2 more days..

..only 2 more days..

Thursday I go back to work from maternity leave of 12 weeks off. I’m scared to go back. Things are going to be so different. So much has changed. For months, I was the pregnant girl; now I have a child.

But aside from my life, so much has changed at work. I’m coming back to a rather new team. Projects have changed. I’m just scared to get back into things, fearing that I’m not going to be able to do it or manage the balance.

It’s just going to take time.

Speaking of time….12 weeks is a long time. That’s how long it took to create the bond between my son and I. We have a routine every day, all day. I know his cries, his moans, his smiles. I know when he’s hungry vs. he had a dirty diaper. He smiles at me when he wakes up and all throughout the day. He stares at me, his mother, with love in his eyes. I stare back at him, amazed at this beautiful baby boy that we created. I never knew that I could love something or someone so much before.

How can I leave that?? Is that going to change?? Will he still smile at me when he sees me??

I know he will be in good hands while I’m at work, but it still bugs me. And it probably will always bug me until I get into a new routine. It’s scary handing your child off to someone who isn’t you, regardless who it is, and leaving them in their hands for roughly 8 hours.

It’s just scary.

Everything will be okay. As long as I keep telling myself that, I think I’ll be fine. But if you have any tips on how to adjust back into the workplace, I gladly welcome them here!

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Happy Halloween!!

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It goes without saying that tomorrow is one of the best holidays, for kids that is. You get to dress up as WHATEVER you want (providing your parents gave the okay), walk around town with friends, and collect candy…FOR FREE!!

As I sit here with my 2 month old son – I think back…’those were the days!!’ I remember dressing up as a princess, and clown, and so many other lame costumes. I mean, now they have Despicable Me and Iron Man, creative ones like Facebook or Pinterest.

It’s pretty cool what people come up with!

For us new moms, Halloween is all about dressing our little ones up in really cute adorable costumes and eating guilt-free candy!! At least that’s mine 🙂

Don’t know what to dress your little one up as? Check out my Pinterest board for some great, last minute costume ideas, crafts & snacks!!

10.29 553Our little guy is going to be Buzz Lightyear (pj’s) & Woody (costume)!!

From my family to yours,

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What’s really the difference??

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What is really the difference between store brand formula, and name brand formula? I asked myself this question earlier this week. On the outside, the only difference seems to be price; but what about the inside? I mean if it’s on the counters being sold, it has to be at least safe…right?

I did a little research and found this article that helps explain the differences; A Comprehensive Overview of Store Brand Infant Formula.

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Basically, all generic formulas have to meet the same strict safety, nutrition, and manufacturing guidelines  per the FDA as the name brand products on the market.

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But I still didn’t understand why one was more expensive than the other, if it all was really the same. Then my husband chimed in…

“..name brands spend more money in advertising and marketing than store brands. Since Target and Wal-Mart don’t advertise their store brands formula (or any products) they can get away with a lower price.”

This is so true – have you ever seen a commercial for Wal-Mart’s Equate products? or Target’s Up & Up products?

Of course I wasn’t going to give my child something that claims to be okay and safe via the internet, so I called our pediatrician and talked to them. When asked, ‘what’s the difference with his formula (Enfamil) and Target’s formula?’ The nurses response was filled with confidence when she said..

“..nothing. Just the price. I have an 18 month old who has been on generic brand since birth. It’s just cheaper. Go for it.”

Knowing that she not only supports the use of store brand formula over name brand, but uses it herself, was a sense of comfort. But I was curious to know how many people that I knew, gave their child generic and their thoughts on it, so I posted this question on Facebook to ask my friends and family. I was surprised by the number of woman who used store brand!!! -Babies R Us, Wal-Mart, Target, Nestle.

This made me think even further than just baby formula. What about store brand diapers, wipes, household items, etc?!

I mean, if I”m switching to generic baby formula, of all things, why am I still buying other products that are name brand?? Did I really just  find a way to save more money??

Cleveland, Ohio’s News Channel 5 just put out an article regarding household cleaning items: The household cleaner test: Generics vs. Name Brands

This is by no means me saying store brand is better. Of course not every child will tolerate generic brands, or even name brands, so if you choose to switch, keep an eye out for any changes in their attitude, digestion, comfort, and stools. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, don’t hesitate to consult with your doctor.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Carter had an intolerance to Similac and is now on Enfamil. But, to try and save money, we are going to switch to Target’s store brand, since it is Enfamil’s equivalent.

