Doctor Appointments for Both

Today was the first time I took the girls to the doctor together. I figured it would be easier to kill two birds with one stone and by golly I think I was right. It was a bit to manage, but now that Piper can understand and listen a bit, I don’t have to be so hands on. It was Ellie’s 3 year check up (yes, I know it’s a couple of months late) and Piper’s 18 month check up.

First, Ellie stood on the scale and weighed in at 36 pounds, in the 80th percentile. Her height was a half inch from 40″, putting her in the 75th percentile (although I could have sworn the nurse said 95th…tomato tomahto).

Piper laid in the baby scale (in a surprisingly compliant way) and weighed in at 22 pounds, in the 50-75th percentile. Her height is 32.5 inches, in the 75th percentile. Both girls are normal, happy and healthy, so I was very happy. The one part I was a little nervous about was the shots. Not so much because I can’t handle shots (because I can), but because if one totally melted down, odds were the other one would too and what a fantastic mess to work through. I know it’s not that big of a deal, but it’s those little things I think about.

I was surprised when the nurse came back in with the shots that Ellie said she wanted to go first. Before, when the doctor came in I asked Ellie if she wanted to go first or if she wanted Piper to go first and she said Piper. But when the nurse came in with the shots, she was ready to go. I explained to her earlier in the day that I put her Supergirl underwear on because she was going to need to be a big strong girl when the doctor gave her medicine later because it might hurt a little bit. I told her that the medicine would make it so she didn’t get really sick later on. When she sat on my lap I said “Are you ready to be a big strong girl?” and she said “yeah.” I told her to look and me and give me a big smile. The nurse gave the shot right as she smiled and presto! No tears. Yay!

At this point I think to myself that if Piper cries, at least I was one for two. Piper jumps on my lap and I ask her if she’s ready to be a big strong girl. She says “yes” and doesn’t cry either. I feel like I should buy a lotto ticket today!

  

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Piper’s Four Months!

Piper turned four months old on Sunday, so we did her typical monthly photo shoot (see below). Today we went to the doctor for her four month checkup and everything looks good. She’s doing great developmentally and growth wise. Here are her stats:

Height: 25″/75%

Weight: 13 lbs, 7 oz/25-50%

Head: 16″/25-50%

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Developmentally, she is rolling (see previous post) and Ruoyun said she scooted about five feet yesterday, but I’m not sure if that was assisted or not. It’s a very exciting time to see all these firsts! Honestly though, the only thing we’re really hoping and praying for is the day she starts sleeping all the way through the night.

Our doctor also gave us the green light to introduce foods. He said waiting until six months is really a thing of the past and they’re starting to find evidence that introducing foods earlier, around four months, may actually be beneficial for food allergies, etc. He also said sometimes when parents wait until six months the baby has lost interest in solids, but that’s not super common.

We had a vaccine today at the doctor appointment and it was so fabulous! Oh, is that an oxymoron? I know it’s weird, but I nursed her while they gave her the shot and she didn’t wince or cry. It was wonderful. I hope she doesn’t get a fever or have any side effects. When we dropped her off at her daycare, Ruoyun told us she would give her some massage today – that makes me so happy!

Here is her four month photo and a compilation of every month until now:

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Piper’s Firsts

The first two and a half weeks with Piper have just flown by. It’s a-whole-nother ball game when you have an infant with a toddler in the house; we’re keeping very busy with the two of them.  It’s definitely comforting to have done this newborn phase before. We’re not nervous about every single little thing. At the same time, we’re focused on giving as much of a comparable newborn experience to Piper as we did to Ellie. We want to make sure and hold her the same amount of time, talk to her just as much, etc. However, there are some less crucial things we haven’t been as concerned about. For instance, yesterday I gave Piper her first bath – she was two weeks and a half weeks old! I think we gave Ellie her first bath within the first week. Both of them hated every minute of it, so I’m not really too concerned that we waited with Piper…babies smell so yummy anyway!

We also had Piper’s first doctors visit last week. I can tell she’s been growing really well and I know she’s been eating great, but Brian and I were a little concerned about her apparent tummy discomfort. I liked that our doc asked a lot of questions and explained the possible issues: colic, milk protein allergy, or acid reflux. He said based on what we told him he wasn’t concerned about the last two and that she was probably just having some mild colic because her tummy is still developing. He suggested continuing to emulate the womb experience via the 5 S’s. He said at six weeks we’ll start to see improvement with her discomfort. We also saw our midwife the day after and she recommended a probiotic, which will help her stomach bacteria process food better.

