Thursday, February 21, 2013

Maybe... You Can't (Breastfeed, That Is)

So, this has been a blog post in the making for 2 months now, and I've written and rewritten in my head for weeks, but today, some of my online mom-friends were talking about this, and so now I feel inspired to sit down and actually write.
It's about breastfeeding... or not.

For starters, it's relevant for you to read THIS blog post, written a few weeks before Coraline's birth, talking about my anxiety regarding breastfeeding.  It talks all about my breastfeeding experience (or lack of) with my first daughter (4 years ago).  And also this post gives a mini-update two weeks after Coraline was born.  I'll just quote my own post here:  "As it turns out, all my anxiety and fears about breastfeeding came true.  Coraline WAS whisked away to NICU, she WAS bottlefed by the nurses and I wasn't even given the chance to TRY to breastfeed her until she was 3 or 4 days old.   I started pumping the very first night, and it took 2 days for my colostrum to come in, and not until day 4 did my milk come in.  They told me in NICU that anything I could give her was good, so I pumped every 3 hours and brought my few milliliters of milk downstairs and fed it to her, before she was given formula.  They needed/wanted her to drink 35ml per feeding, and I was only pumping about 4ml in the first few days, and about 10-15ml in the next few days.  On Day 4 or 5, I tried to breastfeed (behind a curtain, in a room with a dozen people), and it was a miserable failure.  My breasts are just not designed for feeding - I have flat nipples (which I didn't know was even a "thing" until Lilian was born) - if you're not familiar, you can read about that here: and somewhat massive breasts (D/DD).  So there isn't a nice "small" nipple part to go in a baby's mouth, instead I just have to grab a pinchful of aereola/nip and stuff it in the baby's mouth... to which Coraline reacted with confusion.  She just kinda looked at me like "what are you doing and what is this?"  She is also just too small and was too weak to really suck with a mouthful of giant boob.  Maybe if we had started off that way, she would have been used to it, but after days of a standard flow bottle with a narrow nipple, it just seemed ridiculous to both of us.  So, I guess I am stuck pumping again like I did for Lily.  I really don't want to, but I also can't justify stopping just because I "don't like it", when I KNOW that my milk is best for her.  She's 2 weeks old, and I'm able to pump 25-75ml at a time now (depending on how frequently I pump).  BUT, just like 4 years ago, only one breast makes milk.  My right breast pumps about 24-73ml at a time, and my left pumps about 1-3ml at a time.  I've read and been told that everyone's are uneven, but this is more than uneven... my left doesn't make more than a few drops, while the right can fill a bottle.  Because of this, I can only really pump HALF a supply for her, same as I did for Lily.  So she is still getting formula about 40-50% of the time.  If my left matched my right, I'd be able to give her only breastmilk... but it's just impossible.  (My left is also a full cup size smaller, always has been, so I guess there is some physiological problem going on - a lack of milk ducts or something?)  So between the flat nipples and the half-supply, I just think my body isn't meant to breastfeed.  That doesn't stop me from trying once a day (usually at night in a desperate moment where she's hungry and i'm too tired to pump), but I get that same confused look from her every time, and she doesn't even suck.  Maybe when she is a little bigger/stronger?  (Lily started BF from when she was 1.5-3.5 months old.)  Or maybe never.  The difference between this time and last time though, is ... although I'm totally disappointed that it didn't work out, and I'll never know if it was even possible, had we gotten a good start from Day 1... I'm not really all that sad about it.    It's pretty much exactly what I expected and it's exactly the same as what happened with Lily.  I'm pretty good at using the pump (after 8 straight months in 2008-2009) and she's getting ALL the breastmilk I can possibly make, so I guess it's as good as we're giong to get.  Getting upset, feeling cheated, and crying about it all the time, still didn't make it POSSIBLE with Lily, so I'm just not going to bother getting emotional this time.  I know I'm doing the best I can with what I have to work with, and that's all I can do."

