Starting Andrew on Food

Now that my little Andrew is 4 months old, we have started him on rice cereal. He didn’t quite know what to make of it for awhile. It was pretty obvious he was confused by the fact that it wasn’t in a bottle, and that it wasn’t liquid. He did know he wanted to feed himself though, so as you can imagine he made quite the mess.

The first few spoonfuls that went in his mouth came right back out. He didn’t make any odd faces that indicated he didn’t like it. He just didn’t know what he was supposed to do with it. After a little while started rolling the rice cereal around in his mouth for a bit, and then spit it right back out. It was definitely a good thing he had a bib on, because he sure did make on heck of a mess. After about ten minutes he finally realized that he could eat it. Things got much easier once that happened, although he still felt the need to squirm all around in his chair. What’s dinner without a little dancing right?

I think the biggest issue he had with it was that the cereal wasn’t in a bottle. It was on a spoon. Because he is at the age where he is sticking everything in his mouth, it wasn’t too much of an issue. I’m just pretty sure he wasn’t expecting anything that he put in his mouth to separate (the cereal from the spoon in this case). It was so cute to see Andrew trying to figure out exactly what was happening. I could almost see the wheels turning.

Now the biggest thing about my little Andrew is that he likes to do anything he can on his own. He likes to put his own pacifier back in his mouth. he likes to roll over on his own, he even likes to try and grab my phone (even when it’s not on) on his own. Naturally, he tried to feed himself. This is when things really started to get messy. He grabbed the spoon and started pulling it towards his face. I’m still holding onto it too because I know the second I let go, so will he. He never gets something to his mouth on the first try. It will hit one of his cheeks first. I have to try and guide the spoon to his mouth, but his little jerky movements usually caused the spoon to go anywhere but. I had to get him to let go after each bite so I could put more cereal on the spoon, but as soon as it was within reach again, it was in his hand.

I would have to say that eating rice cereal is one of his favorite parts of the day. He get undivided attention, food, and he gets to try and do something on his own. I don’t mind cleaning up after him because that quality time we have together has me smiling for a long time. I used to think his toothless grin was the cutest thing, but now I know that it can be even cuter when you add a very messy face covered in food!


Another Milestone Reached!

My little Andrew is growing up so fast, too fast in my opinion! I am barely getting enough time to enjoy him as a little baby who can’t do anything yet. He will be four months old at the end of this week, and yesterday he reached a new milestone. He learned how to roll over from his stomach to his back yesterday!

I was worried I wasn’t giving him enough tummy time because I always forget to do it. When I did remember he was almost always really tired so I wouldn’t put him on tummy time because I didn’t want to frustrate him. Yesterday I remembered to put him on his stomach when he was actually awake, and he decided he didn’t want to have tummy time so he rolled over. I was amazed, and extremely proud. I still am in fact. Then about ten minutes later I decided to put him back on his stomach to see what he would do. Sure enough, he rolled over again!

He seems to get frustrated that he can’t go anywhere on his own, so for the past couple weeks he has been desperately trying to find a way to move around. It seems like yesterday he figured it out. He may end up being a baby that just rolls from place to place if he can figure out how to get from his back to his stomach. I guess I will just have to wait and see on that one.

I am happy with just one child right now, but that doesn’t mean I want the one I have to grow up so fast. If he keeps this up, I will have baby fever again in no time. I had hoped I could keep that at bay until at Andrew was at least starting potty training. Having two in diapers just isn’t for me.

For now I’ll just have the camera always ready to try and catch those precious milestones Andrew reaches. It is definitely an odd feeling being both happy and a little sad at the same time. Just another way having kids changes you I suppose.

We All Have Those Days

As much as I would love to say I am the perfect wife and mother, I can’t. I do everything I can, but I’m still only human so I am going to have some bad days. Because the point of this blog is to show new mothers that they aren’t alone, I will be sharing both the good, the bad, and sometimes the scary.

