Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Deja Vu

Here it is the end of July, 2018 and I'm feeling very much like I did this time a year ago.

Last year we had our first pregnancy and come July 2017, we were preparing for our first baby, due September 8th. My pregnancy had been relatively smooth sailing. I was trying to mentally prepare for baby and childbirth.

I'm not sure why or how, but I always knew I wanted an unmedicated birth. We hired a duo of doulas and were enjoying our last two months of us and of summer when my OB said that the baby was measuring large and she wanted to do an ultrasound to double check (we didn't know the gender at the time. Now that Grayson is here, I typically still refer to him as "baby" in utero out of habit).

We found out baby was breech and I spent much of the rest of my pregnancy as hormonal and emotional as it gets. (You can read about it here); and now I'm feeling much of that anxious emotion again right now.
Grayson is ten months old and not crawling yet.  To this point, he hasn't been a physical baby. He's never done log-rolls and is content sitting and playing. He's trying to get on all fours and army crawls backwards but he's not moving. He was a "late" sitter (at seven months and one day) also. At his nine month pediatrician appointment, our ped recommended we do an assessment with our state's Early Intervention program. It took a while to actually get the appointment scheduled and since then Grayson has shown more interest in crawling, so we considered cancelling the appointment.

Yesterday we went to it. He was evaluated with a play-based interview. An occupational and speech therapist asked us questions as they played with him. At the end of the interview, there was a definitive "yes, he qualifies", which surprised both Ben and I.

I spent yesterday afternoon feeling very emotional, similar feelings that I had to our breech pregnancy last time. I know there's an end; our breech baby was going to be born no matter what, just like in time, Grayson will crawl and will walk no matter what. But, it's the unplanned and unforeseen; it's the uncertainty, the stress, the emotional and mental push to get into the light is weighing heavy on my heart right now.

I'm going to give myself a moment to think "why me?". I had many moments, days and probably weeks of this feeling when we found out the baby was breech. But after allowing myself time, I quickly started to think, I don't want to give up hope and schedule a c-section, so what are my options? Similarly for Grayson's gross motor skills, as a parent there's only so much I can wallow. He can't fight for himself yet, so it's up to us to figure out what's best for him, even if we're learning as we go.

Just like Grayson's birth, he's following his own path and knows what was best for him;  I am reminding myself that this is also his path and we're here to help him progress along on it. This isn't the end of the world. This isn't something life-threatening or dangerous and I am thankful for that. This is just another step along parenthood and motherhood that is a learning moment for us all. There will be plenty more of these in his life. Bigger and scarier trials.

Some friends have had their children in the same program and rave about the impact it's had on their children, although they admit it can be hard also.

Moving forward, we'll be assigned an occupational therapist and a coordinator who will come to our house for a biweekly appointment. On the off weeks the OT will visit him at daycare so that he is in his natural settings, and from there, we'll move forward. Literally and figuratively.

Whatever happens, this child will always be the light of me life.
Photos by Courtney Heckler

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Motherhood: Find Your Tribe

Exactly a year ago today I was just over six months pregnant and my evening was double booked. The neighborhood facebook group of expecting/new moms with babies in 2017 was having a “happy hour” and I had a women in construction event to network with other women in the industry. As I usually do, I decided to squeeze in both events and now a year later, I’m so glad I did.

There were about 15 of us soon-to-be mommas at the happy hour. It’s funny because sometimes I consider myself an introvert when it comes to meeting new people, but I could talk motherhood, pregnancy and babies for a week straight. I plopped down on the couch near a group of girls and started chatting. We were all due within about 2.5 months of one another. Our baby (at the time we didn’t know the gender) was due on one of the girl’s birthdays! I spent about an hour there chatting with the girls about our general life background.

For the five of us chatting in the corner, it was our first child. Afterwards, we connected via Facebook and decided that we should continue to get together during pregnancy on a smaller scale (verse the large group). We met up twice after during pregnancy and shares texts of symptoms and excitement. We went to dinner on a Thursday night and that Saturday, the first of our baby crew was born! It was getting real!

