Dumplin’ and Mochi: Almost 1 Year Old and Almost 6 Months Old

My goodness! It’s been almost two months since my last post. Things have been really chaotic in our lives for the past little while. I’ve missed being on here and sharing ideas and support with all of you, and hope that I get some time to post more regularly again. The trouble is that whenever Dumplin’ sees me on the phone, he immediately grabs it and tries to Facetime people on my contact list. It’s kinda awkward.

Anyways, we survived our epic two-week-long  trip to the west coast for my sister’s wedding. 




The flight there was rough with two babies under 1 years old, but the flight back to Toronto was a bit better. Things we learned about flying with our babies: we shouldn’t bother packing toys or books because they’re not interested in them at all (plastic cups and the seat neighbour’s magazines and legs are much more appealing), bring Lysol wipes because our babies will try to lick and chew the entertainment consoles, arrive waaay earlier to the airport because poopsplosions happen, and you don’t want to be rushed when you’re elbows deep in baby poo. 

Dumplin’ had a REALLY HARD TIME adjusting to the 3 hour time difference. He basically cried the ENTIRE first night we were there plus part of the next day. It took him about 4 nights to fully adjust to Pacific Time. Mochi adjusted much quicker, I’m not sure if it’s because he was only 4 months old and not yet set in his routine or his own circadian rhythm. Dumplin’ falls apart when his days stray from his routine- being even 15 mins late for his bedtime bath results in huge sobs and meltdowns. 

Too bad he’s had to sleep in 3 different and unfamiliar beds (and cities) in the past month and a half…. because yeah, we’ve pretty much been living like nomads since my last post.

While we were away on the westcoast, my in-laws did something really sweet and offered to rip up our carpet and finish our hardwood floors that were hiding underneath. Except that when they lifted the carpet up, the undermat was so melted and the wood was so water damaged (from the previous owners) that they couldn’t do much more than scrape off the undermat and call some professionals to sand it down and re-seal it. It ended up being a HUGE and expensive job. The company wouldn’t even guarantee that they could make it look right, commenting that this was the “worst condition that they had ever seen”. Anyways, a gigantic headache later, and our house is unliveable because of the toxic polyurethane fumes and the floors needing 3 weeks to harden. We basically couldn’t live in our house and had to squat in my in-laws house in Peterborough (2 hours away). Luckily, they left on a road trip and left us the house to ourselves. The babies adjusted well to staying there, and we did lots of calming things like walks around the neighbourhood and respecting their napping schedule. We had to go home for a bit to paint the walls so that we could install new trim around the house. Basically, every night since we have been back has been busy with getting the house back in order. All I want to do is sit my ass down on a couch and watch some Netflix. Oh- and Dumplin’ turns one in a week and we’re hosting a birthday party for him in our house that feels like a construction site because everything is out of place and there’s power tools and painting stuff everywhere. And the dust… ugh. Thankfully, I had the sense to keep the guest list as only family and super close friends, so it won’t be a big “to do”. On the bright side, our living room looks so much brighter with the new floors, painted walls, and trim. Freshly painted walls and refinished floors, sans trim:


Okay, enough complaining. Onto the babies…

They’re doing well. Dumplin’ is totally a toddler now. He’s his own person and is communicating that very well these days. He is able to sign some words (mostly relating to food) and he wants to do everything himself. He’s been throwing little tantrums when he doesn’t get what he wants or when we take something away from him for safety reasons. He suddenly hates his convertible car seat, and eats adult sized portions of protein at every meal. He points at what food items he wants after signing “more”, and loves playing with other kids. I wish we knew more people in our area with kids around his age because he seriously loves socializing. 

Please ignore my rainy-day fashion and hungry bum:



Mochi is less of a blob now. He continues to be very vocal about what he wants (he is much more demanding than Dumplin’ ever was), and seems to want to do things that his brother does. We used to sit him in a high chair at the kitchen table to just be with us as the three of us ate, with toys on the tray in front of him. He used to sit quietly, but recently, he has started screaming in protest because everyone else is eating… except him. So on (Canadian) Thanksgiving night, I joked around that maybe he was hungry for prime rib, and so we gave him a bone to lick… and holy!!! A special kind of ravenous was unleashed! The little one is clearly ready for food: 


So at two weeks short of six months old, Mochi has started eating a little bit of rice cereal at dinner time. Dumplin’s high chair is right beside Mochi’s, and keeps passing him his food off of his tray in an attempt to share. It’s super cute. Mochi pretty much idolizes his big bro, and wants to do everything he does. It’s painfully cute to watch.

