February 8, 2017

Our Top Ten Baby Must Haves (The First Two Months)

Everyone has their favorite baby items that they consider must haves (seriously, there are a bajillion other blog posts and articles about this, so of course I have to add another one). In our first two months as parents we have quickly developed a list of our favorites; things that we have come to rely on. Admittedly every baby and family is different so what we love, others may find to be frivolous or pointless. After consulting with Shiraz here are our top ten baby must haves; ones we can confidently say we use nearly daily.

Boppy Support Pillow – Originally we bought the Boppy for breastfeeding. While I wasn’t able to make breastfeeding work (that’s an entirely different post) we still use our Boppy pillows regularly. It is fantastic for helping with tummy time (especially if your baby doesn’t like being on the floor face down, flat on his stomach) and for keeping the little one propped up when our arms are too tired to hold him but he still needs to be fed (like that middle of the night feeding). We also stick him in it and have him sit between us while we are on the couch or in bed, that way he gets to socialize with us and isn’t on his back all the time.

4Moms MamaRoo – This is such a cool gadget. It was a bit of a risk purchasing it because we didn’t know if the baby would enjoy it, as some babies don’t take to the rockers/bouncers. We got lucky that our little one loves it. With a number of different motions and sounds it’s great for keeping the baby entertained when you need to get something done around the house. We primarily use it when he is getting fussy and needs to be soothed. Stick him in that for 10-15  minutes and he is calm as a clam (important question; are clams actually calm). This is definitely a splurge item, but for us is worth the cost.

Dock-A-Tot (Deluxe) – I am not sure if we got lucky and just have a great sleeper, or if he is a great sleeper because of this amazing item. Regardless, we do not regret purchasing this item one bit. For the first month the baby actually slept between us, in our bed, in his Dock-A-Tot. The sturdy (but cushy) walls kept him from rolling over and kept us from rolling onto him. We then transitioned him into a Pack ‘n Play, with his Dock-A-Tot, next to our bed. The transition was completely smooth. Once he is ready to sleep in his crib we plan to use this to make the adjustment even easier. We also have a trip to Cabo coming up at the end of the month and fully intend to take this with us to make sure he can continue to sleep well while away from home. Basically, GET THIS THING, before the baby is born. Don’t wait for them to have terrible sleep habits that are slowly driving you crazy.

Kiinde Kozii Bottle Warmer & Storage Pouches – As I mentioned, I wasn’t able to make breastfeeding work, however I have been lucky enough to have fantastic production and been able to provide ample breastmilk via exclusively pumping (I will talk more about this in another post soon). Because the baby doesn’t always get the milk immediately after it is produced we have to store it in the refrigerator (and the excess, which there is a lot of, is frozen). We tried feeding Kian chilled milk but he was having none of that, so we invested in a bottle warmer (because waiting for a pot of water to boil is painful when you have a hungry, screaming baby). We have tried three different ones (all available via Amazon) and so far the Kiinde has been our favorite. It’s straightforward, easy to use right out of the box (and during the middle of the night when your brain isn’t working fully), and warms the milk to the perfect temperature. It fits a variety of bottles, including our wide-mouthed glass ones. For ease of storage and then preparing the frozen milk we decided to use the storage pouches by the same brand. The bottle warmer is a bit on the pricier side compared to many available, but worth having if you are constantly warming bottles throughout the day.

UPPAbaby Vista Stroller & Mesa Car Seat – Outside of furniture for a nursery the stroller and car seat is the largest (and likely most expensive) purchase you will make for a baby. We considered and checked out a number of different strollers before we settled on the UPPAbaby Vista and the corresponding Mesa. After two months we have been extremely pleased with our choice. It has big sturdy wheels, folding and transporting is SUPER easy (read the instructions/watch the video so you don’t spend 20 minutes trying to figure out how it folds), it is a really smooth ride, it can easily convert to fit two children, the Mesa car seat snaps directly into it without adapters, and it looks sleek. Additionally it comes with this awesome bassinet that we are still using at 2.5 months. The bassinet (which comes with the Vista set) is great for when we are downstairs and he is sleeping but we don’t want to set up a bulky playpen. It also keeps him up off the floor  out of the way of the three dogs, and allows us to easily bring him into any room. The only con so far is how wide it is (I haven’t gotten used to the dimensions and constantly bang the sides into things…oops).