When my water broke and we were admitted to the hospital, I waited to text the group until the next morning (the day Grayson was born). I got a group text one of the girls (the girl who’s birthday we were due on), that they was also admitted in the hospital, 2.5 weeks early from their due date with their daughter. Our kids were born just a few hours apart from one another; birthday buddies!

While it was fun conversing during pregnancy, I couldn’t have known then how much I would come to rely, trust, and love these girls once our babies were here. The daily texts; questions, comical events, successes and woes, brought us even closer together.  We first got together when we had three babies in the group and two women were still pregnant. It was so fun to see the littles we created in person and give the others a glance into their near future.

And maternity leave; I don’t know what I would have done without those who I shared maternity leave with.  It means so much to: 1. Get out of the house, 2. Get out of the house and be around people who GET it. They know it’s not easy and we’re still learning our babies ques. We’re still learning about ourselves as a mother. Having familiar faces to share library story time with, go for a walk or grab a beer, helps you ease into the new normal. During maternity leave I was living in the moment, as one should, and I didn’t realize how much these girls truly meant to me until I got back to work and missed them so incredibly much.

Now, nine months after our arrivals started, we all constantly get the babies together. Now more than previously, we share our successes, our  questions, our concerns, our tips. I have a constant 24-hour support line. Someone who’s willing to come over and babysit at the drop of a hat on a Saturday night when our babysitter cancelled. Someone who our kids will (hopefully soon) share the same daycare class. Someone who I can lament with over how cute baby girl clothes are. Someone who brings us all flowers from her garden just because. Someone who lives two blocks down the street from us for impromptu playdates that I hadn’t meet in the previous year of living in our house. As the babies start to interact more and more, it all continues to get better and better. As each child hits milestones (whether its sitting up, sitting in a highchair, eating solids or crawling), we learn from one another and are happy for each baby as if they were our own.

I mentioned above, we all met because of a facebook group for 2017 babies. While I was lucky enough to find my close mom tribe, there are so many friends we’ve made from this larger facebook group too. Would you believe it, there are 437 women with babies born in 2017 for my neighborhood and surrounding area that part of this private group? Not everyone posts on the group or is able to make it to events, but everyone that I have met and interacted with has helped or supported me in some way or another. There is ALWAYS someone to meet up with, share a similar experience, go for a walk, borrow an item, weekly happy hours.

When my maternity leave was ending and I was at our last library story time, one of these moms asked how I was doing and I lost it. I started sobbing in the middle of story time. She just held me and told me it’d be okay, and afterwards insisted we get a drink 😊 These are my people. People who get it (motherhood), who get me, and I’m grateful to know. It’s not easy and it seems weird, scary, or intimidating to meet new people, especially from the internet, but social media can be a powerful, and life changing tool. It’s worth it.

If you’re a mom, newly pregnant, or planning to be pregnant; put yourself out there. Find your people, your tribe. Find the people that you can send pictures of baby poop too (I don’t remember if I’ve actually done this, but I know I’ve contemplated it). Find the people that will bring you up, that will let know you it’s okay if you’re struggling to breastfeed, who will cry with your when your baby takes their first big fall, who know exactly how you feel when need to vent about your husband, who can tell you how they’re getting their kid to sleep through the night, who will loan you breastmilk when you’re going out of town for the first time and don’t have enough, who check in on you to see if baby’s cough has gone away, who help you feel confident breastfeeding in public, or who are just as eager to go to happy hour with a baby as you.

Babies bring about so much joy, but they also bring frustrations, fears, doubts, and change you. As much as I needed Ben to enter parenthood together, I needed these girls to help me enter motherhood. I’m so glad I found them to do into it together.

To my mom friends, you all will forever hold a special place in my heart that will never be forgotten or replaced. Love you!