Coraline is now 10 weeks old (or two months and 11 days, however you want to calculate it) and we're in the same spot.  As I had feared, everything went wrong that possibly could (unlike THIS blogger, who had a disastrous first experience but a GOOD latch the second time around).  And I'm still pumping.  Many times a day.  And I'm still suffering with massive breast pain (some explanation on my health problems here).  This week, I'm dealing with what we suspect is thrush AND mastitis at the same time - which sucks because the medication for mastitis (antibiotics) causes/worsens thrush, so I'm also taking a week-long course of anti-thrush medication (the one that starts with a D.)  I've also been taking d0mperid0ne, a medication with the side effect of increasing prolactin (and therefore, milk!) with little to no results.  I'm pumping 10-11 ounces of breastmilk a day.  If i pump 3x a day or 8x a day, I still get 10-11 ounces.  It takes 20-40 minutes to empty my right breast (my left really never makes more than a few drops, which is most of the cause of my under supply) and even if i pump for an HOUR each time, still don't make more than 10-11 ounces.   And for those of you who don't know, babies eat 18-24 ounces a day typically.  So I'm making only 40-60% of my baby's needs.  And it hurts.  Like I said, though, I'm not nearly as emotional this time... because I expected it.  I predicted it.

Today I was pointed in the direction of THIS blog post about another "failure to breastfeed" and thought the whole time "yes, yes!  That's me!"  My breasts never grew/changed in any way while pregnant or while nursing, either pregnancy.  And one is a full cup size smaller and a different shape - the one that doesn't make milk - so clearly, something is missing.  And when I googled IGT, I found this article on KellyMom, which is the be-all-end-all website for many lactivists it seems.  And again, I just nodded and said "yep, that sounds like me."  And when you add that to FLAT nipples, which babies do NOT like to latch on to, it's a recipe for disaster.

So that's where I am.  My babies don't LIKE my breasts.  And one doesn't even make milk.  And the one that does, doesn't make enough to satisfy a baby.  And so I pump and pump, and give her what I can.  And the rest of the time she gets formula.  And this time around, I'm OK with that.  With my first daughter, looking back, I really didn't and couldn't enjoy her first six months because of the guilt and disappointment I felt.  Before i really decided to give up breastfeeding the first time, my wife said something to me along the lines of "who are you fighting to breastfeed for, you or her?"  And the answer in my heart... was me.  I wanted to do it, I wanted to be one of those Mother Earth mamas with a baby at my breast.  And the truth was, my baby didn't agree.  She wanted food, and she wanted it NOW.  She was a slow grower, but a fast eater.  And I truly believe that FIGHTING with her over breastfeeding wasn't the right thing to do (in our situation.)   I was lucky enough to be able to give her SOME milk (half on average) for eight months.  And so this time around, doing the same (giving her my 10 precious ounces a day and the rest formula when she's still hungry) is literally the best I can do, and so I feel no guilt.

On Envy:  I truly envy the moms who can exclusively breastfeed their children.  Yes, it stings to hear/read about it.  Four years ago, with my first daughter, I couldn't even bear to think about it.  This time around, it's a much healthier jealousy, I can admit to it without crying, but it is what it is.  But the hurt is still there.
But I also envy the FFBC moms - formula feeders by choice.  To be able to feed your children formula without guilt or self-loathing is a big thing too.  Formula feeding is a lot easier and a lot less time consuming (run the water, scoop, shake, DONE! as opposed to 30-40 minutes of pumping, plus the washing of pump parts... just to make 1-3 ounces of milk), and I envy those who can choose to do that and be happy with their decisions.
But I'm stuck in middle ground - where I can't breastfeed, but I also can make SOME milk, so I can't just decide "formula feeding is good enough" and go with that.  I do feel compelled to give my babies as much as I can.  And I find myself envying BOTH camps, the BFers AND the FFers.  I'm a pro-breastfeeding non-breastfeeding mom.

