Monday, June 28, 2010

Nine Week Update

It's been a busy week between a trip up to Mount Hood, a huge party at the Ranch, and packing up our lives for a four week trip to the East Coast.

We went to see Dr. Jack today for Ada's two-month appointment. Here are her stats:
  • Weight: 11 pounds, 2 ounces (58th percentile)
  • Length: 23.75 inches (92nd percentile)
  • Head Circumference: 40cm (80th percentile)
The big surprise here was her length. The doctor actually re-measured her to double-check the nurse because she jumped from the 50th to 92nd percentile in the last seven weeks. I guess we are going to have a tall girl to go along with our tall boy! Her weight also increased more than we might have expected, which is good news. Ada handled her shots pretty well, but she has been slightly fussy and feverish this afternoon. This is normal and we just hope she is feeling better for our flight tomorrow! We do need to start giving Ada vitamin D supplements (as recommended for all breastfed babies), but other than that there's nothing much to report.

I hate to jinx it, but Ada has been sleeping much better for the past couple of weeks. She's still not a great sleeper, but it is a vast improvement over her first 7 weeks of life. Once she is asleep for the night (at sometime between 9:30 and 10:30pm), we can lay her down in either her bouncy seat or crib and she'll sleep until sometime between 2am and 4am. Then she's up for an hour so that I can feed her, change her, and soothe her back to sleep, and then she sleeps again for the rest of the night, waking up between 6:30am and 8am (usually about 3 hours after falling asleep for the second time). It really helps that she'll now sleep on her own rather than needing to be held at night. E Ben and I are both feeling more rested as a result.

Here's a funny face from yesterday.

Terry and Ada at the party on Friday.

Cousins playing together in the sand boat.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Little Things: Jude, 22 Months

We're heading out of town this morning, so I don't have time for a real post, but I wanted to share this video quickly. Jude loves MOOSIK, and his favorite song is CHEESE. We've been trying to catch his rendition of it on video for a while now, and I finally succeeded this morning.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Little Things: Ada, Eight Weeks

Ada is eight weeks old today! Last night, she gave us the gift of a good night's sleep - over seven hours from 10:30 pm to 5:30 am. Needless to say, we are feeling a bit more rested than usual...

Ada met her great-grandmother Cornett yesterday for the first time. We celebrated Father's Day in Hood River with almost the full Cornett clan. Ada was a champ and charmed everyone in the family. She is a very good-natured baby, and loves to smile and coo. She enjoys attention and interacting with people during the activity period after each feeding. Ada still requires some help to fall asleep (swaddling and rocking/walking) but she is getting better at sleeping on her own once she has drifted off into "deep sleep". She's had a few good stretches in the (unmoving) swing, bassinet, and crib in the past week

Ada continues to eat and grow well. She's about 10.5 pounds at this point. She's still wearing the size 1-2 diapers and filling out her 0-3 month clothing.

Here's a photo from yesterday.

And a cute close-up from last week.

Here's a video of Ada with her great-grandmother Cornett.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Four Cornettes

In recent years, the Cornetts have produced one girl per generation. Here we have four generations of Cornett women.

Sherri Lynn, Kathleen, Ada, and Pat (representing Eloise)

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Ada Sweater

Our neighbor's grandmother knits personalized baby sweaters, and we now have one for both of our kids. Ada tried hers on for the first time the other night.

And here is Jude in his at about the same age.
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

iPhone pics

Margaret took a bunch of photos of Ada today with her iPhone.



Wanna fight?

Silly face.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Visit from Lucia

We had a visit tonight from the Jones family, in town from China. Jude had been eagerly anticipating "Cia" all day and had so much fun playing with her.

They started out with some puzzles.

Then running all over the house.

As bedtime approached, Jude and Lucia got cozy with pillows and blankets. Jude showed Lucia how to play "Tiger Cave".

Lucia also got to meet Baby Ada for the first time.

Here is a video of the excitement.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Breastfeeding, Take Two

It's too soon to declare victory, but breastfeeding is going SO much better this time around. It's hard to pinpoint the reason (or reasons) for the improvement since we're doing a lot of things differently, but I thought I would try to list the major differences between what we're doing now and what we did with Jude. They are in an approximate order of importance (in my opinion). I think that most nursing mothers who don't have supply issues probably don't need to worry about most of this, but for those people who are struggling or have struggled in the past, it might help to know what is working for me.

Metformin - I was diagnosed with mild PCOS while trying to conceive Jude, and the root cause of PCOS is thought to be some degree of insulin resistance leading to high blood sugar, which prevents hormone-producing organs in the body from doing their jobs properly. When I got pregnant with Ada, I did some research on the link between PCOS and low milk supply, and found that taking Metformin (a diabetes drug which improves insulin sensitivity) in the third trimester (and postpartum) may increase the amount of milk that a nursing mother with PCOS can produce. There is some research currently underway on the link between the two and although nothing is definitively proven yet, early results are encouraging. After discussing this with my OB, we decided that my taking Metformin couldn't hurt, and might help, so I started taking it a few weeks into the third trimester. I really feel like a lot of my issues last time were chemical in nature, and that taking the Metformin has made a big difference this time. I'm planning to continue to take it as long as I'm breastfeeding.