We have also switched to Target’s brand diapers:

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So what do YOU use?

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My biggest regret as a new mom..

From the second I found out I was pregnant, I hopped onto Etsy & Pinterest and started looking for clothes, picture ideas, cute crafts, etc. I was going to become a mom in just 9 months…I HAD to get myself prepared!!

I became so obsessed with Pinterest that my husband was even getting annoyed! I felt like I had to plan everything ahead of time because once my son was here, I wasn’t going to have that much time to do anything. I planned everything from maternity pictures to month by month pictures to hospital pictures, etc. I even started looking at newborn pictures!! (Can you tell I love photography? I think I chose the wrong major..)

We got our maternity pictures done, I did month by month (well, week by week basically) pictures and I was ready to get organized for newborn shots! Everyone was telling me that if I was going to do newborn shots, do them the first week or two after he’s born. That’s when he’ll be sleeping the most and we would be able to move hims around into positions a lot easier. I compiled a list of pictures and I was trying to figure out how I could do them at home, at no cost.

Unfortunately, because of my recovery, I wasn’t able to get them done within the first two weeks, so I decided to schedule some time at either Picture People or JC Penny’s to get them done, professionally. I was able to get a Groupon for a several different poses at $25 – I was so excited. I was waiting until I fully recovered to go out and get those done, but days and weeks passed and I still haven’t gotten them done!

Carter is now going on 11 weeks! Because I love photography, I’ve taken a lot of pictures of my son throughout the past 10 weeks but they aren’t poses.  He has changed so much since he was born that I completely regret not getting the newborn shots done. It was something I was looking forward to doing and putting up in his room and giving to family members..but I failed myself.

From one new mom to another, if this is something that you want to do – DO NOT WAIT!! They change so much from week 1 to week 3, and even more after weeks 4 and 5. If you are not able to get them done professionally or want to do them yourself, there’s several resources out there on the web as How To’s, such as Tips for a DIY newborn photo shoot (for the non-professional).

I’m still obsessed with Pinterest and have dedicated a few boards to photography ideas.

Check us out! Love Bump Life is on Pinterest!

 

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Introducing the family dog..

Bringing a baby home is a huge step for the parents, but its also a huge step and adjustment for the family pet. Before Carter was born, Rylee was the queen of the house. She had access to every room, but mainly stayed on our bed during the day (enjoying the sunlight) or was in the living room watching out the back door. We had a routine with her that consisted of daily walks and/or runs at the park & she slept with us every night.

Towards the end of my pregnancy, I tried to walk her as much as I could, but it was getting tough, so we resorted to just park runs. I noticed that she knew something was going on, because on the days we couldn’t make it to the park or go for a walk, she didn’t mind. Actually, she snuggled up next to me all the time- barely ever leaving my side. I laugh because it started to get annoying at some points. But because I was getting tired more and more at the end of my pregnancy, I soaked up these moments as I knew they were only going to last for so long.

The day I went into labor, my in-laws took Rylee to their house. She’s been there so often that she considers it her second home! My biggest concern was introducing Rylee to Carter and how we were going to do it. There are a lot of resources out there that will help with questions and concerns; this is just what worked for us.

I’ve read that bringing a baby INTO the home where the dog is, could make the dog protective of the home and defend the home which may or may not result in aggression. At the same time, bringing a dog back to it’s home where the baby is currently IN, could bring out the same feelings. I wanted to do the introduction on neutral grounds; outside of our apartment.

When my husband and I pulled into our complex, my mother and sister in law were there letting Rylee run around outside. My husband got out of the car first to say hi to her, while I stayed with Carter and once he was done, he got in the car and I got out to do the same. I was in shock when Rylee came up to me. She normally comes up wagging her tail and basically doing circles by your legs, and at times she would jump up (we’ve been trying to correct that) – but that didn’t happen. When I got out of the car, she came over to me all excited and I put my hands out to pet her. The second she smelled my hands, her attitude completely changed and she sat down in front of me, looking up at me, all calm and content. It was like turning on a light switch. It had to have been the scent on my hands because I was holding Carter’s head and hand on our ride home (we didn’t have the restraints yet).