Mochi’s first time in a swing:



In our new (to us) BOB stroller out for a crisp walk:
Oh, and Mochi’s been sleep trained now, though by the crying the past couple of nights, you wouldn’t think so. 

The boys are sick right now, with Dumplin’ dripping snot out his nose and Mochi leaking gobs of gunk out of his eyes. It’s  gross but interesting how the same illness is presenting in each baby. Last night they both were waking up and crying almost every hour. Nobody got any sleep, and we’re barely clinging on to our sanity today. 

I’m also having major molar problems, and have been in agonizing pain for the past month or so, and have had a CT scan, consulted with my family doctor, three dentists, a periodontist, and tomorrow, an endodontist, and still no one can give me answers or relief. I’m basically on a liquid diet right now because chewing hurts so much. Imagine feeling like this PLUS being sleep deprived PLUS dealing with two babies under one years old…. pretty much hell. Thank goodness for their amazing snuggles.


There’s so much more to update you on, but I’m dying here, so I’ll save it for another post. 

I hope you all are doing well.

Back to Nursing Normalcy- Recovering from Hand Foot Mouth (Coxsackie Virus)

*Sigh* Where to begin?

I’m sitting in the kitchen wearing an apron, the back of my hands splattered with bacon grease from the bacon I’ve been frying up for our Cobb salad. Dumplin’ and Mochi are asleep. Things have been pretty heavenly today for us. We went to the gym and had a great workout, sipped on some homemade chicken soup for lunch, and my in-laws are here to watch the babies tonight as we go see the Tragically Hip for what is quite possibly the last tour they’ll ever be on. 

And perfectly crispy bacon. There’s nothing quite like it. (My apologies to the veggies and vegans out there…)

Anyways, a very nice follower left a lovely comment today which inspired me to post after a lengthy hiatus from the blog. After our Hand-Foot-Mouth-Disease nursing strike HELL, Dumplin’ and I have finally found our groove again with nursing. Here are some things that I think helped us “rekindle” things:

1. Persistence- it was heartbreaking every time he rejected me (I honestly cried and felt like giving up every single time it happened), but I’d keep offering him boob every 4-6 hours, usually before naps or bedtime.

2. Positioning- sitting down in our glider to nurse him was a bad position for us for some reason- he seemed to freak out as soon as I sat us down and never gave nursing a chance because of it, so I had to try something different. Side-lying in bed, in the dark, with a noise machine on was the only thing that worked. And it couldn’t be me bringing him into the room- that gave him too much time to get distracted. It had to be DW who brought him into the room and I had to be side lying, ready with a boob out to receive him. Setting up the perfect nursing scenario was quite an ordeal, I know, but if I managed to get him to latch and stay latched, I was literally crying happy tears (so it was worth it).

3. Tricking him with a Nipple Shield- it’s kinda ironic that for the first 8 months of his life, Dumplin’ refused to take a bottle, because now, he friggin’ loves them. He loved them so much when he had Coxsackie that he preferred them over my boob. Thanks to Hound Mamas for suggesting that we try a nipple shield to lure him back to the boob. It was what turned things around for us- from “all out nursing strike” to “I’ll consider sucking a boob, maybe”. I’d hand express some milk into a nipple shield, hold it over my nipple, lure the baby to latch, and after two sucks, I’d swiftly take it away and shove my nipple in his mouth. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t, but the times that it did were worth it (again, happy tears). We also tried peanut butter on my nipple to lure him, which is kinda weird, but also worked a couple of times until he realized that he could just lick it off and unlatch.

4. Timing- my kid is super distracted. Even in the middle of the night he’s doing weird things like sitting up to clap 4 times between changing sleeping positions. So if I took too long to set up to nurse, or if the room was too lit (so he could see all the cool things in his room), or if I spoke to him (reminding him that there were people to see or things to do), or if he was too awake, my chance at getting him to lay still was gone. So I watched the baby monitor with obsession and as soon as I saw signs of impending waking (usually he wiggles his fingers and toes before he wakes up), I’d yell to DW that she needed to grab him, and I’d go “set-up” in my side-lying on the bed position (with curtains closed and noise machine on) to receive him. Or I’d wait until he was asleep at night and try to dream feed him. Seriously. I woke my sleeping baby so that I could nurse him when he was at his least cognizant. It’s kind of sick, I know, but it was the only way I could get about 12oz of breastmilk into him.

