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Caity’s 10 Month Update

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We ended up extending our stay in NJ so I wasn’t able to do our normal photo shoot with Caity for her 10 month update. We will do a belated one when we return after an unplanned trip up North to Canada for some house hunting.

This Time Around
Caity is crawling around and starting to pull up on things and taking steps with our hands. It’s a few months before Parker started so I am not use to such a little one being so mobile.

Nursing
Still going strong with no intention on her part to stop. She is nursing in the AM, before both naps, maybe in the evening before dinner, before bed, and then 1-3 times during the night. Luckily I found a few articles that help when responding to criticisms and concerns about her still nursing to sleep.

Normal Infant Sleep: Night Nursing
Needing a Parents Help to Sleep: Why You Child Wants You There
Breastfeeding to Sleep and Other Comfort Nursing

I am slightly anxious for her to hit that 1 year mark so we can try to wean her off most of her nursing sessions. I think it will take a lot longer to completely night wean her but for some reason I don’t feel in such a rush anymore to get that over with.

Milestones & Memories
This month Caity has officially started moving, and she hasn’t stopped since! She is now confidently crawling around and going from crawling to sitting and back again with ease. Every once in awhile she planks and tries to walk on all fours.

She is eating pretty much anything we eat. She loves burrito and pizza night. This past week she has tried two of my favorite recipes from my mom, Sweet & Spicy Chicken and Sweet & Sour Chicken and LOVED them. She had the Sweet & Spicy leftovers for a few lunches even. Iv’e been giving her a sippy cup with water at each meal to start getting her use to one.

She celebrated her first Fourth of July at Kings Dominion riding a few rides, eating a yummy dinner at Texas Roadhouse, and rounded off the night watching the fireworks. She went on her first school bus and train ride at the Day Out With Thomas event. She ended up sleeping through the whole train ride so it must have been relaxing.

Rob and I found a babysitter to watch the kids for the first time since Caity was born for a quick date night. They didn’t go down as planned and we didn’t want to miss the movie so she ended up cuddling with Caity on the couch while we were gone. Neither one of them seemed to mind. Even though it was a movie the “peace and quiet” was so refreshing.

Letter to Caity
You are developing such a personality. You mock your brother when he cries but are constantly on the look out for him when he isn’t around. You have started to hold your ground when he tries to take a toy away from you and Iv’e even watched fight back a few times. I usually respond with, “you go girl.” My favorite thing is laying next to you and watching you drift off into slumber land. You certainly like things done differently but you know what you want.

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Five Minute Fridays: Keep

Browsing Facebook tonight I came across a Pin, How to Post More Frequently on Your Blog. I decided to give it a read and came across a link up called Five Minute Fridays hosted by Lisa-Jo Baker. Each week she provides a word and challenges you to spend no more than 5 minutes writing. When I saw the word for this week, keep, I knew this link up was for me.

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Iv’e been struggling a lot lately with wanting to rush through Caity’s infancy and at the same time slowing it down. I had forgotten how much independence I had gained with Parker over the last few years. Having an infant, a colicy one at that, again has been quite a wake up call. While I find myself wishing for independence, I take one look at this beautiful, peaceful, innocent face and I am reminded of a poem that was circulating Facebook awhile ago.

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My independence can wait, I wish more to keep her like this forever. To keep her safe and only know happiness, joy, comfort, and love.

Five Minute Friday

Placenta Encapsulation: Facts & Personal Reflection

Last week I talked about my VBAC Birth Plan and briefly mentioned getting my placenta encapsulated. I know this topic isn’t for everyone but I wanted to share my research and experience for anyone considering it.

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If I had to pick my parenting style it would be the lite version of the  crunchy / AP (attachment parenting) models. We cloth diaper, baby wear, co-sleep, wear amber, eat many organic foods, and follow more of a baby lead approach to transitions. I say a lite version because there are many things within those models we don’t follow. I am so grateful for the baby wearing, holistic, mommy Facebook groups I have joined over the last few years. I have learned so much about these models and gained a wealth of knowledge to help me be the best mother I can be. Not always perfect, but always trying.

To date, the most crunchy thing I have done is encapsulate my placenta after Caity’s birth to help with my postpartum recovery.

