Monday, August 30, 2010

Bad Mommy Confession, Number 1

My first bad mommy confession here on Hetta Hoo.

Pacifiers. No not that I use them, honestly if you think that is enough for a bad mommy confession, you probably shouldn't be reading this blog.

No, my confession is that I rarely ever sterilize them. In fact I have even take a pacifier out of the packaging and inserted it directly into the squealing little guy's mouth. No 5 minutes of boiling, nothing. At the time it seemed like an emergency but I know for some women there is no excuse.

Besides barely ever remembering to throw them in the dishwasher or sterilizer, I also carry them in whatever I have handy; a pocket, my (probably dirty) hand, diaper bag (and not in its own special hygenic container), you get the idea.

When they fall on the ground do you know what I do?
Blow on it, brush it with my hand, and then plop it back in his mouth. In extreme cases I might even suck on it once in place of water. But as a friend pointed out, my mouth is one of the most germy places of all, so clearly more harm then good.

And you know what makes this a real bad mommy confession? I don't feel bad, not one little bit.

Friday, August 27, 2010

5 Months

Theodor is 5 months today and he can do... uhm wait for it...something big is coming.... OK fine, Theodor is 5 months today and he can do... not much.

Don't get me wrong I'm as proud a mama as the best of them but even I have my limits. Eating isn't a skill, looking around a lot -observantly- while an improvement from staring at white walls is probably not going to show up on any of the "Your baby can now do this" email updates, and having the world's best pout and not being afraid to show it off anytime, anywhere, while highly amusing for the parents is probably also not something which will be asked about at the next doctors appointment.

I was hoping to have a tooth to brag about because A) He has been teething for over 5 weeks and it would be great if a tooth would decide to show up B) A certain unnamed person is constantly commenting that babies don't get teeth before 6 months. Even though I have explained over and over again that there is a range of time when babies first teeth pop, for some as early as 4 months and some as late as 9 months and it is all normal and the doctor did in fact confirm that Theodor is teething and it could happen anytime, this person refuses to believe it and continues to harp on the 6 month thing. So of course me in all my maturity was really hoping to proudly open up Theo's mouth to show off a gigantic baby tooth in all its glory before 6 months.But alas it is not to be.

So instead of the "my 5 month old can" checklist  I thought I would just throw out a few things which have amused me in the last weeks.

- While waiting for a bus on a busy industrial type street- you know the kind: almost a highway, ugly, loud, honking often; Theodor was mesmerized! He kept throwing out his little baby words, cooing, and smiling. We had to wait 15 minutes and he was happy to just stare at all the cars passing by the whole time. I was kind of shocked, especially since my midwives probably would have died at the thought of my baby being accosted by such extreme stimuli.

- We do a lot of baby classes and even though loud noises still don't bother him, now when other babies cry Theodor gets a sad look on his face, a big lip quiver, then pouts and also starts to cry. It's adorable.

-Theodor has started not falling right back asleep after a nursing session in the middle of the night. Since his room is right next to ours I can hear him talking to himself and if I peek through the crack I can sometimes see him rolling from side to side or taking his baby blanket and spreading it over his head (he can breathe through it and he doesn't leave it there) or grabbing at the bars with his hand. We have a darkening shade in his room so he can barely see anything. I'm quite impressed by his ability to stay awake even with the lack of anything interesting going on.  He has managed 45 minutes of "night playtime" although thankfully 10-15 seems to be the norm. I'm not always sure how long it lasts because if he is not crying and seems fine I normally just fall back asleep.

-He loves "reading" the warning signs on each side of his car-seat. He sees those things every few days but apparently they hold amazing baby secrets which adults can not understand because he finds the small black and white text fascinating.

-He is so vocal. He probably gets this from me as my mom used to say that once I came out I never stopped Haha mom, good one. But I must admit that I am not one of those moms who can do a play by play of what she is doing the whole day, I try but often end up just putting music on and then saying the occasional sentence every few minutes. If we are out or the husband is home he mainly is forced to just listen to me talk to other adults. I know terrible right?

I've added a little video clip I made this morning, and even though he can't read this I do want to thank Theodor for making each month better then the last:)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The nightshirt

I was too lazy to grab a bib before feeding Theodor his awesome lunch of mixed pureed veggies so I grabbed an old nightshirt of mine.

