Friday, May 14, 2010

6 Month Check Up

Ziggy had his 6 month checkup on Monday, May 10. Here are the highlights:

He now measures 28.25 inches long (95%) and weighs 18 lbs 5.5 oz (66%), so he's thinned out considerably. His head circumference was 44 3/4 cm (the 70th something percentile).

The doctor thought the flattening of his head looked much better now that he's spending more time upright.

She said I should go ahead and discontinue the Prevacid, but if his reflux symptoms return, I can always restart it.

I told her that he'd been sick recently (caught it from me) and had conjunctivitis in both eyes, but no fever. She checked his ears and said he had a little bit of fluid in his left ear that indicated he'd probably had a mild ear infection, but it was clearing up on its own and wouldn't require antibiotics. He'd gone through a period of more frequent night waking, and she said it was most likely caused by the ear infection. I mentioned that he's been swiping at both ears a lot, and she said that's probably just from teething and because he's discovered they're there.

Yes, he's started to teethe! I can feel two sharp little edges poking through on the bottom. She said to give him Tylenol at night if he seems really bothered by it and to give him things to chew on, like frozen berries in a mesh bag, a bagel, teething biscuits, etc. I asked if I should start doing anything for his dental hygiene, and she recommended just wiping his gums with a washcloth for now.

She said I can start using sunscreen on him, but to patch test it first.

She asked about starting solids, and I let her assume that we'd started them a while back, even though he really only had his first solids the day before he turned six months, on May 8th--it was banana, which he seemed to really like. I said we'd avoided rice cereal because of the fear of constipation, so she said I could go ahead and start oatmeal cereal instead. She said she wasn't concerned about his drop in weight gain, but did add that babies tend to thin out even more once they begin crawling and moving around more, so it's important to start including more solids, working up to three meals a day.

She asked about his social interactions, whether he smiles, babbles, laughs, etc. She said that he seemed really mellow and asked if he was always like that, and I said that most of the time he is.

Other than that, he had the Rotavirus oral vaccine, which he hated the taste of (it even made him cry, although for once he didn't spit it up) and two shots, which also made him cry, although he recovered faster than when he was younger.

Monday, March 29, 2010

4 Month Check Up

Ziggy had his 4 month checkup with his new doctor on Thursday, March 11. Here are the highlights:

He now weighs 16 lbs 7 oz (~80% percentile) and measures 26.5 inches long (~90%)!

She checked his mouth and doesn't think he's teething yet.

She thought that he has probably outgrown the reflux by now and could safely discontinue the Prevacid but said I could keep him on the same dose until 6 months just in case, as which point he will definitely have outgrown the dose, and I can just stop it.

This new doctor wanted him to start solids (namely rice cereal), working up to 1/4 cup twice a day, then add a mixed grain cereal that includes wheat before 5 months (to reduce the risk of wheat allergy), and then add fruits and vegetables (trying each for 3 days to make sure he doesn't have an allergic reaction). However, on the recommendation of my pediatrician friend, I've decided to hold off on solids until 6 months.

His head is becoming slightly flattened on the left side because since birth he's always preferred to look to the left (must have been the way he was lying in the womb), so the doctor said I should minimize the time he spends lying on his back or sitting with his head resting against something, and should increase his tummy time and encourage him to turn his head to the right as much as possible. She also said I should work on stretching the sides of his neck to prevent over tightening one side and the possible need for physical therapy. We bought him a bebePod seat so he can sit without his head resting against anything. It's supposed to help him learn to sit upright on his own, and so far, he seems to like it. It also helps him to have bowel movements, so it's sort of like his first potty training seat. Any time he seems to be straining to go, I just plop him in the seat, and it does seem to speed up the process.

I asked her about his seemingly constant straining to have a bowel movement, and she seemed to think that introducing solids would help alleviate the problem (I'm not convinced though and wonder if the rice cereal would make him constipated and make things worse--she said to give him prunes if that happens). I'm still planning on waiting on the solids for now.

As for sleeping through the night, when I told her that he'd gone all night (as long as 12 hours!) without eating a few times, she said that now that he's shown he can do it (and since he's clearly gaining enough weight), that I should no longer feed him at night. Well, I've already screwed that up--it's just too hard to let him cry, especially knowing that he's probably hungry, and especially when I touch his face and and it's wet and I realize he's crying real tears. He's back to eating twice a night now, and usually wakes up a third time as well, where I rock him back to sleep. The rocking isn't as effective as it used to be--it takes longer and sometimes doesn't work at all.