I very recently had one of my bad days. I spent most of the day holding back tears. I was doing everything I could to try and stay happy and positive because I didn’t want to take it out on Andrew, and also because I really didn’t feel like explaining to anyone why I was upset. I was just feeling a lot of pressure from various aspects of my life, and it had all caught up with me at once.

I had to force myself to get things done because all I wanted to do was lay in bed. I hear a lot of people say that you have to take life as a new mom one day at a time, but sometimes you need to take it one minute at a time. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed as a new mother especially if you are like me and just recently decided to work again, or if you have just started going back to work after maternity leave. Trying to find the balance of work and personal life again so you can maintain your sanity can seem nearly impossible.

I really did have to take life one minute at a time the other day. If I started to think about everything I had to get done, I would feel overwhelmed and start crying. Then at around 3:00 p.m. I still wasn’t feeling any better, so I fed and changed Andrew, put him next to his dad and went upstairs to go lay down. I didn’t sleep for more than about fifteen minutes, but I stayed up there for a couple of hours. I just really needed time to myself, and to be honest I needed a good cry. That might sound odd to some of you, but I have found that sometimes the only way I can start feeling better is if I just cry until my stress is relieved. I tend to bottle up my emotions because I don’t want other people worrying about me, so every now and then I need to release those emotions by crying. (Don’t worry though, I did talk to my husband later, so I do tell people how I’m feeling if I think they need to know.)

Once I came back downstairs, I was still upset, but I was also feeling a little better. I fed and changed Andrew again, then went to go wash his bottles. I had a bit of a meltdown in the kitchen and took it out on the microwave bottle sterilizer because it wouldn’t close. With quite a bit of force I finally got the sterilizer to close, and somehow I felt accomplished. All I did was close a dumb container, but it was also a victory. It may have been the world’s most insignificant victory, but it was still what I needed.

It was a small reminder that even though things have seemed tough for me lately, I refused to give up. It may take some time, but if I keep pushing through, then eventually things will start getting better. They will seem easier too because I will be back in a routine soon enough. (As I write this, I realize it sounds terribly cheesy, but that doesn’t make it any less true.) Sometimes on really tough days all you need is a small victory to get you back on your feet.

The next time you feel like there is too much pressure on you, try taking things one minute at a time. Recognize the little victories you have that day, and see if you start to feel any better. I bet you will. Life is tough, but you are tougher.

What Being a Mom With a Disability has Taught Me

So far I have only mentioned this in one other post, but in case you haven’t read it, I have epilepsy. I was diagnosed with it when I was 18. I missed a month of my senior year of high school because I was in two different hospitals having multiple tests run on me to see what was going on. I had some doctors claim I was faking, some claimed I was just on drugs, while only a few actually believed something was wrong. Once the results of the E.E.G.s came back showing spikes in my brain waves, the doctors confirmed I had epilepsy.

There are many ways in which even now at the age of 22, epilepsy has made my life difficult. For instance, I can’t drive because I haven’t gone the minimum required amount of time to be seizure free. In some states it’s only three months, while in others it is three whole years! That is an easy enough obstacle to get around though because I can either have my husband or a friend drive me somewhere, and if need be I can call a cab.

There are several ways in which I struggle with my disability now that I am a mother. For one, sleep deprivation is a trigger for my seizures so the midnight feedings really took their toll. Even though I would take my medications regularly, there was still the chance I would have a break through seizure if I lost too much sleep or was under too much stress. Both of which happened all the time in the first month and a half of Andrew’s life. I ended up having several seizures during that time.

For those of you that don’t know much about seizures, they take a huge toll on the body. The time it takes to recover from one can be anywhere between a few minutes to more than an hour. Having to still take care of a newborn despite just having a seizure is tougher than the seizure itself in my opinion. My body is already drained of all energy I had. Most of the time I can barely walk after a seizure, and doing anything that requires thinking too much is impossible.