Clearly Theodor had been waiting for this moment. His expression is awe inspiring. I love the juxtaposition of baby Mickey Mouse Characters and Teddy's grim expression. He looks like he is going into battle. This picture is just all kinds of awesome and I wanted to share.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I lied. I deceived you all. For that I am sorry.
You see I said that my son was all smiles. Pure giggles and laughter, now that he was four months (almost 5 sniff sniff) and well rested.

Well that wasn't the complete truth.

You see according to a nameless figure in our life who shall remain nameless he is also serious... and still a bit fussy.
One of this persons favorite comments is, "Was hat er denn?"
Which directly translated means- What does he have? but in context means, "Why is he fussing again?? What is wrong with him? Why isn't he content to lay on a blanket with no human interaction while we eat coffee and cake?"

I don't think Theodor is serious. He is observant and loves looking around but just about anyone with a high pitched sing-songy voice can immediately get him to laugh or smile so no I don't think he is serious. But fussy, just a bit high-maintenance.... perhaps.

You see he has it all figured out. Sure laying on his stomach and pushing himself up with his arms will eventually give him the strength to crawl forward and see the whole world in all its glory (which I am guessing for him involves a lot of opening of drawers) but you know what works at this very moment which requires no strength whatsoever?

Whimpering, sticking out his bottom lip and starting to cry like a little baby who has never in all his life received a hug or a kiss, it has to be very very pitiful or it doesn't work as well- as the parents may just change the position he is in. Thinking (wrongfully of course) that he just wants to lay a bit differently or wants to go from stomach to back. However crying like he is the saddest little boy on this planet enables him to immediately be picked up and get an awesome first class view of everything going on around him.
To which he says to the other little babies laying on their stomachs, working towards a goal.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm an Idiot!

So how do like the new design? The last few posts? Any comments?? Seriously couldn't one person at least say, looks good? Sigh.

Oh wait, What is that you say? You can't comment. Really?

Well let me just fix that for you. Comments now work, just click and type away. Thanks so much for cluing me in to this Alyssa- I was clueless!

All over.

It's over. The nursing strike is over and has been since Saturday. It is like it never happened. The little stinker. Freaking mommy out for 5 days and then acting like there is nothing better then mama's milk. A few good things did come from this;

1. I met an awesome new midwife who gave me great advice that fit so well with my sort of crunchy lifestyle. Instead of going for either extreme (another lactation consultant and my pediatrician took care of those viewpoints for me) she told me she thinks it is great that Teddy is eating solids, and sometimes gets a bottle, and that he is fine. She said it might happen a few more times in his life but to not worry about it, continue doing what I have been doing and he'll come back to the breast. She was right, and SO sweet. She is going freelance and I liked her so much that I want her to be my midwife whenever baby number 2 happens. Which is pretty cool as all the midwives who had anything to do with Teddy's birth and my aftercare are women who I most definitely do not want having any part in my next pregnancy.

2. I am enjoying breastfeeding even more then I was before, which was quite a bit! I just love it. Especially when he is a bit tired so he closes his eyes and makes these contented little noises and smiles, and ooh I could keep going but I won't.

3. I now have crazy oversupply. These things are on the ready all the time. This has been fun for me as apparently spraying my husband in the face repeatedly from long range just doesn't get old for me. It also has allowed me to relax and realize that when Teddy isn't into it, it is because he isn't hungry not because he isn't getting enough, quickly enough.

Thanks for the encouragement last week everyone, it meant a lot!

Friday, August 20, 2010

White Bread

Germany is a land known for its breads, rolls, and bakeries. Dinner here is even called Abendbrot = Evening Bread, and traditional families do in fact eat bread with meats and cheeses for dinner.

I think this picture sums up what I think about that. Try to ignore the delightful boy who for once isn't frowning for the camera and zoom in on the bread.

That is crustless white bread.  I think I am the only person who buys it. I mean most people here don't even buy bread at the grocery store.

I love the stuff. I love that is has absolutely no nutritional value, is soft and squishy, it is Germany so it doesn't have preservatives but you can't have everything in life. I love that as an adult I no longer have to pretend to like crusts just because they are good for me.

Of course I know I could buy normal bread and cut the crusts off but then I feel like I am wasting. While I am sure the company does exactly the same thing, maybe they feed the excess crusts to unicorns, or use them to create cheap building materials- clearly the sky is the limit when it comes to crust possibilities.

