Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Baby monitor with wireless IP camera-Foscam FI8910W review

God bless Pinterest and God bless this blog. After finding out that we would be moving abroad, I decided that I better invest in a baby monitor. As per usual, I immediately went to Amazon and started reading reviews. I coupled this with polling some of my mommy friends about their choices in monitors and the pros and cons they found with their particular models. Our little L shared our bed for the first two months, and after transitioned into the cradle next to our bed. Because of this, we didn't really need one. She did take naps in her own crib or in the swing, and I just listened for her cries.
Flash forward to our move to a new country and house; I decided it might be more prudent to have a baby monitor to ease my fears. I was shocked to find out (not really) that all the monitors were outrageously expensive and seemed to only have a one year lifespan. I knew there was a better option, and thank god for Stephanie at Literally Organized!

I'm not going to talk about the set up because you can find those instructions here by R. Tickle in the reviews. (Thanks dad!) I'm loving this new capability as I can check in on my daughter during her naps on my iPhone or iPad. We haven't quite figured out the best place to put the camera yet, but here are a few stills from today.

This is the view from the web browser. I don't have the app yet, but Mike does. I'll post photos of what that looks like later.

You can see she is still up playing with one of her loveys :)

Out cold 

So, if you are in the market for a baby monitor and are tech savvy enough to set this puppy up, I highly recommend it! We are having a blast checking in on our little pumpkin butt while she sleeps. I just need to think up a better place to put it so I can get some better views :)

Happy Wednesday everybody!

Friday, October 19, 2012

I'm not a bad mother.

I've been talking with a few of my mom friends online about breastfeeding, and it got me thinking about the problems that I faced with Lucy and where we are now. It seems like it's been ages since I pumped, had a night feeding, or prayed to god that Lucy would just latch this once so I could breastfeed her like a normal mom.

Well, we weren't normal.

Our time breastfeeding was awful. It started off pretty normal, but early on she began exhibiting signs of reflux. She would latch, suck for about a minute, then pull off screaming. Then latch on again, suck, scream, and repeat.  This usually lasted about forty minutes. I thought maybe it was normal because she was so young. Well, I was wrong. I've seen enough breastfeeding mommies to know that my daughter was not "the norm" when it came to feeding. Even bottle feeding her, I couldn't hold her cradled up next to me. She always wanted to lye on my thighs head at my knees and feet in my stomach. Even now I can't get her to cuddle me while she eats. Oh well.

My supply was dropping and around two weeks, we started supplementing her with formula. That was hard because I didn't want to have a low supply. I wanted to exclusively breastfeed. All the books I’d read and people I talked to said it was the best for my baby. Formula was evil. It caused obesity, you wouldn’t bond with you child, it could even kill them if it was a bad batch. Mother’s milk was best. No, it was mandatory.  

I would prowl around online, reading about all the millons of women who were creating these giant stashes of frozen breast milk. Damn them. Why not me? How did they do it? Did it have something to do with love? Maybe if I loved my daughter more I would have milk. Or maybe if I wanted it bad enough it would just come. The power of positive thinking would get me engorged.

I had already had my dream of going to a birthing center smashed by her being breech (I'll blog about this later). By two or three months I was barely getting enough to give her half and half. I had eight sets of pumping shields and I basically spent all my free time strapped to my Medela pump and trying to daydream about waterfalls of milk cascading into my freezer bags. I was going to join the ranks of mothers who had stockpiled enough breastmilk to give their children breastmilk until kindergarten. Mothers milk tea, fenugreek, blessed thistle, oatmeal, juice, water, and snacks were a few of the supposed foolproof methods to upping my milk production. I mainlined them all. I wreaked of maple syrup, a side effect of the herbs.

They didn't work. Power of positive thinking, power of positive thinking.

All my free time was spent searching for the magic cure to my low supply. I was obsessed. I eventually called two lactation consultants who told me two very different things. The first one said "Give up. I've seen this before and she is not going to keep going." The second took a slightly different approach. "Just keep going. Chin up. You're doing all the right things."
That depressed me even more because nobody seemed to care enough to really help me. I wanted a tangible plan of attack, not encouraging words. Will your encouraging words boost my supply and get my daughter to latch on again? Oh they won't? Then why they hell are you talking out of your you know what?! I was livid.

I decided to take matters into my own hands and I bought a supplementor and a special nipple made my Medela to imitate the breastfeeding action. When it finally came to using the supplementor, it was an utter disaster. The first time left me in tears, locked away in my room because I couldn't stand to look at my own daughter. I felt so rejected. Was she even my baby? What was I doing wrong? Why didn't she love me? What was wrong with me!

The Medela Calma nipple was also a horrible fiasco that ended in two hours of screaming and me giving up. I couldn't do it anymore. I felt like I was fighting a loosing battle. My daughter had won out in the end. Why did she have to win? Why did this feel like a war when it was supposed to be the most natural thing in the world?

Fast forward several months and I am happy to say we have weathered the storm. Now my daughter is 13 months and we are in a much better place. I went through a brief relapse around 9 months and tried to relactate, but that ended in failure. I've accepted, begrudgingly that I won't get to have that beautiful breastfeeding relationship with my daughter. Life has a funny way of teaching us these things. I'm just thankful that we are in a better place. I still mourn our loss, but in the end, I love my daughter and our relationship is so much more than breastfeeding. I know she knows I love her and vice versa. Maybe I have grown so attached to baby wearing because it gives me a chance to imitate that bonding time we would have had breastfeeding.

