Happy little

September 5, 2012

Our happy little is back!! Yaaaaaaaaaaay!!!

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Baby joy

Whatever was making her crabby and sad seems to have passed, though the molars still haven’t poked through. Very close, though.

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We’ve had a couple of lovely weekends with family and friends. Cora’s Grandpa and Granny Sherry visited for the first time. We went to the aquarium, which was gorgeous, then back to our fave outdoor-eating spot, Park Tavern.

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Cora was not happy to see them go!

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We also watched some friends tie the knot in an impromptu backyard wedding, which was lovely and heartwarming.

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We’ve had lots of playdates.

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And Cora’s even been sleeping a little better (knock on wood). We’re still co-sleeping, but she’s not needing bottles during the night anymore, though she still wakes and nurses twice. But that’s a big improvement!

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Our close friends Tony and Laura came to visit with their daughter last weekend for the first Auburn football game (no comment!). We had such a lovely weekend with them. Their daughter is two, but we haven’t really gotten to know her yet since we were in London. She’s great fun!

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The girls got along brilliantly well.

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Dada dressed her.

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All in all things have been going well, and we’re so happy our sweet girl is feeling better.

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Things are definitely getting easier. I know I referred, in passing, to the fact that we’ve had a difficult year. Our problems were mostly feeding problems. I will detail the whole breastfeeding saga later, but let’s just say that breastfeeding was the most important thing in the world to me, as a new mother, and that we were unable to exclusively breastfeed after the first three weeks.

I spent most of the first six months of Cora’s life trying to get back to exclusive breastfeeding, to no avail. Add to that reflux, meds, and a (poor, sweet, darling) baby who wouldn’t take more than a couple of ounces of a bottle at a time (after nursing) – and basically we’ve spent our entire 10 months feeding.

I know that doesn’t sound too terrible, but for someone so heartbroken about being unable to breastfeed, yet not able to leave the house because of the delicate balance of urging a baby to continue to nurse when she has nipple preference, yet having to give a tiny amount of bottle every two hours… it was an isolating place to be.

I’ve kept track of her feeding on an iPhone app since birth. Here’s an example of a day when she was 6.5-months old:

5:30am – breastfeed 11min
8:30am -bf 6min
9am-10am – bf 9min, 1.5oz formula
12pm-1pm – bf 22min, 3oz breastmilk
1pm – bf 11min
4pm-5pm – bf 24min, 2.5oz formula
5:45pm – 2oz formula
7pm-7:45pm – bf 10min, 5oz formula
8:45pm – bf 6min
9:45- 10:30 – bf14min, 3.5oz formula
11pm-11:30pm – bf 5min, 3oz formula
1:45am – bf7min, 3oz formula
4:45am – bf 5 min
5:30am – 3oz formula

So not ideal.

Things have recently started to get easier. She’s still not sleeping, but she has begun to cut down her bottles since she’s eating more solids. And (since we started side-lying nursing in bed at around 7.5-months), she now loves to breastfeed again. Just writing that makes me tear up. 🙂

Having so much family support since we’ve moved home has definitely helped make it easier, but Cora is also just slowly becoming much happier. She’s such a sweetheart, she breaks my heart! Being freed from the tyranny of non-stop feeding seems to have improved her mood. I think maybe her reflux is finally starting to improve (though she’s been off her meds for a few months, and she still won’t have more than 4oz from a bottle. But I don’t know how much she gets from me beforehand.), which in turn has meant she’s feeling a bit better? It’s such a guessing game.

She’s turned into such a joyful little thing!

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I almost hate to even write about how it was. As if, by writing it, I’m implying that there was something wrong with her or that I’d have her any other way. She’s my darling girl, and of course I wouldn’t. But it was difficult to get my head above water for a while.

I’ve also been trying to roll with the punches a bit more lately. Cora has pretty severe separation anxiety for her Mama. Especially during this huge upheaval in her life, I feel it’s really important to just be there for her any time she needs me. It’s just a phase, she’ll grow out of it (aaaaaand repeat). But it’s partially manifested in the fact that she won’t sleep alone. We’ve been co-sleeping since she started waking at night again at around 7 months (she was sleeping 8-9 hours/night in her own bed before that *sniff sniff*). I actually think the waking and not willing to go down in her own bed was the beginning of her separation anxiety.

At any rate, I used to try to eek out a moment for myself when she went to sleep. So I would slip out of bed to have an hour to myself to watch tv (haha and to pump. Always to pump), clean something, spend some time online – anything that felt like a moment of ‘me time.’ Of course, after 45 minutes, she would wake screaming cause Mama was gone forever. This meant that her naps were short and unreliable, and I had to go to bed at 9pm.

Since moving home, I’ve embraced the bed as a place I simply spend a lot of time. We’ve moved from house to house a lot, and the beds in America are very high off the ground! So I’ve just been going to bed when she does and staying in bed during her two naps. I just bring my computer or my Kindle, or, recently, have set up a tv to watch if I feel like it. A huge burden has lifted. She’s napping so much better, and I get some ‘alone time’ without the stressor of worrying about when she’ll wake screaming.

Perhaps this is yet another rod for my back, but at the moment, it’s working for us.