Thursday, February 15, 2018

One month old (and giveaway winner announced)

Baby Peter is one month old today. He is a very mellow, easy baby, and already on a very predictable eating/sleeping/awake pattern. One of his nap times coincides with that of the other little kids, which is very considerate and sweet of him. :) His favorite sibling so far seems to be Becca - she can keep him happy when nobody else can on those occasions when I am tied up and cannot tend to him right away.

Peter was born at 8 lbs 1 oz. At his lowest, he got down to 7 lbs 5.5 oz, which was still above the acceptable threshold of 10% of body weight lost in breastfed newborns. He weighed in at 9 lbs 1 oz yesterday, which is an excellent rate of weight gain. My milk supply with him is really good, thanks to him not having a tongue tie like most his siblings had.

Peter and I were off to a bit of a rough start after his easy birth. When Peter was just one week old, he caught the cold that had been going around the family. My husband had it right around the time Peter was born, then my mother-in-law, Sue (who had come out to help after the birth) caught it and she had to go home after just a couple of days here. Peter and several of the younger kids got it next. The kids all had it pretty mild, but for Peter even a slightly stuffy nose made nursing almost impossible, especially since he was still so little and had not yet had enough time to develop a good latch. Being sick, he was also not very interested in eating, and tired to boot.

We consulted with his pediatrician, my midwife, as well as a lactation consultant. For an entire week, I pumped and finger-fed him. The finger-feeding was to help him develop a good latch, but it took him about an hour to eat the 1.5 to 2 ounces he was to eat every three hours. I pretty much spent that entire second week of his life pumping and fingerfeeding around the clock. I did give him a couple of bottles of pumped milk every day, too, just to make it easier on us both. 

In his third week, with his nose less stuffy and his latch getting better, I was able to transition from finger/bottle feeding to nursing him with a nipple shield, which helped him get a better latch. And not a minute too soon, since my husband and Isaac were going on a missions trip that week. They had booked their tickets long before Peter was born, when we were planning on Sue being here to help me. Even though she had to go home because she got sick and didn't want to spread it to the kids, I did not want the guys to miss out on their trip. Isaac had used his own, hard-earned money to go on this trip - no way was I going to mess it up for him so I could have more help from my husband at home. With the help of the other kids, I knew we'd muddle through somehow - and we did. It really helps that Solomon has a license now.

Starting last week, Peter was all better, had a great latch, and rejected the nipple shield. He has been nursing exclusively for the last week. SO much faster and easier!!! He was doing so well I was able to attend a 2-day seminar earlier this week that I had signed up for months ago, that I had all but given up on attending when he was sick having trouble eating. It all went very well as he pretty much slept through the whole thing. Thankfully for my husband, his mom was back in town and helping him with the other nine kids at home. 

At the same time as Peter was sick with the cold, I myself had a minor though painful afterbirth complication from a ruptured blood vessel on my perineum. It probably ruptured during birth from the strenuous pushing because Peter was so high up for so long. By 4 or 5 days postpartum, my perineum started to feel sore. The swelling from the ruptured vein continued to get larger and more painful. Right around the time Peter caught the cold, I had to go to the OB for multiple visits to diagnose, treat, and follow up on the problem. When the doctor lanced the large hematoma and started cleaning out the mass of old, coagulated blood, two veins going into that area started bleeding considerably, requiring some time and effort on her part to stop the stubborn bleeding. I was numb while she did all this, but the next few days felt like I had a painful episiotomy. This while I was sitting down pretty much 24/7, pumping and finger feeding. Ack! Thankfully, after a few days, the pain was completely gone and the recovery has been rapid and uncomplicated since.

Most of the other kids either were spared the cold, or had it fairly mildly. This is also the time of year that Isaac and Becca struggle with seasonal allergies and subsequent asthma. I have had a few rough nights doing breathing treatments and taking care of Becca, but they are both well on the road to recovery now. We have been getting rain this week, which helps their allergies tremendously.

One thing that was a huge help during all this, that I am thankful to have had on hand, were frozen meals. We are STILL eating the meals I pre-cooked and froze before Peter was born. I had made 30 breakfasts and 30 dinners (with enough of the latter to have leftovers for lunches), which I expected to last us about 6 weeks. 

If you have not yet discovered freezer cooking, I encourage you to check out Once a Month Meals. They have far too many great menu options to list them all here, but they are a true sanity and time saver. Their menus are super user friendly. (affiliate link)

Once A Month Meals

And now for the giveaway winner of the ring sling: I printed all the comments/entries and let Becca draw one randomly.

The winner is: 

Please leave me a comment with your address below (will not be published). 

I have a couple more giveaways coming up just as soon as I get a chance to write more blog posts, so don't forget to check back here. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Ring sling sewing tutorial and giveaway

Having a baby carrier is a great tool for getting things done in spite of a baby that wants to be held 24/7. 

There are different kinds of carriers, each with their own advantages. My two favorites are ring slings, and the K'tan carrier (like a wrap, but much easier to use). 

My girls love holding the baby, which is a great help to me. When Chloe was a baby, I bought Miriam the smallest size K'tan, which worked well for her. She is now using it for Peter. Becca has been asking to have her own carrier as well, but even the smallest K'tan is still too large on her as she is petite for her age. 

I had the idea to make her a sized-down ring sling instead. Becca loves it, as does Peter.

Ring slings are very easy to make, even for adults. Here is a tutorial on how to make a ring sling (adult or child size):

I had extra fabric from making Becca's sling that I used for the sling in the tutorial. I am giving away this extra child-size sling. Please do not enter if you don't have a child that could use this, unless you are a tiny adult with a tiny baby. 

To enter, please 

- leave a comment below and/or

- share the link to this post on Facebook and leave another comment below and/or

- "like" my FB page, Are They All Yours??!? and leave another comment below

Winner will be drawn randomly. You can comment anonymously.

I assume no liability for use of the sling. Children should be closely supervised while holding a baby. 

Edited to add: entries for giveaway accepted until midnight on Sunday, February 11, 2018.