I can't put into words how much these women mean to me, but I tried. Now excuse me while I go find a box of Kleenex! 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Portland Favs

Portland has been on our travel bucketlist as long as we've liked craft beer, so years. A few months ago my parents asked if they could come see Grayson for Memorial holiday day and instead we suggested a family vacation. Since my sister lives in Seattle and my brother's family is in Chicagoland, we agreed upon Portland.

To save cost on hotels we looked at Airbnbs. It was impossible to find a place with four bedrooms and at least three bathrooms; so we settled on renting two two bedroom , two bathroom condos in Pearl District at Block 17 (managed by Stay Aflred; found on Homeaway; they even had a pack and play for us). The location was unbeatable; we could walk to everything, and having two units across the hall from one another allowed us to hang out together but also have some breathing room (much needed with seven adults and two young kids).
Here's a few highlights from our trip:
Day 1

  • We used public transit to get to Washington Park. This park is huge and houses the zoo, children's museum, rose garden (free) and Japanese Gardens.
  • We started walking to the children's playground then we realized there was a free shuttle to get there! Portland's public transit system (trains and buses) is extensive and easy to use. Google maps navigates it for you and you can buy an all day pass for $5
  • We walked the trail out of the park and hopped on a bus to get back downtown
  • Lunch at Deschutes (the quinoa "burger" was awesome!)
  • Walked to Italian dinner at Mama Mia Trattoria (yum! we were able to book reservations in advance. Our biggest fear was trying to find dinner for 9 people so we booked ahead where we could)
  • After dinner beers at Bridgeport Brew
Day 2
  • Walked to breakfast at Daily Cafe. It's an order at the counter type of place but all of our food was delicious!
  • After there we walked down to Portland's Saturday market; which is a huge vendor type market-like an art fair. It was worth checking out but after a while everything looked the same and we left
  • The majority of the day was an unofficial brewery tour. We went to Wayfinder Beer, Hair of the Dog, Cascade, Rouge and Modern Times. Cascade was the crowd favorite with their sours and desserts. We had lunch at Hair of the Dog and Modern Times hadn't been on our list but we walked by and are glad we stopped in. Their IPAs are awesome!
  • For dinner we went to the Kennedy Schoolhouse. We took Lyft to get there. It's an old schoolhouse converted to hotel, theater and restaurant. It was an interesting place! The old classrooms were the hotel rooms! 
Day 3
  • All of the lists raved about Mother's Bistro for breakfast/brunch. They open at 8am so we got there right when they opened and were seated right away. It did not disappoint! By the time we left there were crowds waiting, so if you go, go early or be prepared to wait.
  • We were itching to get out into the pacific northwest woods, so we hopped in the car and went to the closest waterfall hike we could find which ended up being Latourell Falls, about 30 min from Portland. Again, another crowded spot but thankfully we were able to find parking. The hike was about 2 miles and pretty easy coming from Colorado elevation. The hike itself was beautiful!
  • On the way back we stopped at hoping for lunch but they had a limited brunch menu. Instead we went to Ex Novo Brewing and had a great lunch with good beer.
  • We regrouped and walked to Salt and Straw ice cream. The line, as anticipated, was insane! About two blocks long. Thankfully my girlfriend had given me a tip to skip the line and order pre-packaged pints to go; so that's just what we did and even bought a cone to scoop our own ice cream. It was fantastic! Rhubarb crumble! And salted caramel!
  • From there we walked to Powell Book Store; which was huge and intimating!
  • We had to follow our tradition of Sunday Night Pizza Night and our family joined so we went to nearby Oven and Shaker. We had no issues walking in and getting seated about 5:30p (but when we left it was packed). We all agreed this was our favorite dinner
Day 4:
  • With just my family and my parents left this morning, we walked to Slabtown area and had brunch at Besaws. It was so good my parents went back there for dinner that night!
  • We also wanted to check out Forest Park, the largest US park in a city, so we walked some of Lower Macleay Trail (which was wide enough to take the bob stroller on and we weren't the only ones. We saw three other families with bobs)