It has been a huge adjustment for me now that I am a mom. For a while after Andrew was born, I wasn’t sure I could do it just because of all the seizures I was having. Here I am though, almost 4 months after his birth, and I’m still pushing through the difficulties. Some days are more challenging than others, but no matter what I have still been able to care for Andrew.

Being a mom with epilepsy has taught me that no matter what life throws my way, I will be able to get through it. Before Andrew was born I let my disability control my life. I used it as an excuse to not get things done, or to not do them properly, but not anymore. Having Andrew means that his well being is completely dependent on my actions. If I were to let my disability to continue to control my life, then all I’m doing is hurting my son. So I have started to change myself for him. I stay on top of things like housework, and I have even found a job that allows me to work from home so my husband and I have extra money to buy Andrew what he needs.

Do you have a disability? Has how it affects your life changed since you have had kids? Do you have a story of how you overcame a challenge caused by your disability for the sake of your child? Please share it in the comments. You never know who might need to read an encouraging story today!

Let’s Talk Postpartum Personal Hygiene

So you just had your baby, and you are feeling a whirlwind of emotions. You are extremely tired and have so many thoughts and concerns racing through your mind. Friends and family are eager to see the new baby, but you might not feel ready to see them. Why? Because you don’t want to have to worry about your personal hygiene right now.

That’s completely normal! In fact, you won’t care about your personal hygiene for quite some time. No one will expect you to be all dolled up so soon after having a baby. Even though you know that, you may still feel a little uneasy about people seeing you for a while especially if its been an extended period of time since your last shower.

I felt weird having people come see me and Andrew after he was born because without a decent shower or at least some deodorant I don’t feel human. Everyone told me I looked great, and I’m sure for just having a baby I did look good, but I definitely didn’t feel great. I was in such a rush to take a shower after Andrew was born that I pushed myself too hard and collapsed in the bathroom! Luckily Anthony was close enough to be able to catch me before I hit the ground.

Once you get back home things start to fall into place. After a while you are able to get a routine down and life becomes a little easier. There is a huge difference though between things getting easier and things going back to normal. First of all you have to realize that there will be a new normal now that you have a baby. For example, now I am not just cooking dinner, I also have to watch and entertain a baby. Finding your new normal will take time. Andrew is 3 months old now and sometimes I still feel like we haven’t found it yet.

Some of your personal hygiene will suffer for a while, but hey, that’s not the priority. Don’t feel bad if you miss a shower, or forget to brush your teeth, or let your leg hair grow free for a while. It happens. You are making a personal sacrifice to make sure you have the time and energy to care for your new baby, and that’s awesome.

If someone offers to watch your newborn for a while so you can rest, let them. I would first take the chance to have a quick shower if I needed it, and then I would try and get some sleep. Getting even just a little bit of sleep can make you feel so much better. Odds are you won’t care as much about those hairy armpits if you have the energy to get something done. Doing even the simplest of chores just after having a baby can make you feel amazing, (provided you don’t overexert yourself).

I still have plenty of days where I don’t put on makeup or even get out of pajama pants. If I’m headed out for a little bit, then I throw on the sweatpants. If I’m going out to eat, then I’ll wear jeans and I might have the drive to put makeup on, but I might not. I already spend plenty of time getting Andrew and everything he needs ready before I can head out the door, so I usually don’t want to spend much time on myself. To be honest, I hardly ever care anymore what people even think of my appearance. If someone did say something negative about the way I look, I would just point to Andrew and say, “He looks good enough for the both of us.”

Everyone knows it is important to maintain good personal hygiene, but that doesn’t mean the world will end just because you don’t practice it everyday. If you just had your baby, don’t worry you will eventually be able to find some time and energy to take a shower again. It is more important that you can care for your baby. Doing too much too soon can cause you to injure yourself and make your recovery take longer. So let your hair grow, forget the makeup, skip a shower, and just relax.

