Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Georiga June - 6 Months

I remember when I was in the two week wait to find out if our first DE cycle worked, it by far, felt like the longest TWW I had ever been through because this one just HAD to work.  This one was different in so many ways and after 6 previous failed cycles it was very hard to feel hopeful that the outcome would be any different than any others.  When those 11 agonizing days were finally over and I found out I was pregnant, I couldn't believe it.  It was one of the best days of my life.  In the throes of infertility, time went SO SLOW and I always felt like we were waiting on something, waiting for a period, waiting for results, waiting for appointments, waiting for months to pass to start a cycle; and now here I am wishing that time would feel as slow as it did in those days. 

Today, I get to say that I have a 6 month old baby.  Half of a YEAR has passed since her birth, which to me feels like it was just a few weeks ago.  What they say is true, you blink and the time has just passed.  Luke Bryan has it right, sixty seconds now feels more like thirty, tick-tock, won't stop, around it goes, sand through the glass sure falls in hurry, all you keep trying to do is slow it down, soak it in, keep trying to make the good times last as long as you can, but you can't, it just goes too fast.  Maybe those sentiments seem a little dramatic or emotional for a baby who is only 6 months old but for some reason, her half birthday is hitting me like my 25th, hard!  And don't ask why it was my 25th of all birthdays I had such a hard time with, and to make matters worse my mom got me an "Over the Hill" balloon.

Ok so enough about time going too fast and me being overly emotional about my baby.  Let's get on with the fun part—all about Georgia!  This little wildflower is exactly that, she's happy and free, she loves to chat up a storm and is so unbelievably curious about everything these days.  Every day I think of the movie Elf because the quote "smiling is my favorite" is what always pops in my head when I look at her.  She seriously smiles at everyone and everything.  She's the happiest baby on the block most of the time. 

Although she is such a cheerful little darling, she also has FOMO (fear of missing out) bad like so many other girls I know, and this one is no different.  If anything of slight interest is going on around her, she has to be awake and participating and included.  She'll be rubbing her eyes and whining up a storm, but she will be damned if she is going to take a nap while any hoopla is going on while she is there.  She's a social butterfly and I think it has a lot to do with us bringing us her pretty much everywhere with us. 

As far as official stats, I don't have those yet because her doctor's appointment isn't until next Tuesday but I'm guessing she is roughly 16 pounds and probably 25-26" long.   She's a long thing and has a big head!  She doesn’t sleep through the night, I only get that luxury once in a blue moon, but I don't mind.  She wakes up 1 or 2 times to nurse still, this girl loves to eat.  We still have her in her bassinet but are transitioning her to a Pack & Play next.  She is still nursing/eating every 2-2.5 hours and we have just recently started her on some purees.  She is also sitting pretty well unassisted so we will be starting Baby Led Weaning soon which I cannot wait for.  So far she has had peas, sweet potatoes, and squash purees as well as beef broth.  She has also had some chunks of melon, peach, and orange. 

Movement-wise she can roll from tummy to back really well.  She's still working on back to tummy, that arm is still a challenge for her.  She can sit unassisted pretty well & LOVES to stand.  She prefers standing to anything, I swear this girl is going to just skip crawling all together.  Her new favorite thing is to grab at faces and hair, especially beards.  She also is obsessed with the dog and cat.  She watches every move they make and she loves to pet them and our cat, who does not give AF, seems to be tolerating her really well which is good. 

Georgia also loves bath time, her activity gym, and exersaucer, diaper changes, looking in the mirror, rolling around on her floor, playing with books, putting her own pacifier in her mouth, screaming, and blowing raspberries.  She dislikes when she is hungry and being left out.  That's about it!  She is seriously an absolute joy to be around and can light up a room and put a smile on the face of anyone she comes into contact with. 

Being her mama has been so rewarding and I love every second that I get to spend with her.  I miss her all day long at work and I cannot wait to see her at the end of my day.  Being a working mom, the days and times that I do have to be with her are even more precious and I try to soak up every second that I can with her which is why we love to take her with us wherever we go!  For Labor Day weekend Joe and I are taking her to St. Louis with us and staying overnight and going to the zoo.  I've been dying to take her to the zoo and I've heard amazing things about the STL zoo, and bonus, it's FREE.  I cannot wait. 

Happiest of half-birthdays to my little peach.  You prove to us time and time again, every single day that our journey to you was worth it all.  We love you!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Homemade Baby Food & Introducing Solids

Since birth Georgia has been exclusively breast fed, she hadn't had anything but breast milk up until a couple weeks ago when I thought it might be time to start introducing some actual food into her life.  I knew that I was going to skip rice cereal and move right into purees and eventually baby-led weaning (BLW) so that's exactly what we did!  I know there are some different opinions out there about when to start introducing solids, but I felt like since we were almost to the 6 month mark it was a good time to start.

I reached out on Insta stories to see what my followers had the most success with, what they started with, and how they did it, homemade or store bought.  I knew I wanted to try homemade at first, especially since she is still getting the majority of her meals from breast milk.  After lots and lots of responses and suggestions I decided to start with peas. 

I bought Target Market Pantry frozen peas for .97, you steam them directly in the bag so I did that, pureed them in my food processor and added about 3oz of breast milk to get them the consistency I wanted.  Without some liquid, they would've been a little too thick & pasty.  3oz seemed to be perfect and we let her try them.  She was pretty uncertain at first but has really taken to them, opening her mouth now for us and even helping with the spoon!  It's the cutest thing, also very messy.  One thing I can say is do not go out and buy an expensive baby food system, you can use a simple and cheap food processor  and it does the exact same thing and is much cheaper!