Flying with an 8 month old wasn't too bad. We checked luggage and the carseat and took the stroller with us through the airport. Coming back, we checked everything and wore him in the ergo through the airport. It was so nice to have just him and the diaper bag! The flight back was a little difficult for Grayson. It was naptime but he had issues staying asleep so he'd wait and be cranky. Even though I nursed at takeoff, it seemed like his body couldn't adjust to the pressure on his ears because as soon as we were off the plane, he was fine!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Grayson - 7.5 months

My Sweet Grayson,

You’re approaching eight months old. It’s true what they say, time goes by even quicker with kids.  We’re closer to your first birthday than the day you were born and it’s crazy how quickly things change, progress, and you grow.

There was a brief time we discussed the idea of not having children so that we could travel more and purchase a second home, etc, but deep down there was always a voice inside me whispering and I knew I was meant to be a mother. I’ve read and talked to a lot of moms who said their first baby was AMAZING, until they met their second child and realized their first born was amazing, but only because they didn’t know any better. I can confidently say, you truly are an amazing baby. 
Everything with you, and to you, is new and (mostly) exciting. Two weeks ago you started to sit independently.  Leading up to that, we spent a month or so of mornings before work practicing. We had you sit supported by the Boppy pillow and happily play with your activity cube as I sat next to you, eating my breakfast. One rainy Friday night (at 7months old and one day), for whatever reason, Dad decided to sit you down without the pillow and you did it! Like magic, all of a sudden you could sit on your own! It just clicked! Later that weekend, when I tried to take a picture of you sitting on your own, you were so proud and excited you threw your arms up in a squeal of delight and the momentum caused you to fall backwards! Now that it's been two weeks, you prefer to sit instead of laying down and you've reverted to hating tummy time when we practice your crawling.
First night of sitting, April 6th, 2018
 You’ve been sleeping through the night for months now, even with dropping your dreamfeed (a nursing session right before I went to bed), you're still able to sleep through the night. We never had to do formal sleep training with you because you learned as you grew. Starting Babywise with you at five weeks old was one of the best things I could have done for you and for our family.  The four month sleep regression hit a little early (at 3.5 months), but within three weeks, you rebounded like a champ and have been sleeping 7p to 5:30/6:00am almost every night since. We have an early wakeup here or there; those days I’m definitely more tired, but then I think of the friends we’ve met who still at this age rarely get more than five hours of sleep at a time and I’m so grateful that you’ve got the sleep thing down.

The not-so exciting part is that a week ago Sunday, you decided to boycott your naps. Prior to that you were taking at least two solid naps a day totaling at least three hours, both at school and home. Last Sunday, you wanted nothing to do with your naps. Ever since we and school have struggled to get you to nap more than 30 minutes at a time. You poor boy! You must be so tired every night at bedtime.

We introduced solids (real solids as in Baby Led Weaning, you eat what we eat, not purees) shortly after six months. I left you and Dad for a weekend getaway with Aunt Maggie and I missed you so much that on the flight back I read the entire Baby Led Weaning book! It took you about a week to get the idea and hang of it, but now when we set you in the high chair you get excited and start reaching for your food. Initially you loved roasted sweet potato and then we introduced you to roasted broccoli. Daddy hates veggies, so it cracks me up that this is your favorite food! This past weekend we gave you utensils for the first time. I was fascinated by how quickly you caught on. The second night of utensils, I gave you a fork, in addition to the spoon from the first night, and you immediately picked it up correctly and brought it to your mouth! Proud momma moment!

You're laughing more and more! Each time we hear your sweet giggle, Daddy and I beam in smiles and start to laugh. You love it when Daddy holds you up and swings you back and forth to "tick tock". You smile and laugh when Oscar comes in the room and when I blow "bubbles" on your belly.
Being your mom continues to be a rewarding task and one that I’m so lucky you chose me. I can’t help but look at you and be amazed by that we created you. You remind me that the simplest tasks are not to be taken for granted and that life itself is truly a miracle. Thank you for showing me!


