15 month update

Stats:

Nicknames: Flynny, buggy, bug, buddy

Weight/Height: 17lbs 3.5 oz (<1%)/28 in (<1%); HC 18.5 in (55%)

Hair: blonde on top, light brown on the back.  Very slowly coming in on top

Eye color: blue.

Who does he look like? Dad’s features with mom’s big head.

Clothing:  tops 12 and 18 months; bottoms 9 and 12 months

Diapers: 3s

Favorite Toys: stuffed animals (esp. Bee and sloth), blankets (tackles them on the floor)

Crib or Parents’ Room: crib

Sleep: 8:30-7. Sometimes he wakes up earlier but he usually sleeps until at least 5:30

Teeth: 5. 6th tooth is breaking through any moment.

Sounds/Words: light, mama, yak (for jack).  Loves pointing at pictures or random objects and names them (in his own language of course).

New Discoveries/Milestones:

Pointing at everything!

Hugs his stuffed animals!

Hugged zable

Getting better at standing and playing and can stand without support for about a second.

Drinking from a straw cup (we skipped the sippy cups)

Can fit shapes into holes!

Loves “driving” and turning the steering wheel in his car

Knows how to manipulate most of his toys – does everything on the door and his farm for instance.

First Hike

First Homecoming

First time sleeping in the bed (while in Roanoke) – no one was a fan

                        

Pumpkin Picking

Last Sunday we went to Ashland Berry Farm to get some pumpkins.  The great news is that it wasn’t crowded.  It had been drizzly that morning but by the time Flynn had finished his morning nap, the rain had cleared.  We walked right onto the trailer for the hayride out to the pumpkins.

Despite having thrown up a bit on the way over to the farm, Flynn was quite happy the whole time we were there and enjoyed touching the pumpkins and being carried by dad.  Unfortunately, the pumpkins were very picked over but we still managed to find a couple cute ones.

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Southwest Virginia October 2015

We had a wonderful fall trip!  We packed a lot into 3 days but it was an absolute blast and I wouldn’t have changed much at all.  This was Eric and I’s first time at Luray and Natural Bridge since we were little kids so it was really special to get to go back.

We left at 9 am on Friday morning which is basically a miracle for us.  We did have to drop Zable off at Eric’s parents house on the way and so in total we were in the car almost 3 hours…which turned out to be exactly 1 hour too long.  We had a very unhappy baby reminding us.  I ended up climbing in the back seat to feed him his bottle which did seem to make him a bit happier.  It HAD been a while since breakfast (7 AM) so in retrospect we probably should’ve given him a snack or his bottle sooner.  Despite that, Flynn was super happy when we got him out of his car seat and he went straight to the jogging stroller for our tour.  Even though the parking lot looked busy we walked straight in without a wait (and by the time we left there was quite a line – score for us!)

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The caverns were even better than I remembered.

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Flynn was very vocal but happy to be enjoying the caverns!

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Some people on our tour offered to take a photo of us but I’m not sure Flynn’s face made it in :pIMGP3576 IMGP3582

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IMGP3592 IMGP3594 IMGP3596This was during when the organ plays and everyone was all quiet and Flynn kept doing his crazy happy scream which was making everyone laugh.

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Luray Caverns so graciously donates all the money from the wishing well to charity every year which amount to thousands of dollars.  However, no mention of the $26 a ticket :OIMGP3601

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But seriously, our baby looks like a baby gap model here – what is he even doing?

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After Luray, we had planned to stop in Harrisonburg for lunch but it was a little later in the day than we thought it would be and we were HUNGRY.  So we stopped in downtown Luray at 55 East Main Brew House and Grill which was literally a local version of a chipotle’s.  What’s not to like.  Unfortunately, in the short 10 minutes to get to the restaurant, Flynn fell asleep and missed out on lunch.

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So we ate quickly and took off for Charlottesville.IMGP3619

We arrived at Carter Mountain around 4 pm which was about perfect since most folks were leaving at that point in the day.  Since Flynn hadn’t eaten since 11 AM (!), we fed him lunch while we snacked on…IMGP3633YUP!

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I had to kick some annoying teenagers off of the apple to get this adorable pic.  So worth it.  Then we hiked all the way to get the Fuji because they sound cool taste the best.

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Many Fujis died here.

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We kept with our tradition and picked exactly TWO apples. (because let’s be real, we came for the donuts and the cute pictures)

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And then, just because Flynn has recently started LOVING this, we did some daddy-son throw pictures.

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Then it was time for a beer break.  Three Notch’d had a cool vibe, unfortunately by that point, Flynn was getting pretty tired and grumpy.  So I mostly walked around with him in the Ergo while Eric quickly drank his flight.  My favorite was this espresso stout:

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Pacing, pacing, pacing. #momlife

By that point, we were wanting to enjoy a meal without walking a baby around a restaurant and that didn’t really seem possible.  So we headed straight to Wintergreen.  We got take out from Wild Wolf which was absolutely delicious and Flynn enjoyed his dinner as well.  Then it was bath time and bed time.  We were able to put his pack n play in another room from ours which helped him sleep until 7.  Then we pretty much repeated our morning from Friday and were out of the house again by 9.  We had driven up the mountain in the rain after dark so we were pleasantly surprised when we came out of the house to discover that it looked amazing out!

