Sunday, February 23, 2014

Newborn Session

There has been a wave of newborns in our growing community. Unfortunately, many of them were born at the same time William was so I wasn't able to take their photos, but this little sweet pea was born three months after Baby Babiak and I just couldn't resist. She is growing fast but I was able to capture her newness just seven days after she was born.

I had a blast doing her session and getting to spend some good time with her mom. I loved getting back into my photography and hope to have more opportunities to actually start my business this year. Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sleeping Baby

On January 29, 2014 I called for help via Facebook. I asked all the parents out there what techniques, methods and other crazy ideas they had tried to help their babies sleep through the night. The response was overwhelming. I had 20 people respond and although several methods were mentioned, the conclusion was unanimous: every baby is different.

Just what this exhausted mama wanted to hear. Not really, although it was a great reminder not to compare him to the other kids on the block. William is indeed his own person, he has a personality, moods, and likes and dislikes. Right now, his dislike is sleep. He hates it with a fiery passion that makes his veins jump out!

We've taken your advise seriously, and read the books you recommended as well as skimmed hundreds of Internet articles and blogs. We were already attempting to work with a routine of "Eat, Play, Sleep" which helped give me a guide to work within. William is a snack-eater so a one-stop eating session hasn't workout very well and it takes over an hour for him to fall asleep for naps which makes our "hour of wakefulness" at least two. We have been swaddling him since day one but now he likes his fingers in his mouth,

We attempted to let him cry it out for a few days, but neither one of us could stand it. We've attempted to comfort him without the breast (since I had allowed that to become a habit), we've removed breast milk from his nightly wake-ups and only given him bottles, and added a dream-feed . . . and in the end, we still have no idea what we are doing. Nothing is helping. I know it takes time for changes to click, but we are desperate. And so are our neighbors.

As I read these books, I was a little surprised to discover that each method contradicted another. Even things on breastfeeding (like at what point the hind milk comes, is it after 10 minutes or after 40 minutes?) or rocking (is forward-backward motion really what the baby experienced in the womb?)

And as I read I couldn't help but think "Well, I screwed that up on day one." or "I guess that one [bad habit] is my fault." From the beginning, getting William to stay awake during feedings was a challenge, so much so, that I was sure he never got enough to eat. Add my limited milk supply to the equation and I was feeding him every hour around the clock. Oh, and because he would wake up every time I put him down, I figured he was still hungry and the cycle would start all over again. So now, we have an overtired baby who only falls asleep while being held and fed.

His pediatrician recommended we wait to try any sleep training until he hit the 4 month mark. But after reading so many things, I feel like that was misguided advice. He is already forming bad habits (thanks to yours truly) and now things seem much harder to change. (Harder for me to change than him probably)

Our main goal right now is to get him to fall asleep on his own and sleep longer stretches at night. We've put him in his crib when he's tired but still awake only to have him talk to himself for an hour or more. Or he'll just scream as soon as we put him down (and stop the moment we pick him up). He is so alert and attracted to everything around him he has stopped taking naps in his stroller and carseat too. It seems that he just loves to be awake.

I know every parent goes through something like this and now it's my turn. I didn't think it would be so hard. And I didn't think my son's sleep habits would dominate every conversation I have . . . or my blog.  But this is my world right now.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Baby B: Four Months Old

William is now four months old. I cannot believe how much he has grown and changed in the last month. He is now 27.5" long and weighs 13lbs. 13oz. (please tell me they make slim-fit for babies!)

He has started talking to us with more sing-songy coos and baby words. He loves to let us know just how much he hates going to bed by singing a little "mmmmm-ooooo-uuuuu-mhmmmh" song and giving us his cutest sad face.

His hands have found his mouth and with that comes a lot of drool. I've heard that won't get better anytime soon! But it is nice that he can soothe himself with his fingers for now.

He is still not a huge fan of tummy-time, but we do it anyway. He has rolled over from tummy-to-back a handful of times and accidentally rolled over from back-to-tummy once. He did not like that at all! But we'll be practicing that more this month and hopefully giggles will ensue soon.

We took out some new toys last month and he just loved that. I think we may have waited too long to introduce his safari gym to him as he just cannot get enough of it. (Which is nice because it lets me get a few minutes of work done!) He especially likes things that fit in his mouth. (yeah...)

Chris has gotten him to giggle a few times by tickling him too! He thinks it's funny to have his shirt taken off over his head, too! He is usually very alert to the sounds around him and looks around a lot whenever we go somewhere new. He also gets pretty distracted when I'm trying to feed him if someone walks in the room or sirens go off near our apartment.

William has just started to sleep a little longer at night. His first round can last up to 6 hours which is amazing. One night, Chris and I even got to bed early enough to have 6 hours of sleep ourselves! I felt like a whole different person. But the rest of his night is not as peaceful -- he is still getting up every 1-3 hours until 5 a.m.  -- and then he is ready for the day. And we are not.

I am feeling much more confident driving with him in the car and getting him from Point A to Point B. We've started using our Ergo-Baby carrier now, which is a hit or miss if he likes it or not. I love it though.

William has come with me to my office for brief meetings and loves all of the ladies. He made an appearance at a Super Bowl Party this past weekend and has had some great play times with our friends as they babysit for us when they can. He also visited the nursery at church for the first time. He has a tendency to be very serious when meeting new people.

Stories of Community

A few friends of mine and I were talking about community on Sunday morning and how important it is to us. It reminded me of some past events (and more current) where I have heavily relied on my community to get through something. And the more I think of how much they have helped me, the more I want to find ways of helping them.

A great example of community to me happened back in 2009, at the very same time I started my blog. Check out this ancient post! In the first paragraph, I mention "a few friends" came to help us move out of our apartment. Well actually it was like 8-10 people. NOT a few! And they did so much to get us on the road to start our life in California. Not only did they load stuff in our vehicles (and do an amazing job fitting almost everything in!) but they brought breakfast, helped me clean the apartment so we could check out, and brought things to the Goodwill and recycling centers for us. They also prayed with us and hugged me while I cried. All before 11 a.m.

We needed their help. And they provided so much more.

Another example that happened just last week was girlfriends responding to my cry for help. Those were literal tears of exhaustion and being overwhelmed of trying to work and be a stay-at-home mom. I was broken. I sent out a S.O.S. to my friend in Australia who prayed for me and encouraged me via texts. She advised I ask for help from those in closer proximity. So I did. Humbly, I did. And they responded! Four friends gave up time to help me by babysitting, grocery shopping, and making dinner. They saved my sanity and encouraged my soul. I felt like I did more than survive the week!

Community, being supported and surrounded by people who care, is such an amazing gift. Not one to be taken for granted, but one to be cultivated and nurtured. I'm so grateful for the ways our friends have helped us and cared for us in our times of need.

Where do you find your community?
When was a time you needed community?
Please take a moment to remember and share!