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Back to Work Update

I've never been a great blogger. Since we moved from Chicago, I started feeling like I was spending more time living life, than documenting it. That's how it should be.

However, time goes so incredibly fast with a baby that I try to document what I can to remember it all. We're approaching five months old, Grayson is pretty close to double his birth weight and it's almost already hard to fathom that he used to be this small.
Photos by Courtney Heckler Photography
 If you follow me on instagram, then a lot of this point may not come as a surprise to you. I love using instagram stories to document photos and stories from the day.

I went back to work when Grayson was 13 weeks old. Prior to that, we tossed back and forth trying to figure childcare. We thought we had a daycare spot, then we didn't, then we were going to sign a contract for a nanny-share with another family and the night before we go a call that we did have a daycare spot. Aye-yi-yi.

However, the daycare spot we landed didn't start until a week after I was to start back at work. My parents willingly offered to come out from Illinois to help. If I'm being honest, I was hesitant at first. It was a big enough change already and I wasn't sure if I would be stressed by having more people in the house. Then I thought about the upsides: Grayson could stay in our house and even though I wouldn't be there, it seemed like a good transition step for him to go to daycare; cooking! When my parents came out when Grayson was born, they kept us well fed and made some amazing dinners. So going back to work, knowing Gray would be in good hands, knowing I could come home and snuggle him up while someone else made it dinner; yep, sold.

The week prior to going back to work was THE worst. I tried not to think about it, but inevitability every day when the thought crossed my mind, I would tear up and start to cry. At home, in the car; even storytime at the library when a mom friend asked how I was filling. It was awful. I was anxious to move into yet another "new normal". Then my parents got here and the day arrived and I was fine. I barely even cried when I left in the morning! I survived work, came up and snuggled him and slowly, every day got easier and easier until I realized that I would sometimes go an hour or two and not think about him once.

It completely helps that Ben has taken on the majority of drop-off and pick-up. We went together the first day and I occasionally do it, but Ben's office is a mile or two down the street (whereas daycare is 20 minutes out of the way from my project). I really like our set up. I get Grayson ready in the morning (more in a minute) and Ben does the driving. If I feel like I'm missing out, I tell Ben I'll grab him after school and it's no big deal.

Grayson is still tiny; at his four month appointment he was 12lb 7 oz and 23" long; which puts him around 5th percentile in weight and under 1st percentile in height. I'm still shocked! I was an 8lb 15oz baby and born two weeks early. Ben was 10lb 4oz! I mean, we're not big people now, but we were tiny beans babies. He still is wearing newborn (size 0) shoes, size 1 diapers and mostly 0-3 and 3 month clothing. As of this week we starting pulling out some 3-6 month clothes.

I keep this calendar with his milestones and memorable moments. Although, again, sometimes time passes so quickly I forget to write things downs and then I struggle to remember exact dates or flip through photos on my phone to try to remember. The weekend before I started back at work Grayson slept his night straight! We moved him into his room and his crib, after consulting with our pediatrician, just before 4 months.  I feel like I was ready for this, but it was a big deal for Ben. Our master suite is on a separate level in the house than Grayson's nursery. I remember Ben saying, "Are you sure? It's so far away!" But as our ped suggested might happen, I think we're all sleeping better being in separate rooms.

He also started to laugh when he was three months. Now, it's more consistent and louder and so stinking cute! At four months he started arching his back. Nearing five months, he's not rolling over quite yet, but he will roll from his back to his side so I think we're nearing the full rolls.

 Workday Schedule
Our normal/ideal workday looks like something like this:

5:30am - I wake for work and get ready. I shower the night before to help minimize prep time.