5. Bed sharing- our nursing relationship took a bit of a hit due to sleep training, and I discovered that the reverse was true this past month at the cottage. Dumplin’ and I had to share a room because my in-laws were staying at the cottage too, and I ended up inadvertently bedsharing with him in the bunk beds a couple of nights because it was more comfortable for my back than nursing him in the middle of the night while sitting on a hard kitchen chair. This ended up being the best thing for our nursing relationship. He started to want to nurse before naps and sleep again. He started pulling on my shirt when he wanted comfort from nursing. I think that since I let him nurse as much as he wanted in bed at night, it became his norm again, and over the course of five days at the cottage, he went from nursing maybe 4-5 short sessions a day to now 7 long boob-emptying sessions a day. I know that doesn’t seem like much, but it really is. Now, I don’t sleep as well with him in bed, since I’m constantly worried that he’s going to crawl off the bed and injure himself, so now that we’re home, he’s back in his crib. I do still do dream feeds at 11pm, and 4-5am to make sure he gets his milk. I am in no hurry to get him to sleep through the night, since the boob crutch is what is keeping him nursing.

Anyways, I think that’s it. I’m over the moon that he’s nursing regularly again, and that he’s even asking for milk by tugging my shirt. I’m hoping to nurse him as long as he’ll let me. It’s been one of my favourite parts of our relationship so far, and I’m so grateful for it. 

Dumplin’ and Mochi: 9 Months and Almost 3 Months

 
 


 Oh friends. I feel like the only time I post has been during moments of crisis. Life has been very very busy with these two. It has been a month since my last update, and there have been some awesome weeks, but recently we’re in a shitty week. I’ll recap. Last month Dumplin’ started refusing the boob, and then went on a full-on nursing strike for 10 days thanks to Hand-Foot-Mouth (Coxsackie virus). I was heartbroken but pumped to keep my supply going, and then once he was over the Coxsackie virus, we had to trick him back to nursing, using nipple shields and side-lying nursing positions. He is still nursing now, but only once or twice during the day, at bedtime, and twice overnight (because it’s the only time i can get him to nurse for a full-session). He’s refusing to nurse before naps and after naps, so he’s essentially dropped 3-4 nursings that we used to do before the illness. I’m pretty upset about it. It feels super shitty when your baby pushes you away and cries when you try offering him the one thing that used to soothe him. We were at a Mother Goose sing-along class today and I was talking to other moms with babies around the same age or a little older, hoping to find some camaraderie but none of the 3 moms were experiencing the weaning. They were shocked that I was going in and nursing him when he was sleeping, since they all are wanting their babies to sleep though the night. I explained that if I didn’t nurse him at night, he would essentially never get any fluids since he also isn’t drinking a lot from a bottle or with food. 

I’m partially blaming teeth for this decrease in boob interest. His bottom two came through at the end of May with no trouble (we didn’t even notice until we heard a clanging noise when he bit a metal spoon). His top left cut a few days ago, and his top right is bulging under the gums right now. He has been a fusspot for a few days now, which is wearing me out- both physically and emotionally. Today was particularly difficult. I have been skipping workouts for the past week because of an arm injury and wanted to go to the gym with DW but Dumplin’ was super fussy from the moment he woke up so I chose to stay home with him while she went. I played with him, then when the fussing became too much, I wore him and we walked the dogs. Just as he started to get sleepy, we got home and I tried nursing him in bed… It worked and he nursed until he fell asleep…. For a whole 30 minutes. His naps have been little kitten naps for the past week. He’s been refusing sleep and when he does finally fall asleep, he only sleeps for 30-40 minutes. When he wakes up, I try to offer him the boob, but he’s pushing me away and crying SUPER hard. So we start off waking time with fussing, and it’s been like that for days. Anyways, today I sat with him while he played in the living room, a hot bowl of split pea soup in hand. At some point, he grabbed my bowl, and the piping hot soup spilled all over his little hand. I rushed to the bathroom and ran cool water on the burn, but it’s still red and inflamed hours after the incident. Just a first degree burn, but I feel soon awful. Clearly, my boy is having a rough time- teething, a developmental leap, and now a burn! 