I had first heard about placenta encapsulation in Parker’s birth month group on Facebook. Some of the 2+ moms who had dealt with Postpartum Depression (PPD) talked about the positive experiences they had with it in the months following their babies births. The idea of placenta encapsulation certainly isn’t for everyone so I was fairly quiet about my decision and only told a few close family and friends. Even then, I had my work cut out for me answering all of their questions and concerns. Below is a summary of what I learned through my research, talking with other mothers, and my personal experience. Please note that I hold no medical degree and all opinions are my own. If you think this is something you would like to do I strongly recommend you speak with a healthcare professional.

What?

The practice of ingesting your placenta is referred to as placentophagy and can be dated back to the 1500’s within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This practice is most common in present day within Chinese, Vietnamese, Hungarian and Italian cultures. The practice of placentophagy is also gaining popularity here in the US among the holistic community of midwives and doulas.

Why?

For nine months the placenta provides the baby with everything they need to grow into a little human being. It transfers vitamins, nutrients, and even oxygen from the mother to the baby. As a result, the placenta is full of iron, vitamins, as well as estrogen and progesterone after birth.

What are the benefits?

Placentophagy is believed to:

  • Increase milk production
  • Decrease postpartum bleeding
  • Reduce and improve postpartum recovery time
  • Increase energy
  • Balance hormones
  • Replenish essential nutrients
  • Decrease (and possibly) eliminate postpartum depression or baby blues

While the skeptics will claim there is not enough research to prove any benefits, there is a positive response among women who have practiced placentophagy within my mommy Facebook groups, blogs, and articles around the web. Here are just a few I stumbled upon during my research A Fulfilled Mommy / Beautifully Bohemian / Mommy Potamus

What are some ways to use the placenta?

Raw form includes placing pieces under your tongue, blending into a smoothie or cooking it into meals.

There are also two methods of encapsulation. The Traditional Chinese Method consists of steaming, dehydrating, and grinding the placenta to be mixed with additional herbs and encapsulated. The raw encapsulation method skips the steaming process and is encapsulated as is. There are instructions on the web of how to prepare it yourself but I strongly recommend you find someone who is certified. A great deal of caution must go into proper preparation to prevent the placenta from spoiling and contamination. If you are unsure how your body reacts to certain herbs you may want to use the raw encapsulation process.

The placenta can also be used in a salve to help treat c-section scars and stretch marks or in a tincture.

A few things to remember. 

First, you need to check with your hospital or birthing center for their procedures on taking your placenta home with you. Don’t be surprised if you are met with hesitation and possibly rude comments. In most cases it isn’t as simple as throwing it in your overnight bag. In the event of a c-section or when the placenta needs to be taken to pathology for testing it can be a little more difficult to get it back but not impossible.  Unless you have a direct contact, I would recommend calling L&D directly and asking to speak with the head nurse.

Secondly, it is important to prepare the placenta properly when it comes to encapsulation. If you are unable to do proper research and preparation yourself, I strongly recommend finding someone who is certified to do it for you. Talk to them about which encapsulation method would be best for you. If you are sensitive to herbs or unsure of how you would react you may want to stick with the raw method.

Most importantly, just like with any new medications, watch yourself. If you start to feel off, stop taking them immediately and contact your doula or the person who prepared it for you. Of course in emergency situations call for help.

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My personal experience with placenta encapsulation.

During my postpartum recovery following Parker’s birth I experienced some baby blues, low milk supply, and difficulty physically recovering. After hearing so many positive encapsulation experiences within Parker’s birth month group I decided to look into it a little further when I got pregnant with Caity. I spent the next few months researching, talking to other moms, and convincing the hubs that I wasn’t crazy. It took awhile to find someone local but I ended up locating a doula who could not only encapsulate my placenta but also do our birth photography. The whole package included doula services, a pre and post visit to the house, birth photography, and placenta encapsulation was about $1,850.

As I mentioned above, finding out the hospitals protocol and policies was the most difficult part. After getting the run around from a few people who clearly didn’t understand what I was asking for someone suggested that I call L&D and ask for the head nurse. That made perfect sense since they are the ones working directly with mothers. She said I just needed to sign a form and bring a cooler and Zip Lock bags to take it home. They would be able to keep it in the fridge until I was discharged. In the event of a c-section I would need to sign additional forms and possibly need to pay a fee to take it since it is sent down to pathology.