Ubbi Diaper Pail – NEWSFLASH, babies poop and pee A LOT. There are a lot of diapers, particularly in the beginning. We are now using cloth diapers, but for the first 7-8 weeks we used disposables and holy crap the number of diapers used made our jaws drop. Also, I don’t know if you know this, but diapers smell pretty bad, especially when there is poop in them. And unless you want to be taking your trash out every time you throw a diaper away, it’s probably best to get a diaper pail. The Ubbi is pretty much the holy grail of diaper pails. It’s easy to use, can use any basic trash bag (or you can get a fancy washable reusable liner, which is recommended if you use cloth diapers), and prevents any odors from escaping (or seeping into the pail itself). Seriously, we had it in our bedroom initially and even when it was stuffed full of stinky diapers you couldn’t smell a thing.

Green Sprouts Organic Muslin Burp Cloths – Unless you want to change your shirt multiple times a day you are going to need burp cloths, even if your baby exclusively consumes breastmilk. Like poop and pee, spit-up is inevitable. You can definitely use any hand or dish towels you have around the house, but this will just lead to never having any available in your kitchen and bathroom when you need them (unless you have an excess of them lying around). We have tried a couple, including the highly rated Burt’s Bees organic cloths, which felt nice but were constantly slipping off our shoulders, or not covering enough surface. The Green Sprouts ones (available on Amazon in packs of four) are designed in a way where they cover a lot more surface area and don’t easily slip off your shoulder. Do yourself a favor and stock up on a few sets. Warning, they do shrink a bit in the wash the first time you use them, but are still a great size.

Pacifier Clips – If you have a baby who likes pacifiers do yourself a favor and grab a set or two of these. If you don’t you are going to constantly be picking up and washing pacifiers that have fallen on the ground. Kian likes pacifiers well enough (though he doesn’t yet rely on them for comfort) but is constantly spitting them out or having them slip out of his mouth (regardless of the pacifier type/shape). After a few weeks of repeatedly picking up and rinsing those that dropped on the floor we bought a set of four off Amazon and have been praising their existence since.

Seventh Generation Free & Clear Baby Wipes – We will eventually switch to cloth wipes for diaper changes at home but will likely always have disposable baby wipes around (particularly when traveling). These have been our favorite so far. They are great for sensitive skin (face, bum, all over), are as environmentally friendly as disposable wipes can get, and are affordable. Pro-tip, you can also use them for wiping down counters/surfaces, and in lieu of expensive makeup wipes.

Carter’s Zip Fleece Sleep Sack – First, let me preface this by saying Kian hates being swaddled and always has. Additionally, he doesn’t NEED to be swaddled because he does not startle himself awake like many babies do. Now, that being said…Nobody, and I do mean nobody, wants to struggle with tight onesies with snaps when it is 2am and your baby needs a diaper change. Additionally, no one wants to worry about blankets and whether or not they could potentially suffocate your little one. Enter the “sleep sack”. We did purchase a nice four seasons Woolino Sleeping Sack, which we fully intend to start using soon (now that he is two months old). However, until then we have been (and still are) using a couple of fleece sleep sacks we got from Carter’s. Put a diaper on the baby, put the baby in the sleep sack…BOOM! You’re done. Unless it is super cold in your room/house there is no need for additional blankets. It makes those middle of the night wake up calls and diaper changes all the more easy.

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As Kian gets older I am sure we will develop new favorites that we rely on. I plan to share another update when he is around six months, and then again at a year (and maybe even yearly after that).

If you have (or have had) a baby, what are your favorite items?

January 23, 2017

Kian | Two Months Old

Today Kian is officially two months old! Here’s a quick look at what’s happened over the last month:

Statistics

  • Weight – 12 pounds, 6.4 ounces
  • Length – 23.5 inches

Nicknames

  • Little Dude
  • Squidgie
  • DJ Squidgemaster
  • Kootchie Koo (by Dadi)

Sleeping

  • 15-18 hours per day
  • 2-3 hour stretches during the day
  • 4.5-7 hour stretches at night
  • Sleeps in his Dock-A-Tot in a Pack & Play in our bedroom

Eating

  • Breastmilk via a bottle
  • 2-4 ounces per feeding (6-8 feedings per day)
  • 24-27 ounces per day
  • Spits up a little more frequently than last month, but still in small quantities

Health

  • Has mild to moderate Cradle Cap (we treat with Mustela shampoo and lotion)
  • Had his first round of vaccinations at 6 weeks old
  • Has periodically had a stuffy nose
  • Diaper rash has pretty much disappeared
  • No longer has newborn rash

Loves

  • Music of all kinds
  • Conversations with Mommy & Daddy
  • Watching hockey in his Boppy with Daddy
  • Having his diaper changed (he often smiles and starts talking)
  • Story time (loves to look at the pictures)
  • Being held so he can see and observe his surroundings