Months 5-8 were amazing with Dumplin’- he was super happy all the time and easy-going. I feel like months 8 and 9 have been super challenging for him and for us. I feel like I’m at the end of my rope, and without family to help more often than once a month for a weekend, I’m really starting to feel hopeless as a parent. And then we have Mochi, who is challenging in his own way, and DW is left to care for him almost by herself. We really didn’t think this two-babies-six-months-apart thing through. I was in tears a few days ago, saying to DW that it felt like we were both single-parenting each of these babies because we are so busy that we can’t help each other out. There is no relief. No break until bedtime, and even then, my anxiety prevents me from sleeping well. 

In the meantime, I wake up everyday hoping that Dumplin’s back to his happy self, nursing like the avid nurser that he used to be, eating solids as happily as he used to, playing with his toys enthusiastically, and exploring like the smart curious guy that he is. 

Mochi has been the opposite of Dumplin’ (in his younger months) in pretty much every single way except for his love of the swing and his love of bed sharing. He is super sweet and chill until he wants something, and when he wants it, he wants it right away- to be fed, changed, if he’s too hot/cold, tired, wants to play, etc. If you wait longer than 20 seconds, he screams at the top of his lungs until you satisfy his needs. It’s pretty comical unless you’re out in public or at a play date like we were yesterday. Dumplin’ was moderately fussy all the time (rather than at specific times) from birth until 5 months old. I basically just gave him a boob anytime he fussed, and it worked most of the time. 

Mochi also seems to be growing really fast in length. He’s already wearing twelve month clothes because he’s so long. Dumplin’ also was wearing clothes much ahead of his age, but because of his girth. I made a side-by-side comparison of my two guys at the same age,  and it’s astonishing how different their body types are/were. 

  
Mochi still spits up a lot, and DW is still off dairy, but he doesn’t have the rash he used to when she was eating dairy. He likes to play on his play mat, swatting at the toys, and cooing at his own reflection in the mirror. He is starting to roll side to side, and rocks tummy time. He’s sitting up with assistance, and can sit up on his own in the Bumbo. He loves watching his big brother, and smiles and coos at him a lot. Dumplin’ also loves his little brother, grabbing his hands and feet to hold them. It’s really sweet to watch, and makes me think having two is worth it for moments like these. 

  

  

Fuck You Coxsackie: Nursing Strike Hell

So poor little Dumplin’ has hand-foot-mouth disease (coxsackie virus). It was diagnosed on Saturday morning by a walk-in pediatrician based on the vesicles (sores) on his throat. These sores were probably what caused him to initially stop nursing on Thursday, because it hurt to suck and swallow. But now it’s Tuesday, and aside from some promising experiments with peanut butter, he has been on a total nursing strike. Like no boob at all. Not even when asleep or tired. It has me in tears every single day, and more depressed than I’ve been since I was 20 years old. 


Now, I’ve scoured the internet for information on nursing strikes, and everything out there seems to be pretty general and overall unhelpful so far. 

The experts all agree that:

– there are many causes of nursing strikes (teething, illness, change in routine, being frightened after biting during nursing)

– most babies under age 1 don’t normally self-wean and will return to the boob after the nursing strike

– pump so you don’t lose your supply 

– try not to take the rejection personally

– create closeness with your babe (baby wearing, skin-to-skin, bath with your babe)

– try nursing when babe is asleep or sleepy 

This is all fine and dandy, and I’ve tried all of this but I’m having a lot of trouble.

– my boobs don’t respond well to pumping. Over the course of the past 6 days, I’ve managed to go from nursing 6-8 times a day (probably 24-30oz), to 20 oz, to 18 oz, and to 12 oz today (combined pumping and nursing). So my supply is plummeting, and quickly. It’s been 6 hours since I’ve pumped/nursed and my boobs don’t even feel full right now.

– everything I’ve pumped I’ve bottle fed to Dumplin’ who surprisingly takes a bottle now, and seems to LOVE it (shitty timing). He’s getting about 24 oz of breastmilk a day plus 2 meals of rice cereal + a protein (salmon/chicken/beef) + a vegetable/fruit. He also absolutely LOVES food. Like freaks out over how awesome it is. Remember how at 6 months I complained that he hated food, then at 7 months I complained that he only liked finger foods and not purées? Well now at 8 months old, he loves EVERYTHING. 


