Friday, September 30, 2011

STUFF: breastfeeding

As I mentioned here, we have several friends expecting little ones in the coming months. So this will be the first of a few posts about some "stuff" we have found helpful.

I should start by saying that before Baby Boy arrived I was pretty anti-stuff, not wanting to clutter our home with tons of junk. However, a few days into this adventure, I was already requesting people to bring us stuff, and so perhaps it would have been easier to have everything around in the first place.

So breastfeeding stuff. It should be easy just Breasts + Baby, and maybe some people can do it that way, but if you have to go back to work, or want your significant other involved in feeding, or have low supply or over supply, or any other problems things can get complicated.

So to get comfortable:
A feeding pillow- I have the Boppy, which didn't work so well at the beginning because Baby Boy was just too tiny, but now we love it, and it has saved my back. Also I love it for tummy time!
- excellent for the first few weeks when your nipples have to get used to being rubbed all the time. I haven't heard of anyone that didn't have at least a little soreness in the beginning, and this stuff works.

Breast pads
- if you leak in the beginning, which many do. I personally preferred the disposable ones because they are thinner and disposable, but at the beginning I was changing clothes so often because of Baby bodily fluids that it didn't matter much if I had some leakage onto shirts.

For pumping/storing/feeding:

A pump
- at first I got a manual one, but that was pretty much a disaster- it is way too much work. So if you're going to pump with any regularity, get a double electric pump; it is well worth the investment. I got the Medela Pump in Style and have been very happy with it.

- to feed the baby the pumped milk obviously. We've had a lot of success with Breastflow bottles, which forces the baby to suck the milk out rather than just chew (which is what they can do with regular bottles).

Freezer bags- to store milk long term; it can be kept for many months when frozen. This is great for a rainy day stockpile. (I used my stockpile when I was taking some medication for a few days and it was great to have).

Microwave sterilizer- breast milk is very anti-fungal/anti-bacterial, so generally washing bottles and pump parts with soap and water is enough, but a couple times a week it is a good idea to sterilize and the microwave contraption makes it just that much easier.

Did I forget anything?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Routine: 3 months

Baby Boy wakes up around 7:30 am and the day officially begins with breakfast for him. Then it's time for my breakfast, so he gets to play independently on one of our play mats. He's currently loving the mirror so that keeps him occupied long enough for me to make myself food and sit beside him in the living room while he plays. After a short while he gets tired and is ready for the morning nap. I use this time to email or cook, and a short hour later it's time for his mid-morning snack. If there are errands to be done, or socializing scheduled, this is the time (circa 11am). Usually he's awake for part of the time, flirting with my friends, or gazing up at the trees if we walk to the store. At some point he'll doze off for a bit, but it's always short-lived and then he's awake again. If I'm home we do some laundry or organize clothes, or if we have afternoon errands then this is our main play time.

When we get home, Baby Boy has his first lunch. We then play together- I read him a story, we do a little tummy time, we sing songs together. It's a lot of learning (and teaching) and it tires both of us out. But then it's time for second lunch for the kid, and with a nice food coma, he's usually out for a nice solid nap. This is my time to have lunch, do some stuff around the house, or read up on the currently concerning matter of the day (drooling? sleep schedules? next milestone?).

After the afternoon snack (around 3pm), we have our second session of play time. We'll do whatever we didn't have time for in the morning, or sometimes just let him talk to his mobile friends in the crib. Lots of times I take this time for myself and Baby Boy plays with his Daddy. Then it's time for another nap (5:30-7, if we can). If we didn't take a walk in the morning, then we go now, and he's fascinated by the trees until he nods off. If we're not walking, we put him to sleep on his tummy and then obsessively check on Baby Boy to make sure he hasn't lodged his face straight into the mattress. I try to get some dinner together because when he gets up Baby Boy wants dinner (like a good Mexican, at 8pm). We then walk a fine line: a short nap that's not too short and not too long, so it doesn't interfere with bed time. During this time the adults have dinner, and get ready for the final leg of the day. When the nap is over it's time for a bath by Daddy, jammies, and a final feeding, this time with a bottle. Then we swaddle, put on wave sounds, depending on fusiness level sometimes a pacifier and it's light out. Baby Boy usually gets the hint that there's no more activity and closes his eyes. Then Mommy has to go to bed because in 3-5 hours we have an early morning feed. Baby Boy eats and then it's another swaddle and lights out for a couple more hours until he gets up for the day.

*I can't believe how much this has changed since 6 weeks ago....

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Plastic Boy

Baby Boy got this nickname when he was stuck to the pezonera (plastic nipple for feeding). Daddy made fun of you for being on milk crack when you loved the plastic syringe, and now you love the bottle, our little plastic boy! :)

Our house looks like a Fisher Price warehouse, but Baby plastic Boy loves this junk!