I asked her about his fear of strangers (he recently started crying when new people come up to him, especially if they get really close, which is unlike his formerly really friendly behavior), and she said that normally stranger fear doesn't develop until 9 months, so maybe his personality is just showing. She said I should try to introduce him to new people as much as possible. I really hope he doesn't end up shy like I was as a child!

He had his vaccines again, and this time he didn't vomit up the Rota virus vaccine (although he did have a huge projectile vomit later at home--wonder if it was related to the vaccine?), and he cried less and recovered more quickly from the shot vaccines, although he was understandably a bit fussier for the rest of the day again. Well, that's all for now. He's already changed so much from my previous post--I'll try to post again for 5 months (yeah, we'll see if that actually happens!).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

4 Months!

To my dearest, darling baby,

Happy 4 month birthday! It is hard to believe you are now a third of a year old. So much has changed since those early newborn days. You used to love gazing at the ceiling and walls; now you prefer gazing at faces, especially mine. You still love looking at people upside down in the bathroom mirror as you lie on the bathroom counter to be changed, but now you also like to look straight on into the mirror. I can't tell if you know that the cute little baby in the mirror is you, but the sight of me holding you makes you positively gleeful. You used to say "Ai" and "Hi" all the time (in fact, "Ai" was your first "word" if you will, spoken at just 19 days of age! :), and while you still include those sounds, your repertoire has expanded considerably. You even said two syllable vowel-consonant combinations as early as 3 months ("agoo" and "adee"), although you haven't said them recently. Sometimes when you're upset, you say something that sounds almost like "Mum." Is "Mama" not far off?

You spend your days blowing bubbles, cooing, crowing, and babbling, smiling and even laughing (your giggle/chuckle is the sweetest sound in the world!), and wriggling with delight. You love to kick and also to bear weight on your feet and bounce up and down with an adult holding you up under your arms. You love attention from adults, especially me, your mama. So far your burp cloth and your hands are your favorite toys, and you spend much of your waking hours chomping on your fists and sucking your fingers, sometimes to the point of gagging and choking yourself! I think you are starting to teethe because you seem to really need to chomp down hard with your gums. You are also constantly rubbing your ears, cheeks, and nose, which I've read is another sign of teething. The Prevacid is keeping your reflux under control or perhaps you are even outgrowing the problem (yay!). Since you've started taking BioGaia Probiotic drops, your intestinal problems (gas pains, cramps, straining during bowel movements) have also improved immensely.

This past week I moved out of the bedroom and now sleep in the hallway since you were waking all night long to nurse. Now that you can't sense and smell me, and I am not aware of your every little movement, we are both sleeping much better. You still eat twice a night usually (although for a few nights, you only ate once!), and sometimes awaken a couple of other times throughout the night. I let you fuss for about five minutes before going in to check on you. Usually you resettle on your own. Other times I need to go in and rock your bassinet for a few minutes to get you to settle down again. If that doesn't work, then I assume you're actually hungry and feed you.

We have developed a bit of a bedtime routine, and so far it seems to be working. After your nightly bath, during which you love to kick and splash, I change you into your nightgown and sleep sack, read a book or sing a song if you're still calm and time allows, and then nurse you to sleep. You sleep about 12 hours total at night, from approximately 7pm to 7am (give or take about 30 minutes), which is good because your napping is so poor. You used to nap for hours (granted they were always on me, either after falling asleep nursing or being walked in the baby carrier), but now you nap for no more than 30-45 minutes at a time before waking up. We even bought a swing for the purpose of helping you nap, and it does help to get you to sleep, but you still wont stay asleep. I guess you're just a short napper for the time being! I'm not too worried about it since most of the time you are such a happy and seemingly well-rested baby. But it does mean that you get tired sooner and need to nap 3-4 times during the day. Every week you usually have one catch up day for napping when you will sleep for several hours on me. You also fight sleep like crazy--it is almost amusing at times to watch you fuss and fret as you rub your tiny, tired eyes, refusing to give in to slumber.

