in my last post, the tone and mood was that of despair and frustration. one of the hardest things a first-time mom can experience is breastfeeding. we hear how wonderful and natural it is, but don’t realize how painful and difficult it can actually be until we have a baby of our own.
so much has changed since that fateful entry. to ease the suffering and quicken up the healing process i took a break from breastfeeding – this lasted from sunday evening to early friday morning. in the meantime, i pumped and penny was bottle-fed. during this short period of time, i was happier than i had been since penny was born! it really goes to show how much of a toll breastfeeding had taken on me. “my girls” were also able to heal effectively and i slept much better at night (without pain, i might add).
also during this time, penny began consuming 4 oz. of breast milk. i could never tell how much she ate when i breast fed her but i was able to see that she was eating more (up from 3 oz.) initially, i was worried because i thought she may be overeating. the downsides of bottle feeding is that babies can overeat since the flow is faster from the bottle than from the breast, and the milk can pour down their throat. we try to fill the nipple halfway with milk (per the lactation consultant) to mimic breastfeeding. a sign of overeating is spit-up. babies tend to spit up after feedings, but copious amounts can signal that a baby ate too much. penny has also been really gassy lately (another downside of bottle feeding) even though we give her gas drops and hold her upright for at least 15 minutes after feedings. still, we have seen improvement and her appetite is as strong as ever.
currently, penny is 5 weeks and at her 1 month check-up she weighed 9 lb. 11 oz! She most likely has surpassed the 10 pound mark by now.
this boppy lounger has resulted in less spit-ups because she isn’t laying flat on her back. i know that babies aren’t supposed to sleep on them for safety reasons but she is usually about 4~5 feet away from me and we constantly watch her like a hawk.
as for breastfeeding, i decided in the wee hours of friday morning that i would give it another go. i eased into it using a nipple shield and was extremely relieved that it didn’t hurt as much as before. it was still sore afterwards but there wasn’t any excruciating pain, and there hasn’t been since. now, i’ve been using a shield every time because it’s much easier for penny to latch (saves me the pain too!) using a shield can cause discomfort for the baby because they take in more air when breastfeeding. this just means i have to be more vigilant about burping her often.
penny has been fighting sleep lately so i’m still very much sleep-deprived but i am absolutely grateful to be free of pain from breastfeeding. i honestly thought i would have to give up breastfeeding. there’s nothing wrong with bottle feeding (we still give her the occasional bottle to give me a break) but i don’t like the hassle of having to warm up a bottle and pumping constantly to have the supply ready. i still pump so i can add to my stash for when i return to work, but less frequently than before. really, there are upsides and downsides to both bf and bottle-feeding; i’m just happy to have the option of doing both again.
another milestone that penny has reached is that she social smiles! newborns smile in their early days but it’s really a reflex and not a genuine smile. however, we noticed that penny has been truly smiling since about week 3. we can see the expression in her eyes and her smiles are a response to ours. she also smiles a lot while bf when she’s half asleep. a few times, i have heard her laugh and my heart swelled.
penny has also begun focusing more on objects. in her pack ‘n play, there are 3 plush stars that hang down and she tends to look at them when she’s laying down in it. she also took notice of the chandelier in her room early this morning when i was putting her down for a nap. as i walked around, her gaze kept following the chandelier. a few hours later, i was holding her in the sun room and her attention was on the ceiling fan; so, i turned it on for her so she could see it in motion.
she has also been more alert (as noted by the decrease in naps). she still needs to nap frequently since she’s still a newborn but when she is awake, she’s more active lately. i take advantage of that by playing with her. as soon as i see her giving me cues that she’s tired (i.e eyes slowly closing, rubbing eyes, less focused) i stop play immediately and start putting her down for a nap – this is usually me rocking her while playing white noise in the background. lately, i’ve also swaddled her and held her to encourage sleep.
yesterday was father’s day and i made sure the first one was special for dennis. i ordered a onesie from etsy for penny to wear. unfortunately, dennis was already on his way to work when i was changing penny so i just took a pic of her and sent it to him. i think it made his work day that much better!
we received two handprint kits as gifts, and dennis and i had made imprints of penny’s hand and feet about a week ago. without his knowledge, i painted the handprint one and wrote a message on it for father’s day.
it was tough pressing her little hand into the mold since she has her hands clenched into fists most of the time. this was the best we could do!
another gift i made for dennis was 3 portraits of penny holding up letters to spell ‘dad’.
i did everything myself on saturday. she was in a good mood after a feeding so i quickly put a headband on her and arranged the letters.
the last milestone has to do with our dog, yuri. saturday, 6/20, was her fifth birthday and we wanted to make sure we didn’t forget it.. especially since all the attention we used to lavish on her has gone over to the baby… it’s obvious that yuri is more despondent and needy lately. she follows me around everywhere even when i’m feeding penny (although late at night, she stays in bed with dennis).
we used to get her special treats and a cake from a dog bakery but she doesn’t really like them. she’s more of a meat girl.
lastly, this is what we had for dinner last night! dennis’ parents came over, and my mil made bibimbap for us. it’s a korean dish with a variety of vegetables mixed with white rice and sweet chili paste. it’s also great topped with a fried egg. we didn’t have a gift for my fil but we are going to present one to him later on today. we got him a really nice bicycle. since he’s been retired, he’s been mostly homebound save for the occasional bike ride. we hope that this will encourage him to get outdoors more often 🙂
speaking of outdoors, today is dennis’ day off and we are going to meet up with the gardners later on. the boys plan to go bike-riding at west hartford reservoir while the girls take a stroll either at the same place or blue back square, a shopping plaza. we’re really on our babies’ schedules so hopefully we can work this out!