– I’ve tried everything to bring Dumplin’ back to the boob. I offer every 3 hours, which was our nursing schedule up until last week. He has rejected me every single time. I have sneak attacked him in the middle of the night when he’s asleep. No dice. As soon as I get him into a nursing position, he wiggles like crazy, trying to sit up, then pushes against my chest and turns away. If I don’t help him sit up, or offer him boob again, he cries. Since I was all worried about him starving, I offered him a bottle after each rejection, which he very eagerly accepts. Now, he looks around for the bottle in anticipation. It’s clear that he prefers it. 


The trouble is that I’m not ready for him to wean, but it’s starting to look like he might be now that he’s discovered food and fast bottles (we even give him slow flow newborn nipples).  I made the mistake of talking to my mom about this and she said that my sister and I both self-weaned early. Me at 4 months and her at 7 months. We’re at 8 months now, but I had hoped to go for at least a year, aiming for longer. I know I’m making this more about me than about him, but I just know that both of us would benefit from extended breastfeeding. I am so jealous of all of you with your boob addicts. It’s even hard for me to watch DW nurse Mochi. It hurts my heart. 

So for the last day or so, I’ve been progressively trying to encourage Dumplin’ to get closer to the boob. At the beginning of the strike, he wouldn’t even allow skin to skin with my boob against his cheek. Yesterday, I was feeding him the bottle with the nipple beside my nipple. Today, DW had the idea of enticing Dumplin’ even more by putting peanut butter on my nipple. Well, he took it, and I hand expressed milk into his mouth and he started sucking. He was long overdue for a nap after his swimming lesson, so he was tired. He ended up nursing until he fell asleep, and I just held him, holding my breath, so scared that I’d wake him and he’d push me away again, crying. He slept in my arms for about 10 minutes and then woke up a little and I switched him to my other breast. He nursed on that one for a few minutes, and I finally exhaled with relief. Then he woke up, realized he had my nipple in his mouth, pushed it out and then wiggled out of the nursing position. I quickly transferred him to his crib and he slept a solid 2.5hours. When he woke up, I smeared a little peanut butter on my nipple and he nursed a little again. “Hurray!” I thought. “Strike’s over!”


Ugh.

I was wrong.

Before his next nap, I tried the PB trick again, and he refused and cried. 

I tried again 3 more times. Rejected.

I then ran a nice bath, soaked and played in the tub with him, and then offered when he was relaxed. Nada. Rejected. Heartbroken.

Normally, he nurses to sleep before bedtime. It’s the last part of our routine. So I offered again then. Rejected and tears. So DW warmed up the last of my freezer stash from 3 months ago, and he very excitedly guzzled it down. It breaks my heart that he prefers lipase-digested previously frozen breastmilk from a bottle over the fresh, sugary yummy milk from my breast. How am I not supposed to take that personally?

Anyways, I’m having a rough time. I’m actually concerned  that I’m becoming depressed because of this. I’ve zero motivation to work out (very unusual for me), to do anything, to interact with my wife and Mochi (it’s too hard to watch as he cluster feeds and is super boob needy when it’s what I long for with Dumplin’).

I want things to return to the way that they were two weeks ago, when time seemed to slow down… Nursing my boy as he drifts off to sleep, him holding my finger as I take in his sweet smell. His warm body curled up in my arms and up against my waist. Our breaths in sync, hearts beating side by side, reminiscent of the days when he was still inside my womb. 

A Much Needed Update

Our hands have been very full ever since Mr. Mochi arrived 7 weeks ago, so I’m sorry for not posting in a long time. Things have been tough, but improving day by day as we figure out a routine for our little family. 

Mochi is doing well. Him and DW have figured out a sustainable breastfeeding routine, and she’s also pumping a bottle a day for me to feed him when she goes to the gym. He’s growing so fast, but differently than his big brother. He’s skinnier, but very looooong. He’s filling out, forming little rolls, but his limbs seem to be growing disproportionately more. This kid is in 6 month pj’s now, at 7 weeks old. So far he’s super different from Dumplin’:

– Mochi WILL sleep in his bassinet, though he prefers to bedshare so that he can nurse all night and sleep nuzzled into DW’s bosom

– Mochi very clearly communicates when he wants something: if he’s cold/hot/dirty/hungry/wants a cuddle/doesn’t want a cuddle. Dumplin’ never really did complain if he had a dirty diaper. He didn’t even cry to be nursed, so I just nursed him all the time. 