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The pictures can’t do it justice.  It was stunning.  Then, we took the beautiful drive down the blue ridge parkway on our way to Roanoke.  The leaves were beautifully yellow and orange and the drive felt dream-like.  Then, we came to this unexpected overlook called 20 minute cliff which was an almost 180 degree view of the valley.  It was breathtaking.

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Again, no picture can do it justice because you don’t get that panoramic view in just one picture.  It was ridiculous.  The rest of the drive was rainy and it started to get foggy out.  I was a little worried that our hike would be a bust.  Fortunately, Flynn had a nice long nap and woke up happy.  He drank most of his bottle as we stopped for some gas and sandwiches for our hike.

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By the time we started the hike, it was drizzling and chillier than I expected.  I was a little concerned that Flynn would get cold because we didn’t have a coat for him and he refused to wear his hat.

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But he seemed to really enjoy it and just babbled and stared all around.  It was his first time riding on my back and I think he liked being able to see better.

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Flynn loved going over creeks and would just stare down at the water the whole time.

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The first 1.5 miles were like this: just a steady incline, not bad!  Except for the fact that my quads were not used to it (after all, my exercise routine involves jogging 2 miles a week and breastfeeding – not good prep for hiking it turns out) and I have super weak ankles so by the time we got to the serious stuff I was feeling it.

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So the last 0.7 mile or so gets really steep and rocky.  There is even a warning sign that says you may want to turn back now if you’re not prepared.  But man, I wanted to see a good view!  So there we were carefully choosing our foot placement on these giant boulders and using our hands some to climb up (Eric was my walking stick).  I even slipped one time but luckily caught myself before falling.  We’re talking like legit rock climbing.  Because it had been raining the rocks were slick making it more challenging, especially coming down.  I was determined that we would make it to the top but we got to this one very steep rock and as we did a group of 10 or so people were making their way down, so we pulled off to the side.  Most of them had a very hard time coming down and there were a few near falls.  I asked one of them if we were getting close to the top and he kind of laughed and said no, in fact the last part of the hike took them the same amount of time as the first mile and a half.  If Flynn weren’t on my back we would have done it in a heartbeat – ankles be damned!  But after we talked about it a few minutes we decided it wasn’t a good idea.  I have no doubt we could’ve made it up, but I was more worried about coming down because it was so slick and I didn’t want to fall and hurt Flynn on my back.  So we turned around and headed back.  So we will have to conquer Dragon’s Tooth another day…

By that point, Flynn was getting quite chilly and I was getting pretty hot, despite the rain.  So I took my jacket off and we wrapped it around Flynn to keep him dry.  He must’ve liked it because within a few minutes he was snoozing away.

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One finger poking out.  He woke up with about 15 minutes left of the hike and was happy to look around some more.  After that we were sore and tired so we traveled the 10 or less minutes to Parkway Brewing Co. in Salem.  We scarfed down our last sandwich and then headed in for some beer.  There’s a large room with tables set up and big garage doors for the walls.  You can tell that in the summer they open everything up and spread out onto the patio.  However, with the chilly day everything was closed up and we sat by the fire which was nice and toasty.  We seemed to get there at just the right time because again, we had no wait but when we left it was pretty crowded.

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Flynn was much happier this time and we actually got to sit and relax a bit.

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We both liked the beer here better than Three Notch’d.

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And I loved their art!  Not something many people talk about – but yo, it’s important.  Especially that mullet…

IMGP3797After resting up a bit we got in the car and went about 20 minutes down the road to Hotel Roanoke, which is right off of 581.  We got there right before check in and settled into our room.  Flynn got out and crawled around a bit since he hadn’t gotten much opportunity for it.

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The hotel was gorgeous and had this super cool feel.  You could tell most of the lobby was redone but kept very authentic to the time (late 1800s). There were so many old details, even in the bathrooms – like the light fixtures.  I loved it!  However, I kept seeing different things in the hotel and the font just reminded me so much of the Hollywood Tower Hotel (aka Tower or Terror in Disney World).  But I mean that in the nicest way possible since I’m a Disney nerd.

Given that his nap was short during the hike, we knew Flynn was going to need a nap ASAP.  We were afraid if we let him nap in the room he would nap through dinner and we’d be stuck since we couldn’t go out and grab food.  So we threw him in the jogging stroller and headed out to explore downtown Roanoke which was just on the other side of the train tracks.

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There was a nice covered bridge to cross the train tracks making the downtown area perfectly accessible.

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It didn’t take long before Flynn was out of it.  We enjoyed walking around and exploring.  We loved the architecture!

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After walking for a while, we stopped at Fork in the Market for some food.  We sat outside because it was too small inside for our giant stroller.  But they had heaters and we could even see through the window inside for LSU updates.