You have started to express some interest in food and watching adults eat. I don't think you're ready to start solids just yet, but I know it wont be that much longer now. For now I love just nursing you and knowing that all your nutritional needs up to this point have been met by my body. Now that the reflux and intestinal issues are more or less under control, nursing has become a lot more enjoyable for us both. One thing I love is how you'll grab my hand while nursing and wrap your little fingers tightly around one of mine--it is the sweetest thing! Or you'll place your hand on my breast, almost like you're holding a bottle (by the way, you've never had a bottle or a pacifier--you vehemently rejected the latter). But since you're now more social, you tend to get distracted easily and take lots of breaks from sucking to look around, especially if I am doing anything, even just drinking a glass of water. Also, now that you're teething, sometimes you seem to want to nurse just so you can have something to chomp down on. I think it's hilarious how you'll be nursing and then suddenly you'll transition your sucking from my breast to your first or my arm!

You rolled over for the first time last week during tummy time. I looked away for one second, and the next thing I knew, you had flipped from your tummy to your back! You haven't yet repeated this new feat, but several times you almost fell into the sink while I was changing you on the bathroom counter. I need to keep my eyes and hands on you at all times now!

You have your four month check up on Thursday, and although I'm not looking forward to the vaccine portion of the visit, I'm eager to learn how much you've grown in two months. You are still a big boy with a huge (now balding) head that makes you look like a wise little monk, but I think the rate of growth has slowed somewhat. You are changing so much, nearly every day brings something new, that by the time I post this, some of it may not still be true.

Thank you for taking me on this wonderful, crazy journey of motherhood. At times it is exhausting, but oh so worth it! Each day I look forward to spending time with my favorite little man--I love you!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Two Month Checkup

Ziggy had his two month well baby visit on Friday, January 15th, and he now weighs a whopping 13.5 lbs (79th percentile) and measures 23.5 inches long (56th percentile), which means he's added 6.25 lbs and 3 inches to his birth weight and height. He's turning into a stocky little guy! My mom likes to call him a little muscle man :) He is kind of buff looking for a baby. Time to start retiring those 0-3 months outfits--I keep trying to stuff him in them because they're so darn cute, but it's starting to get ridiculous!

He had all his two month vaccines, which did not make him happy at all! It was awful to see him tortured like that, but I know it's for his own good. I can't believe we have to repeat them again so soon though. He projectile vomited up all of the Rotavirus vaccine just after I told the nurses that he has a tendency to spit up. Oh well...

The doctor who saw him asked if he's always so happy and calm, and I said "Yeah, except when he's hungry or has reflux pain." Or when he has gas or is trying to poop, I also could have added. But overall, he's a really happy, zen baby. I love my little guy so much!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's Resolutions for 2010

  1. Lose the baby weight! I have about 15 pounds to go, not bad considering I gained over 45 while pregnant. I don't even care so much about the number on the scale, but it would be nice to be able to fit into some of my old clothes. My wardrobe is shockingly limited these days!
  2. Even more important than losing the baby weight is getting physically fit. Since I broke my wrist before becoming pregnant, I entered the pregnancy with a weaker upper body than usual. Now that I have to tote around an increasingly heavy baby who is growing at an astonishing rate, I've realized that I really need to strengthen my arms, shoulders, back, and core. Which means I need to find time to exercise regularly, including getting back to doing yoga. Aside from nearly daily walks,kegels, and trying to draw my navel toward my spine whenever I think of it, I haven't done much exercise since baby's arrival.
  3. Learn how to cook healthy but tasty meals that both meat-eating AC and I will enjoy (obviously this wont really be necessary until we get to Japan and are finally settled in our own home). This past year I have not had the opportunity or the means to cook much, and I am starting to miss it. I've been thinking about buying The Flexitarian Table: Inspired, Flexible Meals for Vegetarians, Meat Lovers, and Everyone in Between. I think it might be the solution to feeding a carnivorous husband who doesn't always enjoy my vegetarian fare.
  4. Stick to a budget, especially when it comes to grocery shopping. Now that we have a baby and will be living in expensive Japan, I am going to have to be more careful about spending money.
  5. Establish a schedule for keeping the house clean. This year was unusual in that I often didn't have to do the cleaning (such as when I was living in NYC with my dad, at our family house in CT, or here in CA with my mom), which was really nice. But once we move to Japan and have our own place, I'll have to reestablish a routine. I also need to get over my all or nothing attitude when it comes to keeping house. I either clean everything obsessively or let everything go, but with a baby I'll have to take a more balanced approach to making sure the place is clean enough without going overboard.
  6. Cultivate my own interests. Both for my own sake and to set a good example for the baby, I need to ensure that I maintain and possibly expand my current interests and creative pursuits.
  7. Get out of the house and explore! I have a tendency to be a homebody, but again, in order to set a good example for the baby and to enrich his life, I need to try new things.
  8. Make new friends and stay in touch with old friends. With AC gone a lot in Japan, I'll need the support of friends near and far.
  9. Try to blog more regularly, although I realize with a baby, it certainly wont be as often as before.
  10. Be the best mother I can be without beating myself up over my inevitable mistakes. Basically, I want to be a "good enough" mother.
I don't normally do the whole New Year's Resolution thing, but I thought it might be fun to have some goals to motivate me this year. I have to say, 2009 was a great year! I finally became pregnant and my wish for a baby was fulfilled. I'm interested to see how 2010 goes for our little family this year. We'll finally be stationed at a base longer than 8 months and will have a chance to settle in to a community, a home, a way of life for once. It will also be my first real experience with living the life of an active duty spouse as AC will be gone a lot on TDYs and possibly deployments. Plus, there will be a new member of the family to consider in every decision that we make. I'm both excited about and apprehensive of our upcoming move. However 2010 turns out, it will certainly be different than any year thus far!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

