Thursday, May 31, 2012

No more nursing

Well, Daniel is done nursing.

When Kalena was born, nursing didn't go so well. Not that she didn't want to, on the contrary, she nursed all the time. A couple weeks in I started worrying that I wasn't making enough milk because she wanted to nurse SO much. She would spend 30 or 40 minutes nursing and then be hungry again 30 minutes after she had finished. (And she also took a pacifier, so no, she wasn't just nursing to soothe.) But do you know what you find when you google "low milk supply"? Reassurance that you probably make enough milk. Encouragement to feed on demand. Statements that babies want to eat often. Every pro-breastfeeding site I read made it clear that *true* low supply is REALLY RARE and this was all in my head! Okay, no site came out and said that, but it was certainly the impression I got. The implication was, if breastfeeding wasn't working, it was because I wasn't trying hard enough.

Every site encouraged nursing more often, and discouraged bottles and pacifiers. A few sites recommended pumping after feedings to increase supply but all warned that how much milk you get when you pump doesn't indicate how much milk you're making. Well. I nursed constantly. I pumped after every feeding (and got essentially nothing, by the way.) I gave her no formula. That went on for 6 weeks and then I had to go back to work. At that point we had to start on formula because I had no pumped milk to leave at home. But I still pumped at work, every 2 hours for 20 minutes. And you know what I discovered? In all that pumping I made enough milk for ONE feeding. Still, I continued to nurse when I was at home. I co-slept with her and let her nurse all night. It didn't take long before she preferred a bottle though, and I got less and less when I pumped at work. I gave it up altogether around 4 months.

When Will came along I was ready. I started pumping right away instead of waiting until my milk supply was "established." I bought fenugreek. And when he was still obviously hungry after several feedings in a row? I supplemented with either pumped milk or formula. And I didn't feel bad about it. Every time he had a growth spurt I had to take fenugreek and add pumping sessions and supplement. It would take my body a few days to catch up, but it was working. He nursed for 13 months and then weaned himself.

Then Daniel was born. He couldn't latch, so for the first 24 hours he got formula and I thought I might not get to nurse him at all. Based on my experience pumping for Kalena I knew I wouldn't be able to pump exclusively for him. Fortunately, a good lactation consultant and nipple shields got him nursing on day two. He was in the NICU which meant supplementing after every feeding. Once he was home I switched to only supplementing when he still seemed hungry. Unfortunately, he didn't gain weight on that plan. Back to supplementing every time.

I pumped, and took fenugreek and milk rich, and drank lots of water, and nursed on demand. But his low muscle tone means a weaker suck and tiring more quickly. By 8 weeks I knew nursing wouldn't last much longer, and by about a week ago he developed an obvious preference for bottles. I'd spend several minutes trying to get him to latch only to have him quit after a minute or so. So we're done. I've successfully nursed a child for more than a year and I made every effort and more this time around. It just wasn't going to happen. I did my best, and I'm glad he got to nurse at all.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Birthday time

Brian's parents came down last weekend so we could celebrate the kids' birthdays. (Well, Kalena's birthday and Will's half birthday. I think I've discussed that here before.) Anyway, it was a good time.

Kalena with one of her dinosaur puzzles.

Will with his two favorite gifts: Rex (from Brian's parents) and Buzz Lightyear (from us.)

He insisted on sleeping with them both (of course) and apparently in the morning when Brian got him out of bed he gathered them up with his other huge dinosaur and his bear and said, "Love all dem!" I've never seen him so excited as when he was opening those gifts.

I haven't taken any pictures of Kalena with her gift from my parents-- a bike. I need to though, because this bike makes me laugh every time I see it. Brian and my dad took her to the store to pick one out and she picked a shark bike. It's awesomely hilarious and it has a matching helmet. Definitely need some pictures.

And here's Daniel, dressed up in overalls for the party.