On Lactivists:  Being truly enthusiastic about something you believe in is great.  (Except for when it's something shitty, like inequality.)  I'm pretty enthusiastic about my vegetarianism, though I try super hard not to be preachy or judgmental about it.  I'm also pretty enthusiastic about my choice to cloth diaper my baby (which I recognize is a result of being unable to BF, it's one choice that I get to make that i CAN do, and I can do it well, and I can stick with it, and my body can't fail me.)  So I totally understand the Lactivist.  You love your baby, and you love feeding your baby, and you love that your amazing body can feed your baby, and you love watching your baby grow from fuel YOU provide - and it's so amazing, you want to tell everyone about it and you want everyone to have the same experience.  I totally get it.   What I don't get... or like... is the judgment and assumptions that come with it sometimes.  (Only sometimes, I have known some very sympathetic lactivists).  I hate that it is assumed that if you don't succeed at breast feeding your baby, you have't "tried hard enough."  Or the assumption of "everyone can do it."  Even the assumption that it IS a choice.  I'm not choosing to feed my baby formula because I want to, I'm choosing formula over starvation.  I've tried it all:  pumping a hundred times a day, forcing my babies to BF even when it doesn't work, herbs and teas, hot compresses, hand compressions, prescription medications I bought online from other countries, and even the dreaded oatmeal.  I've done it all, I've tried, I've suffered, I've cried.  And nothing works.  And I wish at some point in my struggles (at least the first time around) somebody would have said to me "Maybe you can't."  And maybe that is OK.  Because every person I spoke to during that time told me "try this" or "try that" and the supposed-to-be-encouraging "you can do it."  People are so excited for others to have the beautiful experience that they had and we all know "breast is best", so it seems like the obvious thing to encourage.  But it really would have helped with my depression and guilt if at some point, some one else acknowledged that it wasn't working, wasn't possible and just told me "hey, it's OK.  Maybe you can't."  I hope someone else reads this one day, in a situation similar to me, and feels like someone before you has been there, and came out the other side, and it will be OK.
But ... maybe YOU can't.   And it will be OK.

In Public:  Please don't judge the mothers you see bottle feeding.  Maybe they are super lazy and don't care what is best for their babies.  But maybe not.  Maybe they tried really hard and for some physical reason they can't breastfeed.  Maybe their family needs their income and their job doesn't allow for pumping (I know by law, employers must allow it, but maybe for comfort reasons or timing or whatever it just isn't possible).  Maybe their baby is allergic to something in their milk and needs hypoallergenic formula.  Maybe they just WANT to formula feed for personal reasons of their own that you may never understand.  There are a thousand different maybes - so unless you know the situation, don't judge.  And whether you do or don't know the situation, don't say anything.  Unless the mom herself opens up the conversation, no one needs to be reminded "breast is best" no matter how it's phrased.  I've never had anyone comment to me in public about bottle feeding, but it happens. (Though I've had strangers comment about whether or not my baby was old enough to be out in public, whether she should be wearing a hat or not, if she should be out in this weather, etc.)   It may be well-intentioned, but I can guarantee it won't be well received and it will most likely come across as hurtful or judgmental.  Unless you see someone not feeding their baby at all, ever... you should probably keep your opinions to yourself.

But to paraphrase myself from four years ago "when I found myself measuring my self worth in millimeters of milk" I should have known there was a problem.  I felt so much pressure to "do what is best for my baby" that I really stopped worrying about what was best for me.

So I just want to find all the moms that ARE trying and are struggling, and give them hugs, and tell them "maybe you can't."  I know everyone else is telling them "you can do this" or maybe even "you should do this" (which is an entirely different post in itself), but I know in my experience, I CAN'T DO IT.  And maybe you can't either.