Dislikes

  • Tummy Time
  • Not being fed right away when hungry

Milestones

  • No longer sleeps in our bed
  • First real giggle(s)
  • Slept in his crib a couple of times
  • Slept a 7 hour stretch at night
  • Wears size 3 month clothes
  • Can hold his head up for at least a couple minutes when he is being held
  • First outing without Mommy or Daddy
  • Mommy going back to work
  • Started wearing cloth diapers

Dear Kian –

How are you already two months old? I can’t believe how quickly time is passing. This last month has been a big one for you. So much has happened and you are already starting to show your personality. At the end of the first month you finally gave us a social smile. Since then you haven’t stopped smiling. When you are happy (which is much of the time) you are so smiley and LOVE to have conversations with everyone, but especially your Mommy and Daddy. I have a feeling you are going to start talking pretty early, and once you do, you are going to be chattering non-stop. You also giggled and laughed a few times in the last month. At first we thought it was a fluke because it was so early (we were expecting it around three months), but we were able to make you do it multiple times. And then today you laughed even more for both your Dadi and for us. Your laugh is so hilarious and precious, though yes, we are a bit biased.

This month you celebrated your very first Christmas and New Years, and you got to spend lots more time with us, your Dadi and Dada, and your Aunt Zarin. You also got to meet your Aunt Shannon, Uncle Brad, and cousins Sawyer and Cooper. They came from Vermont and stayed with us for a few days and just doted on you, especially Aunt Shannon. Your cousin Cooper can’t wait until you are a little bigger and he can teach you how to go sliding and get into all kinds of trouble. They even took you on your first outing to Muir Woods, without Mommy and Daddy. You did so well and were a good little dude. Aunt Shannon sent us pictures and you looked so adorable with your cousins.

You continue to be a champ at eating and sleeping. Sometimes you don’t want to eat your full bottle for us (though you will for Dadi), but you are still eating 24-27 ounces per day. At night you still wake up at least once between 2-4 am for a middle of the night feeding, which is to be expected, but you just chug your bottle and then go right back to sleep. At night you are sleeping a good 4.5 to 6 hours at a time, which is awesome. There were even a couple nights that you slept seven hours in a row! You no longer sleep in our bed, though we aren’t quite ready to transition you to the nursery full time, so you sleep in your Dock-A-Tot in a Pack and Play crib in our bedroom. I hope you continue to be a good sleeper and eater. It’s made these first months much easier.

During this last month you had your six week appointment during which you got your first set of shots. You took them like a strong little guy. You cried for a minute or two and then you were fine. You had a little bit of a fever the rest of the day and were a little extra sleepy, but the next day you were back to normal. You are also suffering from a mild to moderate case of Cradle Cap, but since we started using special shampoo and lotion it has gotten a lot better. Luckily you have a lot of hair so it covers it up on your head. Speaking of that hair, it’s getting longer and longer. You have quite the head of hair, even if it is a little thin. It’s so soft everyone loves running their fingers through.

The day after you turned eight weeks old I returned back to work. You stayed with your Daddy for a couple days. It was so hard leaving you behind, but I know it’s for the best. This month you will start spending your days with your Dadi and your new Nanny, Roxana. It’s going to be a bit of an adjustment, but we know you are in great hands and will have tons of fun while we are at work.

We are so looking forward to all the new milestones you will reach in the coming month. Hopefully you start to enjoy tummy time a bit more so you can begin building your upper body strength. It’s important so that you can start rolling over, crawling, and eventually walking! We also can’t wait to see you start to laugh more, and play with toys. We have started reading to your more and you love looking at the pictures and hearing our voices, so we definitely plan to keep that up! You are such a sweet, content, and happy little boy. We love you so much and we know how lucky we are to call you ours. Until next month…

Love,
Mommy

January 6, 2017

Kian | A Birth Story

This took me a lot longer to write and share than I thought it would and I am not sure why. Every time I would think about writing it down I would get overwhelmed, or find something else to occupy myself with. However, I was determined to get it written down for posterity’s sake. So here it is…only 6+ weeks after he was born…

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I was lucky enough to start working from home on November 1st. On November 14th, six days before my due date (November 20th), I went on official maternity leave. For approximately two weeks prior to giving birth every morning I would wake up and wonder if today would be the day. Every night before going to bed I would think to myself “I hope it happens tomorrow”. This was particularly true thanks to the severe pubic pain I experienced the final few weeks, and once my father and stepmother arrived on the 17th. Honestly, with the couple of small scares we had at 29 weeks (bleeding) and 34 weeks (false labor) we thought the baby was going to arrive early. Yeah…no.

