Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The solid food adventure

(Because I still haven't the energy to post about the trip.)

Before leaving on vacation, N. had been having cereal a couple of times a day for about a week or so. After the initial feeding (which was WAY too liquidy, even though that's what the box said to do), he managed to work himself up to nearly a full "serving" (according to the box) within a few days. He didn't get any while we were at my brother's place solely because of the lack of time. We were driving around, visiting, doing wedding-related things every day, and the only chance we had would've been right before bed, and that just wasn't happening. I'd been worried that he'd look for the cereal, and not sleep well, but it didn't seem to make too much of a difference.

Once we settled into my parents' place, complete with highchair borrowed from a neighbor, we got back on routine. Cereal at breakfast, lunch, and supper, with nursing in the afternoon if there was time. N. kept at it, and did great. He tended to get a little overenthusiastic, though, which resulted in a lot of cereal gumming up everything, but he was so cute that we forgave him.

Now that we're back, I decided it was time to start on veggies. I was a bit worried, since he'd been eating cereal for such a long time, that he might not like the new tastes. Ideally, I'd like to have him try something new every 3-5 days, and I was afraid that he'd be fussy. So, after stocking up on 4 different veggies and 5 different fruits, I broke out the sweet potatoes at lunchtime today. And.....

It couldn't have gone any better.

He made the "new food face" with the first spoonful, but I figured that would happen. But, after that, it was smooth sailing. I'd even split the little tub into two servings, in case he didn't like it at first, but he ate the whole thing. The even more surprising thing was how calm and content he was. With his rice cereal, he gets a bit excited, and makes a mess. With this, he just smiled, and opened his mouth everytime waiting for the next bite. He seemed happy when it was finished, so he played for an hour before nursing and going down for a nap. All in all, a great day.

With every age, I find myself wanting him to stay that way, but I really love trying new things with him. He's a little person now, and I can't believe he's mine.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I don't have the mental fortitude to sort through pictures and post them. We're back in the apartment, everything is going really well, but I'm mentally and physically exhausted.

I'll recount the vacation soon, but now I'd like to sleep for days. It's such a bittersweet thing, living here. N. was an absolute joy throughout the entire trip, and wasn't afraid of anyone he met. He made fast friends with both of my parents, along with my brother and sister-in-law, and didn't seem to mind when we left him with any of them as babysitters (it was harder on me). It was such a happy 17 days from start to finish, I'm so grateful.

The problem with it being such a success is that it had to end.

We left for the drive back on Saturday at 6PM (it's 17 hours with no stop, and we ended up doing it in 23 hours, but more about that later). Saying goodbye to my mother was so hard, especially since the baby was so good with her. I feel like such a horrible daughter, keeping her grandson so far away. She spent the day doing everything she could with him - diapers, cereal feedings, tummytime; I only got him back to nurse. I cried for the first 20 minutes we were on the road, and I'm sure she did too. We kept in touch by cellphone, and all she could say everytime we talked throughout the trip was, "I want my baby back."

And, just now, my dad left to get the shuttle to the airport. He's been amazing with N., moreso than I could ever hope for. He's a big man, and has always been afraid of babies, but he can't get enough of N. Both times he's left (this time, and at the end of his visit in June), N. has been asleep in his crib, and somehow I think that makes it harder. He leans over the crib, and I can tell he wants to look at that angel face for just a moment longer.

We're determined to get home for Christmas, and when you think about it, that's not too far away - we'd likely be getting there in a little over 7 weeks. But, I just know it's going to mean goodbyes again, and I don't know how I'm going to be able to do it. I'm grateful for my job, and I really do love my little apartment. This city, this community, is not, and never will be, my home, but the apartment is the first 'home' we've had as our own little family. I know we're a separate family unit, but in a way, there's a large part of us that isn't here.

It's at home.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

We survived the first half, and are well into the second.

Not much time to blog around here, but things are going extremely well. To sum up:

  • N. did wonderfully on the drive up, which took about 18 hours.
  • My brother and sister-in-law did wonderfully practicing with N., for their own baby arriving in February.
  • The wedding was great, my best friend was glowing, and I have no decent pictures yet, since my camera was with Hubby while we were doing wedding stuff.
  • N. smiled throughout everything, even though he was dragged from restaurants to churches to reception halls, in and out of his carseat, day in and day out.
  • N. met his great grandmother on Wednesday, and they got along swimmingly. He also went to my mother's workplaces, and met all her friends and co-workers. My boy, he gets around.
  • Today, he will NOT nap, and it's starting to get wearing, since I know he's tired.
I'm hoping to upload soon, but it might not be until we get back to the apartment.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's been a busy few days.