– Mochi is okay with being by himself. We can lay him down on the bed, bassinet, or playmat and he’s okay with it. Dumplin’ hated being by himself, so we held him/wore him all the time. If Dumplin’ was upset, all we’d have to do is cuddle him, and all worries went away.

– Mochi will take a bottle. His brother refused bottles. The same with pacifiers. 

Mochi is still sleeping at random times throughout the day, making nighttime difficult for us. I’m still struggling with insomnia at night, so when I am finally able to fall asleep, I’m often super frustrated when I am waken up by his grunts. Because of this, I’ve moved into the spare room to sleep at night. I feel bad leaving DW to care for Mochi by herself all night, but it didn’t make sense for both of us to be sleep deprived because we also have a demanding Dumplin’ to entertain all day too. Despite our new sleeping arrangements, I’m still not sleeping well and needing to take Benedryl every night to fall asleep. The Orlando mass murders have me really shaken up as well, and I just feel uneasy and upset overall. Plus, some challenges with Dumplin’ lately. More on that below.

Sadly, like Dumplin’, Mochi also seems to have very large and frequent spit ups. DW has gone dairy-free for a few weeks now, so we’re waiting to see if it helps like it did for me and Dumplin’.

Dumplin’ has been changing so much lately. He is 8 months old today. He has been rolling like crazy- from one end of the carpet to the other. He isn’t crawling yet, but I have been seeing the beginnings of it… Pushing his bum up and sometimes resting on his knees. 

He’s loving food now too. His favourites are Chinese chicken ginger congee (rice porridge) that I make from leftover chicken and rice, Vietnamese pho, and broccoli. He’ll pretty much eat anything now though. He doesn’t love sweet things though, definitely showing a preference for savoury flavours. Now that he’s discovered a love for food, it seems like other activities pale in comparison. He plays with his toys with mild/moderate excitement, and meal time is his absolute favourite. He was having 2 meals with us daily, but then I noticed his nursing motivation dropped significantly, so we reduced it to just dinner time. Since he’s 8 months now, we were going to increase it to 2 meals a day again, but recently he’s been on a nursing strike.

In the past month, Dumplin’ has dropped 2 nursings- a daytime nursing and a nighttime nursing. It had me incredibly sad, but I figured it was normal. So we were down to 7 nursings a day: morning upon waking, AM before 1st nap, noonish before 2nd nap, PM before 3rd nap, before bedtime, a dream feed when I’m ready for bed, and then a feeding at 3am. But then, yesterday, he refused my breast multiple times, only nursing 3 times the entire day. He also refused my boob before bed, and the two other times I offered in the middle of the night. In fact, I would get him in our regular nursing position and he’d cry super hard. It’s like he was scared of my boob. It’s been the same all day today. He’s consistently refused 5 nursings so far. I’ve been pumping to relieve the pressure in my breasts, but I’m not able to drain them fully because I don’t respond well to a pump. I’m so worried that I’ll get plugged ducts and mastitis again. I keep offering him the boob, and have been feeding him bottles of pumped milk right after I pump it.

I’m super heartbroken over this. I’ve spent the night crying and not sleeping because I feel like he’s rejecting me and I’m worried that he’s going to self-wean soon. I suspect that it’s probably teething, but I’m not sure why he’ll take a bottle and not my boob? I’ve loved breastfeeding- it’s been one of my most favourite things about being a mom so far, and I had always hoped to do extended breastfeeding. I’m so sad not to be nursing him right now, and am praying that he gets over this nursing strike soon. 

Anyone else experience a nursing strike? What was the cause and how long did it last? I need some support right now because I’m feeling all the feels and it’s got me really down.

 

Seeking Travel Tips

Hi friends, we will be attending my sister’s wedding in Seattle in the fall, and I’m seeking travel tips for travelling with a 4 month old (Mochi) and a 10 month old (Dumplin’). We plan on staying for about 2 weeks. 

Specifically, I’m needing advice on:

– airplane travel for a flight that’s about 5 hours long (best time of day to fly, dealing with naps, meltdowns, feeding, checking baggage, bringing strollers, bringing car seats, carriers etc.)