Early Frenectomy - The frenulum is the piece of skin that connects the tongue to the bottom of a person's mouth. If the frenulum is too short, it is difficult to stick out your tongue. For a nursing baby, this makes it hard to suck effectively. There is a history of short frenula in my family - my dad had this problem and so did I (in fact, mine was not corrected until I was two years old and I still remember the surgery). Jude had a short frenulum and it was "released" (that is the verb used to describe the frenulum surgery) when he was about a month old. By then, he'd been sucking ineffectively for long enough that it was difficult to recover a full milk supply. With Ada, I had the nurse check her frenulum in the delivery room within a few hours of birth. Once we determined that she also had a short frenulum, our pediatrician came and did the procedure (called a frenectomy) in our hospital room on Ada's second day of life. She immediately started sucking better and has been going strong ever since.

Different Baby - From the beginning, Ada was better at nursing than Jude. She latched on right after she was born and nursed for over an hour. I don't think she would have even stopped then if we hadn't decided she really needed to be weighed, measured, and bathed. She sucked more vigorously and demanded milk more stridently than Jude in the early days. As Doris says, she "read the manual" on how to feed. If I start to get a little bit lazy and try to make her wait for a feeding because I'm tired, she reminds me that this behavior is not acceptable and that SHE NEEDS TO EAT NOW.

Compressions - The baby sometimes needs help to physically get the milk from the milk sacs (in the back of the breast) to the front where she can extract it and drink it. Breast compressions help accomplish this. Basically, while the baby is nursing, the mom will compress the base of the breast to increase flow and help the baby get milk more quickly and easily. Doris calls this "room service". I noticed a huge difference in the amount of swallowing that Ada did during compressions compared to no compressions. I used compressions for nearly every feeding in the first few weeks with Ada because I didn't yet trust her ability to extract the milk without my help or my ability to produce enough milk for her. With Jude, I used compressions occasionally, but not nearly as consistently.

Nutrition - I didn't eat very well during Jude's first few weeks of life. I was never hungry, I was tired, I was overwhelmed by taking care of a newborn, and food was just not a high priority for me. I didn't eat enough, and I think that's part of the reason I didn't make enough milk for Jude. This time, I still was not very hungry most of the time, but I forced myself to eat a meal 5-6 times a day and drink a ton of water.

Baby-led feeding schedule - With Jude, I was really nervous about having a baby who spent all of his time nursing, so I tried to impose a schedule on him as soon as possible (i.e. "He can't be hungry, he just ate an hour ago!"). With Ada, I pretty much feed her whenever she is awake and showing any hunger cues. Ironically, since my milk supply is much better and she is less hungry, I spend a lot less time feeding her than I did feeding Jude at this age. So my fears of having a constantly-nursing baby if I allowed on-demand nursing have not come to pass.

Skin-to-skin - Jude didn't really like being held all the time as a newborn (from the beginning he liked to sleep on his own). Also, I didn't want to hold him constantly (again I was worried about having a baby who could never be put down). There were a lot of people who were more than willing to take him off my hands when I wasn't feeding him, so I usually handed him over soon after a feeding session was done. Ada and I had a lot of skin-to-skin time during the first weeks and I held her most of the time. She was (and still is) happiest when being held close. Also, handing her to someone else or putting her down was not really an option. E Ben is usually busy with Jude, unless he's sleeping, and we haven't had as much live-in help as we did during Jude's early days. And she usually cried when she was put down, at least at first. She is getting better about being on her own as she gets older.

Close follow-up - Jude lost a pound in his first three days, then began the upward swing in weight. Once we saw that he had begun gaining weight, we relaxed and assumed that everything was fine, only to be surprised at his two-week well-baby appointment to find that he was not gaining weight quickly enough. With Ada, we knew that her weight could be an issue, so we were really on top of the situation for the first few weeks until we knew that she was doing well. I saw Doris four times in Ada's first week and twice in her second week (plus I went in to check her weight on my own one other time). This was helpful for several reasons. First, there were a couple of times when she was lagging slightly and we were able to make corrections immediately. Secondly, when she was gaining well it helped me feel more positive and resolved to continue working on making breastfeeding successful. It's really hard work in the first few weeks (for me, at least) and I think that the positive reinforcement really helped me find the will to carry on.

No antihistamine - Jude was born in the middle of allergy season, and I was taking antihistamines and eye drops in the months before he was born. Afterwards, I continued to take the antihistamines for a few days until his pediatrician told me that this could decrease my milk supply. I don't know if it made a difference, but this was something that I did "wrong" during those crucial first days with Jude. Not this time - I stopped taking the antihistamines immediately and at this point I'm just using prescription eye drops for my seasonal allergies. So far, so good, with that.

Herbal Tea - I don't know if this made any difference, but I continued drinking my Red Raspberry Leaf Tea for the first few weeks after Ada was born. This is one of the main ingredients in "Mother's Milk Tea" and it's supposed to help regulate "the female system". Who knows if this makes any difference, but I like the tea and figured it couldn't hurt!