He slept through the whole thing.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Fun with frosting

Kalena had a birthday which, of course, means cake. I decorated her cake on Friday and thought I'd let the kids have a little fun with the leftover frosting. I intended to let them frost graham crackers (because that's yummy) but we didn't have any. Nor did we have any sugar cookies, animal crackers, or anything else that would have been remotely good to eat frosting on. So they frosted bread.

Will was quite pleased with his results and kept telling me, "Made 'nake!" (That's "snake" for those of you who don't speak toddler.) Also, he was totally indifferent to the bread. He just scraped the frosting off to eat it, and I suspect he would have done the same no matter what he was frosting.

Kalena was also please and indifferent to the bread. She was a big fan of "drawing" with the frosting. 

I'm not sure I had as much fun with the frosting as the kids did, but here are my results:

An Ariel cake, as per Kalena's request. (Alright, I may have nudged her in that direction because we already had the figurines.) And that's graham cracker "sand" on there, which is why I didn't have any for the kids to frost. OH WELL.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A little comparison

When I watch Kalena with Daniel, it's fun to see what a loving big sister she is. And then I remember that she was like that with Will too. Makes my heart happy.

 Kalena with Will, January 2010                               Kalena with Daniel, May 2012       

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sweet sunday

I had to take this picture because-- TINY SHOES! I love them. I pretty much don't put my kids in shoes until they're walking, but these were in a box of baby clothes from my sister and I couldn't resist.

Also, I know you can't see it in this picture but his onesie says "Sunday." I put him in it for church and then told Brian that the baby was in his "Sunday clothes." Ahhh, if only I amused everyone as much as I amuse myself.

And this picture is why I started writing this post. How could I not put this on the blog?

I wouldn't deprive you of that kind of sweetness.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Toy time

We were in Denver a couple weekends ago, staying with my sister. While we were there Will got attached to one of my nephew's toys. It was a big softish plastic dinosaur and he was in love with it. My sister mentioned that they were only $10 at Toys-R-Us, so we decided a trip to the toy store was in order. Of course, Will fell in love with the $20, twice-the-size version. And sometimes he's too cute to resist, so that's what he got.

Yep, that's Will with a dinosaur that's almost as big as he is. His crib is a crowded place these days.

Friday, May 18, 2012

4 years old

Today is Kalena's birthday. 4 years old already. Of course, that calls for pictures!

In the hospital: 

First birthday:

Second birthday:

Third birthday:

And now:

Happy birthday, baby girl!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

2 months

Can you believe Daniel is 2 months old already?! Me neither, but he had his 2 month well visit today, so it must be true. Here are his stats:

Weight: 10 lbs 9.8 oz (20th percentile)
Length: 22.5 inches (16th percentile. Ish. They remeasured and he was longer, but they didn't recalculate percent.)
Head: 15.25 inches (19th percentile.)

He is healthy and growing well. Also, getting cuter by the day.

Suspicious Baby is suspicious about the claims of cuteness.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Occupational therapy begins

Well, we had our first occupational therapy session last Thursday. The short version goes like this: I like the therapist and I have a lot to learn.

I'm not sure what exactly I expected the therapist to do. I mean, he's a baby. He's still working on head control. He doesn't really DO much, you know? But she had plenty to tell us and show us and have us work on.

I'm not sure if I mentioned this, but we got a copy of Daniel's early intervention evaluation and they classified him as having "mild low muscle tone." Low muscle tone is expected in babies with Down syndrome so it's good news that it's only mild. However, having low muscle tone means we have to make sure Daniel doesn't get into bad habits. The therapist showed me some things to do to help him learn to roll over properly. Things to help him learn head control. Things to help with low muscle tone in his torso. She pointed out that he holds his right hand in a tighter fist than his left and asked us to watch and see if that's always true. She pointed out that he was moving his limbs asymmetrically, and pointed out some reflex movements he was making, both good signs. None of this is stuff I would have noticed on my own. None of this is stuff I would have to worry about with a typical infant.

