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Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Journey to Solid Food

When Riley was born, she latched right away and was breast fed without incident until just before she was 2 months old. At this time she started getting fussy at the breast, latching poorly which led to painful nipples and within a couple of days I developed cracks. I had tried everything I knew to do and decided that if I wanted to continue breastfeeding I was going to need some help. So I made an appointment to see Jill, the lactation consultant at Milton District Hospital. She told me Riley and I likely had thrush and would need to be treated with Nystatin drops and Dr. Jack Newman's APNO.

Now if you've never had to deal with thrush, you might think of it as an infection. Just take your meds and the problem goes away in 7 to 10 days. Not so. The problem is, yeast can easily reoccur and can get out of hand quite quickly if you're not careful. You need to keep things sterile, cool and dry. Here's what I had to do:
1) Pump milk to relieve engorgement and bottle feed Riley. Those first couple of days were really painful and I had to forgo breastfeeding in order for my nipples to heal enough so they wouldn't crack when Riley latched on.
2) Every time Riley had a bottle, it had to be sterilized before she used it again. Along with the bottles, the breast pump, soothers and any toys she happened to put in her mouth had to be kept sterile on a daily basis.
3) If my breast pads got wet, I had to change them ASAP. Keeping things dry is key to keeping the yeast in check. I also had to be careful with bibs and clothing. If it was drooled on, it had to be changed.
So after 4 weeks of this I was so happy to have a baby who was latching properly and gaining enough weight. There were times when I wanted to give up but my weekly appointments with Jill gave me the encouragement and strength to keep going. I can happily say Riley was exclusivly breastfed for six months and we both enjoyed it. I was lucky that my bout with thrush was a mild one and I sympathize with mothers who have to deal with recurring symptoms.

Now at six months old Riley has started eating solid foods. It was a milestone I had been anticipating because, while I was pregnant with her I discovered Baby Led Weaning. This is introducing foods in pieces big enough for her to grab and eat herself. It is advised that babies be at least 6 months of age and have lost the tongue thrust reflex. To test this reflex, Riley's first solid food was puréed sweet potato. She didn't do too well which completely burst my bubble. It took her just over a week to master swallowing puréed food. A few days after that I reinflated my bubble and jumped into baby led weaning.

I cut butternut squash into fries and steamed them. It started off well but after a few pieces, Riley didn't seem interested. I wondered if it was the squash she disliked or the fact that she had to feed herself. So I went into the fridge and cut up some pear. She did a little better and ate about four pieces. Since then she's had peas, actual fries, Cheerios and carrots. I'm still not sure if she's digging this baby led weaning thing.  I went back to puréeing some food and it's hit or miss so I've decided on no more mush.  It may be the fact that she doesn't want to be on a feeding schedule.  I did breast feed on demand so maybe she'll eat solids when she wants and not necessarily at specific mealtimes.  Although the theory behind baby led weaning is that baby will eat when she's hungry and until she's full, I'm really going to have to pay attention to her hunger cues and keep a variety of foods available to her.  My next attempt will be rutabaga...keep your fingers crossed.

As promised, here's a couple pics of Riley's first tooth. And I must add that as of today, she has cut her second tooth!
about a week after I noticed the tooth.

a couple of days ago

Monday, April 2, 2012


As a new mom, you're always anticipating and noting those milestones in your baby's development.  The first smile, the first time they roll over, the first time you get a full nights sleep (if ever).

Once baby #2 comes along (or 3 or 4 or 5), those milestones seem to creep up too quickly.  As an infant, Pauly was never the sort to put things in his mouth but he drooled all the time.  People were always telling me "he must be teething".  So I anticipated a tooth sooner rather than later but 5 months came and went.  Then month 6, 7 & 8.  I know it's "normal" for a baby to be toothless on their first birthday but as a first time mom, the information passed down to you from moms who have been there and done that is always lingering.  So when everyone's telling you "he'll have a tooth any day now", you start to prepare for it.  And in my case, I became a little disappointed with every month that passed by.  Pauly was almost 11 months when that first bottom tooth popped up.  Better late than never I suppose.

Then comes baby #2.  Even when I was pregnant, things were so different.  My morning sickness was worse and lasted longer.  I didn't gain as much weight and once active labour started, the home water birth I planned was only a mere 4 hours long.  Could this have meant Riley was going to be the complete polar opposite of her brother?  I'm sure if I had consulted the Magic 8 Ball the answer would have been "all signs point to yes".  Riley is now 6 months old and I have to agree with the signs...she is almost nothing like her brother.

Riley is not too clingy.  She's never made strange with people she doesn't see on a regular basis.  She loves her baths and tummy time.  Sometimes she cries because she doesn't want to be held and at exactly 6 months, one week and a day... she cut her first tooth!  Ta Da!!  It's still too small for a picture (I've tried on various occasions) but when I can get a good shot of it, you'll be able to see it here.

Now I can only wonder what her next milestone will be but I'm sure it'll happen too quickly.

March Break Vacation

A couple of weeks ago we went on vacation.  It was nowhere exotic, and we didn't board a plane or train to get there.  Although my kids aren't old enough to experience an official March Break, Paul and I took this time to get away from the daily routine and spend some quality time together as a family.  The kids had such a good time and I loved every moment of it.

our home for the week
We rented a cottage in Kettle Point First Nations, off the southeast shore of lake Huron.   It took us about 3 hours to get there and the kids did really well with the drive. I expected Pauly to wake up and freak out that he had to sit in his car seat for the rest of the way.  Happily it didn't happen. When he did wake up for a while, he was happy to be riding in "daddy's truck".  As for Riley, I was almost certain she would sleep the whole time but there was the uncertainty that hunger would get the best of her. It didn't. And so our ride was uneventful and we were there before we knew it. 

within the first hour of arriving - making himself at home
As we started to unpack, Pauly got right into his toys. We didn't bring many but we knew Thomas and his friends couldn't be left at home. The cottage was cozy and clean, set on a mature big lot. The beach was nearby and there was swings in the back. And the best part was the weather. I had fully expected a freak snowstorm but we were surprised by warm temperatures and only one thunder storm.

visiting the town of Petrolia
We traveled to nearby towns, enjoying the scenery along the way. We took a walk to the beach and Pauly loved splashing in the water. He loved running in the yard, picking up sticks and chasing after Chloe. And Riley was smiling and laughing all week long (except for a couple sleepless nights). It was exactly what everyone needed.

lunch in Petrolia

watching Thomas and Friends in jammies

walking to the beach

enjoying the ride to the beach
soooo many rocks

having fun in the water - it was warm out but we couldn't get him to take off his hat

drying off at home after splashing in the lake

fun with sticks in the front yard

daddy and daughter time

being silly before bed

mommy and daughter time

Chippewa totem

exploring the back woods

enjoying a swing before dinner

posing for mom

storytime with dad before bed

Thomas and friends all lined up and raring to go - toot toot (Thomas, Rosie & Diesel 10)