Of all these things, I think the most significant were compressions, Metformin, and the on-demand feeding that I did in the early days. Of course, it's impossible to know which things made a difference (there's no way to have a control for something like this). But it has been rewarding to experience a relatively straightforward breastfeeding relationship with Ada after all of the difficulties we had with Jude. And having a baby who is not hungry all of the time is great!

Smiling Baby

I know that videos of babies at this age are kind of boring since they don't really do anything, but I liked this one of Ada smiling and looking around.

Two other things:
  • Ada is almost ten pounds! We took her in yesterday for a weight check and she's only two ounces shy.
  • I don't think I've mentioned yet here that Ada's eyes are getting bluer and bluer as the days and weeks pass. Jude's started out dark blue and quickly became brown. Ada's started out dark blue and are becoming a lighter blue. If they stay this color, she will be the first blue-eyed baby on my side of the family for some time.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

First Bottle

We've been waiting until Ada passed the six week mark before breaking out the pump and offering her a bottle. We tried it today, and everything worked out really well. I pumped about two ounces just before she was due to nurse. Margaret fed her the bottle and then Ada finished up the feeding with a typical nursing session.

I wondered whether Ada would take the bottle easily since she refuses the pacifier, but it was no problem. Margaret offered the bottle and dripped a little bit of milk on her lips. On the third try, she opened wide and drank the rest of the bottle with no complaints.

Our plan (suggested by Doris) is to continue with a bottle once or twice a week until I go back to work, just so that she doesn't forget the "skill" of drinking from a bottle. Apparently if you wait too long to give a bottle, a baby is more likely to refuse the bottle later in their life. Once I go back to work, she will need to have bottles every weekday, so it's a skill she will need!

One interesting tidbit is that I was able to pump a little over two ounces in less than five minutes. With Jude, the pumping was much more of a struggle and it took dozens of pumping sessions (of 15-20 minutes each) before I was able to even get a full ounce per session. What a huge difference from one baby to the next!

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Little Things: Ada, Six Weeks

Ada is six weeks old today. She has such a cute smile and I managed to catch it on camera this afternoon.

Ada has definitely become more fussy and difficult to manage in the last ten days since our last report. This is only to be expected as she approaches the peak fussy age of six weeks from her due date. According to our sleep book, this age is characterized by more crying and wakefulness than any other age, and we are looking forward to a decline over the next weeks and months.

What else can I say? Ada is a fairly typical baby for her age. She eats, looks around, smiles from time to time, cries when she needs something, and sleeps. She is growing well and weighs about 9.5 pounds. She responds well to being swaddled and sleeps best in the swing. She likes to be carried and will reliably settle down when taken for a walk in the sling. She doesn't like the car seat much and usually cries for part of every trip in the car. Ada's pretty good at tummy time and can lift up her head and turn it from side to side fairly easily at this point.

We're looking forward to a visit from Auntie Margaret for the next ten days. We think that three adults to two kids (at least our two kids) is a good ratio to allow us to take care of both kids, the household, and ourselves. We can do it with just the two of us (although it's harder with a sick toddler and Daddy), but it is a lot more fun with an extra set of hands around.

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Adventures in Parenting

Last weekend we had a fun trip into NW Portland. We managed to hit the only non-rainy part of the day, by some miracle. We started with pizza at Hot Lips in the Pearl. Ada snoozed while we ate and drank.

Then we went for a walk and ended up at Jamison Square.

Jude was somewhat flummoxed by the fountain there. He spent a few minutes trapped on an island.

Once the water receded, he went to check out the drain, and then stayed there, unmoving, as the water crept higher and higher up his legs.

Kids were splashing and playing all around him, and he was uncharacteristically still. Eventually he started splashing a little bit, fell over, and had to change all of his clothes. A very fun outing.

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Saturday, June 5, 2010


As a parent of two under two, my days are not too ambitious. Other than feeding and caring for the baby, helping out with Jude, and running our household, most days my goals are pretty simple: Shower, Nap, and Walk. The relative importance of each of these activities varies based on a number of factors. If I didn't get a shower the day before, Shower is #1. Otherwise, Nap is usually #1, unless I slept unusually well the night before. The weather has a big impact on whether I get out for a Walk. With our recent 40 days and 40 nights of rain, opportunities for getting out without getting wet have been few and far between. Today I got all three, which only happens once or twice a week these days.

Jude has been sick for the past week, and we've all caught the bug to some extent. Here are a few recent photos.

Ok, this one is actually from Ama's visit, but I forgot to post it earlier and I think it is just so sweet. Jude was entertaining Ada and holding her hand for a while that morning.

Ada's face is getting rounder every day. She's over nine pounds now and growing really well.

Jude loves to play outside with his plants, wheelbarrow full of water, and toys. Here he's examining his squirt gun.

While he was sick, we let Jude watch more TV than usual and drink extra milk. Here is a typical scene from the week - I'm nursing Ada with Jude sitting on my lap, holding his dinosaur, and watching "Good Night, Gorilla" on TV.

The video speaks for itself.

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