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Someone woke up about 15 minutes after we sat down but he was pretty happy.

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After having such a great night of sleep at Wintergreen we should have known that we were in for a special night.  I nursed Flynn to sleep and then put him in his pack n play but he immediately woke up.  He then proceeded to cry but I knew that if I picked him up the same thing would happen if I put him down again.  So Eric and I went into the bathroom and hoped that he would settle down quickly.  We didn’t feel too bad about him crying since it was not even 9 PM yet.  He cried for about 15 minutes.  We then crept out of the bathroom as stealthy as possible and slipped into bed.  IMGP3843Everything was fine until 1:30 when Flynn woke up crying.  I got him and attempted to feed him but he didn’t seem to get sleepy like he usually does after eating.  So I sat and cuddled with him until he fell asleep which took 30 minutes or so.  I then tried to take him to his crib and put him down but he woke up and was mad.  If we were at home we would have let him cry it out and it may have taken only 5 minutes or so, but we didn’t think we should do that since it would’ve woken everyone else up nearby.  So after contemplating cuddling him again to see if he would go back to sleep, I was thinking probably the same thing would end up happening where he would wake up as soon as I stood up again.  So I looked at Eric and told him I thought we needed to put him in the bed.  We were so determined to never let that happen but I don’t see how there was any other way.  Flynn quickly cuddled down and seemed to enjoy being in the bed but both Eric and I slept awful.  It took me about an hour to fall asleep because I kept thinking Flynn was going to crawl out of bed and chew through a cord or get smothered.  IMGP3844What I did learn is that  my child moves ALL AROUND when he is sleeping.  He kept trying to roll over on top of me, putting his head on my head or kicking Eric.  He was completely turned around when we got up the next morning.  Eric and I both slept like crap.  But perhaps slightly better than if he hadn’t been in the bed?  Who knows.  Let’s just say neither or us are in any kind of rush to stay at a hotel again. IMGP3851

Flynn got us up around 7 or so.  We got showered and planned to get to Scrambled by 9 when they opened.  We had about 30 minutes to kill so we went out walking to explore some more of Roanoke.IMGP3853 IMGP3858

Breakfast was excellent.  We had been craving some good ole brunch food so it was perfect.  But Flynn was not as happy as he usually is so it wasn’t the most relaxed meal we’ve ever had.

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After breakfast, we came back to the hotel and packed up and hit the road.  I kid you not, Flynn was out in less than 5 minutes when we got into the car.  He was soooo tired.  Which explains why he was a grumpalump at breakfast.  I guess he didn’t sleep well in the hotel either.

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We arrived at Natural Bridge around 11 and Flynn had been napping a good 40 minutes or so at that point.  There were a lot of steps to get down to the bridge level so we opted for the ergo.  We fully expected him to wake up as soon as we got him out of the car seat, but instead he collapsed onto his dad’s back and snuggled in.  Le sigh.

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After just a short walk down steps, you are greeted by this view.  Not too shabby.

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Because you’ve just spent $25 a person to see this view which takes literally 5 minutes to fully look at, you feel the need to walk further.  There is a fake Indian village and the promise of a waterfall at the end of the walk.  Both of which aren’t worth it.  But still, can you really turn around and go home after just 5 minutes?  The walk was pretty and the leaves were gorgeous so it was worth it.  But in any other season, I’m not so sure.   The waterfall was really kinda bleh.

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IMGP3925<-We walked over a mile for that

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Flynn never did wake up at Natural Bridge.  But you will find in the guest book, “Flynn Sandridge was here 10/11/15.”

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Flynn woke up as we got to the car.  We fed him his bottle and hit the road.  He stayed awake until lunch in Waynesboro on the way back.  After lunch he fell asleep again and slept til we got home.

The drive home was much more peaceful than the way there.  I loved that our trip wound us through a different path so that we rarely crossed the same road twice.

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14 months


  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 Stats:
Nicknames: Flynny, buggy, bug, buggarat,
Hair: blonde on top, light brown on the back. Very thin still along the sides.
Eye color: blue. Stunning.
Who does he look like? Dad’s features with mom’s big head.
Clothing: 12 month > 9 month.
Diapers: 3s
Favorite Toys: anything with a wheel, phones,
Crib or Parents’ Room: crib
Schedule: We’ve begun weaning!  Here’s his current schedule:

5-7 AM – wake, nurses and back to sleep.

8 AM – breakfast (1 egg scrambled with cheese or oatmeal, fruit)

10/11 Bottle #1 (currently 1 oz breast milk, 3 oz cow’s milk)

11-1 Nap #1

1 Lunch (4 oz yogurt, 2 oz veg (may or may not eat), cheese, sandwich thin, fruit, etc)

3 Snack (sippy cup with water or diluted juice, banana, sandwich thin, etc)

5 Bottle #2 or Nurses

7:30 Dinner (whatever we’re having or fruits/vegetables)

8 Bath (every other night)

8:30 Nurses, sleep

He went about 10 days straight with sleeping through the night!  yay!  But then he has been trying to only nap 1x the last 2 days so that made him not sleep as well at night.  I’m trying to keep him on the 2 nap schedule since he seems to be much happier and sleeps better at night that way but sometimes he just fights and fights with me.