Teddy of course will never be allowed this bread. He'll have to suffer through grainy bread with nuts and oat flakes and icky crusts, just like I did.Only then can you truly appreciate the white bread goodness. Besides growing bones need healthy nutrient full food,which you only get in whole grain bread ... and most especially the crusts. Well that is what I'll say at least.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Who knew a dark room could be so interesting?

Hmmm, I think I might be a bit hungry,ooh there is mom and I don't think she has a shirt on, ooh wait, what is that?
I think some shadows just moved near the window, ugh what is this thing in my face?- I think she just tried to squirt milk in my mouth. What a wierdo- doesn't she see that I'm concentrating on this awesome- ooh there is my mobile, man I love that thing, I think if I really strain my eyes I can just see the outline of it, oh wait, what was that? Speaking of straining why in the world is it so dark in here, it makes it so much harder to see everything although I think right up there is some sort of uhmm hmm, what is that?
Oh wait I am pretty sure I heard something in the opposite direction, what is going on over there... What is up with this woman shoving her boob in my face,doesn't she see that I am busy here??
Oh wait there is her face, quick smile to let her know I still think she is great, or should I scream and arch my back instead as I really need some more space to look around, what was she even doing in here anyway...
Ow, ow,my mouth hurts, I am just going to bite the next thing in my mouth, ugh it is so soft no fun for biting on,get it out! cooh grghh, hey what was that? Oh my gosh, I think that was me! Cool! Coooh, gghg, cooh, wow I could do this all night. I'm glad she is laying me back down as I am on a roll...

So we are on day 3 of the nursing strike and seem to have found a way to at least get through this thing. I no longer think supply is an issue, I still have a fast letdown and I can hear him getting lots of milk when he feels so inclined to try. Although I will continue to pump 2 or 3 times a day just to make sure my supply stays up for as long as this lasts.

He is still having lots of wet diapers and I haven't increased his solids but I haven't cut them out either as I don't think either of those possibilities is the solution here. Before this strike he wasn't even receiving solids every day, and never more then half a jar and always after a nursing session, but he really likes to eat so it seems mean to me to cut it out. I also don't feel comfortable with the thought of him hungry and in pain due to teething so I have still been giving him his pacifier when he wants it (although he often spits it out or just chews on it).

So far I am having the most success with nursing him half asleep, so I have been waking him from naps a few minutes early. At night cradling him in my arms while standing and swaying has worked well enough to get him to nurse for 10 to 20 minutes although I have had to do quite a few side changes, which is fine. I also was able to get a great 20 minute session in after PEKiP yesterday which helped to reaffirm to me that this is just a phase. So I did manage to get about 4 to 5 good nursing sessions in in a 24 hour period and I am comfortable with that. He is sleeping 5 hour stretches at night and I am not willing to wake him up any earlier then that as he needs his sleep and I know he will let me know if he is hungry, as I go in right away and always try to nurse him whenever he wakes up in the middle of the night.

I sort of freaked out yesterday and started sobbing as it is quite an emotional thing to have your baby reject the breast, especially when it has never happened before, but reading all of your comments and tips (Thanks so much everyone!) and reading at other sources online has helped me realize this is just a little phase most likely due to a combination of teething and more awareness of the world around him, and that it will pass. I also need to remember that before this strike he was not nursing every hour nor did he want to and I shouldn't be surprised when he gets a bit annoyed with my trying to get him to nurse constantly. So I have eased back and am trying not to offer more frequently then every 2 hours, as I really want him to feel like everything is normal and not make a big deal out of it.

I was already doing many of the things before which encourage a positive nursing relationship. We take a bath together almost every day, I try to nurse him in his room with the darkening shades down a few times a day, I sing or speak to him in a low calming voice (this has recently also become a distraction -sigh-), I almost never have a shirt on in the middle of the night, TMI??, Well too late now LOL, and I have no problems nursing in public or offering it in public. I am just going to keep on doing what I have been doing and hope this is over before the hubby goes away for a week starting this Sunday night.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Nursing Strike???

Teddy is teething and has not been too interested in nursing the past few days. I didn't pay much attention to that fact as he just has not been interested in nursing that much since hitting 4 months. He was still having lots of wet diapers and I thought he was nursing enough but now I am not sure.

As he now has twice refused to go on the breast at all. I just tried pumping and got basically nothing and now I am freaking out. My supply must really have dropped in the past days as I couldn't even get an ounce. I gave him half a jar of plum and pear just because I don't want him to feel too hungry but I have been trying to get him to latch on every two hours and he just won't.