6:10/6:15am - I wake Grayson. Sometimes he's already stirring and other times I rub his tummy to wake him. He immediately nurses and I love this time together. He's still kind of sleepy but as he starts to eat he becomes more alert. His big blue eyes look up and lock in with mine and then he'll pull off and smile. After he finishes eating, we do a diaper and clothing change. I'll pour myself a bowl of cereal and he sits in the Bumbo chair with me while I eat until Ben finishes walking Oscar and is ready to go.

6:45am - We're all out the door for the day

At work, I ideally try to pump three times (8:30a/11:30a/2:30p). If I do this, I typically pump around 16 oz; which is 4 bottles. This is awesome become Grayson is only taking 3 bottles at school which means we get to build a stash. However, the majority of the time I end up getting busy at work which means I get in two pumping sessions. I still produce 12 oz during from two pumps which means we're sustaining the amount of milk needed at day care.

5:00pm - Usually we're all home by 5pm. Sometimes Grayson will have fallen asleep during the drive home and sometimes not. I nurse him at 5:30p and then we work on dinner. (Ideally I get home at 4:30 and can squeeze in a workout before it's time to feed).

7:00pm - Grayson's bedtime. We rotate who puts him down but have worked to establish a routine that includes a diaper change, pajamas on, storytime and bedtime.

Once Grayson is down, it's time to try to fit everything else in. Washing pump parts, shower, layout clothes for the next day, sit down and relax with Ben. There's a lot to squeeze into a little amount of time but I'm trying to make it a priority to dedicate time to us being us.

8:30/9:00pm - Dreamfeed.  Now that Grayson's older, he's able to successfully dreamfeed; that is, that he'll nurse without fully waking. I give him a dreamfeed before we head to bed.

I didn't experience any noticeable postpartum thoughts or feelings during maternity leave. I think because we worked hard to establish a routine and schedule (Babywise), that our regular activities and daily meetups with other new moms kept me busy enough not to fall into a funk, but also gave me an outlet to express what I was feeling, when I was feeling it with others who could relate. This was so so helpful! I really had no idea that when I met a group of pregnant women six months into my pregnancy how much they would mean to me in those first several postpartum months (and still now!).

However, I will say that returning to work and putting Grayson in the hands of someone else during the day IS hard. Returning to work and working full days on shorter nights of sleep is hard. Finding energy to come home after work and play with baby, make dinner, exercise, do chores and spend time together as a couple is hard. Like everything in pregnancy, and so far as parents, it's a learning game. Learn what works, learn what doesn't and make adjustments.

Not being able to do everything that I want to, when I want to is hard. Forgetting to write notes in Grayson's calendar or clothes in the washer is frustrating to me. I have my mental to-do list, but it's not at the forefront of my brain and I'm trying to learn that's okay. Life is short and time moves fast. The most important thing I can do is be present for it. So if that means a pile of clean, folding laundry waits three days for me to put it away, then it waits. If a thank you card isn't mailed out in a timely manner, then it isn't and hopefully it's the thought and fact that I remembered to send one that counts. If we go to bed and the couch pillows are in disarray thanks to Oscar, then they look sloppy, but who cares? (Me!)

Things aren't the way they were before. My body isn't the way it was before. Finding time to exercise and even how I exercise is different. I don't have the strength and stamina from when I ran my marathon six months prior to getting pregnant. It took nine months to grow this beautiful boy so it's going to take time to adjust and go back. It's going to take work and time. Things will never be how they were before and that's okay too. It's worth it.

Overall, as a new, first-time mom, I don't have it all together. I try and sometimes I have good days, but some days are hard. I don't always know what I'm doing, but together with Ben, we make it up as we go. I'm trying to give myself grace. It's not always easy and certainly has it's frustrations but eventually I will be me; a new and improved me: mentally, emotionally and physically. Most importantly, every day, every minute, and every second of self-doubt, self-consciousness, and sometimes self-pity, is so worth it for this being that we created.