We began the weaning process 2 weeks ago and began with the above schedule with his bottles 2 oz of breast milk and 2 oz cow’s milk and have just dropped 1/2 oz each week.  Because of that I’m now just pumping 1x a day at work.  In another 2 weeks I’ll drop that last pump session at work and will just be nursing him to sleep and first thing in the morning.

Flynn doesn’t do well with the sippy cup but we keep practicing!  We’re also still heating up his bottles but once we completely wean to cow’s milk for the bottles I think we’ll wean the temperature.  Ideally I’d like to give him milk/water in sippy cups throughout the day and ditch the bottles but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Teething?: not currently.

Sounds/Words: talks in his own language.  He says mama when he’s upset with me or if I leave the room.  He attempts to say “light” and points to the overhead light if you ask him where the light is sometimes.  Gma says he attempts to say “jack” which sounds more like “yak”.  He definitely is getting more interested in talking and will point at random things around the room or on our walks and blurt out gibberish.  I think (seriously hope) a few more words are coming soon.

New Discoveries/Milestones:

First words: “mama” and “light”

Pointing at everything!

Not much waving.

Better at standing and can stand with minimal assistance from 1 hand for a long period.

Cruising

Can walk 10 feet or so with 2 hand support (if he wants to, if not he just pulls his feet up to sit)

Climbing – attempts to climb into or out of the bathtub or onto the couch.

Can hold sippy cup to his mouth but needs help lifting it up.

No more purees.  All pick up food now.  He is very picky esp. about textures or colors (no green food!).  He LOVES meat (pork, salmon, chicken).  He also loves bread.  It definitely takes him a few tries to like something but after about 5 times of trying strawberries with just bitter faces, he now loves them.  We’re trying to stick with the fruits and veggies but if this boy could, he would just eat meat and carbs nonstop.

Loves being flipped upside down.  If you flip him over he’ll drop his head back to let you know he wants to do it again.

Starting to figure out how to fit shapes into holes.

First time at the zoo

Loves playing with the dog and steals his bones and tries to throw his ball but it usually doesn’t go very far.  “Pets” him which is basically him slapping him.

Nursing Flynn

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It’s official.  We made it past the 1 year mark.  I feel like I’ve learned a lot about breastfeeding, something I knew really nothing about before Flynn was born and felt it would be helpful to write it down and share.

When I was pregnant with Flynn I still didn’t know if I wanted to breastfeed.  The thought of it felt a little disturbing to be honest and up until he was born I really wasn’t sure how I would feel about it.  I knew I’d at least try pumping, but I really didn’t know how much work that would involve.

However, when Flynn was born I felt so helpless.  There were so many moments I felt disgusted with myself because my body couldn’t protect him and carry him to full term.  He struggled to gain weight, hold his temperature and wasn’t even strong enough at first to wake himself up to eat.  If breast milk could somehow give him any edge in overcoming his struggles, I wanted/had to do that for him.  Being able to nurse him and provide for him gave me some power back, some pride in myself.  And believe me post-partum hormones are serious and being able to have some control meant a lot.

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Flynn – 1 day old

I had some idea that breastfeeding would be possible because I started lactating so early in my pregnancy – somewhere around 20 weeks or so.  I had to wear nursing pads forever – which isn’t fun.  After Flynn was born he was rushed off to the NICU so nursing him right away was not possible.  That night a nurse came in and asked if I would like to pump.  My first time I got maybe 10 ml which seemed like way too little.  I was almost too embarrassed to give it to the nurse to take to the NICU.  However, when she saw it, surprisingly she was impressed with how much I had pumped.  I continued to pump every 3 hours over night and would get slightly more each time.  The next day a lactation consultant came by my room.  Talk about awkward – a total stranger watching you use a breast pump when you have no idea what you’re doing.  But I knew getting their help would be crucial.  They set me up with a nicer breast pump and gave me all kinds of supplies.  They even set me up to take the breast pump home with me since the one covered by my insurance wouldn’t come for a week (you can only order your pump within 30 days of your due date – a serious problem for those of us who know our little one is coming early).  I remember even the lactation consultant was really impressed by how much milk I was getting (maybe an ounce) and how quick my letdown was. In fact, as soon as I got the pump out sometimes I’d start leaking in those early months.  When I told her that I had started leaking early in pregnancy she was surprised and said that perhaps my body knew he was coming early and had started prepping.  When you’ve been reminded how much of a failure your body is for months, it’s really nice to hear that it’s doing something right.