And now, the newest addition to our plastic love collection- the pacifier.

It's cute for now, but it seems it might be a good long while before he gives up on his current love.

*In the picture he is squirming out of a fake swaddle (blanket wrapped around); he thinks this is a really fun game!

Shana Tova 2011

*design courtesy of shut terfly

Monday, September 26, 2011

Three Months

We've hit a big milestone: you're holding your head up fabulously. Now, YOU decide what direction you want to be looking in, though sometimes you are quite indecisive going back and forth from left to right and right to left until something catches your eye, or you make yourself most comfortable.

You love looking at yourself in the mirror and making faces; it's like you have a little friend up there. You flail your arms to move your toys and you're finally managing to grab some of them from time to time. We often find you holding long conversations with them, especially with the mobile.

You love music, and are happiest when we are singing to you. You will tolerate any activity, as long as it's accompanied by song, even an unwanted diaper change. And you're starting to imitate all those sounds with gah, and ling, and ooo.

You also love nature. You can't keep your eyes of the trees when we go for a walk, unless you fall asleep of course, which is usually the case in that soothing stroller of yours, or even in the carrier. Fresh air apparently, is the BEST for naps. Also good for naps: sleeping on your tummy.

You've become quite demanding: you want to eat NOW, you need to be burped at this moment, and you can't believe we would let you stay in your wet diaper one minute longer. Luckily once we take care of your needs you reward us with a smile and return to your happy demeanor. You will also let out a loud AH when your mommy isn't paying attention to you and you want her.

However, you also self-sooth with your little thumb. No longer do you have to flail your hand all around your face to find it; now it just pops right in for your naps. Unfortunately for night-time swaddled sleep we revert to a pacifier since your hands aren't accessible. But you love your swaddle, so we won't deny it to you. We will have to break this habit later, but for now you are sleeping like an angel.

Fun games: us blowing on your face and you suck in the air; squirming out of a fake swaddle.

At night you have a stretch of 4-5 hours, which means you only eat once at night! We like this A LOT, and Mommy can finally do some other things during the day time and still have lots of play time with you! Daddy, meanwhile, is your best bathing buddy! You're becoming a lot of fun, and we can't wait to see how you'll keep growing and changing!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Baby Boy Goes to the Beach

We needed some R&R. M finally finished his coursework, and we had just one short weekend before he was starting the marathon towards the boards. I, on the other hand, was antsy to get out of town for a bit, since we had been in the city since this trip back in May. To top it off, Baby Boy's Auntie was in town, and we were going to take her to the Pacific Ocean. So off we were to the beach!

I was a little nervous about Baby Boy so we took the stroller (which has UV protection) for him to hang out in. We also made sure he was well covered up so that his sensitive baby skin didn't get hurt. We took turn letting him rest on us, and while I didn't get as much of a rest as I would have liked, it was still a really fun time. And we discovered a new game: "watch the ceiling fan"!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Same Same but Different: Chacala

It was our last trip as a twosome, and the first as a threesome. We headed to Chacala for a little well-deserved beach R&R. Baby N was quite agreeable, enjoying the aura of the water more than anything. D got a little (a lot) less reading than usual, but we still had our morning stroll, dip in the water and feast of fish.










The Philadelphia Phenomenon

Pizza, that's what this post is about.

We called Dominos to order a pizza. One free topping- so we ask for extra cheese. The guy taking the order asks if we want Philadelphia, since it already has "regular" cheese. We say no, just the regular stuff for us. Cream cheese on pizza?! Not our style.

(I should point out at this point that Mexicans use cream cheese for EVERYTHING. So frostings, and cream sauces abound, but at a certain point it starts getting weird. Even sushi has cream cheese.)

Now how is this related to Baby Boy? Well, the Wives organized to have some meals brought to us to help out the first few weeks. I told M we were getting meals delivered and this is how the conversation went:

M: So what are they bringing?

D: I don't know. Dinner.

M: They should bring pizza. every time.

(Needless to say, I never "requested" pizza, nor did we get any. But all the meals were delicious and very much appreciated).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Baby Boy Goes to the Centro

When his Auntie V was in town, Baby Boy had his first trip to the historical center of town. Overall is was uneventful, and he spent most of the time sleeping in his stroller.* Also I noticed the centro is surprisingly stroller- friendly; the things you notice when you have kids...

*I figured out that once a day I can extend the time between feedings to 3-3.5 hours (instead of the usual 2-2.5) so we've been trying to take advantage of that to do some things outside the house without having to nurse in the car too often.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Pastime

Ever since Baby Boy came around, I've been consolidating cooking time to just a couple times a week, so that on a daily basis the most I have to do is re-heat/defrost/cut up some fresh veggies. This means a lot of food gets stored in the freezer, and I have a new pastime*:


*In our case you can replace "tupperware" with "empty yogurt container".