We kept a cooler in the car along with our hospital bags. After Caity was born and we were both recovering in the delivery room I signed a form and they wrapped it up and placed it in the cooler for our doula to take with her. A few days after Caity was born my doula dropped by with a little container of capsules. I took two capsules twice a day for the first two weeks and then one a day or as needed. Our doula told Rob he could slip me one if I seemed out of sorts or especially emotional.

I definitely noticed a huge difference overall with my postpartum recovery. While there are other variables that helped with this, I know the pills definitely helped.

Baby Blues
This time around I didn’t experience any depression, baby blues or found myself crying for no reason.

Milk Supply
My milk came in quick and my supply has been amazing this time around. I have not needed to supplement or use other methods to increase my supply, even through the first few growth spurts and getting sick. I had to supplement with Parker from the beginning and by month 4 he started to refuse to nurse. The fact that I was able to do skin to skin immediately and nurse within the first hour also helped with my supply.

Physical Recovery
I was feeling more like myself within the first week. I had a minor set back with a small tear but other than that I had more energy. This had a lot to do with the fact that I had a VBAC and wasn’t recovery from surgery however, at 2 months I was still noticing a difference.

Overall I am very grateful that I was able to try this and had such a positive experience and impact on my recovery. It’s certainly something I strongly recommend for any first time moms or second time mom who suffered from postpartum depression, low milk supply, or delayed recovery.

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Resources
http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/ask-heidi/eating-the-placenta.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_placentophagy
http://www.bellybelly.com.au/post-natal/placenta-encapsulation-benefits-of-eating-your-placenta#.VMFvjlXF-lI

A Day In The Life With Two

Although the days sometimes blend together I spent the last week trying to piece together what an average day looks like for us.

7-8 am

Parker and Caity usually wake up between 7am – 8am. Days Parker goes to daycare (2 days a week) we sometimes have to wake him up so he and Rob can get out of the house on time. If it’s not a daycare day we spend the morning snuggled in bed watching Disney. It’s even more fun when Rob doesn’t have class and we can all snuggle together. I nurse Caity during this time, usually try to shower , and get the kids “dressed” which in the winter means sleepers and comfy clothes.

Getting Ready

Parker also likes to get ready too.

8-9 am

Caity still isn’t on a set schedule but she usually goes down for a morning nap between 8 and 9. Iv’e been “putting” her down when she seems tired in the R&P in her room. Then Parker and I head downstairs for breakfast.

Some of Parker’s favorite breakfast foods are yogurt, fruit, Cheerios, and muffins.

Laundry

From about 9-11:30 Parker heads to his playroom and gets busy making a mess. I try to knock out some laundry, clean up the kitchen, and on a good day work on a project or blog post. Caity isn’t sleeping long yet so after she wakes up we spend time playing together or on a rough day watching a movie.

Lunch Time

Lunch is anywhere from 11:30 – 12:30. Some days I have to get creative and figure out how to nurse or wear Caity while making lunch. Other days she hangs out in her Fisher-Price Spacesaver High Chair, a favorite of ours, and watches while I make lunch.

Some of his favorite lunches are chicken nuggets, hot dogs or leftovers usually paired with a fruit and veggie. He loves to dip food so anytime I can add a dip in he is a satisfied customer.

Nap Time

 

Parker has always been an excellent sleeper. Even at 2.5 years he still takes a 2-3 hour nap. If he wakes up early and is in a good mood I let him play in his room until he calls for me. It’s fun to watch him on the video monitor totally destroy his room. When he is done, you can usually hear him say, “uh oh” or “I broke it Mommy”.

Napt Time 2

I am hoping once Caity gets into a routine she will also be a good sleeper. Hey, a girl can dream 🙂 For the moment, I get what I can done. Some days Caity will play in her Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumper or Fisher-Price Discover n’ Grow Kick & Play Piano Mat in my craft room. Around 1:30 she gets cranky and will try to help me do work or we head down to the nursery and watch Netflix in the recliner nursing and napping.