My 10 Most Common Thoughts While Watching Andrew Sleep

I find myself thinking a lot of the same thoughts whenever I watch Andrew sleep on his video baby monitor. Some of these thoughts send me into a slight panic, while others make me smile. I have a good feeling I’m not the only one who thinks these things while watching a baby sleep. See how many have crossed your mind!

10) His eyes are glowing and it’s creepy.

When watching a baby sleep on a video monitor, their eyes my glow. If that baby is in a dark room the light around the camera lens will reflect off their eyes causing them to glow. It looks like something out of a bad horror film. Even though Andrew isn’t sleeping when this happens, I figured it was close enough because I’m attempting to get him to sleep so I included it in the list.

9) What if his pacifier falls in-between the wall and the crib?

While Andrew never makes it the whole night with the pacifier in his mouth, he often times needs it to fall asleep. That includes whenever he is going back to sleep after a midnight feeding. The last thing I want to do after putting him back in his crib is fumble around in the dark looking for a nearly invisible pacifier. If I can’t find it within the first few attempts I start to worry that it fell in-between the crib and the wall. If that’s the case, all hope is lost for that paci.

8) He let out one cry. Do I NEED to get up?

Does your baby cry for a second or two and then stop? You know, just long and loud enough to convince you that he will keep crying so you might as well get up to soothe him now, but as soon as you stand up he stops? Andrew does that all the time at night. It drives me crazy. That first cry makes my Mommy Senses tingle, so I go from sleeping soundly to ready to sprint down the hall within a split second. Then when he doesn’t continue crying, part of me is relieved, but I also feel slightly annoyed that I had to wake up at all.

7) How wet is he?

Andrew sleeps in a cloth diaper that has two different absorbent inserts in it. Most of the time he can sleep through the whole night and still not be completely soaked in the morning. I still wonder throughout the night if this will be the night that he soaks through the diaper and if I will wake up to a surprise of extra laundry in the morning.

6) What is he dreaming about?

I not only wonder what he dreams about, I also wonder what does he have to dream about? Especially as a newborn. Babies don’t have many real world experiences so what is it that goes through their heads at night? I have imagined most babies would just dream about blurs with familiar voices such as their parents. As they get older I have assumed their dreams have matured, and they start to dream of bottles and toys.

5) Oh God he moved! No one make a sound!

This one is pretty self explanatory. Sometimes it can take an eternity to get a baby to fall asleep. As soon as you see him move, you panic a little and might tell everyone around you they need to shut up even if they aren’t making a sound to begin with.

4) Will he scratch his face?

Baby fingernails grow way too fast. I can barely keep up with them. Not to mention trimming a baby’s nails can be nearly impossible if they want to fight you about it. I’m always worried I missed a nail whenever I put Andrew to bed. I feel a bit guilty whenever I see him after he wakes up and he has a new scratch or two on his face. Especially if it is near his eyes.

3) Please don’t wake up yet. I’m still tired.

Even though Andrew doesn’t wake up at the crack of dawn anymore, sometimes he still wakes up earlier than I want him to. I will hope, pray, wish, or do whatever I think might work without me having to get out of bed to keep him sleeping. There’s never a point to getting up to give him his pacifier in the mornings because once I stand up, nine times out of ten I won’t be able to fall back asleep.

2) Is he breathing?

Every parent thinks this one when watching their child sleep, (at least in the beginning). It’s a scary thought and because we all have the fear of SIDS constantly hanging over our heads, it can be scary enough to actually make us go bother our sleeping babies to make sure they move. However, I’ve found that the older Andrew gets, the less this thought crosses my mind. I have seen him sleeping enough to know when I really need to worry about breathing problems.

1) Will he smile at me first thing in the morning?

This is by far my favorite thought. There is nothing better than standing over your child’s crib just after he wakes up and be greeted with a toothless smile. It warms my heart, and starts my day off better than any amount of caffeine could. I know as Andrew gets older, he will hate waking up in the mornings especially if either my husband or myself is the one forcing him out of bed. So for now, I’m going to my best to remember the mornings when he was happy I was the first thing he saw.