Maybe You Can't

And... it gets better.  By the time my first daughter was a toddler and drinking juice and water, and eating food, I had a million other decisions to make.  And this one seemed less important.  And now that she is 4 and 1/2, and thriving, and smart and funny and beautiful, how I fed her in her early days seems EVEN less important.  And remembering this makes it a lot easier to deal with my failure-to-breastfeed the second time around.  At one time it seemed like my whole world, and today it seems pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of life.  So, please trust me, it'll get easier, and better.  These feelings won't last forever.  This is only one in a long line of different paths you'll have to walk down with your kids.   So, please be kind to yourself. (And if you're a breastfeeder or pro-breastfeeding, please be kind to use that can't, or don't.)

I'm not trying to have sour grapes OR make my lemons sweet, I'm just trying to deal with what life has dealt me.

Have you been there?  
Please leave your comments and/or hugs - let me know what you think.
(Please try to leave comments here, not on Facebook even if you've come across this on FB, so all the readers can see and respond.)

And what's a blog post without an adorable photo?   :

Coraline, 2/17/13, Two Months Old

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

It's one of my favorite days of the year!  I love pink and hearts and all things sparkly, so Valentine's Day is always one of my favorite seasons.  

This year we kept it simple with a lunch out (Indian food!) yesterday and a nice family dinner tonight.  Small gifts and cards and chocolates were exchanged.  We stayed up WAY too late last night making Valentine's Day cookies for Lilian's classmates/teachers as gifts, but they turned out really beautiful.  And Coraline and I went with Lily to her pre-school party, which is always a cute time.  Back on February 2, I took some adorable Valentine's Day photos of the girls and I made a super cute card which we mailed to some friends and family, and Lily passed out to her classmates/teachers as well.

As always, the best part... The Photos:

So we didn't intend on the dogs being part of the photo shoot, but as soon as the baby was put down at their level, they PhotoBombed us!  And then the pictures were cuter with them in, so we didn't shoo them away!

Which photo is your favorite?

Lily baking horse-shaped cookies for her party.

Our cookie Valentines.

Missy baked these beautiful cookies.

The card we sent and gave out.

The card the girls and I gave to Missy (Lily wrote inside it.)

What better says "love" than horses?

Party snacks.

The first SMILE I ever caught on camera from Coraline (2 months old).

Everyone's saying she looks like me.  Do you see it?

One kid's mom made "Love Bugs" - they are SO cute!

The Pre-K girls.

Valentine bags.

My Lily!

Very serious game playing.

Bounce house fun!

I love her smile!

Any excuse to take/share photos of my girls!

Making funny faces.

Pretty baby

A half smile.

Lily's card to us in her own handwriting.

I hope everyone had a nice Valentine's Day with their loved ones!

Show your love by leaving me a comment!  

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Monday, February 11, 2013

A Nostalgic Week

Today would have been my grandpa's 94th birthday; he passed away in 2006.  I am missing my grandparents extra this week, not only because it's his birthday, but because things have been reminding me of them.  During the blizzard, I wore a hand-me-down coat that was my grandma's and it made me think of her, and then i came inside and cooked matzoh ball soup for us all... which made me think of her.  And a few days ago I addressed a stack of Valentine's Day cards to send to close friends/family and I didn't have to send one to them anymore, and so I missed them.  I even still have them in my address book/cell phone - I can't delete/erase them, even though their apartment has surely been renovated and rented by someone else by now.

Anyway, to celebrate and remember, I'm going to share some photos of my grandparents today.

Me & Grandpa, 1979
Also... Coraline looks a LOT like Baby Me here!

Me & Grandpa, 1979

In the army in World War II

Ladies Man!

Grandma Laura, me & Grandpa Izzy

My last photo with both grandparents at NYU hospital.  Mother's Day, May 2006

Last photo of them together, May 2006

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

8 Weeks Old - Baby Milestones and Family Health

We've been having a hard month healthwise in our household.

Missy has pneumonia, which totally sucks.  She's feeling awful and she can't hold or be around the baby, so it also means no breaks for me (and she misses her.)  This isn't a total shocker since she tends to get it once a year, but it's more often in the fall, so i thought we got away with it this year.