– transportation to/from destinations (rent a minivan? Renting car seats/convertibles?)

– making sleeping easier on the babies (3 hour time zone difference, buy or rent cribs/pack and plays, are they able to bedshare if they’re used to sleeping alone?)

– toys (what is absolutely necessary? Rent or bring?)

– tips on crossing the border from Canada to the USA via vehicle

– cheap airlines for travel between Buffalo to Seattle (to compare with flying from Toronto to Vancouver)
Thanks a bunch!

10 Things on a Tuesday

1. Mochi is friggin’ adorable. Somehow, despite being only 3oz lighter but the same length as his big bro at birth, Mochi looks so much skinnier than Dumplin’ did. He looks like a little old man, with his wrinkles and skinny limbs, but also has these ginormous hands and feet. Mochi is very long and skinny, while Dumplin’ was a chunky baby right out of the womb. Their faces are totally different too. Dumplin’ has Asian eyes, and a button nose, but Mochi has these big Caucasian eyes and a flat wide nose. I’m so curious what they both will look like as they grow!

2. Tired, so so so tired. Well the mastitis last week seemed to cure my insomnia, but now we’re not getting any sleep due to newbornness. Obviously DW has it worse than me, but I’m only getting sleep an hour at a time. My in-laws are staying in the spare room, so I’m waking almost every time Mochi coos or cries. Dumplin’ also seems to be going through something, which is manifesting in frequent wakings at night. Last night he cried at 10pm, 12am, 2am, 4am, and 7am. Each time, I’m getting up and comfort feeding him for about 30 minutes. I’m running around doing errands and chores that my in-laws can’t/don’t/won’t really do during the afternoon, so no naps are happening either. Last night I was so tired that I went to bed after putting Dumplin’ down for the night, at around 7:15pm, and woke up an hour and a half later because Mochi was crying, but when I woke up it felt like I had slept 4 hours… That’s how tired I’ve been. Poor DW has been up all night nursing Mochi frequently while sitting in one of our living room chairs, because of her c-section incision and arm numbness and general breastfeeding challenges she’s unable to nurse comfortably in bed. 


3. Nursing. There are some advantages to having two lactating moms in the house- one of which is that when your newborn is losing weight or needs more fluids to flush out his jaundice, his other mother can provide him with milk while waiting for his gestational mother’s milk to come in. And what an awesome feeling to be able to top Mochi up a couple of times after he’s fed with DW. Her milk came in last night (day 4), but it’s also nice to offer Mochi a feeding here and there to let her rest a bit too. DW has been working really hard on her breastfeeding. It’s been tough though, as she’s developed blisters on her nipples despite Mochi’s decent latch. It’ll be better now that her milk’s come in though.


4. Workouts. They haven’t happened in over a week, and I am starting to feel like a caged animal despite being so tired. So I’m at the gym right now trying to sneak in a leg workout before Dumplin’s swimming lesson this morning. I feel weak and depleted, but it’s nice to give my muscles a bit of a pump. Once my in-laws are gone, I’m going to try bringing Dumplin’ with me in the mornings again, and letting him play in the daycare that we pay for anyways. 

5. In-laws. They’ve been here helping with things. I’m very grateful that they did come through for us and took care of Dumplin’ while we were in the hospital from Wednesday to Saturday. He survived. We survived. I think that we just have different expectations of what kind of help we need I guess. When my mom was here helping us after Dumplin’s birth, she cooked all of our meals, did shopping for us, cleaned the house, walked the dogs, and basically made it so that my only job was to soak in the amazing newbornness following Dumplin’s birth. She held him when I needed to shower or eat, or when I needed to nap. This is the kind of help that was very helpful. Now, my MIL is very good at babysitting, and my FIL is very good at walking the dogs and doing odd jobs, but they aren’t as big into cooking as my mom was, and I wonder if they’re a bit intimidated by my Celiac gluten-free diet (don’t know what to cook for me). They’ve been trying though, so that’s a recent improvement. We’ve also learned that we need to be more direct with what we need them to do for us. I think part of it is that DW and her parents don’t have a close relationship- there are still social graces in place, and we clean up the house and treat them as guests when they come over. Because of this, I feel like we don’t ask them to do the hard things- like waking up to take the night shift with the babies. I guess it comes down to communication.