Does anyone have any tips? I'm drinking nursing tea again and ate oatmeal for lunch.I'm also pumping on each side for 10 minutes every hour but nothing is coming out which is making me depressed and of course worried about supply.I'm committed to making this work as I know babies don't naturally wean before a year,and if I give him his homeopathic teething tablets right before nursing he will sometimes latch on for about 30 seconds, making me think it is really related to teething.

Sleep and Teddy = Oil and Water part III

You can read part I here and part II here.

I went through all the books again, talked about it at length with Thomas and my doctor, and we decided we would try to let him cry for short periods of time and see where it took us. The first night was awful. He shrieked like a banshee and I was pretty sure if it was possible to destroy a mother child bond in a night I had just done it. We checked on him every five to ten minutes and after about an hour he was out. However he woke up again quite often that night and although he did sleep some longer stretches I still wasn’t sure if this was the right path for us. We had decided to give it 5 days so we plowed ahead.

Each day got better and the change happened so fast. We never had another night like the first. We also were able to customize our plan to suit our son. Both my husband and I came up with soothing strategies that only took a minute or two but calmed him right down. We also started doing checks more often, every 3-5 minutes if he sounded angry. We found that by doing this he never really got too angry and often was asleep within fifteen minutes. I still nursed him on demand up until 10pm and then would just soothe him if he had nursed within the past 3 hours.

Now a few weeks later we almost never have any crying whatsoever. We do our bedtime ritual and put him in his bed. He grabs at his blanket looks around and within five minutes he is asleep. He only wakes when he is hungry and would like to eat. Although recently I do think a bit of teething got in the way but that still just led to two extra wakings in which we snuggled him nice and tight for a minute put him back down and then he was out.

He has now managed a 10 hour stretch (although I am perfectly happy with a 3-5 hour stretch- I let him lead the way, if he wakes, he gets fed/comforted, and if not, well then I enjoy the extra winks) and he is so well rested. The best part is how much happier he is. Most mornings I get a cooing little guy from his crib and then get to enjoy a smiley happy baby with energy until he goes down for bed at 6 or 7. I love it. I love how much this has made a difference in all of our lives.

I know that in those first hard days I did not ruin our bond or teach him not to trust me or call out for me. I know he just needed that little push to figure out how to fall back asleep without any help. It was like he had been begging me all that time to just help him get some more sleep and now that he was finally able to, all was right with the world.

I also know that this path isn’t right for everyone or every baby and I do wish that we had never even had to consider it. But I don’t regret or feel ashamed for one minute that we took this route. It was the right one for us and I truly believe that it was one which involved much less tears then if we had continued on as we did.

In my circles here in “the real world” this is something that almost no one talks about and I wanted to share my experience. I hope I haven’t alienated some of the mummies too much who I know took a very different path.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sleep and Teddy = oil and water? part II

You can read part I here.

When you look at a sleeping baby there is pretty much no way not to go all gooey inside and get a big goofy grin on your face.

When you look at a baby screaming in your face who you have spent the last three hours bouncing on a ball and singing and talking to, it is pretty impossible to feel nice feelings at all.

I used to get so incredibly angry at this little person in our lives. I was doing everything in my human power to appease him and it still wasn’t enough. Didn’t he know how hard I was trying, what did he want from me? I get tears just thinking about it now because it was so so hard. I don’t think words can express how helpless I felt and how hard every day was to just barely eke through. We were surviving. That is it. Survival.

I read books, we met with our pediatrician multiple times, we even went to a sleep therapist. We were doing everything “right”. Trying to limit wake times, lots of fresh air in the sling, nice relaxing massages and baths, he slept in my arms, and still he would spend the better part of every night crying hysterically. Nursing no longer appeased him so I would sit in the dark in the living room and walk and bounce until eventually exhaustion would set in and he would sleep for at least an hour or two. I wasn’t asking for much, maybe just three hour stretches and a baby who would fall asleep in less than an hour and not cry all the time.

I had heard about cry it out and knew all the different opinions. Babies need attachment and their needs to be responded to, babies need closeness, babies can’t be spoiled- and I believed and still do, all of it.

At about 16 weeks Theodor reached a point where he started to kick me and scream every hour, this was a low point even for us and I decided that nothing could be worse then what we were doing.

So we took a big step and never looked back...

More coming in part III of Sleep and Teddy = oil and water?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sleep and Teddy = oil and water?