The days previous, Rylee was given the hat that Carter wore the first day after he was born. This had his scent on him, as well as mine, and was all hers to do whatever with. From what my mother in law tells me Rylee never chewed up the hat, instead she would carry it into each room she went, never leaving it. Rylee must have put two and two together when we came home- she isn’t a dumb dog!

After my husband and I said hi to Rylee, we then took Carter out of the car (kept him in the carrier though) and let Rylee smell him. I was so relieved when I saw her wagging her tail and being very gentle with him. I knew it was going to be okay 🙂

The days and weeks following, Rylee was still adjusting to having a baby in the house. She was already okay with his stuff around the house, but now it was him and the attention. We never forced her to be around him, we had to let her do it on her own time and her own terms. For a few weeks, she would distance herself from the baby and leave the room if she didn’t feel comfortable with him or us. We still gave her attention with walks and playing outside and sleeping with us, but I knew that it would only be time until it was really going to be okay.

8 weeks later, she is now walking up to him and smelling him. She needs to be in every room with him. She now understands that he isn’t here to hurt her or us; but to join her pack. She loves him just as much as he loves her.

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What we learned when introducing Rylee to Carter was:

  • Time, Patience & Reward is all you need. Giving a treat or positive gestures (like petting and belly rubs) is a good way to reward your dog when he/she. We would always say ‘good girl’ to her when she would sniff him and walk away. That way she knew that was okay to do. But we also had to correct her on things such as her wanting to play with his toys. But we treated that just the same as if she was to go after a dish clothe or our sock.
  • Even though I know Rylee would never hurt Carter, she is still a dog. Her only means of communication is barking or growing – the same as a babies only means of communication is crying. Never push a dog onto a baby; let him/her learn on their own but show them it is okay. Also never leave a dog in the same room as a child, regardless how well you think the dog will handle the baby.
  • Try hard not to single out your dog or neglect your dog because of the baby. This could cause depression or aggression. We would let Rylee onto the bed with us, even if we had Carter on there too, because it was her’s to begin with. We made sure that we were in between them – we just wanted to make sure she understood that he was okay; he wasn’t going to hurt us or her, and he wasn’t going to take anything away from her.
  • Alone time – we made sure that we still made time for her with just us. My husband would take her outside and just give her the attention, or I would take her to Petco and get her a toy, just us. This also helped with her confidence, as if we were not going to forget about her.

As I said previously, there are many resources out there for tips on how to introduce a baby and dog in the household.

This worked for Rylee. I hope it works for your family too!

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2 Month Checkup!!

Last week, Carter had his two month checkup! He weighed in at 14.1lbs (92%) and 24 inches long (83%). He is on the bigger side for a baby, but 100% healthy. I look forward to these appointments because it gives my husband and I a great opportunity to have one on one time with our son’s doctor to discuss questions we have and or just to talk. Being new parents, it is understood that we don’t know it all.

Typically, the baby wellness visits are at 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, etc. In between visits, if I had any urgent questions or concerns, I would call the nurses or doctors to discuss; however, if they were not urgent, I would compile a list to bring to his next visit.

Below are some of the topics we’ve discussed in our appointments:

  • Sleeping- talk about your little one’s current sleeping patterns. Ask for tips on how to keep your little sleeping or advice on night feedings.
  • Eating- talk about your little one’s eating patterns and how much they are eating and/or supposed to be eating. Ask when it is a good time to introduce new foods such as cereal or stage 1 fruits/vegetables. If you are breastfeeding, ask how to to know your little one is eating enough or how long to feed on each breast.
  • Pooping- If you haven’t already, you’re probably going to hear that your little one should be going to the bathroom several times a day. Any change in color, amount, or consistency is a signal to call the doctor. If you notice your child isn’t pooping enough, but is trying to push something out, he or she could be bound up. Talk to your doctor about options for relief. (We used gas drops)
  • Motor skills – At this age, most babies are starting to be vocal; recognizing his/her parents faces and voices, cooing and laughing. It’s one of the perks of being the parent because you get to enjoy this every day. Even if your little one hasn’t started being vocal yet, not to worry. They are still young 🙂
  • Spitting up – Some babies tend to spit up more than others; regardless if they are breastfed or not. Consistent spitting up could mean a reflux issue, too much food or the baby isn’t burping enough. If you notice this, definitely talk to you doctor; they would be able to see if there was a reflux issue, and/or show you the correct way to burp. Nothing is more painful than seeing your little one uncomfortable and in pain and there’s nothing you can do.