Monday, September 19, 2011

Same Same but Different: Tequila

It was another Tequila visit. Number 4 for D, number 2 for M and a first for Auntie V. We did the tour at Sauza and it was good. We ate at La Cholula. And Baby N: he ate in the car. It was a good visit, but then we had to get on the road for another chapter of "Same Same but Different".






Newborn Cloth Diapering Love

Let me start with this: we love cloth diapering. Why? better for baby (no chemicals), we can tell when it's wet, better for the environment (less trash), and mostly A LOT less money. I wanted to see how it would work out, and so I didn't invest too much, but we've already more than paid them off, and I'm now looking into our long-term stash of diapers. But this is not meant to be preachy, just a review of what we did and what I would do differently if I had to do it again.

For the newborn phase I decided to get prefolds + covers and it was a great decision. A friend of mine told me to get 4 dozen prefolds and 5 covers. She was right. This allows us to do laundry only twice a week! I ended up getting:

18 Green Mountain Diaper newborn prefolds (5-10 lbs)
18 Indian prefolds infant size (up to 15 lbs)
12 Green Mountain Diaper small prefolds (10-15 lbs)

(If I had to do it again I would just get 2 dozen newborn + 2 dozen infant)

For covers I was pretty indecisive so I just got a whole bunch of different ones to figure out what I would get long term:

1 Bummis super bright (4-9 lbs)- was great size-wise for the first month, but I wouldn't get it again
1 Thirsties x-small velcro (6-12 lbs)- I like it a lot for fit and would get again even though the edges get moist and need to air out longer between uses
1 Thirsties Duo size 1 snap (6-18 lbs)- I really this one too, even more since I don't have to worry about velcro getting mangled in the wash
1 Econobum- love the stretchiness but these are way too big for a newborn
1 Flip Cover- again good stretchiness but too big for a newborn

(If I had to do it again I would just get Thirsties covers for the newborn phase)

So how's it working for us?
Really well! Baby Boy is a major pee-head, so we go through about 10-12 diapers a day, changing at every feeding + whenever he goes number 2 or seems uncomfortable. We don't have to worry about "wasting" a diaper if he pees on a fresh one during a changing.

Twice a week we do the laundry. We wash once on hot with normal Kirkland detergent and an extra cold rinse, occasionally adding a little bit of bleach to get them extra clean and stink free. We've been hang drying them, which works out really well in our weather, saving a bunch on drying them and getting a "bonus" sunning, which keeps them stain free. (I can get away with such a "lazy" routine because everything we have is cotton which is super easy to wash).

Has it been cost effective?

Most definitely yes! We finally calculated the increase in our utilities (water + electric), 4 dollars + 9 dollars monthly, respectively, and I can attribute about half that to diaper laundry (the rest to all that other laundry we've been doing). So that's about 90 dollars a year. Plus the initial investment was about 200 dollars= 300 dollars for the first year. (I plan to buy more diapers of the larger size to get us through the rest of the year, so that the expected totally is about 500).

For reference a pack of diapers here in Mexico is just over 5 dollars (not discount for bulk in this country) and we would use just over half a pack a day (12 diapers out of 20 in size 1, and as you know, as the diapers get bigger there are less per pack, so proportionately we would use the same amount even when he starts going through less per day). Long story short that's 3 dollars a day in diapers, which is 1100 dollars for the year. (This is not including the cost of wipes, which for us are nothing since we wash the flannel ones with the diapers).

So that's all about our experience cloth diapering so far. I have to say it is one of the decisions I feel best about and I'm very excited to shop for our one-size long term diapers!

Oh P.S. When we used disposables for 3 days on a trip (post coming soon) M had this to say:
Day 1- "they stink"
Day 2- "these are so easy"
Day 3- "these are gross"
I would agree with all of the above statements.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

¡Viva Mexico!

El Tapatio dice: Feliz Dia de la Independencia!

(Baby Boy says: Happy Mexican Independence Day!*)

*pretend this was published yesterday... ;)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Same Same but Different: Centro Historico

We've been to the Centro many times. This time was different. We finally made it to see the inside of Hospicio Cabanas. And we had Baby N with us, that too. Otherwise it was the same.



Inside Hospicio Cabanas (murals by Orozco):



Typical Fountain Picture:


Government Palace (gearing up for Independence Day):


Monday, September 12, 2011

Same Same but Different: Pablo Neruda

We have a new type of tiyulon around here. We've been exploring Guadalajara and surroundings again. And it has been the same, but different.

The construction on Pablo Neruda street was finally completed, and we took a couple of walks with Grandma and then with Auntie. Here's the completed look:





All in all it came out pretty well after all those months.