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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Summary of Week 13

Tess's 13th week of life was from Thursday Oct 23rd through Wednesday October 29th. She was 12 weeks old during this week. 

Nursing: Bottle was a BIG issue on our beach trip. She simply refused. We realized she'd drink just enough to be satisfied (like 2 oz) and then quit. It was very, very difficult and frustrating for me. But it also forced me to figure out how to nurse her in situations where I typically wouldn't. I nursed her on the beach and in the car this week with ease! I am not anti-nursing in public...it's just not something I'm personally comfortable doing so for me to do these things was a big deal! 

I am SO THANKFUL for my blog! I'm always glad to hear when it helps others...but I'm especially excited when it's helpful for me and this week it really was. With the bottle issues I went back and realized that BOTH Kye and Britt struggled with the bottle at this age! I think it must be a common thing? Of course they didn't straight up reject it like she did but they did struggle. It gave me hope that it's a situation that will improve!

I tried to give Tess a bottle while at home alone when kids were at school and she did the same thing where she just completely refused it. I ended up putting her down and waiting a few minutes then nursed her because I couldn't handle her being so upset and didn't want to battle with it. Mrs. Charlotte was so sweet and went to the store and bought us a ton of bottles to try! I've heard that a different bottle can make a big difference so I was ready to try anything and everything we could!

She had a couple times this week where she was fussy at the breast. Sometimes in the evenings for her 8:00 feeding we could NOT get her to calm down and eat. She was crying so SO hard that both Zach and I got concerned about it! It's not like her to reject nursing and it did worry me but I think it was due to her having a lot of sleep issues and just being overly tired?

Nursing got a lot quicker this week. Often she'll only take 15-20 min for her whole feeding. I also stopped using the Milkies this week while nursing as I wasn't getting as much in them anymore and it was just a pain to pour them into the bottles and clean them and store it all and everything!

Schedule: This week Tess's schedule stayed the same. She nursed at 7, 10:30, 2, 5, 8 and 10:30

A big goal for this week was to start extending her awake time lengths. Her naps were junky (much more on a that in a second) so I first tried making awake time shorter. When that didn't work, I decided to extend awake time. Why not just keep her awake which makes the naps shorter? I extended awake time length to one hour and 15 minutes during this week and it worked out well for her!

Sleep: Ugh. Prior to Hawaii she was a pretty great sleeper. After Hawaii? Whole new ball game. We entered the third wonder week and I'm sure that had a lot to do with it. I also think Tess started having 4 month old sleep regression issues early. 

Tess did NOT sleep well on our beach trip. We quickly realized the bassinet we were using for her was just too small. She was touching the sides of it and it would cause her to wake. We also were trying out the woombie swaddle and soon regretted that. Her ability to move her arms caused issues for her as well. And we were also dealing with trying to get her back able to self soothe after being held too long while we were in Hawaii. Part of our prepare for sleep ritual involved holding her for a few minutes prior to putting her in the crib for sleep. While we were gone she was held too long and not put down sleepy but awake and this resulted in her not being able to self soothe anymore to get herself to sleep at the starts of naps.

So we had a good bit of issues we were dealing with!!! Tess started having both nap issues as well as middle of the night wakings. With naps she woke 45 minutes into each nap. On the dot! She truly had the "45 minute intruder" and it was like clockwork. Nights were not at a set time but were very random and all over the place. Some nights she'd wake at 3 am, some at 5 am, some not at all. There was no real pattern to it which makes it much more difficult to trouble shoot!

While we were at the beach we knew there wasn't much we could do with the sleep issues. We held her to sleep a LOT to just be able to get through the trip and then I knew once we got home I'd be looking at a good while of hardcore sleep training!

Once home my first change was to stop holding her at all prior to sleep times. We swaddle, sing, turn off the lights, turn on the fan, and then just kiss her and lay her down full awake. This worked well and she would fall asleep very quickly at the start of naps. Having her fall asleep at the start of sleep time has never been a big issue for Tess! 

However, that 45 min intruder was (IS!) a BEAST! I took pages and pages of notes. I wrote down every little detail of every nap. I'm not going to bore you all with those details. Basically she woke every single nap exactly at the 45 min marker. And nothing I did from then on would help her get back to sleep. I tried doing cry it out for 15-20 min and then I'd go in and hold her to calm her down and then put her back down and let her cry again. Basically with that approach all that happened was she ended up only getting a 45 min nap and spent the rest of the nap crying!

I did switch back to the Miracle Blanket swaddle and it helped some. I think her hands were bothering her in the Woombie but yet she could still kick her feed out of the Miracle Blanket which wasn't good either so I ended up creating my own combo swaddle using them both. The Woombie to keep her legs in and the Miracle Blanket to keep her arms in! 

