Saturday, June 21, 2014

Life Without A Travel System

While I was pregnant, I did a post about Why I Don't Want A Big Stroller. In a nutshell, I think they are annoying, rude to take out in crowded places, and I wanted to hold my baby. So how did it work out now that I have my baby? Did I call my mom crying over how stupid I was for not getting a travel system?

No, we still do not have one big travel system. And have no plans on getting one. We did receive a jogging stroller from Michael's friends as a shower gift. We do use it, but it is not our main choice to take Jack out in public. I still think it's rude to the big stroller out in most public places. They get in the way and take up so much room. We use it mainly for walks around the neighborhood and to non-crowded parks. It reclines pretty far back so he went in it for the first time at two weeks old. But he doesn't like it that much. He will stay in it for about an hour then screams to held.

Shortly after I took this he woke up screaming, he's not a big fan.
We also have a detachable car seat carrier we received secondhand. We put it in Michael's car (the car we use the least) so both cars have a seat just in case. We do carry him around in it sometimes. But I want to add he doesn't stay in there that long. It's not like we are staying out to midnight. We go out for a couple hours and are back before his bedtime. It does not connect into our stroller, so it's not convenient to carry him around in it. But it's nice because he will sleep in it and we can give him a bottle easily if he's hungry. It honestly saves my sanity at the grocery store. My hands are free and the movement of the cart usually lulls him to sleep.

He wasn't too sure about that basil...
I need to stress it is not recommend to use a secondhand car seat, a new one is always preferred. However, if you are going with a used one, there are a few rules. First of all, make sure it is not passed it's expiration date (ours has a year left so after Jack out grows it we will throw it away). Make sure you know the person giving it to you (ours came from a nice family who our friend nannies for). Only accept it if you know for sure it has not been in an accident (ours has not). And lastly sanitize the fabric but do not wash it. Car seat fabric had a fire retardant on it that can be washed off.

The main form of transportation for Jack is babywearing. He loves being worn! It is a sure fire way to calm him and get him to sleep when he is fussy. We still have the Infantino Swift Carrier I mentioned in my other post. Michael uses that one on occasion. I used when he was first born. It's nice but, I wanted something more snuggly so I ordered a Boba Wrap. I fell in love with babywearing the first time I put Jack in it. He's all snuggled and secure, but my hands are free!

Sleeping while we went out to lunch
But the Boba gets hot, so after some research and a meeting with the local BabyWearing International group, I also ordered a woven wrap. Jack loves this wrap too. We stay cooler because it's made of cotton. I use this wrap almost everyday for walks now. I think Jack likes this one a bit more because he can sit a bit more upright and look around more. Though he sleep in either one like a champ. Both were great investments, absolutely worth the money.

Checking out the neighborhood on our walk.
So how is life without a big travel system? Great! I am not that rude mother knocking people over with her oversize stroller in a crowd. Nor am that friend who shows up for a late dinner and plops the car seat on the table. Nor am I the parent who never holds their child and leaves them in the car seat all day. I will confess one thing though---it would be easier to have a travel system for when Jack falls asleep in the car and I don't want to wake him when I pick him up to put in the wrap. But overall, it's not that big if a deal since he loves sleeping in his wrap.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Life With A Two-Month Old

It's been two months already? Seriously? I've used up 2/3 of my maternity leave! I feel like they placed a newborn on my chest in the delivery room just yesterday!

A lot has changed in two months. Jack has gone from my tiny little newborn who barely opened his eyes to a chubby little baby who is bright and alert. I went from a girl who was terrified to nurse to a mom who can walk around the house with her baby latched on to her boob. Eight weeks ago I was so overwhelmed I never dreamed that would happen for either of us. But I am so glad it did! He's almost 13 pounds now and I am only 5 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight too!
1 week old vs. 8 weeks old.
So what is life like with my two-month old baby? Great! He plays and laughs now  I love watching him learn new things everyday. He smiled for the first time around 3 weeks and he's doing it more each day. He even laughs now! We do have bad days still. The days where he just screams and cries no matter what I try. Those days I just comfort him the best I can and tell myself it will pass (despite how much it breaks my heart to see him so upset). I think of the happy times and remember he will not be a baby forever so I need to cherish it.

One happy time is bathtime. He loves bath now. He always calms down instantly when we put him in. He splashes around and is even trying to play with his toy. He takes a bath with me sometimes too. I get the bath ready and Michael hands him to me wrapped in hand towel. I suggest the towel for a few reasons.  First of all it keeps him warmer. Second babies get really slippery, the towel gives you some more friction to grab on to. Third, babies poop when they feel relaxed. I cover his booty with the towel so if he does poop, I stay clean.

He also stopped pooping at night, which means he sleep almost through the night now! He only wakes up once (maybe twice) to eat. This also means we stopped changing his wet diapers at night. This way he doesn't get overstimulated and will go back to sleep easier. Michael gets him from his big crib, checks to make sure he didn't poop or his diaper isn't leaking. If it is, only then does he change him. Then he gives him to me and I nurse him and rock him back to sleep. Then I put him in his bassinet next to our bed for the rest of the night (usually 3 more hours). Unfortunately he only drinks one side so I still have to get up to pump. But that only takes a few minutes and then I'm back to bed.