Instead of taking photos, and blogging, I've been frantically trying to get things ready for our trip, and keeping both Baby N., and my dad (who's here visiting) entertained. Fortunately, the entertainment part is easy - Papa (my dad) entertains N., and N. entertains Papa.

We're leaving at some ungodly hour overnight, and still we haven't finished packing. Hubby is home trying to get some of it done while I finish up at work.

The good thing about this busy week is that N. has taken to eating his cereal like a champ. Since it's not routine yet, we're finding it hard to fit in more than one or two feedings a day, but I think that's a good pace to ease him into it. Hubby also fed him last night, and seemed to get the hang of it fairly quickly.

Hopefully the next time I post, it'll be from my beloved province, with some fun pics of the wedding I'm in, or the party that we're having for N. once we get to my parents' place.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen

A step forward in the 'strangers' department, and a step back in the sleep department.

Well, N. seems to be doing much better with strangers these past few days, provided they keep their distance. He even was chatty with a rather imposing man with a dark beard yesterday. I'm keeping optimistic that he'll get used to my mother first, then with everyone else, during the wedding and all the travelling and partying that will come with it.

Developmentally, he seems to be doing really well. He loves to play with his toys, and passes them from one hand to the other really easily. Tummytime is always fun for him, and he's so interactive now, it's so much fun for me and for Hubby. He's also mastered the art of rolling from his back to his belly, which is the problem.

Unless he's almost asleep, if we put him down on his back, Pop! he's back on his belly. The thing is, he can't sleep on his belly (hasn't figured out how), and doesn't seem to have the hang of flipping onto his back when he's in the crib. This means two things:

1. Daytime naps are a thing of the past, at least in the crib.
2. If he wakes up overnight, he flips over, then he really wakes up, and can't go back to sleep.

The past few nights have been tough. He's waking up at least once, sometimes twice, and needs a little bit of nursing to get back to sleep. I know, I'm probably promoting a really bad habit, but I haven't had to get up at 1AM and 4AM in the longest time, and it really sucks. Last night, I did manage to get him to sleep without the boob at 1:45AM - I had to flip him to his back twice in a 6 minute period, but he found his thumb, gave it a few good sucks, and was back to sleep. (4:30AM was another story).

One of the things that our pediatrician said was that sometimes babies stop sleeping as well when they're ready to start solids (ie they need that extra little bit of food to tank them up). It also could be teething, but I'm pretty sure it's not, and I'll get to that in a sec.

So, we decided to start with the rice cereal, fully realizing it'll take a few days before he's getting enough of it to make a difference. Yesterday evening, we mixed up a serving based on what the box said, and boy howdy was it liquidy. But, we decided to go for it, and it was a huge success. He really seemed to like it, and it only took about two minutes before he figured out what that spoon was for and was grabbing it to put it in his own mouth.

I think he was a bit hungry, so I'm going to try today after he's had a really good feeding.

Now, the reason I don't think it's teething is because he wakes up happy. Absolutely no sign of any discomfort. The whining starts when he's on his belly and can't flip over. Plus, he had a real episode of teething pain the other night, when he cried and cried and cried until we held a frozen teethie in his mouth long enough for the numbing to take place. It was horrible and stressful, since he hasn't cried like that since he was two weeks old, but he eventually fell asleep and woke up happy as a clam the next day (after sleeping for 8 hours).

I'm trying to encourage him to flip over both ways as much as I can, and he seems happy with the whole process, even if he can't do it when he needs to yet. And, surprisingly, I'm not doing too bad with the "up once a night" thing. I mean, he's my boy, he needs me, and who am I to begrudge him 20 minutes?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A better day yesterday, and a slightly hypocritical rant.

Hubby (again) had a last minute meeting with his new grad student minion yesterday, so he packed up Baby N. and brought him into the lab for the afternoon. It's something I'm encouraging for two reasons - 1. If he comes in on his babysitting days off, he can count that time, and he won't have to work through too many Saturdays, preserving some family time until we can get into daycare, and 2. The more N. gets exposed to new faces, the better he'll do when we go home for the wedding in a couple of weeks.