 (PS - I'm working on a separate post regarding our Babywise schedule and sleeptraining)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Grayson - Two Months

I know it sounds cliche, but I'm not even sure where the last month has gone. Its weird, with a newborn (can I still call him that?), it's like time travels as wharped speed, but, so much happens during that time period.  Grayson has started to smile and coo. It's heart melting.

Our Schedule
Our other biggest accomplishment during month two is getting on a schedule.  If you can't tell or don't know, I'm typically a Type-A person. I'm trying really hard not to be a Type-A parent, but having a schedule has been such a sigh of relief for me. I've been able to know when Grayson will nap and have been able to schedule appointments like the dentist and a haircut during these nap times with no issues.

One of my new friends who is also a new mom (her daughter is 10 days older than G), mentioned using Babywise scheduling. I had the book but not read into it yet.  Once we talked more, I was so intrigued, I decided to read more when Grayson was six weeks old.  The fundamental concept of Babywise is for parents to use the clock combined with their digression (looking for cues from baby) for a cycle of feed/wake/sleep.  People have been shocked when I've mentioned waking a sleeping baby, but when I'm waking him for food, he's never angry :)  By waking him and immediately feeding, that allow him to use his energy to be an efficient feeder. He typically nurses for 15-20 minutes total. After feeding, he stays awake for about 40 minutes (so at this age his total awake time for one cycle is roughly an hour). Most times it becomes obvious when he's ready for a nap.  He'll continually yawn, flutter his eyes or cry for no reason. 
My goal is to have him nap at least two or three times a day in his crib, which sometimes is challenging because I like us to be on the go and he's guaranteed to nap in his car seat. For daytime naps, I close the blinds and shades, swaddle him and lay him in the Dock-A-Tot in his crib with a pacifier and noise maker (see below for some of my favorite first two month baby items). I stand over his crib and hold his paci until he has it secure and then I leave the room. He rarely instantly falls asleep. He will whimper and cry a little, but typically is asleep within 5-10 minutes of me leaving the room.  We're okay with little him cry this little bit to soothe himself (I've read that even at this young age, babies will cry before sleeping as a way to release some of their energy).

So our typical day schedule is something like this:
6:30am - wake for the day and feed
7:30am - down for nap (this gives me time to pump and make coffee)
8:45am - wake for feed (this morning feed gets a little skewed because I started doing workouts this week with Stroller Striders and I want him to nap during my class)
9:30am - nap
12:00pm - feed
1:00pm - nap
3:00pm - feed
4:00pm - nap
5:30pm - feed (as we approach evening we try to feed slightly closer together to fill him up for overnight). This feed is typically a bottle feed given by Ben of pumped milk. We wanted to make sure he would take a bottle for caregivers/babysitters). After his bottle, I pump.
6:30pm - nap
8:00pm - wake, change into pjs (nightgown and swaddle) and fresh diaper, feed. He will nurse himself to sleep.

The overnight is where we've been struggling a little. According to Babywise, once baby hits 5 weeks, they have the capability to sleep every hour for every week old they are. So, I set my alarm for a late night feed at midnight and technically after this Grayson is capable of sleeping until our 6:30am wake up, but he's still in the habit of waking up around 3:30am (which used to be our middle of the night feed time until we dropped it at 7 weeks old). Our pediatrician said we're doing the right thing to not feed at this time anymore and try to soothe him instead. I have my fingers crossed his body gets the memo before I go back to work at the beginning of December!

My Post Partum
I have been happy with my physical and mental changes coming into motherhood.  I have been so lucky to find a group of women who also are at the same phase of their lives that live nearby and I can share my maternity leave with. It's been SO nice to have people to discuss accomplishments, challenges and vents with! Not to mention, go out in public with so we're not stuck at home.  We met via a Facebook group for mom's in our neighborhood back in June and have just kept the relationships going. 