I've never been a big fan of the swing. Kye was a paci baby and I used that when he struggled with sleep. Britt responded super well to cry it out and would only fuss for a few minutes before going back to sleep on her own. With Tess I decided to start trying the swing. She would just CRY and CRY and wouldn't stop so cry it out wasn't working! I started to leave her swaddled and move her to the swing to finish naps (she'd wake at 45 min then I'd let her fuss for 15-20 min to give her the chance to fall back to sleep on her own, then I'd move her to swing if she didn't fall back to sleep during that time). Once she fell back to sleep I'd turn off the swing but just leave her there to finish the nap. It wasn't an ideal solution but my hope was, with time, she'd stop waking at 45 min and, therefore, stop needing the swing at all. 

too small bassinet!
Swing for end of nap
swaddleme in the car seat works AMAZING! she slept awesome during our driving times on the trip!
More About Tess:

  • Tess did AWESOME at the beach! She wasn't bothered by the sand or the water and even took two pretty great naps while out there :)
  • Tess has a very content personality. She is much, much more "go with the flow" than Britt was as a baby. The beach was evidence of this! She didn't fuss at all and even was late to eat and was just super chill about it all :) 
  • This wonder week was one where I could REALLY see the change in her. She started moving her hands with purpose and has much more control over them. She started putting them to my mouth a lot for me to kiss them :)
  • She also is just much more interested in the world around here. She smiles and talks a lot and makes many different sounds
  • My favorite thing about Tess (which I've said before and will probably continue to say in future posts!) is her HANDS! Girl has the sweetest hands and I hold them constantly
  • She sticks her tongue out a LOT and it's super adorable!
  • Tess's hair is getting much lighter
  • When she is laying down she tries to sit herself up
  • She is a very smiley baby and smiles all. the. time :)
  • One of my favorite times of the day is in the afternoon. I feed Tess and Kye gets up from his nap and Britt is still asleep. It's so cute to watch Kye with her and it makes me so thankful that we did half day school this year! Britt just isn't old enough yet to really be very interested in Tess so it's more fun to watch Kye with her at this point!
  • I dug out my sling and started wearing Tess a little. I've never been big into baby wearing. I'm pretty petite (5'1") and the slings and all are just SO HEAVY! I can wear her for 10 min or so before it gets to be annoying for me. Usually if I wear her it's during the morning rush of getting the kids out the door for school!
  • When I had Kye I did a really great job of making sure he had plenty of play time on his own. Independent playtime, time in the bouncer, etc. When I had Britt I held her a lot more and cuddled her a lot more because I knew how quickly the sweet baby stage would last. I'm trying to do a better balance with Tess. I have to stop myself from just holding her constantly! I don't want her to be as clingy as Britt is and I know a lot of Britt's "Mommy obsession" is due to me not being as hardcore with her independent time as a baby!
  • Overall Tess is probably the happiest baby we've had yet. She smiles all the time and has a very calm demeanor. However, she's also the most difficult baby we've had. Kye wasn't a good sleeper and he was a paci baby so I had to go in and out of his room constantly (so annoying!). Britt was an awesome sleeper! And Tess is a not-so-great sleeper like Kye but since she doesn't have the paci it's trickier to figure out what exactly to do to help her get through this rough sleep patch!

Bald spot :(
Typical tummy time routine!
Daddy took her upstairs to play in the play room


talking to her toys
Crazy hair...and happy baby!





Loves sticking that tongue out!





Postpartum Update: The bottle situation combined with her sleep issues really, really made it a tough week for me. I spend ALL my time being a mom and I work SO hard at it and it was frustrating to be trying so hard and not seeing fruits of that labor. I'm so thankful I'm behind in my blogging as I probably wouldn't have been writing this in a very positive way at the time I was actually living it. I had a GREAT time at the beach but was just frustrated with the bottle/sleep combo of issues! 

Sibling Comparisons: You can read about Kye's 13th week here! Bless him with that hair! ALL three of my kids have had the same bald spot in the back. It's so pitiful! I really see a lot of similarities in the way Tess and Kye look. I think she looks more like him than she does Britt at this age!

You can see Britt's week 13 summary here. It's crazy to me to see how much hair Britt had and then realize that Tess has even more. Our kids just keep getting hairier! 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pumpkin Patch 2014

This year we were pretty late going to the pumpkin patch! Zach had been traveling for work and we went to the beach so we literally went and got a pumpkin 4 days before Halloween! At least this year it didn't rot ;) 

With Tess's bottle issues we decided to go to the pumpkin patch before her 5:00 feeding. We parked in the parking lot and let the big kids sit on the floor of the van and watch a short letter factory movie while I nursed Tess in the car. Then we hopped out, got our pumpkins, and got back in time for her next nap! It all went really well and everyone was in a good mood for the pumpkin fun :)





For our family we pick out one BIG pumpkin to carve and then let each child have a tiny pumpkin to keep in their rooms. 