At approximately 38.5 weeks I ended up visiting the Birth Center due to decreased fetal movement and fairly regular contractions. I thought for a few moments that they would end up admitting me and inducing, but I was sent home with a nurse telling us she wouldn’t be surprised to see us back within the next 24 hours for the real thing. I am pretty sure she jinxed it. Over the next couple of days my contractions continued, but were no longer frequent nor consistent. They were dilating me but VERY slowly.  At my 39 week checkup with my OB/GYN she did a membrane sweep in hopes of kick starting labor (the pain from the sweep was on par with the pain of pushing the baby out). For the next few days I tried every trick in the book including various foods, prenatal massage with acupressure, vigorous exercise, special teas, and more. Nothing worked. Some days I would have contractions consistently for the entire day only to go to sleep and have them completely stop. Frankly it was maddening. At my next OB/GYN appointment (40 weeks plus 2 days) I still had barely progressed in dilation/effacement; in fact I might have lost progress. I declined another membrane sweep so she offered to schedule an induction if I didn’t go into labor soon. This was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. In severe discomfort and pain thanks to the SPD I asked her when was the soonest she was willing to induce. When she responded with “today” I nearly cried with relief.

After the appointment we headed home to get a few items, let my parents know what was going on, and then headed to the Birth Center. At approximately 1:30 pm on November 22nd I was hooked up to the IV and the Pitocin was started. The first few hours of labor progressed slowly. I could barely feel the contractions, though I could of course see them on the monitor. We passed the hours watching Netflix and Shiraz even left briefly to get some food. At about 4:30 pm my doctor came back and broke my water to move things along further (the weirdest feeling ever, FYI…it legit felt like I peed myself). For the first hour after progress slowly continued. The nurse encouraged me to get up and walk around, while hooked to a mobile IV, in an effort to move things along. After about 15-20 minutes of doing so the pain had gotten bad enough that walking around was difficult (particularly when combined with the pubic pain) so I headed back to bed. Over the next couple of hours things continued moving forward; the contractions getting stronger and the pain getting worse. At about 8:45 pm the pain had gotten to the point where I was ready for the epidural so they sent the anesthesiologist in.

It took a couple of tries to get the epidural right and fully working. It turns out there is a phenomenon where some women get a “window”; a small part of their uterus the the epidural medicine doesn’t reach. When this happens you are numb everywhere except this one small section where you can feel the contractions…and boy does it hurt. And of course this happened to me. They had to send the anesthesiologist back in to move the needle around and rotate me to help the medicine spread throughout. Once they did this and the epidural hit everywhere it was supposed to the relief was instant. I actually felt so good I could have slept…in fact, I probably should have. Instead we watched some Scrubs on our iPad, I talked with my Mom on text message, and we waited for things to progress further. At some point they had to top off my epidural medicine. Around 1 am (this is a best guess because things got hectic toward the end) the nurse came in and checked me and I was finally at 9 cm. It was time to start prepping for delivery…the final countdown, so to speak. For the next hour it was a blur of pushing, intense pressure in places you don’t want pressure, and me wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into. Finally, around 2:15 am they called my doctor in for the delivery.

Once the doctor arrived time seemed to slow. I remember the final hour VERY clearly. They thought it would only take another 30 minutes or so for me to push him out so they didn’t give me more epidural medicine when it ran out, as what remained in my body would get me through to the end. Well it turns out it took me about another hour, which means I felt EVERYTHING during the moments when I wanted to feel nothing. As I was pushing I would want to scream and the doctor would tell me “don’t scream, put it all into the push”. Honestly, I wanted to rip her head off, but then I would do what she suggested and it would make my pushes far more productive. I never actually swore or yelled mean things at Shiraz, though I did sternly tell him he had no idea what I was experiencing during the peak of a particularly intense contraction. At one point the doctor and nurse said something encouraging about how I could do this and I just responded with “I don’t know if I can….” in a sad, pathetic, painful tone. Eventually I did do it and Kian entered the world, with a luscious full head of hair, at 3:34 am on November 23rd after 14 hours of labor. The minute he was out I cried with relief that the unbearable pain and pressure was over…oh and because I finally got meet the spawn I had been baking for nearly ten months. Over the next 30-45 minutes my doctor stitched me up (I had a couple bad tears), and the nurses attended to the baby. We were now parents.

From the beginning of the pregnancy I had no specific way I wanted the birth to go. All that mattered to me was that the baby arrived healthy and safely. Even if I was induced, and even if the epidural did wear off, in the end that is exactly what happened. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Kian Xander Olmstead Khan
Born November 23rd, 2016 @ 3:34 am
7lbs 3oz, 20 inches