I was ready to doze off I felt like I was a bit wet. I got up to check and though, hm… can this be my water breaking? But it wasn’t that much liquid so I changed my liner and got back in bed. Unable to sleep, I started to research what it’s like to have your water break since I didn’t have the slightest clue. I felt like I had to pee (which was always lol), got up, and there it was, my water definitely broke! Shocked and excited I ran in the bathroom grabbed a wad of toilet paper and then ran/waddled down to my mom’s room. She was in such a deep sleep but that wasn’t for long as I yelled, “mom, mom, wake up! My baby is coming!” I called the doctor, they told me to head to the hospital, and my mom and I were off in the wee hours of the night.

I was checked in, wheeled up to the maternity ward, and called my boyfriend to tell him to come right back, our son is coming soon! It felt all so surreal yet real. It was really the most unusual, nervous, exciting feeling I have ever felt and all I could do was smile. Oh did I smile, almost the whole thirteen or so hours, with a few exceptions of pain and crying. My boyfriend took Uber down for the long ride and arrived shortly after they gave me medicine to start my contractions. Up until then my contractions refused to start. The labor pains weren’t so bad until the medicine. Each wave of pain got worse but when my boyfriend came to join me and mom, who was keeping me company, I felt a good time of relief. Though as the sun started to rise I was becoming less tolerant and less smiley. The contractions really had set in. So I gave up trying to tough it out and got the epidural. It was seriously the easiest thing, the needle hardly hurt and soon I felt loads better. As it drew closer to noon I started to have the urge to push. The doctor came in with the resident and the nurse, my boyfriend and mom at my side giving me emotional support. Now this was the really difficult part, pushing. Though mind you I kept smiling between each push. I just couldn’t get the second and third push so well. It took a while and the help of me squatting with a bar to balance. I highly recommended squatting for any future mamas. It helped me figure out how to push more efficiently.

My dad had just gotten to the hospital but opted to wait out in the waiting room. Though he wanted to say hello so he peaked his head in the door between me pushing. I was in the squatting position with a cover draped over my nether regions. He was quite shocked to see me beaming a big smile as I squatted on the birthing table. He wished me luck and returned to the waiting room. Later he told my mom I looked like I was at a spa and not giving birth because I was smiling away. I wish, as the post pushing was not as pleasant. Finally our son was born 7lbs 2oz with a full head of hair. Just as he came out I joyfully with tears said,”my baby, my baby”, quite loudly. As I looked to my side, my boyfriend and mom were crying too. Our baby was beautiful. I felt a deep connection the moment I held him, like I have always known him from long ago. I wanted this blissful moment to last uninterrupted, though unfortunately I had quite a bad tear that had to be stitched for an hour or so. Focusing on my baby helped, but even through all the numbing I could still feel part of the stitching happening. Ouch!

The following days were bliss mixed with intense pain. I had many trips back to the doctor’s and still need many follow ups, but even with all of the misery and pain, there is an extreme joy and fulfillment. It is truly unlike any other feeling I have ever had. Because of this unique and surreal joy I was able to float through the first few weeks, through the pain, and know that I have just filled the glass that was half full. I look forward to sharing my experiences as a first time mom with you.