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First kangaroo care

That day we tried feeding Flynn for the first time.  I’m sure this is a much different experience than most new moms.  At first, Flynn had no desire to eat.  By trying to feed him you were basically keeping him from sleeping, something he wasn’t too happy about.  Also, his suck reflex was very immature – his muscles weren’t coordinated enough to perform this complex task we often take for granted.  Most of the time when you put the bottle in his mouth his tongue would stick to the roof of his mouth so you’d have to fish it out of the way and even then sometimes nothing would happen.  Feedings were exhausting for both of us as Eric/I basically twirled a bottle and hit Flynn’s cheek off/on the entire feeding to try to get him to eat as much as possible.  Probably about 1/10th of the feeding he was actually eating.  The rest of the time he was attempting to fall back to sleep.  Feedings were not to last >30 minutes as they told us at this point he was likely burning more calories than consuming them.  So that first day I tried nursing Flynn.  Getting him to latch on was out of the question.  He simply lacked the strength for it and his mouth was so tiny.  After a few failed attempts, the NICU nurse gave me a nipple shield.  It’s a thin layer of flexible plastic that has a cone in the center of it.  It sticks to your skin and converts your nipple into a much more established nipple.  When the baby latches on, your nipple is pulled into the cone and since it’s more structured than a real nipple, it’s easier to stay latched on.  I think the first time we tried it we maybe got him to take a few sucks.  It was so frustrating and literally if the NICU nurses hadn’t been so encouraging, I probably would’ve given up and stuck to pumping.  Sometimes I felt almost like I was holding him back by attempting but the NICU nurses were adamant that I continue to try.  They were seriously the best.  I think maybe the 2nd day the lactation consultant actually came into the NICU to watch a feeding.  These women were amazing and would literally just come up and grab my breast and move it different ways to try to get him to latch better.  I’m a super modest person.  I would never be one of those women to whip out a boob and feed a baby in public.  In fact, I’ll do anything to have a bit of privacy even if that means sitting on a toilet.  But this was not the time to be modest.  And I’m so glad that I just let them take over.

Flynn had a scheduled feeding every 3 hours around the clock.  For a few days I’d go and try to nurse him for 15 minutes.  And if we weren’t getting anywhere (and usually we weren’t), at that point we’d switch to a bottle.  And at first because I was still full, I’d pump in the NICU while Eric fed him the bottle.  My milk came in I think about 48 hours after birth.  Since I was still pumping I was collecting quite a lot of milk and Flynn was only consuming 1-2 ounces every feeding.  So I began to stockpile a lot of milk in the NICU freezer.  Like seriously an embarrassing amount.  Like picture huge plastic “belongings bag” filled with breast milk on ice when Flynn left.  Every single feeding, Flynn would get just the teensiest better at latching on and would get just the teensiest less sleepy while eating.  But it was a SLOW. PROCESS.  And sometimes I wondered if we would ever get to a point where we wouldn’t need to supplement with a bottle.

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NICU bottle feedings

A few days in he started to eat better and maybe 5 of those 15 minutes he was legit eating when I nursed him.  And so I stopped pumping in the NICU.  At that point we were back home and I only went for feedings at the hospital 4-5 times during the day because I was still very much healing from giving birth and walking the necessary 1/2 mile or so from my car to the NICU was torture.

About 10 days in, Flynn started to become alert enough that he would wake up hungry near the time of the next feeding.  By the time he left the hospital at 2 weeks after birth, we had hit a stride with nursing.  I’d nurse 20-40 minutes or so and probably half that time he was eating.  I finally felt like we had a chance.

Once we got home, we settled into a groove.  Flynn ate every 2-3 hours round the clock. At night was no different.  Since it took about an hour to feed him, many nights I’d lay back down after feeding Flynn and in less than an hour I’d be back up again.  I literally stopped dreaming.  No REM sleep.  Just fog. When I think back to those days of course in some ways I miss holding tiny sweet Flynn who literally spent all day sleeping and eating and who rarely spent time awake/playing. But really I’m just glad we survived that stage.  It was so hard.  Nursing a preemie to a healthy weight so that he could finally sleep 4 hours took forever. There were so many long nights. I think I just permanently walked around in a fog. A milk truck fog.

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Zombie mom and flynn

It took a solid 3 months before Flynn slept longer. And then it was spotty. A good night here, then up 3-4 times a night for the next 5 nights.  The first time he did sleep longer of course I was so full of milk it was painful and I couldn’t sleep longer.  It’s really quite cruel.

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Passed out after a nursing session at 4 weeks old.

Initial Pain

Because I began with pumping mostly, I had very little pain at first.  I used lanolin after pumping the first 2 weeks but after that my nipples didn’t feel raw or sore afterwards.

And because I was using the nipple shield I had a thin protective barrier that also helped with that.