After Nap

Since we only have one car we try to get out of the house after nap time when Rob gets home, usually between 4-6 pm. We run errands (which means I get the kids dressed in nice clothes), take a walk outside, or go play on the playground. Even in the cold weather they both love it and I am happy as long as they are bundled up. If Rob works late or we just want to stay in we usually curl up on the couch with a snack and good movie.

Movie Time

I LOVE watching Parker see a new movie or anticipate a funny scene in one of his favorite ones.

 

 

Dinner Time

We tend to eat between 5:30 – 6 so if we are out for awhile we stop and get dinner. If not, Rob usually takes control of dinner and I nurse Caity while Parker plays. He likes helping Rob make pizzas or sitting at the breakfast bar and watching him cook. After dinner Rob spends some time with the kiddos while I clean up the kitchen. We also knock out the load of laundry or household chore for that day if I haven’t gotten to it yet.

Bath Time

Between 7-7:30 we all head up stairs for bath time. I am sharing a little more about this later in the week. I was really worried about how this would work with two but our system is working great, even when Rob is away and I have to do it solo. Rob takes charge of reading and putting Parker to bed while I nurse Caity again.

Evenings

Evenings are the hardest for me. Before Caity I was able to head up to my craft room to work on the bills, a project, or blog. With Rob and school and Caity extremely colicy in the evenings, we spend most of the time in her nursery watching Netflix and nursing on and off. I know #firstworldproblems, but after 4 months it’s starting to wear on me. Not to mention how behind I am in just about everything. Up until about a week ago this was from 7-11:30. Despite being sick this last week, I have noticed her in better spirits in the evening and able to fall asleep, on me, around 10. She nurses about 2-3 times a night, usually at 1, sometime between 2-3, and then around 4. Right now I bring her into bed with me to nurse and she ends up falling asleep on my chest.

Then 7am rolls around and we do it all over again.

It’s certainly not a glamorous life. I don’t get time to shower everyday and despite my laid out cleaning schedule, I often have to play catch up during the week. I try to balance what needs to be done with spending time playing and engaging both kiddos. It isn’t easy and I don’t always succeed, but in the end the best I can do is try. When I find myself wearing thin and getting upset I stop and think about how short these years are in retrospect to my life, take a breathe, and go find a little boy to tickle or play cars with.

Life With Two: 31 Months & 4 Months

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Multitasking Momma
This is getting a little easier. Caity is consistently getting tired around 9am and will fall asleep in her R&P for 1-1.5 hours. I try to feed P breakfast, clean up the kitchen, throw a load of laundry in and if I have time answer a few emails. She sits in her highchair while I make lunch for Parker and I. She still won’t let me put her down for her afternoon nap. Luckily, Rob gets home from class and usually takes over so I can get a little work done. He has been able to help out a little more with holding her in the evenings as well which has been really nice. You can take a peak a little more into what are day looks like in my  A Day In The Life Of Two post.

The biggest thing when you have two young ones at home is to really reevaluate your expectations. Anytime I start feeling overwhelmed I take a look at my to-do list and 99% of the time it’s because I am trying to achieve too much. After taking care of the kiddos, tending to household chores I realistically only have time to get 1 thing done each day. Since I blog, have an Etsy shop, and sell Thirty-One, you can start to see my dilemma here. I just keep adding to my list and tackle one thing at a time.

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Brother & Sister Love
I am in awe at how well Parker has adapted to Caity. Lately I have caught him picking up a toy she has dropped  or telling her it’s okay when she is crying. She is getting more alert and aware of her surroundings and can tell she is always watching him and looking for him when he isn’t around. She isn’t scared of his loud noises and even giggles when he does them close to her. I want her to stay little for awhile longer but have to admit I am a little anxious to see how they interact with one another once she is mobile.

Now that she is awake for a good part of the day I have been trying to find ways to play with both of them. Usually I put a blanket on the floor so Caity and I can sit down and let Parker come over when he wants. My good friend Jen gave her some musical toys which has been a huge hit for both Caity and Parker. He ends up wanting to play with us, and her toys, the entire time.

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While we still have to be very careful Parker asks to hold or cuddle with Caity often. The La-Z-Boy in the nursery is a perfect place to snap a few shots. As soon as I put Caity next to him Parker is trying to put his arm around her and give her kisses. My heart melts every time.

Parker VS Caity

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