6. Mental health. I’m still struggling with the anxiety, but now with a bit of depression too I think. The anxiety seems to be masked by the endless tasks that seem to need doing around here- I feel like I’m busy all day walking up and down stairs, fetching things, preparing meals, picking up crying babies, putting away dishes, opening doors for dogs, etc. I lie in bed and still can’t sleep, and when I do, I’m woken up by Mochi’s stirring sounds or Dumplin’ fussing in his room. I waver between missing my life before TTC (when I had zero anxiety or sleep issues) to smothering Dumplin’ with my endless love for him and being sad that he’s growing up so fast. As I thumb-type this post, I just feel like crying because I feel so guilty for not being overjoyed with life- I mean, we got our two take-home babies, and I should be happy now right? But instead, I am beating  myself up for being ungrateful and for complaining at all. 

7. Connections. I feel like I will get flack for this, or that I will upset people, but please understand that I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I am struggling to feel connected to Mochi. It’s only been 5 days, and I remember feeling overwhelmed when Dumplin’ came along too, but I kinda feel like Mochi is this stranger in my house. Maybe it’s my anxiety talking, maybe I need more time, but I worry that I won’t connect with him as much as I do with Dumplin’. Part of it is that everyone (including DW) has been referring to him as her baby. Like Mochi isn’t my son in the same way. I never ever referred to Dumplin’ as my baby. He was always our baby, who developed for 9 months during our pregnancy. That we were pregnant. Someone asked me today which baby was “mine”. I said both were our sons. What they really meant was which baby did I carry, and after correcting them, I felt kind of unsettled about it. When I got home and talked to DW about it, she made me feel even worse, when she was all proud about Mochi being her baby. I’m sure she’s just proud that she carried him and gave birth to him, but I felt like my role in his life was insignificant. That she was his mom and I was just her understudy. I’d sign his permission forms at school only if she couldn’t. It makes me feel like shit, not because I want recognition, but because in some weird way it makes me feel like it makes the divide even wider. Like I’m holding a friend’s baby, and not my son. It doesn’t feel the same as with Dumplin’, and I’m not sure if it’s just because I didn’t notice, or if because I carried him that I feel so secure in my relationship with him, but either way, I’m sure that I encouraged much more inclusive language surrounding our pregnancy and birth with him, and language frames things.


8. Dumplin’. This kid is doing so much learning these days. He is sitting so well by himself, and is making more and more connections every day. He’s learned how to make the faucet water come out stronger, so baths in the sink are chaotic now. He loves playing while on his tummy and reaching for things. He pets his dogs and watches as they play, giggling at their silliness. This is such a wonderful age, and I’m trying not to let it slip away due to the sleep deprivation and mental health issues. But he’s also been fussier recently- some separation anxiety- he doesn’t like when we’re not actively paying attention to him, and he has been waking up a lot more at night. Last night he woke up crying about 5 times, and the previous night about 4 times. He used to only get up 2-3 times maximum. DW has been focused on Mochi (understandably), so I think Dumplin’ notices the difference in attention that way as well. It’s so hard. I’m sure she wants to spend more time with Dumplin’, but with the c-section, she’s definitely not able to lift him. His grandparents are here for another day or so, and play with him and read him books, so he’s getting more attention that way.


9. DW’s recovery. Like I mentioned before, after 22 hours of labour, Mochi still had not descended, and was born via c-section. DW is up and moving around a lot, but her hands, legs, and feet are still super swollen. She still can’t bend at the ankles because of the swelling. She’s keeping mobile though. Yesterday we went out for a short bit to run errands. Her belly has gone down quite a bit every day, which is kind of neat to see. She’s got a rash on her back from the tape that they used to secure her epidural. It looks really really itchy!

10. Clementine. Our poor little chihuahua-pug was at the vet today because she has been limping pretty badly for the past couple of days. The vet suspects that she may have torn her ACL (ligament in her knee). She’s been quiet and not herself lately. I feel terrible for her, since she’s normally such an adventurous and spunky dog. He wants me to check in with him in two weeks to see if she’s still limping, and that they’d do a scope to see what the damage is and if they’d need to do surgery to repair it if she continues to limp as much as she currently is. Fingers crossed that she heals up quickly and that it’s only a sprain and not a full tear.