Mastitis

I’ve had mastitis somewhere in the 5-10 times range and thankfully was only plagued with it in the first 6 months or so.  I never ended up having to take an antibiotic for it but the first few times it was nearly bad enough. The first time I got it I had no idea what it was, just that I felt like death. And felt like death quick.  I thought it was the flu at first and after quickly getting sicker over the course of a few hours finally I noticed a small lump in one breast, a clogged duct.  Tylenol to reduce the fever, extra pumping after each feeding, continuous nursing from that side,  massaging – I did it all.  The more times I got it, the quicker I’d recognize what was happening and start treating the clogged duct.  The quicker I’d treat it, the more manageable my fever would be and the quicker I’d get over it.  The last time it happened it only lasted a day maybe.

The first time I got it it lasted probably 3 days and my fever was over 100 deg for probably the first 2 days.  It happened while Eric was out of town for a week for work.  The timing couldn’t have been worse.  Flynn was maybe 6 weeks old.  Of course, those days I was a zombie anyway with not sleeping more than an hour at any given point but adding in the fever, pain and all over body aches, I was miserable.  I think I probably cried half the week just desperate for sleep.

Nipple Shield 

We officially ditched the shield a few weeks after Christmas when Flynn was 5 months old.  I now realize the shield may have contributed to the clogged ducts because I haven’t had problems with that since then.

When using the shield Flynn would nurse 30 minutes to an hour.  A few months in I tried nursing him without it but it really seemed hopeless. He wasn’t sure how to latch, would mouth at it a few seconds, get frustrated and cry. I tried a couple more times here and there but had kind of given up hope.

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Sometime after Christmas I had read on a forum that someone had successfully gotten their baby to latch without the shield.  So I thought, well let’s give it one more try. To my total surprise, Flynn latched right on, ate for 5 minutes and drained it, switched sides and ate another 5 minutes and was done.  Nursing in 10-15 minutes?  This was a whole new world!  Over the next week we used the shield a few times when he’d forget how to latch but after that we were completely weaned.  I no longer had to remember to pack the shield when we went out of the house.  Even nursing at night which always took longer since he would sleepily eat takes 20-25 minutes or so.  And because the flow is faster, he eats quicker and is probably able to more effectively empty the breast, keeping the ducts from clogging.

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Eyes on the prize

Teeth

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Thankfully Flynn’s teeth took a while to come in.  He got his first 2 bottom teeth at 8 months.  At first it wasn’t too bad but then he started getting into the habit of biting me.  He’d latch and eat and then all of a sudden out of nowhere he’d chomp down, causing me to scream several times.  I would firmly say “No!” and look sternly at him but that only made him giggle every time.  After about a week of getting bitten I decided something had to be done.  I read a little and decided that he was biting me when he was close to getting full.  So I started to become more vigilant when feeding him.  I’d watch his mouth and if I lost sight of his tongue (which should be visible in the corner of his mouth if he is actively eating) or if he started to slow down I would just go ahead and unlatch him.  I’m sure I kept him from filling up quite as much but it worked and he stopped biting.  Eventually we settled back into our lazy nursing sessions but still every now and then he’ll randomly bite me but it’s not quite as hard as it was at first.

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Around 11 months, Flynn got into a bity stage again.  Perhaps it was some teething issues although his top 2 teeth didn’t come in until almost 13 months.  He bit me badly on my right nipple and his tooth made a small cut on the underside.  It was nothing really and would’ve easily healed up in likely a day or two if I hadn’t continued nursing.  But since every 3-4 hours I had to nurse him from that side it would not heal.  Though it was just a pinpoint bloody spot on the exterior, it felt like almost a tunneling blister that went deeper.  It got worse before it got better.  It took 2 weeks to heal.  And every time I fed him from that side it was nauseatingly painful with each suck feeling like someone was rubbing a raw blister.  I finally broke down a week in and started putting neosporin ointment on it overnight to help it heal more.  I’d wash my nipple the next morning before feeding Flynn.  Out of everything I’ve been through, I honestly think those were the most trying 2 weeks.  I absolutely dreaded each and every nursing session.

Production

Since I still have to pump on the days I work, I know that I’m only producing about 50% of what I used to produce.  Which is surprising given that I’ve been able to continue nursing Flynn on days I’m with him.

In those early days my body was a milk-making machine.  I’d guess I was getting 6 oz of milk or more every 3 hours.  But after a couple months things settled down.  It’s pretty amazing how quickly my body responds to Flynn’s changing needs.  The first time he slept through the night I thought I might combust the next morning but within a few days my body made the adjustment.  It’s amazing how it knows how to make X amount of milk from 9 pm to 5 am but to make Y amount from 5 am to 8 am.

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When I first began pumping at work I tried to stay on Flynn’s schedule.  That was possible for a while but as I got busier at work it just wasn’t doable for me to pump at the times he needed.  So I began to shift into a schedule.  I pump before work around 7:50 am.  Then again usually around 11:45.  I pump the 3rd and final time at the end of the work day around 4:45.  I pump for 15-20 min and usually go until I’m empty unless I’m in a hurry.  I returned to work when Flynn was 14 weeks old.  I used to pump 4 oz total each time I pumped at work.  Nowadays I get about 2 oz.  The change happened pretty abruptly actually and was somewhere close to our introduction of solids at 6 months.  The grandmas have kept Flynn on 4 oz bottles despite my change in production.  So naturally we had to start supplementing with formula.  It still baffles me to this day though because on days I have Flynn he happily nurses and seems content with what I assume is probably half of what he is getting from his bottle.  But I do tend to probably get one more nursing session in a day than he would get on days with the grandmas so perhaps that’s where he makes up the difference.  He used to always do 3 bottles during the day but now that he gets a big lunch with the grandmas a lot of days he only does 2 bottles.