Piper’s weight was 7 lbs., 11 ounces and she had grown a whole inch! Her head circumference was in the tenth percentile. Other than that everything looks great and she is a healthy strong babe. In fact, she’s been holding her head up so well I thought it might be interesting for her to try some tummy time yesterday. I was amazed she didn’t flip out right away like most babies during their first few months. She seemed to really enjoy looking around. Here is a quick clip of it:

We also did a newborn photo shoot last week, which I am so excited about. We didn’t do newborn photos with Ellie and I really regret it. I’m glad we were able to find a quality photographer for a reasonable price and she provides us with all the digital files by next Monday. It was hotter than a mo-fo in the studio room, but it was totally worth it. You can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be sharing soon.  Here is her website in case you’re interested or just want to peruse some adorable little baby pics.

Natural Solutions Instead of Drugs

I’ve never been a fan of curing all my pains with drugs, but let’s face it, I went through my fair share of Ibuprofen in my ’20’s; I’m not sure how I would have made it through some days without it! As I’ve gotten older and become a parent I’ve learned a bit about moderation – and also a bit about medicine and medicine alternatives. Especially when our little babes get sick we want to find the quickest solution to make them feel better. I’ve learned over the past 20 months or so though that some things can be done without turning to Western medicine solutions. Below are just a few of the little tricks I’ve learned along the way. The big caveat is: I’m not a doctor and sometimes you just need a doctor. Hopefully some of these things help you need a doctor a little less though.

    1. Congestion/Cold:
      1. Elderberry Syrup: This has easily become my favorite natural immunity booster. When I feel a little dryness in my nose or soreness in my throat, I take a little of this. When Ellie gets a little runny nose we give it to her in the morning. I think it’s shortened her colds and prevented a few from coming about.
      2. Eucalyptus Oil: Our midwife told us about this recently. When Ellie gets congested we put a little of this in her humidifier at night. It’s a natural cold fighter. We just did this last night and Ellie woke up a little more dried out.
      3. Home-made “tea”
        • This Korean gal I used to work with told me about a tradition of honey and lemon tea. Here is a “recipe” – it’s pretty dang easy: http://catherineboley.blogspot.com/2009/08/preparing-for-winter.html
        • I made a tea once when Ellie and were sick and I swear it worked wonders. I minced about 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, boiled water and steeped the garlic in it covered for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, I strained out the garlic and added a bunch of fresh lemon juice and honey. It surprisingly did not taste like shit and Ellie actually drank some of it.
      4. Elevation: put a pillow under one side of the crib mattress and lay babe down with her head on the high side
      5. Bone Broth: I haven’t tried this yet, but a local naturopath recommends a homemade bone broth. It seemed a little time consuming for me to be honest, but I bet it works great. I also wonder if picking some broth up at your local Pho restaurant would work just as well: http://www.jadeinstitute.com/jade/bone-broth-health-building.php
    2. Fever:
      1. Apple Cider Vinegar: It’s a natural fever reducer. Put a cup in a warm bath or soak a washcloth in it and put in on the forehead or the feet.
      2. Calcium Lactate: This is what your body naturally uses to fight a fever. Using a supplement will make your little one recover quicker and not be as achy during the process.
      3. Egg Whites: Soak a pair of socks in them and put on feet. You can also soak paper towels and put them in the socks
      4. Garlic: Blend fresh garlic cloves and mix with a little olive oil or coconut oil. Smear on the bottom of the feet and put socks on over. Test out a small amount first to see if your little one experiences any burning sensation.
      5. Warm baths: Once when Ellie had a fever we put her in a warm bath and her fever dropped three degrees within 5 minutes. Cold baths are not the way to go, warm baths are.
    3. Ear Pain: Garlic Mullein: I haven’t used this yet because Ellie hasn’t had any ear problems since I discovered it. Basically this stuff is supposed to be put into the ears when babies have ear infections. I would recommend trying this very early on if you are suspicious of an ear infection.
    4. Baby Probiotics: I began taking probiotics myself during this pregnancy and then found out they’re actual great for little ones as well.
      • They’re great immune boosters, which help to fight against colds, flu, strep throat and stomach bugs.
      • They’re good for the belly, so they can either keep the digestive tract balanced or help to fight off things like diarrhea, etc.
      • They also help if your child has a dairy intolerance, which can cause Eczema.
    5. Teething: Hyland’s Teething Tablets: These are a good alternative to fever reducers when children are teething. The trick is really getting the babe to take them.
    6. Colic: With our newborn, our midwife recommended Dr.Ohhira’s Probiotics to address her apparent tummy discomfort. They are gel capsules so she recommends poking a hole in them and either trying to feed to the baby on a finger or rubbing some on the nipple for consumption during feeding. Baby should have some twice a day and a capsule should last about two days or four doses. 

These are just a few of the tricks off the top of my head. I’ll continue to update this as I hear more from friends, midwives and blog posts, as I think it’s super helpful for those desperate sickness times.  Good luck braving the winter with your little ones and remember, sometimes rest is the best cure for our mommy busy bodies.