Lilian has a head cold which is only mildly annoying (and makes her snore!) But on Sunday, she woke up with a UTI which is totally no fun, so we were at Urgent Care with both her and Missy to get them each some antibiotics.  Luckily, they worked fast and she was feeling better in 24 hours, but she still has this residual cold.

As for me...
My blood results came back with everything at the very very bottom of the "normal" range.  (So if the range was 200-1000, my results would be around 250, etc.)  I am deficient in Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and iron.  My iron levels were the only ones below range.  At 6-7 weeks after birth, you'd think my levels would be back to normal.  My Free T-4 thyroid levels were also *just* at the bottom of the range and they didn't test my free T-3.  For some reason, my body just isn't bouncing back from the pregnancy and the blood-loss of the birth.  I'm now taking a prescription iron supplement, and high doses of Vitamin D and B12 in addition to my multi-vitamin (which i already take double of since i'm breastfeeding.). I've been on the regimen for about 2 weeks and whereas I don't feel "good" i do feel a little of my energy returning.  In a couple months we're going to repeat all my bloodwork and see where we're at.  It's funny because I had 3 doctors review my bloodwork (long story why) and one had a flip out about how low the iron was, one said "keep taking your vitamins like you are", and one had a flip out over how low the B-12 was.  It's interesting how subjective even something concrete like a bloodtest can be.  I asked for a copy myself so i could research on my own too.
Problem number two... is i still haven't found a solution for my breast pain.  (Read about it here: )  Nothing has changed.  Coraline is 8 weeks old and i've been exclusively pumping for that long (and i breastfeed about 2-3x a week), and i'm still is massive pain.  I can't even brush against something without jumping.  I've done my own research and it must be either thrush, Raynauds phenomenon/vasospasms, or an infection.  I've seen 4 doctors about it.  My OB gave me a shrug and brushed it off.  Another GP said breastfeeding hurts.  (It didnt hurt like this with Lily).  One nurse practitioner kinda said the same thing, but prescribed me a cream to try, which i thought would be to treat thrush, but when i got home and looked it up, it was a corticosteroid, which did nothing.  And a fourth finally listened to me and is helping me get to the bottom of it.  She gave me diflucan to try (for thrush), but one dose didn't help.  I later read on the internet that for ductal thrush, you need to take a dose every day for a week or longer.  Since that initial dose didn't work, she wants me to take Keflex, an anti-biotic to treat an infection (which she thinks it is)... but i haven't yet, since if she's wrong and it's thrush, the antibiotic will make it a thousand times worse (whereas the diflucan couldn't hurt.). But so far no medication, cream, compresses, etc is bringing me any relief.  And... my nipples are hot pink (think the color of the T-M0bile logo), and have been for 7 weeks, so it's not all in my head.
On a positive note, i'm nearly at 1/3 of my 6 month breastmilk goal.  I had the same goal for Lily, and i'd feel bad not having the same goal for Coraline, pain or not.  I made it to 8 months for Lily, but i didn't have this kind of pain and i had an easier time of building up a better milk supply.
I'm also dealing with back pain... i think the separating/weakening of abdominal muscles, makes the residual back pain from my spinal accident a lot worse, and until i get back in "fighting shape", i'm going to be in pain.  Also doesn't help that babies get heavier each and every day.