If you are reading this and struggling with milk supply or reflux, or any other type of breastfeeding issue, just keep some perspective. Your bond with your child is not going to be compromised by not breastfeeding.  Take a scroll down your Facebook feed and you might get discouraged. I frequently see people who are railing against women who aren’t breastfeeding and reading articles friends have posted about how formula is poison. For those of us who have tried and failed, this can be devastating. Ladies, remember, what may have worked for you doesn’t work for someone else. This is not a one boob fits all problem.

I didn’t get to breastfeed my child 2 plus years as I had planned and that doesn't make me a bad mother.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Post baby body and Insanity/Asylum

Sorry my faithful readers (mom, dad, and Mike), you all know I've been sans Internet for over a month here in our new home. Well, I'm back and I thought I would write a quick post on getting my body back after baby.

I really struggled with weight loss for the first six months after having had a c-section, ebf, working, pumping, having to supplement with formula and try to increase my supply,  while also trying to shed the last 25 pounds from my 50 pound weight gain. When I was pregnant, one of my friends who also happened to be pregnant told me of the power of breastfeeding for weight loss. She said that the baby weight would just fall off once I started breastfeeding (heretofore bfing). Eureka! Once I learned this I was stuffing my face with all my usual sometimes foods. Hamburgers every day, why not! Second cupcake? I thought you'd never ask. Curiously, it seemed my baby had decided to take up residence in my rearend because my belly never got that big. Alas, after my 6lb 4oz baby was born and I had left 20 lbs in the O.R., I awaited my weightloss miracle. One week passed and nothing. Two weeks, nothing. Three weeks, nothing. By my daughter's one month well-baby visit I learned that she was not getting enough milk and that all that screaming and pulling off during breastfeeding was actually reflux. So, one bottle of formula at night with her meds and I was prescribed to eat more and drink horrible herbal tea and take these godawful herbal supplements to up my supply. If any of you remember this time, I carried around with me a lovely odor of maple syrup. I mainlined mothers milk tea, fenugreek, blessed thistle, and ate oatmeal every morning. Just so you all know I hate oatmeal and tea. The things we do for our children. 

By two months and a couple pounds of weight gain, I figured I probably wasn't going to be able to eat donuts and get those coveted six pack abs. Damn it. Why me?

Around my daughters weaning time after a nasty encounter with a stomach bug that forced my body to expel things I didn't know possible, I finally started to loose a little weight. At the same time, I started tracking what I ate using a food and exercise ap. This coupled with the realization that if I was ever going to get out of my fat pre-pregnancy clothes, I needed to seriously step up my game. Yoga was no longer an option because my husband had sold his soul to a big law firm and my daycare put my daughter out on the street at 6:00 pm. Being a working mom with an absent husband* severely limited my chances of success.

I got another wake-up call after I had the amazing opportunity to have dinner with the First Lady, Michelle Obama and other fit moms (and dads) in the DFW area. By this time I could fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes, but the mommy pouch had not disappeared. A picture taken of Mrs. Obama and I solidified in my mind that walking around the neighborhood with my daughter in my Ergo was not going to do the trick. I needed more, but I didn't know what.

To make a long story short, some of the moms from a postpartum fitness group I belong to were starting up a program called Insanity, and I thought what the hell, why not try it! OMG, after doing the fit test, I knew that I was beyond out of shape. How did I let myself get like this? Oh yeah, spending almost the entire third trimester on the couch and eating hamburgers. I remember now.

Here are my results after completing one round of Insanity. I am about a week into Asylum in these three photos. I went from beached whale to this by thirteen months postpartum.

I am not posting these photos to toot my own horn. Rather, I'd like to hopefully encourage some new mom who maybe has recently had a c-section and is worried about whether their abs will ever come back. They will, but it takes a lot of effort on your part.

I did Insanity and I'm currently doing Insanity Asylum. Before I was a yoga studio rat. I would practice four or five times a week. However, baby made it impossible to get to the studio and I eventually jumped onto the workout video bandwagon. It's not for everyone, but for my family it made sense.  I think in general, the key is to find something you enjoy and that you will stick with. Insanity has been that for me.  I loved pushing myself harder than I had in a long time. I even got my husband to join in with me (kicking and screaming of course). I've completed the Insanity program once and I am currently in the thick of the Asylum. 

One of my greatest tools during this journey is a group of moms who are all trying to stay active. I communicate with them daily about my ups and downs. We encourage each other to keep fighting, we post pictures of our little ones, and we swap healthy recipes. These ladies have been one of the key ingredients to my success and I am truly grateful that I am lucky enough to have such an amazing support system. 

I hope if you are reading this post baby you feel encouraged. You will get your body back if you work hard! I started slowly working out and didn't truly get back to my pp weight until close to my daughter's first birthday. Now I'm a size smaller! I've never been this thin as an adult. I'll write more later, right now it's time to pop that DVD in and dig deeper! Goodnight ladies :) 

*My husband is a great father and was absent because of his job. He is a fantastic provider and I am so grateful for his sacrifices everyday.