Advice

I recently had a friend break the news that she is preggers! It’s always so exciting to see other people go through this for the first time. I remember the excitement and the nerves, the elation and the shock. When said friend told us she was pregnant, Brian proceeded to have several crowns with her husband, tell the couple that everyone is going to give them advice, and subsequently give them tons of advice.

The experience got me to thinking: I should write a blog post on my advice to new moms. Now that I’ve had a few friends go through being pregnant and having a baby, I have a few opinions of my own and it’d be great to have a place I could send them to as a resource instead of spilling 10 million recommendations onto them in one sitting, a la BT after several crowns…love you babe:)

I preface this advice with this: We decided to have a very unpopular birth plan and I completely understand it is not right for everyone or even most people, so my advice is not that everyone should do it the way we did.

      1. Knowledge is power, but you can’t take everything literally and you have to incorporate your intuition: I’ve heard of people reading millions of books (a few of which I’ll recommend below), and then raise their children according to exactly what the books say. Please do consume information, but please don’t hold yourself to a standard of doing something exactly as a book says all the time – it’s exhausting.
      2. When you first get pregnant (or beforehand if you’re the planning type), please get on a fabulous pre-natal vitamin. It needs to have 1000mg of folic acid and that’s hard to find in over the counter versions. This is vital for baby’s brain development.
      3. Try as hard as you can while you’re pregnant with your first to relax, take it all in, eat healthy food and stay active. It will not be as easy to do this the second time around, so savor it.
      4. Watch the documentary “The Business of Being Born“. I never thought I’d admire Ricki Lake so much – did I just say that out loud?
      5. If you have access to a HypnoBirthing class in your area, take it. This class was the best money we ever spent, I swear on it. We learned why hospitals operate the way they do and how to work with them and communicate effectively to accomplish your desired birth. HypnoBirthing taught Brian how to be the most amazing birthing partner and taught me what to expect during labor and delivery and how focus my mind and energy on productively working through the beautiful experience. I really can’t rave enough about it. Here’s the place to go in the greater Seattle area: http://www.seattlehypnobirthing.com
      6. Buy yourself this pillow for sleeping: Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow
      7. Register for Amazon Mom: it is so convenient, especially when your baby is just born and you don’t want to leave the house.
      8. You must register for or buy this product. It’s my Go-To gift for new parents and it comes in SO handy every single day! Leachco Podster Sling-Style Infant Seat Lounger, Sage Pin Dot
      9. Acupuncture and Massage: Honestly, if you can treat yourself to these things, please do…and don’t take it for granted. Again, savor every second. A month before I had Ellie I had insane heartburn. I went to acupuncture and had three pins put in my right ear and then a tiny gold ball was stuck to my ear. I don’t know why, but I didn’t have a lick of heartburn for the rest of my pregnancy.
      10. Books to Read:
        1. Sleep Training – this one is short, sweet, relatively easy to follow and doesn’t involve crying it out: The Baby Sleep Solution: A Proven Program to Teach Your Baby to Sleep Twelve Hours aNight
        2. Vaccines – obviously a big topic as of late. Especially if you have a tinge of nerd in you, this book will be very stimulating: The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child (Sears Parenting Library)
        3. How to Raise Baby – this is our favorite because at the end of the day, what matters most is that your baby is happy, smart and moral: Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five
      11. Things to NOT do:
        1. Watch a bunch of movies with crazy screaming women in labor – I strongly believe what you fill your mind with affects you in real life. That is simply not how it really is.
        2. Listen to terrible birthing stories from everyone you know. Find people who had amazing experiences and find out what they did and why they loved it. Fill your mind with good and good will come. It’s just like visualization for an athlete.
        3. Get anxious as you approach your due date. Just relax, baby will come soon and then time will fly by like it never has before.
        4. Spend a shit-ton of money on things that don’t matter. I can’t say I always obey this rule, but I think I do pretty well. It’s the 80/20 rule, right? Twenty percent of the time I might invest a little more than the best “value” option, but most of the time I try to be realistic. Honestly, I can’t understand why anyone needs a $1000 stroller – really people?!?!? I think the BOB is just great myself.

At the end of the day, once your baby is born, it’s important to pick a few things that are the most important to you and try to do them as best you can. I recommend staying away from perfecting everything. Don’t tell your kid not to do every little fun, dirty, crazy thing they try because we all have to learn from experience. Additionally if you tell them not to do everything it seems like that ultimately causes them to do everything. Life is all about balance. Have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously – that was difficult for me in the beginning. After all, what could be more serious than shaping and forming a human being? Ironically, us being happy and healthy as individuals, parents and partners is just as important to shaping and forming a human being as all the other stuff, so prioritize that as much as possible. Have fun on the ride – it definitely is fun, exhilarating, emotional, and scary – and we wouldn’t change it for the world!