There’s one more part of his 2 month appointment, that every mom hates – the shots. Everyone says that it’s harder on the mom than the child and I have to agree; it was hard for me to watch him get 3 shots, one right after the other. I didn’t think it was that bad until I heard a cry I never heard before. It was a ‘Mom I’m In Pain!” kind of cry. It didn’t take long before I started to tear up. Just looking at him screaming was painful.

Because he got multiple shots, I asked the doctor what symptoms and/or side effects to look out for as well as what the appropriate amount of Tylenol would be for a 2 month old. Every child reacts differently after this appointment. Our doctor said some babies are very sleepy for a day or two, while some may be more fussy. He mentioned that some things to look out for were hives, a spike in temperature, and change in stool color – if any of these occurred, to call the office.

This appointment was tough, no doubt, but I have a strong, healthy baby boy. And that’s all that matters.

Hopefully the above is helpful for when you take your little one to the doctors! Make sure you ask a lot of questions, even if you think they are stupid. And always be honest with your doctor!

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Traveling out of state..

Traveling solo or with your significant other is very simple: pack clothes, toiletries, cosmetics & electronics; we can eat anything and sleep anywhere. But adding an infant to this is much more of a challenge, as they require more attention and need than adults.

As I sat in Carter’s room last week, getting ready for our weekend getaway with family, I was able to pull together his clothes, diapers, wipes and formula/bottles. We were only going for about 3 days, and wanted to be prepared, so I packed about 10-12 outfits, about 25-30 diapers, a bag of wipes and a few other necessities. But the one necessity that I’m very grateful for, is his Rock ‘n’ Play.

As a mother, you want to do what you think is best for your child. While I prefer to use the Rock ‘n’ Play for sleeping before he transitions to the crib, others prefer bassinets, or co-sleeping. There’s benefits to all 3; however, Carter is still young (not even two months) and hasn’t slept flat on his back yet. His Fisher-Price Deluxe Newborn Rock ‘n Play Sleeper – SnugaMonkey allows a stable inclined seat, with a soft, plush monkey insert to make the him feel safe and secure. It has 2 options for calming vibrations, a 3 point crotch safety restraint, and skid-free frame. The monkey insert can be removed and machine washed, which makes it easy in case he spits up; and the inclined seat hugs around him to give him that warm secured feeling as if someone was still holding him.

The Rock ‘n’ Play weighs just over 8lbs, and is about 2-3ft tall, which is the perfect size to have your baby right by your side, whether at home or on the go! At home, I have him sleeping next to my bed, not even an arms length away. With a gentle touch, I can rock him and the soft, gentle vibrations help him calmly fall into a deep, comfortable sleep. Because this can fold up easily, we were able to take this on our weekend trip so he can sleep comfortably in the bed he’s used to.

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If you are interested in purchasing a Rock ‘n’ Play, take a look at the many options out there at Babies “R” Us, Target, Wal-Mart, Buy Buy Baby, and other local department stores.

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My biggest fear, came true…

Being a new mom is a lot harder than it seems. You and your body are the sole provider to this newborn you created. For months leading up to our delivery, I had dreams that I wasn’t going to be able to breast feed. I had such determination to make sure I breast fed my son because the most important things to me were the bonding and the fact that he would be getting the nutrients he needed from me. However, learning to breast feed and breast feeding itself is a skill, that is not included in the manual.

Carter had no problems latching while we were in the hospital. The lactation consultant even said his latch was great. However, when we got home, it was more difficult than ever. For weeks, Carter wouldn’t latch and would fuss and cry all day and all night. I didn’t know what to do at this point. I called the doctor’s and they said that because of my blood loss, I wasn’t going to be able to produce a lot of breast milk. But I knew that if I tried hard, I might be able to get Carter to latch on and beat the odds. After days and weeks of trying, it was clear that he wasn’t going to latch on and that I had to bottle feed, so we supplemented with  Similac’s Complete Nutrition. I still was able to pump and give him my milk, but the experience wasn’t the same.