Hubby took a different approach this time - instead of letting people get right into N.'s face to say hello and coo and squeak at him, he got them to stay back a few feet, talk to Hubby, then slowly start to talk and pay attention to the baby. He reacted quite well - by the time I got over to visit them, N. was having a grand old chat with the secretary, and had gotten on quite well with the grad student.

N. is also napping much better lately, to the point where if we're out for the afternoon, and he misses that nap, he'll sleep from supper until bedtime snack, then go right back to sleep afterward. I can't even express how much I love this kid, and how frateful I am to have such a happy, contented baby. I know that he'll have his moments, and that eventually he'll have a moment that'll likely last months, but I'm enjoying him nonetheless!

Now, for my little rant.

I gave in to something last week, something I normally would've stood against on principle, being the type to do my own research and not fall prey to public panic.

I went out and bought new bottles for N. BPA-free ones.

Most people wouldn't find that odd. In fact, I'm sure there are lots of people who're thinking I'm a neglectful parent for not doing it sooner. But, like I said, I try not to blindly follow public opinion without getting the facts.

Like with the whole vaccination issue. Vaccinations do not cause autism. Thimerosal does not cause autism. I can't be arsed to dig up the paper right now, but I've read it. The original (and only) study that caused the panic has been withdrawn, and the results were false. I'm giving my baby (and any of his future siblings) their shots, because it's BETTER for them. It's like making the choice to have the C-section with my elephantine baby - if I can do something to prevent a high-risk occurrence by doing something that has a very very low risk of harm, it's BETTER.

What does this have to do with the whole BPA issue? Well, I'm not entirely convinced that BPA poses a danger in the way we use it from day to day. Most of the studies that are conducted to determine risks are done by giving large doses of the chemical in question to rats, and seeing what happens.

(I realize I'm oversimplifying; don't flame me if you're a scientist too. I get it.)

But it's like the acrylamide scare in fried foods. You'd have to eat pounds and pounds of fried things every day, possibly more food than you could physically consume in 24 hours, and eat like that for months, in order to get the dose of acrylamide that's harmful. Does that mean that there's no acrylamide in fried food? No. Is it negligible? From my perspective, considering the amounts I and my family eat, I think it's pretty safe. I'm more likely to get cancer from the emissions I breathe in on my way to work each day.

BPA is a similar case. It's only released from the plastics when they're heated to a high temperature for an extended period of time. Like when campers boil water for their tea in their Nalgene bottles (which I never would've considered doing - who boils in plastic?!). It turns out Nalgene is phasing out BPA, which I think is a responsible move on their part, considering the outdoor nature of their products. But drinking cold water in my nalgene? Again, I feel that the amount of BPA released is completely negligible.

Swinging this train back around to baby bottles - one of the brands that I was using (let's call them Brand A) didn't have a plastics recycling code stamped on the bottles, but it turns out that their original bottles do have BPA in them. For the most part, this wouldn't be a problem - feeding N. a supplement of 2oz per bottle meant I could let it come up to room temperature while nursing him, avoiding most of the direct heat. But now that I'm at work, Hubby has to feed him larger amounts, which would take hours to come up to room temp. I had bought two of Brand A's new BPA-free bottles, but they're nearly $10 a bottle. Would I spend it for my baby's health? You bet. Do I think Brand A is taking advantage of the public hysteria about BPA? You're damn right they are.

For that reason alone, I really hate the idea of replacing all my bottles and giving a fortune to Brand A, because all they're doing is sticking it to concerned parents. Fortunately, there are other options. The brand of breastpump I have, let's call them Brand M, also makes bottles. They've always been BPA-free, and they're nearly half the price of the other ones.

Could Brand M raise their prices now, considering what the rest of the market is doing? Sure they could. There's a lot of space between where they are now, and the price of Brand A. But, as far as I can tell, they're not doing that. They're just spending a little more on advertising the fact that they've ALWAYS been BPA-free, and I'm sure are getting more business because of it.

I'm pretty sure this BPA thing will blow over eventually, much like acrylamide, and charred food, and all those things. But, in the meantime, I've decided to play it safe. $45 is a small price to pay (and it's smaller than $100!)