Awkward Places I’ve Nursed

The car.  Family bathroom in the airport. A plane.

At work I’ve pumped in the bathroom or in doctor’s exam rooms.  I usually pump in a huge conference room.

The absolute worst place I’ve had to nurse was when we took Flynn on a road trip to Ohio in January for a pole vault convention.  It was frigid there and stayed below 0 half of the day.  We were inside all day in a field house.  We had to park so far from the building and it was so cold there was no way I could go to the car to feed Flynn.  The locker rooms were the only restrooms open to the public.  I’ll pump in a bathroom no biggie but having to sit on an open toilet seat is where I draw the line.  And there were no lids to these toilet seats.  The locker room had a room at the entrance with benches around the perimeter and the walls were lined with lockers.  You had to walk through this area to get to the area with the toilet stalls.  So, every 3 hours I went and nursed Flynn.  Thankfully we had just ditched the shield so I didn’t have to worry about juggling that.  I would set up on a bench and feed him and hope and pray that no one would walk in.  And most of the time only a few people, strangers, would walk past.  I had a blanket draped over my shoulder so nothing could really be seen.  But then the night of the elite competition there were a ton of people there for the event.  And I swear pretty much every single one of them took a bathroom break while Flynn and I were camped out in the locker room.  And there IMG_2053were plenty of strangers but there were also a lot of people that walked by that I knew or that had come with us on the trip.  Parents of pole vaulters mostly.  And not wanting to be rude they would say “hi” as they strolled in or out.  Well I also got passed by an old friend.  We had probably the most awkward conversation of my life.  I’m sure hers, too.  At the end of some chit chat she said something, like, “Well I’ll leave you alone now…”.  All the while Flynn happily drank away.

Akron field house

Weaning

I’m now 2 weeks into the process of weaning.  Flynn now takes 2 bottles a day when he is with the grandmas and nurses 1 time and takes 1 bottle when I’m with him.  He also nurses first thing in the morning (usually 5:30-6:30 AM) and at night before bed (8:30 PM).  All of his bottles are now 1.5 oz breast milk and 2.5 oz whole milk.  I plan to increase the amount of whole milk by .5 oz each week until we are 100% whole milk.

Since he only needs 3 oz of breast milk a day for his bottles that means this week I dropped to pumping only 1 time a day at work.  And boy do I not miss it.  I’m not going to lie though, the thought of completely weaning saddens me.  It’s something I really didn’t understand before I began.  You hear all these women blabber on about “the bond”.  There IS a bond there and a closeness.  And sure, it would’ve been there whether  we used bottles or breast, but sometimes it’s hard to remember that he’s the same baby that grew in my belly.  We used to be one, tethered together, using the same oxygen, taking the same nourishment.  I loved being pregnant and having that amazing connection to him.  And breastfeeding was an extension of that.  We’re still one.  He still needs me and I still need him.  Not for much longer as he reminds me more and more often when he not so subtly pushes me away after nursing.


Things I won’t miss:

Getting bitten!

Pumping.

Mastitis and clogged ducts.

The loneliness of being the only one able to feed the baby every 2 hours in the newborn stage

That feeling 2 minutes into a feed when my armpits start sweating because my milk ducts confuse them, the itchiness involved as well as the inevitable stinkiness.  Also, putting deodorant on 2-3 times a day and still smelling like B.O.

Wearing a nursing bra every day. And always smelling a bit funky because I’m too lazy to wear nursing pads or wash said bra more than once every (two or three) week(s).

Feeling trapped in the house because by the time you get your shit together the baby will need to eat again.

Worrying about where I’m going to nurse when we’re out.

Pumping.

Those first few months where if the baby slept decent I’d be woken up to painfully hard rocks attached to my chest, a wet bra and sheets.

Feeling silly when I have to ask for a room to pump in at work.  Or feeling silly because the pump is SO LOUD.

That moment when you’ve been pumping so long and you are so over it that your pump starts repeating a word at you and you start to think you’re going crazy.

Avoiding alcohol. Or planning drinking around feeds

Did I mention pumping???

Things I’ll miss:

Looking down and seeing our belly buttons smushed together IMG_3345

Being able to eat every single thing I want to eat and knowing I’ll still be under my goal weight.  Seriously.

Mandatory snuggles every day.

Not having to prep/wash bottles. This is seriously overlooked in the pros/cons of breastfeeding because washing bottles SUCKS.

Not having to distract Flynn while I heat up a bottle. Oh you’re hungry? Here ya go…

Those quiet moments in the nursery just at dawn as the sun starts to shine in through the window, birds are chirping and sweet Flynn is pressed to my belly snoring away.