And Coraline... she isn't sick, but she's having two issues.
First, she has a rash on her face, which I think is baby eczema.  It developed just after her week of baby acne (which is normal) and so at first i thought she just had more acne, but it got worse and worse, and so i asked the pediatrician last week if it was acne or rash, and she said definitely a rash.  But she tried to convince me it was from drool, which i am positive it's not.  She is too young to drool (since she's not teething) and i'm with her 24 hours a day- i know she doesn't drool, and definitely not UP her face onto her cheekbones.  But another doctor looked at a photo and suggested eczema, and i think that's it.  I'll have her pediatrician confirm that when we go for her 2 month visit next week.  But a single dose of cortisone cream has helped, so i'm hoping i can clear it up.  Looking for a good (vegan) heavy duty moisturizer for her face that is good for sensitive skin - accepting suggestions!
Coraline's rash, morning of 2/5/13 (8 weeks old)
But the problem that had us running to the pediatrician though, was tummy problems.  I must preface this by saying Lilian had a rough first 6 months with "colic" (the word that explains the unexplainable.)  That baby cried all - the - time.  She'd arch her back and flex her toes and scream.  I'd call my mom crying because SHE wouldn't stop crying.  And "all babies cry" wasn't the case- she was in pain and something was wrong.  She also was a SLOW grower (below 5% until she was two years old).  I was at the pediatrician with her ALL the time, but they didn't really believe me or didn't care or weren't proactive.  We switched her supplemental formula 4x (from regular, to gentle, to soy, to hypoallergenic) and finally with that last switch we all got some relief, but we never really got answers.  She stayed on hypoallergenic formula until she was 2 years old, when we switched her to soy milk, which she still drinks (she's 4.5).  She would never ever lay flat on her back as a baby and slept sitting up in her swing, with it turned on, until she was 8 months old (which is when we started co-sleeping).  Her newborn/infancy was very difficult.
So about 2 weeks ago when Coraline started having these same fussy/painful crying fits after eating, i had horrible flashbacks to the months of watching Lily in pain.  I said "not again" and was at the doctor as soon as i could.  She spent 5 hours crying one day unable to be soothed (except taking showers soothes her, but we obviously can't stay in there for hours at a time.). It's the same back-arching, stiff body cry that Lily did.   Her pediatrician said it could be one of many things... including a milk allergy, different food sensitivities, reflux, UTI, colic, etc.  She said we have to try one thing at a time to search for a solution but that most babies outgrow this "phase" by 3 months.  She told me i could try switching to hypoallergenic formula, but its expensive.  And she gave me a prescription for Zant@c for reflux and told me to try one at a time to see what works.  I thought about it for 2 days, because i didnt really want to switch the formula (since the hypoallergenic one smells horrible and is disgusting) and i didnt want to give unnecessary meds.  On the second day, i was sitting on the couch with her, and i HEARD her reflux.  I could hear a splashing sound in her chest/neck, then she started screaming.   A few minutes later i heard her gag and re-swallow some reflux vomit.  She rarely spits up (which is why Lilian wasn't diagnosed with reflux) but everything i'm reading says that in "silent reflux" (which is NOT silent due to all the screaming the babies do) the acid/bile/vomit doesn't make it all the way up and out, so it's hard to diagnose.  But since then, i've heard her reflux or choke a few times a day since i'm paying attention.  Because of this, we decided to go ahead with the medicine.  If you've had acid reflux, you know how painful it can be.  Well, after 2 days (we're giving it 3x a day), she had 0 crying fits!  The first day she had 1 episode around 8PM (she only seems to suffer from the reflux between noon and 11PM or so, with the worst between 4pm and 9pm), after we gave the medicine at 4PM, so i wonder if it had worn off.  Yesterday though she had no episodes - a pain free day!  So as far as i can tell, the medicine is working (and reflux was her problem, not a food allergy).   If only the doctor let us try this 4.5 years ago for Lily, maybe her infancy would have been different.

Coraline is 8 weeks now...

And the great news is that Coraline is an awesome and predictable baby.  She sleeps and eats like a champ and is growing like a weed.  At her one month appointment she was 8 lb, 3 oz.  Last week when we went in for her belly, she was 7 weeks old and 9 lb, 10 oz.  She eats probably 60/40 breastmilk/formula (because that's all I can pump, wish it was even less formula.  A blog post about pumping and trying to increase supply will happen another time.)  For the past 3 days i've been keeping track of when and what she eats... because i like lists/numbers/facts and sometimes i can't help it.  As you can see, she's kind of a snacker.  She won't eat more than 3 ounces at a time, mostly 1-2 at a time, but she eats frequently.  I feed on demand, and she definitely knows how to tell me when she's hungry (either by crying, or gnawing on her fist) and when she's had enough (pushes bottle out with her tongue.). I don't really believe in schedules or strict regimens for babies, and she's gaining weight appropriately, so this works for us.