I mentioned in our schedule, one of our friends told us about Stroller Strides and just this week I've signed up and been getting back into exercising on a regular basis (before this, I was doing walks and runs about three times a week)! Even though I'm still breastfeeding, I hit a weight loss plateau. If you've followed my body adventure, I worked really hard during 2016 to lose weight (approximately 30 pound) and get my body healthy in advance of pregnancy.  I know it took nine months to put on the baby weight, but I am ready to say goodbye to it sooner than that! 

I want to share (and document for myself for future pregnancies) some of my favorite items this far for both mom and baby.

Baby Favorites at Two Months
Initially the first month or so, I wasn't sure the Dock was worth the hefty price tag.  We didn't seem to use it all that often, but looking back, I think a large part of that was that we let Grayson fall asleep whenever, wherever. Now that we have a nap routine, he sleeps most of his naps in his Dock.

He also will sleep longer overnight if in his Dock. I know there's a lock of controversy over it's safety but Ben and I decided we are comfortable with using it.  It's been especially handy for those times when we can't soothe him back to sleep overnight and we bring him into bed. The Dock-A-Tot was designed as a co-sleeper, so if Grayson can't fall back asleep, we'll place him in the Dock between us and hold his pacifier for him; usually within five minutes he's back asleep.

We were gifted this armless, double zipper swaddle and it's been awesome! It's like a little cocoon for him. He can't sneak out his arms (like in other swaddles) and the double zipper it so convenient for late night diaper changes where you can open the bottom zipper and keep his arms swaddled. We pretty much us this swaddle every night paired with a sleeping gown for easy diaper access.
Woombie My Little Peanut, Beige, 5-13 lbs

Most people have heard of Happiest Baby on the Block or the "5 S's"; well, at 3am when you're standing over a crib and "shhhhing" for five minutes or more, your mouth (and body and mind) are extremely tired.  The Shusher does the shushing work for you. When I first saw this, I thought it was the stupidest idea ever, but after a few nights of shushing, we added this to our registry and now we use it as a nose machine for every nap and every overnight sooth.  It's more or less a portable white noise machine (although Spotify has some great playlists for that too).
Baby Shusher - The Soothing Sleep Miracle for Babies

Honorable mention is our BOB Revolution stroller and Ergo 360 Infant Carrier. Since we're active people, these have both been great outdoors. We love the BOB for it's shocks on our awful neighborhood sidewalks and for runs. We love the Ergo for hikes. He always falls asleep in it!

Mom Favorites
As I've mentioned, I'm still breastfeeding and continues to go well. I have found some nursing friendly items that I wear/use on a daily basis.

Number one most important item! I had put one on my registry but it wasn't purchased. The first night in the hospital I had to pump and immediately understood why they are recommended! I hopped on Amazon and it was delivered to our house by the time we were released from the hospital.
Simple Wishes Signature Hands Free Breastpump Bra, Black, XS-Large

I'm always wearing either one of these tanks or one of these bras. The fabric is soft and stretchy that offers support, but they're not so tight that they make me feel awkward with the leftover baby weight. The bras do have foam cups that can be a little bit annoying; but the bra is so comfortable and affordable, I don't mind the nuisance.
Women Tops Maternity Nursing Pajama Boob Tube Inside Sleepwear 3PCS/PACK,Black S/M

This night gown is non-maternity/non-nursing; but it works for both. I wore this throughout my pregnancy. I also have continued to wear them now because they offer support and the strap is easy to drop down your shoulder for nursing. There is a maternity version, but it's a shorter length. I preferred this length to cover my bump. (I ordered my regular size; small).

Target considers these nightshirts, but I wear mine all of the time.  They come in short and long sleeved, but sell out quickly, so I would frequently check the website for them. Now that the temps are cooler, they're perfect to wear during the day with a cardigan over them and you can't tell at all that they're nursing tops then.  I also love the longer length in the back to cover your booty. The fabric is really soft, but I have noticed it's easy to catch and snag if you're not careful. The sizing is pretty generous that I own these tops in both extra small and small.

That's all for my favorites! But what would a two month update be without some pictures taken over the last month?
Blogging tips