So thankful someone offered to take a family photo for us!!!

Small pumpkins :)
The patch we go to has some games set up which the kids enjoy so we tried not to rush them too much and let them have some fun!

I headed to the car early to change Tess's diaper and BAM! Blow out! It was her first time pooping since she had the blowout at the beach haha. I'm telling y'all...girl loves to poop at the most inconvenient of times! Thankfully I had a Steak and Shake hat in my car (you know how it is: RANDOM stuff can be found in a mother's van!) and I used that to store all the dirty stuff. It got allll over her cute little outfit too so she rode home in just a diaper!
The next afternoon Zach and the big kids handled the carving duties while I nursed Tess. They did a GREAT job and the pumpkin turned out really cool this year :)




Pirate Pumpkin!

I read a tip on Pinterest to cut off the bottom of the pumpkin rather than the top. Zach said it did make it WAY easier to clean out the guts! And supposedly it helps keep the pumpkin from rotting as quickly!

You can see our past Pumpkin Patch visits here:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Beach Trip in October {Tess's First Beach Trip}

Once we booked the beach trip and told the kids about it, it became the "hot topic" around our house. Britt would constantly say "we're going to the beach after the baby is born!" and then once Tess arrived it became "we're going to the beach in October!" Finally October had arrived and finally we were heading to Britt's beloved beach :)

Since Tess was having bottle issues we talked about it and I decided to do two things I've never done. 1) nurse a baby on the beach and 2) let a baby nap on the beach. I know...CRAZY for Emily right?!?! 

We put the kids down for their naps very early. Since Tess eats at 2 we still wanted them to get a solid nap before having to wake them up to go to the beach at her feeding time. They actually both slept! We got them up at 2 and Zach had already set up our beach stuff while they were sleeping. We loaded everyone up and headed down! Once we got settled I went ahead and did my thing. I just took down some of my suit and used a sheet to protect her from wind and sand (and passerby's) and she ate great!


Excited kids!



Celebrating Tess's first time at the beach :)

Since Tess's awake time is so short I wanted to focus on her after she ate and then planned to focus on the kids while she napped. 





Daddy was all about dipping her toes in the ocean!







She looks serious but she was totally having a blast ;)








Kye had NO FEAR of the ocean and it was great because the beach was so shallow and soft sand!
The only concern were jellyfish. You really could so easily accidentally step on one!!!

Prior to leaving for the trip I asked around about tips for a baby napping on the beach. I really wasn't too worried about it. The sound of the ocean is the same sound we use for her sleep sheep when traveling for her naps so I figured she'd sleep! Going to the beach in October was amazing because it wasn't hot or too sunny. It was seriously perfect weather for a baby beach afternoon!

Thanks to Melissa and Larissa for suggesting bringing our stroller! We set it up on the beach and when it came time for her nap I just swaddled her like normal and put her down. She stayed awake for a long time but she never cried at all and was just happy to be looking around. 



Of course I checked on her like 1,000 times but it was nice having a "baby break" and being able to enjoy the big kids! I love watching them having fun and getting to see Britt fulfilling her beach dream was awesome!

I kept adding to the blankets to get it darker and darker for her haha


Both kids played SO WELL independently! They just wanted to play in the sand and were so content!



More attempts to darken it for her!




Kite surfers




And cruise ships!



Kye and I made "sand turtles" because I'm not very skilled in the castle building department ;)
Snacks!
Girl time :)


Tess may have her sleep and bottle flaws but girl is so chill which is a huge blessing! She slept for over an hour (which I totally call a win!) and then was SO PATIENT when it was time for her to eat but we had to wait to get all the beach stuff loaded up before we could head back to the room. She just calmly sat in my lap as happy as could be! She must love the beach just like her big sister does :)
The hotel was on the beach but our room was too far from the beach access to walk so we drove and the kids loved getting to be "rebels" and sit on the floor of the van rather than in their seats ;)
Before Tess was born I slowly stocked up on gift cards to help us get through the early days of a new baby. We ended up not really using many of them (we were SO blessed with a lot of food this time around!!!) so I brought a Domino's one with us and we got pizza for dinner while at the beach :)



I love how Tess is always sticking out her tongue when the rest of us are eating...think she's jealous?
Britt was SERIOUS about her Pizza!
girl kept eating and eating it :)


It was fun to watch the kids on the monitor as they talked and laughed and laughed...but they also needed to go to SLEEP. I'm SO thankful our kids don't have to share a room at home!!!
Finally cashed out and resting up for another fun day ahead :)



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