So how many of these have crossed your mind while watching your baby sleep? Are there any other thoughts you have? Post them in the comments!

Budgeting Like a Mom: Cloth Diapers

diaper stash

I spend quite a bit of time finding ways to save a couple bucks here and there. Being part of a young and new family often times means that you must live on a budget. This is especially true whenever you are expecting a new addition in your family. I was trying to find ways to stay on budget once I found out I was pregnant. The one option that I liked most was cloth diapers.

When I first started looking into cloth diapers I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they had evolved tremendously. I thought I would have to use the old style Prefold diapers that use safety pins to be kept together, but none of the diapers in my stash are like that. All the ones I have are already in diaper shape and use snaps to stay together. They have an opening in the back where I stuff an insert made of any one of numerous absorbent materials. With the right combination of inserts Andrew can be in the same diaper all night without leaking. Considering Andrew usually sleeps about twelve hours that’s pretty impressive.

The fact that cloth diapers are so much cuter than disposables is also a plus. Most of the different prints and colors I have seen for cloth diapers are far better than the one or two cartoon characters on most disposables. Often times I don’t even want to button Andrew’s onsies because I want to actually see his diaper!

Now for my favorite part about cloth diapers, the cost. Here is a picture I found online that gives a pretty good idea of cost of cloth versus disposable diapers.

The thing that can make cloth diapers most difficult though is the initial cost. Price per cloth diaper depends on which type you want. If you want to go with the old style Prefold diapers, then you chose the cheapest option at a few dollars a diaper. If however, you choose the All-in-One style which are the most user-friendly option, then be prepared to spend about $20.00 a diaper! Because you can’t get away with only a couple diapers, the cost adds up fast. The average newborn goes through about ten diapers a day, so the lowest recommended amount of diapers for you to have in your stash is 24. That way you do diaper laundry every other day. Most people, myself included, think you should have more than that because cleaning diapers every other day is a bit monotonous.

What I did to save money getting my cloth diapers is I put them on Andrew’s baby registry. So many people give disposable diapers as gifts anyway, so instead of them giving a big box of disposables they gave a cloth diaper or two. With the diapers and the gift cards to buy diapers I was given, I only had to pay a total of $32.70 out of pocket for my stash of 35 diapers! That includes the diaper sprayer and 89 different diaper inserts I own. (Yes I know that is an excessive amount of inserts, but I wanted to try different materials to see which suited Andrew best.)

I know of a lot of other cloth diapering mommas that bought most their stash used as a way to save money. It is possible to find gently used cloth diapers that look brand new. A lot of people take amazing care of their cloth diapers so they last for years. They know it is worth the time to care for the cloth diapers so they can resell them and make some of their money back, or even to be able to keep them to pass down to their next baby.

Now for those of you who are worried about the cost of having to wash the diapers, don’t worry it’s really not that bad. Most people say their water and utility bills only have increased a couple of dollars since they switched to cloth diapers. Some people don’t even notice the difference in their bills! Detergent can be expensive, but if you stay on the look out for sales or coupons, your wallet won’t take a beating.

Cleaning the poop off of a diaper sounds really gross, but if your like me you won’t mind because it’s your baby’s poop. I also have a diaper sprayer that attaches to my toilet so I don’t even have to touch the poop if I’m careful. Good news for moms of exclusively breast fed babies, that poop is water soluble so you get to just throw it in the washer without having to worry about it.

As you can tell, I’m crazy about cloth diapers. I felt a little overwhelmed when I first started researching them, but now I’m an old pro. I also love the many cloth diapering mom’s Facebook pages. It’s great to know so many people are just as excited about something as you are, and having so much troubleshooting support is wonderful.

Still on the fence about cloth diapers? Here are a couple pictures I took today of one of my diapers. Andrew has used this one (that includes going number two in it several times) ever since day one in cloth. Just look at how clean it still is!

owl diaper inside owl diaper front