We also did sweet potatoes and butternut squash, both of which have been a hit.  I bought 1 medium sweet potato, poked holes in it, set it on a baking sheet and baked it for about 45 minutes at 350°.  You can also steam or boil potatoes but baking them holds the most nutrients.  With both the peas and the sweet potatoes I used the "Milkies" milk tray to freeze the purees.  I did it with this tray because I know each stick is equal to 1oz which equals out to 2tbsp. of food which is what is recommended for them per day in these early days.  So far everything has went well and we are kind of just experimenting to see what works.  I added a few ounces of breast milk to the sweet potatoes as well to make it the consistency that I desired.

For the squash, I bought the smallest one I could find because I wasn't sure how much it would make and if she'd like it.  I cut it in half, scooped out the seeds, and then placed cut side down in a glass microwave safe dish with about a quarter inch of water in it, I cooked it for about 6 minutes (or until the skin is soft) then scooped out the insides and also froze it in the Milkies tray.  I got about 8oz of food from the small squash and it didn't end up needing any breast milk added, I just added a little bit of the water I had cooked it in to get it a bit thinner.  

Another important food that we incorporated is beef broth.  I found this article from Mama Natural all about the importance of introducing beef product, broth & pureed red meat, in the early days so that is also something we are doing.  My mom had tons of soup bones from our side of beef we bought this spring so she went ahead and made it following Mama Natural's recipe, but she only boiled it for 8 hours instead of 24 – 8 was plenty.  She did soak the meat in water with vinegar which is said to bring out the nutrients.  She then froze it in an icecube tray which measures out to about 1oz servings.  Right now we give her 1oz of this a day in a TomeeTipee sippy cup with a nipple on it.  She's really loving the broth.  We also cooked & pureed some ground beef and froze it but haven't introduced that to her yet.

So far making baby food at home has been relatively quick and easy.  It's been fun to watch her and I can't wait to continue introducing foods to her.  I'd really like to use BLW technique soon, I know purees are really not necessary if going the full BLW route, but I just felt like puree was where I was comfortable starting.  There are a few things that baby needs to be doing before you can start BLW and we just now reaching those milestones!  Stay tuned for more about the next part of introducing solids!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Tips for Retuning to Work

So I've been back at work full time since May 1st.  I always knew that I would return to work and never really got to consider staying home.  Although a part of me would love to, I am meant to be working and after just building a house two years ago, it takes both of our income to pay our bills and live a comfortable lifestyle.  I enjoy my job and if I were to take off a few years to stay home with my kids, this job wouldn't be waiting for me when I was ready to return to work so it really made the choice to come back easy. 

My maternity leave lasted a mere 9 weeks, one reason I'm actually thankful that I ended up with a C-section is it did get me an extra 2 weeks off, but still not nearly enough time at home with my new baby.  I was lucky though that Georgia was going into familiar and very capable hands.  She spends 3 days a week with my mom & step dad who are both retired and she spends 2 days at in-home daycare with a friend of mine.  I like the balance of the two because it gets her some one-on-one attention with grandma and grandpa, but it also gets her socialized and used to older kids, and less attention which she will need when she starts school. 

Although returning to work was very hard, it got better over time to leave her each day.  There are definitely some things that can make it a little easier when it comes time to leave your babe.

--If at all possible, (which I understand, unfortunately it is not for everyone) have your sitter bring baby to work on your lunch break.  Or if you can, go see your baby on your lunch!  My mom brings Georgia to me 3x a week so I can nurse her on lunch & it definitely helps to break up my day.  When I was little I remember my mom would come to my grandmas every day for her 1 hour lunch so she could eat & see us.  Now as a mother myself I understand how precious that 30-60 minutes is.

--Have lots of pictures to look at!  I have a picture of Georgia for my desktop background, & one of the best things I got was a digital frame that I have right by my desk, I brought it my first day back, one so I could stare at her all day, and two because I knew people would want to see pictures of her.  Now they can watch a little slide show of her. 

--Use FaceTime when you can.  If you get set breaks, take a minute to FaceTime or Skype with your sitter and your baby.  We haven't had to use this yet, but I would imagine one day we will.

--Ask for updates.  I don't get too many pictures from my parents, but I do get at least one photo and update from daycare on the days she is there.  Just seeing a quick snap of her really brightens my day.

--Check the daycare website or Facebook page.  I know some daycares actually keep an updated website &/or Facebook, some even have an app, where you can check on your kiddo and see what they've been up to.  Even if you can't see a photo, seeing how many naps they've taken, or even how many dirty diapers they've had will give you a little reassurance that they're doing ok!

--If you feel the need, take a vacation day and spend time with your kids.  The time I am off, I spend with her, I bring her everywhere with me for the most part. Sometimes I'll take a Friday off or a half day so that I can maybe run an errand or two while she's at daycare and then see her for a couple extra hours that day.  I don't have much else I would be using my vacation for & I can't think of a better reason to take a day off then to spend it with my girl!

I know everyone's work situation is different and none of these things may be possible for some working parents, but just remember, your work day will come to an end and you WILL get to see your baby at the end of your day.  Being away from my baby during the day makes the time that I do have with her on the evenings and weekends even more valuable and coming home to her smiling little face after knowing I've been gone all day working to provide for her is the most rewarding thing I could ask for. 

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