Sleep is such a huge issue when it comes to parenting. I honestly, and naively never really thought about it before Theodor graced the world with his presence. Then I spent about 3 1/2 months thinking about nothing else, because surprise surprise, I wasn't getting any.

Now I still think about sleep but normally these thoughts are accompanied by feelings of pride, happiness, and enjoyment that can only occur when getting chunks of sleep that are longer then an hour or two.

I love that my son actually has a bedtime and nap times now. Sure they are flexible based on how much sleep he has gotten so far in the day but before these were terms which just had no place in our lives.
Every day was a big fat question mark that quite honestly filled me with fear.
Would he sleep at all? How long would it take him to fall asleep at night? Would he cry for hours in my arms? Would he be happy when he was awake or miserable? Would I be able to get him to sleep even an hour not in my arms? Would he ever sleep more then an hour or two?
Would I make it through the day???

I now wake up every morning more or less refreshed and these questions don't even go through my head. Everything is so much better in ways I didn't even let myself imagine before because I just never ever thought we would get to this place.

Next Post: How I got to this place.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I just have to say...

I just have to say...
that I love this.

I love being a mom. I love my son. I love my family of three.

It is so, so much more then I could have imagined or planned for and it is perfect that way.

My heart often feels like it is bursting at the seams it is so full. I am so thankful that I have been blessed with all of this. I try to cherish every moment.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The *b* word :)

Honestly I never really got why people get so passionate about breastfeeding. Sure it is a great thing to do for your baby but
A) Doesn't everyone already know this
B) Doesn't everyone at least try to breastfeed

That is what I thought until I read how few Americans actually breastfeed. I live in a country where 91% of the women breastfeed so I really believe it is a non-issue here. Everyone knows that it is healthy and the people who don't breastfeed have a good reason for not doing so. Nursing in public is commonplace and no one bats an eye.

I never thought too much about breastfeeding before the baby came. I read a short book on it but knew I would just need people to show me if the latch was correct, etc.

I think the time involved came as a shock to me, as I just wasn't used to spending 45 minutes or even longer every hour or two feeding a baby. I didn't really have any pain, and Theodor latched on amazingly from the start. I basically just had to put him anywhere in the vicinity of my boob and he went down to business.But the first weeks it was really hard for me to always need to be the one feeding him and I had a permanent spot on the couch where I would read books and watch movies and TV series as Teddy nursed away.

Now of course 4 months later I miss that time!! I can't get Teddy to nurse for much more then 10 minutes now and he isn't interested even half as often as he used to be. He is still gaining tons but he clearly has figured out how to expedite the process. Which is a normal occurrence for babies as they get older.

I love the time spent breastfeeding him now and plan to breastfeed at least 1-2 years, although at a year I don't think I would do more then a morning and good night feed. I love breastfeeding and I think if more women had good help in the beginning and stuck with it for the hard initial first few weeks that the breastfeeding rates would go much higher. But I don't think that is the main issue which keeps American women from breastfeeding to 3/6/9/12+ months.

I think the biggest issue keeping women from breastfeeding in the States is the lack of paid maternity leave. Here in Germany we receive 1-2 years paid leave and have all the time in the world to get the hang of breastfeeding. We also never have to deal with pumping if we don't want to. Personally I hate to pump and I imagine that if I had needed to go back to work I would have switched to formula during the day because pumping is so time consuming, and I completely understand when other women make that choice. Our time is precious.

I'll end this with my number one tip for breastfeeding.
In the first weeks breastfeed your baby as long as (s)he wants and as often as (s)he wants.
That's it. It sounds easy but you would be surprised how many people will try to tell you that anything more then 15/20/insert random number here minutes isn't necessary and isn't helping that baby or you- you're just giving yourself sore breasts, and how hard it can be in the first weeks to completely give all your time over to the baby. But it really works.

Due to Theodor's jaundice, being in the hospital and my milk not coming in until day 5 Teddy lost over 10% of his starting birth weight. It was probably closer to 15%. He had been receiving an infusion so he was lazy at the breast and it just didn't look good. But he loved to nurse so I let him nurse all day and all night and within a week he had regained his birth weight and has been steadily gaining ever since, now he is at close to 18 pounds and it is crazy to me that my small (barely Bs!) have done that. That is all me.

Finally a little photo walk through my breastfeeding journey. Birth-->First Weeks-->Now

If you can do it in a gondola, you can do it anywhere ;) So for any mamas just starting out, it gets easier!