Then to top it all off, Carter was having a reaction to the Similac formula. He stopped pooping and passing gas for days, but would try so hard to push something out. I tried everything the doctor’s told us to try: rectal stimulation, plain baby water, gas drops, etc. Nothing was working. After about 2 weeks of this, I gave up and decided to bring him to the doctor. I feared that he might have some intestinal issues, but the doctor cleared that one. He said everything seemed and looked fine, but just for haha’s, try switching his formula to Enfamil Infant (the yellow one :)). I didn’t think there was that much difference between formulas, but i was wrong.

Carter was doing amazing on the Enfamil formula. He started pooping again and was passing gas like crazy, and was just a much happier baby. He was, however, having his fussy moments still. I didn’t think of it at first, but my husband and I noticed that the only time Carter would fuss or get cranky was after he just had my breast milk. I was watching what I was eating to make sure that I didn’t consume anything that would be gassy for him, so it was a little upsetting that he was just not doing well with it. This was when I made the tough decision to stop breast feeding, and only exclusively formula feed. No mom ever wants to do that, but it was something I had to do, for my son.

It’s been about 2 weeks since we have been only formula feeding Enfamil Infant, and things have never been better. Carter is regularly pooping, farting, and peeing like crazy. He is finally on a good schedule with his eating and sleeping – my husband and I are getting upwards of 6 hours of sleep a night!

Everyone always told me that things don’t, and chances are they won’t, go as you plan – they will go as to what your child needs. Always go with your gut feeling, regardless when it is.

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Oh boy..

Every woman has a different pregnancy. Some get sick the first trimester, some don’t. Some get sick the whole pregnancy, while others don’t. They say that if you crave sweets, you’re having a girl; if you are craving salts, you’re having a boy. They also say that if you carry high, you are having a boy; but if you are carrying low, you are having a girl.

Well…..I craved fruits, carried low and I was one of the lucky ones who only got nauseous the first trimester, but didn’t get sick.  I guess I proved those myths wrong!!

I can’t lie, my pregnancy was pretty good. I had a due date of August 16, 2013; which of course meant I had to be 8 months pregnant in June, 9 in July, not fun at all. It was very hot and humid most of the time, so I spent majority of my time indoors in the AC. But as the days got closer to my due date, I just wanted him out! I walked everyday, bounced on my yoga ball, and even had my husband rub my feet. Awful request, I know! (haha- but it worked!!)

Days leading up to my delivery I was getting over excited with my ‘contractions.’ I put them in quotations because they were everything but contractions. Everyone will tell you something different when you ask what contractions feel like. My advice? They feel like menstrual cramps, but the kind you wish you never had. Mine were so painful, it knocked me off my feet….literally.

It was about 2:30am on Wednesday, August 14th. Jon woke up with a toothache, so i got up with him to help find the medicine. As I was walking back to the bedroom, I felt like I got hit in the stomach with a baseball bat, and fell to my knees. I called for my husband who helped me to the bed, which I could barely make. Another strong pain came on. Then another. My husband knew it was time, but of course, I was in denial. He got everything ready to go, and we headed to the hospital. On the way, we called both parents and siblings to let them know and met them at there. We got to St. Joseph’s in Nashua, NH at about 3am, and we were all hooked up by 3:30am. The doctor on call came in to check me and told me I was fully effaced and 5cm dilated – she said

I was staying! I continued to have strong contractions, but now they were going around to my back. I clenched onto my husbands hand so tight as the contractions got stronger and closer together. I immediately asked for the epidural. 5:30am rolled around and finally the anesthesiologist came in and performed the epidural on me. (Just a quick note; the epidural didn’t hurt at all. In fact, it was SUCH a relief!) Both sides of the family showed up and came in to see me for a few before things got heavy. 8:30am rolled around and the doctor told me I was now fully dilated and fully effaced!! I couldn’t believe it! I was so close to meeting my baby boy. My son. ‘Son.’