So Thankful

Today I am thankful for:

  • A happy, healthy baby whose diaper rash seems to be clearing up--yay!
  • A wonderful husband who makes taking care of said baby so much easier (my two parents combined cannot equal the awesome parental powers of AC)
  • Spending the holiday with the aforementioned baby, husband, and parental units (as well as one of my mom's graduate students)
  • A gorgeous, warm day and a lovely stroll with baby, husband, and mother
  • Yummy and healthy vegetarian food
  • My mom's amazing homemade, from scratch pumpkin pies (she makes them from real pumpkin, not the canned stuff--yes, it is a lot more work!) and polish apple pie (Szarlotka)
  • My health (amazingly it's holding up so far despite the sleep deprivation)

Happy Thanksgiving! May today be filled with good food, family, friends, and festivities!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Two Weeks Old!

Dear Ziggy,

It's hard to believe you are already two weeks old today, and yet it's almost impossible to imagine life without you! You are such a good, calm, sweet baby. You sleep a lot, both during the day and at night, waking up every 2-3 hours during the day and 3-4 hours at night to feed, but luckily so far you fall back to sleep quickly at night. You feed really well (I love breastfeeding you!), although it still sometimes takes you a couple of tries to latch effectively, and are gaining weight at an astonishing pace! Last Monday at your one week checkup you were 7 lbs 5 oz, so you'd already surpassed your birth weight, and today at your weight check you were 8 lbs 3.8 oz, almost a pound above your birth weight!

Last week you became fussier after your Baba left to go back to Albuquerque, and at first I thought you were responding to his absence, but then your grandma figured out that you must be reacting to the bean and vegetable soup she made. When I stopped eating the soup, your fussiness, gas, and straining during bowel movements improved, so it looks like no more beans for me for a while!

Unfortunately you also developed some diaper rash this week, which makes changing you more of an ordeal since you cry whenever we wipe your bottom. It breaks my heart to see you in pain, and I wish there was something I could do to make you feel better right away. We've been trying to keep your bottom bare and diaperless as much as possible during the day, rinsing your bottom off after each poop and then blotting you dry rather than wiping, and applying Desitin and Aquaphor creams at night. Today the doctor also prescribed an antifungal cream to use if the diaper rash doesn't improve in 2-3 days, so hopefully we will get it cleared up soon.

When you're awake you are very alert and love to look around, make funny faces, and wave your little arms and kick your little legs. You are surprisingly strong for such a little guy. You also seem to really like music, especially Jazz, Classical, and Reggae. You make such adorable little sounds and sighs, and sometimes you sneeze and hiccup, which is just too cute. You started smiling in your sleep when you were one week old, and now you even smile sometimes when you're awake. I know these aren't considered "real" smiles yet, but they sure are cute and a great preview of what's to come! I look forward to the day when you give me a big social smile for real!

I love you so much, little one! You give my life meaning and purpose. Taking care of you is a full time job, but it is so worth it, and I couldn't ask for a better way to fill my days. Right now there is nothing I would rather do than take care of you and watch you grow and develop into a little person. You are the love of my life!

Your Mama