Anyway. The plan is for her to come once a month for now, and more often when he starts being more active. I'll keep you updated, of course.

Here he is working on his head control.

And that onesie has a crab on the butt!

Now we can say he's got his crabby pants on.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Four years ago on mother's day I looked like this:

If you'd refrain from commenting on a) how huge I am and b) how awful my hair looks, I'd really appreciate it. Believe it or not, that picture is me at 39 weeks pregnant, so I was actually pregnant for another 15 days after that! I was sort of hoping for a mother's day baby since Kalena was due the 10th and mother's day was the 11th. She held out until the 18th though. Anyway, my point was, four years ago on mother's day I had no babies yet, and today here I am with three of them.

(This is where you refrain from commenting on how white my legs are. They never get any better either.) 

It's been an amazing four years.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Did you guys know I have THREE kids? Three!

Still catches me by surprise sometimes.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Third Child thoughts

There are so, SO many reasons I'm glad that Daniel is our third child. That means you get some bullet points today!

  • Since we already have a girl and a boy, it should be obvious that we had Daniel because we wanted a third child, not because we were trying for one or the other. I always think the assumption that someone with 2 boys would have a third to try for a girl (or vice versa) is annoying, but in our case I think people might feel sorry for us if they thought the reason we had a third was to try for a specific sex. (Side note: I don't mean that *people* who have a third for that reason annoy me. Just the *assuming* by others.)
  • Breastfeeding. I struggled a lot to breastfeed Kalena (and quit after just a few months.) But I learned a lot, so nursing Will was much easier. Since babies with Down syndrome often struggle to breastfeed, I'm certain that my knowing what I'm doing is the only reason we've managed at all. (He's still getting supplemented after pretty much every feeding, just for the record.) If he were my first child I'm pretty sure it would not have happened at all.
  • Milestones. Having two children already means I am familiar with the reality that every child hits milestones at his own pace. (Even the differences between two typically developing kids can be huge!) This has made it very easy to accept the fact that Daniel will hit milestones at his own pace. Whether his pace is close to typical or not is something we'll find out as we go.
  • Right now Daniel is very much like any other baby. However, he sleeps. He never went through that whole "days and nights mixed up" phase. In fact, for the past several nights he's slept through the night (by which I mean no wake-ups between like 11 pm and 5 am. Usually from 7ish to 5 am. I KNOW.) Since he's my third, I appreciate how much sleep I'm actually getting! And how not normal it is to get so much!
  • I'm already comfortable being a mom. I know how to care for an infant. I know what to expect. Going from not being a parent to being a parent was a HUGE adjustment. Adjusting to also being a parent to a baby with Down syndrome is (for me) relatively minor.
  • Last but not least, his siblings. Brian and I have often commented that we got lucky with two great kids. (And I know, everyone thinks their own kids are great, but hear me out.) After Daniel was born we both felt like we got these two great kids to be siblings for Daniel. I'm sure that Daniel will benefit from having them as siblings just as much as they will benefit from him.
And there you have it. This sweet guy knew just when to get here.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Baby pictures as usual

Kalena loves to give Daniel hugs and pats, while Will mostly keeps his distance. They were checking each other out today though.

And another picture, because I think that sleeper is adorable. Also, I think that boy is adorable.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bath time baby!

Who doesn't love pictures of a chubby baby in the bath?!

I know he looks sleepy in this first picture, but believe me, he was disgruntled about that whole thing.

There's the disgruntled face.

Kalena, admiring a fresh, clean baby brother.

Baby in a bathrobe!

And this concludes your daily dose of Daniel.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Will has a pair of sweatpants with pockets, and when he wears them he likes to stand around with his hands in the pockets. It's pretty much the cutest thing ever.

And now for today's funny story about Will. When my mom got home from work, Will was convinced that it was his grandpa who opened the garage door. So after my mom came in, he stood in the doorway looking for my dad. When he realized my dad wasn't out there, he put his hands on his hips and said, "Where dey hide dat grandpa?"