Man, I was about to be a mom!!

9:08am I started pushing, and after a few good pushes, Carter was born at 9:41am. A beautiful healthy baby boy, weighing in at 9lbs 7oz (technically he was 9.68). Yes, I know…he was a big baby. How did I know? The doctor told me I had a 4th degree episiotomy; this was the worst one that you can get. The doctor’s tried suturing me up while Carter was getting looked at, but things weren’t going as planned. After two attempts, he finally told me that I need surgery and he had to bring me to the OR as soon as possible. I did, however, have some time for our family to meet Carter.

This was the scariest moment of my life. Your looking at a girl who never had surgery, never spent a night in the hospital let alone had to go to the hospital. Sadly, I only had about 5 minutes before the doctor’s rushed me by my husband and newborn son to bring me to the OR. While I was in surgery, my husband worked with the nurses in bathing, feeding and changing Carter. He also spent some quality time with both of our mother’s with Carter. Finally, at about 1:30pm that afternoon, I was brought back to the L&D recovery room, greeted by all of our family and extended family, who were there to see us and Carter. This was the first time I was really able to hold my son and look at him, kiss him, and hug him. What a feeling!!

After everyone left, Jon and I were able to spend some quality 1-1 time with Carter. However, that good night turn bad quickly. Around 10pm, the nurses came in to help me get up and walking and to use the bathroom. The faster you get up and walking, the faster you heal. As I made my way to the bathroom, I hemorrhaged so severely that I had every nurse on the L&D floor in my room helping me. Turns out I lost half my blood count and needed a blood transfusion…4 units. I’m so grateful for everyone at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Nashua, NH because they made me high priority the full 24 hours following this. I had nurses checking in on me every hour, and checking on Carter every 2 hours. I was scared to get up and walk again, but I did it, and pushed myself through the pain to make sure I would be able to do it when I got home.

Its been 8 weeks exactly, today. I’m fully healed and I feel great! Can’t wait to kick this baby weight though!!

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Not so funny Amusement Ride..

I’d be lying if I said being pregnant was all glitter and butterflies. There were definitely bumps in the road, no pun intended. But this is something that every new mom in training needs to be aware of. There are millions of women in the world, which means there are millions of different types or pregnancies and deliveries. That is my first piece of advice to all new moms; be prepared and open for anything, as this is something you can not control.

I first realized this at my 5 month appointment. We were so excited because we were finding out what we were having; but what happened afterwards was something out of left field. After the appointment, we were brought into an exam room to discuss the results. We were on cloud nine because we knew what we were having, and then the doctor dropped us down our first roller coaster ride. They said that the nuchal fold was a bit thicker than normal. I immediately knew what that meant; and then I broke down to my husband. I thought to myself, ‘what did I do wrong?’ and ‘could i have prevented this?’ – but it wasn’t my fault.

If the nuchal fold is measuring larger than normal, it could mean that there is a chromosomal abnormality. A common abnormality is Down Syndrome. There is another test that can be done to determine if the child has Down Syndrome, called ‘amniocentesis’ – but this test has a high risk or miscarrying.  There was no doubt in my mind that I was NOT going to do this test. Having DS was not going to make me love my child any less.

The doctor’s sent us to Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA for a level 2 ultrasound for a second opinion. At this appointment, the doctor didn’t find anything that would lead them to believe that my child would have DS. However, they did indicate that they did not get good pictures of the heart. So here we go on yet another roller coaster ride. 2 weeks later, we headed back to Tufts to see a fetal cardiologist. I was so tired of my heart breaking, and knowing there was nothing I could do about it – but I was beyond grateful knowing and having my husband by my side the whole time.

This doctor took extra time going through the ultrasound pictures. She spent a few minutes on a couple pictures, which of course made my heart drop. I grabbed my husbands hand tighter to brace myself, but the first thing she said to us were music to my ears. “I’m not sure why they sent you to us. These are like textbook pictures – everything looks great.” All of this took place in the month of May 2012. During this month, I gained 12lbs; but from that point forward, I did almost everything by the book to ensure that my child, my body, and my pregnancy went as smoothly as it could. And it did 🙂

Oh, and just so I don’t forget; we were having a boy!!!!

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