Making eye contact with my boy. At first it was just blissful stares and he never took his eyes off me.  Nowadays he’s all business but if I look down at him and catch his eye he gives me his deep giggle and wide grin before getting back to business.

Being the favorite. I mean it’s a total cheat because of course he likes me best.  I’m the food source.  It’s only a matter of time before dad becomes the reigning favorite but I’ll never forget that for a time I was #1.

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13 months 


  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
Flynn is becoming such a sweet mama’s boy.  I’m in love!

Stats:
Nicknames: Flynny, buggy, bug.
Hair: blonde on top, light brown on the back. Very thin still along the sides.
Eye color: blue. Stunning.
Who does he look like? Both
Clothing: 9 month and 12 month
Diapers: 3s
Favorite Toys: wheels, cars, watches, phones, remotes. Knows how to turn iPhone on.
Crib or Parents’ Room: crib
Food/Routine: up anywhere from 5-7 am. Breast milk every 3-4 hours; bottles (4 oz) with 1 tbsp oatmeal. Lunch is 4 oz of veggies/protein, 2 oz fruit. Dinner is 4 oz of fruits/veggies.  Flynn is getting less and less interested in his food and becoming obsessed with everyone else’s food. He will let you know his disgust by banging his hands on the table if he isn’t getting the food he wants.

Nighttime Sleep: He usually goes down at 8:30 and is up anywhere from 4:30-6 to eat. Then he usually goes back down for a bit after he eats.  Lately he’s been getting up around 1 am half of the nights of the week. Often now when I put him down if he doesn’t immediately conk out he may sit up a minute but then will curl up and go to sleep. He rarely cries anymore when I put him down.  Going down for naps is another story. He cries for a while if I put him in his PNP (on vacation) or his crib.  He sleeps a long time if cuddling with me but tosses and turns for a long time before falling asleep.  He has started sleeping on his side or back when sleeping on me and even slept on his side one time in his crib.  Naps have gotten a bit more predictable, especially on vacation when our schedule was regular. First nap of the day starts around 10, second starts around 3.  He needs 1.5-2 hour naps but sometimes either of those can be as little as 20 minutes. He gets grouchy on those days.

Teething?: We have 4 teeth now. The top two came in within about 3 days of each other (top left was first). He always seems interested in chewing on something.

Sounds/Words: still babbling; says mama a lot when he’s upset.
New Discoveries/Milestones:

Has become very attached to me in the last month. Cries when I leave the room. Reaches for me when other people hold him.  Smiles when he sees me.  Wants to be cuddled by me.  I don’t hate it!

Occasionally points at people or dogs

Better at waving

Played in sand and ocean for the first time (absolutely loved it)

Can stand briefly without assistance

Can stand and play with one hand while holding on with the other for several minutes

Starting to cruise

Prefers to be held while swimming instead of his float (so he can splash more)

Attempts to stand in high chair

Can push a car around

Stands in crib or pack n play

Sleeps on his side some

Loves pick up food > purées

First flight (happy except near the end when he was bored)

Starting to become interested in stuffed animals

12 months 

Stats:
Nicknames: Flynny, buggy, guggy, bagugga, Flynnigus

Hair: blonde on top, light brown on the back. Very thin still along the sides.

Eye color: blue. Stunning.

Who does he look like? Both

Weight/Height: ? 15lbs 13.5 oz/27 inches. Head circumference 18 inches.

Clothing: 9 month and 12 month

Diapers: 3s

Favorite Toys: submarine bath toy, anything with wheels. Fascinated by how things work, taking things apart. Loves watches and jewelry.  Loves my iPhone and knows how to turn it on.

Crib or Parents’ Room: crib

Food/Routine: up anywhere from 5-7 am. Breast milk every 3-4 hours; bottles with 1 tbsp oatmeal. Lunch is 4 oz of veggies/protein, 2 oz fruit. We dropped back on the food some because he was getting overfull and would throw up. Dinner is 4 oz of fruits/veggies. We try to eat dinner together at the kitchen table. He also loves eating puffs and is getting better with all pick up food. Recently he loves cantaloupe.  We’ve tried a lot of new foods and I’ll give him bits of food if we’re having something he can eat. He’s tried many new meats and recently loves pulled pork and slow roasted chicken.
Nighttime Sleep: He usually goes down at 8:30 and is up anywhere from 4:30-6 to eat. Then he usually goes back down for a bit after he eats. He still cries usually for a minute or 2 when I put him down.
Teething?: Still just the 2 teeth. I keep thinking any day now on those top teeth.
Sounds/Words: still babbling; says mama a lot when he’s upset.

New Discoveries/Milestones:
Crawling, crawling, crawling. Getting fast

Kneeling and playing

Pulls to stand 7/13/15

Stair climbing 7/15/15

Starting to wave

Understanding “no”. Getting better. Still not quite there

Self-feeding with hands improving