2/4/13 - coraline's food intake
6:35am - 2 oz BM
10am - 2 oz F
11am - 2.5 oz BM
12:35pm - 1.75 oz BM
1pm - .5 oz F
1:50pm - 1.25 oz F
5:25pm - under 2 oz BM
6PM - 1 oz F
7PM - 1 oz F
8:10PM - 1oz F + 1.5 oz BM
8:50pm - 1 oz BM
11PM - 2 oz F
11:47pm - 1.75oz BM
Just under 12.5 oz of breastmilk + 8.75 oz of formula

2/5/13 coraline's food intake
5:45am - under 1 oz F
9am -  just over 1 oz F
10:05am - under 2oz BM
12:55pm - 2 oz BM
2:10pm - 1.5 oz F
3:10pm - 1 oz F
5pm - 2.5oz BM
9pm - 2 oz F
11:59pm - 2oz F
6.5 ounces of breastmilk + 8 oz of formula

2/6/13 coraline's food intake
5:10am - 2+ oz BM
8:30am - 1.5 oz BM
10:10am - 1.5 oz BM
10:20am - 1 oz BM
11:40am - .75 oz F
3:40pm -  1.5 oz F
3:50pm - 1 oz BM
6:20 - 1.25 oz BM + 1 oz F
7:20pm - 1 oz F
8:45pm - 2oz BM
9:40pm - less than 1oz BM + less than 1oz F
(It's now 10:30PM, so she may eat a little more today...)
11.25 ounces of breastmilk + 5.25 ounces of formula

As far as sleep goes, she's my dream baby.  She's an overall sleepy baby, which is awesome since i'm an overall sleepy mommy.  She naps for a couple hours at a time, many times a day.  And she sleeps 3-6 hour clips at night, wakes to eat but goes right back to sleep, for a total of about 10 hours.  So if i put her down at midnight, she'll wake between 3-6am to eat, goes right back to sleep, then wakes between 7-9.  Sometimes on weekends i can get her to go back to sleep one more time then, until 10-11am.  She sleeps in her crib, still in her velcro swaddles.  Naps happen wherever she happens to be (laps, Rock N Play, carseat, whatever) or sometimes co-napping in bed with me.  The six-hour night stretches are new this week (used to only be 3-4 hours) and have only happened 3x so far.
Compared to my first baby who only slept IN motion (swing, car, being walked, etc) and rarely, this baby is a dream come true.  And for those mommies who think i'm bragging, trust me, i earned it.

Diapering: she's been in cloth full time for a month now.  I found diapers that fit perfectly, are cute, and NO LEAKS!  Definitely feeling like a winner.  But i'll elaborate on this another time.

And the best milestone of the week....
Last week she gave me a few closed-mouthed smiles.  But today, she gave me her first BIG open-mouthed, toothless, gummy social GRIN!  It was so sweet my eyes teared up a little.  Then i got her to repeat it at least 8x throughout the day.  Catching it on video or camera will be my next goal.  But before 3 days ago, most of her awake moments were fussy/crying, and i finally have a happy baby!!!

And now for the best part... some cute recent photos.
(Lily doesn't love posing for photos, but we did do a photo shoot for a Valentine's Day card with the 2 girls, so i'll share those next week on V Day!)

Coraline, 1/31/13, 7 weeks old

My excellent sleeper in her crib (late night photo) - 7 weeks old.

Lily helping out in the morning, feeding Coraline her bottle so I can get dressed.  1/31/13

Coraline, 1/31/13, 7 weeks old
Fruit on your feet makes everything cuter!  2/1/13

Coraline hanging out in her bouncer.

2/1/13 - 7.5 weeks old

(click any of the photos to see them larger.)

(I typed this whole entry on my mobile phone while waiting for Missy in the doctor's office, so please excuse grammar/spelling errors.)
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