We can also take him out more now. We go for walks almost everyday, he loves looking at people passing by us. He usually falls asleep a few minutes into the walk and somehow magically wakes up right when we get home. He goes to the store with me sometimes too, but he isn't always good about that. I think it's all the fluorescent lights.
Breakfast with Daddy in Sonoma. 
For Father's Day we went to Sonoma for the reenactment of the Bear Flag Revolt. He napped in his Boba Wrap most of the day luckily. He even slept through the gunpowder shots during the reenactment, granted we hid in the back of the crowd and I covered his ears as best I could. I was so happy to be out of the house and talking to adults. I suggest when taking your baby out for a long period of time, make sure you get them to nap whenever they start giving you the sleepy cues (like yawning, covering their eyes, and fussing slightly). Stroller, wrap, car seat, your arms---whatever it takes to get them down, just don't let them skip naps.
This was from the start of his Wonder Week, he sucked
 on his toy for the first time, I was blown away.
The second month is also when your baby has their second Wonder Week. I didn't know about these until recently It's when your baby makes a huge mental leap, like a brain growth spurt. Two weeks ago Jack was so insanely fussy that I didn't know what to do. He would get mad when I tried to play with him like I always had been. He would nap only an hour at time---if I could get him down, he fought every nap. He also started fussing at my boob when I tried to nurse him. It took forever to get him to latch on and when he did, he just wanted to comfort nurse forever. He'd scream if I unlatched him before he was ready to stop. And at night he went back to waking up every 2 hours to eat. I was so confused and getting overwhelmed again. Then someone on my the April 2014 Birth Club mentioned Wonder Weeks so I looked it up. I found an app and downloaded it. It explained all these fussy behaviors were normal and not permanent. He just needed some extra comfort while he was starting to see the world around him differently. And he needed me to play with him differently now, more interaction and stimulation. The app has a chart that shows about when your baby will enter a wonder week and exit it. And about a week later it ended and Jack went back sleeping well at night and stopped fussing so much. The app helped me prepare for everything. I had to keep playing more interactively. And his naps change, no more three 2-3 hour naps. He now takes four 1-2 hour naps. I like that he's up for longer period of times, but now I have less time to get stuff done around the house. I really suggest downloading the app, it's nice to know what to expect and that it's all normal.

That's Jack's life two months in, in a nutshell!

Monday, June 9, 2014

How To Take A Baby To The Drive-In

Jack is two months old now, no longer a newborn but not really a functioning infant. My whole day revolves around him---which I love, don't get me wrong. But I missed time with my husband. I kept thinking how nice it would be to have a simple movie date, but I wasn't ready to leave him for that long yet. And of course a bunch of summer movies are coming out that I want to see, especially A Million Ways To Die In The West. I resolved to be a good mom and rent it when it comes to DVD.

Then my best friend reminded me of something awesome in San Jose. She and her boyfriend went on a date to the drive-in. Suddenly a light bulb went on in my head, we could take Jack! He could sleep while we enjoy a movie date. He goes to bed around 9:00PM and the movies start around 8:45 PM so the timing would work out great. And if he fusses, we just go home. We decided to give it a shot!

The plan was to get him all ready for bed, put him in the car, and leave an hour early to give us plenty of time to get there and get settled. Then nurse him, let him sleep on my lap during the movie, put him back in the car seat, and drive home. If he wakes up when we get home or before, just put him back to sleep when we got home. Sounded simple enough.

First we made sure we he had a fully stocked diaper bag for any situation. Plenty of diapers, blankets, a change of clothes, pacifiers, burp cloths, and etc.. And I brought my nursing pillow so I could be more comfortable holding him.

Then we got him ready for bed. Normally we give him a bath before bed, but he was already sleepy so we just put him in his jammies and put him in his car seat. He started crying while were waiting in line to enter the drive-in because he was tired. At this point I thought we already lost him and would have to leave. But I stayed calm and just consoled him as best I could.

We picked a spot to park and I moved to the front seat with Jack. I put my pillow on my lap, latched him on, and covered his head with my cardigan to block the light from his eyes. He calmed down instantly and went to sleep shortly before the movie started. I set him down on the pillow and freed my hands to munch on popcorn.

Jack started asleep the whole movie! I was surprised. He fussed a bit during a loud part, but I just stroked his head and he calmed again. The movie was really funny and it was so nice to do an adult thing. And I got to hold my husband's hand and steal some kisses, the best part of all.

When the movie was over, we gently put him back in his car seat, and drove home. He fussed a little but stayed asleep. Once home, we gently took him out and put him in his crib. He stayed asleep, I couldn't believe it! And he slept till 4:00 AM, a six hour stretch!

The drive-in worked out great! We plan on doing this a few more times this summer. If you are lucky enough to still have a drive-in in your town, I suggest trying it with your baby. Here are some tips to make it easier:
  • Don't have high hopes. Expect that your baby will fuss and that you may need to leave early.That way you won't be upset if it happens. 
  • Let your baby call the shots. If they are super fussy that day, reschedule for a better day. If they are really unhappy during the movie, address their needs quickly. And if you can't calm them quickly, leave. 
  • Bring a fully stocked diaper bag to address any possible issue. And keep your diaper bag within reach while you watch the movie. No one wants to be digging for a burp cloth and miss an important piece of the plot. 
  • Arrive with plenty of time to put the baby to sleep. That way you aren't stressed or rushing anything. And you don't miss the start of the movie. 
  • Get yourself comfortable first. Your baby won't relax if you aren't relaxed. And who wants to be uncomfortable for two hours pinned under a baby? I really suggest bringing a nursing pillow.  
  • Nurse or feed your baby so they are content. Then make sure they are totally asleep before you set them down on your lap. 
  • Make sure you don't have your radio too loud so the baby doesn't startle and wake up. 
  • Cover your baby's eyes if they are used to sleeping in the dark like Jack. But make sure their airway is not blocked and they are breathing comfortably. 
  • Don't get too caught up in the movie and forget about the baby. I lifted my wrap cardigan every once and awhile to make sure he was okay. 
  • If the baby wakes when you put them back in or take them out of the car seat at home, don't fret. Just feed them so they are content again and put them back to bed. 
I hope Jack is just as good for future movies. And hopefully your baby will be too. Enjoy a fun date with your love!